Daily Archives: January 23, 2016

Phillips Brooks on Phillips Brooks Feast Day

Courage…is the indispensable requisite of any true ministry…. If you are afraid of men and a slave to their opinion, go and do something else. Go make shoes to fit them. Go even and paint pictures you know are bad but will suit their bad taste. But do not keep on all of your life preaching sermons which shall not say what God sent you to declare, but what they hire you to say. Be courageous. Be independent.

—-Phillips Brooks, Lectures on Preaching, the 1877 Yale Lectures (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1969), p. 59

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Preaching / Homiletics, TEC Bishops, Theology

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Phillips Brooks

O everlasting God, who didst reveal truth to thy servant Phillips Brooks, and didst so form and mold his mind and heart that he was able to mediate that truth with grace and power: Grant, we pray, that all whom thou dost call to preach the Gospel may steep themselves in thy word, and conform their lives to thy will; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Episcopal Church (TEC), Spirituality/Prayer, TEC Bishops

Anne Kennedy: Three Thoughts About the Anglican Primates Meeting

..observe with me who the winner is, if we want to get all crass about it. Does the Episcopal Church win, as they are in the habit of doing? Not entirely. They don’t lose, really, except some small status. They are functionally the same but now they can call the clarion cry of victimhood and solidarity for the LGBT community and all in the name of the gospel. So, then, does the ACNA win? Um, no. Somehow, after walking away from the damaging lie of heresy, we are now sort of, well, what are we doing? Sitting around with it? Having a voice and a vote? What is the word for that? If you had told me ten years ago that at the end of it all, my Archbishop would be invited to sit with the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church and then the Presiding Bishop would be so “disciplined” that he couldn’t sit on interfaith committees for three years, and that that would somehow constitute a triumph, I would have immediately walked away to become Presbyterian. Oh well, I guess, water on under the bridge. No one can know the future.

Which leads us to the obvious winner. And how masterfully the game was played. Well done, Welby. Observe his triumph. He has achieved ”˜unity’. Everyone came and sat down to tea and prayer. He has preserved his own dubious embrace of Same Sex Civil Unions by Parliament in England. Doesn’t anyone remember? Lambeth 1.10 was all about SSBs, was about the unbiblical nature of the defiantly unrepentant embrace of the homosexual relationship and the acts that constitute it. That’s what we’ve all been roiling over for ten freakishly long years. But in four closed off, cell-phone free days, Welby moved the post. It’s not SSB’s, it’s the definition of Marriage. Which lets him out, and Canada. See, God doesn’t care about what people do, he cares what the church calls it.

Third, and, thank goodness, finally, I want to articulate a tiny kernel of hope”“a weary hope, but hope none the less. The Anglican Way has never been one of those Christian options that lets the adherent feel any pride. Most people think that we were birthed into the world through a divorce. In reality, the theological richness of our common life was penned by a man who lost his courage. When it came to the point of dying, he said, ”˜oh never mind’, but then! Observe God’s grace. He went back to his cell, he was stricken to the heart by the words of the scripture he so loved, and he recanted again. He went to the stake to be burned after all. Most reasonable Christians look at Anglicans and their quiet flirtations with Rome, their archaic use of vestments and language, and think, ”˜really’? But for some of us, the Anglican Way has been the way of life. It has been the place where the richness of scripture, the beauty of the liturgy, the discipline and order of the church year, the theological depth of the formularies and prayer book have been that life saving tether described so beautifully by George McDonald. You think you’re lost in the dark, but then, between thumb and finger, you find the thread leading you to the Ancient of Days. In all the fits and starts and sin and loss of courage, of confusion and trouble, God has used his church to accomplish his will in the world, in the lives of ordinary people, to save them from the power of sin and darkness and bring them to the knowledge of his glorious Son.

As the bishops fly home and try to get ready for Sunday, I pray that God will yet have mercy, that he will forgive where forgiveness is needed, that he will strengthen where strength is lacking, and that he will make a way for the whole world, West and South, to proclaim his saving Word.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Primates, Primates Gathering in Canterbury January 2016

Deutsche Welle: New church laws spur debate in Kenya

According to the new legislation that is not yet implemented, Christian preachers in Kenya must hold theological certificates from accredited theological institutions. Religious organizations must also be registered and open to the registrar’s inspection. The rules introduce umbrella bodies that will promote self-regulation and require a declaration of sources of income.

“It is with shock and surprise that the government has formulated new rules, that, if implemented, will have direct and negative impact on our evangelization mission,” said Philip Anyolo, Chairman of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops. “The constitution of the country draws a very clear line between state and religion and is explicitly clear on the freedom of worship. How then, we ask, does the government purport to regulate how Kenyans worship?”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Kenya, Anglican Provinces

ALM: How one Coptic woman made Egyptian parliamentary history

Al-Monitor: From your perspective as the first Coptic woman to win an individual seat, what do Copts want from the parliament?

Gaballah: The attainment of parliamentary seats by 36 Copts in total, and my success as the first Coptic woman to win an individual seat since 1923, is proof that Egypt has overcome extremism. Therefore, I must now speak in my capacity as a deputy representing the nation and not just Copts. Laws must be enacted to do away with discrimination, and an anti-discrimination office should be established, as stipulated by the current constitution, to criminalize any activity deemed to discriminate between citizens.

There are other laws that must be drafted to achieve social integration, among them a unified law for the construction of places of worship to establish clear nondiscriminatory regulations relating to the building of mosques and churches.

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Posted in * International News & Commentary, Egypt, Middle East

Mark Wormell: God's Care Through Life

So many people I speak with have close family members or friends who are living with dementia.

Their stories are often urgent, sad and filled with questions.

Can a Christian lose his/her faith because of the cognitive changes that come with dementia? Can someone with dementia come to know and trust Jesus? How can we best care for people with dementia? And many, many more.

My answers to the first three questions are simple…

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Posted in Eschatology, Theology

(Reuters) Wife of Iran-held pastor hopes to rebuild her marriage amidst great struggle

Naghmeh Abedini is looking forward to reuniting next week with her husband, Saeed, the Iranian-American pastor freed on Saturday after more than three years in an Iranian prison.

But she’s not rushing the reunion.

In an interview at her parent’s home in Boise, Idaho on Wednesday, Abedini said that rebuilding their marriage after her husband’s imprisonment will take time.

The relationship, she said, has been strained in recent months by the publication of an email she sent to friends and supporters late last year. Her note described “physical, emotional, psychological and sexual” abuse by her husband, who she said was addicted to pornography.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Iran, Marriage & Family, Middle East, Missions, Pastoral Theology, Pornography, Prison/Prison Ministry, Psychology, Theology, Violence

(NYT) Michael Bloomberg is exploring plans for an independent presidential bid, advisers an

Michael R. Bloomberg has instructed advisers to draw up plans for a potential independent campaign in this year’s presidential race. His advisers and associates said he was galled by Donald J. Trump’s dominance of the Republican field, and troubled by Hillary Clinton’s stumbles and the rise of Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont on the Democratic side.

Mr. Bloomberg, the billionaire former mayor of New York City, has in the past contemplated running for the White House on a third-party ticket, but always concluded he could not win. A confluence of unlikely events in the 2016 election, however, has given new impetus to his presidential aspirations.

Mr. Bloomberg, 73, has already taken concrete steps toward a possible campaign, and has indicated to friends and allies that he would be willing to spend at least $1 billion of his fortune on it, according to people briefed on his deliberations who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss his plans. He has set a deadline for making a final decision in early March, the latest point at which advisers believe Mr. Bloomberg could enter the race and still qualify to appear as an independent candidate on the ballot in all 50 states.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., City Government, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Office of the President, Politics in General, The U.S. Government, Theology

(Local Paper) “Nones” blossoming in America and in Charleston

Amy Monsky had wrestled since high school with the God she had been raised to believe. She couldn’t understand how God would judge her for making her own decisions when he himself had equipped her with a brain to think and find her own way. Ultimately she concluded that she didn’t believe in a God. Besides, whether she believed or not, the existence of God, she pondered, could not be known. Those two things made her both an agnostic and an atheist, labels she grew comfortable embracing.

Yet, when she moved to Charleston ten years ago she was greeted by a sea of religious fervor and a resulting sense of alienation. Surrounded, at her young children’s school where she volunteered, by mothers who spoke constantly about the church they attended and whose communities were church-driven, Monsky felt lonely.

“I had no one to share my views with. I hemmed and hawed, but I never outed myself,” Monsky said, borrowing from gay civil rights terminology. “It felt very oppressive. Not only did everyone go to church, but they believed that belief in God was necessary to be a good person. … I got lonelier and lonelier.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, * South Carolina, Atheism, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Secularism

A Prayer to Begin the Day from the Diocese of York

Look upon our lives, O Lord our God, and make them thine in the power of thy Holy Spirit; that we may walk in thy way, faithfully believing thy Word, and faithfully doing thy commandments; faithfully serving thee, and faithfully serving our neighbour; to the furtherance of thy glorious kingdom, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

You have turned my wailing into dancing; *
you have put off my sack-cloth and clothed me with joy.

Therefore my heart sings to you without ceasing; *
O Lord my God, I will give you thanks for ever.

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Gabrielle Higgins, Chichester Diocesan Secretary–Bishop George Bell – points on a complex case

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Children, Church History, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Sexuality, Theology, Violence

(RNS) ”˜Evangelicals for Life’ participants join Catholics in annual march

The March for Life ”” an annual rally held for four decades to protest the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision of the Supreme Court that legalized abortion ”” has long been dominated by Roman Catholics.

But evangelical leaders expect that on Friday (Jan. 22), there will be more evangelicals walking beside them. That’s the result of Catholic and evangelical conservatives bridging the divide to work on issues of common concern, they said.

Several hundred evangelicals gathered on the eve of the rally at a hotel near the U.S. Capitol, pledging to join forces with Catholics in the anti-abortion effort.

“There’s no tension between evangelicals and Catholics on this issue,” said Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, in an interview. However, he added that Catholics have been “more intentional about communicating the march to their constituents and see the value.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Evangelicals, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Science & Technology, Theology

(WSJ) The Missionary Killed by Islamist Terror

The 2016 political season is churning with anti-immigrant vitriol and wariness of the outside world. But one group of American Christians””missionaries””continues reaching out instead of walling themselves off. They honor Christ’s message in the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 25: “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”

The selfless work of missionaries was poignantly illustrated by the terrorist murder on Jan. 15 of 45-year-old Michael Riddering, an orphanage director in West Africa.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Burkina Faso, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Violence