Category : Pastoral Theology

(AI) Fallout in Australia over Andrew Lines consecration

The Primate of the Anglican Church of Australia has asked the church’s Appellate Tribunal to offer a ruling as to whether its bishops may participate in the consecration of bishops who are not members of the Anglican Communion.

On 16 August 2017, the Most Rev. Philip Freier, Archbishop of Melbourne, wrote to the registrar of the tribunal stating he had received a request from the Bishop of Bendigo, the Rt. Rev. Andrew Curnow, supported by four other bishops that raised objections to the consecration of the Rt. Rev. Andrew Lines of the Anglican Church in North America by the Archbishop of Sydney and Bishops of Tasmania and Northwest Australia.

The proceedings, made public in a letter to the Australian bishops on 28 August 2017, comes a week before the start of the church’s General Synod at Maroochydore, on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, from 3-9 Sept 2017 and will likely overshadow its proceedings.

The Appellate Tribunal of the Anglican Church of Australia is not a disciplinary tribunal, but a body charged with providing legal opinions on ecclesiastical questions.

Read it all.

Posted in Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Australia, Ecclesiology, Ethics / Moral Theology, GAFCON, Pastoral Theology

Archbishop Nicholas Okoh’s Gafcon’s Chairman Letter for September 2017

I attended the Canterbury Primates Meeting held in January 2016 because I believed it might be possible to make a new start and change the pattern of repeated failure to preserve the integrity of Anglican faith and order. I was disappointed. The Anglican Consultative Council meeting in Lusaka the following April neutered the Primates’ action to distance The Episcopal Church of the United States (TEC) from Communion decision making. TEC has not repented, and continues to take aggressive legal action against orthodox dioceses. For example, the congregations of the Diocese of San Joaquin are currently having to turn over their places of worship to TEC, which has no realistic plan for filling them with worshippers.  At the same time, the Diocese of South Carolina is now facing the potential loss of many of its historic buildings.

My disappointment was shared by the other Global South Primates who gathered in Cairo last October and we concluded in our communiqué that the ‘Instruments of Communion’ (which include the Primates Meeting of course) are “unable to sustain the common life and unity of the Anglican Churches worldwide” and do actually help to undermine global mission.

The only difference between the present and 2008, when Gafcon was formed, is that we have a different Archbishop of Canterbury. Everything else is the same or worse. There is endless debate, the will of the orthodox Primates is frustrated and misrepresented, false teaching is not being corrected, and nothing is being done to halt orthodox Anglicans in North America (and maybe soon elsewhere) being stripped of the churches that have helped form their spiritual lives.

In these circumstances, I have concluded that attendance at Canterbury would be to give credibility to a pattern of behaviour which is allowing great damage to be done to global Anglican witness and unity. Our energies in the Church of Nigeria will be devoted to what is full of hope and promise for the future, not to the repetition of failure.

Read it all.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Ecclesiology, Ethics / Moral Theology, GAFCON, Global South Churches & Primates, Pastoral Theology, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

(WSJ) iGen, the first generation of young Americans to spend their entire adolescence with smartphones, versus Free Speech

Nor are they just concerned about physical safety. The iGen teens I have interviewed also speak of their need for “emotional safety”—which, they say, can be more difficult to protect. “I believe nobody can guarantee emotional safety,” one 19-year-old told me. “You can always take precautions for someone hurting you physically, but you cannot really help but listen when someone is talking to you.” This is a distinctively iGen idea: that the world is an inherently dangerous place because every social interaction carries the risk of being hurt. You never know what someone is going to say, and there’s no way to protect yourself from it.

The result is a generation whose members are often afraid to talk to one another, especially about anything that might be upsetting or offensive. If everyone must be emotionally safe at all times, a free discussion of ideas is inherently dangerous. Opposing viewpoints can’t just be argued against; they have to be shut down, because merely hearing them can cause harm.

This frame of mind lies behind recent student agitation to keep controversial speakers off campus. According to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, a nonprofit watchdog group, campus disinvitations have risen steadily, reaching an all-time high of 42 in 2016, up from just six in 2000. In the American Freshman survey of more than 140,000 college students conducted by the Higher Education Research Institute in 2015, 43% agreed that campuses should be able to ban extreme speakers, up from just 20% in 1984.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Science & Technology, Theology, Young Adults

(NY Post) Larry Gelton–Is ‘Cheap sex’ making men give up on marriage?

The share of Americans ages 25-34 who are married dropped 13 percentage points from 2000 to 2014. A new book by sociologist Mark Regnerus blames this declining rate on how easy it is for men to get off.

Regnerus calls it “cheap sex,” an economic term meant to describe sex that has very little cost in terms of time or emotional investment, giving it little value.

Regnerus bases his ideas, in part, on the work of British social theorist Anthony Giddens, who argued that the pill isolated sex from marriage and children. Add online pornography and dating sites to the mix and you don’t even need relationships.

The result is “two overlapping (but distinctive) markets, one for sex and one for marriage, with a rather large territory in between comprised of significant relationships of varying commitment and duration,” Regnerus writes in “Cheap Sex: The Transformation of Men, Marriage, and Monogamy” (Oxford University Press).

Read it all.

Posted in --Social Networking, Anthropology, Blogging & the Internet, Books, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Men, Pastoral Theology, Pornography, Science & Technology, Sexuality

(WSJ) Cardinal Robert Sarah–How Catholics Can Welcome LGBT Believers

Among Catholic priests, one of the most outspoken critics of the church’s message with regard to sexuality is Father James Martin, an American Jesuit. In his book “Building a Bridge,” published earlier this year, he repeats the common criticism that Catholics have been harshly critical of homosexuality while neglecting the importance of sexual integrity among all of its followers.

Father Martin is correct to argue that there should not be any double standard with regard to the virtue of chastity, which, challenging as it may be, is part of the good news of Jesus Christ for all Christians. For the unmarried—no matter their attractions—faithful chastity requires abstention from sex.

This might seem a high standard, especially today. Yet it would be contrary to the wisdom and goodness of Christ to require something that cannot be achieved. Jesus calls us to this virtue because he has made our hearts for purity, just as he has made our minds for truth. With God’s grace and our perseverance, chastity is not only possible, but it will also become the source for true freedom.

We do not need to look far to see the sad consequences of the rejection of God’s plan for human intimacy and love. The sexual liberation the world promotes does not deliver its promise. Rather, promiscuity is the cause of so much needless suffering, of broken hearts, of loneliness, and of treatment of others as means for sexual gratification. As a mother, the church seeks to protect her children from the harm of sin, as an expression of her pastoral charity.

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Posted in Ethics / Moral Theology, Pastoral Care, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

(Vanguard) Anglican Church urges Nigerians to shun hate speech

Dr Nicholas Okoh, Primate of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) on Saturday appealed to Nigerians to avoid hate speech.‎ Okoh made the call in Kano when he led some members of his church to visit Gov. Abdullahi Ganduje at the Government House.

The clergyman, who described the trend in recent times as alarming,‎ urged Nigerians to work assiduously to control hate speech.‎ “Hate speech has serious consequences on our country as it promotes violence, extremism and conflicts. “Most of the adherents of these two religions don’t have the real understanding of the teaching‎s of their religions; that is why we having problem with hate speeches,” he said. Okoh called on Nigerians to preach love, tolerance and understanding in order to move the country forward.‎

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Posted in Anthropology, Church of Nigeria, Ethics / Moral Theology, Islam, Language, Muslim-Christian relations, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Theology

(TGC) Sam Allberry interviews Andrew Walker–How Writing on Transgenderism Changed Me

What are your hopes for this book?

Several. First, I hope Christians come away with a basic understanding of theological anthropology—that God created humanity in his image, male and female, and that male and female are made exclusively for one another.

Second, Christians are called to both conviction and compassion. As you once reminded me in personal conversation, Sam, grace and truth aren’t in tension when we look at Jesus. I hope this book models the unity Jesus Christ so lovingly and compassionately displays. I want Christians to see that the Christian story provides a framework for understanding this controversy in terms of creation, fall, redemption, and restoration. In light of the gospel, there’s hope for those with gender dysphoria and those who identify as transgender.

Third, I hope this book starts conversations inside churches, and that churches get serious about being safe places for those with gender-identity conflicts to talk openly and seek help.

Fourth, I want the transgender community in America to know Christians aren’t their enemy, despite the stereotypes. We are called to neighbor love, and that can’t be be limited to people who agree with us. When transgender persons are bullied, mocked, ridiculed, or physically harmed, Christians must defend their humanity and inviolable dignity—even when we think they’re transgressing sacred boundaries that God wisely and beautifully imposed on humanity.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Books, Ethics / Moral Theology, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Church Times) US Episcopal Prayer Book marriage rite could be made gender-neutral in 2018

It remains unclear what the 14-strong Task Force will recommend, but one option presented in the minutes is a first reading of proposed changes to the BCP in 2018, so that revision could take place in 2021, “including consultation with ACC [Anglican Consultative Council] and the Lambeth Conference”. The latter takes place in 2020.The 2018 Convention would be presented with a new form of the introduction to marriage and catechism.

“For conservatives this would be concerning,” the March minutes state. “Yet these proposed revisions would be ‘two people’, not explicitly ‘same sex’.”

The minutes ask: “Is there a way to disagree that does not require schism?” and note that “Many want to be in a Church where people have theological differences but still pray together.” But they also suggest that the experience of the C of E should serve as a cautionary tale.

“The Church of England allowed certain divisions regarding women’s ordination that we should be careful not to emulate, as they have become deeply entrenched,” they say. “Creating carve-outs for pockets of the Church under one ecclesiastical structure could lead to difficulties down the line.”

Read it all.

Posted in --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, General Convention, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology

RC Archbishop Hart of Melbourne releases a pastoral letter on same-sex marriage

The Catholic Church, along with other faith traditions, teaches that marriage is a natural institution established by God to be a permanent union between one man and one woman, intended towards the formation of a family in which children are born and nurtured.

Any legislation that changes this definition of marriage recognised by all the major cultures of the world demands careful consideration by all Australians.

It is vital that we Catholics vote, so that our viewpoint can be heard on this vital public issue.

Its outcome will affect our society and families profoundly in the future.

We understand that ours is not the only viewpoint in our diverse society. Many do not agree with it. Many people see this as an issue about ensuring equality for every and all relationships.

Yes, human rights are important. But so are human responsibilities. We are responsible for the impact of our decisions on future generations.

Read it all.

Posted in --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Sexuality, Theology

(The Australian) Paul Kelly: Rights clash looms in Australian same-sex debate

[Professor Patrick] Parkinson says: “While the case in international human rights law for saying that same-sex marriage is a human right is very weak, the case for protecting religious freedom, and in particular freedom of conscience, is quite overwhelming. There have been numerous bills introduced in parliament to enact same-sex marriage over the last few years and what has been common to most of them has been a minimalist protection for freedom of conscience.”

The plebiscite idea originated with Peter Dutton. Its implementation via the Bureau of Statistics came from Brandis. But it will occur only with the approval of the High Court and nobody can second-guess that outcome. Smith is right when he says his bill has more protections than anything likely to come from a Labor government. But this cannot gainsay the gaping hole left in this pivotal area of our national life and values.

For years the typical response from politicians to the religious freedom issue has been patronising and dismissive, buttressed by the claim that religious ministers would be protected. Any notion that will suffice is ludicrous.

The resistance falls into three categories: those who care only about achieving same-sex marriage; those who think protection around the ceremony is the only issue that matters; and those, like the champions of progressive ideology, who see this social change as an integral step in driving religion from the public square.

Read it all (my emphasis).

Posted in --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Sexuality, Theology

(First Things) Matthew Schmitz responds to Fr. James Martin’s new book arguing for a change in Roman Catholic sexual ethics

So I agree with Fr. Martin that an intolerable tension now exists in the Church’s attitude toward sex, but I disagree about how that tension should be resolved. More than Allah or Christ, sex is the great god worshipped across the globe. What one of our greatest Catholic commentators calls the “horny industrial complex” rules the world: selling products, justifying the destruction of families, impelling the transformation of law. Fr. Martin wants the Church to make a more perfect peace with this god. I want it to offer more consistent resistance.

Regrettably, but unavoidably, resisting untruth will require Catholics to be rude. This is why, much as I sympathize with certain points he makes, I reject Fr. Martin’s call for civility. Either the Catholic Church is right in what it teaches about human sexuality, or it is wrong. A great many people are convinced that the latter is the case—and thus that any expression of the Church’s teaching on homosexual acts will be insensitive and disrespectful. There is no phrasing so artful, no speaker so refined, that Catholic teaching can be pronounced without offense.

This seems to be Fr. Martin’s view. As far as I can tell, he has never found words in which to defend Catholic teaching on homosexuality. This fact is striking. If Fr. Martin, with his winning smile and pleasing voice, his rigorous Jesuit formation and gilded Wharton degree, his friendships with celebrities and appointment at the Vatican, cannot find a polite way to express Christian teaching, then no one can. No Catholic priest is more at home in fashionable society. No modern spiritual master is better equipped to make the faith clubbable. Judging by Fr. Martin’s silence, it simply cannot be done. On homosexuality, and not just on homosexuality, Christian teaching inevitably offends.

Read it all.

Posted in --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Sexuality, Theology, Theology: Scripture

The rector of Saint Helena’s Beaufort writes his parish about Racism and Charlottesville

August 23, 2017

Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

With the events in Charlottesville now being brought home to Beaufort with the racist graffiti painted on the Community Bowling Center, the people of God must speak out against the evils of racism. Racism is a heresy and a denial of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As Christians, we must condemn any group, ideology, or individual that denies that every human being is created in God’s image. As Revelation 7:9 reminds us, Jesus Christ’s sacrificial death on the Cross has made it possible for every tribe, tongue, and nation to be gathered around the throne of God.

When we are confronted with the events of the past weeks, we should be led by the Lord to a posture of repentance. As Christ followers, we must not only stand against the outward, visible attacks resulting from racism, we must also confront the more subtle forms of racism that may exist within our own hearts. As Paul wrote in Romans 14:13, the Gospel demands that we must never put a “stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother.” It is with this humility we must also view our shared history so that our celebrations are not done so at the expense of oppressing others.

The Gospel tears down dividing walls of hostility (Ephesians 2:4) by the shed blood of Jesus Christ. In response to these actions in our community and nation, we want to encourage the people of St. Helena’s to pray and work for the healing of our land….

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, Theology: Scripture

(HLR) Mark David Pickup–A Cure for MS?

Saint John Paul II’s Apostolic Letter Salvifici Doloris (On the Christian Meaning of Human Suffering)was an important source for me in my search to understand my anguish. Salvifici Doloris is Latin for “Redemptive Suffering.” That precious Apostolic Letter introduced me to the idea that if I relinquished ownership of my pain to Christ, He might unite my suffering with His own. He could, in fact, give meaning and purpose to my suffering. That is what happened, and it continues to this day.

Multiple sclerosis was the perfect tool to smash my colossal pride and ridiculous sense of self-sufficiency, both of which had kept my faith shallow and small. (It was hard to be proud and self-sufficient when someone else had to dress me, tie my shoes, and cut the meat on my plate.) A new me began to emerge from the waves of my grief, no less vital than the previous man—just different. My chronic illness and serious disability became an integrated part of my life and faith journey. I no longer let them dominate my life.

Instead, suffering taught me how to make an unqualified surrender, to trust Christ when the stakes are horribly high, and to accept what was once unacceptable. Christian suffering on earth is part of the joy of heaven. That’s how it works. Is it worth it? Yes, I believe it is. The long journey in my wheelchair has brought me to a point where I can accommodate that which I cannot control. There is consolation and peace—I am content.

Now, at this late stage in my journey, comes the very real possibility of a cure for multiple sclerosis.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Theology

(CEN) Prominent C of E evangelical group warns of possible split over same-sex Relations

A division of the Church of England would be required’ if the Church declares that ‘permanent, faithful same-sex relationships are a legitimate form of Christian discipleship’, warns the ‘realistic’ Church of England Evangelical Council (CEEC).

A letter from CEEC President, the Rt Rev Julian Henderson, its Chair, the Rev Hugh Palmer, Treasurer, the Rev George Curry and Secretary, Stephen Hofmeyr, warns that there are three options available for the Church of England, but that only one of them will ensure that evangelicals represented by the CEEC won’t leave.

They say that while they were encouraged that the House of Bishops sexuality report contained no proposal to change the Church of England’s doctrinal position on marriage, there have been ‘disappointing developments’. They pointed to the fact that ‘a small majority of the House of Clergy refused to “take note” of the report and so, although the majority of General Synod members wished to do so, it was not taken note of by Synod’.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), Ecclesiology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Evangelicals, Pastoral Theology, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Archbp Cranmer Blog) The black Christian who converts white supremacists by loving them

Whenever white supremacists march to proclaim their Europid purity and superior cranial virtue, they are usually met with an equal and opposite force of scorn and condemnation: protest meets counter-protest; hate meets hate. The result so often is violence and injury, if not death. You can quibble over whether neo-Nazis or Antifa are the more extreme; whether to be anti-black is more evil than those who are anti whoever offends them. Ultimately, it is angry people railing against more angry people; man throwing Molotov cocktails at man; woman spitting venom at woman. And so hate stokes hate; punching and kicking breeds window-smashing and car-burning. The bigots, racists and phobes can shout their disgust, but ‘We the people’ can break bones, too: just “punch a Nazi in the mouth” or ransack his house because “property destruction does not equate to violence“. To hate is to curse, and persecution is murder.

But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you‘ (Mt 5:44).

There is a black Christian musician by the name of Daryl Davis. He has spent three decades befriending members of Ku Klux Klan, and hundreds have abandoned their white supremacist views because of him. He doesn’t set out to convert them: he goes to their rallies, has dinner with them, listens to them, and talks to them. Instead of protesting and yelling, he gets to know them, and asks: “How can you hate me when you don’t even know me? Look at me and tell me to my face why you should lynch me.”

And, of course, they can’t: over time, the white supremacists look into the black man’s eyes, and they see an equal human person.

Read it all (emphasis mine).

Posted in Ethics / Moral Theology, Pastoral Care, Pastoral Theology, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture