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From the Morning Bible Readings

Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with brotherly affection; outdo one another in showing honor. Never flag in zeal, be aglow with the Spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in your hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints, practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; never be conceited. Repay no one evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends upon you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God; for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” No, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals upon his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

–Romans 12:9-21

Posted in Theology: Scripture

(CEN) Andrew Carey–The C of E Bishops are playing a game of power politics

Last week’s College of Bishops meeting was described by one unnamed evangelical bishop as a ‘bruising experience’. Out of it emerged a statement from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York apologising for the House of Bishops’ statement on civil partnerships in which it had set out the orthodox position of the Church of England.

The Archbishops wrote: “We… apologise and take responsibility for releasing a statement … which we acknowledge has jeopardised trust. We are very sorry and recognise the division and hurt this has caused.”

Predictably, of course, this apology has done far more damage than the original statement. Liberals took it as a pseudo-apology along the lines of ‘sorry for offending you’, or ‘sorry for being caught out’. Many others took it as an apology for the actual statement and therefore a rejection of the Church of England’s teaching on marriage. Others took it as a clever bit of spin in which the Archbishops could head off liberal outrage, while still maintaining faith with evangelicals and traditionalists. That latter interpretation does the Archbishops no favours at all because it portrays them in similar terms to Iannucci’s Thick of It as spin doctors desperately and incompetently triangulating to win their nihilistic game of power politics.

The Bishop of Edmundsbury and Ipswich, Martin Seeley, is the latest Diocesan Bishop to break ranks with the Bishops’ pastoral statement on civil partnerships. He revealed that he and other colleagues had asked that the document be withdrawn but a majority of bishops decided against this course of action. From this insight, it is clear that we are beginning at last to see a bit of an honest open ‘fight’ in the House of Bishops. This is about time too. And I also hope that this division is openly revealed in the General Synod as it meets this week.

If we have this aim of achieving ‘good disagreement’ let us at least be open about it rather than hide it behind closed doors. It cannot be ‘good disagreement’ if it is hidden behind the superficial smiles representing faux Anglican ‘niceness’.At the moment suspicions are festering and we in the Church of England are in that anxious and fretting place – the calm before the storm.

The problem with processes such as Living in Love and Faith is that most of the debate and discussion takes place behind closed doors in a process that many of us simply don’t trust. I have always believed that this process is in place simply to kick the can down the road rather than leading to a place where a decision can be made about the future direction of the Church of England. I am much more likely to be convinced if this was an open discussion in the Church of England.

It would be much more honest to recognise the profound differences we have over human sexuality and decide how the two sides in this debate are going to co-exist – if they ever can – in the same Church.Does the future now lie in some kind of formal distancing of relationships from which different networks and forms of oversight can emerge?

–This column appeared in the Church of England Newspaper, February 7, 2020, edition (subscriptions are encrouaged)

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Analysis, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Andrew Symes on the Oxford Ad Clerum–Bishop offers orthodox Anglicans hope of retaining protected minority status as Diocese takes reappraising route

….there are several clues in the letter that the Bishop does not see his office as a guardian of the apostolic faith, or even as a neutral referee between those with opposing views, but rather as gatekeeper of a new era, ushering in a new default position of revisionist theology while continuing for the moment to tolerate those with traditional views.

Bishop Colin begins by referring first not to the Bishops’ pastoral statement itself, but to the Archbishops’ apology for it following the media furore. He then makes an excuse for the publication of this official episcopal statement, apologises for it himself, and goes further,calling it “wrong-headed and pastorally inept”. Although he acknowledges that some people were in favour of the statement, seeing it as a clear expression of the church’s historic teaching, he makes it clear that he, and by extension the Oxford Diocesan leadership, stand with those who oppose the statement – in fact he specifically quotes further criticisms of the statement from the Bishops of Oxford and Reading.

This criticism is not just about tone and timing, but also content. Outlining why the Bishops’ Pastoral Statement was needed in the first place, Bishop Colin explains it as a response to Civil Partnerships becoming available for heterosexual couples, which was simply a matter of “justice”, and only raised “technical questions” for the church. This dismisses the concerns that many faithful Christians have had about the Civil Partnership legislation: how it undermines marriage, and creates obvious issues about sexual ethics that the Bishops’ Statement was trying to answer.

The Ad Clerum goes on to quote with approval highly critical articles about the Bishops’ pastoral statement in The Times and in the Via Media blog. It is surely significant that these pieces which fiercely attack and even deride historic Christian teaching about sexual ethics and the Church of England’s attempts to navigate the issue, are commended by a Bishop, writing in a position of spiritual authority to his flock. He then makes clear his agreement with the view that, just as the church over the years has changed its understanding on the celibacy of clergy, use of contraception and permitting marriage of divorcees, so there is nothing “static and immovable” in Christian teaching. This, together with a marked absence in the letter of any reference to Scripture or even to God (except at the end – “God bless you”) will surely cause alarm as it appears to illustrate a complete loss of confidence in the idea, basic to Christianity, that faith is based on things that are unchanging!

A letter genuinely trying to balance the different views would offer resources from the two sides, as Living in Love and Faith is likely to do. Bishop Colin does not do this.

Read it all.

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

The Diocese of Oxford Ad Clerum Letter in response to the recent C of E Bishops Pastoral Statement

But are you listening to other voices?

The responses of the bishops and many others have disturbed some people. We have had clergy in this Diocese, who are loved, respected and valued, write to say that they affirmed the pastoral statement. They are concerned to know that we will continue to honour and pastor to those who uphold the historic teaching of the Church of England on marriage.

We continue to listen carefully to voices from across the Church about these matters. As we stated in our December 2018 letter to members of ODEF, neither I nor my fellow bishops have any intention or desire to exclude in any way those who hold to the traditional teaching of the Church and our marriage discipline. As bishops, these are things we uphold. We do not permit uncanonical blessings, though we do seek to encourage priests who, in good conscience, want to pray for and with people at significant points of their lives in a spirit of generous hospitality. As bishops, we are always happy to advise clergy on these matters as issues arise.

Living in Love and Faith

As well as the pastoral insensitivity of the statement, the timing of it was problematic. The Church is now coming towards the end of a two-year national programme of listening, prayer and discernment led by the bishops.

Living in Love and Faith will help the Church to learn and explore questions of human identity, relationships, marriage and sexuality. Study guides and resources will be published following the July General Synod. We hope and pray that parishes and deaneries will fully engage with those resources when they are published.

For some, the resources will break new ground. For others, they won’t go far enough. But we must hold firm to that timetable and await what comes next while trusting and praying for the those most closely involved in the process. Do take time to explore the LLF website.

Read it all.

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

(IFS) Kay Hymowitz–Yes, David Brooks, the Nuclear Family is the Worst Family Form—Except for All Others

However, the premise of this narrative can’t survive the cold light of history. Scholars now pretty much agree that the nuclear family household has been the “dominant form” in Western Europe and the United States since the dawn of the industrial era. In fact, demographic realities made extended families an impossibility. Brooks, citing family historian Steven Ruggles, states that “[u]ntil 1850, three-quarters of Americans older than 65 lived with their kids and grandkids.” That’s true, but it slides past the fact that there simply weren’t many 65-year-olds above ground; U.S. life expectancy stood at only 40 in 1850. In data published in a 1994 paper, Ruggles estimated that as of 1880, more than two-thirds of white couples, the large majority with children, lived in independent households. The anomaly was the extended family, not the nuclear family.

What about the black family, often held up by nuclear family doubters as a resilient alternative to the nuclear “white family?” True, after the Civil War, extended families made up a larger percentage of black households than they did white. But those families were still the minority: Ruggles estimates that extended families were only 22.5% of black households in 1880; the number climbed till about 1940, but it never went above 26 percent. Far more prevalent among blacks was the nuclear model: 57% of black households were married couples, the large majority of them with children.

As demographics changed, the dominant family form did not. Rising life expectancy and falling fertility starting in the latter half of the 19th century meant more surviving grandparents available for a smaller number of couple households. But the share of households with extended families stayed more or less the same. It seems that people preferred the privacy and independence of the nuclear form—despite all its disadvantages.

Brooks doesn’t talk about marriage in “The Nuclear Family Was a Mistake,” yet the inextinguishable human urge for pair bonding (and its associated childbearing) helps explain both the persistence of the nuclear family and the problems that plague its alternative communal forms.

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., History, Marriage & Family

(Archbp Cranmer Blog) Martin Sewell–Safeguarding: the Church of England’s house is slowly being rebuilt

Our proposals sought to record our collective lament at our sins of omission and commission, and (for the second time of asking) we commended the text of the excellent Blackburn Ad Clerum. Then and now these suggestions were rejected: the first time our Archbishops thought it premature; this time, seeking to preface our acceptance of the IICSA recommendations with sentiments of repentance, and endorsing the pastoral response which our victims had welcomed, were ruled technically out of order. We can play with the idea of repentance being ‘out of order’ in this context at a future juncture: this is not the time for mischief-making, however tempting.

Our purpose in going beyond the anaemic and prosaic was to make this debate a cultural turning point from which we might begin to move on from the necessary demolition – of structures, attitudes, policies etc. – toward a more positive future.

We thought it important that such an initiative should come from below, for we saw that it is no longer sufficient for the House of Bishops alone to direct our response. Archbishop Justin has previously acknowledged that a change to the culture of deference is needed. We were taking him seriously. It is liberating and deserves to be taken seriously. “Trust me, I’m a Bishop” is no longer a sound principle: the whole of the Church, from top to bottom, must own its priorities, and discussing these at Synod seemed to be a healthy place to start.

Our proposals additionally committed Synod to accepting the final IICSA proposals promptly, on the basis that it was inconceivable that we would pretend to know better after all the embarrassment of the IICSA evidence and submissions. Our track record does not merit once again wandering off on a Safeguarding frolic of our own.

Our final proposal dared to engage bluntly with the issue of proper reparation. We were mindful of the story of ‘Tony’ in the insurance press. He told his story on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme, and explained how survivors have endured very low levels of compensation because they cannot afford to take matters to court and lose. The power imbalance in the negotiations is immense.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology, Violence

(Atlantic) David Brooks–The Nuclear Family Was a Mistake

“In my childhood,” [ Barry] Levinson told me, “you’d gather around the grandparents and they would tell the family stories … Now individuals sit around the TV, watching other families’ stories.” The main theme of Avalon, he said, is “the decentralization of the family. And that has continued even further today. Once, families at least gathered around the television. Now each person has their own screen.”

This is the story of our times—the story of the family, once a dense cluster of many siblings and extended kin, fragmenting into ever smaller and more fragile forms. The initial result of that fragmentation, the nuclear family, didn’t seem so bad. But then, because the nuclear family is so brittle, the fragmentation continued. In many sectors of society, nuclear families fragmented into single-parent families, single-parent families into chaotic families or no families.

If you want to summarize the changes in family structure over the past century, the truest thing to say is this: We’ve made life freer for individuals and more unstable for families. We’ve made life better for adults but worse for children. We’ve moved from big, interconnected, and extended families, which helped protect the most vulnerable people in society from the shocks of life, to smaller, detached nuclear families (a married couple and their children), which give the most privileged people in society room to maximize their talents and expand their options. The shift from bigger and interconnected extended families to smaller and detached nuclear families ultimately led to a familial system that liberates the rich and ravages the working-class and the poor.

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., History, Marriage & Family

(NYT) Who Won in New Hampshire? Not the Establishment

The revolution has not come. Bernie Sanders is looking like the front-runner anyway.

The more moderate, non-Sanders alternatives combined to far outpace the liberal Vermont senator’s vote share here on Tuesday night, with Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of a small Indiana city, again holding him to a virtual draw. His predictions of runaway progressive turnout remain unproved.

But the two fading former favorites who once seemed to have a hold on the liberal establishment and the moderate establishment — Senator Elizabeth Warren and former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. — lost, badly. Two other professed unity candidates, Mr. Buttigieg and Senator Amy Klobuchar, performed well in New Hampshire but have shown little capacity to resonate with nonwhite voters so far.

And with no consensus among his doubters about how best to stop him, and who is best positioned to do it, Mr. Sanders’s early hold on a fractured primary field has laid bare a distressing truth for some Democrats: The man who has long resisted the party’s label might just become the standard-bearer.

Read it all.


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

Posted in * Economics, Politics, America/U.S.A., Office of the President, Politics in General

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Charles Freer Andrews

Gracious God, who didst call Charles Freer Andrews to show forth thy salvation to the poor: By thy Holy Spirit inspire in us a tender concern, a passionate justice, and an active love for all people, that there may be one Body and one Spirit in Jesus Christ, our Savior; who with thee and the same Spirit liveth and reigneth, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Posted in Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day from James Ferguson

O God, who hast sown in our hearts the precious seed of thy truth: Grant us to nourish it by meditation, prayer and obedience, that it may not only take root, but also bring forth fruit unto holiness; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Bible Readings

I appeal to you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

For by the grace given to me I bid every one among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith which God has assigned him.

–Romans 12:1-3

Posted in Theology: Scripture

(WSJ) At Outbreak’s Center, Wuhan Residents Question Accuracy of Virus Tests

Coughing badly, Zhu Chunxia sat on a sidewalk in the rain on Monday, awaiting transport to a facility where her apartment complex’s residential committee said she could be treated for the new coronavirus sweeping through this central Chinese city.

The ride never came. Though her doctor was almost certain she was infected with the virus, a throat-swab test she had taken came back negative, which meant the facility wouldn’t take her.

“They said we didn’t qualify,” said the 36-year-old mother of two girls. “They wanted positive results.”

In Wuhan, the epicenter of a viral outbreak that has sickened more than 40,000 people and killed more than a thousand, doubts are proliferating among residents over the accuracy of the testing kits that Chinese health authorities are using to diagnose cases.

Medical experts around the globe have expressed fears that the scale of the outbreak could be much larger than Chinese data suggests—in large part because of concerns about potential flaws in testing. Independent experts say many tens of thousands of Wuhan residents are likely infected by the coronavirus, while the city’s government puts the tally at less than 20,000.

Read it all.

Posted in China, Globalization, Health & Medicine

(Christian Today) Living in Love and Faith process is a ‘call to action’ for Church of England – bishop

Later in the session, the floor was opened up for questions, with Ian Paul, editor at evangelical publisher Grove Books, expressing his desire to see the Church of England use the LLF process “give us a renewed commitment to the apostolic inheritance of the teaching of the New Testament”.

“I’ve been struck by the commitment to listening and the commitment to one another, but what seems to have been slightly more muted in the discussion so far is the commitment to re-engage with the teaching of Jesus,” he said.

“I think we need to be honest and say both within the Anglican tradition and within this room there is a pulling away from whether Jesus really is a good pastor and whether His teaching is what we need to hear – that teaching which I believe is also echoed in the teaching of Paul.”

Jayne Ozanne, a lesbian and campaigner for LGBT equality in the Church of England, said that she did not want to see the Church of England “just keep kicking this can down the road for more discussions”.

“The truth is, it’s not been a safe space for many involved with the LLF,” she said.

Read it all.

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

(Church Times) Church of England General Synod apologises to Windrush generation for C of E racism

The Church of England is still “deeply institutionally racist”, the Archbishop of Canterbury told the General Synod on Tuesday.

During a debate on the Empire Windrush legacy (Features, 29 June 2018), Archbishop Welby said: “Personally, I am sorry and ashamed. I’m ashamed of our history, and I’m ashamed of our failure. I’m ashamed of our lack of witness to Christ. I’m ashamed at my lack of urgent voice to the Church. . . It is shaming as well as shocking.”

The debate was triggered by a private member’s motion tabled by the Revd Andrew Moughtin-Mumby (Southwark) which called for the Synod to “lament, on behalf of Christ’s Church, the conscious and unconscious racism experienced by countless BAME Anglicans in 1948 and subsequent years”, and to “stamp out all forms of conscious or unconscious racism”.

The motion — subsequently amended to add an apology to the lament, and to commission further research — was carried unanimously.

In his introduction to the debate, Mr Moughtin-Mumby, a priest of British-Jamaican heritage, said that he did not have a personal connection to the Windrush generation; but he was raising the motion as “a matter of simple Christian solidarity with a group of people who have fallen victim to the injustice of discrimination at the hands of our Government and our Church”.

Read it all (registration).

Posted in Church History, Church of England (CoE), Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture

(FT) How the faithful borrow ideas from business to create start-up churches

“We need to learn from industry,” he says. “When I was in marketing at Unilever we tried things out and if they didn’t work we dropped them. It encourages an innovation culture.”

Bishop Ric’s key objective for his ministry is overseeing the creation of new worshipping communities across England. He founded the Gregory Centre for Church Multiplication, using St Edmund’s as a training base.

His first “planting” success came in 2005, in the east London parish of Shadwell, where the church was facing imminent closure because of its dwindling congregation.

By adding a more relaxed family service and evening worship aimed at young people, numbers swelled to 200 regular worshippers, and groups quickly formed from among this congregation of new Christians and those who already had a faith that had moved to the area to repeat the exercise in four neighbouring churches.

Attendance across all five churches rose from 55 to 765 in a decade, Bishop Ric tells the planters assembled at St Edmund’s. “Planting is the most effective way to grow the church and if we can focus on that goal, with help, we can create growth,” he says.

“General Synod [the legislative part of the Anglican church] recently passed a motion that a new church should be created in each of the 12,500 Church of England parishes. That could mean one million people coming back to church.”

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Evangelism and Church Growth, Parish Ministry

(NPR) Preparing For The End Of The World, On A Budget

At first glance, this modest home nestled against a hillside in the mountains somewhere west of Colorado Springs appears to have all the amenities you’d expect in a quiet retreat. There’s even a two-story tower built right in. An otherwise peaceful place to catch the 360-degree view of winter’s splendor.

“[It’s a] really nice place to sit and vacation — enjoy. But, if necessary, it’s a guard post,” Drew Miller pointed out.

A Harvard Ph.D. and former military intelligence officer with 30 years of experience, Miller would know a good defensible spot when he sees it. Miller is a self-described “prepper,” someone who makes active preparations to survive the fall of human civilization. The nationwide prepper community is often painted as composed of conspiracy-crazed eccentrics, he said, thanks in large part to television shows such as the National Geographic Channel’s Doomsday Preppers.

It’s a reputation he soundly rejects.

“These are people who are smartly concerned, who want some insurance so that if the electric system goes down, a pandemic occurs, you know, they can survive,” he said.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Economy, Eschatology, Housing/Real Estate Market, Personal Finance, Religion & Culture

Bishop [of Maidstone] Rod Thomas’ letter after the Archbishops’ statement following the earlier release of the ‘Pastoral Statement on Civil Partnerships for Opposite Sex Couples’

I thought I should write following the statement that was issued after the conclusion of the College of Bishops yesterday. The statement can be found here.

My understanding at the College was that the statement was needed for two reasons. First, it was felt that the Pastoral Statement on Civil Partnerships for Opposite Sex Couples which had been released on 22nd January was pastorally insensitive in the way it was framed and released to the press. Secondly, there was concern that as a result, some of the necessary participation in the discussions which will follow the publication of the Living in Love and Faith materials could be jeopardised. Yesterday’s statement therefore apologised for the release of the Pastoral Statement.

However, it was also my clear understanding that nothing in yesterday’s statement should be taken as a retraction of the doctrinal teaching of the Church of England on marriage and sexual relationships. While some of that teaching may well come into question during the discussions about the LLF materials, it remains the current teaching of the Church. The position set out in the Pastoral Statement on Civil Partnerships for Opposite Sex Couples, and which was agreed by the House of Bishops, therefore continues to apply.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Men, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology, Theology: Scripture, Women

(Christianity Today) Philip Jenkins reviews Tom Holland’s new book–Did the teachings of Jesus launch a sweeping revolution in human consciousness? Maybe, but we need better evidence

Tom Holland’s Dominion: How the Christian Revolution Remade the World is a substantial work that makes a straightforward case. In Holland’s view, the teachings of Jesus constituted an ethical revolution that would gradually transform human consciousness, to the extent that we today find it hard to imagine credible alternative systems. When we see Christians, past or present, behaving in ways we may find abominable, in matters such as war, slavery, colonialism, or patriarchy, our disgusted attitudes must themselves be understood as products of that sweeping revolution. Without the existence of Christianity, it would not occur to us to abhor such things, whoever the perpetrators might be.

Beyond any single policy or attitude, Christianity mattered because it taught respect (or even veneration) for the poor and the oppressed. That implied the historically unprecedented exaltation of humility, forgiveness, and love. Moreover, the faith created the practical urge to offer aid and relief, to assist the poor, and (among other things) to reject infanticide. Christianity is the essential foundation of the liberal West, of democracy, and of notions of human rights. As the book’s jacket copy proclaims, “Concepts such as secularism, liberalism, science, and homosexuality are deeply rooted in a Christian seedbed. From Babylon to the Beatles, Saint Michael to #MeToo, Dominion tells the story of how Christianity transformed the world.”

These are bold claims, to which I will certainly offer some caveats. What is not debatable is the very high quality of the book as a whole, and its appeal to anyone interested in Christian history. Rather than offering a straightforward narrative, Holland tells his story through 21 vignettes, each representing a particular historical moment, which he uses to advance his larger argument. Those together constitute three distinct eras of the church: Antiquity, Christendom, and a period he calls Modernitas, extending from roughly the middle of the 17th century to the present day.

Read it all.

Posted in Books, History, Religion & Culture

Ashley Null’s recent Presentations on Discovering the Unity Between the Patristics & Reformers for the Anglican Diocese of the Rocky Mountains

The Church Fathers and Reformers have sometimes been portrayed as sparring partners in the history of theology, forcing us to choose which “strata” of church history is most important. However, there is a deep unity in their theological understandings that points us faithfully to the gospel. Join us as Dr. Null shares about “The role of the Fathers in Reformation Protestant Thought” and “Thomas Cranmer’s Patristic Scriptural Hermeneutic,” followed by a panel discussion.

Check it all out.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Church History, Theology

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Fanny Crosby

O God, the blessed assurance of all who trust in thee: We give thanks for thy servant Fanny Crosby, and pray that we, inspired by her words and example, may rejoice to sing ever of thy love, praising our Savior; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Posted in Church History, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day from the Rydal School Hymnal

Deliver us, O God, from injustice, envy, hatred and malice; give us grace to pardon all who have offended us, and to bear with one another even as thou, Lord, dost bear with us, in thy patience and great loving-kindness.

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Bible Readings

Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in you that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

–Hebrews 13:20-21

Posted in Theology: Scripture

(Christian Today) Church of England’s parliamentary body reaffirms commitment to tackling clergy stress and burnout

The Church of England is launching a ‘Big Conversation’ to combat clergy stress and burnout.

The Covenant for Clergy Care and Wellbeing was proclaimed an Act of Synod by the Church of England’s parliamentary body on Monday, and will now be sent out to all 42 dioceses to formally adopt.

“What we are proposing this Synod does today in making an Act of Synod, is to make clear and unequivocal the mind of the church on a simple statement of commitment to one another, in our different roles, callings and responsibilities,” he told the General Synod,” said the Rev Canon Simon Butler, who headed the Working Group which drew up the Covenant.

“From such a statement, we believe that the potential for much good and much good fruit can emerge.”

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Health & Medicine, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology

Archbishop Justin Welby’s presidential address to General Synod Today

Three weeks ago I was in Kenya. I was listening to Archbishop Jackson Olit Sapit, a Maasai by origin, who grew up in a small village and by some missionaries received his education after his father died at the age of three.

Archbishop Jackon told us a story of when he was a young man, 13 or 14 years old, and a herder. And on his first duty guarding the flocks and herds at night, his friends had told him that when a lion roared, it was preparing to charge, and that he had spent the night terrified. The joke by his friends is, of course, that lions are far more dangerous when they’re silent, because this means they are stalking their prey and preparing to pounce. They roar when wandering around looking for the prey they will then stalk. His friends told him that in the morning.

Shepherds, in other words, says Peter, need to have their wits about them, because to protect their sheep they need to know what might threaten them – the lions that pose a danger to the flock. The Lion of 1 Peter 5 is a warning to the churches – all of them together – not merely to individuals as we so often interpret it.

We can so easily turn or perceive other people or ideas into lions and consider them a threat, even an enemy. We can make a lion out of shadows, or we can be assailed the lion which has snuck up on us quietly. We as a church, as this Synod, need to be aware and yet not so cautious that we are paralysed with fear and communicate that fear to one another around.

The lion of our time has many faces, some of them modern, many of them as old as the church itself. Notice that in 1 Peter 5 it is described as ‘your enemy, the devil’. Not your enemy, those who disagree with you. Not your enemy, those who troll you on Twitter. Not your enemy, those who say nasty things in Synod – which would never happen. Not your enemy because they are of a different church or form of churchmanship. It’s your enemy, the devil. It echoes Paul in Ephesians saying, we do not fight against flesh and blood – our enemy is the principles and powers in the heavenly places, says Paul.

The lion, as I say, has many faces, but they are not the faces that we see around us. They are not human enemies. Some of them have been around forever. Culture, cruelty, lack of love are pre-eminent, and we can aid the biting of the lion through social media in a way we’ve never known before.

Read it all.

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

(Atlantic) The Great Affordability Crisis Breaking America–In one of the best decades the American economy has ever recorded, families were bled dry

In the 2010s, the national unemployment rate dropped from a high of 9.9 percent to its current rate of just 3.5 percent. The economy expanded each and every year. Wages picked up for high-income workers as soon as the Great Recession ended, and picked up for lower-income workers in the second half of the decade. Americans’ confidence in the economy hit its highest point since 2000, right before the dot-com bubble burst. The headline economic numbers looked good, if not great.

But beyond the headline economic numbers, a multifarious and strangely invisible economic crisis metastasized: Let’s call it the Great Affordability Crisis. This crisis involved not just what families earned but the other half of the ledger, too—how they spent their earnings. In one of the best decades the American economy has ever recorded, families were bled dry by landlords, hospital administrators, university bursars, and child-care centers. For millions, a roaring economy felt precarious or downright terrible.

Viewing the economy through a cost-of-living paradigm helps explain why roughly two in five American adults would struggle to come up with $400 in an emergency so many years after the Great Recession ended. It helps explain why one in five adults is unable to pay the current month’s bills in full. It demonstrates why a surprise furnace-repair bill, parking ticket, court fee, or medical expense remains ruinous for so many American families, despite all the wealth this country has generated. Fully one in three households is classified as “financially fragile.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, America/U.S.A., Economy, Marriage & Family, Personal Finance & Investing

The Rev. Gary Beson’s Farewell letter to the parish of St. Timothy’s, Cane Bay, in the Diocese of South Carolina

Dear Family and Friends of St. Timothy’s Church,

At last Saturday night’s worship Sue and I announced that we had been called to Prince George Winyah Church in Georgetown, SC . Like the last time I wrote to you all, it was a night I will never forget. I can’t express how emotional I felt to tell you we were called out of your livesand I could feel the shock, pain and grief as soon as the words left my lips.

I have been in the congregation when my friend and beloved priest told our church that he and his wife were stepping down. I wanted to stand up and cry “no, don’t leave us, it was just starting to get beautiful, wonderful and life-giving.” He assured us then, like I tried last
Saturday, that “our times are in God’s hands” Psalm 31:15

Those words of scripture gave me some comfort then as I pray God’s words can give younow. I know His plans and His ways are rarely what I would have chosen, but I also know each time I have said, “yes Lord, I will go” he has taken me from one beautiful place to the next. He really is a lamp unto our feet and a sure and certain hope in times of trouble. He promises to never leave us or forsake us, for times such as these. Sue and I will be with you until 2/26/20….

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

The Latest Edition of the Diocese of South Carolina Enewsletter

Not a Convention Delegate? Come anyway – for the Workshops! Join us on Friday March 13:

Morning Mini Conference on:
Creating a Spiritual Legacy: Your Game Plan from Success to Significance

Afternoon Workshops on:

Church Revitalization • Stewardship • Global Partnerships • Church Planting • The New ACNA Prayerbook • Small Church, Big Heart, Big God • Hispanic Ministry • Prayer

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Adult Education, Evangelism and Church Growth, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry

(New Criterion) Keith Windschuttle–Gertrude Himmelfarb & the Enlightenment

In 1983, Himmelfarb published The Idea of Poverty: England in the Early Industrial Age, and in 1991 the sequel Poverty and Compassion: The Moral Imagination of the Late Victorians, arguing that, instead of imposing unregulated Dickensian institutions and dark satanic mills on the lower orders, the Victorians had redefined poverty as a moral issue that demanded both compassion from society at large and a sense of responsibility from the poor themselves. In describing the latter, she made an important intervention in the language of morality. She did not use the term “Victorian values,” as almost every historian of the subject did at the time. The Victorians themselves, she pointed out, did not use the word “values.” This anachronism only arose in the mid-twentieth century as a way to relativize morality. It implied that anyone’s values were the moral equivalent of anyone else’s. Some values could not be better than others, only different. Instead, she insisted on using the term “virtues.” In a much-quoted passage Himmelfarb wrote:

Hard work, sobriety, frugality, foresight—these were modest, mundane virtues, even lowly ones. But they were virtues within the capacity of everyone; they did not assume any special breeding, or status, or talent, or valor, or grace—or even money. They were common virtues within the reach of common people.

To the Victorians, she argued, virtues were fixed and certain, not to govern the actual behavior of all people all the time, but to serve as standards against which behavior could be judged. When conduct fell short of those standards, it was deemed to be bad, wrong, or immoral, she said, not merely misguided, undesirable, or, that weasel-word, “inappropriate.” From the historical record, she could point to the consequences of today’s misuse of moral principles:

In recent times, we have so completely rejected any kind of moral principle that we have divorced poor relief from moral sanctions and incentives. This reflects in part the theory that society is responsible for all social problems and should therefore assume the task of solving them; and in part the prevailing spirit of relativism, which makes it difficult to pass any moral judgments or impose any moral conditions upon the recipients of relief. In retrospect, we can see that the social pathology—“moral pathology,” I would call it—of crime, violence, illegitimacy, welfare dependency, and drug addiction is intimately related to the “counterculture” of the 1960s that promised to liberate us from the stultifying influence of “bourgeois values.”

As well as detecting profound consequences from small manipulations of language, Himmelfarb’s historical eye also allowed her to understand the broad intellectual contours of the periods she studied better than almost any of her peers. She went on to use that understanding to illuminate the basis of ideological divisions with her own time. This was best demonstrated in her daring but highly successful history of the Enlightenment in Britain, France, and the United States.

In 2005, she published The Roads to Modernity: The British, French, and American Enlightenments. It is a provocative revision of the typical story of the intellectual era of the late eighteenth century that made the modern world. In particular, it explains the source of the fundamental division that still doggedly grips Western political life: that between Left and Right, or progressives and conservatives. From the outset, each side had its own philosophical assumptions and its own view of the human condition. Roads to Modernity shows why one of these sides has generated a steady progeny of historical successes while its rival has consistently lurched from one disaster to the next.

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Posted in Books, History

The Timetable+Agenda for the Church of England General Synod today

Posted in Church of England (CoE)

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint Scholastica

Help us, O God, to love one other as sisters and brothers, and to balance discipline with love, and rules with compassion, according to the example shown by thy saints Scholastica and Benedict. All this we ask for the sake of thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom with thee and the Holy Ghost be all honor and glory, world without end. Amen.

Posted in Church History, Spirituality/Prayer