Daily Archives: April 20, 2015

(Penn Live) Presbyterian Church forcing evangelicals out for having the "wrong" view of marriage?

Carmen Fowler LaBerge, president of the national Presbyterian Lay Committee, said that in the same way the Episcopal Church and the United Church of Christ became inhospitable environments for evangelicals to serve, the Presbyterian Church is becoming much the same way.

“We are seeing the environment within the PCUSA change following the affirmation of this particular vote,” she says. “That environment is changing pretty rapidly. Presbyteries are becoming inhospitable to pastors who hold traditional views not only on this issue but on underlining issues related to the biblical authority of Jesus as the only way to salvation.”

While sexuality might be the presenting issue in this case, LaBerge argues that the real division is rooted in a theological cleansing – fueled by a growing intolerance toward traditional, biblical views.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Other Churches, Presbyterian, TEC Conflicts, TEC Departing Parishes, Theology, Theology: Scripture

[ACI] The Episcopal Church and the New Episcopal Church

Written by The Reverend Canon Professor Christopher Seitz & Mark McCall, Esq.

..we can now better understand why we are witnessing the emergence of a New Episcopal Church, which conforms neither to the historical TEC nor even the confused one set forth in the Primer. The New Episcopal Church (henceforth NEC) retains a Constitution, Bishops, a General Convention, and even Holy Scripture, but these take on an altogether different character than in the erstwhile TEC. NEC has allowed to emerge a Presiding Bishop with disciplinary authority over fellow Bishops ”“ something the Constitution does not permit. NEC no longer sees Bishops as obedient to Holy Scripture by solemn oath, as set forth in the BCP, but rather as agents of General Convention actions. This is made clear in respect of proposed same-sex blessing and marriage rites, where the role given to them (“under the direction and subject to the permission of the Bishop with ecclesiastical authority”) is now obviated. The Constitution remains but is no longer the governor of General Convention actions, but is somehow identical with whatever General Convention may decide to do.

The problem may be seen in its more acute form in the manner in which the Book of Common Prayer, itself a constitutional document which is not to be altered except by affirmative votes by orders of “a majority of the Dioceses entitled to representation” at two successive GCs, has now become a vague placeholder of yesterday’s temporary and transitory convictions. Even the Primer stays away from this obvious problem area in the quote above, though we may see a hint of it in the language which concludes the quote, “”¦of our various liturgies.” What began as an assertion of the unique and catholic status of the Book of Common Prayers (and its Ordinal) which embodies “the essential understanding of Christian faith as prayed by faithful Episcopalians” (lex credendi, lex orandi) appears to slide into a very different context: various liturgies emerging to give expression to what we now believe and hold to be so, apart from subjection to the Constitution and the letter of the Book of Common Prayer. This produces not catholicity but each new generation’s assertion of its freedom to confess and pray and pronounce and hear scripture’s word on its own terms.

In the review to follow, we can see how the alteration of our historical, catholic understanding of the Constitution and Book of Common Prayer has created in its wake two different Episcopal Churches. This has come in the form of supplementation and aggregation of rites to be used alongside the BCP, to the degree that that BCP itself begins to disappear in a rear-view mirror. Minimally, it leads to a view of the BCP as something like a starting point, or ignition switch, on new rites necessary to make sense of what has in consequence become an erstwhile book. No longer necessary is constitutionally ordered Prayer Book revision, because the BCP doesn’t hold any specific claim that would necessitate such revision anyway…

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Polity & Canons

ATV Interviews Archbishop Jensen

With thanks to Kevin Kallsen at Anglican TV

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, GAFCON II 2013, Global South Churches & Primates

(MC's Signs of the Times) Ian Duffield–The 2015 proposals to re-brand the Church of England

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, - Anglican: Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Religion & Culture

Andrew Pearson's Easter Sermon–The Tomb Is Empty

Listen to it all (MP3).

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Christology, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Easter, Eschatology, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Theology

ACNA's Bill Atwood–Being Gospel People

it is magnificent in availability. Because of the complete sufficiency of what God has done in Christ, the work is complete in Him. We don’t have to add anything to His work. It is his free gift to us, reliant on His saving work rather than relying on human endeavor. The wonderful news is that salvation and transformation are available to us, freely given. The message is so amazing, it can almost sound unbelievable. Surely there is something I must do in order to win my salvation, cries my flesh, but the Spirit replies, “No it is Christ and His work.” We just receive it by faith.

Once we have been kissed by this heavenly grace, and embraced its transformation, our lives are revolutionized. Rightly received, the Gospel will change our behavior and shapes our voice. As I’ve traveled, I’ve heard wonderful examples of this. Let me share some examples:

The night that he told his parents that he had come to faith in Christ, he told me he was awakened by a scream from his mother. When he opened his eyes, he saw his father’s arm swinging toward him with a knife seeking to kill him for his conversion. He rolled out the window to escape, and fled with only his night shirt. What was amazing was what he said to me, “My faith in Jesus has cost me a lot. I have lost my family, but I have gained more. I have received Christ. I would do it again.”

I stood with a Kurdish lady in front of her home. “There,” she said, “Over there. That’s where I held my son while he died. Saddam’s army fired mortars on us. One of the shells landed here while my son played in the yard. The explosion took both his legs. There was nothing we could do. I held him while he died ”“ bled to death.” It was very dangerous to speak publicly about Christ, but she said, “Only He can give peace in something like that.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Christology, Eschatology, Globalization, Soteriology, Theology, Theology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology)

(MB) Walker Percy Interviews Himself

Q: You even seem to take certain satisfaction in the disasters of the twentieth-century and to savor the imminence of world catastrophe rather than world peace, which all religions seek.
A: That’s true.
Q: You don’t seem to have much use for your fellow Christians, to say nothing of Ku Kluxers, ACLU’ers, northerners, southerners, fem-libbers, anti-fem-libbers, homosexuals, anti-homosexuals, Republicans, Democrats, hippies, anti-hippies, senior citizens.
A: That’s true ”“ though taken as individuals they turn out to be more or less like oneself, i.e., sinners, and we get along fine.
Q: Even Ku Kluxers?
A: Sure.
Q: How do you account for your belief?
A: I can only account for it as a gift from God.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Church History, History, Poetry & Literature, Religion & Culture, Theology

([L] Times Leader) Ethiopian Christians are the latest victims of an expanding reign of terror

The Archbishop of Canterbury was in Cairo yesterday to show solidarity with Egyptian Christians murdered by jihadists two months ago. His visit was made more timely even as it was overshadowed by yet more murders. As he gave letters of condolence to the families of the victims of Islamic State’s last massacre of Christians, IS released sickening video footage of the next.

The latest film from the terrorist organisation holding the Middle East to ransom is as barbaric as anything it has produced. Prefaced with footage of jihadists vandalising Christian churches, the 29-minute video shows militants holding two groups of prisoners who they claim are members of an “enemy Ethiopian church”. Twelve are shown being beheaded on a beach. At least 16 more are shot in the head elsewhere. Both groups are thought to have been murdered in Libya.

Subject to verification of the footage this brings to more than 50 the number of Christians killed by IS in recent weeks. The strategy is clear. The leadership of the so-called caliphate, under pressure in Iraq, is seeking to expand its reign of terror in North Africa and in particular to sabotage efforts to bring stability to Libya.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, Africa, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Ethics / Moral Theology, Ethiopia, Foreign Relations, Islam, Libya, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Theology, Violence

(RNS) Trevin Wax–Does Christianity Need to Change Its Sexual Ethics?

Nestled within our own times, it is easy to think the trajectory of history will lead to an inevitable change within the global Christian church. But history’s lesson is the opposite. A century ago, the modernists believed that the triumph of naturalism would lead to the total transformation of Christianity.

It must have seemed thrilling for these leaders to think they were at the vanguard of reformation, that they were the pivot point of Christianity’s inevitable future. But such was not the case. Traditional stalwarts like Machen and G.K. Chesterton (who were criticized as hopelessly “backward” back then) still have books in print. The names of most of their once-fashionable opponents are largely unrecognizable.

It’s commonplace to assume that contemporary society’s redefinition of marriage, gender, and the purpose for sexuality will eventually persuade the church to follow along. But if we were to jump forward into the 22nd century, I wonder what we would see.

Most likely, we would see a world in which the explosive growth of Christians in South America, China and Africa has dwarfed the churches of North America and Europe. And the lesson we learn from a century ago will probably still be true: The churches that thrived were those that offered their world something more than the echo of the times.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Children, Church History, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Circa) WHO admits it was too slow in Ebola response

WHO said in a statement in April that the organization’s Ebola response was “slow and insufficient.” “We were not aggressive in alerting the world,” and poor communication caused confusion, it said.

Internal WHO emails show that the organization’s leadership put off declaring Ebola an international emergency for at least two months starting in June 2014, the AP said March 20. Among the rationales used in the emails was that a declaration “could be seen as a hostile act” to some West African nations.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Health & Medicine, History, Politics in General, Theology

Statement by HG Bishop Angaelos following the murder of Ethiopian Chrstns by Daesh (ISIS) in Libya

The confirmation of the murder of Ethiopian Christians by Daesh (IS) in Libya has been received with deep sadness. These executions that unnecessarily and unjustifiably claim the lives of innocent people, wholly undeserving of this brutality, have unfortunately become far too familiar. Once again we see innocent Christians murdered purely for refusing to renounce their Faith.

The Christians of Egypt and Ethiopia have had a shared heritage for centuries. Being predominantly Orthodox Christian communities with a mutual understanding of life and witness, and a common origin in the Coptic Orthodox Church, they now also share an even greater connection through the blood of these contemporary martyrs.

This sad news came on the day that His Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury visited His Holiness Pope Tawadros II in Egypt to personally express his condolences following the similar brutal murder of 21 Coptic Orthodox Christians in Libya by Daesh in February of this year.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethiopia, Foreign Relations, Islam, Libya, Orthodox Church, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Theology, Violence

A Prayer to Begin the Day from Frank Colquhoun

O God our Father, who hast taught us that our citizenship is in heaven, and hast called us to tread a pilgrim’s path here on earth: Guide us, we pray thee, on our journey through this world to the Celestial City; defend us from the perils that await us in the way; give us grace to endure faithfully to the end; and at the last bring us to thy eternal joy; through the mercy of thy Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

To thee, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
O my God, in thee I trust,
let me not be put to shame;
let not my enemies exult over me.
Yea, let none that wait for thee be put to shame;
let them be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.

Make me to know thy ways, O Lord;
teach me thy paths.
Lead me in thy truth, and teach me,
for thou art the God of my salvation;
for thee I wait all the day long.

–Psalm 25:1-4

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Economist) The unusual faith of Santería is growing in Cuba

A sharp-eyed visitor to Havana and other Cuban cities will notice some odd things: the carcasses of birds strewn at intersections, insignias consisting of a single eye and dagger affixed to doorways and displayed in taxis, people dressed head to toe in white. All are emblems of Santería, a religion with roots in the culture of Yoruba slaves who came to Cuba from Nigeria from the early 18th century. After a period of suppression, it appears to be making a comeback.

Santería is a blending of the Yoruba religion, which acknowledges 401 orishas, or deities, with the Catholicism of the Spanish colonisers. Although at least 60% of Cubans today call themselves Catholics, far fewer are regular churchgoers. Many see no reason not to incorporate Santería rituals into their spiritual lives. A Catholic priest will marry a couple, but a santero might foretell their destiny and, later on, counsel them on how to revive their flagging sex life.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Caribbean, Cuba, Globalization, History, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

(Xn Today) Ruth Gledhill–Conservative Anglicans poised for 'leap forward', deny schism

Archbishop Jensen said it was not the conservatives who were leaving the Anglican mainstream: “This goes back to the behaviour of The Episcopal Church in America. If there is a schism, it is because the American church decided to break with centuries-old tradition and with the biblical position on human sexuality.”

He was referring to the consecration of the openly gay Bishop Gene Robinson in 2004. Bishop Robinson recently announced he was divorcing his partner of 11 years.

Archbishop Jensen said many people in The Episcopal Church were unhappy with the direction it took on sexuality. Gafcon was born to hold these people together in unity. “Gafcon is a unity movement, but its horizons are broader than that,” he told Christian Today.

“Having realised that the Archbishop of Canterbury was more or less powerless to do anything about The Episcopal Church, the Gafcon primates saw the Anglican Communion itself needed to be renewed and restored and brought into unity around biblical standards. That is our vision: to restore unity and renew biblical standards and reach the world for Christ.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Christology, Church of England (CoE), Ethics / Moral Theology, Global South Churches & Primates, Religion & Culture, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

Local Paper–Remembering Walter Scott

John Singletary, a local photographer, remembers meeting Scott some years ago at Father to Father, a program to help men who had fallen behind on their child support. Singletary was an employment specialist there and Scott had recently been released from jail for not making his payments. Singletary helped Scott get a job at a construction company. Scott was “elated,” Singletary said. He could tell Scott wanted to be a better father.

When Scott was pulled over on Saturday, April 4, in a used Mercedes he had recently purchased, Romaine could picture what he must have been thinking. He had just taken his coworker at Brown Distribution, 30-year-old Pierre Fulton, to a food pantry at a nearby church so Fulton could get food for his family. He was taking Fulton home.

After the officer approached Scott’s car, Romaine imagined her cousin bracing the steering wheel, trembling in fear. He didn’t want to go to jail. He had a fiancee and children to provide for, a job he couldn’t afford to lose.

He needed to go home.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, Anthropology, Children, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Personal Finance, Police/Fire, Theology

(Broookings) Do we need to pay parents to raise children?

The Economic Growth and Family Fairness Tax Reform Plan, a brainchild of Senators Mike Lee (R-Ut) and Marco Rubio (R-Fl), is designed, in part, to help middle-income families raise their children. Over the past several months, policymakers have argued about the merits of the plan, and analysts have modeled its distributional effects, albeit with widely different results based on a lack of clarity about some of its provisions.

The crowning jewel of the Lee-Rubio plan is a new child tax credit of $2,500””separate from the existing $1,000 Child Tax Credit””with no phase out for higher income families. Based on our current understanding of the plan, very few if any lower-income families with children would benefit, while the annual cost of extending this tax relief to middle-class and wealthy families is $414 billion.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Children, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Personal Finance, Politics in General, Taxes, The U.S. Government, Theology

(Faithstreet) Sheetal Shah–10 Things I Wish Everyone Knew About Hinduism

1. Hinduism’s core principle is pluralism.

Hindus acknowledge the potential existence of multiple, legitimate religious and spiritual paths, and the idea that the path best suited for one person may not be the same for another. The Rig Veda, one of Hinduism’s sacred texts, states Ekam sat vipraha bahudha vadanti, or “The Truth is one, the wise call It by many names.”

As a result of this pluralistic outlook, Hinduism has never sanctioned proselytization and asserts that it is harmful to society’s well being to insist one’s own path to God is the only true way. Hindus consider the whole world as one extended family, and Hindu prayers often end with the repetition of shanti ”“ or peace for all of existence.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Hinduism, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

Federal Reserve district president returns to a stronger Charleston SC than when he visited in 2009

Lacker, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, which includes the Palmetto State, got a first-hand look at the Boeing juggernaut during a two-day visit to the Charleston area last week.

“It’s really impressive,” he said. “What I don’t think is broadly known is the extent of which … they’ve added to what was just a manufacturing and assembly facility, and this looks now to be a bigger part of Boeing’s future than it looked a couple of years ago. So I think that speaks well for Charleston’s economic capabilities and for its work force … because they’ll tell you … the biggest uncertainty about the whole venture down here was whether they could attract enough of a work force to do the things they can do up in Puget Sound. They’ll tell you they succeeded.”

Aside from Boeing’s growth, Lacker has witnessed other sea changes since his last official visit to the Holy City. In 2009, the Fed was still cutting interest rates to jump-start the then-wounded economy. Now, some believe the time is finally ripe to start raising them again.

Read it all from the local paper

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, Anthropology, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Federal Reserve, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, The U.S. Government, Theology

George Orwell Call your Office Dept.: Gracie X–6 Varieties of Ethical Non-Monogamy

I am all for more language to describe love and the varieties of innovative ways to do relationships and chosen family. “Ethical non-monogamy” is a great term that encompasses all the ways that you can consciously, with agreement and consent from all involved, explore love and sex with multiple people.

So here’s a simple list to categorize the many flavors of ethical non-monogamy:

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I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Men, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Theology, Women, Young Adults

Archbishop Justin Welby to become patron of Christians Against Poverty

Since his appointment as head of the Church of England in March 2013, Justin Welby has been outspoken about poverty and, in particular, the availability of easy credit from payday lenders. He made comments about payday lenders, such as Wonga, and his commitment to support the credit union movement and other services helping people out of financial distress.

CAP hosts a network of hundreds of churches tackling poverty and debt in communities across the UK. Archbishop Justin said: “CAP deals in helping people to get free of the prison of debt, and it’s something I feel passionately about.

“They are serious, highly professional, deeply committed and above all they will treat you as a human being of infinite value, loved by God, who just needs some help to find your own way forward.”

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