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(CT) An Interview with Joel Clarkson: Ordinary Life Is Crammed with Heaven–How our senses can point the way to God’s presence

What does it look like to cultivate a theology of the senses?

We live in a world of experience, and this is a core aspect of our faith. It’s not that faith is on one side, with everyday experiences on the other. These actually go together. Within our daily lives, there are many touch points: the food we eat, the music we listen to, the people we meet, and the nature we encounter.

I hope my book conveys the idea that the world, and our lives within it, are crammed with heaven. Heavenly activity doesn’t just occur during transcendent moments, like seeing the northern lights or hearing a beautiful concert. Even amid the mundane, we can encounter God’s presence. And this isn’t a matter of doing something new so much as changing our perspective within the space we already occupy.

Enjoying God through our senses opens up a larger experience of the world and life in Christ. Scripture is full of the language of desire, and we are called to worship the Lord in the beauty of his holiness. Our intellect and senses work together toward the end of loving God with our whole hearts.

In the book, I argue that we love and desire beauty because beauty begins and ends in God, as manifested through the whole of creation. Ephesians 2 says that we are God’s “masterpiece” (v. 10, NLT). The Greek term, poiema, is associated with making, with creating. God is a creator, and to deny the value of creativity, of beautiful things, is actually to limit our vision of who God is and the works he might call us to do.

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Posted in Books, Eschatology

(WSJ) China Targets AI, Chips Among Seven Battlefronts in Tech Race With U.S.

China upped the stakes in its tech race with the U.S. as leaders laid out plans to speed up development of advanced technologies from chips to artificial intelligence and quantum computing over five years.

In a draft economic blueprint unveiled at the country’s annual legislative gathering, officials said they would boost research and development spending by more than 7% annually over the five years to the end of 2025. That will account for a higher percentage of gross domestic product than in the previous five-year period.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said in a speech Friday that China will revise regulation and policies to support the flow of venture capital into startups, free up bank lending and extend tax incentives to encourage research and development.

Economists and industry analysts say China’s 14th five-year plan stands out for its emphasis on advanced technologies and innovation. It also included China’s vision for 2035, when the country expects to have “significant breakthroughs on core technologies and seeks to be among the most innovative nations globally.”

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Posted in America/U.S.A., China, Science & Technology

(ProPublica) The lost Year: What the Pandemic Cost Teenagers

As time has gone on, evidence has grown on one side of the equation: the harm being done to children by restricting their “circulation.” There is the well-documented fall-off in student academic performance at schools that have shifted to virtual learning, which, copious evidence now shows, is exacerbating racial and class divides in achievement. This toll has led a growing number of epidemiologists, pediatricians and other physicians to argue for reopening schools as broadly as possible, amid growing evidence that schools are not major venues for transmission of the virus.

As many of these experts have noted, the cost of restrictions on youth has gone beyond academics. The CDC found that the proportion of visits to the emergency room by adolescents between ages 12 and 17 that were mental-health-related increased 31% during the span of March to October 2020, compared with the same months in 2019. A study in the March 2021 issue of Pediatrics, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, of people aged 11 to 21 visiting emergency rooms found “significantly higher” rates of “suicidal ideation” during the first half of 2020 (compared to 2019), as well as higher rates of suicide attempts, though the actual number of suicides remained flat.

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Posted in Anthropology, Children, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Psychology, Sports, Teens / Youth

South Carolina Moves to Phase 1b of COVID-19 Vaccination Plan Today

Governor Henry McMaster and the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) announced today that South Carolina will advance to Phase 1b of the state’s COVID-19 vaccination plan beginning Monday, March 8.

“Throughout South Carolina’s vaccination efforts, our priority has been – and continues to be – saving lives,” said Gov. Henry McMaster. “In the month of February, South Carolina made tremendous progress on expanding access to vaccinations as the supply of vaccine increased. Our hospitals, pharmacies and healthcare providers became more nimble and efficient at getting shots in arms. Because of these successes, we’re now in a position to make the majority of South Carolinians eligible to receive the vaccine.”

“South Carolina remains focused on protecting the lives and health of South Carolinians from COVID-19,” said Dr. Edward Simmer, DHEC Director. “With the significant increase in vaccine supply and progress in vaccinating people in group 1a, front-line health care workers and those aged 65 and over, we are now ready to move to our next phase. Our state’s vaccine plan prioritizes those with greatest risk, while ensuring equal access to the vaccine for every South Carolinian aged 16 and over.”

South Carolina’s phased approach to its COVID-19 vaccine rollout recognizes the risk of hospitalization and death from COVID-19 increases with age, and people with certain medical conditions and occupations are at higher risk of exposure to the virus.

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Posted in * South Carolina, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, State Government

(Anglican Diocese of SC) Jay Crouse–Reflections on God’s Unexpected Pandemic Gifts

Gone! There was not really one obvious event which brought the pandemic into our reality. Not like when JFK was assassinated or 9/11. Everyone remembers exactly where they were and what they were doing when those tragedies occurred. Not so with the 2020 coronavirus.

It crept up on us. With some believing it was no more dangerous than the annual flu epidemic. Creeping, creeping, creeping and then it was gone. Not the virus but our freedoms!

Many of us were in shock for weeks trying to comprehend what was happening, others suffered the awful shock of losing a loved one to the virus. Some have created “bubbles” which include a few people, mostly family members, with whom they can have physical contact. Social distancing for social people? How awkward and uncomfortable. 14 day quarantined? A worldwide pandemic. Loss of our freedom to worship. How debilitating.

I am not sure when I first heard this phrase, but upon hearing it, it consumed my sequestered thoughts: “Why is God doing this for us?” A twist on the “Why is God doing this to us.” If you pause, as I have over these past months, you might be overwhelmed with appreciation for the answers you come up with….

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Posted in * South Carolina, Health & Medicine, Pastoral Theology, Theodicy, Theology

Robert Ellis’ OCMS lecture–Geoffrey Studdert Kennedy: The Pastor and the Suffering God

War broke out in August and in September 1914 Geoffrey Studdert Kennedy wrote these words in his parish magazine:

“I cannot say too strongly that I believe every able-bodied man ought to volunteer for service anywhere. Here ought to be no shirking of that duty.”

This from the man who would, before long be writing this, “Waste”:

“Waste of Muscle, waste of Brain,
Waste of Patience, waste of Pain,
Waste of Manhood, waste of Health,
Waste of Beauty, waste of Wealth,
Waste of Blood, and waste of Tears,
Waste of Youth’s most precious years,
Waste of ways the Saints have trod,
Waste of glory, Waste of God–War!”

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Posted in Church History, Military / Armed Forces, Theodicy, Theology

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Geoffrey Anketell Studdert Kennedy

Glorious God, we give thanks for high and holy things as well as the common things of earth: Awaken us to recognize thy presence in each other and in all creation, so that we, like Geoffrey Studdert Kennedy, may love and magnify thee as the holy, undivided Trinity; who liveth and reigneth one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Posted in Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day from W. Walsham How

O almighty Father, giver of every good and perfect gift, who hast made the light of thy truth to shine in our hearts: Make us to walk as children of light in all goodness and righteousness, that we may have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Posted in Lent, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Bible Readings

What then shall we say about Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.” Now to one who works, his wages are not reckoned as a gift but as his due. And to one who does not work but trusts him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness. So also David pronounces a blessing upon the man to whom God reckons righteousness apart from works:

“Blessed are those whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered;
blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not reckon his sin.”

Is this blessing pronounced only upon the circumcised, or also upon the uncircumcised? We say that faith was reckoned to Abraham as righteousness. How then was it reckoned to him? Was it before or after he had been circumcised? It was not after, but before he was circumcised. He received circumcision as a sign or seal of the righteousness which he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. The purpose was to make him the father of all who believe without being circumcised and who thus have righteousness reckoned to them, and likewise the father of the circumcised who are not merely circumcised but also follow the example of the faith which our father Abraham had before he was circumcised.

–Romans 4:1-12

Posted in Theology: Scripture

(KC Star) With gun suicides on the rise, a rare hotline staffed by St. Louis teens saves lives

Firearms are the only means of suicide Makulec talks about because it is the most lethal and the most common. In Missouri, suicide is the second leading cause of death for ages 10 to 24, behind accidents of all kinds. Ninety-eight Missourians ages 24 and under died from firearm suicides in 2019, the most recent year data was available.

And the problem is getting worse: Missouri’s youth suicide rate is rising faster than all but four other states.

Suicide prevention advocates, mental health professionals and parents who lost children to gun suicide point to solutions: restricting teens’ access to guns and encouraging more informed conversations to end stigma and silence surrounding suicide and mental health, like the work done at KUTO.

“I’d like to think every day is my last day of work,” said Makulec, who serves as KUTO’s executive director. “But while we’ve made an impact, teens are still dying by suicide at an alarming rate in Missouri.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Psychology, Suicide, Violence

Statement by the Archbishop of Canterbury regarding comments by the Primate of Nigeria

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Posted in --Justin Welby, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of Nigeria, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology

Prayers for the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina This Day

Join us this Sunday, March 7, 2021, as we, in The Anglican Diocese of South Carolina, pray for the work and ministry of…

Posted by The Anglican Diocese of South Carolina on Friday, March 5, 2021

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Parish Ministry, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day from B. F. Westcott

O Eternal God, who hast taught us by thy holy Word that our bodies are temples of thy Spirit: Keep us, we most humbly beseech thee, temperate and holy in thought, word and deed, that at the last we, with all the pure in heart, may see thee and be made like unto thee in thy heavenly kingdom; through Christ our Lord.

Posted in Lent, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Bible Readings

Thus says the Lord of hosts:
“Glean thoroughly as a vine
the remnant of Israel;
like a grape-gatherer pass your hand again
over its branches.”
To whom shall I speak and give warning,
that they may hear?
Behold, their ears are closed,
they cannot listen;
behold, the word of the Lord is to them an object of scorn,
they take no pleasure in it.
Therefore I am full of the wrath of the Lord;
I am weary of holding it in.
“Pour it out upon the children in the street,
and upon the gatherings of young men, also;
both husband and wife shall be taken,
the old folk and the very aged.
Their houses shall be turned over to others,
their fields and wives together;
for I will stretch out my hand
against the inhabitants of the land,”
says the Lord.
“For from the least to the greatest of them,
every one is greedy for unjust gain;
and from prophet to priest,
every one deals falsely.
They have healed the wound of my people lightly,
saying, ‘Peace, peace,’
when there is no peace.
Were they ashamed when they committed abomination?
No, they were not at all ashamed;
they did not know how to blush.
Therefore they shall fall among those who fall;
at the time that I punish them, they shall be overthrown,”
says the Lord.

–Jeremiah 6:9-15

Posted in Theology: Scripture

(NYT) The Robots Are Coming for Phil in Accounting

The robots are coming. Not to kill you with lasers, or beat you in chess, or even to ferry you around town in a driverless Uber.

These robots are here to merge purchase orders into columns J and K of next quarter’s revenue forecast, and transfer customer data from the invoicing software to the Oracle database. They are unassuming software programs with names like “Auxiliobits — DataTable To Json String,” and they are becoming the star employees at many American companies.

Some of these tools are simple apps, downloaded from online stores and installed by corporate I.T. departments, that do the dull-but-critical tasks that someone named Phil in Accounting used to do: reconciling bank statements, approving expense reports, reviewing tax forms. Others are expensive, custom-built software packages, armed with more sophisticated types of artificial intelligence, that are capable of doing the kinds of cognitive work that once required teams of highly-paid humans.

White-collar workers, armed with college degrees and specialized training, once felt relatively safe from automation. But recent advances in A.I. and machine learning have created algorithms capable of outperforming doctors, lawyers and bankers at certain parts of their jobs. And as bots learn to do higher-value tasks, they are climbing the corporate ladder.

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Posted in Anthropology, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Science & Technology

A Prayer for the Feast Day of William Mayo, Charles Menninger and Their Sons

Divine Physician, your Name is blessed for the work and witness of the Mayos and the Menningers, and the revolutionary developments that they brought to the practice of medicine. As Jesus went about healing the sick as a sign of the reign of God come near, bless and guide all those inspired to the work of healing by thy Holy Spirit, that they may follow his example for the sake of thy kingdom and the health of thy people; through the same Jesus Christ, who with thee and the Holy Spirit livest and reignest, one God, now and for ever.

Posted in Church History, Health & Medicine, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day from the Pastor’s Prayerbook

Lord, make me conscious of Thy holiness and majesty: teach me to know and do Thy will: pour into my heart such love towards Thee, that, loving Thee above all things, I may obtain Thy gracious promises; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

–Robert W. Rodenmayer, ed., The Pastor’s Prayerbook: Selected and arranged for various occasions (New York: Oxford University Press, 1960)

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Bible Readings

Declare this in the house of Jacob,
proclaim it in Judah:
“Hear this, O foolish and senseless people,
who have eyes, but see not,
who have ears, but hear not.
Do you not fear me? says the Lord;
Do you not tremble before me?
I placed the sand as the bound for the sea,
a perpetual barrier which it cannot pass;
though the waves toss, they cannot prevail,
though they roar, they cannot pass over it.
But this people has a stubborn and rebellious heart;
they have turned aside and gone away.
They do not say in their hearts,
”˜Let us fear the Lord our God,
who gives the rain in its season,
the autumn rain and the spring rain,
and keeps for us
the weeks appointed for the harvest.’
Your iniquities have turned these away,
and your sins have kept good from you.
For wicked men are found among my people;
they lurk like fowlers lying in wait.
They set a trap;
they catch men.
Like a basket full of birds,
their houses are full of treachery;
therefore they have become great and rich,
they have grown fat and sleek.
They know no bounds in deeds of wickedness;
they judge not with justice
the cause of the fatherless, to make it prosper,
and they do not defend the rights of the needy.
Shall I not punish them for these things?
says the Lord,
and shall I not avenge myself
on a nation such as this?”

An appalling and horrible thing
has happened in the land:
the prophets prophesy falsely,
and the priests rule at their direction;
my people love to have it so,
but what will you do when the end comes?

–Jeremiah 5:20-31

Posted in Theology: Scripture

The Latest Edition of the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina Enewsletter

St. Michael’s Launches PODZ: Parish Outreach Dedicated by Zip Code

The COVID-19 outbreak presented all leaders with far more than a problem to solve. It gave us a dilemma. You can’t really “solve” a dilemma but you can flip it. Bob Johansen, author of Leaders Make the Future defines dilemma flipping as reframing an unsolvable challenge as an opportunity. At St. Michael’s we reframed the COVID challenge with an opportunity for PODZ – Parish Outreach Dedicated by Zip Code.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry

(AC) Rod Dreher–Ryan T. Anderson Was Made For This Moment

When he was running for president, Joe Biden vowed to sign the Equality Act if elected. Now that both the House and the Senate are in the hands of Democrats, odds are that the Equality Act will pass. Why does this concern you?

First, thankfully, odds are still against the bill becoming law. If the legislative filibuster remains, the Equality Act goes nowhere in the Senate. If they somehow convince Senator Manchin to vote to remove the legislative filibuster, then we’re in a different situation. The question would then be whether Senator McConnell can keep all 50 republicans opposed (and early signs are good as Senator Collins has said she now opposes the Equality Act). That would then leave a 50-50 split with VP Harris casting the deciding vote—unless, of course, Senator Manchin broke ranks and opposed the bill.

Second, why is the Equality Act so disconcerting? My most recent short treatment can be found last week in the New York Post. But I’ve been writing about the harms of the Equality Act, and its predecessor the Employment Nondiscrimination Act, since 2013. In books, law review articles, essays, op-eds, white papers, etc. etc. my basic argument has been that it gets the nature of the human person wrong, and by enshrining a false anthropology into law it’ll cause serious harms. (Basic idea being straight from MLK, who was building on Aquinas and Augustine, that for man-made law to be just, it needs to embody the natural law and the eternal law.)

The equality act would take a just law—the Civil Rights Act of 1964—which banned discrimination on the basis of race, and then add “sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity” everywhere that race is protected. It expands the number of private businesses that would now be classified as public accommodations. And it explicitly exempts itself from the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). And it’s important to point out that because “sex” isn’t currently a protected class in Title II (public accommodations) or Title VI (federal funding recipients), by adding “sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity” to those titles the only religious liberty protections the Equality Act allows for would be those available to racists.

So the short answer is that the Equality Act treats people and institutions that believe we are created male and female, and that male and female are created for each other, as the legal equivalent of racists. And then all of the negative consequences for privacy and safety in single-sex facilities, for equality and fairness for athletics, for medicine when it comes to gender dysphoria (and abortion, see my NYPost op-ed) follow from that. If you get human nature wrong in law, there are consequences.

Because the vast majority of those consequences are not simply about “religious liberty,” the so-called Fairness for All alternative to the Equality Act isn’t actually fair, at all.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Philosophy, Politics in General, Sexuality, Theology: Scripture

(First Things) Hans Boersma on the recent ACNA kerfuffle over Christian anthropology and pastoral care

Whither the ACNA? Much will depend on its ability to keep the theological and the pastoral together.

First, we should avoid blaming our Christian heritage or the contemporary church for singling out the sin of homosexuality. Such self-blame is understandable: It is a way of dealing with the emotional hardship caused by same-sex attraction. But this introspection is, for the most part, unwarranted. Traditional Christian morality does not single out homosexuality, whereas making it part of one’s identity does. Besides, power roles have reversed: In today’s therapeutic culture, insisting on one’s gay identity mostly gets applauded, while it requires great courage to speak and write biblically about homosexuality. And while greed, adultery, etc. are all wrong, Scripture hardly supports the notion that all sins are of equal weight.

Third, we should keep in mind that the primary pastoral context of sin is alienation from God. If disordered sexual desires lead us away from a right relationship with God, then that is the key pastoral issue that we must address. The primary pastoral context, then, is not the feeling of exclusion from fellow believers as a result of sexual identity. It’s not that the latter doesn’t powerfully function; it obviously does. But it does so because of the way we have wedded sexual desire to human identity—a unique characteristic of today’s Western therapeutic culture. Carl Trueman’s recent book, The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self, is a must-read to untangle the cultural web that we have spun for ourselves and a welcome antidote to the inexorable drift toward acceptance of disordered desire.

Please note, I am not encouraging us to ignore the pastoral. Quite the opposite: I am convinced we’re often not pastoral enough.

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I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Posted in Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Forbes) 49% Of Americans Who Lost Pay In Covid Pandemic Still Have not Returned to Their Previous Income Level

Nearly half of all U.S. adults who took pay cuts during the Covid-19 pandemic still have not returned to their previous incomes, according to a Pew Research Center report released Friday, indicating the pandemic’s lasting impact on many Americans’ finances.

Some 44% of American adults told Pew in a late January poll that somebody in their household has either lost a job or endured a pay cut since February 2020.

Among Americans who took a pay cut in the last year, 49% say they still make less money than they did prior to the pandemic, compared to 34% who earn roughly the same amount as before and 16% whose pay has increased.

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Posted in Economy, Health & Medicine, Personal Finance

(New Scientist) Facebook AI learned object recognition from 1 billion Instagram pics

Artificial intelligence built by Facebook has learned to classify images from 1 billion Instagram photos. The AI used a different learning technique to many other similar algorithms, relying less on input from humans. The team behind it says the AI learns in a more common sense way.

Conventionally, computer vision systems are trained to identify specific things, such as a cat or a dog. They achieve this by learning from a large collection of images that have been annotated to describe what is in them. After doing this enough, the AI can then identify the same things in new images, for example, spotting a dog in an image it has never seen before.

This process is effective, but must be done afresh with every new thing the AI needs to identify, otherwise performance can drop.

By contrast, the approach used by Facebook is a technique called self-supervised learning, in which the images don’t come with annotations. Instead, the AI first learns just to identify differences between images. Once it is able to do this, it sees a small number of annotated images to match the names with the characteristics it has already identified.

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Posted in Corporations/Corporate Life, Science & Technology

(TLS) Henry Wadsworth Longfellow: An air that says ‘go it!’–A poet’s huge but brief popularity

This biography hints at some possible reasons for Longfellow’s fascination with the hidden and obscured, such as his commitment to translation, and it also reveals a number of other ways in which his printed poems worked like icebergs: small blocks of text that emerged from the blank space of the page while hinting at much larger concerns under the surface. These include Longfellow’s methods of composition, which created paper trails of notes and drafts, and also the role played by his second wife Frances in helping him assemble works like The Poets and Poetry of Europe (1845), the first anthology of its kind to be published in America and further evidence of Longfellow’s conviction that lines of poetry should be viewed as bridges rather than barriers, forever reaching out for new human connections.

But as the title of this biography suggests, not every poem could find what it was looking for. In 1861, Longfellow’s wife died shortly after a horrible household accident in which her dress caught fire, and he was unable to smother the flames in time to save her. His own hands and face were so badly burned he was unable to attend her funeral, and the trademark bushy beard he later grew was partly an attempt to hide his visible scars. Yet the memory of his wife remained an open wound, and in a sonnet entitled “The Cross of Snow”, found among his papers after his death, he tried to put it into words. The inspiration for this poem was probably a comment from a mourner who expressed the hope that after his bereavement Longfellow would be able to “bear his cross”. His brother Samuel reported Longfellow’s response: “Bear the cross, yes; but what if one is stretched upon it!” Written eighteen years later, “The Cross of Snow” gave this feeling a permanent literary shape:

There is a mountain in the distant West
That, sun-defying, in its deep ravines
Displays a cross of snow upon its side.
Such is the cross I wear upon my breast
These eighteen years, through all the changing scenes
And seasons, changeless since the day she died.

In his Table-Talk (1857), Longfellow had pointed out that “Some sorrows are but footprints in the snow, which the genial sun effaces”, but in this unpublished poem he offered a chastening alternative. Some sorrows were as deep and lasting as permafrost.

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Posted in Death / Burial / Funerals, History, Marriage & Family, Poetry & Literature

A Prayer to Begin the Day from Frank Colquhoun

Save us, O God, from the false piety that parades itself in the eyes of men and is not genuine in thy sight; and so sanctify us by thy Spirit that both in heart and life we may serve thee acceptably, to the honour of thy holy name; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Posted in Lent, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Bible Readings

Run to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem, look and take note! Search her squares to see if you can find a man, one who does justice and seeks truth; that I may pardon her. Though they say, “As the LORD lives,” yet they swear falsely.

–Jeremiah 5:1-2

Posted in Theology: Scripture

(JE) Some Albany Clergy in TEC (the Episcopal Church) to Join Anglican Church in North America

number of clergy in the Episcopal Diocese of Albany are preparing to join the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) according to officials with the Anglican Diocese of the Living Word (ADLW).

The announcement made February 21 is in response to clergy requests for canonical residency under ADLW Bishop Julian Dobbs. It would be the first public movement of clergy in New York’s Capital District since the resignation of Bishop William H. Love earlier this winter.

According to officials with the ACNA diocese, the Albany clergy “have formally applied and are being licensed to minister within the Anglican Diocese of the Living Word.” They are to comprise a regional ministry network that will “place a strong emphasis on church planting and ministries in the [Capital] Region and surrounding areas of New York.”

“We are confident that as these men and women boldly proclaim the authentic Gospel of Christ, many souls will be saved, and new disciples will be transformed into the likeness of Jesus Christ,” the ADLW statement reads. “We ask that you join us in praying for these clergy and the congregations committed to their care.”

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Posted in - Anglican: Latest News, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Episcopal Church (TEC)

(LA Times) QAnon and conspiracy theories are taking hold in churches. Pastors are fighting back

The congregation was in the middle of an online service when a longtime churchgoer in her 60s texted her pastor to complain that his prayer lamenting the riot at the U.S. Capitol in January was “too political.”

The woman later unloaded a barrage of conspiracy theories. The election of Joe Biden was a fraud. The insurrection was instigated by Black Lives Matter and antifa activists disguised as Donald Trump supporters. The FBI was in on it all. The day would soon come, she said, “when all the evil, the corruption would come to light and the truth would be revealed.”

Startled and moved to tears, Pastor David Rice told the woman she had been “tricked by lies.”

“You need to know how crazy this is,” he said to his congregant at Markey Church in Roscommon County, Mich., a rural region of 25,000 residents that voted 2 to 1 for Trump. “You have been with my family and in my home and I care for you but you are dabbling in darkness. You are telling me it’s giving you hope. I’m telling you as your pastor that it’s evil.”

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I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Posted in Anthropology, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

(NYT) Brazil’s Covid Crisis Is a Warning to the Whole World, Scientists Say

Covid-19 has already left a trail of death and despair in Brazil, one of the worst in the world. Now, a year into the pandemic, the country is setting another wrenching record.

No other nation that experienced such a major outbreak is still grappling with record-setting death tolls and a health care system on the brink of collapse. Many other hard-hit nations are, instead, taking tentative steps toward a semblance of normalcy.

But Brazil is battling a more contagious variant that has trampled one major city and is spreading to others, even as Brazilians toss away precautionary measures that could keep them safe.

On Tuesday, Brazil recorded more than 1,700 Covid-19 deaths, the highest single-day toll of the pandemic.

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Posted in Brazil, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Politics in General, South America

(P O) Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and the Episcopal Church look for new ways of being church

The third round of dialogue between the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and the Episcopal Church continued last week. The two denominations have been conducting bilateral dialogue since 2000 in an effort to deepen ties and work together.

In this latest virtual gathering, participants heard from the Rev. Dr. Amy Plantinga Pauw, a theology professor at Louisville Seminary, who led them through a discussion around her book “Church in Ordinary Time: A Wisdom Ecclesiology.” Plantinga Pauw writes about the seasons of the church year and uses wisdom ecclesiology to help the church think about addressing the realities of today’s world.

Dianna Wright, director of ecumenical and interreligious relations with the Office of the General Assembly, says the conversation centered on what it means to be church.

“We have this idea that we’re the ones who have all of what it means to be God wrapped up as the church. But there are so many different entities that are a part of who God is,” said Wright. “The church is only one part of that, and we are supposed to participate with the whole world and share the story of God. We don’t have it all together, but we are continuing to grow and evolve as the church.”

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Posted in Ecumenical Relations, Episcopal Church (TEC), Presbyterian