Monthly Archives: January 2020

(Ludlow Advertiser) New Bishop of Dudley ordained by Archbishop of Canterbury

Martin is no stranger to the Midlands, having previously served as Vicar of ‘Shakespeare’s Church’ in Stratford-upon-Avon where he was also Chaplain to the Royal Shakespeare Company and as Vicar of Smethwick Old Church and Area Dean for the Black Country Deanery of Warley.

The new bishop said he is keen for the church to play a role in regenerating the Black Country.

Speaking after the service, Martin said: “I’m delighted to be joining Bishop John and the people of Dudley along with all across the Diocese of Worcester as we discover together how best to be the Church for England in this new decade. As a Black Country bishop I look forward to the church playing its part in the regeneration of Britain’s heartland in the West Midlands, and to working in partnership with all people of good will.”

Read it all.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops

(Local Paper) Facing dire climate threats, Charleston, South Carolina has done little to reduce its carbon footprint

Pounded by rain bombs from above and rising seas below, Charleston is among the most vulnerable cities in the South to a rapidly warming planet.

City officials estimate it may take $2 billion or more in public money to fortify Charleston against these threats — costs rooted in the rise of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

Yet, amid these looming perils and costs, the city government itself has taken relatively modest steps to reduce its own carbon footprint in recent years, a Post and Courier investigation found.

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina, City Government, Ecology, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, Politics in General, Stewardship

(AJ) Former primate Hiltz to serve as assisting bishop of Moosonee

Archbishop Fred Hiltz, former primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, will serve as assisting bishop for the diocese of Moosonee throughout 2020.

With current assistant bishop Thomas Corston retiring at the end of 2019, Hiltz took over as assisting bishop for one year starting on Jan. 1.

In this role, Hiltz is supporting Archbishop Anne Germond—currently bishop for the dioceses of Algoma and Moosonee, as well as metropolitan for the ecclesiastical province of Ontario—to help Moosonee navigate what Germond calls “a year of Holy Discernment.”

“I’m very excited to be working with [Hiltz] because he’s a man of great stature and credibility in the church,” Germond says. “He’s well-loved and well-respected. He has an incredible depth to him, both in his personal spiritual life and in the way he leads…. As Moosonee enters this new time of discernment, he is absolutely the perfect person to be working with me.”

Read it all.

Posted in Anglican Church of Canada

(Sightings) David Gottlieb–Memory Full: Boomers and the Art of Never Going Away

Sightings, as its readers know, peers through the lens of contemporary media and culture in order to reflect on public perceptions of and approaches to religion. In the increasingly secular West, religious impulses often are found in the form of personalized spirituality, and yet the relocation of the spiritual impulse has done perhaps little to reduce the search for personal immortality. The media lately has brimmed with illustrations of the personal pursuit of immortality, which is being developed into a high art form by the Baby Boom generation.

A case in point: On September 9 of last year, “A Very Brady Renovation” debuted on HGTV. In this seven-episode series, all six surviving members of the original cast of the 1970s show “The Brady Bunch” help recreate the interior spaces of the Brady family’s fictional home—inside the real-life Studio City, California house that was used for exterior shots of the family home in the original series, which ran on ABC from 1968-74. “A Very Brady Renovation” is a perfect metaphor for my generation’s near-mastery of the art of never going away—not to mention its lust for boosting property values.

The blossoming of the “OK Boomer” meme ran almost concurrently with “A Very Brady Renovation.” The meme captured the disgust and anger felt by cohorts of the still young at a generation broadly (and sometimes accurately) characterized as insensitive, inflexible, entitled, and all too influential. Writing for the Atlantic, Andrew Ferguson noted that the meme “undammed vast, transgenerational reservoirs of grievance and self-pity, running in every direction.” Lyman Stone, also in the Atlantic, had already made a case for the assertion that “Boomers Ruined Everything,” opining that, in areas as diverse as “housing, work rules, higher education, law enforcement, and public budgeting,” “the Baby Boom generation created, advanced, or preserved policies that made American institutions less dynamic.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., History, Middle Age

(Church Times) Ruth Perrin–How faith survives the turbulent twenties

On the one hand, young adults are losing faith and leaving the Church; others are searching for meaning and belonging, and finding it in Christian communities. What is going on?

My research focuses on millen­nials, which I define as those born between the early 1980s and mid-1990s: they are now in their mid-twenties to late thirties. Sociologists suggest that this cohort is not par­ticularly hostile to religion: rather, they are the inheritors of a century of religious decline. The mechanisms that reinforced a Christian world-view in the UK have been eroded, leaving most with no understanding of the basic tenets of Christianity.

Professor Grace Davie, of the Uni­­versity of Exeter, is correct: religious belief has become an option rather than an obligation — something that individuals may embrace if they are interested. But most young adults are not. They are also not interested in pretending to be something they are not. Authenticity is highly prized.

Professor David Voas, of the UCL Institute of Education, argues that, on average, people experience little change in their religious beliefs and practices once they reach their early twenties. He writes that “Church­goers in their twenties will probably continue to attend for the rest of their lives” (Features, 12 January 2018).

My research suggests, however, that millennials and “Generation Z” (those under 25) continue to explore faith for longer. Professor Jeffrey Jen­­sen Arnett coined the phrase “Emerging Adulthood” to describe the lengthening of adult identity-formation among today’s young. Many spend much of their twenties trying to work out who they are and what they believe, and so both convert and reject faith later than in former generations.

Read it all.

Posted in England / UK, Religion & Culture, Young Adults

Remembering Sam Shoemaker on his Feast Day (II)–a man concerned with USA’s internal enemies

It was America’s enemies within that interested Shoemaker most. After the country entered World War II, the cleric addressed the nation’s cause in several sermons, eventually published in Christ and this Cause. In one of those sermons, “God and the War,” he lashed out at the nation’s immorality.

This nation has had the greatest privileges ever given to any nation in all time. America has been God’s privileged child. But America has become a spoiled child. We have been ungrateful to the God under whom our liberties were given to us. I believe it is high time for someone to say that this war today is God’s judgment upon a godless and selfish people.”

Shoemaker did support the war effort; in his sermon, “What Are We Fighting For?” he admitted that the war was a “grim necessity,” the means by which nations would once again have the opportunity to choose democracy. But he abhorred any self-righteous cause:

“No war can ever be a clear-cut way for a Christian to express his hatred of evil. For war involves a basic confusion. All the good in the world is not ranged against all the evil. In the present war, some nations that have a great deal of evil in them are yet seeking to stand for freedom ”¦ against other nations which have a great deal of good in them but yet are presently dedicated to turning the world backwards into the darkness of enslavement.”

Read it all (emphasis mine).

Posted in America/U.S.A., Church History, Religion & Culture

Remembering Sam Shoemaker on his Feast Day (I)-the importance of soul surgery

We have no respect for a surgeon who goes in but does not cut deeply enough to cure nor a patient who backs out of an operation because it may hurt; yet people can go through their whole lives attending church, listening to searching exposures of human sin, without ever taking it to themselves, or meeting anyone with skill and concern enough to lay the challenge right in their own laps.

Experiment of Faith (New York: Harper&Row, 1957), p.22 (emphasis mine)

Posted in America/U.S.A., Church History, Religion & Culture, Theology

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Samuel Shoemaker

Holy God, we thank thee for the vision of Samuel Shoemaker, who labored for the renewal of all people: Grant, we pray, that we may follow his example to help others find salvation through the knowledge and love of Jesus Christ our Savior; who with thee and the Holy Spirit liveth and reigneth, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Posted in Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day from the Prayer Manual

Almighty God, Who hast enabled Thy faithful soldiers and servants to play the man, to endure hardness, to love mercy, to fight the good fight of faith, and to refuse no service in the Name of Christ: grant unto us whom Thou hast called to serve under our Saviour’s banner a single heart to spend and to be spent for Thee and for those whom He has loved even unto death; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

–Frederick B. Macnutt, The prayer manual for private devotions or public use on divers occasions: Compiled from all sources ancient, medieval, and modern (A.R. Mowbray, 1951)

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Bible Readings

After this Jesus went to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, which is the Sea of Tiber’i-as. And a multitude followed him, because they saw the signs which he did on those who were diseased. Jesus went up on the mountain, and there sat down with his disciples. Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was at hand. Lifting up his eyes, then, and seeing that a multitude was coming to him, Jesus said to Philip, “How are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?” This he said to test him, for he himself knew what he would do. Philip answered him, “Two hundred denarii would not buy enough bread for each of them to get a little.” One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him, “There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two fish; but what are they among so many?” Jesus said, “Make the people sit down.” Now there was much grass in the place; so the men sat down, in number about five thousand. Jesus then took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated; so also the fish, as much as they wanted. And when they had eaten their fill, he told his disciples, “Gather up the fragments left over, that nothing may be lost.” So they gathered them up and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves, left by those who had eaten. When the people saw the sign which he had done, they said, “This is indeed the prophet who is to come into the world!” Perceiving then that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by himself.

–John 6:1-15

Posted in Theology: Scripture

(Christianity Today) What Does ‘Evangelical’ Mean?

What does it mean to be evangelical? The term, without a doubt, is widely misunderstood and frequently misrepresented. In recent years, the term evangelical has become highly politicized, invoked to describe a voting bloc or as a blanket label for those with conservative or, perhaps, fundamentalist views. Meanwhile, some from within the movement have dropped the label or left evangelicalism entirely, coining the monicker exvangelical.

Since its inception, Christianity Today has been distinctly evangelical, bringing together a broad readership of Christians from across the denominational spectrum who find common ground in their shared faith in Christ, commitment to orthodoxy, and passion for proclaiming the gospel. Throughout the decades, CT has discussed what it means to be evangelical (such as in this 1965 cover story). In recent years, the conversation has continued with renewed vigor. What is really at the heart of evangelical identity? Here’s a sampling of articles from the past few years that dig deeper into what it means to be an evangelical Christian today.

In “Evangelical Distinctives in the 21st Century,” Mark Galli (CT’s recently retired editor in chief) launched a series of articles meant to “articulate what we [at Christianity Today] mean by evangelicalism—and more importantly, why we continue to think that evangelicals are a people whom God still uses mightily to reform his church and touch the world with the grace and hope of the gospel.”

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Canada, Evangelicals, Religion & Culture, Theology

(ABC Nightline) Important but difficult Viewing– The Children of Auschwitz: Survivors Return 75 years after Liberation

Take the time to watch it all.

Posted in Death / Burial / Funerals, Germany, History, Judaism, Military / Armed Forces, Poland, Religion & Culture, Violence

Statement from Archbishop Justin and Archbishop Sentamu following the College of Bishops Meeting

From here:

We as Archbishops, alongside the bishops of the Church of England, apologise and take responsibility for releasing a statement last week which we acknowledge has jeopardised trust. We are very sorry and recognise the division and hurt this has caused.

At our meeting of the College of Bishops of the Church of England this week we continued our commitment to the Living in Love and Faith project which is about questions of human identity, sexuality and marriage. This process is intended to help us all to build bridges that will enable the difficult conversations that are necessary as, together, we discern the way forward for the Church of England.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Archbishop of York John Sentamu, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Marriage & Family, Sexuality

(Guardian) ‘Schools are killing curiosity’: why we need to stop telling children to shut up and learn

Young children sit cross-legged on the mat as their teacher prepares to teach them about the weather, equipped with pictures of clouds. Outside the classroom, lightning forks across a dark sky and thunder rumbles. Curious children call out and point, but the teacher draws their attention back – that is not how the lesson target says they are going to learn about the weather.

It could be a scene in almost any school. Children, full of questions about things that interest them, are learning not to ask them at school. Against a background of tests and targets, unscripted queries go mainly unanswered and learning opportunities are lost.

Yet the latest American research suggests we should be encouraging questions, because curious children do better. Researchers from the University of Michigan CS Mott Children’s Hospital and the Center for Human Growth and Development investigated curiosity in 6,200 children, part of the US Early Childhood Longitudinal Study. The study is highlighted in a new book by Judith Judd and me, How to Succeed at School. What Every Parent Should Know.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Children, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Psychology, Theology

(Fulcrum) Transcript of BBC Radio 5 Sunday Programme, A Discussion on the Bishop’s Pastoral Statement on Civil Partnerships with Ian Paul and Bp Alan Wilson

Crawley Alan, you clearly do believe there’s something new here.

Wilson Well, there’s a rather weird bit of theology going on here, and that’s the idea that you’re only married if you’ve had vows said between you. I mean that is part of the medieval, Western understanding of marriage, but most marriages in Britain don’t have to have vows in them at all, because they’re contracted in a registry office by registrars. They can have vows if they want. And of course the Orthodox Church doesn’t have vows in marriage, they don’t understand it in that way, they never have. So the idea that vows are the things that you are turning your back on if you down-trade your marriage for a civil partnership (which by the way you can’t do anyway, it’s an impossibility, but we’ve still got a rule for you even if you are doing this impossible thing), is a little bit theologically bizarre.

Crawley So Ian Paul, not only new but weird and bizarre in the language of the Bishop there. Civil partnerships involve a commitment as well as marriage. What’s the difference in theological terms?

Paul The two differences are 1) that the vows which are received in our tradition of the Church of England, signal that this isn’t just something private, that the conjugal relationship involved in marriage isn’t something which is a personal contract, it is something which is part of community, is part of building community. Just yesterday somebody told me that a friend of theirs did not want to get married but wanted to have a civil partnership because they didn’t like doing things in public, they wanted to do it privately. And in Christian theology, our understanding of marriage is that it’s part of a building block for community, it’s where children are raised, and that’s really significant. The other significant thing, which Alan hasn’t mentioned, is the fact that there are in civil partnerships no grounds in sexual relating for the relationship to come to an end. It’s a no-fault termination and again that’s a significant departure in the historic position, both in law, as well as in the Church’s understanding.

Crawley Ian, can I just break in. Can I ask, given that this has been an issue this week, does this statement mean that any sexual intimacy, any sexual activity, that takes place within a civil partnership, is illicit in Christian terms?

Paul Well, the position of the Church of England and many Christian Churches has been that the right place for sexual relating is within a marriage relationship. And the reason for that-

Crawley So does that mean that sex within a civil partnership is a sin?

Paul It means that, along with all sort of other forms of sexual relationship outside of commitment….

Read it all.

Posted in --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Sexuality, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Economist) Investors at home and abroad are piling into American government debt

In the good old days, America’s budget deficit yawned when the economy was weak and shrank when it was strong. It fell from 13% to 4% of gdp during Barack Obama’s presidency, as the economy recovered from the financial crisis of 2007-09. Today unemployment is at a 50-year low. Yet borrowing is rising fast. Tax cuts in 2017 and higher government spending have widened the deficit to 5.5% of gdp, according to imf data—the largest, by far, of any rich country.

It could soon widen even further. President Donald Trump is thought to want a pre-election giveaway. Fox News is awash with rumours of “Tax Cuts 2.0”. This month the Treasury announced it would issue a 20-year bond, which would lengthen the average maturity of its debt and lock in low interest rates for longer. All this is quite a change for many Republicans, who once accused Mr Obama of profligacy, but now say that trillion-dollar deficits are no big deal. Democratic presidential candidates, meanwhile, are talking about Medicare for All and a Green New Deal. A new consensus on fiscal policy has descended on Washington. Can it hold?

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Budget, Credit Markets, Ethics / Moral Theology, Politics in General, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government

(AAC) Phil Ashey–How Can Two Walk Together? Questions for Gafcon and Global South leaders following the Partial Primates Gathering in Jordan

During this interview, [Greg Venables] states that at the meeting there was much discussion among the Primates, and “everyone was clear that the differences are fundamental and major, that we are in a broken state of communion and that we haven’t been able to find a way forward. We talked freely about how all attempts so far haven’t been followed through.”

This statement is impossible to reconcile with the statements of Archbishops Welby and Badi. The question remains: Whom should we believe, and on what basis?

There are other unanswered questions as well:

Did the Gafcon Primates and Global South Primates share the sacrament of Communion and Table fellowship with false teachers?
Why didn’t they reaffirm Lambeth Resolution 1.10 (1998) as the official teaching on human sexuality, marriage, and leadership in the Church within the Anglican Communion?

Did they read the Communique at any time before it was issued? If not, why not—especially in view of past misleading Communiques they claimed they had not read?

If they read the Communique and assented to it, have the Gafcon and Global South Primates concluded that the “complexities that face us” by reason of false teaching are no longer a cause for broken or impaired communion or an impediment to “walking together”?

Where does this leave the Jerusalem Statement and Declaration (2008), the Gafcon Letter to the Churches (2018), and the Global South “Cairo Covenant” (2019)?

Given their “considerable discussion” on Anglican identity and their conclusion that it is rooted within the framework of relationship with Canterbury, does this signify that these Gafcon and Global South Primates are moving away from recognizing the very churches they authenticated as Anglican who are not in relationship with Canterbury—namely, the Anglican Church in North America, Brazil (IAB), and New Zealand?

Read it all.

Posted in - Anglican: Analysis

(CEN) Church of England to go carbon neutral by 2045

General Synod is to be asked to set a target date of 2045 for the Church of England to become carbon-neutral.

The motion will be moved by the Bishop of Salisbury when the Synod meets in London next month. The Rt Rev Nicholas Holtam pointed out that combating climate change was one of the five Anglican ‘marks of mission’.

To help parishes and other church bodies to work towards the net-zero target this week the Church launched an energy ratings system similar to those used for household appliances to help monitor the carbon footprint of its almost 40,000 buildings.

The Bishop said: “The problem is that if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. And it’s not only the church that is struggling with that, the climate change committee in Parliament’s been having to think about the same issue.”

However, some were unhappy about the target date of 2045.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Ecology, Energy, Natural Resources, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Religion & Culture, Stewardship

A Prayer to Begin the Day from E B Pusey

O Lord Jesu Christ, be Thou the beginning and the end of all this day; the pattern Whom I am to copy, the Redeemer in Whom is my strength, the Master Whom I am to serve, the Friend to Whom I may look for comfort and sympathy. May I fix my eyes on Thee as my help, my aim, the centre of my being, my everlasting friend. O Thou Who hast so looked on me that I may see Thee, set Thine eyes upon me, I beseech Thee. Steady my unsteadfastness, unite me to Thyself, and guide me in whatever path Thou seest fit to lead me, till of Thine infinite mercy Thou wilt bring me to Thine eternal presence in Paradise.

–Frederick B. Macnutt, The prayer manual for private devotions or public use on divers occasions: Compiled from all sources ancient, medieval, and modern (A.R. Mowbray, 1951)

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Bible Readings

For it is impossible that the blood of bulls and goats should take away sins. Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said, “Sacrifices and offerings thou hast not desired, but a body hast thou prepared for me; in burnt offerings and sin offerings thou hast taken no pleasure. Then I said, ‘Lo, I have come to do thy will, O God,’ as it is written of me in the roll of the book.” When he said above, “Thou hast neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings” (these are offered according to the law), then he added, “Lo, I have come to do thy will.” He abolishes the first in order to establish the second. 10 And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

–Hebrews 10:4-10

Posted in Theology: Scripture

(NR) The Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments in a Key Religious-Freedom Case

Ultimately, the Court in Trinity rejected the fungibility argument, a position that Justice Stephen Breyer reaffirmed in the opening arguments of Espinoza. The proposition, Breyer said, that the state will “give police protection to all schools, all people, but no religious institution” is a facially “unconstitutional” one. Lawyers for the mothers suing in Espinoza agreed, arguing that the revocation of their children’s scholarships was an unconstitutional exercise in religious discrimination: the denial of a neutral public benefit — a scholarship to be used as they please — because of their status as religious persons.

Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s rejoinder to the respondents during opening arguments helps to explain the fundamental difference between Espinoza and Locke. While he conceded that “funding religion, funding religious schools generally or training of clergy is . . . an establishment clause-concern,” as argued in Locke, Kavanaugh claimed that Espinoza raises “a separate issue when you set up a neutral-benefit program — police, fire, or scholarships — and allow people to use those things, allow religious institutions to obtain the benefits of those things on a non-discriminatory basis.”

Kavanaugh’s assertion reaches the question at the heart of Espinoza: Is it constitutional for a state to withhold a neutral public benefit — here, a scholarship that parents can use at either a secular or religious private school — because the recipient of that benefit might use it in furtherance of a religious end? The plaintiffs acknowledge that states do not have an obligation to subsidize private education. If a state decides to do so, however, it has a constitutional duty to treat all of its citizens, religious and non-religious alike, with an even hand. That duty is what’s at stake here, and we won’t have to wait too long to know the outcome: A ruling is expected this summer.

Read it all.

Posted in Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture, Religious Freedom / Persecution, Supreme Court

(AJ) Bishop of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island to retire

Archbishop Ron Cutler, diocesan bishop of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island and metropolitan of the ecclesiastical province of Canada, will resign from both posts July 31, with the intention of entering retirement.

In an email news update from the diocese dated Jan. 8, Cutler said he had made the decision after a recent time of prayer on his future role in ministry. His decision was based, he said, both on personal reasons and on the fact that the diocese had recently begun the process of developing a new mission action plan.

“Since April 2014, I have tried to lead the diocese in ways that would open up new avenues and resources in which to enter into God’s mission for this time,” Cutler said. “It is time for someone else to lead in the new vision for the diocese.”

Read it all.

Posted in Anglican Church of Canada

(CEN) Bishop Alan Smith wants inquest law to focus on gambling

The Coroners (Determination of Suicide) Bill 2020 received its first reading in the House of Lords last Thursday.

“I have introduced this common-sense piece of legislation so the Government can begin to get a handle on the consequences of gambling-related harm,” Bishop Smith told the House of Lords.
“This new legislation will mean, for the first time, each instance where gambling is a factor in suicide coroners will record it in conclusions.

“I have met far too many families whose lives have been destroyed by the loss of a loved one, often young adults who have their entire lives ahead of them.

“As there is no accurate, up-to-date, data linking gambling with suicide, their desire to get the Government to take action has often been stymied,” he said.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Gambling, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture, Suicide

(CC) Stephanie Paulsell–Making a habit out of Epiphany

Epiphanies open the possibility that we might change and the world might change, for they offer an opportunity to create new ways of living from our fragments of revelation. In the moment of illumination, our experience is enlarged, the boundaries of our lives made more permeable. Existence itself seems to hold more possibilities than we had imagined. But epiphanies are evanescent—they shine out, and then they recede. How can we hold onto the possibilities of change we glimpsed, in ourselves, in the world?

We need practices that keep us grounded in our epiphanies, even when the Magi have returned to their country and we to our daily lives. We need ways to extend our vision even when we are too busy to remember we’ve had one.

One way to do this is to make living in the afterglow of that vision a habit, a commitment. Benedictines do this when they choose to welcome every guest as Christ among them—a choice grounded, surely, in an epiphany, but a choice that can be made even when the light of illumination has dimmed. The story of La Befana illustrates this way of making an epiphany last. If she cannot go with the Magi to see the Christ Child, she will choose to find Christ in every child.

How will we choose to respond to the illumination of Epiphany, which passes so swiftly into memory? What commitments can we make to keep the Magi’s epiphany in view? Will we choose to see the Christ Child lying on the floor of a detention center, covered in a foil blanket? Will we choose to see the Holy Family separated and caged? And if we choose to see, what will we choose to do?

Read it all.

Posted in Epiphany, Theology

(CBC) How they lived: Families share memories of Quebec City mosque attack victims

The six men shot to death by a lone gunman who walked into a Quebec City mosque on Jan. 29, 2017 had all made the choice to trade one continent for another.

They’d left behind friends, relatives and familiarity to make new lives in Canada.

All were husbands and fathers: 17 children lost a parent.

They were educated men who had come to Quebec City seeking opportunity, nature, peace and democracy.

Read it all.

Posted in Canada, Islam, Religion & Culture, Violence

(Toronto Star) Amira Elghawaby–Too little has changed since Quebec mosque massacre shattered lives

The attack against the Centre Culturel Islamique de Québec continues to symbolize the very worst manifestations of racism, social marginalization, and toxic online culture. Three years on, little has changed to assure us that no other community will ever again be targeted based on religion, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or any other characteristic.

In Quebec, divisive rhetoric and law are being used to justify the second-class treatment of religious communities. Bill 21 is the contentious legislation that prevents some people from holding certain government jobs because of their religious clothing.

Now, a group called Mouvement laïque québécois (MLQ), granted intervener status in one of the legal challenges to the bill, is calling for its expansion to cover all public servants, not only teachers, police officers and crown prosecutors.

The Quebec government is also nonsensically moving to abolish its Ethics and Religious Culture course in primary and secondary schools.

Read it all.

Posted in Canada, Religion & Culture, Violence

(Guardian) The power of celibacy: ‘Giving up sex was a massive relief’

In a world where you can get a sexual partner faster than a pizza delivery, it has never been easier to play the field. Yet, despite all that swiping right, a surprising number of people are not having sex at all – not for religious reasons, or because they can’t get a date, but because they find that celibacy makes them happier.

Some have never had much interest in sex, while others are taking a break to address personal problems, recover from bad dating experiences or change the way they approach relationships.

Catherine Gray, the author of The Unexpected Joy of Being Single, gave up sex for a year in 2014. “Between the ages of 16 and 34, I hadn’t spent more than a few months single,” she says. “I felt incomplete without a plus-one and constantly hunted approval. I reached rock-bottom after being disproportionately crushed by the failure of a six-month relationship, so I decided to give up sex and dating for an entire year.”

Although deleting her dating apps felt like “giving up a drug”, celibacy turned out to be a huge relief. “Instead of doing what my boyfriend wanted to, I discovered what I liked, developing a love for yoga, photography and travelling. I dressed differently and no longer cared about attracting men. I started to see myself as a person – rather than a girlfriend or a sexual plaything.” The period of celibacy changed how she approached dating; she is now in a healthy relationship. “I realised that I had an anxious attachment style and that, if I started dating again, I would need to change who and how I date. If I feel insecure in the early stages of a relationship, I know it’s because I’m dating someone who is emotionally unavailable, so I back away, rather than persist.”

Read it all.

Posted in England / UK, Sexuality, Young Adults

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint Andrei Rublev

Holy God, we bless thee for the gift of thy monk and icon writer Andrei Rublev, who, inspired by the Holy Spirit, provided a window into heaven for generations to come, revealing the majesty and mystery of the holy and blessed Trinity; who livest and reignest through ages of ages. Amen.

Posted in Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day from Daily Prayer

O God, who art the God of peace, mercifully grant that, as much as lieth in us, we may live at peace with all men; and if our outward peace be broken, yet do thou preserve peace in our hearts; through him who is the Prince of peace, Jesus Christ our Lord.

—-Daily Prayer, Eric Milner-White and G. W. Briggs, eds. (London: Penguin Books 1959 edition of the 1941 original)

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred which redeems them from the transgressions under the first covenant. For where a will is involved, the death of the one who made it must be established. For a will takes effect only at death, since it is not in force as long as the one who made it is alive. Hence even the first covenant was not ratified without blood. For when every commandment of the law had been declared by Moses to all the people, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, saying, “This is the blood of the covenant which God commanded you.” And in the same way he sprinkled with the blood both the tent and all the vessels used in worship. Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.

Thus it was necessary for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these rites, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ has entered, not into a sanctuary made with hands, a copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the Holy Place yearly with blood not his own; for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the age to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And just as it is appointed for men to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.

–Hebrews 9:15-28

Posted in Theology: Scripture