Daily Archives: June 22, 2015

(W Post) S.C. Gov. Haley plans to call for removal of Confederate flag near the state Capitol

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley said Monday that the Confederate flag near the state Capitol should be moved, reversing an earlier position she had held and adding a powerful voice to the growing chorus of calls for the flag’s removal.

“It’s time to move the flag from the Capitol grounds,” Haley, a Republican, said at a news conference on Monday.

She was joined at the news conference by South Carolina’s two U.S. senators and an array of other elected officials. Her announcement, which took place near a statue of John C. Calhoun, was greeted by a round of applause and cheers inside the statehouse.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

(DG) Stephen Miller–Worship in a Selfie World

This caption came across my Instagram notifications a few weeks back.

I was curious to see the photo this student had taken to commemorate his experience. I never would have expected a picture of a young man standing in front of a mirror in his bathroom with a bewildered smirk on his face.

Yet there he was, a duck-faced teenager staring at his bathroom mirror, smart phone in hand. What this had to do with how much he loved worshiping Jesus was a mystery to me.

This is the world in which we live, the world of the selfie.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, --Social Networking, Anthropology, Blogging & the Internet, Ethics / Moral Theology, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Theology

[ACI] Mark McCall: Good Order And The Re-Definition of Marriage

Written by Mark McCall – Sunday June 21st, 2015

On the eve of a General Convention that will consider several important proposals to change the definition of marriage in the Church’s doctrine, discipline and worship, much attention is directed, perhaps belatedly, to the question of good order. Several bishops generally sympathetic to the idea of same sex marriage have expressed concerns that the way in which that innovation is now being proposed violates “good order.” Rejecting this charge, the Task Force on the Study of Marriage, also sympathetic to same sex marriage, has offered an amendment to the marriage canon that it claims will promote rather than undermine “good order.”
…What are the implications of these canonical provisions for the consideration of “good order” in the re-definition of marriage?

– First, the marriage rubric (BCP, p.422) begins “Christian marriage is a solemn and public covenant between a man and a woman in the presence of God.” This rubric is part of the “discipline of the Church” as defined in Canon IV.2.

– Second, the Catechism (BCP, p. 861) provides that “Holy Matrimony is Christian marriage, in which the woman and man enter into a life-long union, make their vows before God and the Church, and receive the grace and blessing of God to help them fulfill their vows.” The Catechism also defines (BCP, p. 860) “sacramental rites” of the Church to include Holy Matrimony. Both the Catechism and the sacramental rite of marriage are thus part of the “doctrine” of the Church as defined in Canon IV.2, conformity to which is canonically required.

– Third, the marriage canon (I.1.18) requires clergy to conform to “the laws of this Church governing the solemnization of Holy Matrimony” and provides that “Holy Matrimony is a physical and spiritual union of a man and a woman.”

– Fourth, Art. X of the Constitution specifies the procedures by which the BCP, containing the sacramental rites and rubrics for Holy Matrimony and the Catechism, can be amended: affirmative votes at two successive General Conventions, the second by a majority of all bishops entitled to vote and a majority in a vote by orders of all dioceses entitled to representation.
None of this is obscure; to the contrary, it is obvious. Yet the most remarkable thing about the many resolutions offered on marriage (ten so far) is that not a single one even proposes the obvious first step required of good order: amending or revising the BCP.

To be sure there are four resolutions (C017, C022, C026 and D026) that reference the BCP, but none of them attempts to comply with the constitutional requirements for amending it. Instead, they flagrantly attempt to circumvent the Constitution by re-interpreting the language of the BCP:

the language “man and woman” and “husband and wife” therein shall be equally applicable to two people of the same gender, and all gender-specific language shall be interpreted to be gender-neutral, and may thus be modified as necessary for the purposes of the said Canon, and of the said rites. (C017.)

The Constitution is explicit on changing the BCP: “no alteration” of the BCP is permitted except in accordance with the specified procedures. By their own terms, these “interpretation” resolutions purport to “modify” the BCP rites. Passage of any one of these resolutions would thus reflect the Church expressing its collective contempt for its own Constitution.

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

Bps Benhase & McConnell: A More Excellent Way

By Bishops Scott Benhase and Dorsey McConnell in the Living Church
…It is the commission’s considered opinion that “the General Convention is the final arbiter of the meaning of the Constitution and Canons. Accordingly, when the General Convention adopts a canon, it is by definition constitutional, and the General Convention is presumed to have ensured that it is so” (p. 22). As such, the commission concludes that there simply is no constitutional question that could possibly be raised, rendering Resolution D047 irrelevant.

If this is where we are then we have come to a sorry state indeed. The constitutional good order of what we do at General Convention must be understood as a considered task to accomplish rather than a presumption to take for granted. We cannot imagine most Episcopalians actually believe that whatever General Convention happens to do is by definition constitutional merely because General Convention has done it.

We do well to consider carefully the constitutional authority of our proposed actions this summer, particularly the chaos that would ensue by pitting the canons against the prayer book (as in A036), by putting bishops in conflict with liturgies over which they are the intended chief officer (as in A054), and by accepting without challenge the conclusion of the Commission on Constitution and Canons that what General Convention approves, reason must obey. Should the 78th General Convention produce a lasting witness to our faith and order, it will be by fulfilling our charge to take orderly counsel with all due care. In 2012, through the approval of provisional rites, we created an open space that has proven enormously helpful in allowing freedom and protecting conscience. Can we build on this now, in a way that embraces all our sisters and brothers? In this more excellent way, we model for one another our Lord’s love for us, and become ambassadors of reconciliation ”” in our church, in the Anglican Communion, and in the wider body of Christ.

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

(BBC) Derby cathedral work uncovers medieval secret

Renovation work to Derby Cathedral has discovered remains of the previous church, long thought lost.

The six-month, £670,000 project will upgrade heating and electrics, as well as seeing large areas repainted.

The 14th Century church was demolished and rebuilt in the 1720s and it was believed all trace of the older building had gone.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church History, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

Peter Webster–Principle and Pragmatism: Michael Ramsey, the Church and the Modern World

…Ramsey is not purely of historical interest. I would argue that his mixture of principle and pragmatism offers the churches in our own time a means of negotiating the particular pressures they now face.

There are still many people in countries with an Anglican presence with a living memory of Michael Ramsey. The composite image of the man tends to be of a saintly figure, even other-worldly; physically imposing, with a touch of the ancient about him when in full episcopal costume; eloquent in debate but awkward in small-talk.

Critics have drawn attention to his lack of interest in administration, and to failures in handling his staff. I would argue that much of Ramsey’s apparent eccentricity could be explained if we understood him as autistic. Be that as it may, his personal eccentricity masked a remarkable ability to hold together all the myriad, disconnected and pressing matters that crowd around an archbishop. Three examples will make my point.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church History, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Religion & Culture, Theology

Monday Morning Food for Thought from Ross Douthat

Even if their faith is lukewarm and compromised, the undercatechized Catholic and the Oprahfied Protestant are still only a good confession or an altar call away from a more authentic Christian life.

–Ross Douthat, Bad Religion (New York: Free Press, 2012), p. 282

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

(LA Times) Black Americans grapple with unease in wake of Charleston shooting

As he tugged open the plywood door to his newsstand Saturday morning, Charles Tone turned to one of his customers with a question.

“How can they forgive him?” said Tone, 66. “Man, I don’t even know if it can be genuine.”

The newsstand at the corner of Manchester and Vermont ”” the heart of a historically black neighborhood in South Los Angeles ”” often hums with conversation about politics and sports.

Nationwide on Saturday, people were talking about the massacre of nine black churchgoers, allegedly by a white man, in Charleston, S.C. But among African Americans the subject felt more urgently personal, stirring fear, anger and unease as well as debate about what it means to be black in America.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Pastoral Theology, Politics in General, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

Poetry for a Monday Morning–Allen Jorgenson: There are no Mirrors in Heaven

There are no mirrors in heaven, no
self-reflection on
tied tongues, pride
rung and hung before
eyes to see or
on ears marred by wounding words

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Eschatology, Lutheran, Other Churches, Poetry & Literature, Theology

Billy Graham's grandson steps down frm Fla megachurch aftr admittng an affair

Before he became senior pastor of the Fort Lauderdale congregation, [Tullian] Tchividjian’s church plant, New City, merged with the larger Coral Ridge. Seven months in, a group of church members, headed by Kennedy’s daughter, circulated a petition calling for his removal. Church members voted 69 percent to 31 percent to keep him, but a group of congregants formed a new church in response.

Tchividjian was described by the Miami Herald as a pastor who would focus on specific Bible passages rather than on the news, preferred more contemporary music over the organ, and chose podcasting over broadcasting.

The Hartford Institute for Religion Institute’s database of megachurches lists Coral Ridge as having 1,900 attendees. The church began in 1978 under Kennedy, and its weekly services were televised as the Coral Ridge Hour, reportedly reaching up to 3 million people. Kennedy was a founding board member of Jerry Falwell Jr.’s Moral Majority and developed the popular curriculum “Evangelism Explosion.”

Last year, Tchividjian broke up with the Gospel Coalition, a network of Reformed leaders, over a theological dispute. His popular blog was hosted at TGC and he wrote several books with evangelical publishers Crossway and David C. Cook.

Read it all from the Washington Post.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Evangelicals, Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Theology

(BBC) Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich enthroned at cathedral

The new Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich has been enthroned at Bury St Edmunds Cathedral.

The Right Reverend Martin Seeley formally took up his position in Suffolk following his consecration as a bishop at Westminster Abbey last month. Some 900 people attended the service.

The cathedral dean said bishops should “challenge injustice”.

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

(Christian Today) Martin Sanders–Your dopamine addiction is hurting your soul

The Internet is in danger of turning us all into addicts. Time spent online continues to rise among every segment of the world’s population, and becomes more natural to each emerging generation. We’re hyper-connected, playing our games, sharing our baby photos and watching TV together in collaborative ways that were unimaginable 30 years ago. Thanks to smartphones we check our social media accounts regularly ”“ and in some cases constantly. Their use has become habitual, rewarding, and incredibly hard to give up (even for Lent).

Calling this ‘Internet addiction’ however is slightly misleading. It’s not online media that’s the problem, so much as the way that we engage with it. As we do, we’re actually getting addicted to something else.

Dopamine is your brain’s in-built reward system. It’s a neurotransmitter released when you achieve something; when you complete a work task, submit an essay or complete a run. When it enters the right part of your brain, it makes you feel good; successful; purposeful. It can also be stimulated artificially, for instance through the consumption of nicotine or cocaine….

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, --Social Networking, Anthropology, Blogging & the Internet, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Theology

(NYT) Defiant Show of Unity in Charleston Church That Lost 9 to Racist Violence

“I want you to know, because the doors of Mother Emanuel” are open, the Rev. Norvel Goff Sr., a presiding elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, said in a rousing sermon there on Sunday, “it sends a message to every demon in hell and on earth.”

Later, with his voice roaring, Mr. Goff added, “Some wanted to divide the race ”” black and white and brown ”” but no weapon formed against us shall prosper.”

Here in this city ”” where steeples dot the skyline, earning Charleston the nickname Holy City ”” worship normally contained within church walls spilled into the streets on Sunday. Large banners hung from the buildings near Emanuel.

“Holy City … Let Us Be the Example of Love That Conquers Evil,” read one.

At 10 a.m., church bells across the city began to toll. Nine minutes passed, one minute for each victim.

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

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint Alban

Almighty God, by whose grace and power thy holy martyr Alban triumphed over suffering and was faithful even unto death: Grant to us, who now remember him with thanksgiving, to be so faithful in our witness to thee in this world, that we may receive with him the crown of life; 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 Book of Common Prayer

Grant, O God, that we who have been signed with the sign of the Cross in our baptism, may never be ashamed to confess the faith of Christ crucified, but may manfully fight under his banner against sin, the world, and the devil, and continue Christ’s faithful soldiers and servants unto our lives’ end.

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

O LORD God of hosts, who is mighty as thou art, O LORD, with thy faithfulness round about thee?

–Psalm 89:9

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Congratulations to Jordan Spieth for Winning the US Open Gold Championship

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Men, Sports

Congratulations to Australia, France and Canada for Advancing in the Women's World Cup

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Globalization, Sports, Women

Max Scherzer loses perfect game with HBP in 9th but completes no-hitter

Just one strike from a perfect game, Max Scherzer saw it slip away with a misplaced slider. Or, some thought, a misplaced elbow.

Scherzer lost his bid in agonizing fashion, plunking a batter with two outs in the ninth inning before finishing off a no-hitter Saturday in the Washington Nationals’ 6-0 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

A letdown? Yeah, a little.

“I mean there is, just because you’re so close, one strike away from a perfect game,” Scherzer said. “But to get a no-hitter in front of these fans, there’s nothing better.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, History, Men, Sports

(NC Register) Vatican: Encyclical Aims to Promote Common Good, Not Division

At the June 18 launch of the highly-anticipated encyclical Laudato Si (The Care for Our Common Home), Cardinal Peter Turkson acknowledged a critique that the Church is taking sides on scientifically still-debatable topics such as global warming, pollution, species extinction and global inequality’s impact on natural resources.

“The aim of the encyclical is not to intervene in this debate, which is the responsibility of scientists, and even less to establish exactly in which ways the climate changes are a consequence of human action” he said. Instead, the goal of the document is to promote the well-being of all creation and “to develop an integral ecology, which in its diverse dimensions comprehends ”˜our unique place as human beings in this world and our relationship to our surroundings,” the cardinal said, quoting the encyclical.

“Science is the best tool by which we can listen to the cry of the earth,” Cardinal Turkson said, noting that regardless of the various positions, studies tells us that “today the earth, our sister, mistreated and abused.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Anthropology, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Other Churches, Pastoral Theology, Politics in General, Pope Francis, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Science & Technology, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(NBC) Vietnam War Veterans Welcomed Home 50 Years Later

Hundreds of veterans gathered at Fort Stewart, Georgia, to be honored at a homecoming ceremony that eluded them for decades.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Children, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Theology

(NPR) Juan Vidal–Words Made Flesh: Literature And The Language Of Prayer

Lately, my prayers have become a form of artistic expression: Carefully chosen words, praise reports like songs, and sometimes pissed-off pronouncements entwined with polite requests that I please not screw something up. This season of life has required thoughtful consideration of even my private devotional time ”” and that makes me think of the conviction of Flannery O’Connor.

No other writer in the history of American letters has been able to pin down the intersection of faith, prayer, and art as evocatively as O’Connor. Perhaps the best example of this ”” aside from her Biblically blood-soaked fiction ”” are her letters and journal entries. In A Prayer Journal, a series of short meditations O’Connor penned between 1946 and 1947, readers get a portal into her relationship with the divine. It is chock full of pleadings and childlike confessions: “I would like to write a beautiful prayer.” And while you might feel you’re intruding on O’Connor’s most intimate writings, the prayers are a delight to examine ”” and about as pure as they come: “Please help me dear God to be a good writer and to get something else accepted.”

What is especially striking about this little book is the care O’Connor gives to the craftsmanship of her supplications.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Poetry & Literature, Religion & Culture, Spirituality/Prayer