Daily Archives: October 16, 2020

(Church Times) Churches must challenge the systems that cultivate modern slavery, webinar in Wales hears

Church communities and people of faith must challenge the systems and structures that have allowed modern slavery to become the fastest-growing crime around the world, a panel of international experts and activists told a webinar hosted by the Church in Wales in advance of Modern Slavery Day on Sunday.

The speakers concluded that it had to be about more than raising awareness of something in which services and products used every day were implicated: manufacturing supply chains, casual labour, and sexual and criminal exploitation. Statutory systems were fragmented and not working well, despite the Modern Slavery Act and the introduction of the National Referral Mechanism, they said; “pitifully small” numbers of perpetrators were being brought to justice.

An estimated 40.3 million men, women, and children worldwide are estimated to be trapped in modern slavery, among them potentially up to 136,000 victims in the UK alone. “We are losing the battle,” the former Bishop of Derby, Dr Alastair Redfern, founder of the C of E’s Clewer Initiative on modern slavery, said. He described it as “the sharp end of inequality”. There was a “massively strange silence” among Christian people, he said, in a climate in which consumers wanted cheap goods and claimed rights without responsibilities.

Awareness was not enough, panellists said. Unity was the greatest weapon against trafficking, said Commissioner Christine MacMillan, who is the founder and director of the Salvation Army’s International Social Justice Commission, and chairs the World Evangelical Alliance’s Global Human Trafficking Task Force.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Church of Wales, Ethics / Moral Theology, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Violence

(Tablet Magazine) American liberalism is in danger from a new ideology–Stop Being Shocked

No one has yet decided on the name for the force that has come to unseat liberalism. Some say it’s “Social Justice.” The author Rod Dreher has called it “therapeutic totalitarianism.” The writer Wesley Yang refers to it as “the successor ideology”—as in, the successor to liberalism.

At some point, it will have a formal name, one that properly describes its mixture of postmodernism, postcolonialism, identity politics, neo-Marxism, critical race theory, intersectionality, and the therapeutic mentality. Until then, it is up to each of us to see it plainly. We need to look past the hashtags and slogans and the jargon to assess it honestly—and then to explain it to others.

The new creed’s premise goes something like this: We are in a war in which the forces of justice and progress are arrayed against the forces of backwardness and oppression. And in a war, the normal rules of the game—due process; political compromise; the presumption of innocence; free speech; even reason itself—must be suspended. Indeed, those rules themselves were corrupt to begin with—designed, as they were, by dead white males in order to uphold their own power.

“The master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house,” as the writer Audre Lorde put it. And the master’s house must be dismantled—because the house is rotted at its foundation.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Education, Media, Movies & Television, Philosophy, Politics in General, Secularism

A Theological Conversation with Retired South Carolina Bishop C FitzSimons Allison

It covers topics such as grace, justification, guilt and the gospel–Listen to it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Anthropology, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Soteriology, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Psephizo) Ian Paul–On bishops, creation and the environment

Last week, the Diocese of Oxford posted a video, the first in a planned series of four, in which Olivia Graham, the recently-appointed bishop of Reading, gave a short theological introduction to the reasons why Christians should be concerned about the environment. In it, I think she said some unusual and (it turned out controversial) things:

2.48 The incarnation isn’t a single birth, but it began 14 billion years ago with an event we call the Big Bang. At that moment, God poured Godself into the emerging universe…every particle of it charged with the incarnate presence of God. The whole earth, then, is God’s body, the whole cosmos is incarnational…

3.22 Creation and incarnation are not two separate events, but one process of God’s self-giving and self communication.

4.22 All that happens is sustained and sanctified; every act of evolving nature is an act of God, because every act of nature’s growth is the energy of divine love. Evolution is not only of God, but is God incarnate.

5.00 Can there be any separation between the sacred and the profane?

5.16 Father, we praise you with all your creatures…they are filled with your presence and your tender love.

5.41 Today you [Jesus] are alive in every creature in your risen glory.

I wasn’t really surprised that there was a reaction to this, since anyone who knows a bit of biblical theology will have spluttered into their tea cups. Simply put, it is a central affirmation of Scripture, and of all orthodox theology in the Judeo-Christian tradition, that God is distinct from God’s creation, and should not be confused with it—in striking contrast to a whole range of other religious traditions. The term ‘incarnation’ does indeed mean ‘taking on flesh’, and by implication means that that which is incarnated was not previously embodied. This both means that the incarnation, the coming of the Word of God in human form, was a unique event, is theologically surprising (since God does not have a body), and that it is also something we bodily humans cannot do; our mission can never be ‘incarnational’, since (unlike God) we are have never been unbodied—even if our mission engagement is contextual and takes the form of concrete actions (which are much more helpful terms).

The idea that every act of creation is an act of God is bizarre—are the slaughter of one creature by another, and the previous mass extinctions, all acts of God? I think Stephen Fry’s position, that these are a source of offence to the idea of a loving God, is much more persuasive! Yes, there can be a separation of the sacred and profane; the only time when this separation is finally ended is when heaven comes down to earth in the New Jerusalem at the end of this age. No, all God’s creatures are not filled with God’s presence; if so, then there is no need for redemption. And Jesus is not yet alive in every creature—if so, then we would have nothing to proclaim.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Theology

(WSJ) Pfizer Could Apply for Emergency Use of Covid-19 Vaccine by Late November

Pfizer Inc.laid out a timetable for reaching key milestones in the development of its Covid-19 vaccine that could mean the shots start becoming available in the U.S. before year’s end.

Chief Executive Albert Bourla said Friday the company could start to see from a large study whether the vaccine works by the end of this month and would have data on its safety by the third week of November. If the preliminary results indicate the vaccine can work safely, Pfizer could ask U.S. health regulators to permit use by late November, Mr. Bourla said.

The timetable, which Mr. Bourla provided in a letter posted to Pfizer’s website, suggests the shots could start going into use in late November, or more likely in December, since regulators would probably need some time to review the study data as well as Pfizer’s manufacturing operations.

New York-based Pfizer is developing its vaccine candidate with German partner BioNTech SE.

It is far from certain the vaccine would prove to work safely in the trial now enrolling some 44,000 volunteers. And the timetable could be pushed back for a number of reasons, including if it takes longer than Pfizer expects for study subjects to get exposed to the virus.

Read it all.

Posted in Corporations/Corporate Life, Drugs/Drug Addiction, Health & Medicine, Science & Technology

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Hugh Latimer and Nicholas Ridley and Thomas Cranmer

Keep us, O Lord, constant in faith and zealous in witness, after the examples of thy servants Hugh Latimer, Nicholas Ridley, and Thomas Cranmer; that we may live in thy fear, die in thy favor, and rest in thy peace; for the sake of Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

Posted in Church History, Church of England (CoE), Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer of Thanksgiving to Begin the Day from the Iona Books

Most worthy art Thou, O good and gracious God, of all praise, even for Thine own sake which exceedeth all things in holiness. By Thee only we are hallowed and made holy. As our duty continually bids us, we praise Thee for our glorious redemption, purchased for us in Thy dearly beloved Son, Jesus Christ. Give us therefore the Holy Spirit to govern us. And grant that all things that breathe with life may praise Thee; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, Who reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, for ever and ever.

–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 Scripture Readings

I bless the LORD who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me. I keep the LORD always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved….Thou dost show me the path of life; in thy presence there is fulness of joy, in thy right hand are pleasures for evermore

Psalm 16:7-8;11

Posted in Theology: Scripture