Daily Archives: July 12, 2015

Nena Jackson reports on the Alpha Global Leadership Conference in London May 2-6, 2015

Read it all (page 12).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * South Carolina, Anglican Provinces, Christology, Church of England (CoE), Evangelism and Church Growth, Parish Ministry, Soteriology, Theology

Lord George Carey's Sermon at the Ordination of Felix Smith

Yesterday, Felix, a special touch was felt by you as a number of us surrounded you and placed our hands on your head. If you have a recollection of someone pressing your ear, that was me! That moment of ordination was not a kind of mysterious masonic initiation ceremony but an incorporation in an apostolic calling that, wonderfully, takes us back to the very times of the Lord.

Just over fifty years ago, the great Austin Farrer, surely one of the greatest Anglican theologians of the 20th century, preached at the Ordination of a priest and used these words:

”˜Here before you is a new made priest; and what does he do? What place does he hold in the mighty purposes of God? The answer is before you. He is not special in himself, he is special because the sacraments are special. Apples don’t drop from the sky, they grow on apple trees. And sacraments don’t hurtle down here, they grow on the great planting tree of the Apostles’ ministry; the tree planted by Christ when he called twelve men and made them his ambassadors; a tree which has grown and spread and thrown its arms out through history. So, a priest is a living stem, bearing sacraments as its fruit, to give you the body and blood of Christ. And that’s not all, the man who bears the sacrament is sacramental himself. He is, one might almost say, a walking sacrament’.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Sacramental Theology, Theology

(The Tablet) Bishop Alan Smith–Myths and broken promises around Sunday trading

Chancellor George Osborne’s Budget on Wednesday included a proposal to allow local control over liberalising Sunday trading.

The campaign in the 1990s for more Sunday trading was presented as a matter of freedom: “We should be able to shop on Sunday if we want,” but it was not about creating a more just society ”“ it was about trying to find business advantage. A determined lobby successfully argued against total deregulation to preserve some of the value of a shared day off and some protection for retail workers and associated employees.

The legislation, which was passed in 1994, was a compromise which tried to balance rights and opportunities for all sections of society. That must still be the objective today.

Retail and associated workers are hardly well off, and it is they who will pay the price of longer opening hours on Sundays. While most of their bosses will still enjoy weekends off, many retail workers already find they have no choice over Sunday working. They have lost, for a large part, the premium payments they enjoyed at first. In addition, they will face more childcare costs, which will probably be more expensive on a Sunday, or lose precious family time.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Economics, Politics, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Theology

Novak Djokovic defeats Roger Federer in the 2015 Wimbledon final, earning his 9th Grand Slam victory

What an amazing second set tiebreaker!

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, England / UK, Europe, Men, Serbia, Sports, Switzerland

PBS' Religion and Ethics Newsweekly–Moving Beyond the Confederate Flag

KIM LAWTON, managing editor: What have the events in South Carolina, the debate over the flag and also the tragic shooting in the church””what have they revealed about where we are on these issues?

PROFESSOR TRULEAR: I think they reveal two things, really, and they’re parallel tracks unfortunately, but hopefully they’ll merge up in the distance like regular railroad tracks do. One is uncovered the depth of racism in our country and the ways in which our nation still remains deeply divided. But it’s also uncovered some real people of goodwill. A spirit of forgiveness that started with the families forgiving the young man that shot their family members. And also groups of people from across the country that are holding interfaith rallies and prayer vigils for healing of this racial divide that we have. I don’t think he started, wanted to start a race war. I think we already have the division in place. He’s uncovered it, and now we’re working very hard to try to do some healing.

LAWTON: And what’s the role of the faith community in doing that healing?

PROFESSOR TRULEAR: The faith community is founded on forgiveness.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * South Carolina, America/U.S.A., History, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

A Weekly Standard Profile of Methodist Theologian Thomas Oden

A Change of Heart recounts his dramatic turnabout. After he arrived at Drew University in 1970, his older colleague, the former Communist Will Herberg””by then writing for National Review, having returned to his own Jewish faith at Reinhold Niebuhr’s urging””implored Oden to read the early church fathers before presumptuously rejecting their faith. After months in the library absorbing Sts. Athanasius, Vincent, and Augustine, among others, Oden was stunned by their persuasive powers, which he credited to the Holy Spirit. He would spend his next three decades at Drew as a respected but lonely voice for Christian orthodoxy, tutoring several generations of “young fogey” orthodox scholars and clergy.

No less important, Oden connected with a wider network of conservative religious voices who shared his critique of liberal modernity, including the Vatican theologian Joseph Ratzinger””who, of course, would become Pope Benedict XVI and whom Oden credits for inspiring his Ancient Christian Commentary project””and the Lutheran-turned-Roman-Catholic Richard John Neuhaus, who joined Oden in the ecumenical project of Evangelicals and Catholics Together. Oden also befriended Avery Dulles, the Catholic-priest son of John Foster Dulles who excelled as a crisply orthodox theologian and became a cardinal.

Unlike other Protestant intellectuals who turned conservative in collaboration with Catholic thinkers, Oden seems never to have been seriously tempted to leave Wesley for Rome. He insists that he would never leave the church that baptized him, which means the small-town Methodism of Depression-era Oklahoma, where he was shaped by the preaching, prayers, and hymn-singing of traditional Wesleyan piety.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Church History, Methodist, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Seminary / Theological Education, Theology

(FT) Simon Kuper–Our deadliest problem? Traffic, Not terrorism

If humanity wants some quick wins, a good place to start would be road accidents. Traffic killed 1.24 million people in 2010, says the World Health Organisation. That’s about double the toll of homicides and armed conflict combined. Yet we could save many of these lives quite easily. Our failure to do so is in part a simple failure of imagination.

“Road traffic injuries have been neglected from the global health agenda”‰.”‰.”‰.”‰despite being predictable and largely preventable,” says the WHO. Car crashes aren’t considered news precisely because they are routine, remarks the Dutch writer Joris Luyendijk. He says that although road accidents are “the biggest bloodbath in the Arab world”, media instead focus on the much smaller bloodbath of terrorism.

Terrorists killed nearly 18,000 people worldwide in 2013, says the Institute for Economics and Peace. That’s 1.5 per cent of the number killed by traffic. Of course, terrorism might one day escalate to apocalyptic proportions, but then pundits have been predicting that since 2001. Meanwhile, with ever more cars sold, roads will soon probably kill more people than either Aids or tuberculosis.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Death / Burial / Funerals, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Parish Ministry, Politics in General, Terrorism, Theology, Travel

A Prayer to Begin the Day from Henry Alford

O Lord Jesus Christ, into whose death we have been baptized: Grant, we beseech thee, that like as thou wast raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we may walk in newness of life; that having been planted in the likeness of thy death, we may be also in the likeness of thy resurrection; for the glory of thy holy name.

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord from the heavens,
praise him in the heights!
Praise him, all his angels,
praise him, all his host!

Praise him, sun and moon,
praise him, all you shining stars!
Praise him, you highest heavens,
and you waters above the heavens!
Let them praise the name of the Lord!
For he commanded and they were created.
And he established them for ever and ever;
he fixed their bounds which cannot be passed.

–Psalm 148:1-3

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Bishop Adebola Ademowo–Buhari is going to do well, give him time

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Anglican Provinces, Church of Nigeria, Nigeria, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

(Guardian) Giles Fraser–Money is the only god the Tories want us to worship on a Sunday

A strict monotheist, Soubry wants us to worship the god of finance on a Sunday. All other gods must be smashed, smeared, ridiculed. Only the god of money deserves our true and unquestioning obedience. Well, I do wish she’d stop ramming her religion down our throats. I don’t want to be more productive. I want to lie about on the sofa watching rubbish TV. Or chat aimlessly to the people I love. Or just sit under a tree and do nothing. These are perfectly respectable things to do.

So why is Sunday special? The Christian answer is more complicated than expected. Early Christians moved their “day of rest” from the seventh day of the week to the first day, from Saturday to Sunday. Despite the fourth commandment mandating Saturday, ie seventh day, sabbath observance, this move was partly a way of honouring the resurrection, which happened “on the first day of the week”; partly about distinguishing Christianity from Judaism; and partly a way of colonising the posh Roman sun-worshipping day.

But it also conveniently distanced Christianity, and its new imperial friends, from all that dangerously redistributive stuff about the jubilee, to which the sabbath is fundamentally connected. For the seventh day of the week corresponded to the seventh day of creation, when God rested ”“ and from this derives: 1) rest on the seventh day; 2) rest for the land on the seventh year (which on the Jewish calender is this year); and 3) the forgiveness of all debts ”“ the jubilee ”“ on the seventh times seventh year.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anthropology, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology

Behind the Scenes with Dwight Eisenhower, Billy Graham, and the Makers of US Civil Religion

Kevin Kruse’s Under God: How Corporate American Invented Christian America is an engaging and important book with a somewhat misleading central argument.

Kruse explains how many things Americans take for granted came to be: the presence of “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance, the adoption of “In God We Trust” as a national motto, the annual “presidential” prayer breakfast, and the presidential practice of ending speeches with “may God bless America.” Although “In God We Trust” has a longer history, many elements of American civil religion have their roots not in the American founding but in the more recent past.

Nor did expressions of public piety bubble up from the pews. Instead, a coalition of politically conservative business leaders forged ties with likeminded ministers, evangelists, and politicians to fight against New Deal liberalism, Communism, and immorality. Kruse describes their agenda as “Christan libertarianism.” Many individuals played leading roles in this cause: the Congregationalist minister James Fifield, Goodwill Industries founder Abraham Vereide, philanthropist J. Howard Pew, Ronald Reagan, Walt Disney. But the two foremost heroes (or villains, depending on your perspective) were Dwight Eisenhower and Billy Graham.

Read it all from Christianity Today.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Books, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Office of the President, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology

(NC Reporter) Pope Francis Francis and His Evangelical Allies

For years Catholics and evangelical Protestants have found common cause especially in opposing abortion and homosexual practice, including gay marriage and challenges to Christian privilege. They have also stood together to assert their right to conscientiously object to laws they find morally repugnant.

But does this mean they’re friends? Jamie Manson’s sharp-eyed piece on the pope’s embrace of some of the more visible evangelical figures suggests it is so. If that is the case, it must be a rather narrow version of friendship that collides with the pope’s major message in several ways.

Rick Warren , Tony Perkins, Jim Robison and the others identified as Francis’ amigos are an unblended lot. They act on their individual agendas (evangelicalism being perhaps the truest form of free enterprise extant) and not only compete for audience but frequently stir mutual friction. They publicly stand four square against shared moral evils, however, and that alone makes for friendships of convenience with official Catholicism. Warren has become the media go-to preacher for his image as the “new evangelical” who shows sympathy with broader social causes like environmentalism, but so far that advocacy has barely shown itself.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Globalization, Other Churches, Pope Francis, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Theology

(Western Star) Former bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Western Newfoundland releases memoirs

The autobiography discusses his early life growing up in Fogo during hard times in the 1930s and ’40s and tells how he went on to become one of Newfoundland and Labrador’s most respected clergymen.

“I thought, by writing my story, it might be of some help to some young people today who might be having a struggle getting going to follow their dream or what they want to do in life,” he said in an interview. “Some might be inclined to give up but my advice is to never give up. You have to have confidence in yourself and work hard at it and look for the resources that can help you.”

In a way, “Cut From the Cloth of Fogo” is Payne’s way of thanking all of those who helped and supported him as he forged through his early struggles to accomplish all he did in his life. Not just about him, the longest chapter is about the eight years he spent in Happy Valley-Goose Bay area and how that town came into its own.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Books, Canada, History, Religion & Culture