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Daily Archives: April 8, 2015
With thanks to Kevin Kallsen and George Conger at Anglican TV
In his Easter Day sermon at Canterbury Cathedral, Archbishop Justin gave a ringing endorsement of the resurrection of Christ as central to our Gospel message. He spoke of the urgent, joyful and sometimes dangerous task of testifying to a relationship with the living Christ that has been given to all Christians. But why did he refer to “sexuality” and what did he mean by it?
“Witnesses are people who know Christ; lay or ordained, old or young, gender, politics, sexuality or whatever irrelevant”.
What did the Archbishop mean when he said that “sexuality is irrelevant” to proclaiming the resurrection?
In his closing remarks, the Archbishop says that “every disagreement in which love is maintained” witnesses to the living Christ. In other words, it is not just our proclamation of the resurrection, but the way in which we stay together, maintaining “good disagreement” even though we disagree over issues such as gender and politics and homosexuality, which testifies to Christ.
So here is the problem. By saying that “sexuality or whatever” is irrelevant to the witness of Christians to the resurrection, the Archbishop probably intends to say that the debates preoccupying the church are petty compared with the task of winning disciples to Christ through word and deed. Whatever he meant to say, he has run the risk of being misunderstood in two ways: suggesting that sexual morality is not important to Christian witness, and more specifically, that to be “gay” (by which most hearers would assume, sexually active) is completely compatible with authentic resurrection-based Christian Faith. Julian Mann in his recent piece reminds us that the opposite is true according to Romans 6:2-4: the resurrection of Christ was physical, and so not only speaks of his victory and his Lordship in a spiritual sense, but demands physical and moral change in obedience and faith from his disciples in response.
The Archbishop’s sermon is superb in its reminder that the empty tomb needs daily interpretation to the world by Christians in all their rich variety. But by using the word “sexuality” in its context, (which he did not need to do), he has at best run the risk of being misunderstood. At worst he has prejudged the outcome of his own ”˜Conversation’ process, and opposed the teaching of his own church, by suggesting the moral neutrality of homosexual practice.
The doctor, who has been practicing medicine for 34 years, needed specialist health help and advice. But being based in “the middle of the woods”, Armstrong’s closest endocrine specialist was over 300 miles away, he said.
That’s when Armstrong logged onto Sermo, a sort of “Facebook for doctors”. The service, which launched in 2005 in the U.S., allows members to sign up and chat to each other to find solutions. The company announced the U.K. launch on Wednesday allowing doctors from the U.K. to chat to their U.S. counterparts.
“There’s a lot of medical knowledge that when shared across borders will benefit the global healthcare system,” Sermo’s CEO Peter Kirk, told CNBC by phone.
Bill Musk spent the afternoon of (Western) Palm Sunday joining the Tunisian “March for Bardo” with some of our Arabic congregation members.
The atmosphere was relaxed but serious, as participants were deeply aware that the solidarity march came about because of the tragic events at the Bardo [National] Museum [in Tunis] on 18 March 2015, in which ISIS affiliates opened fire on museum visitors, killing twenty-one tourists and one policeman.
The event, led by Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi, included thousands of people and was joined by a number of dignitaries, including French president, Francois Hollande, Polish president, Bronislaw Komorowski; Matteo Renzi, the Italian prime minister; Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority; and Algeria’s prime minister, Abdelmalek Sellal.. There were huge posters containing the photograph of two politicians murdered by extremists since the Tunisian Revolution.
Oil-related job cuts may start to slow: Energy firms announced plans to lay off 1,279 workers in March, down from 16,000 in February. But for oil patch states, other questions remain: the health of the service economy surrounding energy firms, the reliability of tax revenues, and so on.
Some of that uncertainty may be trickling through to the broader economy. Some 42% of all IBD/TIPP respondents still say the U.S. is in a recession in April, nearly six years after the economic recovery began.
Yet recent data has been fitful, making it hard to get a clear read on whether the economy is turning down or just taking a beating from temporary factors ”” the oil price plunge, severe winter weather, and the West Coast ports labor slowdown, for example.
A few days ago he hinted he’ll be hanging up his Wolverine claws – now Hugh Jackman’s reported to be taking on the role of an apostle.
Deadline magazine says the actor will star in Apostle Paul, a film being developed by Warner Bros.
Ben Affleck and Matt Damon’s company Pearl Street Films will produce it.
Apostle Paul, also known as St Paul, was a Jewish man who was a persecutor of Jesus’ followers before becoming a teacher of Christianity.
A pastor’s daughter has been killed in an arson attack on a church and manse in Kano state in north-western Nigeria.
The Baptist Church at the village of Gidan Maso was attacked by arsonists whose aim was to murder a young man who converted back to Christianity after embracing Islam.
The pastor, Rev Habila Garba, lost his daughter to suffocation when the two young men set fire to his home as well as to the church.
A white police officer in North Charleston, S.C., was charged with murder Tuesday after shooting and killing a black man following a routine traffic stop over the weekend.
The decision to charge the officer, Michael Thomas Slager, came after graphic video footage emerged depicting Slager firing a volley of bullets into the back of Walter Scott, who was running away.
Officers rarely face criminal charges after shooting people, a fact that has played into nationwide protests over the past year over how the police use deadly force. Yet this case took a swift, unusual turn after a video shot by a bystander provided authorities with a decisive narrative that differed from Slager’s account.
Living Spirit Ministry in Swissvale chose to inaugurate its newest worship space today, when most churches celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
“It was natural we would start a new endeavor on Easter Sunday,” said its pastor, the Rev. Dai Morgan.
To be sure, it’s a modest space ”” a new rented storefront in place of its previous one ”” and the small congregation’s finances are still as marginal as that of many members.
But the church has weathered many changes, so Rev. Morgan plans to preach on new beginnings. “I’m also going to go back to the basic theological point of view that our whole faith is based on the resurrection,” he said.
O Lord God Almighty, whose blessed Son our Saviour Jesus Christ did on the third day rise triumphant over death: Raise us, we beseech thee, from the death of sin unto the life of righteousness, that we may seek those things which are above, where he sitteth on thy right hand in glory; and this we beg for the sake of the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord.
I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch of mine that bears no fruit, he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already made clean by the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If a man does not abide in me, he is cast forth as a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.
Islamist Boko Haram militants disguised as preachers killed at least 24 people and wounded several others in an attack near a mosque in northeast Nigeria’s Borno state, a military source and witness said on Monday.
Grace and gratitude play a central role in The Rev’d Dr. Ashley Null’s life and work. Ashley is an authority on the English Reformation ”“ particularly the theology of Thomas Cranmer, who was the author of the first Book of Common Prayer and the Archbishop of Canterbury during the reigns of King Henry VIII and Edward VI. Ashley also serves as a senior research fellow for the Ridley Institute and a theological consultant to the Diocese of the Carolinas, most recently giving a series of thought-provoking lectures to the clergy of the diocese. In those lectures, Ashley talked about how Cranmer’s understanding of God’s grace and mercy shaped the Communion service he composed for the first English Prayer Books (or the 1552 Book of Common Prayer).
A similar understanding ”“ of how God’s grace, freely offered in love, sets the stage for us to acknowledge our sinfulness and repent ”“ has shaped Ashley’s life. Although born in Birmingham, Alabama, (”˜Ashley’ is a family name) he was reared in Salina, Kansas, and since his father was an Episcopalian, the Null family attended Christ Episcopal Cathedral, where the bishop of the Diocese of Western Kansas was in residence. His mother had been raised in the Baptist church (her great-great-grandfather was the first Secretary of the Southern Baptist Foreign Missions Board) but with Pentecostal influences”“ and all of these Christian traditions ”“ Anglican, Evangelical and Pentecostal ”“ played an important role in Ashley’s formation as a Christian. The Book of Common Prayer, with its liturgies and prayers rooted in Scripture, held a special appeal for him.
While in high school, Ashley was part of a large group of students involved with the Solid Rock Fellowship House, a Jesus-Movement-style outreach sponsored by the local Foursquare Church. The Solid Rock taught him the Bible and deepened his faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior. After college, he discerned a call to the ordained ministry and set off for the Yale Divinity School in New Haven, Connecticut.
Most of the Psalms were born in difficulty. Most of the Epistles were written in prisons. Most of the greatest thoughts of the greatest thinkers of all time had to pass through the fire. Bunyan wrote Pilgrim’s Progress from jail. Florence Nightingale, too ill to move from her bed, reorganized the hospitals of England. Semiparalyzed and under the constant menace of apoplexy, Pasteur was tireless in his attack on disease. During the greater part of his life, American historian Francis Parkman suffered so acutely that he could not work for more than five minutes as a time. His eyesight was so wretched that he could scrawl only a few gigantic words on a manuscript, yet he contrived to write twenty magnificent volumes of history.
Sometimes it seems that when God is about to make preeminent use of a man, he puts him through the fire.
–Tim Hansel, You Gotta Keep Dancin’ (Colorado Springs: David Cook, 1998 ed. of 1985 original) p. 87, and quoted by yours truly in a recent sermon
Love is a very powerful motivator. Their love had made them brave, but now it seemed there was nothing left to love. Even Jesus’s body was gone and the manifestation of love they’d intended was redundant. Love had brought these remarkable women back to the tomb that first Easter morning, but now, in the midst of their confusion, they ran and said nothing.
Except, of course, at some point they must have stopped running and told their story. “He has been raised,” the women were told. And eventually it is that good news that filters through to them, and renews their courage. Jesus was not where they expected because he is alive, victor over death and sin, and he’s gone ahead to where he promised, to be with us always. The women did tell their story, and so we know that the risen Jesus is the completion of God’s love and that “perfect love casts out fear”.
Today the courage of these women is replicated around the world by those continuing to face persecution and violence in the peaceful practice of their faith. This Easter, in honour of these women and those who follow their example, let us be loving and courageous in telling our stories of God’s love at work in our lives, especially perhaps when we too have known grief or pain, anxiety or guilt, anger, disappointment or fear; and then let us, after the example of these women, embody that love in action.