Daily Archives: September 8, 2016

Massachusetts: Churches may be covered by transgender discrimination bans as to ”˜secular events’

From the official Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination’s Gender Identity Guidance, just released last week:

Even a church could be seen as a place of public accommodation if it holds a secular event, such as a spaghetti supper, that is open to the general public.

Now, churches hold events “open to the general public” all the time ”” it’s often how they seek new converts. And even church “secular events,” which I take it means events that don’t involve overt worship, are generally viewed by the church as part of its ministry, and certainly as a means of the church modeling what it believes to be religiously sound behavior.

Read it all from Euguene Volokh at the Washington Post.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Multiculturalism, pluralism, Parish Ministry, Politics in General, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Theology

(CH) Francis Phillips-What happened when I explained Church teaching about gender on Facebook

Recently I had a surreally disquieting experience. Someone had randomly posted up a photograph of girls in school uniform on my school’s Old Girls’ Facebook page (this school used to be a convent boarding school but is now a girls’ Catholic day school). Above the photo was a caption referring to private schools having to face up to new transgender issues.

I added a one-line comment, saying I hoped that such schools would not give in to political correctness on this matter. There were instant strong objections to my remark. So I added a couple of paragraphs, explaining why Christians follow history, the Bible, biology and common sense on sex and gender and recommending a couple of books. This led to an irrational and angry response on the part of several commentators who demanded that the thread be closed immediately. It was.

I thought of this incident when reading Gabriele Kuby’s book, The Global Sexual Revolution: Destruction of Freedom in the Name of Freedom, recently republished from the German by Angelico Press. Her book, as its title suggests, carefully explains, with the aid of much research and citing many telling statistics, just why western society (it doesn’t apply to the rest of the world) has moved in recent decades from militant feminism to the destruction of marriage and now to an aggressive push for “gender ideology” and the right to “choose” your sex.

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, --Social Networking, Anthropology, Blogging & the Internet, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Marriage & Family, Men, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Theology, Theology: Scripture, Women

(AP) Mom, daughter charged with incest after marrying in Oklahoma

A woman and her daughter are facing incest charges after authorities learned the pair were legally married in Oklahoma this year, and that the mother had married her son a few years earlier.

The motivation behind the March marriage was unclear Wednesday, when 43-year-old Patricia Ann Spann and her daughter, 25-year-old Misty Velvet Dawn Spann, made initial appearances in Stephens County district court. Under Oklahoma law, marrying a close relative is considered incest whether or not a sexual relationship exists.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Theology

CEN Editorial–The church is rooted in the real God of Jesus

An ordained Anglican cleric Don Cupitt, whose BBC series The Sea of Faith argued for this kind of mythical view of Christianity and all religions, is a ”˜non realist’ in his view of God and rejects any idea of an objective transcendent God. A new book by Linda Woodhead and Andrew Brown, Bad Connections: How the Church of England lost the English People, proceeds on the assumption that too much religion, belief in an objective God revealed in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, is bad for the church and for society. The church should shake off all this evangelical gospel nonsense and concentrate on being the social cohesion for the English. The Church of England is consumed by its obsessive warfare over sex and women, and needs just to drop doctrinal arguments and be open to the world and its cultural diversity.

It is no surprise that a sociologist of religion and a Guardian journalist hold this view of Christianity and Church: it is a very middle class and sophisticated secularist spin on Anglicanism as a totally non-demanding way of life, tinged by aesthetic beauty from the glories of its language, history, music and art, untroubled by claims to ordering of one’s sexual life, let alone to the gospel message that we are sinners in need of redemption. All this religious stuff is very alienating and off-putting.

Read it all (may require subscription).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Theology

Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Raphael–Give Christians in Iraq a say in their future

Christians in Iraq should be given independent rule or allowed to join a region of their choice in a post-war settlement, the leader of the country’s largest Church has suggested.

The Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Raphael I says in a report this week that should Iraq be reclaimed from Islamic State, there should be an interim political settlement allowing Christian villages in the Nineveh Plain to become “self-administrative”.

Many of the Christians who have been forced to flee could return to their homes if Islamic State is defeated, he says.

He calls for a referendum to give Christians a choice on whether they want to be governed from Baghdad, to be part of the autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan or even place themselves under a “Sunni state”.

Read it all from Christian Today.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Ethics / Moral Theology, Iraq, Islam, Middle East, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Theology, Violence

Kendall Harmon's Sunday Sermon–Learning from the Potter and the Clay (Jeremiah 18:1-11)

You can listen directly there and download the mp3 there.

(Photo by Jacob Borrett)

Posted in * By Kendall, * Christian Life / Church Life, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Sermons & Teachings, Theology, Theology: Scripture

A Guardian article on the General Synod Letter on Shared Conversations+sexual morality

David Ison, the dean of St Paul’s, who was also involved in gathering signatures for the letter, said the status quo was not an option. “I believe that there’s a growing consciousness across the church that our response to lay and ordained LGBTI Christians cannot stay as it is. We need far greater honesty and transparency with one another, and to ensure that all LGBTI people are welcomed and affirmed by a church called to share the redeeming love of Christ with all.”

Responding to the letter, Nicholas Holtam, the bishop of Salisbury, said: “It is not surprising that the bishops are receiving letters from all sides in advance of our meeting next week. We are in a long process, seeking the way forward together. This letter is encouraging of that process, both in content and the number of signatories. It is a very welcome and supportive contribution.”

Paul Bayes, the bishop of Liverpool, said he was glad to receive the letter. “It was especially good to recognise the signatures of synod colleagues from many of the different traditions that make up our richly diverse church,” he said.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

C of E General Synod members write to College of Bishops abt Shared Conversations+sexual morality

We hope that this will be with the sense of urgency and sensitivity that so many of us expressed within Synod. In particular, we pray it will continue to develop the new “relational approach” that has enabled us to bridge our sometimes unhelpful “tribal divides”.

Whilst not wishing to pre-empt the work of the College of Bishops, we would ask that the steps that are proposed create greater clarity and consistency in our approach to this complex issue. In particular, we are keen that the College of Bishops is unequivocal in its acknowledgement that all, including those who identify as LGBTI, are essential to the health and future of our church and mission to the wider world.

Read it all and see the list of signatories there.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

A Prayer to Begin the Day from the Euchologium Anglicanum

Cleanse our minds, O Lord, we beseech thee, of all anxious thoughts for ourselves, that we may learn not to trust in the abundance of what we have, save as tokens of thy goodness and grace, but that we may commit ourselves in faith to thy keeping, and devote all our energy of soul, mind and body to the work of thy kingdom and the furthering of the purposes of thy divine righteousness; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

Now when Jesus came, he found that Laz’arus had already been in the tomb four days. Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles off, [and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them concerning their brother.
When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, while Mary sat in the house. Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. And even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”

–John 11:17-23

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Christians are not being heard in the mainstream media. And we only have ourselves to blame

One of my favourite videos on YouTube features the great Welsh evangelical preacher Martyn Lloyd-Jones in conversation with Joan Bakewell on Late Night Line-Up in 1970.
Over the course of 19 minutes, this genial man and the hostess with her cut-glass accent earnestly dialogue about the big questions in life: Man’s place in the cosmos, the nature of God, the reality of sin, and the truth claims of Christianity.
Perhaps what’s most striking about this interview is not the content itself so much as the container: a prime-time television show on the BBC, which would have had viewing figures of millions.
Can you imagine Jonathan Ross in conversation with Canon J. John today? Or Dick Lucas propping up the Good Morning Britain sofas? Where are the Martyn Lloyd-Joneses on Who Do You Think You Are?

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Media, Religion & Culture, Theology

(AI) Archbishop gives genocide warning for South Sudan

South Sudan is on the brink of genocide, the Primate of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan and Sudan warned members of the UN Security Council. On 3 Sept 2016 the Most Rev. Daniel Deng, Archbishop of Juba, urged a 15 member UN delegation to strengthen peacekeeping forces in Africa’s newest nation.

What had begun as a political dispute within the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) between President Salva Kiir and Vice-President Riek Machar had taken an ominous turn. “People have been made to believe it’s a tribal war,” the archbishop (pictured) told the delegation, adding: “What happened in Rwanda – we’re afraid it can happen in this country,” according to wire service reports of the meeting.

On 4 Sept 2016 the UN Security Council delegation led by US Ambassador Samantha Powers and Senegalese Ambassador Fode Seck, with representatives from Angola, China, Egypt, France, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Russia, Spain, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Uruguay and Venezuela wrapped up a three day visit to Juba to meet with government and civil society leaders.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --South Sudan, Africa, Anglican Provinces, Episcopal Church of the Sudan, Foreign Relations, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Sudan, Violence

(CC) When learning hurts–Should there be Content warnings in seminary classrooms?

The first class I ever taught to seminary students was about death. I was a graduate student myself at the time. I’m not sure why I picked that topic among the various subjects in a course on pastoral care, but I remember I had a well-prepared lesson plan, including an opening lecture.

As I was speaking, I noticed that John, a student in the front row who was usually very engaged in class, was slumped down in his seat. He didn’t make eye contact with me even when I asked questions.

When the class took a break halfway through the session, I realized that a group had gathered around John. He was sobbing uncontrollably, and others were trying to comfort him. I had no idea how to respond, but the professor who oversaw the class went over to talk with him. After a brief conversation John left the room. He returned about 15 minutes later, after the class had reconvened, and seemed more at ease.

I learned later that John’s brother had been murdered the year before.

Read it all.

Posted in Seminary / Theological Education, Theology