Daily Archives: June 20, 2015

(Local Paper) Emanuel AME may open its doors Sunday, pastor says

Emanuel AME Church’s 500 or so parishioners may face a decision to seek God, prayer and support Sunday at the historic black church or elsewhere after an attack left their senior pastor and most of their ministerial leadership dead and their hallowed space violated.

Rev. Joe Darby, a senior AME pastor, said Saturday morning Emanuel AME will likely hold services Sunday but is waiting for official word from authorities. The Charleston Police Department is still investigating the murders of nine parishioners and pastors. Word about the church’s opening could come as early as Saturday afternoon, Darby said.

As of Friday members were not expecting to hold services at their historic Calhoun Street building Sunday.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Spirituality/Prayer, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

The Confederate Flag Must Come down (II): Rod Dreher

In South Carolina, by act of the state legislature, the Confederate battle flag flies over a Confederate War Memorial on the state Capitol grounds. I can see how some white Southerners genuinely regard the flag and its display as nothing more than honoring the Confederate dead, something that is noble even as the cause for which those soldiers died is not. I think about the one ancestor I know of who fought for the Confederacy. He was a poor country farmer, and almost certainly didn’t carry in his head the idea that he was fighting to preserve slavery (though he ultimately was); chances are he only thought that he was fighting for the people of his state, defending his land against invaders. He really did fight bravely, records show. I cannot and will not be ashamed of that man’s battlefield courage, though I wish he had not devoted his courage to the Confederate cause ”” which was not solely about maintaining slavery, but which undeniably included that evil end.

The widespread use of the Confederate battle flag during the Civil Rights era, to defend white supremacy, removed the benefit of the doubt that might have been extended to those displaying the flag in memory of the war dead. In other words, modern white supremacists robbed the flag, as a symbol, of a plausible claim of innocence. True, Dylann Roof did not display the Confederate battle flag in his rampage inside the church, but it can’t be denied that the Dylann Roofs of the Civil Rights era, and their fellow travelers, did openly associate that flag with their cause. In light of what just happened in Charleston, and considering things from the point of view of black Southerners, I believe that the Confederate battle flag is simply too tainted as a symbol to be displayed in good conscience anymore.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Pastoral Theology, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

The Confederate Flag Must Come down (I): Russell Moore

The Confederate battle flag may mean many things, but with those things it represents a defiance against abolition and against civil rights. The symbol was used to enslave the little brothers and sisters of Jesus, to bomb little girls in church buildings, to terrorize preachers of the gospel and their families with burning crosses on front lawns by night.

That sort of symbolism is out of step with the justice of Jesus Christ. The cross and the Confederate flag cannot co-exist without one setting the other on fire. White Christians, let’s listen to our African American brothers and sisters.

Let’s care not just about our own history, but also about our shared history with them. In Christ, we were slaves in Egypt ”” and as part of the Body of Christ we were all slaves too in Mississippi. Let’s watch our hearts, pray for wisdom, work for justice, love our neighbors.

Let’s take down that flag.

Read it all (emphasis mine).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, Christology, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Politics in General, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, State Government, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

(CT) Going Deeper after the Charleston SC Murders-a call for anguished lament+better theology

Let us whites especially admit that many of us have inadvertently imbibed theological and ethical assumptions that, in the face of a tragedy like this, show themselves to be naïve. We sometimes write and act as if the Christian ethic is mainly niceness on steroids, all in the name of grace. Anyone who knows my writing knows I’ve wandered into this territory from time to time. In short, we do not take into sufficient account the depth of evil roaming this world, and in this particular case, the radical evil that lies at the heart of racism.

Of course, we mustn’t swing the pendulum in the other direction. We mustn’t now abandon the doctrine of imago dei, nor the need for mutual respect, nor the fruitfulness of dialogue, and so forth. To assume we can solve racism with by merely mocking white supremacists and treating perpetrators of hate crimes with brutality and hatred””well, that is just as naïve. As if evil can be checked with distrust, suspicion, and hate.

And we can never forget that radical “niceness”””what is better called agape love””has extraordinary power to bring miracles to bear on seemingly intractable evil in isolated cases. Agape love on the ground is a large part of the reason Martin Luther King, Jr. made as much progress as he did in his day.

Still, the moment of lament is the moment to rethink what we believe, and to adopt the radically realistic ethic of Jesus, who has no illusions about the power of evil….

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Christology, Law & Legal Issues, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Police/Fire, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, Soteriology, Spirituality/Prayer, Theodicy, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

(WSJ) Peggy Noonan–A Northerner Bows to Charleston, South Carolina

I have never seen anything like what I saw on television this afternoon. Did you hear the statements made at the bond hearing of the alleged Charleston, S.C., shooter?

Nine beautiful people slaughtered Wednesday night during Bible study at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, and their relatives were invited to make a statement today in court. Did you hear what they said?

They spoke of mercy. They offered forgiveness. They invited the suspect, who was linked in by video from jail, to please look for God.

There was no rage, no accusation””just broken hearts undefended and presented for the world to see. They sobbed as they spoke.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Christology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Spirituality/Prayer, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

Thousands unite at prayer vigil to heal in wake of shooting that killed 9 at Emanuel AME

Attendees heard prepared statements from multiple speakers, including state Sen. Marlon Kimpson, D-Charleston; Charleston County Council Chairman Elliott Summey; Charleston Mayor Joe Riley; the Rev. Nelson Rivers III of Charity Missionary Baptist Church; and others.

They sang hymns “What a Friend We Have in Jesus,” held hands and swayed to a rendition of “We Shall Overcome.”

Statements made during the vigil reiterated common themes of love, faith and unity.

“We share one thing in common. … Our hearts are broken. We have an anguish like we have never had before,” Riley said.

Read it all from the local paper.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * South Carolina, America/U.S.A., City Government, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Spirituality/Prayer, State Government, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

A Prayer to Begin the Day from New Every Morning

Almighty and eternal God, who madest thy light to shine in the darkness by the sending of thy Son Jesus Christ to deliver us from the dominion of evil: Visit us now, we pray thee, in the darkness of these times, and let thy truth and righteousness shine forth among us. Take from the world the fears which oppress mankind, that we may live in the power of justice and the freedom of thy truth; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

–New Every Morning (The Prayer Book Of The Daily Broadcast Service) [BBC, 1900]

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

On the holy mount stands the city he founded; the LORD loves the gates of Zion more than all the dwelling places of Jacob. Glorious things are spoken of you, O city of God.

–Psalm 87:1-3

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Music for Friday Night: Thomas Tallis – Wipe away my sins, O Lord

Wipe away my sins, O Lord, which ignorantly in my youth I have done; and give pardon to the penitent, for thou art my Lord my God.
All the hope of my soul doth only rest in thee. Thou art my hope, thou art my health. My tears do testify to my grief, my dolour and affliction.
Be mindful O Lord God of thy goodwill, and with favour give ear unto my prayer.
Then shall my heart rejoice in thee and my spirit shall serve thee for ever and ever. Amen.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Liturgy, Music, Worship

Lent & Beyond's Ramadan 2015 Prayer Campaign – Day 2 Prayer Round Up & Prayer Resource List

With the busyness on the blog yesterday given the Charleston shootings and quite a number of other important posts, some readers may have missed the post about Lent & Beyond’s list of resources to help us pray for Muslims during Ramadan. You’ll find it here..

Today they have posted a Ramadan Day 2 Prayer Roundup including short prayers for several countries, and a challenging exhortation that all their readers “might commit to spending 5 or 10 minutes before or after your evening meal for the next 4 weeks to pray for Muslims’ spiritual hunger to be satisfied in Jesus.”

You’ll find each day’s prayer entry using the Ramadan 2015 tag.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, * Resources & Links, Islam, Other Faiths, Spirituality/Prayer

(USA Today Editorial) Overcoming Charleston tragedy: Our view

One thing that might make a difference in mass killings is a law allowing people to ask police to take guns away from a family member who is acting irrationally. In this case, though, not even that would have helped: The shooter’s father is said to have given him the gun in April as a birthday present.

The broader problem ”” more entrenched, more pernicious and more likely to eat away at the nation ”” is the racial animosity that still lurks in some quarters. African Americans have suffered its sting often in recent events. A series of unarmed black men, including one in North Charleston, S.C., have been killed by white police officers. And many African Americans have come to believe, a half-century after the civil rights movement took hold, that black lives still do not matter. Or do not matter as much as white lives.

Yes, there has been heartening progress. The president who mourned Thursday is black. So is the attorney general, who opened an investigation to ensure that justice is done. Politicians and congregations, black and white, came together to decry the violence. The alleged killer was pursued by local police and the FBI and taken into custody.

In important ways, America is a different country than it was in 1963

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * South Carolina, America/U.S.A., Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Politics in General, Spirituality/Prayer, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

Dylann Roof Bond Hearing. Victims Address Charleston Shooter In Court With Forgiveness

Rev. Anthony Thompson, Vicar of Holy Trinity REC (ACNA) Church in Charleston, husband of Myra Thompson:

“I would just like him to know that . . . I’m saying the same thing that was just said. You know I forgive you and my family forgive you. But we would like you to take this opportunity to repent. Repent. Confess. Give your life to the one who matters the most, Christ. So He can change you, can change your ways no matter what happened to you, and you’ll be okay. Do that and you’ll be better off than what you are right now.”
– with thanks to Stand Firm where there are more transcripts

Be warned: This is very hard, yet very important to view–it is a deeply moving heroic Christian witness in unimaginably awful circumstances.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Christology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Spirituality/Prayer, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

A Call to Prayer from the Bishops in South Carolina

Greetings to you in the matchless Name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

As the eyes of the nation turn toward Charleston we commend her to your prayers. Our hearts are crushed by this violent act. Our minds reel as we consider the pain of our brothers and sisters who have lost loved ones””mothers and fathers, children and grandchildren, family and friends””as well as for those who have lost faith and hope from such a senseless act of hatred and insanity. Among those killed was one from our own Anglican family, Myra Thompson, the wife of The Rev’d Anthony Thompson, a priest in the Reformed Episcopal Church.

It is right that you feel sickened and angry. It is right that you struggle to know what to do. We all do. Scripture tells us that in the diminishment or suffering of one the whole church suffers. We are enjoined to weep with those who weep and to mourn with those who mourn. Today, we mourn and we weep with our brothers and sisters at Emmanuel Church and all of Charleston.

Together we shall seek God’s face on how he will have us respond as dioceses, as congregations, and as individual members of the Body of Christ””ambassadors of reconciliation””in this broken and fallen world for which His Son our Savior, Jesus Christ, has died that He might redeem.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Spirituality/Prayer, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence