Daily Archives: July 19, 2016

(TLC Covenant blog) Sarah Condon–Only the dumb ones go into parish ministry

The affirmation culture of pop psychology has made its way into the theological academy, at least at mainline Protestant seminaries. We are told that we can be the leaders who will fix the church and that all of our snazzy ideas are totally going to work, indeed, that they are “prophetic” (please stop using that word to describe anyone you know).

Of course, the problem with this system is that then our seminaries send these “prophetic” newly ordained people into actual churches with actual lay people. And the ability of lay people to spot bad ideas is very strong. This combination usually makes for a painful, short marriage. One need only glance at the numbers of clergy who last less than five years in parish ministry to know that perhaps that professor was right. Maybe we are all idiots for wanting to do ministry in churches; the smart ones got out ahead of time.
Or maybe our seminaries could do better by the people they are training. Why are we not telling people in seminary that if they do not want serve in churches then they should not be pursuing ordination? I understand the practical reasons (mostly money), but I am astonished that we do not see the negative endgame for the church, not to mention the damage it does to the individual paying for an education: Paying student loans for a ministerial education that proved worthless is a sure and certain path to embitterment.

When I was in seminary, I remember having an endless number of conversations with people in their 20s who wanted to be ordained but classified themselves as “just not sure” about the church. Most of them were interested in academics. I wonder how many professors of systematic theology or biblical studies we will need in the future. According to the flood of people in our seminaries, I am guessing 4 million.

I would suggest that our seminaries are inadvertently devastating our churches. Most people who are ordained do end up in some kind of ordained ministry at some point in their career. However, if they have been encouraged and you are so special-ed through seminary, then it seems perfectly logical to them that they can make their living being an urban garden planter who occasionally talks about Jesus.’

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Christology, Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Seminary / Theological Education, Soteriology, Theology

St. Mark’s Episcopal Church properties for sale in Augusta, Maine

The proposed sale is expected to force the food and clothing banks, and the essential pantry and warming center, to move. Depending on who or what type of entity puts in a bid to buy the property, the sale could reshape a prominent parcel between the city’s downtown and a large west side residential neighborhood.

Augusta resident Joseph Riddick, senior warden of the church, said the 40-member St. Mark’s congregation, while now able to pay to maintain the buildings, won’t be able to afford to do so long-term. Also, he and the Rev. Rebecca Grant, the church deacon, said the money they’d spend maintaining and heating the aging facilities will be better spent on the church’s focus of helping needy people in the community.

“This is a building. It’s a wonderful building, but our ministry is people,” Riddick said, standing in the high-ceilinged St. Mark’s Church, beneath its rows of elaborate stained-glass windows and among its wooden pews. “We’re transitioning to a facility for our congregation that we can afford. And the money we use to maintain this campus, we’ll take that money and help people, help those in need. St. Mark’s Church continues and our ministries are going to continue, just in a different place.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Episcopal Church (TEC), Housing/Real Estate Market, Parish Ministry, Stewardship, TEC Parishes

Kenyan Anglican Church head condemns increase in violent crimes

The Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK) head Jackson ole Sapit has decried the rise in crime rate.
He said widespread insecurity had led to fear and despondency among citizens. Archbishop Sapit said the poor feel insecure while the rich fear being robbed or attacked by criminal gangs, which operate freely. “The Kenyan society is at a crossroads. Husbands are massacring their wives, wives killing their spouses, police shoot indiscriminately and kill their colleagues and those in their custody,” said the archbishop.
Speaking at St. Thomas Cathedral in Kerugoya town when he launched Pillar Television Station, Sapit attributed the trend to emerging social challenges which most Kenyans are not able to overcome.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Anglican Church of Kenya, Anglican Provinces, Ethics / Moral Theology, Kenya, Race/Race Relations, Theology, Violence

(Guardian) Polyamorous in Portland: the city making open relationships easy

Throughout his life, Franklin ”“ now 50 and living in Portland, Oregon ”“ has never chosen one. In fact, he’s never had a monogamous relationship in his life, even while he was married for 18 years. “Monogamy has never connected with me, it’s never made sense to me,” said Franklin, who took two dates to his high school prom and lost his virginity in a threesome.

Yet it wasn’t until the 1990’s that he found the language to describe his lifestyle. Until then, he just considered himself “open”.

Polyamory is the practice of intimate relationships involving more than two people with the consent of everyone involved. In recent years, polyamory is working its way to becoming a household term. Researchers have estimated that 4 to 5% of Americans practice some form of consensual non-monogamy. A 2014 blog post by Psychology Today revealed that 9.8 million people have agreed to allow satellite lovers in their relationships, which includes poly couples, swinging couples and others practicing sexual non-monogamy.

And in Portland ”“ home to swingers’ clubs, the most strip bars per capita, and annual porn festivals ”“ it seems you can’t throw a stone without finding a poly relationship.

Read it all.

I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Polyamory, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Men, Psychology, Sexuality, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues, Women

Bishop of London Richard Chartres announces his intention to retire in 2017

For my part, I have tried to follow the example of St Augustine who said, “For you I am a bishop but with you I am a Christian”, and in this spirit I hope you will forgive my many shortcomings in office.

After consultation with the Archbishop I am writing to let you know about the timetable for my retirement. It is business as usual until Christmas, after which I shall hope to clear my desk of more than twenty years’ worth of accumulated debris. The intention is that my last public engagement as Bishop of London will be in the Cathedral at Candlemas, February 2nd 2017, the day when Simeon was granted a vision of Christ in the Temple and prayed “Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace.” My formal resignation will be dated from the end of the month on Shrove Tuesday.

Her Majesty the Queen has graciously indicated that I should remain as Dean of HM Chapels Royal until the appointment of the 133rd Bishop of London.

I have received so many signs in prayer and in the life of the Diocese that my period as Bishop of London is drawing to a close. I have every confidence in the Diocesan Team, and in the leadership of our Archbishop in the challenge of renewing and reforming the Church as a servant of reconciliation in these turbulent times.

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

(LA Times) A study in anger: How Gavin Long went from decorated Iraq veteran to cop killer

Now that he is dead ”” killed by police minutes after the rampage he carried out on his 29th birthday ”” much of what is known about Long comes from his vast online trail, where he fashioned himself as a lifestyle guru and activist with fans who were aching to know his life story.

As racial tensions escalated nationwide with the police shootings of black men this month in Louisiana and Minnesota, and the killings of five police officers in Dallas, Long’s messages grew more pointed.

“I’m not gonna harp on that, you know, with a brother killing the police,” Long said in a video uploaded the day after the Dallas shootings. “You get what I’m saying?”

“It’s justice,” he said. In the same video, he seemed to hint at his own plans: If “anything happens to me ”¦ don’t affiliate me with anybody.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Blogging & the Internet, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Police/Fire, Psychology, Race/Race Relations, Theology, Violence

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Macrina

Merciful God, who didst call thy servant Macrina to reveal in her life and her teaching the riches of thy grace and truth: Mercifully grant that we, following her example, may seek after thy wisdom and live according to her way; through Jesus Christ our Savior, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day from the Syrian Clementine Liturgy

O God, Who art the unsearchable abyss of peace, the ineffable sea of love, the fountain of blessings, and the bestower of affection, Who sendest peace to those that receive it; open to us this day the sea of Thy love, and water us with the plenteous streams from the riches of Thy grace. Make us children of quietness, and heirs of peace. Enkindle in us the fire of Thy love; sow in us Thy fear; strengthen our weakness by Thy power; bind us closely to Thee and to each other in one firm bond of unity; for the sake of Jesus Christ. Amen.

–James Manning,ed., Prayers of the Early Church (Nashville: The Upper Room, 1953)

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

None of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.

–Romans 14:7-9

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Bishop Robert Innes of the C of E Diocese of Europe-sharing our experience after terror attacks

Bishop Robert has been telling radio listeners in Britain about how the church in Nice has been responding to the aftermath of Friday’s terror attacks when a lorry careered into the crowds celebrating Bastille Day.

The Bishop had already planned to be in Nice for a meeting with clergy on Saturday (16 July 2016) and he was able to share in the special service of commemoration and see for himself the effects of the incident and the ministry of Holy Trinity Church just off the Promenade des Anglais.

Read and listen to it all (a little over 4 1/2 minutes).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Europe, France, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Terrorism

What sitting, sipping with Syrian refugees taught two Lowcountry South Carolina missionaries

The Syrian woman wore a floral-patterned, full-length dress and head scarf. She ducked inside her tarp-house. Moments later she emerged with a rug.

She placed it and a cushion on the ground, and motioned for Tullie to sit.

[Ann] Tullie, whose white blouse matched her curly hair, sat.

The refugee offered her tea.

“I guess she could tell I was tired and thirsty,” Tullie said Monday as she and her husband, Dick, sat on the sofa in their living room. Dick Tullie made the short-term mission trip with her, like he has about a dozen times before. The couple, members of The Parish Church of St. Helena, have performed mission work since 2004 in the United States, Central America and Africa.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, * South Carolina, Middle East, Missions, Syria

Another Canadian Anglican Vote Error discovered, though the outcome is not changed

None of the electronic votes cast by National Indigenous Anglican Bishop Mark MacDonald were recorded at the recently concluded General Synod, July 7-12, because he was “erroneously listed” as “non-voting,” Archdeacon Michael Thompson, general secretary of the Anglican Church of Canada, confirmed today.

The error, which the Anglican Journal and another publication brought to Thompson’s attention on Friday, July 15, came on the heels of a vote miscount July 12, which dramatically reversed General Synod’s vote on same-sex marriage.

In a statement, Thompson said that in the process of reviewing the list, it was determined that “in addition to myself and the chancellor,” MacDonald was wrongly listed as non-voting in the spreadsheet provided to Data-on-the-Spot, the electronic voting services provider hired to manage the voting by clickers.

“I have spoken with and apologized personally to Bishop MacDonald, and he has been gracious and understanding,” said Thompson. “We are all deeply grateful to Bishop Mark, and to all those with whom he works, for the emerging clarity in the Indigenous Ministry of the Anglican Church of Canada.”

Read it all from Anglican Journal.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces