Daily Archives: December 15, 2015

(Church Times) Oxford missioner’s tips to entice men to church hit a nerve

The author of the blog “Ten Tips for a Man-Friendly Christmas Eve Service”, which was removed from a diocesan site after an “unedifying” online debate, has defended its content.

The author, the Vicar of Stanford in the Vale with Goosey and Hatford, and Diocesan Missioner (Unreached Men), the Revd Paul Eddy, advised the employment of “masculine imagery and language”, the use of a video clip from an action film “as a metaphor”, and the presentation of “Christ the man rather than Christ the infant”.

Churches should “focus teaching on Christ’s power and mission”, he wrote, “rather than just his meekness and gentleness.”

The reaction online to the blog was mixed. Some described it on Twitter as “sexist” and “patronising”; others found the tips helpful.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Blogging & the Internet, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Men, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Theology

(NPR) Unbelief As A Belief System: Core Tenet For Christians' Fight For Religious Rights

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Ethics / Moral Theology, Evangelicals, Law & Legal Issues, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Secularism, Theology

(FP) What Really Happened on Burundi’s Bloody Friday

In the hours after rebel forces launched a pre-dawn assault on three military installations here on Friday, the embattled government claimed to have killed 79 insurgents in a joint military and police security operation. Some insurgents died in the initial clashes with the military, the government said, while others supposedly retreated into neighborhoods known for their staunch opposition to the regime, where they were later shot by security forces and left bleeding in the streets.

“The people found in the streets are attackers who have been killed by the security,” government spokesman Karerwa Ndenzako said on Saturday.

But as the fog of battle lifts over Bujumbura, the yarn spun by the government is swiftly unraveling. Not only were some of the victims bound and shot execution style, no gun battles took place in the neighborhood where most of the bodies turned up, multiple witnesses said. Both claims contradict the government line that soldiers inflicted additional losses on a retreating rebel force. According to residents, security services conducted door-to-door searches, stole cash and cell phones, and dragged away dozens of young men suspected of working with the rebels ”” many of whom were later found with bullets in their heads.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Burundi, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Politics in General, Theology, Violence

Have you Registered Yet for Mere Anglicanism 2016? "The Gospel+the Challenge of Islam"

One of the greatest challenges for Christians at the dawn of the 21st century is the power and influence of Islam. As the world’s two great missionary religions, Christianity and Islam are often at odds with one another, and the tension can at times feel palpable. How are we as Christians to respond to the threat and challenge of this growing and energetic religion? What should be the Church’s reaction in light of the Lord’s Great Commission to make disciples of all men? What does the Apostle Paul mean when he reminds believers that “the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds”? Join us this year at Mere Anglicanism as we explore “The Cross and the Crescent: The Gospel and the Challenge of Islam.”

Read it all and look through the list of speakers.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, * South Carolina, Islam, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Faiths, Seminary / Theological Education, Theology

(Saint John's Johns Island) Ron's Testimony "I am a grateful alcoholic"

In AA, you always introduce yourself by name and say,“… and I am an alcoholic.” Amongst other things, the Twelve Steps requires you to admit your own powerlessness and to turn your life over to the care of God. I know I am still an alcoholic ”“ my sponsor in AA has been sober for thirty years, and he is still an alcoholic too”“but I’m a grateful alcoholic, because I found Jesus.

One Sunday last Fall I came to St. John’s Parish for the first time; they were asking for help with the Feeding of the Multitude, so I signed up. I’ve been part of St. John’s ever since. Sometimes I attend services in the church, and other times I go to Walton Hall ”“ I love to sing There Is Power In The Blood ”“ but it doesn’t matter where I go, He is with me. It is phenomenal what Christ has done for me, the joy He’s given me.I regret missing it for so long.I can’t start over,but I can make a new beginning. Now I’m trying to be sensitive to see what His purpose is for the rest of my life.

Read it all (page 3).

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Alcohol/Drinking, Alcoholism, Christology, Evangelism and Church Growth, Parish Ministry, Soteriology, Theology

Peter Moore–How the East African Revival Saved the Anglican Communion

I stood there with my wife, Sandra, in 2004 and whispered to myself: here is where God began to save the Anglican Communion.

We were visiting Kabare in the central western part of Uganda. We were there to take a look at an Anglican theological seminary, and visit the grave of Bishop Festo Kivengere a remarkable African leader whom I had slightly known. There, near the seminary in a grove of trees lies a natural amphitheater. On its curved hillside hundreds gathered in 1935 to hear an African layman preach powerfully about his conversion to Jesus Christ, his repentance from sin, his breakthrough to victory over recurrent wrong behavior, and his overflowing love for other believers regardless of denomination.

This event, continuously recalled in recurrent festivals right up to this day, sparked a revival that has left an indelible imprint on the worldwide Anglican Communion and continues to bear fruit today.

The preacher that day, Simeoni Nsibambi, had only recently met in Kambala with a missionary from England with a most improbable name: Dr. Joe Church. The two men met for several days, reading the Bible and praying together. They lamented the sad state of Christianity in Nsibambi’s home country of Rwanda, and elsewhere throughout East Africa.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Church History, Evangelicals, Other Churches

(RNS) In Charleston SC Black church group holds first-ever cross-racial gathering to tackle racism

On Tuesday (Dec, 15), the Conference of National Black Churches, a decades-old black church organization, will host the latest such interracial religious gathering in the city where the shooting occurred in June.

More than 300 clergy and community leaders are expected to attend the three-day (Dec. 15-17) conference. It will include a worship service at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, the place where the Bible study was being held. Dylann Roof, the white suspect in the killings, who had hoped to “start a race war,” has been charged with federal hate crimes.

“We’re not going to be able to resolve the issues of racism alone, whether it is the black church alone or the white church alone,” said the Rev. Marvin McMickle, president of Colgate Rochester Crozier Divinity School, who will speak at the meeting. “I think both hands have to be on the plow.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Ethics / Moral Theology, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, Theology

A Prayer to Begin the Day from W. E. Scudamore

O Lord Jesus Christ, who at thy first coming didst warn us to prepare for the day when thou shalt come to be our judge: Mercifully grant that being awake from the sleep of sin, we may always be watching and intent upon the work thou hast given us to do; who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Advent, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Bible Readings

“And to the angel of the church in La-odice’a write: ‘The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation. “‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of my mouth. For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing; not knowing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. 18 Therefore I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, that you may be rich, and white garments to clothe you and to keep the shame of your nakedness from being seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, that you may see. 19 Those whom I love, I reprove and chasten; so be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any one hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. He who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I myself conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.'”

–Revelation 3:14-22

Posted in Uncategorized

(Crux) Vatican: Catholics shouldn’t try to convert Jews

Fifty years after the first major Catholic document rejecting anti-Semitism, the Vatican released a new document on Thursday reiterating that Catholics shouldn’t try to convert Jews and calling for a joint effort in the fight against religious discrimination.

Jewish leaders on hand for the Thursday presentation largely welcomed the document, although one complained that it doesn’t go far enough in recognizing the centrality of the land of Israel for Judaism.

Called “The gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable,” the document is a theological reflection that builds on five decades of interreligious dialogue that began with Nostra Aetate, a 1,600-word declaration from 1965 that helped reshape Catholic-Jewish relations.

The new document underlines the importance of Catholic-Jewish relations, calling the bond unique “in spite of the historical breach and the painful conflicts arising from it.”

Among other points, it plays down, though it does not reject entirely, missionary efforts directed at Jews.

Read it all and a BBC article is there also.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Christology, Church History, Globalization, History, Inter-Faith Relations, Judaism, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(CC) Philip Jenkins–Mary among the Egyptians

In many Catholic and Orthodox countries, the most visible face of faith is commonly the Virgin Mary (think of Mexico’s ubiquitous Virgin of Guadalupe). Sur­prisingly””and counterintuitively””Mary is scarcely less venerated in Egypt, an overwhelmingly Muslim country. Unless we pay attention to Mary, we miss large portions of the religious faith and practice of the most populous Arab nation. That fact complicates many assumptions about the inevitable hostility between Christianity and Islam.

Egypt’s Christian population is variously estimated at between 5 and 10 percent, anywhere from 5 to 9 million individuals, and most are members of the ancient Cop­tic Church. These believers have often suffered from violence and persecution, most notoriously during the up­surge of violence that followed the military overthrow of the Muslim Brotherhood regime in 2013. Many churches were attacked, and the continuing insurgency in the country raises grave fears about future pogroms.

Despite that uncertainty, Egypt’s Christians still thrive and maintain their ancient churches and shrines. Almost certainly, historic Christian devotion to the Virgin Mary began in Egypt, which is home to countless churches dedicated to her and icons celebrating her. Egyptians point proudly to many sites that the Holy Family reputedly visited during Jesus’ childhood, some of which are major centers for pilgrimage and religious tourism. The Orthodox Christmas Day (January 7) is a national public holiday, on a par with the familiar roster of Islamic celebrations.

Read it all.

Posted in * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Coptic Church, Egypt, Inter-Faith Relations, Islam, Middle East, Muslim-Christian relations, Orthodox Church, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Theology, Theology: Scripture