Daily Archives: July 14, 2015

Talks from the International Catholic Congress of Anglicans – Fort Worth July 13th to 17th

Keynote Adresses:
Archbishop Valentino Mokiwa ”“ Frank Weston and the Foundations for Revival
Dr. Edith Humphrey ”“ The Nature of the Church: Apostolic, Conciliar, and Concrete
Bp. Keith Ackerman ”“ The Anglo-Catholic Congresses and Restoring the Anglican Mind
Bp. Ray Sutton ”“ Theology of the Real Presence
Bp. Michael Nazir Ali ”“ The Necessity of Unity in Truth for the Church’s Mission
Bp. John Hind ”“ Catholic Anglicans and the Future of Ecumenism
Event Details and List of Speakers and Conference Brochure [pdf] and Schedule
Keynote Addresses:

Archbishop Valentino Mokiwa: Frank Weston and the Foundations for Revival [Tues am]

Bishop Ray Sutton: Theology of Real Presence [Tues pm]

Dr Edith Humphrey: The Nature of the Church: Apostolic, Conciliar and Concrete [Weds am]

Bishop Michael Nazir Ali: The necessity of Unity in Truth for the Church’s Mission [Weds pm]

Bishop Keith Ackerman ”“ The Anglo-Catholic Congresses and Restoring the Anglican Mind [Thurs am]

Bishop John Hind – Anglican Catholics and the Future of Ecumenism [Thurs pm]

Sermon Addresses:

Bishop Keith Ackerman [Mon pm]

Archbishop Foley Beach [Tues am]

Archbishop Duncan [Wed am]

Bishop Ray Sutton – Sermon at Closing Eucharist [Fri pm]

Other Addresses:

Introduction: Interview with Bishop Keith Ackerman

Dr Hugh Pratt: A layman’s perspective [Thurs pm breakout session]

Alice Linsley [Thurs pm Banquest Speaker]

Videos of talks available thanks to Kevin Kallsen at Anglican TV

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life

(Peter Mullen) The meaning of TEC

On the basis of the well-known fact that those who ignore history are condemned to repeat it, we should ask first what has been going on in the English church in the last half century which has ”“ shall we say ”“ coincided with its collapse. Let me mention a few of what seem to me to be the most significant features.

The last fifty years have seen the rise of theological reductionism. Bluntly, this means that ancient doctrines, always previously proclaimed as true and the foundational beliefs of the church have been, in the jargon, demythologised. So Jesus was not born of a virgin and he didn’t rise from the dead. His miracles were really “acted parables” ”“ that is more jargon for the claim that they didn’t actually happen.

Concurrent with theological reductionism has run a fifty years programme of liturgical “reform” which has seen the discarding of The King James Bible and The Book of Common Prayer. This means that there is no longer observance of the rule that all the realm shall have one use. In fact, these changes mean that you have no idea what you’re going to find in a church service until the service begins. It’s a sort of churchy babel in which no two churches do the same thing and many priests and ministers seem to do as they like.

In addition to these changes, the bishops, the clergy and the synod have endorsed the secular mores of the age.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, - Anglican: Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Episcopal Church (TEC), Evangelism and Church Growth, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Theology

(AP) Hawaii eases process to switch gender on birth certificates

Hawaii Gov. David Ige has signed a bill that will allow transgender men and women to more easily change the gender on their birth certificate.

The new law eliminates the requirement that someone must undergo gender reassignment surgery before officially making the switch. Ige signed the bill Monday.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Politics in General, Psychology, Sexuality, State Government, Theology

(Anglican Ink) Misconduct complaint filed against Bishop Jon Bruno

The Bishop of Los Angeles urged members of St James the Great Episcopal Church to trust him, because he was their bishop and his word was his bond. However, members of the Newport Beach, Cal., parish have now filed a complaint under the Episcopal Church’s disciplinary canons against the Rt. Rev. J. Jon Bruno alleging fraud, lying, abuse of authority, corruption and conduct unbecoming a member of the clergy.

On 6 July 2015 members of the Orange County congregation, who have been locked out of their church since the beginning of July on the orders of the bishop, filed a complaint under Title IV alleging “140 canon violations” by their bishop.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Los Angeles, Theology

(The Week) Damon Linker–How liberalism became an intolerant dogma

My own cherished topic is this: Liberalism’s decline from a political philosophy of pluralism into a rigidly intolerant dogma.

The decline is especially pronounced on a range of issues wrapped up with religion and sex. For a time, electoral self-interest kept these intolerant tendencies in check, since the strongly liberal position on social issues was clearly a minority view. But the cultural shift during the Obama years that has led a majority of Americans to support gay marriage seems to have opened the floodgates to an ugly triumphalism on the left.

The result is a dogmatic form of liberalism that threatens to poison American civic life for the foreseeable future. Conservative Reihan Salam describes it, only somewhat hyperbolically, as a form of “weaponized secularism.”

The rise of dogmatic liberalism is the American left-wing expression of the broader trend that Mark Lilla identified in a recent blockbuster essay for The New Republic. The reigning dogma of our time, according to Lilla, is libertarianism….

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Philosophy, Politics in General, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology

(B+C) Jonathan Reimer–Ambrose, Augustine, and the "lived experience" of 4th-century baptism

Early on the morning of Easter 387, just after dawn, the man whom history would come to know as “Augustine of Hippo” was baptized, along with a small group of fellow catechumens, in the large, octagonal baptistery behind Milan’s imposing Basilica Nova. The baptism itself, as well as the extensive instruction preceding and following it, was performed by another memorable historical figure: the tenacious and formidable bishop “Ambrose of Milan.” The relationship between these two towering figures of church history is the subject of Garry Wills’ Font of Life. Curiously, the relationship he describes was not based on personal affinity or compatibility of belief. Rather, according to Wills, the story of Ambrose and Augustine was “a tangled one, full of surprises,” a strange admixture of mystagogical initiation and retrospective invocation, deeply rooted in the nuances of early Christian liturgical practice and the conflicts of ecclesiastical politics. In this truly foreign context, Wills masterfully steers his historical reconstruction, artfully avoiding the twin shoals of reductive simplicity and overwhelming complexity by anchoring his narrative in the “sacred drama” of 4th-century baptism. In this, Wills does his readers a great service, bringing to life much of the ritual and symbolism surrounding the practice of late antique Christian initiation.
James J. O’Donnell has noted””at the outset of his three-volume commentary on Augustine’s Confessions””the lamentable tendency of most modern readers to anachronistically undervalue the “visceral reverence for cult that all late antique men and women felt.”[1] We undervalue cult, liturgy, and ritual, O’Donnell argues, both because of the prejudice of our time, which tends to purge these foreign elements from the beliefs of our spiritual forebears, and because of the paucity of remaining evidence for the specifics of these highly guarded practices. In the late 4th century, it was customary for the central liturgical act of Christian worship (the Eucharist) as well as for key pieces of Christian teaching (the Apostle’s Creed, the Lord’s Prayer) to be withheld from both non-Christians and catechumens, through a practice known as the disciplina arcani, the “discipline of the secret.” Even Augustine, recounting his own baptismal experience in the 9th book of his Confessions, avoids describing the rite itself, preferring instead to comment on how he was moved by the singing of hymns. As there is clear attestation that much of late antique Christian teaching and practice relied heavily upon these “oral” and “performative” traditions of liturgy and sacrament, all too often veiled in silence, the church historian is faced with the dilemma of trying to reconstruct the Christianity of this period while missing key pieces of the puzzle.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Baptism, Books, Church History, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Sacramental Theology, Theology

Ancient Briton on the Church in Wales–Statistics of Omission

The video in my 24 June entry, + Richard outlines his survival strategy, gave some clues to the dismemberment of the Church in Wales as the bishops implement Abp Barry Morgan’s strategy for their survival, ie, retain all the bishops with their expensive diocesan structures, get rid of paid parish clergy and fool the laity into running the ministry areas nobody wants apart from Barry and his bench sitters.

Despite all Dr Morgan’s political posturing the secularised Church in Wales (CinW) is barely significant in Anglicanism representing less than 0.04% of the Communion. If he were to be represented in the above chart in proportion to the average number of people attending CinW services the Archbishop of Wales would be invisible. According to CinW published figures the average adult Sunday attendance in Wales is 31,048 (Table 1 here) out of a population of 3,063,456 (1%). With seven bishops supported that works out at a mere 4,435 attendees per bishop.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of Wales, England / UK, Religion & Culture, Theology, Wales

(CC) Norman Wirzba–All creatures: Ecology and the eyes of faith

Christians have come lately and weakly to the causes of environmental healing and restoration. When environmental activists in the 1960s noted that Christianity bore a major responsibility for our environmental crises, the vast majority of Christians remained unmoved. In the curricula of leading institutions of theological education in the 1980s, ecological concerns barely made an appearance. Now, roughly 30 years later, it’s still not uncommon to find Christians who are either in denial or fail to see how the environmental problems of our day are distinctly theological concerns.

How can this be? How can one affirm God the Creator and at the same time degrade the health and vitality of God’s creation? We can offer many reasons to explain this contradictory state of affairs, but I believe that our problem goes to the manners and methods of theological practice itself, so that even when theologians turn their attention to ecological concerns, they often have considerable difficulty finding anything helpful to say other than “Come on, people. It’s time to take care of creation!” In other words, the problem is theology’s inadequate form and function. The destruction of the earth is, among other things, a theological catastrophe, and Christian apathy is a sign that theological reflection has lost its way.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Climate Change, Weather, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Theology

(Telegraph) Jonathan Leigh–'Music education is vital in today's pressured world'

In a more ethereal sense, singing is an influence for a lifetime. Sometimes it has been derided as not cool but the real truth is that it is something beyond and altogether different; a gift from nowhere.

Well rehearsed, like all the best things in life, it becomes time to appreciate something deep and far more than oneself. It is an ultimate in sustained concentration, a skill too often denied at times by multitasking emptiness, in a rushed existence of stressed over-communication.

The last generation has witnessed the switch to an existence where pace of life is often overwhelming.

Music, whatever genre, is timeless in what it means. Recent reflections on British values are seldom encapsulated in the great Anglican tradition of making time in the present.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, History, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Music, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Theology

Urgent action needed on climate change, urges Church of England General Synod

Urgent action is needed to tackle climate change the General Synod pledged today in a wide ranging motion acknowledging that global warming is disproportionately affecting the world’s poorest.

Members overwhelmingly backed a call for world leaders to seek to limit the global rise in average temperatures to a maximum of 2 C – widely considered to be the threshold above which the impacts of climate change will be the most severe.

The motion on combating climate change, the Paris climate change conference and the mission of the Church, included a pledge to draw attention to an initiative to pray and fast for the success of the Paris talks.

The Bishop of Salisbury, Nicholas Holtam, the Church of England’s lead bishop on the environment, introducing the motion, said: “In the last 150 years we have burned fossil fuels that took one billion years to lay down in the earth. The earth cannot sustain this level of consumption. This is about our ‘reading the signs of the times’ and ‘seeking the common good’.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Theology

(Bloomberg) Iran, World Powers Have Reached Nuclear Agreement

Iran and six world powers sealed a historic accord to curb the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program in return for ending sanctions, capping two years of tough diplomacy with the biggest breakthrough in relations in decades.

Diplomats reached the agreement in Vienna in their 18th day of talks, officials involved in the negotiations said. A final meeting was scheduled to start at 10:30 a.m. local time.

The deal, if approved by the U.S. Congress, promises to end a 12-year standoff that has crippled Iran’s economy and drawn threats of military action from the U.S. and Israel. Full implementation would take months and be contingent on the pace at which Iran meets its obligations. It would enable the oil-rich nation to ramp up energy exports, access international funding and open its doors to global investors.

“This is probably going to go down in history as one of the biggest diplomatic successes of the century,” Ellie Geranmayeh, a policy fellow at the European Council of Foreign Relations, said by phone from London.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Defense, National Security, Military, Foreign Relations, History, House of Representatives, Iran, Middle East, Office of the President, Politics in General, Science & Technology, Senate

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

Almighty God, who hast set thy law of love ever before us: Grant us thy grace that we may never harbour any resentment or ill-feeling in our hearts, but seek at all times the way of reconciliation and peace, according to the teaching of thy Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

O LORD, I love the habitation of thy house, and the place where thy glory dwells.

–Psalm 26:8

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Economist Erasmus Blog) The euro, theology and values–The meaning of redemption

When big questions, like the future of Europe, hang in the balance, it can be tempting to toy with grand theories about the ways in which religion affects culture and economics. A famous one was put forward by Max Weber (pictured), who posited a link between capitalism and Protestant ideas of guilt and salvation. Such theories usually contain a grain of truth, but religious determinism shouldn’t be pushed too far because there are always exceptions.

Still, as religious-determinist theories go, an interesting one was put forward by Giles Fraser, a well-known left-wing priest of the Church of England, in a recent radio broadcast. He suggested that behind the financial standoff between Greece and Germany, there was a theological difference (between western and eastern Christians) in the understanding of how humans are reconciled with God.

As Mr Fraser recalled, traditional Protestant and Catholic teaching has presented the self-sacrifice of Christ as the payment of a debt to God the Father. In this view, human sinfulness created a debt which simply had to be settled, but could not be repaid by humanity because of its fallen state; so the Son of God stepped in and took care of that vast obligation. For Orthodox theologians, this wrongly portrays God the Father as a sort of heavenly debt-collector who is himself constrained by some iron necessity; they prefer to see the passion story as an act of mercy by a God who is free. Over-simplifying only a little, Mr Fraser observed: “the idea that the cross is some sort of cosmic pay-back for human sin [reflects] a no-pain-no-gain obsession with suffering,” from an eastern Christian viewpoint.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Christology, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Foreign Relations, G20, Germany, Greece, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Soteriology, The Banking System/Sector, Theology

(CSM) Military vets fight a new war worth fighting–against child pornography

[Corporal Justin] Gaertner had lost his legs, and also the sense of camaraderie, passion, and meaning that he had found in his job and among his fellow soldiers. While in rehab after his injuries, he quietly lobbied to return to Afghanistan, “but only if I could get my metal detector back.” The military declined this request.

Yet on a bright afternoon last month, Gaertner gained a new set of comrades defined by a new sense of purpose as 22 more military veterans were sworn into the Human Exploitation Rescue Operative (HERO) Corps in Washington.

Their purpose: to use the skills they have honed in combat ”“ where they have been called to look, undeterred, upon the gruesome and shocking ”“ for a new front in the war against child predators.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Blogging & the Internet, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Military / Armed Forces, Pornography, Science & Technology, Theology

(Telegraph) Nigeria's Buhari sacks top military chiefs as Boko Haram fight escalates

Muhammadu Buhari, the Nigerian president, has sacked the country’s army, air force and naval chiefs after allegations of widespread human rights abuses by troops and a surge in violence by Boko Haram insurgents in the north of the country.

Mr Buhari, a former military dictator who ran Nigeria with an iron fist in the 1980s, had pledged in his inauguration speech in May to reform the armed forces but criticism of his failure to fulfil the pledge after almost two months in office was starting to grow.

The president has also moved Nigeria’s defence command centre to Maiduguri, the birthplace of Boko Haram, and has been pushing for the rapid deployment of a new, regional military force to combat the jihadi sect.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Nigeria, Politics in General, Terrorism

(First Things) Robert Wuthnow Discusses Some Serious Flaws in polling about US Religion

Of course, everything turns on the accuracy of the surveys. Most of us, not being statisticians, more or less take them on faith. If Wuthnow is right, though, our faith is misguided. He points out that many surveys of American religion have serious methodological flaws. For example, religion does not always lend itself to straightforward yes/no questions of the sort surveyors ask. In addition, pollsters sometimes fail to account for regional and racial variations.

Most important, response rates are very low. The typical response rate nowadays is about nine or 10 percent, and rarely exceeds 15 percent. “In other words,” Wuthnow writes, “upwards of 90 percent of the people who should have been included in a poll for it to be nationally representative are missing. They were either unreachable or refused to participate.” With such poor response rates, it’s hard to know what the polls reveal about religion in America. This problem is compounded by the fact that the media present the results as accurate representations of what Americans believe””a misimpression that the polling industry, now worth a billion dollars a year, is understandably reluctant to correct””and by the fact that most of us “are unlikely to wade through obscure methodological appendices to learn if the response rate was respectable or not.”

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

UK's largest apprentice graduation to take place at Liverpool Cathedral this month

Around 1,000 apprentices from across Liverpool are set to take part in the UK’s largest graduation ceremony at the end of the month.

Organisers are keen to make sure attendance is as high as possible and have put out a call to make sure apprentices who are eligible should get signed up in time.

The ceremony will take place at the Anglican Cathedral on July 30 but Liverpool City Region Apprenticeship Hub, who are in charge of the event, say apprentices need to register by July 21 to guarantee their places.

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