Daily Archives: March 17, 2015

(Get Religion) Here’s a hot story many have missed: Cost of those 91 Episcopal Church lawsuits

Sometimes a news story drags on bit by bit, piece by piece, over the years and becomes so tedious that reporters miss the dramatic cumulative impact. It also doesn’t help that long, slow-developing, nuanced religion stories have been known to turn secular editors into pillars of salt.

So it seems with the lawsuits against conservative congregations and regional dioceses that have been quitting the Episcopal Church, mostly to join the Anglican Church in North America, especially since consecration of the first openly partnered gay bishop in 2003.

The Religion Guy confesses he totally missed the eye-popping claim last year that the denomination has spent more than $40 million on lawsuits to win ownership of the dropouts’ buildings, properties, and liquid assets. If that’s anywhere near accurate it surely sets the all-time record for American schisms. And that doesn’t even count the millions come-outers have spent on lawyers.

Read it all.

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

(Her.meneutics) A critique of purity culture turns into a plea for self-centered sexuality.

Anderson grew up in modern evangelical “purity culture,” with all its widely documented problems. “I listened to story after story of being unable to feel close to God because of shame, being kicked out of one’s home, losing friends, separation from one’s faith community,” Anderson writes. “Many grew up being told over and over that their virginity was the most important thing they could give their spouse on their wedding night, only to reach that point and realize that having saved themselves didn’t magically create sexual compatibility or solve their marital issues.”

With Damaged Goods, Anderson wants to provide healing for those who have suffered from faulty teaching, and help for those who want to find a better, more genuinely Christian way to live. Anderson believes that the purity culture taught her to pride herself on living a celibate life and to look down on others who failed to live up to her high standards. Today, she regrets that prideful and contemptuous attitude and feels compassion for those who were hurt by it.

The church benefits from such course-correction and calls for healing in the wake of false teachings and unhealthy emphases in its teachings on sexuality. However, Damaged Goods goes further than that, conflating the misguided portions of purity culture””a relatively recent and proscribed phenomenon””with the Scripture-based beliefs about sexuality that the church has taught since its founding.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Anthropology, Books, Ethics / Moral Theology, Evangelicals, Marriage & Family, Other Churches, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology

(WSJ) The Algorithm That Tells the Boss Who Might Quit

Employers want to know who has one foot out the door.

As turnover becomes a bigger worry””and expense””in a tightening labor market, companies including Wal-Mart Stores Inc.,Credit Suisse Group AG and Box Inc. are analyzing a vast array of data points to determine who is likely to leave a post.

The idea, say people who run analytics teams, is to give managers early warning so they can take action before employees jump ship.

Corporate data crunchers play with dozens of factors, which may include job tenure, geography, performance reviews, employee surveys, communication patterns and even personality tests to identify flight risks, a term human-resources departments sometimes use for people likely to leave.

The data often reveal a complex picture of what motivates workers to stay””and what causes them to look elsewhere.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Science & Technology

James Gibson–Bishop Lawrence Challenges Diocese of South Carolina to Aim High

In his address to the 224th Annual Convention of the Diocese of South Carolina, Bishop Mark Lawrence outlined a plan for advancing the church’s mission through starting new congregations, renewing an emphasis on evangelism, and cultivating a missional approach to ministry and life. It was a bold vision indicative of a diocese determined to move forward after several years of legal battles following its disaffiliation from The Episcopal Church (TEC). Using the acronym CAMEL, Bishop Lawrence mapped out the current landscape of the diocese under the five categories of Consolidation, Affiliation, Missionalization, Education, and Litigation.

Although some local parishes decided to remain with TEC after the diocese disaffiliated in 2012, the losses are being made up through the addition of new congregations. At last year’s convention, Lawrence noted, Grace Church, Pawleys Island and Grace Church, North Myrtle Beach were welcomed into the diocese. This year, two more new congregations–Resurrection, North Charleston and St. James, Blackville–were welcomed as missions.

“Let us pray that this trend continues in the coming years,” Lawrence said. “In fact, it is a worthy goal for this diocese that we either welcome two new missions each year or celebrate two new campuses established by existing congregations each year, or a combination of the two.”

Punctuating that challenge, the bishop added, “May this become the defining ethos of the Diocese of South Carolina–advancement as a method of consolidation. We shall know who we are by the fact that we are continuously adding new congregations to our number.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * South Carolina, Christology, Ecclesiology, Evangelism and Church Growth, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Soteriology, Theology

Local Paper Editorial–Stop babies from South Carolina shame

Appallingly high infant mortality rates persist in eight South Carolina counties. Among the awful numbers that fully warrant the “Cradle of Shame” title of a Post and Courier series concluding in today’s paper:

On average, more than 200 newborns have died in those counties during each of the last three years.

Since 2000, 6,696 babies in South Carolina have died before their first birthday.

Eight of our state’s 46 counties lack an obstetrician.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, Anthropology, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Politics in General, State Government, Theology

The Saint Patrick’s Day Sermon preached by Bishop Paul Colton, Bishop of Cork

Yesterday one hundred years ago ”“ 16th March, 1915 ”“ John Crowther, from the South Douglas Road in Cork, set off to France. The October before ”“ on 29th to be precise ”“ he had volunteered for service. By 9th May he was in the middle of the fighting. First he was reported missing, then ”˜reported killed.’ That’s all the newspaper report says: no date is given. Nothing more: gone!

The photograph ”“ from the newspaper, grubby now in the 100 years that have passed, shows still a youthful, fresh face ”“ like any of the lads you’d see these days heading along that same South Douglas Road in Cork to school, to meet their friends, or to their sports club.

Putting faces to the names carved in stone memorials around our county has been driving our WWI memorial project here at St Fin Barre’s and soon the emerging work will be on display.

Back to my point: Putting faces on human situations is crucial.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Church of Ireland, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics

Kendall Harmon's Sermon from Sunday-'My God, My God why has Thou Forsaken me?'

You can listen directly there and download the mp3 there.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * South Carolina, Christology, Eschatology, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Independent) Isis is trying to destroy all traces of Christianity in Mosul

Isis militants have attacked a Christian church and cemetery in Iraq, vandalising crosses and defacing religious artefacts in yet another assault on the country’s rich cultural history.

In pictures released by the groups’s media arm, fighters are seen removing a cross and destroying a statue of the Virgin Mary at a church in Mosul, in Iraq. Another image shows a fighter erecting a black Isis flag in place of a cross.

Other photographs being circulated on social media show paintings depicting biblical events, such as the Last Supper, piled up on the floor. The extremist group attempts to justify this destruction by condemning the statues and religious symbols as idolatrous and therefore forbidden.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Iraq, Middle East, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Violence

Food for Thought from (one time rector of Calvary, Pittsburgh) Samuel Shoemaker

It is quite literally impossible for any minister to give to newly changed people–new [Church] members–all the fellowship and training they need.

Experiment of Faith (New York: Harper&Row, 1957), p.21

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Adult Education, Books, Church History, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Theology

The Real St. Patrick for his Feast Day

Patrick was 16 years old in about the year 405, when he was captured in a raid and became a slave in what was still radically pagan Ireland. Far from home, he clung to the religion he had ignored as a teenager. Even though his grandfather had been a priest, and his father a town councilor, Patrick “knew not the true God.” But forced to tend his master’s sheep in Ireland, he spent his six years of bondage mainly in prayer. He escaped at the suggestion of a dream and returned home.

Patrick was in his mid-40s when he returned to Ireland.

Read it all and for the ambitious there is a lot more there.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, Church History, England / UK, Ireland

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint Patrick

Almighty God, who in thy providence didst choose thy servant Patrick to be the apostle of the Irish people, to bring those who were wandering in darkness and error to the true light and knowledge of thee: Grant us so to walk in that light, that we may come at last to the light of everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and ever.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, Church History, England / UK, Ireland

A Prayer to Begin the Day from Frederick Macnutt

O Lord and heavenly Father, who hast given unto us thy people the true bread that cometh down from heaven, even thy Son Jesus Christ: Grant that our souls may so be fed by him who giveth life unto the world, that we may abide in him and he in us, and thy Church be filled with the power of his unending life; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

The Lord reigns; let the earth rejoice; let the many coastlands be glad! Clouds and thick darkness are round about him; righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne. Fire goes before him, and burns up his adversaries round about. His lightnings lighten the world; the earth sees and trembles. The mountains melt like wax before the LORD, before the Lord of all the earth. The heavens proclaim his righteousness; and all the peoples behold his glory.

–Psalm 97:1-6

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Anglican bishop of Badagry asserts "Nigerian leaders are enemies of themselves”

Punch reports that the bishop said leaders across the nation must come together, stop working against the country and work with one another for the greater good of the country.

He said if such was done, the country would become better for present and future generations, adding that Nigerians must also rally round their leaders to ensure their success.

Adeyemi said, “I believe if our leaders work with a sense of togetherness, Nigeria will be good for us and the future generations.

“I don’t believe in those predicting doom for the nation. Your leaders should allow things to work. They are the enemies of themselves.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Anglican Provinces, Church of Nigeria, Defense, National Security, Military, Law & Legal Issues, Nigeria, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Violence

(ACNS) Anglican-Methodist co-operation plan to be launched at home of St Patrick

The Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury and World Methodist Vice President are to launch a publication that aims to overcome centuries of separate ministries of the two Christian traditions.

Archbishop Justin Welby and Gillian Kingston will be in Downpatrick, Northern Ireland””the home of St Patrick””on March 17, St Patrick’s Day, to launch Into All The World: Being and Becoming Apostolic Churches.

The report, written by members of the Anglican-Methodist International Commission on Unity and Mission (AMICUM), highlights how Methodists and Anglicans have understood mission. It surveys places around the world where there is already active cooperation, and goes on to provide Tool Kits with practical advice for ways to work together.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Ecumenical Relations, Methodist, Other Churches

(NYT Op-ed) Ross Douthat on the social crisis among America’s poor and working class

Some arguments are hard to settle but are too important to avoid. Here is one: whether the social crisis among America’s poor and working class ”” the collapse of the two-parent family, the weakening of communal ties ”” is best understood as a problem of economics or of culture.

This argument recurs whenever there’s a compelling depiction of that crisis. In 2012, the catalyst was Charles Murray’s “Coming Apart,” with its portrait of the post-1960s divide between two fictional communities ”” upper-class “Belmont” and blue-collar “Fishtown.” Now it’s Robert Putnam’s “Our Kids,” which uses the author’s Ohio hometown to trace the divergent fortunes of its better-educated and less-educated families.

Murray belongs to the libertarian right, Putnam to the communitarian left, so Putnam is more hopeful that economic policy can address the problems he describes. But “Our Kids” is attuned to culture’s feedback loops, and it offers grist for social conservatives who suspect it would take a cultural counterrevolution to bring back the stable working class families of an earlier America.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Children, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Politics in General, Poverty, Theology