Daily Archives: June 2, 2015

(Telegraph) C of E to live-stream services for those who find it ”˜scary’ to sit in pews

The Church of England is urging vicars to broadcast their Sunday services live on the internet because some people find it too “scary” to attend in person.

Official advice from the CofE’s Church House headquarters in London encourages parishes to take advantage of new technology making it possible to broadcast through a mobile phone as a new way of “spreading the word”.

It recommends trying out new streaming services as a means of catering for those unable to attend because of ill health or travelling abroad as well as to reach those who might be curious but wary of publicly joining in services.

The advice, written by Tallie Proud, the Church’s digital media officer, provides basic tips on everything from taking a steady shot to remembering to keep their mobile phone battery charged while streaming.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Blogging & the Internet, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Theology

Wes Hill+Garwood Anderson respond to TEC's Task Force on the Study of Marriage

In a series of public correspondence, two professors at Episcopal seminaries discuss what they see as problems with the approach taken by the Task Force on the Study of Marriage in evaluating what the Bible has to say about marriage and sexuality. Dr. Wesley Hill is Assistant Professor of Biblical Studies at Trinity School for Ministry and Dr. Garwood P. Anderson is Professor of New Testament and Greek at Nashotah House Theological Seminary.

Read it all by following the links provided. Also this morning there is now this.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Children, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Seminary / Theological Education, Sexuality, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Damian Thompson: No God isn't male but calling him 'she' is unholy twaddle

Women And The Church (known as ”˜Watch’), the pressure group calling for the use of ”˜female language’ to describe God, know that such a change would lead to bitter rows in vestries and thunderous denunciations in the General Synod, the Church of England parliament.

But they are ready for battle. Watch ran ”” and won ”” the campaign for women bishops.

They are not to be confused with the loopy Christian feminists who danced in circles, clutching ”˜healing crystals’, in the Seventies. No one listened when that lot demanded that God be called ”˜She’, as they did incessantly.

Watch, in contrast, is led by a group of politically savvy networkers. These women are embedded in the ancient structures of the Church.
Watch’s members love to point out that the Bible uses feminine imagery: God is compared to ”˜a woman in labour’ in the Book of Isaiah.

But throughout the Gospels Jesus constantly refers to God as ”˜Father’ ”” most famously in the Lord’s Prayer.

Referring to God as ”˜Mother’ drives a horse and cart through Scripture. Such an innovation is guaranteed to split the C of E as never before.

And much of the anger would come from Christians whom feminists are desperately anxious not to upset ”” women from immigrant backgrounds. African, West Indian and Asian Anglicans ”” who keep many inner-city British parishes alive ”” think feminised worship is tainted by paganism.

For many of them, referring to God as a woman is, indeed, a form of goddess worship, something they have fought against in their countries of origin.

We should also ask why this particular question has arisen now. One influence is the fashion for rewriting history to highlight the role of women in biblical times.

Much of this is based on bad scholarship and wishful thinking. Several books portray Mary Magdalene as the real leader of the Apostles. They are about as plausible as The Da Vinci Code.
The Church of England is not good at telling the difference between necessary modernisation of its practices and secular fads. Nothing has done more damage than its embarrassing attempts to be ”˜relevant’.

In some parishes, every other sermon is about climate change, on which the vicar poses as an expert even though he’s done no more than skim-read The Guardian.

And do you remember those hideous cathedral youth events billed as ”˜raves in the nave’?

Despite weighty theological arguments, the ”˜God as She’ proposal falls clearly into the category of gimmick.

Lord Carey, former Archbishop of Canterbury, has warned us that the Church could be extinct in 25 years’ time unless services become more spiritually fulfilling.

Calling God ”˜She’ will not achieve that fulfilment. The proposed twist of language will do nothing to stop the decline of Christian faith in this country.
On the contrary, it will make worshippers squirm. And nothing empties pews faster than that.

Read it all

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE)

(Anglican Journal) For residential school survivors, impact lasts generations

“My mom and dad didn’t tell us why they were putting us on the train. I thought they were coming with us,” said Clara Fergus, a Cree woman from northern Manitoba to a sharing circle on the morning of June 1, at the beginning of the final event of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). “They put us on the train, and then we noticed they didn’t come with us.”

The train took Fergus all the way to the United Church of Canada-run Brandon Indian Residential School, where she would spend the rest of her childhood having her language, culture and identity stripped from her while suffering “all forms of abuse” at the hands of teachers and staff.

“Being away from your brothers and sisters, being away from your grandparents,” said Fergus. “It’s the love that we missed. The hugs. The nurturing”¦I can’t imagine”¦if I sent my kids there, and they had to go through that”¦”

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission has spent the last six years documenting stories like Fergus’s, stories of how the Indian residential school system was set up to enact what Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin recently called “an attempt at cultural genocide.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Canada, Children, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, History, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology, Violence

Melanie McDonagh: We all must wish Justin Welby well in his bid to re-evangelise England

I’m not sure that the reason millions of Brits are staying away from church is that they’ve explored the case for Christianity and found it wanting. Rather, most don’t know enough about Christianity to know whether they’re Anglican or not. What passes for religious education in schools is a joke; more comparative anthropology than anything, with Buddhism getting about as much space as Christianity. Sunday schools are no more. Whenever I’ve met secular university audiences I’ve been struck by the extent to which really bright young people know next to nothing about Christian doctrine.

The loss of faith has all sorts of repercussions. It was affecting the way the FA crowd on Saturday sang Abide With Me, that poignant expression of Christianity: hymn singing is one of the things young males don’t do any more.

But the losses go further. Yale professor David Brooks has written a much-discussed book, The Road to Character, in which he laments the way his students no longer have the language, the concepts, to talk about things like the common good, altruism, virtue. (They may of course do so in terms of evolutionary self-interest instead.)

One thing religion does is enable you to talk about these things; it’s more or less what Christianity is about. Even those of us who aren’t Anglican should be wishing Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, well in his bid to re-evangelise England. If the CofE dies, an awful lot of good will die with it.

Read it all

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE)

Andrew Pierce: Church fat cat's salary climbs to £409,000

How typically hypocritical of today’s Church of England leadership to preach one thing but do the opposite.

During the election campaign, Anglican bishops made the highly political move of issuing a 52-page letter urging Christians to resist the power of big business.

Their call for an end to the free-market ideas embodied by Margaret Thatcher, which they claimed were ”˜entrenching inequality’ between rich and poor, infuriated the Tory Party.

Yet just a few weeks later, Church leaders now appear to be happily embracing big-business values.

For the latest report by the Church Commissioners, who handle the C of E’s investments, reveals that they awarded a £75,000 pay rise to their director of investments.

The 18 per cent increase, at a time when the Government has imposed a public sector pay freeze, brings Tom Joy’s total salary package to £409,000.

Of course, the Church has to employ the best financial brains to look after its investments, but such a large amount of money will shock many parishioners working hard to raise funds.

Indeed, Mr Joy is not the only person being well-rewarded by the Church. Ten of the commission’s 229 staff earn more than £100,000 a year.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE)

(CC) Joyce Duerr–I was voiceless How laypeople stepped in

When doctors recommended radiation treatment for my thyroid cancer, they explained the treatment’s side effects. I’d have a very sore throat and lose my voice for about six weeks. I was astounded. What? Lose my voice for six weeks? I’m a pastor! How would I cope?

Challenging days were ahead, not only for me, but also for my congregation. We trust in God, but truly did not know how God would meet our needs during this time. Our little church could not afford to pay for pulpit supply””the members had already paid for three weeks of pastors when I had surgery.

I shared my story with the board of deacons. After time for prayer and discernment, the deacons decided that they would be the pastor’s voice during this time. Six weeks””six deacons””yes, we could do it. The six weeks would cover the season of Advent through Epiphany. We traditionally light the candle on the Advent wreath each Sunday during this season, so we developed themes of hope, love, joy, and peace to go with the candle of the week. The deacons, and sometimes their spouses, signed up for the week of their choice.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Ecclesiology, Health & Medicine, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Theology

(CT the Exchange) The State of Evangelicalism in Canada

A study on religion and faith in Canada conducted by the Angus Reid Institute was released a few weeks ago detailing the views of various faiths in Canada and how Canadians perceive faith and religion as a whole. It is a fascinating study, and I think some of its data is important especially as we consider the state of evangelicalism in Canada and how evangelicalism may move forward proclaiming the gospel and discipling people.

Let’s take a more focused look at the data from the Angus Reid Institute, which looked at people of all faiths in Canada, and see what their data tells us about evangelicals specifically.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Canada, Evangelicals, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Sociology

A Roseate Spoonbill to brighten your morning

(Photo: Selimah Harmon)

Posted in * General Interest, Animals, Photos/Photography

(W Post) While nobody was looking, ISIS launched a new, deadly offensive

Syrian rebels appealed for U.S. airstrikes to counter a new offensive by the Islamic State in the northern province of Aleppo that could reshape the battlefield in Syria.

The surprise assault, launched over the weekend, opened a new front in the multi-pronged war being waged by the extremist group across Iraq and Syria, and it underscored the Islamic State’s capacity to catch its enemies off guard.

The push ”” which came on the heels of the miltants’ capture of the Syrian city of Palmyra and the western Iraqi city of Ramadi late last month ”” took them within reach of the strategically vital town of Azaz on the Turkish border.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Ethics / Moral Theology, Iraq, Islam, Middle East, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Syria, Terrorism, Theology, Violence

(Tablet) C of E continues to haemorrhage members as Muslim population grows tenfold in a generation

Membership of the Church of England has dropped sharply in Britain in the last two years while the number of Muslims has grown, a new survey has revealed.

The British Social Attitudes survey found that the proportion of British adults describing themselves as Anglican has fallen from 21 per cent in 2012 to 17 per cent in 2014, a loss of around 1.7 million. That brings the number of Anglicans in Britain to 8.6 million people.

The proportion of Catholics remained roughly stable at 8 per cent, or just over 4 million, as did that of “other” Christians, including Methodists, Presbyterians and non-denominational Christians.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Evangelism and Church Growth, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Sociology

B.C. Human Rights Tribunal to consider striking gender designation from birth certificates

After successfully lobbying provincial and federal governments to make it easier to amend sex designations on key identity documents, transgender Canadians are now pushing for another change: to abolish gender references altogether from birth certificates.

The B.C. Human Rights Tribunal has agreed to review complaints filed by the Trans Alliance Society and a handful of transgender and intersex individuals, who argue that doctors should stop assigning the sex of a baby based on a quick inspection of the baby’s genitals at birth when there’s a possibility they may identify under a different gender, or no gender, years later.

“Birth certificates (may) give false information about people and characterize them in a way that is actually wrong, that assumes to be right, and causes people ”¦ actual harm,” said Morgane Oger, a transgender woman in Vancouver and chair of the society.

“It’s considered true and infallible when it isn’t.”

Read it all from the National Post.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anthropology, Canada, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Men, Pastoral Theology, Politics in General, Psychology, Science & Technology, Sexuality, Theology, Women

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Blandina and Her Companions

Grant, O Lord, we beseech thee, that we who keep the feast of the holy martyrs Blandina and her companions may be rooted and grounded in love of thee, and may endure the sufferings of this life for the glory that shall be revealed in us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day from the Euchologium Anglicanum

O God, who hast made thyself known to us as Trinity in Unity and Unity in Trinity, in order that we may be informed of thy love and thy majesty: Mercifully grant that we may not be terrified by what thou hast revealed of thy majesty, nor tempted to trespass upon thy mercy by what we know of thy love for us; but that by the power of thy Spirit we may be forever drawn to thee in true adoration and worship; who livest and reignest, one God, world without end.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Spirituality/Prayer, The Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Theology

From the Morning Scripture Readings

On the way to Jerusalem he was passing along between Samar”²ia and Galilee. And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance and lifted up their voices and said, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.” When he saw them he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went they were cleansed. Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan. Then said Jesus, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” And he said to him, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.”

–Luke 17:11-19

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(NBC) Meet MEDi, the Robot Taking Pain Out of Kids' Hospital Visits

Five-year-old Cooper Tidmarsh lost his foot in a lawnmower accident two weeks ago and has been in the hospital ever since ”” an ordeal that has been made less traumatic with a little TLC from an unlikely source.

A robot.

MEDi is two feet tall and weighs 11 pounds ”” and looks he belongs on a shelf at a high-end toy store. He’s all fun and games, but for a very serious purpose.

At six hospitals in Canada and one in the United States, MEDi is helping to lower stress for children getting uncomfortable procedures, tests or shots.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Children, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Science & Technology, Theology

Church of England awarded Character Education Grant

The Department for Education have today announced that the Church of England will be running one of the projects funded by the Character Education Grant.

The project will pilot ‘What If Learning’, a cross-curricular model developed by an international partnership of educators. It aims to equip teachers with a practical approach to promoting the development of positive virtues and character traits in the classroom, which lead to success in learning and increased engagement in community and voluntary activities. The model will be piloted in 20 schools across 4 dioceses. The approach will be independently evaluated and resources will be made available to teachers across the country.

The project will be delivered by a collaborative partnership between the Church of England Education Office, the Dioceses of Chester, Derby, Exeter and Peterborough, Canterbury Christ Church University and the University of St Mark and St John, Plymouth.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Education

(WSJ) Series of Attacks Test Nigeria’s New Leader

Islamist terror group Boko Haram conducted a three-day spree of assaults that killed at least 42 people in northeast Nigeria, marking a grim beginning to the tenure of President Muhammadu Buhari.

The attacks began on Friday, when a bomb killed 10 people at a wedding in the town of Hawul, two residents said. The blast took place around the time Mr. Buhari was reciting his oath of office in the capital, Abuja, about 400 miles away.

“Some of us managed to escape,” said Haruna Musa, who was at the wedding.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Islam, Nigeria, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Theology, Violence

Monday Music Food for the Soul–Nickel Creek's Sweet Afton

Listen to it all and you can find an article on other great Nickel Creek songs there.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, Music

(W Post) Simran Jeet Singh–A Muslim woman beat Abercrombie & Fitch: why that is good news

What has been at stake here is not just a single employer that has discriminated against one individual. The largest employer in America ”“ the Department of Defense ”“ has a rule in place that discriminates against anyone who wears a hijab or turban or maintains facial hair for religious reasons. Individuals who maintain articles of faith, such as these, are not allowed to serve in the U.S. military without a rarely granted accommodation.

A large majority of Americans affected by such discriminatory policies belong to minority faith communities, and the Supreme Court’s decision directly impacts how we think about equal opportunity and religious freedom in this country.

Elauf demonstrated that she recognizes her case would have bearing for a number of different communities. “I am not only standing up for myself, but for all people who wish to adhere to their faith while at work,” she said, following the oral arguments. “Observance of my faith should not prevent me from getting a job.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Islam, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Law & Legal Issues, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Theology

(Touchstone) William Murchison–Near Prophet: Christopher Lasch’s The Culture of Narcissism

Lasch was not out to define the future, or to shape it either. He was not even, for some extraordinary reason, out to get rich. He had come to describe the cultural carbon clogging the national carburetor. We weren’t going to be made okay by dieting or jogging or protest-marching, or even by opening up our souls. We might, if we paid careful attention to Professor Lasch, become more fully aware of what was afoot in our culture, and what effects it was producing. Light might break through. The rest was up to us.

What was amiss? Much, it seemed. The Culture of Narcissism grew out of Lasch’s earlier study of the modern family, Haven in a Heartless World, in which he had pointed to an alarming decline in the family’s authority. It seemed, on the basis of the more extensive scrutiny supplied in The Culture of Narcissism, that the culture itself was approaching bankruptcy. “Bourgeois society seems everywhere to have used up its store of constructive ideas.”

Liberalism had nothing to offer, said this disillusioned liberal, weary as he was of cultural libertarianism. “Psychological man” had become “the final product of bourgeois individualism,” liberated from past superstitions but seeking the meaning of life. He lives “in a state of restless, perpetually unsatisfied desire.” All of which was congruent with Jimmy Carter’s presidential perceptions. But no White House speechwriter could afford to go where Lasch now led, which was toward arraignment of the “therapeutic” climate that caused Americans to seek “personal well-being, health, and psychic security.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Books, Children, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, History, Marriage & Family, Media, Movies & Television, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Sociology