Daily Archives: January 25, 2016

(JE) Anglicans Celebrate, Protect, and Honor Life

The march itself was barely over before snow began accumulating quickly on every surface in the Washington, DC area. All of the “happy warriors” for Life this year went above and beyond the usual sacrifices they make to come and march because of Snowstorm Jonas, a blizzard of historic proportions.

Among the warriors were dozens of Anglican church members led by the Anglicans for Life ministry along with the Archbishop and a number of other bishops of the Anglican Church in North America.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, History, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Politics in General, Science & Technology, Theology

(W Post) Anne Applebaum–No, Iran is not ”˜opening up’

Sanctions have been lifted on Iran, and a moment of change has arrived. President Obama has called this “a unique opportunity, a window, to try to resolve important issues.” The brilliant ex-diplomat Nicholas Burns has said we are at a “potential turning point in the modern history of the Middle East.” And of course they are right. The diplomacy of the Middle East will now change, for better or for worse, forever.

But be very wary of anyone who claims anything more, and certainly be careful of anyone who claims anything more for Iran itself. President Hassan Rouhani is not Mikhail Gorbachev, and this is not a perestroika moment. Iran is not “opening up” or becoming “more Western” or somehow more liberal. Maybe Iran’s foreign minister will now pick up the phone when John Kerry calls. But other than that, the nature of the Iranian regime has not altered at all.

On the contrary, the level of repression inside the country has grown since the “moderate” Rouhani was elected in 2013. The number of death sentences has risen. In 2014, Iran carried out the largest number of executions anywhere in the world except for China. Last year, the number may have exceeded 1,000. Partly this is because Iran’s chief justice has boasted of the eradication (i.e., mass killing) of drug offenders, many of whom are juveniles or convicted on dubious evidence.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Iran, Law & Legal Issues, Middle East, Politics in General, Prison/Prison Ministry, Psychology, Theology

A Statement on ACNA Leader Foley Beach’s Participation at the 2016 Primates Gathering

The Anglican Church in North America has received numerous questions regarding whether or not Archbishop Beach was “a full voting member of the Primates Meeting.” Archbishop Beach did not consider himself a full voting member of the Primates Meeting, but with the exception of voting on the consequences for the Episcopal Church, Archbishop Beach participated fully in those parts of the meeting that he chose to attend.

Prior to Primates 2016 he was informed that there may be certain times when the Primates would move into a formal meeting, and, as the Anglican Church in North America is not an official member of the Communion’s instruments, he would be asked to step out of the room. However, he was never asked to leave the meeting.

While at the meeting, he addressed the gathering and participated in various balloting measures that set the agenda, ordered the agenda, and sought to discern the way those in the room wanted to proceed. He did not vote on the consequences for The Episcopal Church.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, - Anglican: Primary Source, -- Statements & Letters: Primates, --Justin Welby, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Anglican Primates, Archbishop of Canterbury, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Media, Primates Gathering in Canterbury January 2016, Religion & Culture, Theology

(Clint Archer) The Secret of Spurgeon’s Success

On the 18th of January 1854, 162 years ago to the day, Charles Haddon Spurgeon preached his first sermon at New Park Street chapel. He was 19 years old. The church was nearly empty, about 40 members in attendance. After 38 years as their pastor, the number of new members who had joined the church was 14,460.

Spurgeon’s sermons were different from the longwinded, technical, theological lectures that were common in churches of the day. His sermons were humorous, filled with illustrations, and application. Soon he became known as the Prince of Preachers, the pastor of the largest church in the world, with one of the most successful Baptist ministries since, well, John the Baptist.

He started orphanages, dozens of outreach ministries, and a pastor’s training college with 900 students.

His success was obvious, but the reason for his success was not as obvious, except to those who knew him well.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Church History, England / UK, History, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Religion & Culture, Theology

Bishop Jacob Kwashi's Sunday Sermon–Called to fix our eyes on Jesus (Luke 4:14-21)

You can listen directly there and download the mp3 there.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * South Carolina, Anglican Provinces, Christology, Church of Nigeria, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Soteriology, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Updated Statistics from the Nigerian Diocese of Zonkwa

Founded in 2004, in 2010 the diocese of Zonkwa had 81 congregations served by 31 priests and 12 catechists. Yesterday at Adult Sunday School I was able to ask Bishop Jacob Kwashi about the current numbers, which now are: 95 congregations served by 54 priests and 27 evangelists.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Anglican Provinces, Christology, Church of Nigeria, Evangelism and Church Growth, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Nigeria, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Soteriology, Theology

When the Water Turned Brown-officials at all lvls of govt contributed to the Flint emergency crisis

Standing at a microphone in September holding up a baby bottle, Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, a local pediatrician, said she was deeply worried about the water. The number of Flint children with elevated levels of lead in their blood had risen alarmingly since the city changed its water supply the previous year, her analysis showed.

Within hours of Dr. Hanna-Attisha’s news conference, Michigan state officials pushed back ”” hard. A Department of Health and Human Services official said that the state had not seen similar results and that it was working with a much larger set of data. A Department of Environmental Quality official was quoted as saying the pediatrician’s remarks were “unfortunate,” described the mood over Flint’s water as “near-hysteria” and said, as the authorities had insisted for months, that the water met state and federal standards.

Dr. Hanna-Attisha said she went home that night feeling shaky and sick, her heart racing. “When a state with a team of 50 epidemiologists tells you you’re wrong,” she said, “how can you not second-guess yourself?”

No one now argues with Dr. Hanna-Attisha’s findings. Not only has she been proved right, but Gov. Rick Snyder publicly thanked her on Tuesday “for bringing these issues to light.”

Read it all from the New York Times.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, City Government, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Pastoral Theology, Politics in General, Science & Technology, State Government, The U.S. Government, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues

Congratulations to the Denver Broncos+the Carolina Panthers making the 2016 Super Bowl

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

(Economist) Why a more flexible, practical brand of Christianity is thriving

In the past migrating religious groups either merged into their host societies or else pickled the culture of the old country in aspic. Thanks to technology, today’s roaming worshippers have no such dilemma; a Nigerian or Brazilian in transit can adapt while maintaining contact with home. Globally dispersed Pentecostal churches meet both those needs. An outlying branch of the RCCG can offer job advice and a way to keep links with home. Global charismatic movements act as transmission belts along which ideas and worship styles can travel quickly. “A hymn can be composed in one continent and sung in another a few days later,” says Allan Anderson of Birmingham University.

Like water, charismatic religion takes the path of least resistance. Philip Jenkins, a scholar of global Christianity, cites several little-noticed examples. Dubai is now a bastion of Pentecostal-style worship, among migrants; the Muslim authorities do not mind as long as local Emiratis are not proselytised. Thanks to a shared language, Brazilian neo-Pentecostal churches do well in Angola and Mozambique. And though Filipino Christianity is almost entirely Catholic, the export variety, adapted to the diaspora’s needs, is intensely charismatic, offering a combination of mysticism and practical advice. One movement, El Shaddai, claims 8m members across the world. Worshippers at its Manila base wave their passports in the air as they pray for successful travels.

Politically, too, Pentecostal churches tend to be pragmatic rather than consistently conservative. Brazil’s globally successful Universal Church of the Kingdom of God (UCKG) initially resisted the rise of the centre-left Workers’ Party, but went on to back its presidential candidates, including Dilma Rousseff, the incumbent.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Globalization, Other Churches, Pentecostal, Religion & Culture, Theology, Theology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology)

A Prayer to Begin the Day from James Mountain

Almighty God, we beseech thee of thy mercy to endue us with the spirit of meekness and patience; so that no evil we may suffer from others may move us to do evil to them, and that we may strive ever to live peaceably with all men; for the sake of Jesus Christ our Saviour.

–The Rev. James Mountain (1844-1933)

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

A Prayer for the Feast Day of the Conversion of Saint Paul

O God, who by the preaching of thine apostle Paul hast caused the light of the Gospel to shine throughout the world: Grant, we beseech thee, that we, having his wonderful conversion in remembrance, may show forth our thankfulness unto thee for the same by following the holy doctrine which he taught; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Blessed is he who considers the poor!
The Lord delivers him in the day of trouble;
the Lord protects him and keeps him alive;
he is called blessed in the land;
thou dost not give him up to the will of his enemies.
The Lord sustains him on his sickbed;
in his illness thou healest all his infirmities.

–Psalm 41:1-3

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

[GR] Julia Duin: AP scores a hit with scoop on ISIS' destruction of Iraqi monastery

Back in 2004, I got to visit a monastery and orphanage for boys that was in Al Qosh, a town about 31 miles northeast of Mosul, the modern Iraqi city that is across the Tigris from what was once Nineveh. The chapel, the old stone walks, a lovely fountain inside an enclosed courtyard; the whole place was a serene, beautiful spot. The tomb of the Old Testament prophet Nahum was nearby.

It was just one of several irreplaceable monasteries and holy spots in an area that goes back more than 25 centuries to the days of the Assyrian king Sennacherib. Recent years have brought true catastrophe in the form of the conquering hordes of ISIS that, among other violations, destroyed the tomb of Jonah in Mosul in 2014. So maybe it should not be a huge surprise that some time in the past 18 months, ISIS destroyed Iraq’s oldest monastery..

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

BBC: Kenyan Muslim who shielded Christians in al-Shabab attack dies

A Muslim teacher who shielded Christian fellow passengers when their bus was attacked by Islamist militants has died in surgery to treat his bullet wound.

Salah Farah was on a bus travelling through Mandera in Kenya when it was attacked by al-Shabab in December.

The attackers told the Muslims and Christians to split up but he was among Muslim passengers who refused.

A bullet hit Mr Farah and almost a month on, he died in hospital in the capital, Nairobi

Read it all and there is a further report in the Nairobi Standard here

Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Islam, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Faiths

Reform Statement on the Primates Gathering

Reform is grateful to God that the Primates have voted so overwhelmingly in favour of affirming two important principles: first, that Anglican doctrine is determined by Scripture and secondly, that marriage is between a man and a woman in faithful, lifelong union.

We join with them, once again, in condemning homophobic prejudice and violence and their rejection of criminal sanctions against same-sex attracted people.

We affirm the Statement made by GAFCON yesterday and continue to pray that the Church of England will neither permit the blessing of same-sex unions nor ordain nor licence those in active homosexual relationships.

We continue to pray to our gracious Father for the whole church, “that all they who do confess thy holy Name may agree in the truth of thy holy Word, and live in unity, and godly love.” (Book of Common Prayer).

Read it all

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

Al Mohler: The scandal of Biblical illiteracy

..Churches must recover the centrality and urgency of biblical teaching and preaching, and refuse to sideline the teaching ministry of the preacher. Pastors and churches too busy”“or too distracted”“to make biblical knowledge a central aim of ministry will produce believers who simply do not know enough to be faithful disciples.

We will not believe more than we know, and we will not live higher than our beliefs. The many fronts of Christian compromise in this generation can be directly traced to biblical illiteracy in the pews and the absence of biblical preaching and teaching in our homes and churches.

This generation must get deadly serious about the problem of biblical illiteracy, or a frighteningly large number of Americans”“Christians included”“will go on thinking that Sodom and Gomorrah lived happily ever after.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Biblical Commentary & Reflection

Express: Vicars bizarrely urged to grow Beards in an effort to reach out to British Muslims

The Bishop of London said vicars who grow out their facial hair as they try to appeal to Islamic communities around them “can only be applauded”.

The Rt Rev Richard Chartres has even gone so far as to advise Anglican priests to grow facial hair to “connect” with local Muslims.

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Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Islam, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Faiths

[Lapido] Mark Durie: Time to consider why the ”˜religion of peace’ is so bloody

..The slogan ”˜Religion of Peace’ has been steadily promoted by Western leaders in response to terrorism: George Bush Jr and Jacques Chirac after 9/11, Tony Blair after 7/7, David Cameron after drummer Lee Rigby was beheaded and after British tourists were slaughtered in Tunisia, and François Hollande after the Charlie Hebdo killings.

After the beheading of 21 Copts on a Libyan beach, Barak Obama called upon the world to ‘continue to lift up the voices of Muslim clerics and scholars who teach the true peaceful nature of Islam’.

So how did ”˜the religion of peace’ became a brand of Islam, for the phrase cannot be found in the Qur’an, or in the teachings of Muhammad?

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Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Islam, Other Faiths