Daily Archives: July 6, 2015

Allan Haley: Apologia

A “church” that preaches and blesses blasphemy cannot be a church. Nor can any Christian be a member of it.

The religious organization that styles itself “The Episcopal ”˜Church’” now preaches and blesses blasphemy against Christ our Savior. Therefore it cannot be a Christian church. And I can no longer ”” though I grew up in it, and belonged for over sixty-five years ”” be a member.

The personal tragedy is that the parish church in which I grew up, and which I still attended as an Episcopalian, is as true to the faith once delivered as could be. Its rector and associate rector are both orthodox; one deacon has served for more than forty years. My heart grieves for what they will be going through over the next five years.

Many of the parishioners are close and long-time friends. They are simply unaware of what took place at the General Convention in Salt Lake City, and they will probably never hear of it. They will continue to come, Sunday after Sunday, and worship as they always have. And I may even join them ”” but now as a visitor.

I not only have to resign my membership; I have to resign my position as parish Chancellor, as well. I cannot remain in the former while the leadership and most of the bishops (including the one who heads my former diocese, as well as the resigned one who used to head it) are endorsing blasphemy. And I cannot remain in the latter position as that same leadership, aided by all those 129 bishops who voted for the Satanic rites, trample the Constitution and Canons and mock the Book of Common Prayer.

My own knowledge of the Constitution and canons, together with my knowledge of what actually happened in Salt Lake City, compels me to these decisions…

Read it all [We ask commenters not to instruct, encourage or suggest leaving or joining any church on T19]

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

Joann Pittman: Review of 'A Star in the East'

…As the century of missionary activity was winding down in the 1940s, J. K. Fairbank summed up the prevailing view well when he said it had “become evident that few Chinese people were likely to become Christians and that the missionaries’ long-continued effort, if measured in numbers of converts, had failed”.

Looking backward””and ignoring the possibility God had other things in store for China””that was not an unreasonable conclusion. According to Stark and Wang, “The best statistics place the number of Chinese Protestants [at the time] at 1,005,699”. And since it was widely believed many of those were “rice Christians,” it wasn’t hard to imagine that number collapsing under Communism. But it didn’t. Sixty years later, tens of millions of Chinese are believers.

This doesn’t take away from the contributions of foreign missionaries; in fact, their efforts before 1953 laid the groundwork for the rise of Christianity we’ve seen since. “Had the missionaries never gone to China,” in other words, “it is doubtful there would have been any books written about Chinese Christianity”. The missionaries A Star in the East mentions never saw the fruit of their work, but it was God’s work, which means it was not in vain. This is an encouragement to missionaries currently serving in China””or anywhere, for that matter.

3. Persecution has profoundly affected the nature of Chinese Christianity.
A number of years ago I was talking with a Chinese Christian friend about Christianity in China. She was a very opinionated woman who always pushed me to think hard about things. “What we need,” she said, banging her fist on the table, “is more persecution. It’s way too easy to be a Christian in China today.”

Read it all

Posted in * International News & Commentary, Asia, China

(Independent) Why the Church of England faces a dilemma on Same-sex Marriage

“We may or may not like it, but we must accept that there is a revolution in the area of sexuality and we have not fully heard it,” said the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Revd Justin Welby, a year ago. But one of his own bishops says that sticking with the traditional line leaves the CofE suspended in mid-air like Wile E Coyote in a Road Runner cartoon, desperately trying to maintain an impossible position.

“The Church is like a cartoon character who has run off a cliff and is frantically moving his legs faster and faster in the hope it will save him, when he knows there is nothing underneath,” says the Right Rev Alan Wilson, one of the more plain speaking bishops.

“There are about a billion human beings on the planet who have access to same-sex marriage in their country or jurisdiction, so the thought that this is going to go away ”“ or that it is just about a few people in San Francisco ”“ is just wrong.”

He believes a fundamental shift in understanding is happening within the wider Church. “The Evangelicals in particular are in a wibbly wobbly place.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, --Justin Welby, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Chaplains draw on ”˜higher source of comfort’ during response to Emanuel shooting

A number of chaplains were notified via text message the night of June 17 that there was a mass shooting, at least eight dead and an active shooter situation.

“Are you available?” said Spike Coleman, a chaplain of five years, of the text message. “We didn’t know exactly where it was. Rich (Robinson) was getting more information and then because it was an active shooter situation, Rob (Dewey) was making sure it was safe for us to be there.”

Dewey is senior chaplain of Coastal Crisis Chaplaincy and Robinson is deputy senior chaplain. Robinson said like in so many other tragedies, what he was doing the night he found out about the shooting is forever ingrained in his mind.

“I was looking at my bedspread getting ready for bed when the text came in and I immediately dropped the phone and started getting dressed again,” he said.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Death / Burial / Funerals, Ethics / Moral Theology, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

Get Religion Analyzes a Tribune story on Pat Reardon and the Debate on civil marriage

…in the wake of the 5-4 Obergefell decision by Justice Anthony Kennedy and the U.S. Supreme Court, the Chicago Tribune has followed up with a news report about Reardon that does a good job of describing his decision, yet does little to dig into the thoughts and beliefs of those who either oppose or dismiss his strategy. Consider, for example, this passage in which an Orthodox bishop seems to echo, in reverse, some of Reardon’s thinking:

Bishop Demetrios of Mokissos, chancellor of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago, said he doesn’t foresee such a boycott in Chicago. He even questions whether it’s legal.

“I can’t imagine any of our priests doing that,” he said. “It hasn’t happened yet and I don’t anticipate it happening to make a political statement,” he said.

That’s a really important quote.

I would stress that this statement by a Greek Orthodox bishop in no way represents an endorsement of Obergefell, but it clear indicates that there will be theological and legal debates ahead ”“ inside Eastern Orthodoxy in this land and in other sanctuaries ”“ about how priests should handle this clash between state and church.

In other words, this quote should have been near the top of the Tribune report and backed with more material explaining, on the record when possible, the views of those ”“ in Orthodoxy and elsewhere ”“ who have rejected Reardon’s strategy.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Ecclesiology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Ordained, Orthodox Church, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, State Government, Theology

Down Under, Anglicans respond to an interesting Presbyterian Same-sex Marriage vote

Senior Anglican leaders have responded to a move by the Presbyterian Church in NSW to consider ministers handing back their marriage licences if marriage is redefined to include same-sex couples.

Kevin Murray, the moderator of the NSW Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Australia, wrote to churches about debate at the annual assembly in Sydney last week.

“The Assembly considered what the church should do if marriage is redefined in Australia. It decided to ask the General Assembly of Australia to withdraw the whole church from the Marriage Act, so that our ministers could no longer solemnise marriages under the Marriage Act.” Mr Murray said. “The report which recommended this decision argued that if the Federal Government were to redefine marriage to include same-sex marriage then it would corrupt a good gift of God into a wrong. That would mean that ministers would then be acting for the government in a system which did not reflect the biblical view of marriage. In this case the positive reason for our co-operation with the Marriage Act would have been removed, and we would be better to avoid association with evil by no longer acting as celebrants.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Provinces, Australia / NZ, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Presbyterian, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology

Bishop Terry Kelshaw RIP

Terry Kelshaw as he was then known was my teacher of pastoral theology at Trinity School for Ministry back in the mid 1980’s. He was tirelessly energetic and went out of his way to be encouraging, especially to me.

My understanding is that he died yesterday at his home in Albuquerque, New Mexico, surrounded by his family and prayer.

An interesting and mostly unnoticed part of Bishop Kelshaw’s ministry in 2014 is described here–KSH.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Death / Burial / Funerals, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Seminary / Theological Education, Theology

(NYT) A Mother’s Anguished Choice to Flee Myanmar and Leave One Child Behind

Carrying one child in her arm, a second on her back and holding the hand of a third, Hasinah Izhar waded waist-deep through a mangrove swamp into the Bay of Bengal, toward a fishing boat bobbing in the dusk.

“Troops are coming, troops are coming,” the smuggler said. “Get on the boat quickly.”

If she was going to change her mind, she would have to do it now.

Ms. Izhar, 33, had reached the muddy shore after sneaking down the dirt paths and around the fish ponds of western Myanmar, where she and about one million other members of the Rohingya minority are stateless, shunned and persecuted for their Muslim faith.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anthropology, Asia, Children, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Islam, Marriage & Family, Myanmar/Burma, Other Faiths, Pastoral Theology, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology, Women

(AP) Bombs at A Mosque And Restaurant in Nigerian City of Jos Kill 44

Two bombs blamed on the Islamic extremist group Boko Haram exploded at a crowded mosque and an elite Muslim restaurant in Nigeria’s central city of Jos, killing 44 people, officials said Monday.

Sixty-seven other people were wounded and were being treated at hospitals, said National Emergency Management Agency coordinator Abdussalam Mohammed.

The explosion at the Yantaya Mosque came as leading cleric Sani Yahaya of the Jama’atu Izalatul Bidia organization, which preaches peaceful coexistence of all religions, was addressing a crowd during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, according to survivors, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Ethics / Moral Theology, Islam, Muslim-Christian relations, Nigeria, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

(ESPNFC) Carli Lloyd Hat Trick Leads U.S. Women To First World Cup Title In 16 Years

The wait is over for the United States.

The reign is over for Japan.

On the strength of Carli Lloyd’s first-half hat trick and goals from Lauren Holiday and Tobin Heath, the United States beat Japan 5-2 in Sunday’s World Cup final. As a result, for the first time since 1999, the United States holds the sport’s most important trophy.

It was the second consecutive win for the United States against Japan in the final of a major tournament, following a win in the gold medal match of the 2012 Olympics, and it leaves the Americans in possession of both of the major titles in women’s soccer for the first time since 1999, a year that now shares status as the American high-water mark.

Read it all.

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

A Short description of Jan Hus from the Virtual Museum of Protestantism

He protested against the ecclesiastical system, he preached in favour of reform in the Church and advocated a return to the poverty recommended by the Scriptures. Indeed, the Scriptures were the only rule and every manhad the right to study them. In Questio de indulgentis (1412) he denounced the indulgences.

He admired Wyclif’s writings and defended him when he was condemned as a heretic. He was excommunicated. An interdict was pronounced over Prague and he had to leave it and go to southern Bohemia, where he preached and wrote theological treatises, notably the Tractatus de ecclesia (1413), known as « The Church ».

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, Church History, Czech Republic, Europe

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Jan Hus

Faithful God, who didst give Jan Hus the courage to confess thy truth and recall thy Church to the image of Christ: Enable us, inspired by his example, to bear witness against corruption and never cease to pray for our enemies, that we may prove faithful followers of our Savior Jesus Christ; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, Church History, Czech Republic, Europe, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day from L. E. H. Stephens-Hodge

O God, who in thy fatherly love hast called us that we should inherit a blessing: Give to us also, we pray thee, the blessing of wholesome speech and loving deed; that following always that which is good, we may do and suffer all that thou willest; in the name and strength of Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.

–Psalm 1:1-3

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

CofE Evangelical Council Issues Call to Prayer for Leadership Repentance and Faithfulness

From the Church of England Evangelical Council
…Recently there have been a number of public pronouncements and actions that undermine or are a direct challenge to the authority of Holy Scripture and the faith revealed in it and expressed in the tradition and teaching of the Church of England. These include :

1. Calls for God to be referred to as ‘she’ which are a direct challenge to the revelation in the Scriptures that God has given of Himself, as Father and Son. God is neither male nor female and beyond human understanding of gender, but the inspired revelation we have received does not allow us the liberty to describe Him as Her, and any attempts to pray to God as our ‘mother in heaven’ are to be resisted.

2. A serving Bishop appearing in an employment tribunal to oppose a colleague who is upholding church teaching and discipline (which does not endorse same-sex marriage) and, in his testimony, describing the canonical definition of marriage as ‘lousy’.

3. The endorsement of Gay Pride through a public prayer of blessing on the recent march outside the Minster Church of the Northern Province.

4. The Shared Conversations as constructed are revealing that the traditional view on same sex relationships is not held by a large proportion of the diocesan representatives and comes across as a minority view. The overarching question and theme for the Conversations is the church’s response to the changes in our culture, and not a study of the provided texts and existing teaching of the Church of England. We are told that no particular outcome is expected or sought by these conversations, but the current position of the Church of England and the Anglican Communion, arising out of the plain meaning of the scriptural texts, appears to be poorly represented by the diocesan representatives and this is of real concern, as we had hoped for a proper conversation and engagement.

Faced with the gap between these examples and the publically stated adherence of all clergy to the doctrinal base of the Church of England, we reaffirm and celebrate that base as the inheritance of the Church of England. We believe that all called into leadership should give and maintain their assent to it, and be guided by it, in their teaching and ministry.

We therefore invite evangelicals in all the English Dioceses to renew a commitment to praying…

Read it all

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

Statement from the Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Dallas

…If marriage has been established by God in creation, as most of the world’s Anglicans believe, then no Church council or civil court can ever redefine marriage. This week’s attempt to do so will cause considerable concern worldwide, acknowledged by the Archbishop of Canterbury in his recent expression of “deep concern” about how the Episcopal Church’s actions will add to the stress and distress throughout the Anglican Communion. Of course, the constitution of the Episcopal Church defines us as “a constituent member of the Anglican Communion, a Fellowship within the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, of those duly constituted Dioceses, Provinces, and regional Churches in communion with the See of Canterbury, upholding and propagating the historic Faith and Order as set forth in the Book of Common Prayer.” The Diocese of Dallas desires and intends to live out these words by respecting the Communion’s teaching on marriage and by upholding the Book of Common Prayer and the authority of God’s Word. We are grateful for the General Convention’s appropriate acknowledgement that trial rites will not be used in a diocese without the permission of the Diocesan Bishop.

The Diocese of Dallas has a canon on marriage that reads, in part, that “As used in this Diocese, the terms ”˜Holy Matrimony’ and ”˜Marriage’ shall refer to the exclusive physical and spiritual union of one man and one woman, by mutual consent of the heart, mind and will, and with the intent that it be lifelong.
The blessing of sexual relationships between persons of the same sex is prohibited in churches, missions and congregations of this Diocese; and clergy persons resident or licensed in this Diocese are prohibited from performing such blessings in any venue.”…

Read it all [pdf]

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

A Lovely LA Times Profile of Charleston SC Mayor Joe Riley– 'you have to … find a path forward'

Riley, who is white, can still hear the sobs and the moans as families learned that their loved ones would never be coming home.

He has attended each funeral.

He has assailed the violence as a product of racism and hate.

“The only reason someone could walk into a church and shoot people praying is out of hate,” Riley said hours after the killings, flanked by members of the black community. “It is the most dastardly act that one could possibly imagine.”

His forthright statements reminded many in this stately city of 130,000 why they keep reelecting him.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, City Government, Politics in General

Dr. D.A. Carson on the recent Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage (Audio)

Justin taylor provides a helpful summary which begins:Tony Reinke asks New Testament scholar and Gospel Coalition president D. A. Carson the following questions:

[1] Generally speaking, what would you say to someone who came up and asked you for your initial thoughts about the SCOTUS ruling?

[2] Does this landmark ruling today mark a new era for the church in America?

[3] What would you say to Christians who feel angry and betrayed by the courts for this ruling?…

Read it all and listen to the whole 18 minute recording.

Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Evangelicals, Other Churches, Theology

(Living Text) ACNA Task Force on Holy Orders Update ”“ June 2015

I think the key takeaway is the following two sentences:

It remains to be seen whether or not the issue of women’s ordination can be resolved in any direction beyond the status quo, apart from making judgments about these divergent views, thereby further defining holy orders for the whole church. The bishops and church will need to consider the tension between the values of liberty and unity in this regard.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Theology, Women

Chile Defeats Argentina in Penalty Shootout to Win Soccer’s Copa America

The wait is finally over for Chile, while the title drought continues for Argentina.

Goalkeeper Claudio Bravo made a save and striker Alexis Sanchez converted the winning penalty, as the hosts defeated Argentina 4-1 in a shootout after a 0-0 draw after extra time in the Copa America final on Saturday, finally winning their first major tournament.

The result extended Argentina’s 22-year title drought, and the country’s star player Lionel Messi will continue to hear criticism for his lackluster play with the national team.

In the shootout, Bravo stopped Ever Banega’s low shot by diving to his left to make the save, while earlier, Gonzalo Higuain also missed for Argentina, sending his shot over the crossbar.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Argentina, Chile, Men, South America, Sports

A Heartbreaking ([London] Times) article on Julie Nicholson, mother of one of the 7/7 victims

I am left with the sense that in many ways Nicholson’s own life stopped that day. Faith, career and marriage all ended soon afterwards and for years after the bombings she would take the train from Bristol to London, travel to Edgware Road Tube station and stare into the tunnel where her daughter died.

She says she will never forgive Mohammad Sidique Khan, her daughter’s killer. How does she feel when she sees a picture of him today?

“There’s a moment in the film when Emily Watson, as me, throws a bottle of wine at the television screen when his face appears on it. I feel that I could still throw that wine.”

Early in our conversation, while discussing her writing and what it has brought her, I clumsily use the word “catharsis”. Nicholson interrupts: “I wouldn’t call it that. After catharsis there is a sense of renewal and I don’t feel renewed. I’m still grieving deeply. I will be until I take my last breath.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anthropology, Children, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence