Daily Archives: January 18, 2017

Jeffrey Miller's 2017 Sermon on the Baptism of Jesus: The King will Never Leave

You can listen directly here or download it there. Watch for a very important reference to an incident in London in WW II.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Baptism, Christology, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Sacramental Theology, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(CT) Eugene Peterson–Learning to Love the Church in the Age of the Selfie

Narcissus would seem to be an unlikely character to show up in companies of Christians. And yet the progeny of Narcissus keep showing up in our communities of created and saved souls. They are so glaringly out-of-place in the context of the biblical revelation defined by the birth, death and resurrection of Christ, one would think that they would be immediately noticed and exposed. More often they are welcomed and embellished, given roles of leadership and turned into celebrities.

It is an odd phenomenon to observe followers of Jesus, suddenly obsessed with their wonderfully saved souls, setting about busily cultivating their own spiritualities. Self-spirituality has become the hallmark of our age. The spirituality of Me. A spirituality of self-centering, self-sufficiency, and self-development. All over the world at the present time we have people who have found themselves redefined by the revelation of God in Jesus’ birth, death and resurrection, going off and cultivating the divine within and abandoning spouses, children, friends and congregations.

But holy living, resurrection living, is not a self-project. We are a people of God and cannot live holy lives, resurrection lives, as individuals. We are not a self-defined community; we are a God-defined community. The love that God pours out for and in us creates a community in which that love is reproduced in our love for one another.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Christology, Ecclesiology, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Theology

Manchester United appoint anti-terror expert in a first in the Premier League

Manchester United have taken steps to increase they security by hiring a counter-terrorism chief after two high-profile lapses last year.

United are the first Premier League club to create a position of this kind, with the club made aware that their Old Trafford home lends itself to a significant target for extremists.

A former inspector from Greater Manchester Police’s specialist search unit has been appointed to fill the role, having been trained in cover police operations including terrorism, as well as specialising in sweep searches of buildings are vehicles.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Pastoral Theology, Sports, Terrorism, Theology

Christian Today's Exclusive Extract From New Book on the Cross by Rowan Williams

The early Christians must have felt that they had no option but to talk about the cross. They knew that because of the death of Jesus on the cross their universe had changed. They no longer lived in the same world. They expressed this with enormous force, talking about a new creation, about liberation from slavery. They talked about the transformation of their whole lives and they pinned it down to the events that we remember each Good Friday. They couldn’t get away from the cross ”“ or so at least the New Testament seems to imply. There are in fact some New Testament scholars who try to argue that reflection on the cross of Jesus came a little bit later. First came Jesus the charismatic teacher, the wandering prophet; first came an interest in his words rather than his deeds or his sufferings. And yet, when you read the earliest texts of Christian Scripture, not only the Gospels, it’s difficult to excavate any stratum of thinking that is, as you might say, ‘pre-cross’. Pretty well everything we read in the New Testament is shadowed by the cross. It is, first and foremost, the sign of how much has changed and how it has changed.

Even non-Christians in the world around recognised the central importance of the cross to Jesus’ early followers. The earliest picture we have of the crucifixion is scratched on a wall in Rome; it may be as old as the second century. It is a rather shocking image: a man with a donkey’s head strapped and nailed to a cross, and next to the cross a very badly drawn little figure wearing the short tunic of a slave, and scribbled above it, ‘Alexamenos worshipping his god’. Presumably one of Alexamenos’s fellow slaves had scrawled this little cartoon on the wall to make fun of him. But he knew, as Alexamenos knew, that Alexamenos’ god was a crucified God.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Books, Christology, Soteriology, Theology

Christians Have A Right To Defend The Cross, Says Rowan Williams

Former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams has defended the right of Christians to protest when crosses are removed from public places.

In a new book on the meaning of the cross and resurrection, both in the early Church and in the modern world, Lord Williams of Oystermouth says it is “reasonable” to “get rather indignant” when crosses are removed from certain public places.

The Christian cross is a “sign” of God’s love and freedom, he says.

It is a sacrifice that symbolises the forgiveness of sins.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Books, Christology, England / UK, Religion & Culture, Soteriology, Theology

A Prayer for the Confession of St. Peter

Almighty Father, who didst inspire Simon Peter, first among the apostles, to confess Jesus as Messiah and Son of the Living God: Keep thy Church steadfast upon the rock of this faith, that in unity and peace we may proclaim the one truth and follow the one Lord, our Savior Jesus Christ; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Spirituality/Prayer, Theology, Theology: Scripture

A Church of England Epiphany Prayer Liturgy to Begin the Day

To Jesus, redeemer of the peoples,
let us lift our voices, saying:
make known your glory.

Lord, you are the faithful guide of those who seek you
with a pure heart:
make known your glory.
You came among us to usher in your kingdom of peace:
make known your glory.

O Lord, encompassed in light as with a cloak,
you conquer the darkness of our night:
make known your glory.

O bread eternal,
you feed the hunger of your people in desert places:
make known your glory.

You change our vessels of water
into the gladdening wine of new life:
make known your glory.

You are the true host of the marriage feast,
welcoming sinners to your banquet table:
make known your glory.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Bible Readings

And others are the ones sown among thorns; they are those who hear the word, but the cares of the world, and the delight in riches, and the desire for other things, enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. But those that were sown upon the good soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.”

–Mark 4:18-20

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Stanley Hauerwas-The Weapon of Love: How Martin Luther King, Jr. Became Nonviolent

ove, therefore, becomes the hallmark of nonviolent resistance requiring that the resister not only refuse to shoot his opponent but also refuse to hate him. Nonviolent resistance is meant to bring an end to hate by being the very embodiment of agape. King seemed never to tire of an appeal to Anders Nygren’s distinction between eros, phila and agape to make the point that the love that shapes nonviolent resistance is one that is disciplined by the refusal to distinguish between worthy and unworthy people. Rather agape begins by loving others for their own sake, which requires that we “have love for the enemy-neighbor from whom you can expect no good in return, but only hostility and persecution.”

Such a love means that nonviolent resistance seeks not to defeat or humiliate the opponent, but to win a friend. The protests that may take the form of boycotts and other non-cooperative modes of behaviour are not ends in themselves, but rather attempts to awaken in the opponent a sense of shame and repentance. The end of nonviolent resistance is redemption and reconciliation with those who have been the oppressor. Love overwhelms hate, making possible the creation of a beloved community that would otherwise be impossible.

Accordingly, nonviolent resistance is not directed against people but against forces of evil. Those who happen to be doing evil are as victimized by the evil they do as those who are the object of their oppression. From the perspective of nonviolence King argued that the enemy is not the white people of Montgomery, but injustice itself. The object of the boycott of the buses was not to defeat white people, but to defeat the injustice that mars their lives.

Read it all from ABC Australia’s Religion and Ethics site.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Christology, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Politics in General, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, Theology, Violence

Peter Ould–Why The Cathedral Quran Reading Deserved Its Rebuke

And so we come to the final apologia for Kelvin Holdsworth’s mistake, again from his sermon yesterday: “Nobody at that service that night could be in any doubt that we proclaimed the divinity of Christ and preached the Gospel of God’s love.”

Well yes, you possibly did recite the Nicene Creed at some point after its key verses were repudiated, but saying that makes the heresy before it OK is like saying that if you deliver a devastating uppercut to a stranger walking down the street, handing him a plaster afterwards makes it OK.

This story hasn’t gone away despite the best efforts of the Provost to say nothing, to say he’ll say something and then say nothing, to ignore his boss, to ignore the sensible, cogent, important theological questions that even the head of the Episcopal Church of Scotland accepts are perfectly valid.

In ministry, or indeed any position of responsibility, the sooner you learn the lesson that it’s better when you’re caught red-handed to admit a mistake and ask for forgiveness than to try and defend an indefensible corner, the better.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Books, Christology, England / UK, Islam, Multiculturalism, pluralism, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Scotland, Scottish Episcopal Church, Theology

A Profile of Bishop Scott B. Hayashi of the TEC Diocese of Utah

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops, Theology

Reformation Anniversary: Statement from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York

The Reformation was a process of both renewal and division amongst Christians in Europe. In this Reformation Anniversary year, many Christians will want to give thanks for the great blessings they have received to which the Reformation directly contributed. Amongst much else these would include clear proclamation of the gospel of grace, the availability of the Bible to all in their own language and the recognition of the calling of lay people to serve God in the world and in the church.

Many will also remember the lasting damage done five centuries ago to the unity of the Church, in defiance of the clear command of Jesus Christ to unity in love. Those turbulent years saw Christian people pitted against each other, such that many suffered persecution and even death at the hands of others claiming to know the same Lord. A legacy of mistrust and competition would then accompany the astonishing global spread of Christianity in the centuries that followed. All this leaves us much to ponder.

Remembering the Reformation should bring us back to what the Reformers wanted to put at the centre of every person’s life, which is a simple trust in Jesus Christ. This year is a time to renew our faith in Christ and in Him alone. With this confidence we shall then be ready to ask hard questions about those things in our lives and the life of our churches that get in the way of sharing and celebrating faith in Him.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Archbishop of York John Sentamu, Church History, Theology