Daily Archives: May 11, 2015

(Atlantic) How Art is being divorced from its Religious inspiration

If “religious nature of religious art” seems tautological, blame Western curatorial history for making it not so. Although most important American institutions abound with the art of faith, until recently, those museums provided almost no information about that art’s spiritual inspiration, its ritual use, or where it fit into the roiling histories of popular belief or religious politics. Or as Ena Heller””MOBIA’s founding director and now director of the Cornell Fine Arts Museum at Rollins College in Orlando, Florida””remarked in 2004, most museums displayed “an undeniable reluctance to interpret the religious component of art.”

That flaw is breathtaking: Imagine a museum showing Warhols being “reluctant” to talk about late-20th-century consumerism, or an institution exploring German Expressionism being leery of bringing up World Wars. For a decade, MOBIA, which Heller founded in a shoebox in 2005, has acted as a kind of two-cylinder antidote, presenting Christian and Jewish religious art with all the context museums traditionally ignored. And it’s done so while maintaining a strictly secular curatorial philosophy, confuting those who think that to concentrate on religion means to evangelize. The victorious Donatello show seemed to assure that MOBIA could continue to explain the cultural influence of the Bible on art””obvious yet ignored””from a perch of true national stature.

Now, it’s up to art consumers to internalize the museum’s insight for themselves.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Art, History, Religion & Culture

[ACI] Dr Ephraim Radner: Infant Baptism For A Modern Age

Having gay parents does not automatically preclude such a baptism at all. There are reasons a priest might decide to go forward with it, and I do not necessarily question colleagues who would come to this conclusion. However, it is also possible that discernment regarding the integrity of this baptismal act might yield another decision ”“ and that too must be acknowledged. But the new, thinner view of baptism, buttressed now by an ideological notion of baptism as an instrument of social legitimation for gay couples, seems to have made it morally inexcusable even to suggest that the church has an obligation to discern whether the child’s parents or sponsors properly understand and consent to the teaching of the church on behalf of the child, or whether there is a reasonable expectation that the child himself will be raised into a proper understanding of this faith and practice. This is deeply unfortunate, for it basically rules out reasoned commitment related to the doctrinal context of the church as essential elements of Christian existence. And it does so just at the time when these aspects are more important than ever as necessary aspects of Christian witness in the face of a rapidly expanding secular culture. Put another way: in our era of beleaguered Christian witness in the West, the practice of infant baptism bereft of a robust commitment to self-conscious discipleship and its formation is a recipe for ecclesial collapse.

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Posted in Baptism, Sacramental Theology, Theology

[ACI] Same Sex Marriage and Infant Baptism

Under the Anglican concept of “lex orandi, lex credendi” (the rule of prayer is the rule of faith) the public worship of the church is the teaching of the church. When a same sex couple (or an unmarried couple) present their child for baptism they are required to answer publicly the following question:

“Do you renounce all sinful desires that draw you from the love of God?

I renounce them.”

This question and answer, as well as others in the baptismal covenant, unavoidably present the question of what the church’s teaching on sex outside traditional marriage really is. If the same sex or unmarried couple answers this question affirmatively, they and the officiant are publicly proclaiming that the teaching of the church does not consider their relationship sinful. Under the lex orandi standard, that is the teaching of the church.

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Posted in Baptism, Sacramental Theology, Theology

Statements Regarding the Resolution of the Situation in The Episcopal Diocese of Central Florida

[We ask that commenters respect the request of the Dean that “We ask that you respect the dignity of this process and refrain from destructive and inflammatory commentary” – The Elves]

[Update: The Rev Gary L’Hommedieu’s sermon on point ‘Love One Another As I Have Loved You’ [1 John 5:1-6; John 15:9-17] may be listened to here – from Sunday, May 10th]

Received via email from the Diocese of Central Florida

Please find attached statements from Bishop Brewer, the McCaffrey family and The Cathedral of St. Luke regarding the recent controversy surrounding the delayed baptism of Jackson McCaffrey, the infant adopted son of Rich and Eric McCaffrey.

There has been a lot of misinformation and speculation since this issue became public last Sunday. We hope these statements will largely put that to rest while healing and reconciliation move forward.

This is, at heart, a matter for the McCaffrey family, Dean Tony Clark and Bishop Brewer to resolve and reconcile. They are well along the way to doing just that.


In recent days, the Cathedral Church of St. Luke has become embroiled in a media controversy regarding the baptism of a child of a gay couple.

The conjecture and speculation being circulated has contained inaccurate and false information regarding the series of events and interaction with the family.

It is with great care and concern that the Cathedral and the Diocese of Central Florida mutually address this situation with all dignity and respect for the family, the child and the congregation.

Baptism is a rite of new birth and new life in Christ. Parents, godparents and sponsors promise the child will be “brought up in the Christian faith and life” – taught the Gospel – so that the grace of baptism may be nurtured and strengthened by the faith of the family and by proper Christian instruction provided by the Church and at home.

It is important to note that the Dean and Cathedral have always intended to baptize this child. No one, including the Bishop, “denied” this baptism. We regret the delay, apologize for it and are working with his family on a revised date that will accommodate their schedule and respect the sacrament of Holy Baptism of their child. The family and the Dean are committed to restoring their pastoral relationship and their welcome into the life of the Cathedral with support from the Bishop. We ask that you respect the dignity of this process and refrain from destructive and inflammatory commentary.

In the meantime, the Cathedral is open and welcoming to all with the ultimate mission of leading people to Christ and transforming lives. We will continue to provide timeless truths to a changing world through the teachings and interpretation of the Gospel as Jesus instructed in the Great Commission. As a congregation we will support this family in their desire to raise their child in the Christian faith.

We ask for your prayers for the family, the child, the Cathedral and the congregation as we navigate through this process.

In Christ we stand united,

The Cathedral Church of St. Luke

Matthew 19:14
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”


On the evening of May 7th, I met with Rich and Eric McCaffrey in my office. Our purpose was to get to know each other and talk through the events that occurred surrounding Dean Tony Clark’s decision to postpone the baptism of their son, Jack.

This was the first time the three of us had met. The conversation was open, warm, and frank. I prayed with and for the McCaffreys at the conclusion of our time together.

The McCaffreys indicated that they wanted to move forward with the baptism and for that baptism to take place at the Cathedral. They said they wanted to set a date for the baptism later in the summer “after the dust settles” so that the focus would be on the baptism and nothing else.

As I had just left a meeting of the leadership of the Cathedral, I brought to them the Cathedral’s desire for the McCaffreys to continue worshipping at the Cathedral and for the baptism to proceed there.

We talked about my being a part of the baptism and I told them I would be happy to do so. We look forward to celebrating Jack’s baptism at the Cathedral in the near future.

The Rt. Rev. Gregory O. Brewer
Episcopal Diocese of Central Florida


Dear friends,

Less than a week ago I shared a very personal story about our son Jack’s baptism. Since then we have received an overwhelming response. Many have expressed disappointment, anger, and a lack of understanding about the situation that unfolded. However, the common thread is one of support from the community, including members of the Cathedral Church of St. Luke. Know that the support has been reaffirming and sustaining for both Eric and me as we contemplated how we want to proceed with the central issue, baptizing Jack.

Bishop Brewer extended an invitation to meet with us and we had the opportunity to speak with him yesterday evening. We spoke frankly and openly about the chain of events. The Bishop acknowledged he learned the Cathedral set a firm date of April 19 for the baptism, but did not support postponing the baptism. He genuinely wanted to learn about us and expressed his apologies for how it had been handled. Most importantly, he was clear he is supportive of Eric and I, two dads, baptizing our son at the Cathedral and offered to be a part of it.

We are appreciative and are looking forward to the baptism to take place this summer. At the same time we know on many fronts there is healing to be done which will take time. Some may question why we are choosing to return to the Cathedral. We are returning because we still have faith in the goodness of people, and we trust people have good intent and ultimately will do the right thing. This is not to say faith or trust should be given blindly, but there are moments when you must choose to rise above the fray and acknowledge you are part of something bigger.

I close with one more lesson for Jack ”“ Aspire to live your life with grace and forgiveness. You will be better for it.

Change is seldom easy. I thank each of you for listening to us, supporting us, and engaging in the conversation.

Rich McCaffrey

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Baptism, Episcopal Church (TEC), Pastoral Theology, Sacramental Theology, Theology

Ryan's unforgettable Mother's Day delivery to Mom

Watch it all–kleenex recommended.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, Anthropology, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Photos/Photography, Theology

(NYT) Liberia Conquers Ebola, but Faces a Crisis of Faith

While Ebola still haunts Guinea and Sierra Leone, where infections have dwindled but refuse to disappear, Liberia has passed a remarkable threshold: at least 42 days since its last Ebola victim was buried, or twice the maximum incubation period of the virus, according to the W.H.O.

Even before reaching that official marker, the nation was trying to stitch itself back together after more than 4,700 deaths from the disease, by far the most of any nation in the epidemic. Liberia has reopened markets, clinics and schools, eager to move past an outbreak so devastating that it “has changed our way of life,” as President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf put it.

Similar efforts are taking place inside churches as well, bedrock institutions in West African society that were at once a place of succor and a source of contagion during the outbreak.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Health & Medicine, History, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology

([London] Times) Teenage sexting could lead to depression in later life

The prevalence of sexting and cyber-bullying among today’s youngsters will lead to an epidemic of depression and anxiety when they grow up, a leading psychiatrist has warned.

Dr Natasha Bijlani, consultant psychiatrist at the Priory Hospital Roehampton, said that teenagers and young adults were already suffering low self-esteem, body image issues and self-harming tendencies because their childhood had been scarred by online and digital abuse.

Some were seeking help while they were still young but they were the “tip of an iceberg”, with many more simply soldiering on, thinking that was how life is nowadays. However, these untreated problems left them vulnerable to serious depression later on.

“Episodes in childhood are often repressed. Children often fear reporting abuse, and only later in life do these issues surface in the form of depression, stress and anxiety and other serious psychological conditions,” Dr Bijlani said. “This relatively new phenomenon of sexting, where explicit texts and ­pictures are sent between smartphone devices, seems to have become endemic, and we are not sure of the long-term consequences.”

Read it all (subsciption required).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Health & Medicine, Photos/Photography, Psychology, Sexuality, Teens / Youth

The Archbishop of Canterbury's Sermon at the VE Day Thanksgiving Service

And now we gather again, 70 years on, thankful for victory over the greatest darkness of the twentieth century, perhaps of all history. Our gratitude is not simply for victory-in-Europe, but also reconciliation-in-Europe that followed, neither obviously nor automatically. Peace is more than the end of war: reconciliation dismantles the hostilities which previously separated and alienated us from one another and from God.

In November 1940 Coventry was terribly bombed. The fires lit the skies for miles, so many people died and were wounded, and amongst much else, the Cathedral burned. Yet from the next day the Provost of Coventry, the Very Reverend Richard Howard, set a course towards reconciliation and the dismantling of hostility.

Six weeks later, on Christmas Day 1940, he gave a sermon on the BBC, in which he said: “we want to tell the world… that with Christ born again in our hearts today, we are trying, hard as it may be, to banish all thoughts of revenge… We are going to try to make a kinder, simpler – a more Christ-child-like sort of world in the days beyond this strife.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Europe, History, Religion & Culture

Nigeria's Anglican Primate Mourns Late Chief Imam of Abuja National Mosque

The Primate of Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), Most Revd. Nicholas Okoh, has described the late chief Imam of the national mosque, Ustaz Musa Muhammad, as a pleasant and good natured cleric who lived a life of service to humanity and made an indelible impact on all who interacted with him.

The late Chief Imam, according to him, was a friendly person, bridge builder across religious barriers and a pleasant personality. He said the Chief Imam’s death has further confirmed the transient nature of life.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of Nigeria, Inter-Faith Relations, Islam, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Faiths, Theology

(Pemptousia) Jonathan Jackson: “How I became Orthodox”

Holywood actor Jonathan Jackson, recipient of five Emmy Awards, at an interview given in “Pemptousia” during his recent visit to the Monastery of Vatopaidi – Mt Athos, speaks about how he became Orthodox.

Watch it all from Vimeo.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Orthodox Church, Other Churches, Religion & Culture

A Prayer to Begin the Day from the Church of South India

O God, who, calling Abraham to go forth to a country which thou wouldest show him, didst promise that in him all the families of the earth would be blessed: Fulfill thy promise in us, we pray thee, giving us such faith in thee as thou shalt count unto us for righteousness; that in us and through us thy purpose may be fulfilled; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, thou who leadest Joseph like a flock! Thou who art enthroned upon the cherubim, shine forth before E’phraim and Benjamin and Manas’seh! Stir up thy might, and come to save us!

–Psalm 80:1-2

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture