Daily Archives: January 3, 2016

Another Poem for Christmas 2015–Gary Johnson’s December

A little girl is singing for the faithful to come ye
Joyful and triumphant, a song she loves,
And also the partridge in a pear tree
And the golden rings and the turtle doves…..

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Christmas, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Poetry & Literature

For Charleston SC Area homicides, 2015 was one of the deadliest years

A grandmother shot by a stranger while going out for lunch. A mother of three whose car was riddled with bullets fired by people who mistook her for someone else. Nine targeted by a gunman during a Bible study because of their race.

A steady wave of violence touched victims from many walks of life in the greater Charleston area, making 2015 one of the deadliest years in modern history.

In Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester counties, 77 people were slain, surpassing the 2014 total by 10 killings and matching the area’s 15-year high set in 2006, according to The Post and Courier’s homicide database. Dorchester County, typically the most peaceful, saw more than twice the slayings it recorded in 2014. There, a special law enforcement team formed because of the violence will soon hit the streets in hopes of suppressing crime.

Read it all from the local paper.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Violence

A Prayer to Begin the Day from the Irish Prayer Book

O Saviour of the world, who as in this season wast called Jesus, according to the word of the angel: Fulfill unto us, we beseech thee, the gracious promise of that holy name, and, of thy great mercy, save thy people from their sins; who, with the Father and the Holy Ghost, livest and reignest one God world without end.

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

A Prayer to Begin the Year from W E Orchard

Eternal God, who makest all things new, and abidest for ever the same: Grant us to begin this year in thy faith, and to continue it in thy favour; that, being guided in all our doings, and guarded all our days, we may spend our lives in thy service, and finally, by thy grace, attain the glory of everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

Bless our God, O peoples, let the sound of his praise be heard, who has kept us among the living, and has not let our feet slip.

–Psalm 66: 8-9

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

More Poetry for Christmas–The Burning Babe

As I in hoary winter’s night stood shivering in the snow,
Surpris’d I was with sudden heat which made my heart to glow;
And lifting up a fearful eye to view what fire was near,
A pretty Babe all burning bright did in the air appear;
Who, scorched with excessive heat, such floods of tears did shed
As though his floods should quench his flames which with his tears were fed.
“Alas!” quoth he, “but newly born, in fiery heats I fry,
Yet none approach to warm their hearts or feel my fire but I!
My faultless breast the furnace is, the fuel wounding thorns,
Love is the fire, and sighs the smoke, the ashes shame and scorns;
The fuel Justice layeth on, and Mercy blows the coals,
The metal in this furnace wrought are men’s defiled souls,
For which, as now on fire I am to work them to their good,
So will I melt into a bath to wash them in my blood.”
With this he vanish’d out of sight and swiftly shrunk away,
And straight I called unto mind that it was Christmas day.

–Robert Southwell (1561–1595)

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Christmas, Christology, Church History, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Poetry & Literature, Theology

Tom Wright–Suspending Skepticism: History and the Virgin Birth

..the [New Testament] birth stories have become a test case in various controversies. If you believe in miracles, you believe in Jesus’ miraculous birth; if you don’t, you don’t. Both sides turn the question into a shibboleth, not for its own sake but to find out who’s in and who’s out.

The problem is that “miracle,” as used in these controversies, is not a biblical category. The God of the Bible is not a normally absent God who sometimes “intervenes.” This God is always present and active, often surprisingly so.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Christmas, Christology, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Theology

(NYT) As Graduation Rates Rise, Experts Fear Diplomas Come Up Short

GREENVILLE, S.C.–A sign in a classroom here at Berea High School, northwest of downtown in the largest urban district in the state, sends this powerful message: “Failure Is Not an Option. You Will Pass. You Will Learn. You Will Succeed.”

By one measure, Berea, with more than 1,000 pupils, is helping more students succeed than ever: The graduation rate, below 65 percent just four years ago, has jumped to more than 80 percent.

But that does not necessarily mean that all of Berea’s graduates, many of whom come from poor families, are ready for college ”” or even for the working world. According to college entrance exams administered to every 11th grader in the state last spring, only one in 10 Berea students were ready for college-level work in reading, and about one in 14 were ready for entry-level college math. And on a separate test of skills needed to succeed in most jobs, little more than half of the students demonstrated that they could handle the math they would need.

It is a pattern repeated in other school districts across the state and country….

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Children, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Teens / Youth, Theology

New Zealand Anglican Church to send two primates to Canterbury Gathering

Two archbishops will represent the Anglican Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia at next week’s meeting of the primates and moderators of the Anglican Communion in Canterbury, the church has announced. On 2 Jan 2016 the church’s press office released a note stating “Archbishops Philip Richardson and Winston Halapua will be among 37 Primates at the historic meeting called by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby.”

Alone among the churches of the Anglican Communion, the ACNZP, is divided along racial lines into separate but equal churches with three co-primates. As the international debate over South Africa’s apartheid policies took shape, the church in New Zealand began an internal self-examination of its own history. Critics of the existing power structures noted that since the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840 between the British colonial government and the Maori people, the Maoris had been dominated by European culture.

To overcome this political history, the church in 1992 revised its constitution splitting it into three equal partnerships or Tikanga — one for whites, one for Maoris, and one for Polynesians. Each Tikanga was given its own church buildings, clergy, and language for liturgy. The church’s seminary saw the appoint of three co-equal deans, overlapping dioceses in New Zealand (one for whites and one for Maoris), and three archbishops.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, Anglican Primates, Anglican Provinces