[h/t Peter Ould]
Monthly Archives: January 2016
it was Archbishop Josiah Fearon’s, the Secretary General of the Anglican Consultative Council and former Archbishop from Nigeria, response that got my attention. (the full transcript is below)
“”¦But generally on the continent of Africa our culture does not support the promotion of this type of life style. I know a lot of gays. But they won’t come out and start propagating it as a way of life.
“So the problem therefore on the continent of Africa generally is for strong groups from outside Africa coming to impose what is culturally unacceptable. Coming to impose it. That is where the difference is. If the West would just leave Africans within our various cultures, we know how to live together with our differences”¦”
Who are these “strong groups from outside Africa” Secretary General Fearon is referencing?
In Nigeria, other parts of Africa, and in many other places in the Communion ”” including North America, let us be honest ”” Anglicans must go much further to enact both the spirit and letter of this part of Lambeth 1.10 and the 2005 Primates’ Meeting. TEC has stood up for the rights of gay and lesbian people here and around the world, and I am inspired. But changing the doctrine of marriage to include those same people has not inspired most of the Anglican family. Because they are in communion with you, and choose to walk with you even though they cannot agree with or receive the decision of the General Convention, they are perceived as being pro-gay churches. Being in communion with you threatens their witness to the same Lord Jesus, especially but not only in Muslim contexts, where the cultural sensibilities about human sexuality are so very different. In short, your decision puts many of us at risk.
While there were initial demands for the disciplining of churches who offer pastoral care of gay couples by liturgical rites of blessing, this was simply not mentioned in the communiquÃ©; in the end, the issue is the unilateral change of the doctrine of marriage.
In this paper I provide an introduction to this debate by setting out and assessing the arguments for same-sex ”˜marriage’ put forward in reports from the Scottish Episcopal Church, The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada. At the end of the paper I will give an overview of what I think we have learned about the key issues in the debate and the challenges facing the Church of England and the Anglican Communion.
The killer was at large when Anthony Thompson bolted back toward the white church, its spire rising high and proud in the darkness, its body surrounded by emergency vehicles. He darted for the church’s gate and a side door, the one a white man had entered before allegedly gunning down nine people at Myra’s Bible study.
Someone grabbed him.
“Where you going?” It was an FBI agent.
“I’m Reverend Thompson. My wife’s in that church. I need to go on in and get her.”
“No, no, son. You can’t go in there.”
“Oh yes I can. I’m going in there too. Now let me go!”
Instead, the agent pulled Thompson aside, speaking gently, “You don’t want to go in there.”
Read it all frpom the local paper.
O thou who in the days of thy humiliation didst command the winds and waves, and they obeyed thee: Do thou so dwell within us, that we may be safe from all dangers, and steadfast in all temptations; and evermore keep us in thy peace, for thy holy name’s sake.
The earth is the LORD’s and the fulness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein; for he has founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the rivers.
The bottom line is this ”“ Jayne Ozanne’s questionnaire tells us absolutely nothing about the opinion of the Anglicans who sit in the pews week after week and actually make up the core membership of the Church of England, who support it financially and are worshipping and praying in their local parishes as a witnessing community. A staggering 95% of her “Anglicans” don’t actually attend church regularly, if at all. The opinion poll is just a puff piece to support a political agenda and it specifically avoids asking the one key question which might tell us something about what Church attenders actually think on the subject of same-sex marriage.
“To see religion as the driver of extremism or division in society is a mistake,” the Rev Nigel Genders told a special meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Religious Education last week.
He told the meeting: “There is no evidence that any religion or ideology is a primary motivator of terrorism. That lies in anger at injustice, a sense of moral superiority, a promise of adventure and being a hero.”
He told the gathering of over 100 people that young people are searching for a sense of identity in a moral vacuum.
“Religion is not the problem and RE is not about countering these issues.”
..While Hermann was condemning millions to death in the name of National Socialism, his bohemian, Nazi-hating younger brother Albert secured the release of 34 prominent Jews and other political prisoners from the concentration camps and rescued many more from certain death.
He pretended they were to be used as forced labour in his factories ”“ and then allowed them to escape.
As Yad Vashem, Israel’s official memorial to the victims of the Holocaust, considers the remarkable step of awarding Albert Goering its highest honour by naming him alongside Oscar Schindler, the rescuer of Jews made famous in the film Schindler’s List, as one of the Righteous Among The Nations, I have investigated the brothers’ contrasting and intertwined life stories..
More members of the Church of England now support same-sex marriage than oppose it, new polling suggests.
The finding, from a YouGov survey of more than 6,000 people, suggests the Church’s leadership, which led a high-profile campaign against a change in the law, is at odds with the majority of Anglicans in England for the first time.
It also points to a sharp fall in opposition to same-sex marriage among those who identify as members of the Church of England since the law changed, echoing a shift in wider society.
Read it all from the Telegraph.
Confucius’s hometown, Qufu, knows how to market its most famous native son. Visitors to the city in eastern China’s Shandong province can savor Confucian cuisine, worship at a Confucius temple and follow the family tree of the Kong clan, which claims an unbroken lineage going back some 80 generations to the Great Sage himself. The tourist boom has only intensified as China’s communist leadership embraces homegrown traditions once derided as feudal relics by the party’s revolutionary elders.
Now, the presence of a Christian church near Confucius central is sparking debate as to whether the ancient philosopher ”” or, more accurately, his descendants ”” can handle an influx of Western spirituality in a nation yearning for fulfillment. In an online article published late this month, a prominent Confucian scholar protested the expansion of an existing church less than 2 miles from Qufu’s main Confucian temple and kickstarted a campaign against it. Such a church “towering over” the Confucian sanctuary, wrote Zeng Zhenyu, would stir up “intense controversy.” Sure enough, a torrent of digital discourse has ensued in China, with scholars and laymen alike parsing the ancient ideology’s stance towards a diversity of faiths.
..It was the GAFCON Primates’ goal and prayer that this meeting would focus on restoring good order and reviving the Anglican Communion in line with the clear teaching of the Bible. Evidence that order was being restored would require suspension of the US Episcopal Church (TEC) and the Anglican Church of Canada (ACoC) at least until there was repentance and evidence of a change.
What did happen was that the gathering addressed the very narrow issue of TEC and its change of liturgies and the marriage Canon at its most recent General Convention last summer. The decision to discipline TEC finally came to a vote on Thursday. Archbishop Foley has made it clear that, while he chose not to participate in that vote, it was passed by a very large majority. After that, with TEC and the ACoC Primates still fully participating, he and some of the GAFCON Primates absented themselves from the remaining day of the meeting. They felt they could only continue if there was evidence that the Communion was being brought back into Biblical order. The fact that the ACoC was undisciplined and TEC was disciplined in a minor way but was still at the table made it necessary for the GAFCON Primates to leave…
In this post I am not going to add to the discussion about what took place at the meeting of the Anglican Primates a fortnight ago. This topic has already been extensively discussed by a large number of other commentators and I am not sure there is much more to say about it.
What I am going to do in this post is instead to outline what I think are the key issues facing orthodox Anglicans as we move on to the next stage of the life of the Anglican Communion.
W. B. Yeats’ 1919 poem, ”˜The Second Coming’ , has the memorable line:
Things fall apart, the centre cannot hold.
The media, and many people around the world, thought there would be a split in the Anglican Communion during ”˜Primates 2016 ’. This was the meeting of the senior bishops of the 38 provinces, joined by the Archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America , from 11th to 15th January at Canterbury Cathedral .
Remarkably, through the grace of God, the humility of the Primates and prayers throughout the world across the traditions of God’s Church, the centre held.
Here we consider seven interweaving themes of the week.
O God, who by the lowliness of thy Son hast raised a fallen world: Grant to thy faithful people perpetual gladness; and as thou hast delivered them from eternal death, so do thou make them partakers of everlasting joys; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.
But I call upon God; and the LORD will save me. Evening and morning and at noon I utter my complaint and moan, and he will hear my voice. He will deliver my soul in safety from the battle that I wage, for many are arrayed against me.
Source: Luke 1:68-79 [AV] Lyrics from the Book of Common Prayer of 1662]
68 Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people,
69 And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David;
70 As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began:
71 That we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us;
72 To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant;
73 The oath which he sware to our father Abraham,
74 That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear,
75 In holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life.
76 And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways;
77 To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins,
78 Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us,
79 To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.
The head of religion and ethics at the BBC has called for the broadcaster to lead the fight against religious illiteracy.
Aaqil Ahmed calls on public service broadcasters such as the BBC to confront a world “defined by religion and conflict” but where most media fail to take religion seriously.
Few people know much about each other’s beliefs, values and customs, creating a climate where it is all too easy for prejudice to take root, he says.
Read it all from Christian Today.
Little good comes from getting fixated on the empty pews. The mainline Protestant church has to stop fretting about its future. The anxiety takes up the air and leaves the church too lethargic to offer anything to the world. The alternative response is for the church to do what it’s always done at its best, what it did from the beginning: stop thinking about its future and sacrifice itself to its mission.
When I was working through my way through a graduate program in the history of Christianity, I became convinced that there is no rational explanation for the church’s survival over the past 2,000 years””there were many compelling political, intellectual, and social reasons for it to have gone out of business long ago. And none of those threats were ever as dangerous to the church as it was to itself. We’ve always been our own worst enemy when we fail to live out of the gospel we proclaim. But still the church perseveres.
The only possible explanation for the church’s survival is that Jesus Christ chose to use it to continue his mission of bringing the kingdom of God to earth.
Read it all from Craig Barnes in the Christian Century.
Presenting the issue of civic integration in such terms has been counterproductive and highly damaging to community relations. Jean-Louis Bianco, president of the Observatoire de la LaÃ¯citÃ©, recently criticised those who were sought “to turn laÃ¯citÃ© into an anti-religious and anti-Muslim instrument”.
The wider point is that laÃ¯citÃ© is not an adequate solution to the problems faced by many Muslims and other minorities in France: unemployment, racial discrimination, banishment to the distant suburbs of big cities, and underachievement in an education system that is, according to an OECD report, one of the western world’s least egalitarian.
Until these problems are properly addressed by the country’s elites, laÃ¯citÃ© will remain little more than a hollow rallying cry.
Holy God, we bless thee for the gift of thy monk and icon writer Andrei Rublev, who, inspired by the Holy Spirit, provided a window into heaven for generations to come, revealing the majesty and mystery of the holy and blessed Trinity; who livest and reignest through ages of ages. Amen.
Grant us, O Lord, not to mind earthly things, but to love things heavenly; and even now, while we are placed among things that are passing away, to cleave to those that shall abide; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the sanctuary by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way which he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
Martyn Lloyd-Jones was one of the greatest preachers of the twentieth century. He pastored the Westminster Chapel in the heart of London for nearly three decades. His pulpit radiated the truth around the world, making him one of the most influential ministers on the planet by the end of his ministry.
Iain Murray’s two-volume biography of Lloyd-Jones remains the gold-standard work on the Doctor. At nearly 1,300 pages, it is a massive treatise, meticulously documenting the great man’s life and ministry.
I worked through Murray’s two-volume biography years ago, but understand why some find it a bit intimidating. That is why I was glad to see Lloyd-Jones’ grandson, Christopher Catherwood, complement Murray’s biography with his new Martyn Lloyd-Jones: His Life and Reflection for the 21st Century.
Read it all from Jason Allen.
The Most Rev. Justin Welby, the leader of the Anglican Communion, has asserted that the potential presidency of Republican candidate Donald Trump would be “very challenging” and problematic.
Welby made the comments on ITV’s “Good Morning Britain” program, when he was asked about his thoughts on Trump’s suitability as the next president of the United States and leader of the free world.
“It would certainly be very challenging, wouldn’t it?” Welby said, with The Telegraph suggesting that he indicated possible doubts about Trump’s presidential campaign.
I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.
Senior Anglican clergy shared a secret understanding of each other’s attraction to young boys, a royal commission has been told.
The inquiry into the Church of England Boys’ Society being held in Hobart heard evidence on Thursday from the convicted child sexual offender Louis Daniels, 68, a former archdeacon who was one of Tasmania’s top-four church leaders in the early 1990s.
Daniels has since been jailed for pleading guilty to abusing 12 boys.
I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.
With thanks to Kevin Kallsen and George Conter at Anglican TV
A senior Roman Catholic bishop in the Central African Republic is warning that the Lord’s Resistance Army, a rebel force that killed more than 100,000 people in northern Uganda in the 1980s and ’90s, is rising up again in his country.
Bishop Nestor Desire Nongo-Aziagbia said the LRA, led by self-declared prophet Joseph Kony, has become one of the biggest threats to peace in his country and in neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan.
“They continue to enslave villagers, making them load carriers and sex slaves,” he said. “They are also burning down villages.”
The crowd on Rod Laver Arena were stunned into near-silence by Djokovic’s performance in the first two sets of his 45th meeting with Federer. In his finest performance of the tournament so far, the Serb was worlds away from his fourth-round battle with Gilles Simon, in which he made 100 unforced errors. For the first two sets against Federer, Djokovic committed just six unforced errors and gave the Swiss no break point opportunities.
Once the Serb had the first set, it was always going to be an uphill battle for Federer, who had only once before in 22 wins against Djokovic come from a set down.
“I know how important the first set is against Novak, especially at this time right now when he’s World No. 1. When he gets on a roll, it’s tough to stop. He’s always played very well throughout his career with the lead. Even more so now when his confidence is up…[said Roger Federer]