Daily Archives: March 22, 2016

(Aleteia) Philip Jenkins–Numbering the Old Testament: 22, 24 , 39 books, or more?

Briefly, how many books are there in the Old Testament? The standard Protestant answer is 39 books, although Catholics would respond differently, because they also include several Deuterocanonical works, like Sirach, Wisdom, and 1 and 2 Maccabees. So would Orthodox churches. The Ethiopian Biblical canon includes several truly ancient items unknown to churches anywhere else on the planet, including Jubilees and 1 Enoch.

That is straightforward enough, but the Jewish answer would be different again. They would describe the Bible as having 24 books, including all the texts in the Protestant Christian Bible, but structured and divided differently….So, the number of Old Testament books is 24 or 39, and that is no great problem. But here we turn to Josephus, also writing around 95 AD in the Against Apion. He divided the books somewhat differently than the later Jewish canon, but also gives us a different total, namely 22

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Church History, Judaism, Other Faiths, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Archbishop of Canterbury responds to events in Brussels

Responding to events in Brussels this morning, the Archbishop of Canterbury said:

“In the great Holy Week of Christian prayer and mercy, the Brussels attacks shock all those who seek peace and justice through the terrible cruelty and utter separation from all that is of God. Once again we see the contrast between the vain efforts to terrify through indiscriminate murder, and the call of God to be those who show mercy, who seek peace and pursue it. Let us at every service this week pray for those caught up in the traumatic events at the airport and in the City of Brussels.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury

[Bishop Graham Kings] The Michael Ramsey Book Prize 2016

At the Bloxham Festival for Faith and Literature, 19-21 February 2016, the short list of six books for the Michael Ramsey Prize 2016 was announced.
I was asked to present:

Francis Spufford, Unapologetic: Why, despite everything, Christianity can still make surprising emotional sense (London: Faber and Faber, 2012) and

Frances Young, God’s Presence: A Contemporary Recapitulation of Early Christianity (Cambridge: CUP, 2013)

Alison Barr, Senior Commissioning Editor at SPCK, gave an overview of the prize and the books.

The following is a development of my comments at the Bloxham Festival on the two books by Frances and Francis.

1. Unapologetic by Francis Spufford

This could win a prize for the longest sub title. The publishers, Faber and Faber, have even managed to squeeze it onto the spine of the book.

Spufford explains that he wrote the book ”˜to try to extricate for people, from the misleading ruins of half memory, what Christianity feels like from the inside.’ (p.22)

(a) What kind of a book is this?

Well, unapologetically, it is a popular defense of the Christian faith from emotional sense and a presentation of the good news of Jesus Christ in the face of New Atheism..

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

[AAC] Anglican Perspective: Bishops Leadership Summit

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

(ABC Aus.) Sarah Coakley–Deliver Us From Evil': On The Impossibility of Forgiveness

There is no other place to be in prayer, but in the throes of this spiritual warfare, and it is the place we are called by the Spirit to be, however uncomfortably, with and in the space of Jesus. For Jesus does not promise us a quiet life, but rather his mysterious peace and presence in the eye of the storm.

Here we learn that forgiveness is humanly impossible, because only God can do it in us; here we learn that our own fights with temptation are humanly hopeless, unless also handed over to God: yet in God, the donut problem, the sex problem, and even finally – God help us – the pride and vainglory problem, find their denouement and their resolution. It is all a matter of the great “asking of asking” which is prayer itself. We only have to turn, again and again, into the space of Jesus, and pray “Our Father …”

So when we pray, “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil,” we sum up the whole prayer of Jesus, in all its simplicity and power, and stand with him afresh in that ecstasy of understanding that is the space of forgiven sinners before the God who is Abba.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Christology, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Holy Week, Spirituality/Prayer, Theodicy, Theology

(Church Times) Rowan Williams, theologian, Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge

A bishop has to be a teacher of the faith. That is, he or she has to be someone who is animated by theology and eager to share it ”” animated by theology in the sense of longing to inhabit the language and world of faith with greater and greater intelligence, insight, and joy. So, yes, bishops need that animation and desire to help others make sense of their commitment….

This means that I would plead with the Church to take seriously the need for investing in theological education at all levels ”” to recognise that there is a huge appetite for theology among so many laypeople, and thus a need for clergy who can respond and engage intelligently. The middle-term future may need to be one where there are more independent centres of theological study outside universities, given the erosion of resources in higher education, and I think it’s time more people started thinking about what that might entail in terms of funding.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, --Rowan Williams, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Seminary / Theological Education, Theology

(CT) Light for Electricians: How Christians Bring Hope to Business

Denver’s business community took notice of [Karla] Nugent because of her philanthropy. As leader of sales, marketing, and human resources, she’s created a culture of generosity at Weifield. The company donates to more than 30 nonprofits in the city, including organizations that support women, veterans, at-risk youth, and the urban poor. Employees join in the generosity as well, taking bike rides to raise money for MS and building houses for Habitat for Humanity on company time.

In 2014, Nugent won the Denver Business Journal’s Corporate Citizen of the Year Award as well as the award for Outstanding Woman in Business for architects, engineers, and construction.

But light began to flood into Weifield when, several years ago, Nugent decided to bring the community’s needs into the company. After seeing growing income inequality in Denver, she created the Weifield Group apprenticeship program.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Stewardship, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues

NYT–Patients in pain, and a doctor who must limit drugs

Susan Kubicka-Welander, a short-order cook, went to her pain checkup appointment straight from the lunch-rush shift. “We were really busy,” she told Dr. Robert L. Wergin, trying to smile through deeply etched lines of exhaustion. “Thursdays, it’s Philly cheesesteaks.”

Her back ached from a compression fracture; a shattered elbow was still mending; her left-hip sciatica was screaming louder than usual. She takes a lot of medication for chronic pain, but today it was just not enough.

Yet rather than increasing her dose, Dr. Wergin was tapering her down. “Susan, we’ve got to get you to five pills a day,” he said gently.

She winced.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Drugs/Drug Addiction, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Theology

(TLC Covenant) John Bauerschmidt–Paschal Mystery

Years ago, in a diocese far, far away, a colleague surprised me one day by saying how much he disliked the reading of the Passion Gospel on Palm Sunday, particularly when members of the congregation were assigned the various dramatic parts (in precisely the way that over the past forty years or so has become fairly common in churches of all sorts). What he found objectionable was the role assigned to the congregation, the part of the crowd, calling out “Crucify him, crucify him!” in the midst of the solemn liturgy of the day. He was scandalized by the suggestion that his congregation, good Christian people, might be identified with Jesus’ killers.

Just telling this story reminds me of the joys of theological conversation at a certain age, of the thrust and parry over great ideas that can take place in an informal setting. My sense is that theology is often best done in such a setting. I have the sense that much of this give and take happens on social media these days, but that’s another story.

At first I believed my friend was just kidding, or perhaps being provocative, and maybe that was the case. I certainly hope so. At the time I was dumbstruck.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Christology, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Holy Week, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(BBC) Brussels Zaventem airport and metro explosions 'kill at least 13'

Two blasts tore through the departures area of Zaventem airport shortly after 08:00 local time (07:00 GMT).

An hour later, an explosion hit Maalbeek metro station, close to the EU institutions. The airport and whole transport system have been closed.

The attacks come four days after Salah Abdeslam, the main fugitive in the Paris attacks, was seized in Brussels.

The Belgian government has confirmed casualties at the airport but has given no numbers. The cause of the explosions is unknown.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Belgium, Europe, Terrorism, Urban/City Life and Issues

A Prayer to Begin the Day from Prayers for the Christian Year

O Lord Jesus Christ, who..[in this week] didst enter the rebellious city where thou wast to die: Enter into our hearts, we beseech thee, and subdue them wholly to thyself. And, as thy faithful disciples blessed thy coming, and spread their garments in the way, covering it with palm branches, make us ready to lay at thy feet all we have and are, and to bless thee, who comest in the name of the Lord.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Holy Week, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Scripture Readings

O LORD, rebuke me not in thy anger, nor chasten me in thy wrath. Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am languishing; O LORD, heal me, for my bones are troubled. My soul also is sorely troubled. But thou, O LORD–how long? Turn, O LORD, save my life; deliver me for the sake of thy steadfast love.

–Psalm 6:1-4

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(NYT) After Funeral and Cremation, a Shock: The Woman in the Coffin Wasn’t Mom

They all filed past the open coffin, seeing familiar remnants of Ms. McDonald’s life: a favorite pink blouse and white suit, and her finest jewelry.

“Why did they cut off all her hair?” a son, Errol McDonald, 57, remembers thinking. “Maybe it’s the cancer.” He bent and kissed her.

But sometimes children see what adults cannot. Adults rationalize. Children call it like it is.

“My 10-year-old son said, ”˜Daddy, that’s not Grandma,’” recalled Mr. McDonald, a school maintenance worker in Manhattan. “I said, ”˜Yes, that’s what happens,’” he told the boy, explaining that people can look different in death….[but the 10 year old was right]…

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Children, Death / Burial / Funerals, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Theology