Daily Archives: September 27, 2017

(The Tennessean) ‘He’s killed me. I’m dying.’ Minister Joey Spann recounts chaos during recent Tennessee church shooting

Minister Joey Spann expected to die.

He lay bleeding, collapsed on the floor of Burnette Chapel Church of Christ, and watched the masked man who had just shot him in the chest and hand walk farther into the church.
“The shots kept going,” Spann said. “I thought he was going to kill everybody.”

The gunfire stopped. But Spann, who leads the small congregation in Antioch, still thought he was dying. So the minister prayed.

He didn’t pray to be saved by the church members who applied pressure to his wounds. He didn’t pray to be saved as he heard them call 911. He prayed for forgiveness.
“God, I’m sorry for things I didn’t do right,” Spann said in a telephone interview Monday evening from his hospital room.

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Posted in Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Violence

Church of England releases its Ministry Statistics 2016

The number of people entering training to become priests in the Church of England is at the highest level for a decade with women making up more than half the total, according to new figures released today.

A total of 544 men and women are starting training for ordained ministry this autumn (known as ordinands), an increase of 14% on last year and the highest figure for 10 years, according to statistics from the Ministry Division of the Church of England.

Women make up more than half of those entering training, or 274 ordinands, the biggest intake of female ordinands for a decade, and an increase of 19% compared to last year. At the same time, the number of younger ordinands, in the under 32 age group, rose by nearly two fifths, and now accounts for 28% of the total.

The figures, covering the period from 2008 to 2017, are published alongside Ministry Statistics for 2016 showing the number of women serving in ordained ministry in the Church of England rose by 7% from 5,310 in 2013, to a record high of 5,690 last year.

Read it all and follow the links at the bottom of the page as well.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry

(ECF Vital Practices) A Practical Theology of Episcopal Evangelism

From the ECF vital Practices vestry Papers check out Read it all.

Also, you can find the whole issue in which this is found there.

Posted in Episcopal Church (TEC), Evangelism and Church Growth, Parish Ministry

(Economist Erasmus Blog) Anti-Semitism in Britain–No room for complacency

So how bad are things in Mr Blair’s homeland? On the face of things, Britain is a relatively good place to be Jewish. When anti-Semitic feelings across Europe are compared, the UK tends to do well. But a new study by the London-based Institute for Jewish Policy Research gives an unusually nuanced picture of opinion in Britain.

It found that hard-core anti-Semites, who “express multiple anti-Semitic attitudes readily and confidently”, amounted to 2.4% of the population, while a further 3% could be described as “softer” anti-Semites, expressing somewhat fewer negative views. To probe their opinions, respondents were invited to react to propositions like “Jews think they are better than other people” or “The interests of Jews in Britain are different from….the rest” or “Jews have too much power in Britain…”

The study said that there was a “much larger number of people who believe a small number of negative ideas about Jews but…may not be consciously hostile or prejudiced towards them”. It found that 15% of Britons agreed at least in part to two or more anti-Semitic propositions, with a further 15% agreeing at least in part to one of them. The researchers’ interpretation was cautious:

“This emphatically does not mean that 30% of the population of Great Britain is anti-Semitic…Rather the 30% figure captures the current level of the diffusion of anti-Semitic ideas in British society, and offers an indication of the likelihood of British Jews encountering such ideas.”

Read it all.

Posted in England / UK, Judaism, Religion & Culture

(Guardian) Franklin Foer–Facebook’s war on free will: is technology is making our minds redundant?

All the values that Silicon Valley professes are the values of the 60s. The big tech companies present themselves as platforms for personal liberation. Everyone has the right to speak their mind on social media, to fulfil their intellectual and democratic potential, to express their individuality. Where television had been a passive medium that rendered citizens inert, Facebook is participatory and empowering. It allows users to read widely, think for themselves and form their own opinions.

We can’t entirely dismiss this rhetoric. There are parts of the world, even in the US, where Facebook emboldens citizens and enables them to organise themselves in opposition to power. But we shouldn’t accept Facebook’s self-conception as sincere, either. Facebook is a carefully managed top-down system, not a robust public square. It mimics some of the patterns of conversation, but that’s a surface trait.

In reality, Facebook is a tangle of rules and procedures for sorting information, rules devised by the corporation for the ultimate benefit of the corporation. Facebook is always surveilling users, always auditing them, using them as lab rats in its behavioural experiments. While it creates the impression that it offers choice, in truth Facebook paternalistically nudges users in the direction it deems best for them, which also happens to be the direction that gets them thoroughly addicted. It’s a phoniness that is most obvious in the compressed, historic career of Facebook’s mastermind.

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Posted in --Social Networking, Anthropology, Blogging & the Internet, Corporations/Corporate Life, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Media, Philosophy, Psychology, Science & Technology

(Reuters) New STD cases in U.S. set record high in 2016: CDC report

New U.S. cases of three common sexually transmitted diseases – chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis – reached more than 2 million in 2016, a new record, U.S. health officials said, prompting calls for more effective prevention efforts.

Most of the new diagnoses were cases of chlamydia, which comprised 1.6 million cases. But there were also nearly a half million (470,000) new gonorrhea cases and nearly 28,000 new cases of syphilis, according to an annual report issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday.

All three sexually transmitted diseases can be cured with antibiotics, but if left undiagnosed, they can cause serious health problems, including infertility, life-threatening ectopic pregnancy, stillbirth in infants, and increased risk for HIV transmission.

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Health & Medicine, Sexuality

Peter Webster reviews “The Oxford History of Anglicanism, Volume IV: Global Western Anglicanism, c 1910-present”

Placed first, Mark Chapman’s survey of developments in Anglican theology points to a profound intellectual fracture in the second half of the century which underpinned some of the more spectacular issues in which Anglican divisions presented themselves. Between the world wars it was comparatively easy to write as if a synthesis of theology, philosophy, and “modern science” were possible, and that axioms for the ordering of society might be derived from it: easy, because the writing could be done in a nation that still dominated an empire and also the worldwide church that had spread within it. After 1945, as the dispersal of the colonial empires came to completion, Anglicans in the West had to reckon with the shift in the balance of power that this implied, and the new ways in which attention would need to be paid to local cultures and forms of knowledge. A fine essay by Sarah Stockwell explores the direct involvement of the church in that process of decolonization; two chapters, by Colin Podmore and Ephraim Radner, deftly outline the consequences for the development of the global apparatus of the Communion.

At the same time, the turn amongst philosophers to a radical questioning of the stability of meaning in language further intensified older debates about the nature of biblical authority and the means by which the churches should first understand and then respond in matters of ethics. The growing polarization of the church between liberal and conservative wings (after perhaps 1970) was in many ways consequent on this, and the essays here on the position of women (Cordelia Moyse) and that by William L. Sachs on sexuality (by which is largely meant homosexuality), explore the two issues in and through which opposed understandings of truth have presented themselves by proxy.

The third overarching theme is that of the weakening grip of all the churches of whichever denomination on the allegiance of the public. The precise patterns of this secularization are a matter of lively debate but the general pattern is clear: by the end of the century there were many fewer Anglicans (as a proportion of the population) in each of the nations under examination. The essays on nationalism and the state (Matthew Grimley), the impact of war (Michael Snape), and the “sociology” (by which is meant ethnicity, class, and education) of Anglicanism (Martyn Percy) all in their different ways explore the consequences of this decline. The ecumenical movement, motivated in part by a consciousness of the growing weakness of each individual denomination on its own, is described by Paul Avis.

There were of course other Anglicans than those of the West; readers will need to await a treatment of African and Asian Anglicanism in volume 5 of this series, due to appear in print in early 2018.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Books, Church History, Theology

(C of E) Taking inspiration from Jane Austen’s Christian faith

Austen’s gravestone, in the north aisle of the [Winchester] Cathedral nave, notes that she died after a long illness “supported by the patience and the hopes of a Christian.”

As an Anglican—and daughter of a clergyman—in the early nineteenth century, Jane Austen was familiar with the poetry and prose of the Book of Common Prayer through attendance at church services, but she also developed personal habits of prayer. We know something about the way Jane might have prayed and the language she used, for she wrote several prayers which were probably recited in the family home before bed. One includes the passage

“Teach us almighty Father, […] that we may feel the importance of every day, and every hour as it passes, and earnestly strive to make a better use of what thy goodness may yet bestow on us, than we have done of the time past.”

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Posted in Church History, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, History, Poetry & Literature

Thomas Traherne for his Feast Day–‘The Cross is the abyss of Wonders’

The Cross is the abyss of wonders, the centre of desires, the school of virtues, the house of wisdom, the throne of love, the theatre of joys, and the place of sorrows; It is the root of happiness, and the gate of Heaven.

Of all the things in Heaven and Earth it is the most peculiar. It is the most exalted of all objects. It is an Ensign lifted up for all nations, to it shall the Gentiles seek, His rest shall be glorious: the dispersed of Judah shall be gathered together to it, from the four corners of the earth. If Love be the weight of the Soul, and its object the centre, all eyes and hearts may convert and turn unto this Object: cleave unto this centre, and by it enter into rest. There we might see all nations assembled with their eyes and hearts upon it. There we may see God’s goodness, wisdom and power: yea His mercy and anger displayed. There we may see man’s sin and infinite value. His hope and fear, his misery and happiness. There we might see the Rock of Ages, and the Joys of Heaven. There we may see a Man loving all the world, and a God dying for mankind. There we may see all types and ceremonies, figures and prophecies. And all kingdoms adoring a malefactor: An innocent malefactor, yet the greatest in the world. There we may see the most distant things in Eternity united: all mysteries at once couched together and explained. The only reason why this Glorious Object is so publicly admired by Churches and Kingdoms, and so little thought of by particular men, is because it is truly the most glorious: It is the Rock of Comforts and the Fountain of Joys. It is the only supreme and sovereign spectacle in all Worlds. It is a Well of Life beneath in which we may see the face of Heaven above: and the only mirror, wherein all things appear in their proper colours: that is, sprinkled in the blood of our Lord and Saviour.

The Cross of Christ is the Jacob’s ladder by which we ascend into the highest heavens. There we see joyful Patriarchs, expecting Saints, Prophets ministering Apostles publishing, and Doctors teaching, all Nations concentering, and Angels praising. That Cross is a tree set on fire with invisible flame, that Illuminateth all the world. The flame is Love: the Love in His bosom who died on it. In the light of which we see how to possess all the things in Heaven and Earth after His similitude. For He that suffered on it was the Son of God as you are: tho’ He seemed only a mortal man. He had acquaintance and relations as you have, but He was a lover of Men and Angels. Was he not the Son of God; and Heir of the whole world? To this poor, bleeding, naked Man did all the corn and wine, and oil, and gold and silver in the world minister in an invisible manner, even as He was exposed lying and dying upon the Cross.

Centuries of Meditations 1:58-60

Posted in Church History, Theology

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Thomas Traherne

Creator of wonder and majesty, who didst inspire thy poet Thomas Traherne with mystical insight to see thy glory in the natural world and in the faces of men and women around us: Help us to know thee in thy creation and in our neighbors, and to understand our obligations to both, that we may ever grow into the people thou hast created us to be; through our Savior Jesus Christ, who with thee and the Holy Spirit livest and reignest, one God, in everlasting light. Amen.

Posted in Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day from New Every Morning

O God our Father, whose law is a law of liberty: Grant us wisdom to use aright the freedom which thou hast given us, by surrendering ourselves to thy service; knowing that, when we are thy willing bondsmen, then only are we truly free; for Jesus Christ’s sake.

–New Every Morning (The Prayer Book Of The Daily Broadcast Service) [BBC, 1900]

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Bible Readings

When the servant of the man of God rose early in the morning and went out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was round about the city. And the servant said, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?” He said, “Fear not, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” Then Eli′sha prayed, and said, “O Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes that he may see.” So the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw; and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Eli′sha. And when the Syrians came down against him, Eli′sha prayed to the Lord, and said, “Strike this people, I pray thee, with blindness.” So he struck them with blindness in accordance with the prayer of Eli′sha. And Eli′sha said to them, “This is not the way, and this is not the city; follow me, and I will bring you to the man whom you seek.” And he led them to Samar′ia.

As soon as they entered Samar′ia, Eli′sha said, “O Lord, open the eyes of these men, that they may see.” So the Lord opened their eyes, and they saw; and lo, they were in the midst of Samar′ia. When the king of Israel saw them he said to Eli′sha, “My father, shall I slay them? Shall I slay them?” He answered, “You shall not slay them. Would you slay those whom you have taken captive with your sword and with your bow? Set bread and water before them, that they may eat and drink and go to their master.” So he prepared for them a great feast; and when they had eaten and drunk, he sent them away, and they went to their master. And the Syrians came no more on raids into the land of Israel.

–2 Kings 6:15-23

Posted in Theology: Scripture