Daily Archives: October 27, 2016

(CT) David Congdon+Travis McMaken: Ten Reasons Why Theology Matters

10. Because it’s not just what you believe that matters, but why you believe it and how.

We are convinced that engaging in careful theological thought is an essential task of the Christian life. We can no more abandon theology than we can abandon God, since theology is involved in some fashion whenever we think or speak about God. Consequently, every person is a theologian. The only question is whether we will be thoughtful, responsible theologians or irresponsible ones. The journey of Christian discipleship is a matter of learning why we believe, and thinking hard and carefully about this belief, not so that we can bludgeon others with our knowledge but so that we can bear faithful witness to God in the totality of our life.

Theology is less about the what and much more about the how. We are called as Christians not to sign up to a certain doctrinal statement but to follow a certain way of life. To be a thoughtful believer is to be commissioned for a life of disciplined reflection in conversation with the prophets, apostles, and the theologians who have reflected on God in the past and whose legacy we have inherited. The goal is not simply to repeat the words that they used to proclaim the gospel in their time and place, but to think under their tutelage about what words we must use today.

Theology is inherently an act of prayer, insofar as we offer up our words and thoughts in service to God in the expectant hope””by the grace of the Holy Spirit””that they will build up the body of Christ. And this prayerful task of theology is never done. Like God’s mercies, it is new every morning.

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Posted in Theology

(ACNS) Bishop of Egypt calls for prayer and advocacy after “hostile takeover”

(Diocesan photo from diocese of Egypt with North Africa and the Horn of Africa)

The Bishop of Egypt, Dr Mouneer Anis, has called on Anglicans to pray and advocate with their local Egyptian consulates and embassies after a court ruling effectively subsumed the diocese into a separate denominational body. Dr Anis, who is also the Archbishop of the Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East, told ACNS that the Evangelical Church Association (ECA) has been laying claim to the Anglican Episcopal Diocese of Egypt for several years. Now, after a 14-year legal battle, a court has ruled that the Anglican Church in Egypt belongs to the ECA and can only be represented by the ECA President.

“This preposterous claim did not just stop there,” Dr Anis said. “They further claimed that they can take possession of all of the Episcopal/Anglican Church properties as their own. They are now forcing us to take their approval before we notarise any document in the government. Moreover, we need to receive the approval of the ECA before we ask immigration to grant or renew visas to our workers. This is causing us a great deal of trouble.”

The diocese is appealing against the court’s decision and a new hearing will be held on Tuesday (1 November).

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Egypt, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Middle East, Religion & Culture, The Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East, Theology

(Law & Religion UK) Ashers Baking loses its appeal over being forced to bake advocacy cake

Ashers Baking is owned by the McArthur family. It offered to bake cakes iced with a graphic of the customer’s own design. Gareth Lee is gay; and to mark the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, in May 2014 he ordered a cake from Ashers bearing the slogan “Support Gay Marriage” and a picture of the Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie. Ashers initially accepted his order but Mrs Karen McArthur subsequently telephoned him to say that his order could not be fulfilled because Ashers was a Christian business and that, with hindsight, she should not have taken the order in the first place. She apologised and refunded his money.

Before Belfast County Court, in Lee v Ashers Baking Co Ltd & Anor [2015] NICty 2 Mr Lee had claimed that he had been discriminated against contrary to the provisions of the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2006 and/or the Fair Employment and Treatment (Northern Ireland) Order 1998. District Judge Brownlie found for Mr Lee, concluding that Ashers Baking was liable under the 2006 Regulations for the unlawful acts of its two directors, Mr and Mrs McArthur, and that they, in turn, were liable under Regulation 24 for aiding Ashers Baking to act unlawfully. As a result of their actions, the company had discriminated unlawfully against Mr Lee. They appealed and the matter came before the Court of Appeal in Belfast by way of case stated.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Ireland, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology

(Aeon) Paula Fass–The end of adolescence

By the end of the 20th century, however, the special role of adolescence in US culture began to fall apart. Global competition was making skills acquired in high school obsolete as higher levels of schooled certification became necessary in the workplace. The longtime educational advantage of the US and the competence of its students was challenged as other nations prospered and offered their children schooling that was often superior when measured by international scores. New immigrants, who began to arrive in the US in large numbers in the 1970s, were less well-integrated into high schools as schools re-segregated, leaving Latino immigrants, for example, in underperforming schools.

High schools, long a glory of US education and a product of democratic culture, had lost their central social role. Graduation, once the final step for most Americans on the road to work and steady relationships leading to marriage, no longer marked a significant end point on the way to maturity. It provided neither an effective transition to adulthood nor a valuable commodity for aspiring youth, and was an impediment to those who dropped out. Going to college became a necessary part of middle-class identity, and this complicated the completion of adolescence for everyone. Now that college was held up as essential to economic success, the failure to go to college portended an inadequate adulthood.

The extension of necessary schooling into the 20s (and sometimes even into the 30s) strongly attenuated the relationship between a stage of physical maturation (puberty) and the social experiences to which it had been attached in the concept of adolescence.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, --Social Networking, Anthropology, Blogging & the Internet, Children, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Marriage & Family, Psychology, Sexuality, Teens / Youth, Theology

(CEN) Bp of Birmingham backs reduction in peers

A bid to reduce the size of the House of Lords has been backed by the Bishop of Birmingham, the Rt Rev David Urquhart.

Giving his support to Lord Elton’s Private Member’s Bill to reduce the size of the House of Lords, the bishop reiterated the ”˜consistent’ support from the Lords Spiritual in support of the reform.

He welcomed the fact that reform proposals had come from inside the House of Lords and noted that ”˜taking decisive responsibility for making delicate if radical constitutional improvements’ is a ”˜good way forward’ for the House.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology

Former Archbishop of Canterbury admits he deserves criticism over ex-bishop sex abuse 'cover up'

Lord Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, has admitted he deserves to be criticised over his support for a bishop convicted of sexual assault, as it emerged separately that his son, a priest, has been arrested for historic child sex abuse.

The retired Anglican Archbishop has been warned he can expect to face “explicit criticism” over claims the criminal activities of Peter Ball, the then Bishop of Gloucester, were covered up by the Church of England.

Lord Carey, who was a friend of Ball’s, has now been given his own lawyer, paid for by the Church of England, to represent him personally at the national child sex abuse inquiry.

Read it all from the Telegraph.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anthropology, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Law & Legal Issues, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Theology

(Church Times) Lord Carey ”˜may face explicit criticism’ from abuse inquiry

The former Archbishop of Canter­bury Lord Carey has been granted core-participant status at the In­­dependent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) after Professor Alexis Jay, who chairs it, ruled that he “may be subject to explicit crit­­­­ic­­ism by the Inquiry in due course”.

Core participants are entitled to legal representation at the Inquiry and to receive advance disclosure of evidence. They may also cross-examine witnesses when the public hearings begin, something that is expected to happen next year.

In his application for core parti­cipant status, lawyers for Lord Carey explained that, as a retired office-holder, he was led to be believe that he would be represented at the In­­quiry by lawyers for the Arch­bishops’ Council, which also has core-participant status. “Once the Archbishops’ Council indicated to Lord Carey that there might be some conflict between their interests and those of Lord Carey, he made contact with alternative legal repres­entatives,” Professor Jay said.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Law & Legal Issues, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Theology

(Local paper) 'Evil clown' report near Charleston Southern University latest in national phenomenon

She didn’t like scary things.

The 22-year-old was walking her dog Tuesday night at her North Charleston apartment complex when she saw the figure. It was clad in dark clothing, wearing a hood and standing about 50 feet away.

It turned. That’s when she saw the “evil clown” mask and the knife.

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Posted in * International News & Commentary, * South Carolina, America/U.S.A.

A Prayer of Thanksgiving from Gavin Hamilton to Begin the Day

Glory be to God in the highest, the Creator and Lord of heaven and earth, the preserver of all things, the Father of mercies, who so loved mankind as to send his only begotten Son into the world, to redeem us from sin and misery, and to obtain for us everlasting life. Accept, O gracious God, our praise and thanksgiving for thine infinite mercies towards us; and teach us to love thee more and to serve thee better; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and pay your vows to the Most High; and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.

–Psalm 50:14-15

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Terminally Ill Mom Denied Chemotherapy to Keep Her Alive, Offered Suicide Drugs Instead

My jaw dropped.”

This was the instant reaction of a mother suffering from a terminal disease when she was told by her medical insurance company that they could not pay for her chemotherapy but would be willing to shoulder the cost of drugs that would put her to death. The drugs’ price: $1.20.

Four years ago, 33-year-old California resident Stephanie Packer was diagnosed with scleroderma, a chronic autoimmune disease that causes scar tissue to form in her lungs, the New York Post reported.

Read it all from Christian Today.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Children, Death / Burial / Funerals, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Theology, Theology: Scripture

The Full text of the Vatican Document on Cremation

In order that every appearance of pantheism, naturalism or nihilism be avoided, it is not permitted to scatter the ashes of the faithful departed in the air, on land, at sea or in some other way, nor may they be preserved in mementos, pieces of jewelry or other objects. These courses of action cannot be legitimized by an appeal to the sanitary, social, or economic motives that may have occasioned the choice of cremation.

When the deceased notoriously has requested cremation and the scattering of their ashes for reasons contrary to the Christian faith, a Christian funeral must be denied to that person according to the norms of the law.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Anthropology, Death / Burial / Funerals, Eschatology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Parish Ministry, Pope Francis, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Theology, Theology: Scripture