Daily Archives: February 3, 2016

Ian Paul–Can the C of E 'Agree to Disagree' on Sexuality without Becoming Theologically Incoherent

I could quite imagine two adjacent dioceses within the Church of England permitting or prohibiting divorce, and recognizing or not recognizing the leadership of women. It wouldn’t be comfortable, but it would be possible. It is simply impossible, however, to imagine one diocese celebrating same-sex sexual unions as equivalent to other-sex marriage, and a neighbouring one holding that this is outside of Christian moral teaching, and therefore (among its clergy) a cause of discipline. These two different views are simply incompatible; two such dioceses could not co-exist in the same Church.

That is why the question for the Church is not about polity alone, but about the Church’s doctrine of marriage, and within that, its understanding of human sexuality. There is no middle ground to stand on.

Ritchie appears to share the view of Jayne Ozanne (former Director of Accepting Evangelicals, whom he cites) that change in the Church is “inevitable.” To that end, Ozanne cites survey evidence showing that popular opinion is changing, and changing fast. That is one way for the Church to decide its doctrine – on the basis of popular opinion.

Historically, though, the Church of England has pursued a patient engagement with Scripture in order to shape its theology….

Read it all from ABC australia.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, - Anglican: Commentary, - Anglican: Primary Source, -- Statements & Letters: Primates, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, --Justin Welby, Anglican Primates, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Ecclesiology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Primates Gathering in Canterbury January 2016, Religion & Culture, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

Jeff Walton on Mere Anglicanism 2016–Anglicans Confront Challenge of Islam

Dr. William Lane Craig of Talbot School of Theology in La Mirada, California, opened the conference speaking about the concept of God in Islam and Christianity. Noting that the question “do Muslims and Christians worship the same God?” had recently been in the news, Craig instead sought to examine what each faith understood about who God is. The God of Islam, Craig determined, was deficient in the Christian view because he lacked the ability to love those who did not love him in return. Effectively, a God who loves sinners and a God incapable of loving sinners ”“ indeed, even declared their enemy in verses of the Qur’an ”“ were at their core sharply different.

Speakers encouraged participants to be relational in their interactions with Muslims, seeing them not as adversaries in an argument, but as people who might consider Christ by witnessing genuine love in the church.

“We have our own opportunities but we stay in our own clubs,” observed Lebanese-born pastor Fouad Masri about how few Muslims in the U.S. are invited into Christian homes. “Our job is to share ”” God makes people Christians, not us.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Apologetics, Christology, History, Inter-Faith Relations, Islam, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, The Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Theology

([London] Times) Bp Graham Tomlin–Think carefully before joining the backlash on migrants

Underneath the argument about social cohesion is one assumption that needs questioning. It is the belief that what provides cohesion and coherence in any given society is ethnicity. If we can retain just enough ethnic uniformity, runs the argument, then we can hope that society can just about hold together. Threaten that ethnic cohesion with too much diversity, and the whole thing will come crashing down in the chaos of racial and tribal conflict. And there is evidence that if that is all we do ”” extend the ethnic mix ”” social conflict can and often does arise.
The reality is that ethnic diversity runs not just between ethnic groups, but within ourselves. Very few of us are ethnically monochrome. We are all basically migrants. My own mother came over from Ireland to England in the 1940s. Her ancestors were refugees fleeing 17th-century religious persecution in the Rhineland. Everyone, somewhere in their ancestral history, has a connection to someone who lived somewhere else. All of us are the beneficiaries of the generosity of this country or of others, at a time when our ancestors were in desperate need of shelter, safety or simply wanting a better life.
The evidence suggests that ethnic uniformity does not create social cohesion. Historically and politically, nations that strive towards ethnic uniformity have often proven to be unstable and unsustainable. The very Middle Eastern countries in so much turmoil at the moment are more ethnically and religiously uniform than ours, with much lower rates of immigration, yet are riven with far more internal conflict than diverse societies such as the UK.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, History, Immigration, Law & Legal Issues, Middle East, Religion & Culture, Syria, Theology

(Telegraph) Controversial Sunday trading powers handed to councils

Shops will be allowed to open for longer on Sundays after the Government revealed it was pressing ahead with controversial plans to give local councils powers to relax trading laws.

A host of measures to shake-up shop opening hours will be put forward as amendments to the Enterprise Bill, Sajid Javid, the business secretary, announced today. It comes less than three months after David Cameron, the Prime Minister, was forced to scrap a vote on plans to relax trading laws after they sparked a revolt by 20 Conservative MPs.
However, despite opposition to the proposals from MPs and some retailers, Mr Javid has pushed ahead by unveiling measures to allow councils to introduce zones where shops can trade for longer.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Parish Ministry, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology

(C of E) Prayers for HM The Queen’s 90th Birthday published

The Bishop of Exeter, Robert Atwell, who chairs the Liturgical Commission which prepares liturgy for the Church said: “The Queen has steered Britain through some challenging and difficult times over the past seven decades, providing the country with stability and wisdom. She is an inspiration to many people, young and old. The Queen’s 90th birthday gives an opportunity not only to thank God for her service, but to celebrate the gifts of all older people in our society.”

Dr Matthew Salisbury, National Liturgy and Worship Adviser for the Church of England said, ‘The prayers offer thanksgiving and praise for the long service of the Queen. They ask that through God’s grace and inspired by her example of faith and service for others we may all receive strength and wisdom in our own lives.’

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, History, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Spirituality/Prayer

(Scotsman) Calls for action as Scotland records highest rate of alcohol deaths in UK

Scotland had the worst rate for alcohol-related deaths in any part of the UK, according to figures recorded over the past 20 years.

Alcohol death rates for men in Scotland have risen dramatically, according to the figures published by the Office for National Statistics. In Scotland they stood at 31.2 per 100,000 of the population, compared to 18.1 per 100,000 in England, 20.3 in Northern Ireland and 19.9 for Wales.

The latest findings from 2014 led to renewed calls for the introduction of the Scottish Government’s plan for a minimum alcohol price, aimed at tackling alcohol abuse.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Alcohol/Drinking, Death / Burial / Funerals, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Parish Ministry, Politics in General, Scotland, Theology

A Prayer for the Feast Day of the [four] Dorchester chaplains

Holy God, who didst inspire the Dorchester chaplains to be models of steadfast sacrificial love in a tragic and terrifying time: Help us to follow their example, that their courageous ministry may inspire chaplains and all who serve, to recognize thy presence in the midst of peril; through Jesus Christ our Savior, who livest and reignest with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day from William Temple

O Jesus, Master and Lord, pour into our hearts thine own heroic love; that being filled with love we may know the love which passeth knowledge, and live in the unknown power of love to win men to trust in love, to the glory of God who is love.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, who alone does wondrous things. Blessed be his glorious name for ever; may his glory fill the whole earth! Amen and Amen!

–Psalm 72: 18,19

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

The Telegraph's 25 best films of 2015

Take a look and see how it compares to your list and how many of the 25 you have seen.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Movies & Television

(NPR) Author Yann Martel On 'That Deeply Unreasonable Phenomenon' Of Faith

Writer Yann Martel is best known for his 2001 book Life of Pi, about a teenage boy adrift at sea with a Bengal tiger. Now Martel has a new novel called The High Mountains of Portugal. It’s made up of three interlocking stories that cover almost a century. Like Life of Pi, The High Mountains of Portugal is about journeys and it also features an animal (this time a chimpanzee).

Martel tells NPR’s Ari Shapiro that his new novel continues an exploration of faith that began with Life of Pi.

“In both Life of Pi and in this one … it happens to be religious faith,” Martel says, “but I mean faith in a broader sense, too ”” any kind of faith, whether it’s in a person, in a political movement, even a sports team, whatever. That deeply unreasonable phenomenon intrigues me. … We are so moved to be rational. Faith, whether it’s falling in love with someone or falling in love with a god, doesn’t have that immediate cause and effect.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Books, History, Poetry & Literature, Psychology, Religion & Culture

(Independent) Oxbridge academics demand end to fossil fuel investment

More than 300 eminent academics at Oxford and Cambridge have signed a joint statement calling on the institutions to pursue more “morally sound” investment policies that have no basis in fossil fuels.

The signatories, who include the former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Williams and the Astronomer Royal Lord Rees, say that Oxford and Cambridge should put their multibillion-pound endowment funds to better use in the light of “looming social, environmental, and financial pressures”.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Education, Energy, Natural Resources, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Stock Market, Theology

(CT) Alissa Wilkinson–Dispatch from Sundance: 'Agnus Dei'

One of the oldest refrains in the world is the theodicy question: how could a good God let bad things happen?

That question animates Agnus Dei, which premieres at the Sundance Film Festival on Tuesday. But the film’s answer is expansive, complex, and subtly subversive. Directed by Anne Fontaine (Coco Before Chanel, Gemma Bovary) and led by an all-female cast, the movie tries to approach (but not fix) the repercussions of unspeakable cruelty with the quiet balm of beauty. It’s a must-see for CT readers.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Evangelicals, Movies & Television, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Theodicy, Theology