Daily Archives: May 23, 2018

(Economist) Alexa, who is God? A new app aims to win over agnostics

Amazon’s voice-controlled smart speakers, which answer to the name Alexa, are used to being asked about the weather or upcoming calendar appointments. From now on they will be fielding deeper questions. On May 24th the Church of England will launch an app for the Alexa platform that allows users to pose metaphysical queries to the speaker on their kitchen counter. The app can also find the nearest place of worship, explain how church weddings work and recite the Ten Commandments.

Most of the 28 questions programmed into it are aimed at non-believers, who nowadays make up more than half of British adults. Curious agnostics can quiz Alexa on how to pray, what Christians believe and who the Archbishop of Canterbury is. The aim is to use new technology to “bring people into a relationship with God”, says Adrian Harris, head of digital matters at the church.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology

Albert Mohler–The Wrath of God Poured Out — The Humiliation of the Southern Baptist Convention

The last few weeks have been excruciating for the Southern Baptist Convention and for the larger evangelical movement. It is as if bombs are dropping and God alone knows how many will fall and where they will land.

America’s largest evangelical denomination has been in the headlines day after day. The SBC is in the midst of its own horrifying #MeToo moment.

At one of our seminaries, controversy has centered on a president (now former president) whose sermon illustration from years ago included advice that a battered wife remain in the home and the marriage in hope of the conversion of her abusive husband. Other comments represented the objectification of a teenage girl. The issues only grew more urgent with the sense that the dated statements represented ongoing advice and counsel.

But the issues are far deeper and wider.

Read it all.

Posted in Baptists, Ethics / Moral Theology, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Seminary / Theological Education, Violence, Women

(Pew RC) Religiously, nonwhite Democrats are more similar to Republicans than to white Democrats

It’s sometimes said that the Democratic Party is less comfortable with religion than the GOP. And it is true that, on the whole, Democrats are less religious than Republicans. But this glosses over profound racial and ethnic differences within the Democratic Party: While white Democrats are less likely to be religious than Republicans, nonwhite Democrats – who mostly identify as black or Hispanic – more closely resemble Republicans overall on a host of religious measures.

For example, among Democrats and those who lean toward the Democratic Party, 95% of all nonwhites (which includes 99% of blacks) say they believe in God or a higher power, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey. This is exactly the same level of belief seen among Republicans and Republican leaners. By contrast, 78% of white Democrats believe in God or a higher power. And the share of white Democrats who say they do notbelieve in God or any higher power (21%) is quadruple the level seen among nonwhite Democrats (5%), as well as among both white and nonwhite Republicans (5% each).

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, America/U.S.A., Religion & Culture

The Latest Edition of the Diocese of South Carolina Enewsletter

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina, Evangelism and Church Growth, Parish Ministry

(LA Times) Fuller Theological Seminary leaving Pasadena, Calfironia and putting campus up for sale

Fuller Theological Seminary will move to Pomona by 2021, freeing its 13-acre campus in Pasadena’s central business district to be sold for new uses and development.

Fuller is acquiring downtown land in the eastern San Gabriel Valley city where it will build a more accessible campus with lower surrounding housing costs, acting provost Mari Clements said Tuesday….

Fuller has more than 3,000 students pursuing graduate degrees in theology, intercultural studies and psychology, with 1,200 students studying on the Pasadena campus.

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Evangelicals, Religion & Culture, Seminary / Theological Education

(ACNS) Anglican Church of Melanesia launches Decade of Evangelism and Renewal with crusade

Members of the Anglican Church of Melanesia (ACOM) should “arise and shine for Jesus Christ,” the Province said this week as it launched a decade-long focus on evangelism and renewal. The programme was launched on Pentecost Sunday with a special service at St Barnabas Cathedral, in Honiara, in which the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, Dr Josiah Idowu-Fearon, preached. On the eve of the service, the province held an open-air evangelistic crusade in the car park of Honiara City Council.

Writing on its official Facebook page, the province said: “It is believed that this program will significantly transform our lives to be renewed, revived, and reformed so that we can be able to live out the realities of the Gospel truths as we seek God’s Kingdom together.

“Therefore it is a Christian call to all ACOM member to arise, and shine for Jesus Christ and to continue in the work of equipping, mentoring, forming, teaching, discipleship and nurturing those who follow Jesus Christ, individually and as a Church. The way towards the eternal goal, is to honor and glorify God.

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Posted in Anglican Church of Melanesia, Evangelism and Church Growth, Melanesia

(CT) Philip Jenkins reviews Professor Brian Stanley’s new book on Christianity in the 20th Century

Anyone with the slightest knowledge of trends in modern Christianity will have opinions about what Stanley’s 15 key themes should be. We might disagree with the exact contents of his list, but few would question the reasonableness of including, for instance, “uneasy marriages between Christianity and nationalism”; the persecution of churches in different societies; ecumenism; the dilemmas of living as a Christian under Islamic rule; human rights, gender, and sexuality; the role of migrant churches; or the relationship between Christianity, ethnic hatred, and genocide.

But if the topics to some extent select themselves, Stanley then startles with his choice of specific examples. Yes, we know that Christians in different eras have exalted the notion of “Holy Nations,” but how many authors would think to examine this approach with a comparative study of Protestant nationalism in South Korea and Marian Catholic nationalism in Poland? Or to compare the churches’ response to genocide in Nazi Germany and Rwanda? One might easily point to the fundamental cultural differences between the nations placed under the microscope, especially when Catholic and Protestant traditions are juxtaposed. But overriding those forms of diversity is one key question. Each of these churches, sects, or movements claims to be Christian, regardless of its location and historical circumstances. So what exactly is the identifiable core of that Christian belief or understanding? How malleable is it?

Another strength of Stanley’s book is the serious attention paid to a wide diversity of traditions and denominations. A generation or so ago, a book giving adequate and fair coverage to both Catholics and (mainline) Protestants was laudable. Stanley certainly treats those two fully, but over and above that he offers a chapter on the Orthodox tradition, as viewed in the cases of Greece, Turkey, and even East Africa. Given his interest in Global South religion, he is very informative on Pentecostal worlds, as well as the African independent traditions represented by the Aladura and other healing churches.

Read it all.

Posted in Books, Church History, Globalization

The South Carolina Case of the Historic Diocese and the Nearly brand New TEC Diocese gets a Date for SCOTUS Conference

From there:

Friends,

Good news! Today the United States Supreme Court announced that our Petition for Certiorari has been distributed for Conference on Thursday, June 7.

As anticipated, the Eden Prairie case (which involves the same legal issues as our own case) has also been docketed for Conference that day.

Both cases raise the question of how courts interpret the Jones v. Wolf (1979) decision and its guidance on “neutral principles of law”. In Conference, the Justices will be discussing if these are cases they wish to review to resolve the conflicting interpretations.

The consequence is that we could hear as early as Monday, June 11th what the Court’s decision is regarding our Petition for Certiorari. If granted, our case would then be heard some time in the next session of the court, which begins this fall.

Please encourage your congregation to keep the Court’s deliberations that day in their prayers.

Blessings,

(The Rev. Canon) Jim Lewis

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Church History, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture, Supreme Court

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Nicolaus Copernicus and Johannes Kepler

As the heavens declare thy glory, O God, and the firmament showeth thy handiwork, we bless thy Name for the gifts of knowledge and insight thou didst bestow upon Nicolaus Copernicus and Johannes Kepler; and we pray that thou wouldst continue to advance our understanding of thy cosmos, for our good and for thy glory; through Jesus Christ, the firstborn of all creation, who with thee and the Holy Spirit livest and reignest, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Posted in Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day from Frank Colquhoun

O Almighty God, who hast fulfilled thy word of promise, and from thy heavenly throne hast poured out upon thy Church the gift of the Holy Spirit: Open our hearts, we pray thee, to receive the fullness of his grace and power; that our lives may be strengthened for the service of thy kingdom, and our souls be conformed more and more to the image of thy Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Posted in Pentecost, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Every one who believes that Jesus is the Christ is a child of God, and every one who loves the parent loves the child. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that overcomes the world, our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?
This is he who came by water and blood, Jesus Christ, not with the water only but with the water and the blood. And the Spirit is the witness, because the Spirit is the truth. There are three witnesses, the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three agree. If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater; for this is the testimony of God that he has borne witness to his Son. He who believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself. He who does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has borne to his Son. And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who has not the Son of God has not life.

–1 John 5:1-12

Posted in Theology: Scripture