Daily Archives: March 10, 2016

Bp of Liverpool Paul Bayes' Presidential Address to Diocesan Synod

Citing the Anglican Consultative Council’s Five Marks of Mission the Bishop stated “the church exists by evangelism as a fire exists by burning. Evangelism is not a department. Evangelism is not an option.” He added “I do not seek the growth of the church for reasons of power and fear. I seek from a place of humility and simplicity and compassion for the poor to call forth love and to share the news of the beautiful shepherd who has saved us and who casts out all our fear.”

The Bishop added: “In the snarling, angry, frightened culture of the West, which closes the door on the poor and which seeks to hold on to and make a fortress of wealth and privilege, we say that we want to share. We will share our goods, as far as we can. We will share our lives, as far as we can. And as far as we can we will share our news ”“ the good news of the beautiful one who loves us.”

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

[Simon Ponsonby] The Church in the West is sick… What is the cure?

..what’s to be done? In 1952 Oxford Don and Christian apologist CS Lewis wrote to the Times calling for a ‘Deep Church’ ”“ a rediscovery and return to the historic foundations laid by Christ and the Apostles, rather than the somewhat superficial religion he observed was characteristic of much modern Christianity. Two generations on, we still need to heed this prophetic call and return to the deep things of God.

We cannot soothe ourselves in misty-eyed nostalgia of former golden eras of revival and evangelical advance neither can we sit in self pity like Job scraping our wounds in the rubble of what once was, battening down the hatches and hanging on in there awaiting Jesus to rapture out the few elect that remain. There’s work to be done; we need to return to first principles. We need to remember who we are and who God is. We need to put the Lord back at the centre. We need to learn to pray again, and witness to the cross and resurrection, and love one another and imitate Christ and drink deeply of the life giving, life transforming Spirit. It is time for Christians to believe and behave Christian again.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Evangelism and Church Growth, Parish Ministry

[ACNA] Interview with Archbishop Duncan on the new Lectionaries

..The readings in the lectionary are from both the Old and New Testaments, but it also includes some readings from the Apocrypha. What is the Apocrypha and why is it included in the Daily Office Lectionary?

Both the Anglican and Lutheran Reformations retained the use of books found in the Greek Old Testament (Septuagint), but not found in the Hebrew Bible. Article VI of the Thirty-Nine Articles states “the Church doth read [these books] for example of life and instruction of manners, but yet it doth not apply them to establish any doctrine.” Two of the most common canticles at Morning Prayer””the Benedicite, omnia opera Domine and the Benedictus es, Domine””come from the Apochrypha.

Past lectionaries have been criticized for skipping over some parts of the Bible that some might find uncomfortable. How has the new lectionary addressed these concerns?

So-called “uncomfortable passages” eliminated from the Daily Office Lectionary of the 1979 Book of Common Prayer have all been restored. Furthermore, the most egregious omission of the Sunday lectionary””the second half of Romans, chapter 1””is now assigned to the Third Sunday of Lent (alongside John 4) in Year A.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA)

(Gallup) Americans Name Economy, Government as Top Problems

The economy and dissatisfaction with the government, two issues regularly at the top of Gallup’s monthly most important problem list, rank as Americans’ top issues in March. Mentions of unemployment are in the double digits for a second consecutive month after hitting a seven-year low in January.

The results are based on Gallup’s March 2-6 poll. Beyond the top three problems, at least 5% of Americans mention several other issues. These include immigration, healthcare, race relations, terrorism, the election and the federal budget deficit.

Mentions of the election, at 5%, are not high in an absolute sense, but they are the highest since Gallup began tracking the category in 2001. The prior high was 2% on several occasions, usually shortly after an election took place. Many of the responses in the current survey specifically mention Donald Trump and his role in the election. Those citing the election as the most important problem are primarily independents and Democrats.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Politics in General, Psychology, Sociology, The U.S. Government, Theology

(Windsor Star) U of Windsor students turn detectives for St. John's Anglican Church history

You never know what you’ll discover when you don protective gloves and pore over documents dating back to the 1800s.

A future U.S. president who had a hand in destroying St. John’s Anglican Church in an 1813 fire set by invading American soldiers.

An early figure in the historic Sandwich church who fathered a son through an extramarital affair with a former nun.

For the first time at the University of Windsor, the history department offered a course called public history designed to help connect a community to its past. A handful of students in the course who delved into the records of St. John’s Anglican Church in Sandwich made some interesting discoveries as they researched and created an online exhibit at Public History 497.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Canada, Church History, History, Hunger/Malnutrition, Office of the President, Parish Ministry, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

([London] Times) Thousands of secret Isis recruitment files leaked

A massive leak of top-secret Islamic State documents has exposed details of the terrorist network’s global recruitment programme.

Security services were last night examining files alleged to contain names, addresses and family contacts of 22,000 jihadist fighters, including at least a dozen British recruits.

The leak was hailed as a severe setback for Isis, providing vital intelligence on the war effort in Syria and Iraq. Will Geddes, managing director of International Corporate Protection, a threat management company, said that the leak, if verified, would be a blow to the group. “They will be in massive crisis mode, worried about what is in there, who is in there and how it will disrupt their activities,” he said.

Read it all (requires subscription) or Christian Today covers the story here (open access) and the original report from Sky is here

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Defense, National Security, Military, Globalization, Islam, Other Faiths, Terrorism

(BBC) Sunday trading defeat for government as MPs reject changes

Plans to overhaul Sunday trading laws in England and Wales have been dropped after they were rejected by MPs.

The Commons opposed proposals to allow councils to extend opening hours by 317 votes to 286, as 27 Tories rebelled.

Ministers had sought to limit the rebellion by promising to trial the changes in 12 areas but said afterwards they would respect MPs’ views.

Critics of the plans said they would “chip away” at Sunday’s special status and put undue pressure on workers.

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

(CC) Philip Jenkins– Notes from the Global Church: Christians in the Gulf

The Persian Gulf emirate of Abu Dhabi recently made history. On the tiny island of Sir Bani Yas, archaeologists discovered the remains of a Christian mon­astic complex dating from around 600. After some res­toration, authorities opened the place to the public as a tourist attraction and heritage site.

This decision may not sound surprising, but it stands in stark contrast to the em­barrassment and contempt with which other nations in the region””above all, Saudi Arabia””treat their own pre-Islamic heritage. And that same relative tolerance also applies to the practice of faith today in the Gulf states. If the smaller Gulf nations do not practice freedom of religion in anything like the Western sense, Christianity has nevertheless secured a surprisingly strong foothold in these coastal states.

When the monastery of Sir Bani Yas was built, Chris­tianity had a strong presence throughout eastern and southern Arabia, mainly through the (“Nestorian”) Church of the East. No later than the fifth century, a diocese covered the lands that we would today call Oman and the United Arab Emi­rates (UAE), and Bah­rain had a major church. In Mu­ham­mad’s time, five sees covered the Gulf’s western shores. By the end of the first millennium, that Christian history had come to an end, leaving the churches in ruins.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Middle East, Other Churches, Religion & Culture

(Time) The Hidden Cost of ”˜Surprise’ Medical Bills

Danny and his wife Linda, who teaches fourth grade at a public school in Canton, Ga., got their health insurance through the state’s Blue Cross Blue Shield plan. Because Danny had torn his Achilles tendon earlier that summer playing basketball, the family had already blown through their $5,000 deductible. Linda’s doctor and their local hospital were both listed as in-network providers, so the Postells didn’t expect they’d have to pay any more out of pocket for Luke’s birth.

But then a stream of mysterious bills started rolling in. Why hadn’t anyone told them there’d be a $1,746 fee for an initial neonatal visit? What is the $240-per-day charge for Luke’s “supervision of care”? Wasn’t this all”“$4,279 in the end”“supposed to be covered by insurance?

Danny, who knew something about medical billing from his work as a pharmacist, quickly discovered the cause. While the local hospital was considered an in-network provider, the neonatal intensive-care unit at that same facility was not. Once Luke was whisked across that invisible line, wham: everything was out of network. “You’d think someone at some point would have told us that,” Danny says.

Read it all (my emphasis) and if necessary another link is there.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --The 2009 American Health Care Reform Debate, Economy, Health & Medicine, Personal Finance

A Prayer to Begin the Day from the Book of Hours (1864)

O Lord, who hast brought us through the darkness of night to the light of the morning, and who by thy Holy Spirit dost illumine the darkness of ignorance and sin: We beseech thee, of thy loving-kindness, to pour thy holy light into our souls; that we may ever be devoted to thee, by whose wisdom we were created, by whose mercy we were redeemed, and by whose providence we are governed; to the honour and glory of thy great name.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

Then the king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, one of whom was named Shiph’rah and the other Pu’ah, “When you serve as midwife to the Hebrew women, and see them upon the birthstool, if it is a son, you shall kill him; but if it is a daughter, she shall live.” But the midwives feared God, and did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but let the male children live. So the king of Egypt called the midwives, and said to them, “Why have you done this, and let the male children live?” The midwives said to Pharaoh, “Because the Hebrew women are not like the Egyptian women; for they are vigorous and are delivered before the midwife comes to them.” So God dealt well with the midwives; and the people multiplied and grew very strong. And because the midwives feared God he gave them families.

–Exodus 1:15-21

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

[Bishop Mouneer Anis] Celebrating the Life of Bishop Ghais Abdel Malik

Last Saturday, March 5th, was the funeral of Bishop Ghais Malik (1930”“2016). The event was a wonderful celebration of his life. It was a joyful celebration of someone leaving their earthly life and going to the City of God to enjoy eternal life. His daughter Claire intentionally wore white dress, unlike many who wore black. His son Awny played the piano. “I love to sing for my father,” Awny said. White flowers filled the sanctuary.

The service was an amazing ecumenical gathering with five senior Coptic Orthodox Bishops who came to represent Pope Tawadros II. Two Catholic Bishops came to represent the Catholic church and many others from the Presbyterian and other evangelical denominations attended. The cathedral was packed with people from all churches. President Sisi also sent a delegation to give his condolences.

The theme of my tribute was: “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” (Matthew 25:21, NIV). Indeed if we want to summarise Bishop Ghais and his life, the best word to describe him is “faithful”. He was faithful in his service to God, faithful as a bishop serving ministers, and faithful as a husband and a father. Bishop Ghais will be greatly missed by everyone who knew him.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, The Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East

CT Interviews Fleming Rutledge–Why Did Jesus Choose the Cross?

Why is there so little preaching and teaching on the Crucifixion today?

It’s complex, but I identify two reasons. The first is an almost wholesale retreat from the penal substitution theory, which was an unfortunate development in late 18th- and early 19th-century Protestantism. It held the field for a while, especially in evangelical circles. It was overwrought and overly rationalized and taught in a way that sabotaged the unity of the Trinity [as if the Son were placating the wrath of the Father]. It is not in the spirit of the Passion narratives.

Second, people don’t want to hear about sin, suffering, evil, or judgment. The African American church has something to teach us here. They’re not afraid to talk about judgment. People who have suffered under tyrannical, cruel, brutal regimes understand the need for judgment.

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Posted in Christology, Soteriology, Theodicy, Theology, Theology: Scripture