Monthly Archives: November 2018

(Anglican Taonga) The New Zealand Anglican General Synod Standing Committee responds to Archbishop Davies proposal

…the GSSC says that Anglicans in this church have wrestled with the question of the blessing of same-gender relations for more than 40 years.

“In May this year our General Synod chose a way forward which has held a wide range of views together.

“In adopting that way forward, enormous care has been taken to honour and protect the integrity of people who hold irreconcilable views – while at the same time staying faithful to the foundational formularies of our Church, and not making any doctrinal change.”

The GSSC letter goes on to say that the General Synod resolution on the blessing of same-sex civil marriages “cannot be divorced” from the history between Maori and Pakeha Anglicans.

“It was,” the letter says, “a cross-tikanga resolution, decades in the making.

“Indeed, had it not been for the extraordinary generosity and patience extended by Tikanga Maori (and Tikanga Polynesia) on this very matter, this province would be in a far less healthy state than it is today.”

The letter goes on to say that that being bound together in constitutional and Treaty-based relationships is essential to being Anglican in Aotearoa in New Zealand.

“If those disaffiliating want to be committed to that fundamental consequence of being Anglican in Aotearoa New Zealand, then they must stay in these constitutional and Treaty-based relationships.

“We cannot recognise a Church as Anglican which does not encapsulate this 200 years of relationship and history.”

Read it alland follow the links.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, Anglican Church of Australia, Anthropology, Ecclesiology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Pastoral Theology, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology

(CEN) Leading theologian NT Wright says the ‘Rapture’ is not biblical

A leading evangelical theologian has said the idea of the ‘Rapture’ is not biblical and is a misinterpretation of what the Apostle Paul said.

The concept of the Rapture became popular with the JN Darby version of the Bible, but in recent years has achieved new popularity because of the best-selling ‘Left Behind’ series of books.

But NT Wright, former Bishop of Durham, told a Premier Radio podcast that the idea had not been part of his theological thinking.

“I never heard about The Rapture until I got married. My late father-in-law was an old school Elim Pentecostal, with his Schofield reference Bible and the whole thing was mapped out.

Read it all (may require subscription).

Posted in Eschatology, Evangelicals, Theology: Scripture

(WSJ) Mene Ukueberuwa–The Vatican prevents American prelates from addressing clergy sexual abuse

Ahead of the conference, the bishops coalesced around two proposals to impose accountability. The first is a simple code of conduct extending to bishops the zero-tolerance policy for sex abuse enacted for priests in 2002. The second is an independent review board to investigate claims against bishops and refer credible cases directly to the Vatican. “Each bishop would have to agree to allow himself to be investigated by the committee,” San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone told me last week. He described the bishops’ shedding of immunity as “a covenantal sort of relationship” that would allow them to police each other better.

Yet the Vatican’s surprise announcement means the new covenant will have to wait. The Holy See barred the conference from voting on new sex-abuse protocols until after a summit in Rome this February. Naturally, the bishops were shocked when they received the news Monday morning. Instead of returning to their dioceses with a concrete agreement, they’ll bring nothing but assurances of future reforms. More than 15 years after the sex-abuse crisis first surfaced in the U.S., such promises do little to quell public anger or ease prosecutorial pressure.

The delay shows that the Vatican simply doesn’t place the same value on speed and openness with the public that the U.S. episcopate does. American bishops are closer to the schools and parishes where abuse actually takes place. When one leader fails to respond appropriately to abuse, they all take on the stench of corruption. And unlike the pope, local bishops generally are seen as dispensable by their followers—shepherds to be discarded if they fail to protect the flock.

Despite the imprudent delay, U.S. bishops can continue cleaning their own pastures ahead of the Rome summit.

Read it all.

Posted in Children, Ecclesiology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Pope Francis, Roman Catholic, Sexuality, Theology, Violence

(Church Times) Find a way for the UK and EU to coexist, Archbp Welby and Bishop Bedford-Strohm tell politicians

In a joint statement issued by Lambeth Palace on Friday morning, Archbishop Welby and Dr Bedford-Strohm said: “European relationships are changing, not least as a result of Brexit. We do not know what will happen and what the relationship between the UK and EU will look like after 29 March 2019. However, what we do know is that the relationship between the Church of England and the Evangelische Kirche in Deutschland goes back over many centuries — long before the European Union.

“As churches, we urgently appeal to all politicians to find fair and sustainable solutions for the future coexistence of the UK and the EU. United in Christ we are drawn together in hope, faith and love, and those things which divide us are of much lesser importance.”

Last week, during a Q&A at Great Yarmouth Minster, the Archbishop said that there was “no necessary defeatism, no necessary outcome either to staying in Europe or leaving. . . The big problems in our society of inequality, of unfairness, of the abandonment of an understanding of a moral and ethical framework which helps us choose how to treat people — that is the thing that will decide our future. . . Being in Europe or being out is obviously important, but there is as much hope out as in or in as out.’’

Read it all and the full joint statement may be found there.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, Foreign Relations, Other Churches, Politics in General

Friday Mental Health Break–Mike Nichols and Elaine May’s skit of a son calling his mother on the phone

Posted in Children, Humor / Trivia, Marriage & Family

(NYT) At Brexit Crunch Time, Theresa May Takes a Pummeling

Theresa May rose to her feet before the British House of Commons on Thursday to make the sales pitch of her life, promising that the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union would be “smooth and orderly.”

It was not supposed to be a laugh line.

But the members of Parliament laughed out loud at Mrs. May. They laughed uproariously, and for long enough that she had to pause, eyes flickering over her papers, and wait for them to stop, so she could continue.

Over the past two and a half years as prime minister, Mrs. May, 62, has plenty of experience being derided and conspired against. On Thursday, the day she publicly presented her long-awaited, 585-page deal to withdraw from the bloc, or Brexit, she took such a pummeling that her survival as prime minister was in question….

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, Foreign Relations, Politics in General

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Margaret of Scotland

O God, who didst call thy servant Margaret to an earthly throne that she might advance thy heavenly kingdom, and didst give her zeal for thy church and love for thy people: Mercifully grant that we who commemorate her this day may be fruitful in good works, and attain to the glorious crown of thy saints; though Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Posted in Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day from The Treasury of Devotion

Awake, O my soul, and give glory to God. I laid me down and slept, and rose up again; for the Lord sustained me. Glory be to Thee O Lord, for watching over me this night. Lord, raise me up at the last day to life everlasting.

–The Rev. T. T. Carter, The Treasury of Devotion: a Manual of Prayer for General and Daily Use (London: Rivingtons, 1871)

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Scripture Readings

He also said to the disciples, “There was a rich man who had a steward, and charges were brought to him that this man was wasting his goods. And he called him and said to him, ”˜What is this that I hear about you? Turn in the account of your stewardship, for you can no longer be steward.’ And the steward said to himself, ”˜What shall I do, since my master is taking the stewardship away from me? I am not strong enough to dig, and I am ashamed to beg. I have decided what to do, so that people may receive me into their houses when I am put out of the stewardship.’ So, summoning his master’s debtors one by one, he said to the first, ”˜How much do you owe my master?’ He said, ”˜A hundred measures of oil.’ And he said to him, ”˜Take your bill, and sit down quickly and write fifty.’ Then he said to another, ”˜And how much do you owe?’ He said, ”˜A hundred measures of wheat.’ He said to him, ”˜Take your bill, and write eighty.’ The master commended the dishonest steward for his shrewdness; for the sons of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than the sons of light. And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous mammon, so that when it fails they may receive you into the eternal habitations.

–Luke 16:1-9

Posted in Theology: Scripture

A Prayer in the Evening by Saint Albert the Great

From there:

We pray to You, O Lord,
who are the supreme Truth,
and all truth is from you.
We beseech You, O Lord,
who are the highest Wisdom,
and all the wise depend on You for their wisdom.
You are the supreme Joy,
and all who are happy owe it to You.
You are the Light of minds,
and all receive their understanding from You.
We love, we love You above all.
We seek You, we follow You,
and we are ready to serve You.
We desire to dwell under Your power
for You are the King of all. Amen.

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer

([London] Times) Men and women really do think differently, say scientists

The much-maligned but longstanding idea that women enjoy discussing their emotions while men are mostly excited by cars may be true after all.

Scientists conducting the world’s largest study of sex differences in the brain found men were more likely to prefer “things” and “systems”, while women were more interested in people and emotions. Men were almost twice as likely as women to be “systems-orientated” rather than empathetic and vice versa.

Scientists at Cambridge University surveyed more than 650,000 people and said that their results confirmed two theories: first, the empathising- systemising theory of sex differences, which predicts that, at the population level, men will be more excited by coding, for instance, while women will be more attuned to feelings; second, the extreme male brain theory, which predicts that the brains of autistic people are more “masculine” than is typical for their sex, in that they are more systems-focused.

The twin theories, from the Cambridge scientist Simon Baron-Cohen, are controversial and have previously been described as “neurosexism”.

Read it all (subscription required).

Posted in Men, Psychology, Women

(Economist) The Church of England plays a big role in acts of remembrance

The Church of England plays a central but slightly awkward role in commemorating war dead. In the everyday life of England’s bustling, multicultural cities, the existence of an established church, historically privileged but commanding the active loyalty of only a small minority, can seem like a curious anachronism. But at certain occasions and seasons, the Church of England comes into its own as a focus of national emotion.

One such time is the national remembrance of war dead, which takes place every year around the anniversary of the armistice that ended the first world war, which came into effect on 11th November 1918. This year’s commemorations have an added poignancy because a century has passed since the guns fell silent….

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Posted in Church History, Church of England (CoE), History, Military / Armed Forces, Parish Ministry

(The Cut) Lie About Yourself Enough and Even You’ll Believe It

On a recent, truly excellent episode of the podcast Heavyweight, host Jonathan Goldstein attempted to solve a mysterious memory belonging to his friend Rob (Corddry, a comedian). Rob believed that, as a child, he broke his arm at camp. Rob’s family — his mother, father, sister, and brother — have no recollection of such an injury. At all. In fact, they vehemently deny it, insisting that the only Corddry sibling to suffer a broken arm was Rob’s older brother. Rob is certain, but so is his family. So who’s right? I won’t spoil it for you (it’s really a must-listen), but facts aside, there is another big question at hand: can a person come to believe their own often-repeated mythology, even when it’s patently untrue?

According to a study published in the journal of Applied Cognitive Psychology last week, the answer is a resounding, discomfiting yes. In an experiment, the study’s author, Danielle Polage, an associate professor of psychology at Central Washington University, provided her college student subjects with a list of events they may have experienced in childhood, asking them to rate them on their certainty that those events did (or did not) happen. Then, pretending not to know which of those items were untrue, Polage asked the subjects to read a scripted biography made up of half true and half untrue events, but to act as though all the events were true. The subjects were told that the experiment was meant to test their ability to lie, and were thus directed to add feasible color and detail to the false events to create a fuller story.

After they finished lying to her, Polage asked the students to again rate their certainty that each of these events had or had not happened. Fascinatingly (and a little creepily), subjects showed a statistically significant change in their beliefs, indicating that they became less sure that untrue events hadn’t happened to them after saying that they had. Conversely, when subjects were later asked to deny events that had happened to them, they became less sure that those events did take place.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Theology

The Bp of Oxford on WWI–this is our Long Story

We are wise enough to know now that the battles our grandparents fought did not end at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month when the artillery fell silent on the Western Front. The battles against tyranny and isolation and prejudice and inequality continue. The search for purpose and meaning and love continues still. Those battles need to be set in an eternal perspective. They recur in different ways in each generation.

Paul writes of that new and eternal perspective which flows from one person, Jesus Christ, the Son of God. God has reconciled us to himself through Christ. The destiny of humankind is not fragmentation and war but common purpose and unity and a new creation. We are part of this bigger story. God has now entrusted to us the ministry of reconciliation. It is our mission, in every generation, to work for peace and freedom and justice with the same commitment shown by the generation who fought the Great War.

As we look back one hundred years it is possible to see in our nation then a greater common purpose than we see today. We are not blind to the weaknesses of the war generation nor to the mistakes that were made. But we do see a commitment to a common cause, a confidence in the values of peace and truth and the common good, a desire to see the world reconciled and a willingness to face together the great challenges of the age.

Such common cause today defeats us. We are finding it difficult as a nation even to rethink and reimagine our relationship with Europe in a way that brings unity and common purpose. We grow more not less fragmented along lines of race and religion and politics and wealth. Our common discourse all too easily admits the language of hate and violence.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, History, Military / Armed Forces

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Herman of Alaska

Holy God, we bless thy Name for Herman, joyful north star of Christ’s Church, who came from Russia to bring the Good News of Christ’s love to thy native people in Alaska, to defend them from oppressors and to proclaim the Gospel of peace; and we pray that we may follow his example in proclaiming the Gospel; through the same Jesus Christ, who with thee and the Holy Spirit livest and reignest, one God, throughout all ages. Amen.

Posted in Church History, Spirituality/Prayer