Monthly Archives: February 2016

(CEN) C of E Synod urged to fast-track Black and Asian church leaders

The Church of England has been urged to fast-track Asian and black church leaders in the same way it has done for women bishops.

The call came at a meeting during General Synod last week at nearby Westminster Central Hall. The day before, Archbishop Welby had said to Synod that British colonial history makes the laying down of edicts by white, middle-class Christians from the Global North a process that is rightly deeply resented.

One former member of Synod, Vasantha Gnanadoss, pointed out that there had been no senior appointment from Black and Asian clergy to episcopal office since 2002.

“In their promotion of the Bill to get women bishops into the House of Lords immediately, the bishops were giving a very high priority to redressing unequal treatment of women clergy. Unequal treatment of black and Asian clergy has been allowed to continue.Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE)

(LA Times) Pentagon mobilizes military hackers against ISIS

Mlitary commanders have mounted a cyberoffensive against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria in recent weeks by deploying hackers to penetrate the extremist group’s computer and cellphone networks, according to the Pentagon.

The cyberassault, which Defense Secretary Ashton Carter authorized last month, marks the first time teams from U.S. Cyber Command have been integrated into an active battlefield since the command was established in 2009.

“These are strikes that are conducted in the war zone using cyber, essentially as a weapon of war,” Carter said in a National Public Radio interview. “Just as we drop bombs, we’re dropping cyberbombs.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --Social Networking, America/U.S.A., Blogging & the Internet, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Science & Technology, Terrorism, Theology

[Charles Moore] Don’t bother God with the EU referendum

Being a Christian myself, I suppose I would like to know which way God would lean in the EU referendum if He had a vote.

An organisation called Christians for Britain claims biblical justification for leaving, believing that the Old Testament idea of a nation under God goes against the unrepresentative bureaucracy of Brussels. The Church of Scotland, on the other hand, declares that ”“ although it graciously permits members to make up their own minds “with integrity” ”“ it believes that “it is better for us as a country to remain within the EU”.

My own feeling is this is one of those choices with which the Almighty does not wish to be bothered, since He endowed us with minds which allow us freely to decide.

The truth is that there are respectable Christian arguments on both sides. Some Catholic teaching on “solidarity” is held to favour the EU, for example, but many Catholics in Britain today ”“ Iain Duncan Smith, Sir William Cash, Jacob Rees-Mogg ”“ are driven by their faith towards a strong dislike of arbitrary power and distant decision-making.

The only Christians who are definitely wrong about this are those who think that a church should state and propagate a single corporate position on the subject. The Church of Scotland’s stance is nakedly political. It could, with just as much Christian reason, argue that Christ’s injunction to “love thy neighbour” should impel Scots to stay with the United Kingdom. But it won’t ”“ not in a month of strictly observed Sabbaths.

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Posted in Theology

The Latest Edition of the Diocese of SC Enewsletter

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Evangelism and Church Growth, Media, Parish Ministry

(CNS) Canadian report recommends widening access to assisted suicide for ”˜mature’ children

The parliamentary report recommends allowing physician-assisted suicide for people with psychiatric conditions, opens the way for “mature” children younger than 18 to be euthanised, allows for advanced directives so non-competent people can be euthanised provided they made the directive when competent, and recommends that physicians who object to assisted suicide be forced to make a referral for such action when requested. It also recommends all health facilities that receive public funding provide physician-assisted death.

It recommends that Health Canada establish a Secretariat on Palliative and End-of-Life care and a national palliative care strategy. It also recommends national strategies for mental illness and dementia.

Conservative members of the parliamentary committee dissented, noting that Quebec’s provincial euthanasia law, which took effect in December, does not allow physician-assisted death for the mentally ill or those younger than 18. It also does not allow for advanced directives. The Quebec law does not demand referral to another physician who will carry out the euthanasia, but has physicians making the referral to an independent body that will find a physician. The law offers two possibilities to terminally ill patients: palliative care or medically induced death. Quebec was the first of the 10 Canadian provinces to adopt such legislation.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anthropology, Canada, Children, Death / Burial / Funerals, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Teens / Youth, Theology

[Andrew Nixon] What I learned about Dementia and faith

..How can we, the church of God, help? Lots of ways! But for one thing ”“ and lets start with the really low hanging fruit first ”“ I believe many (most?) carers who would love to be able to bring their loved ones to church. They know how much it means to them. But are our services accessible (dementia friendly)? Are our buildings adequate (walker and wheelchair accessible)? And are our congregations open to it?

There are multiple benefits if we can help enable church attendance. (1) We can bless the person with dementia enormously. (2) We can demonstrate the love of Jesus to their carer/s who would embrace our concern for their loved one (and for them!) with open arms. We are well tuned-in to the idea that by reaching kids and youth in our schools and communities we can also reach their un-churched parents. Can I suggest by caring for the elderly as we ought, we have a chance to reach their un-churched adult children too? And here is a benefit you may not have thought of immediately: (3) By including those with dementia in our church life as much as we possibly can, we (both as individuals and the community of God’s people) will learn from them and be blessed by them..

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Care

Chicago Theological Seminary welcomes Episcopal Church seminary to campus

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Episcopal Church (TEC), Other Churches, Seminary / Theological Education, Theology, United Church of Christ

Sarah Coakley–'Thy Kingdom Come': The Unbearability of Divine Will

“Thy kingdom come, thy will be done” cannot, therefore, mean an effortless abandonment to divine purpose, achieved in lonely isolation. If the Spirit is to bring us into the authentic prayer of Jesus, these primary requests he gave us – for the kingdom and for the divine will – will often time mean, as they did for him, a sweaty struggle, a revulsion at what lies before us, and above all a desperate need for the support of others who will pray with us, however incompetently and sleepily. When this happens it is not, again, that something has gone wrong; rather, we are being pressed yet more deeply into the space of Jesus.

The famous spiritual director, Dom John Chapman, onetime Abbot of Downside, put it thus, and most beautifully, in a letter to a Benedictine nun, who was struggling with her own sense of inner turmoil and suffering in prayer. :”Contempt” of such suffering, he writes, is superhuman, not human:

“Our Lord has taught us this very plainly by his example. In the Agony, he did not say ‘I suffer, and I rejoice … [Rather], he prayed that the Chalice might be taken away, to show that the feeling of hating suffering, and feeling it unbearable, is part of [human] perfection for us, as it is a part [also] of our weakness of nature.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Lent, Spirituality/Prayer, Theology

A Prayer to Begin the Day from Bishop W. Walsham How

O almighty Father, giver of every good and perfect gift, who hast made the light of thy truth to shine in our hearts: Make us to walk as children of light in all goodness and righteousness, that we may have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Bishop William Walsham How (1823-1897)

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, CoE Bishops, Lent, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, thou who leadest Joseph like a flock! Thou who art enthroned upon the cherubim, shine forth before E’phraim and Benjamin and Manas’seh! Stir up thy might, and come to save us!

–Psalm 80:1-2

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

TEC Executive Council: opening remarks from House of Deputies president

The last time we met, just over three months ago, I said some things. I said some things about standing on the threshold and about longing for change and about embracing our elastic identity……
“I’m feeling pretty elastic this triennium,” I said
I want to thank you, Michael, for the wisdom and steadiness with which you guided us all through the recent primates meeting and its aftermath. While confusion reigned and rumors swirled, you helped us understand, to renew, that we are still full members of the Anglican Communion, that our mission relationships with Anglicans across the world are strong, and that what binds us together is far stronger than what threatens to separate us. I will take your spirit with me when I travel to Zambia in April as the Episcopal Church’s clergy representative to the Anglican Consultative Council, where you can be assured that I will participate fully with a glad heart, a strong spirit and pride that the Episcopal Church fully affirms the dignity and worth of all of God’s children, including our lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender sisters and brothers.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Primates, Episcopal Church (TEC), House of Deputies President, Primates Gathering in Canterbury January 2016

TEC Executive Council: opening remarks from the Presiding Bishop

Many believed that marriage is part of core doctrine. No individual church can change core doctrine. Many felt that the expansion of who may be married on our part was a change in church doctrine. Therefore it was in part on that basis that many felt that we had overstepped our authority as a province. I didn’t agree with that but I respect that that was the understanding of many. For me, marriage is not part of core doctrine. The doctrine of the Holy Trinity is core doctrine. The doctrine of who Jesus Christ is ”“ wholly God and wholly human ”“ is doctrine. The articles of the Creeds are doctrine. The Holy Scriptures and the Old and New Testament are core doctrine. Other sections of the Chicago”“ Lambeth Quadrilateral are core doctrine. Marriage is a sacramental rite, it is a solemn and sacred matter of faith and practice. But it is not core doctrine.

Their action was surgical, specific, and mediated. Because we are seen as having deviated from doctrine of the Anglican Communion, for three years we are suspended on ambassadorial and leadership positions.

What the Primates said applies to the Primates. It does not apply to ACC.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Primary Source, -- Statements & Letters: Primates, --Justin Welby, Anglican Primates, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Michael Curry, Presiding Bishop, Primates Gathering in Canterbury January 2016, Theology

[John Bingham] Christian student expelled for opposing same-sex marriage

A Christian postgraduate student has been expelled from his course, effectively ending his chances of a career as a social worker, for voicing opposition to gay marriage in a Facebook discussion.

Felix Ngole, a 38-year-old father of four, expressed support for Kim Davis, the county clerk from Kentucky in the US who was jailed for refusing to issue marriage licences after the introduction of same-sex unions in September last year.
he was summoned to a disciplinary hearing at Sheffield University after a fellow student complained about his post.

He said he was initially not even told what he was accused of doing. He was eventually told that it involved breaching social work guidelines on “personal conduct” and “bringing the profession into disrepute”.

At a further hearing, a university “fitness to practise” panel concluded that he was entitled to his opinion on the issue of gay marriage but that there was a danger he “may have caused offence to some individuals” by voicing it.

They concluded that, even though he was not yet even qualified as a social worker, his comment on the Facebook thread would affect his ability to operate in the profession.

As a result he was effectively expelled from the university, ordered to hand in his student ID and even his library card..

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Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Religious Freedom / Persecution

[NYT] Pastor in China Who Resisted Cross Removal Gets 14 Years in Prison

A court in southeastern China has sentenced a Protestant pastor to 14 years in prison and his wife to 12 years after convicting them of corruption, financial crimes and gathering people to disturb social order, an official provincial newspaper reported on Friday.

The sentences for the pastor, Bao Guohua, and his wife, Xing Wenxiang, were among the harshest imposed recently on clergy members and their associates in China. The newspaper reported that a court had sentenced an additional 10 people who were members of Mr. Bao’s church or a Christian group in the same city, Jinhua, in Zhejiang Province, but it did not give details of those sentences.

The newspaper, Zhejiang Daily, also said that the court had ordered the confiscation from Mr. Bao of 600,000 renminbi, or about $92,000, and fined him $15,300. It said his wife also had $92,000 confiscated and received a fine of less than $14,000.

Officials have removed more than 1,200 crosses from churches and other buildings and in some cases have destroyed entire churches. The government is especially concerned about so-called house churches, which are neither approved nor overseen by officials.

Mr. Bao had official approval to lead a congregation, and he oversaw a government-sanctioned church. Zheng Leguo, a house church preacher now living in the United States, said in an interview on Friday that he believed that Mr. Bao, who has been in detention since at least August, was being persecuted because he had tried to defend his church against an order to take down its cross. Few other government-approved pastors in Jinhua have opposed the campaign of cross removals..

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Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Religious Freedom / Persecution

[BBC] US Condemns Christian Lawyer's 'confession' on Chinese state TV

The US says a purported confession from a prominent Chinese lawyer on state television runs counter to the rule of law.

Zhang Kai admitted to various crimes including disturbing social order in a broadcast on Thursday.

He has been helping defend Christians resisting government orders to remove crosses from buildings.

China says it guarantees religious freedom but there are concerns about a crackdown on Christian activities.

On Friday a pastor was jailed for refusing to remove a cross from his church’s roof.

The authorities have justified the tearing down of crosses by saying they break planning rules.

Zhang Kai was arrested last year shortly before a planned meeting with the US envoy on religious freedoms.

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Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Religious Freedom / Persecution