As a historian, I knew that this either/or of “objective history” and “subjective meaning” was a gross oversimplification. In my 1992 book, The New Testament and the People of God, I suggested that we needed a better integration, one that transcended the antithesis of objective and subjective. I had been introduced to the idea of critical realism through the work of Bernard Lonergan, whom I encountered in the work of Ben Meyer. And in that context, I met what they thought of as “an epistemology of love.” Ever since then, I have tried to understand what that might mean and to put it into practice.
Along the way, I have realized that it isn’t only in biblical studies that the Enlightenment’s epistemological proposals result in false antitheses. In my Gifford Lectures for 2018, now published as History and Eschatology: Jesus and the Promise of Natural Theology, I laid out the ways in which so-called natural theology, on the one hand, and the historical study of Jesus, on the other, have become dangerously detached from each other. This isn’t because we have now discovered, in some objective sense, something about natural theology or the history of Jesus that requires them to be kept separate. It is because both studies, and any link between them, have been distorted by Enlightenment epistemology.
Enlightenment thought rejected Jesus’s resurrection, but not because of a new scientific awareness that dead people do not rise. Everybody has known from earliest times that dead people stay dead. The Enlightenment’s real reason for the rejection was that, if Jesus had risen from the dead, his resurrection would be the turning point of world history—a status the Enlightenment claimed for itself. There cannot be two such turning points. Here lies the crucial epistemological battle. The Enlightenment was in thrall to the split-level epistemology that, by insisting on hard facts and creaming off everything else into a subjective sphere, realized Francis Bacon’s maxim that “knowledge is power.” Knowledge of the Enlightenment sort—“we know the way the world is and we’re going to impose it on you”—became the instrument of the imperial projects of the modern West. But that kind of knowledge does not do justice to the ultimate realities of the world; and it fails to grasp, or be grasped by, the Ultimate Reality itself, which is the resurrection of Jesus as the launch of new creation in the midst of the old. As Wittgenstein said, “It is love that believes the resurrection.” Many of our current ills, social, political, and cultural, have emerged from our ignoring this or trying to bypass it.
My proposal is that paying attention to Jesus as a real figure of first-century history can point some ways forward for the Church and, through the Church, for our misguided and muddled world. And for all this—and for the multiple resultant tasks in theology and mission—we need to understand, and put into practice, new ways of knowing: specifically, an epistemology of love.
To the Clergy and People of the Diocese of Albany,
Several of you have been asking about the status of the Title IV Disciplinary proceedings directed against me in regard to B012. I have been notified that a Hearing, headed by The Rt. Rev. W. Nicholas Knisely, (President of the Hearing Panel) is scheduled to be held at the Desmond Hotel in Albany on Tuesday, April 21, 2020. The subject of the Hearing is “The Matter of Allegations Concerning the Rt. Rev. William H. Love, Bishop of Albany.”
It is alleged by the Intake Report and Investigator’s Report that I have “violated Canon IV.4.1(c) by failing to abide by the promises and vows made when he [I] was ordained, specifically the Declaration he [I] signed at his [my] ordination as bishop in which he [I] promised to ‘conform to the doctrine, discipline, and worship of The Episcopal Church.’ ”
The above charge is the result of my unwillingness to abide by Resolution B012, passed by the 79th General Convention of the Episcopal Church, which if followed, would allow for same-sex marriages to occur in the Diocese of Albany.
Almighty God, whose deacon Vincent, upheld by thee, was not terrified by threats nor overcome by torments: Strengthen us, we beseech thee, to endure all adversity with invincible and steadfast faith; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
“Vincent [of Saragossa] struggled for the unity of the Church, for undivided love” Augustine pic.twitter.com/Xsn7MVbiUc
— Catholicity&Covenant (@cath_cov) January 22, 2016
O Holy Spirit the Comforter, Spirit of Jesus, come Thou upon us and dwell within us. Not of ourselves, but of Thee is our life. Teach us that we may know; cleanse us and purify us within; strengthen us to persevere, lest we fall away from Thee. Come into us, Thou Who art already there, that by Thine arrival again Thou mayest enter into Thy possession anew. And out of worldly death in which we languish create in us the life that shall make us as Thou art, through inward unity in which we are one with Thee. Come, then, eternal Spirit, Who with the Father and the Son art one God, and abide with us for ever.
–Frederick B. Macnutt, The prayer manual for private devotions or public use on divers occasions: Compiled from all sources ancient, medieval, and modern (A.R. Mowbray, 1951)
And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness in realizing the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
In the remainder of this report I want to focus on responding to the immense missionary challenges that are facing the Christian Church in general and the Cathedral in particular. In November I gave a set of talks in the Diocese of Dallas on this problem entitled Modernity and Mission. The topic was the focus of my study and prayer for the Summer and Fall. I believe I have a better understanding of what is distinctive about the missionary environment in which we find ourselves and greater clarity about what an authentic missionary engagement with modernity looks like. I have been trying to share some of these thoughts in the Dean’s Forum. As a result of this study I believe strongly that The Cathedral of All Saints is uniquely positioned to be especially effective in reaching contemporary people for the sake of Jesus Christ.
There are many blessings of modernity for which to give thanks, modern medicine and a remarkable rise in the standard of living right across the world. Modernity is also characterized by what the old preachers called worldliness, a mentality which is preoccupied with the things of this world in which God is not so much denied as forgotten. The experience of transcendence, of holiness and otherness is rare. The experience of awe which leads to worship is rare and so modern people are in jeopardy of losing their souls and of losing that which is essential to our humanity: the worship of the one true and living God. It requires something powerful to break out of the captivity to this worldliness and the diminution and constriction of the human heart that must be its consequence. It requires something like a Gothic Cathedral.
(CC) Samuel Wells–The dirty work of ministry: What two drastically different messages from parishioners taught me
Some people are quick to judge, and some remarks are designed to hurt. A month ago I received a letter from someone I haven’t met but who is nonetheless convinced of all my faults and more. She wrote to tell me how outraged she was about how she sees our church approaching its work in the local community.
My chief sin, it turns out, is that I’m not a certain predecessor of mine. “You have turned that lovely, caring community run by lovely gentle gentlemen in my time, into a modern-day business, bent on efficiency,” she asserted. It seems the glorious amateurs have been replaced by hard-nosed professionals—me chief among them. “When I think of the saints who worked there, I could weep.” The rhetorical dial went up a couple of notches: “Shame on you.” And then the big ending: “Don’t sleep easy in your bed tonight. And tomorrow roll up your sleeves and do some of the dirty work.”
She didn’t explain precisely what this dirty work is. It took me back to a rather conflictual relationship many years ago, when a parishioner detonated the nuclear judgment: “You have failed this community as a priest.” No answer to that. The scar abides.
I got an insight into the dirty work later the same day….
Every day, 8 Christians worldwide are killed because of their faith.
Every week, 182 churches or Christian buildings are attacked.
And every month, 309 Christians are imprisoned unjustly.
So reports the 2020 World Watch List (WWL), the latest annual accounting from Open Doors of the top 50 countries where Christians are the most persecuted for their faith.
“We cannot let this stand,” said David Curry, president and CEO of Open Doors USA, during the 2020 list’s unveiling in Washington, DC, this morning. “People are speaking out and we have an obligation to hear their cry.”
The listed nations comprise 260 million Christians suffering high to severe levels of persecution, up from 245 million in last year’s list.
Every day, 8 Christians worldwide are killed because of their faith.
Every week, 182 churches or Christian buildings are attacked.
And every month, 309 Christians are imprisoned unjustly. https://t.co/kM5uZ6QfCW
— Akosua Sarfo 🇬🇭 (@AkosuaSarfo5) January 21, 2020
(WSJ) Michael Helfand–Discrimination Without Discriminating? The Supreme Court next week will hear another challenge to an anti-Catholic law
In Trinity Lutheran v. Comer (2017), the justices took aim at Missouri’s Blaine amendment, which the state had invoked to withhold funding for a church-run school. By 7-2, the justices deemed Missouri’s denial a First Amendment violation because “Trinity Lutheran was denied a grant simply because of what it is—a church.” But the court focused on the discriminatory impact of the specific case, rather than the discriminatory intent of the Blaine amendment.
Espinoza involves a scholarship program the Montana Legislature created in 2015 to promote school choice. The state offered a $150 tax credit for donations to nonprofits that award scholarships to students attending any private ‘“qualified education provider,” a definition that initially included religious schools. But the law conflicted with Montana’s Blaine amendment, which bars “any direct or indirect” funding to religious schools. The state Department of Revenue redefined “qualified education provider” to exclude religious schools. That exclusion triggered a set of lawsuits arguing that the modified rule violated the First Amendment—a strong argument given Trinity Lutheran.
Then the legal fight took a strange turn. The Montana Supreme Court held that the program could not support institutions providing scholarships to religious schools. But it also found that the Department of Revenue lacked the authority to modify the program to exclude religious schools. Because the law authorized what the state constitution prohibited—funding religious schools—the entire law had to be struck down. That meant no private school received funding.
As a result, the law that discriminated against religious schools is off the books. Thus the most natural application of U.S. Supreme Court precedent—that a state may not exclude a religious institution simply because of “what it is”—does not easily apply. Given this peculiar posture, how might the justices decide the case?
Opinion: Discrimination Without Discriminating?
The Supreme Court next week will hear another challenge to an anti-Catholic law. #1A #Blaine #conlaw
via @MAHelfand @WSJ @howappealing https://t.co/JLyrWlyBl8
— Tom Collins (@azcleanelexexec) January 17, 2020
The Boko Haram sect has executed Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Michika Local Government Area of Adamawa State, Lawan Andimi.
This was made known on Tuesday by Ahmed Salkida, a journalist known to have access to Boko Haram.
He tweeted: “To break some news items can traumatize. I’m battling with one of such. Reverend Andimi, abducted by Boko Haram was executed yesterday. Rev. Andimi was a church leader, a father to his children and the community he served. My condolences go to his family.”
— Kendall Harmon (@KendallHarmon6) January 21, 2020
A number of blog readers may remember Peter and Amy Mitchell from their time in the diocese of South Carolina. They now serve at All Souls Anglican Church, Woodstock, VA.
Justin Brierley has moderated hundreds of lively debates on Christianity and atheism, but when a renowned Christian apologist met a popular YouTube personality at a Californian megachurch, it turned out to be one of the most remarkable events the broadcaster has ever hosted
In the 14 years since I began my faith discussion show Unbelievable?, I’ve never witnessed a conversation quite like the one that took place in front of a 1,000-strong audience at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa, California.
I had invited John Lennox and Dave Rubin to join me for a live recording of The Big Conversation video series, in which Christians and atheists debate big questions about science, faith and philosophy.
Lennox is a longstanding Christian thinker whose background as an Oxford professor of mathematics has seen him debate high-profile atheists such as Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens. Rubin is a rising star in the online world, regularly sitting down with various public intellectuals to debate culture, politics and – with increasing frequency – religion. His YouTube channel The Rubin Report has more than 1 million subscribers.
Lennox has often spoken and written about his own Christian convictions and why he holds them. What made this conversation unique was that Rubin’s views on religion are in a state of flux.
At one time he looked like a typical US Millennial. He had grown up in a culturally Jewish household but, as a gay, secular liberal, he adopted the atheist outlook of many of his peers. A turnaround in his political views occurred in his mid-30s, however, as he began to question the so-called progressive left-wing ideology and its effects on free speech. Rubin is now counted as a leading conservative voice in America’s culture wars. But could his political conversion be followed by a religious one?
When John Lennox met Dave Rubin.
— Justin Brierley (@UnbelievableJB) January 20, 2020
Almighty and everlasting God, who dost choose those whom the world deemeth powerless to put the powerful to shame: Grant us so to cherish the memory of thy youthful martyr Agnes, that we may share her pure and steadfast faith in thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
Happy feast of Saint Agnes! pic.twitter.com/xYHkzkXlIN
— St Hugh Knaphill (@StHughKnaphill) January 21, 2016
O Thou, who givest to thy children liberally and upbraidest not: Preserve us from all envy at the good of our neighbour, and from every form of jealousy. Teach us to rejoice in what others have and we have not, to delight in what they achieve and we cannot accomplish, to be glad in all that they enjoy and we do not experience; and so fill us daily more completely with love; through him in whom thou hast promised to supply all our need, our Saviour Jesus Christ.
In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard for his godly fear. Although he was a Son, he learned obedience through what he suffered; and being made perfect he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him, being designated by God a high priest after the order of Melchizedek.
About this we have much to say which is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need some one to teach you again the first principles of God’s word. You need milk, not solid food; for every one who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their faculties trained by practice to distinguish good from evil.
We have waited for more than 340 years for our constitutional and God given rights. The nations of Asia and Africa are moving with jetlike speed toward gaining political independence, but we still creep at horse and buggy pace toward gaining a cup of coffee at a lunch counter. Perhaps it is easy for those who have never felt the stinging darts of segregation to say, “Wait.” But when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim; when you have seen hate filled policemen curse, kick and even kill your black brothers and sisters; when you see the vast majority of your twenty million Negro brothers smothering in an airtight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society; when you suddenly find your tongue twisted and your speech stammering as you seek to explain to your six year old daughter why she can’t go to the public amusement park that has just been advertised on television, and see tears welling up in her eyes when she is told that Funtown is closed to colored children, and see ominous clouds of inferiority beginning to form in her little mental sky, and see her beginning to distort her personality by developing an unconscious bitterness toward white people; when you have to concoct an answer for a five year old son who is asking: “Daddy, why do white people treat colored people so mean?”; when you take a cross county drive and find it necessary to sleep night after night in the uncomfortable corners of your automobile because no motel will accept you; when you are humiliated day in and day out by nagging signs reading “white” and “colored”; when your first name becomes “nigger,” your middle name becomes “boy” (however old you are) and your last name becomes “John,” and your wife and mother are never given the respected title “Mrs.”; when you are harried by day and haunted by night by the fact that you are a Negro, living constantly at tiptoe stance, never quite knowing what to expect next, and are plagued with inner fears and outer resentments; when you are forever fighting a degenerating sense of “nobodiness”–then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait.
There comes a time when the cup of endurance runs over, and men are no longer willing to be plunged into the abyss of despair. I hope, sirs, you can understand our legitimate and unavoidable impatience. You express a great deal of anxiety over our willingness to break laws. This is certainly a legitimate concern. Since we so diligently urge people to obey the Supreme Court’s decision of 1954 outlawing segregation in the public schools, at first glance it may seem rather paradoxical for us consciously to break laws. One may well ask: “How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?” The answer lies in the fact that there are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that “an unjust law is no law at all.”
Every so often, I re-read Dr. King’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail. While some of the injustices may have changed, his poetic brilliance, moral clarity, and tests of conscience still reverberate today. Take a moment to reflect on his righteous call: https://t.co/oBdqFqdWA6
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) January 20, 2020
As Abernathy tells it—and I believe he is right—he and King were first of all Christians, then Southerners, and then blacks living under an oppressive segregationist regime. King of course came from the black bourgeoisie of Atlanta in which his father, “Daddy King,” had succeeded in establishing himself as a king. Abernathy came from much more modest circumstances, but he was proud of his heritage and, as he writes, wanted nothing more than that whites would address his father as Mr. Abernathy. He and Martin loved the South, and envisioned its coming into its own once the sin of segregation had been expunged.
“Years later,” Abernathy writes that, “after the civil rights movement had peaked and I had taken over [after Martin’s death] as president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference,” he met with Governor George Wallace. “Governor Wallace, by then restricted to a wheel chair after having been paralyzed by a would-be assassin’s bullet, shook hands with me and welcomed me to the State of Alabama. I smiled, realizing that he had forgotten all about Montgomery and Birmingham, and particularly Selma. ‘This is not my first visit,’ I said. ‘I was born in Alabama—in Marengo County.’ ‘Good,’ said Governor Wallace, ‘then welcome back.’ I really believe he meant it. In his later years he had become one of the greatest friends the blacks had ever had in Montgomery. Where once he had stood in the doorway and barred federal marshals from entering, he now made certain that our people were first in line for jobs, new schools, and other benefits of state government.” Abernathy concludes, “It was a time for reconciliations.”
Read it all (my emphasis).
— Scottie Pippen (@ScottiePippen) January 20, 2020
You can find the full text here.
I find it always is really worth the time to listen to and read and ponder it all on this day–KSH.
Almighty God, who by the hand of Moses thy servant didst lead thy people out of slavery, and didst make them free at last: Grant that thy Church, following the example of thy prophet Martin Luther King, may resist oppression in the name of thy love, and may strive to secure for all thy children the blessed liberty of the Gospel of Jesus Christ; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
— ABC 7 Chicago (@ABC7Chicago) January 20, 2020
Almighty God, the giver of strength and joy: Change, we beseech thee, our bondage into liberty, and the poverty of our nature into the riches of thy grace; that by the transformation of our lives thy glory may be revealed; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
To thee, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
O my God, in thee I trust,
let me not be put to shame;
let not my enemies exult over me.
Yea, let none that wait for thee be put to shame;
let them be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.
Make me to know thy ways, O Lord;
teach me thy paths.
Lead me in thy truth, and teach me,
for thou art the God of my salvation;
for thee I wait all the day long.
Patricia “Pat” Hamill Teale French, 93, of Woodstock, Virginia died Friday, January 10, 2020 at her home.
Pat was born October 17, 1926, in Baltimore, Maryland, the first of two children of the late Gladys Adelaide Hamill Teale and Edward Painter Teale. She was a member of the Class of 1943 of Thomas Jefferson High School in Richmond, Virginia and attended Harcum Junior College in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. After college, she worked in a division office of AT&T Long Lines in Washington, DC, where she met her future husband Warren Ballinger French, Jr.
Pat’s greatest pride was her family. She married Warren on September 17, 1949 in Silver Spring, Maryland. In the fall of 2019, they celebrated their 70th year of marriage. They were the parents of four children. Pat was predeceased by her son Warren Ballinger French, III, who passed away April 19, 1981. In addition to her husband, she is survived by her three remaining children and their spouses: Anne Elizabeth French Dalke and Jeffrey Alan Dalke of Philadelphia and Edinburg; Cynthia Ellen French Mullen and Wesley Grigg Mullen, Jr. of Rockbridge Baths; and Christopher Edward French and Rhonda Harris French of Woodstock. Pat is also survived by her grandchildren and their spouses: Lena French Dalke and Sameer Gupta of Brooklyn; Lillian Stover Dalke and Angelina Lim of Brooklyn; Samuel Shaffer Dalke and Katharine Baratz Dalke of Harrisburg; Marian Ballinger Dalke and Elizabeth Nadia Pisarczyk of Philadelphia; Wesley Grigg Mullen, III and Accacia Max Mullen of Rockbridge Baths; Andrew French Mullen and Melissa Ann Falkenstern of Albuquerque; Rebecca Blythe French of Harrisonburg; Warren Ballinger French, II of Woodstock; and Stuart Teale French and Tiffany Marie French of Harrisonburg. Five great grandchildren also survive her: Naima Belle Dalke Gupta, Mahalia Vati Dalke Gupta, Andy Bo Tian Dalke-Lim, Julia Baratz Dalke, and Audrey French Dalke. She is also survived by her brother Robert “Bob” Edward Teale and his wife Carol Rogers Teale of Lincoln, Nebraska; her sisters-in-law Doris French, Emma Randel, Marian French, Ellen Fuller, Joyce French and Sally Weber; and her brother-in-law John Weber, and many, many nieces and nephews.
In addition to being a daughter, sister, wife, mother, grandmother, and great grandmother, Pat was an active supporter of her church and an advocate for her local community. She became a member of the Woodstock United Methodist Church in 1954, later served as a member of its Board of Trustees and the Administrative Council, and was active in the church’s Tape Ministry, Food Pantry, and Clothes Closet. She was a member of the Shenandoah Garden Club, where she served as corresponding secretary.
Pat’s love of children and reading led to her involvement in and support of libraries at the town, county, and state levels. She served on the Board of the Woodstock Library and was appointed by Virginia Governors Godwin and Dalton for five-year terms on the State Library Board of the Virginia State Library, serving as chairman for one year. Pat also worked to gain support of the Shenandoah County Supervisors for the creation of the Shenandoah County Library, which opened in 1985 and led to the creation of the Shenandoah County Library System. She served two terms on that board. Pat was also involved in the founding of the Shenandoah Community Foundation in 1999.
Almighty God, who hast set in thy Church some with gifts to teach and help and administer, in diversity of operation but of the same Spirit: Grant to all such, we beseech thee, grace to wait on the ministry which they have received in the body of Christ with simplicity, diligence, and cheerfulness; that none may think of himself more highly than he ought to think, and none may seek another man’s calling, but rather to be found faithful in his own work; to the glory of thy name in Christ Jesus our Lord.
–The Rev. H. J. Wotherspoon [1850-1930], Kyrie eleison (“Lord, have mercy”): A Manual of Private Prayers (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1905)
Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord from the heavens,
praise him in the heights!
Praise him, all his angels,
praise him, all his host!
Praise him, sun and moon,
praise him, all you shining stars!
Praise him, you highest heavens,
and you waters above the heavens!
Let them praise the name of the Lord!
For he commanded and they were created.
And he established them for ever and ever;
he fixed their bounds which cannot be passed.
Almighty Father, who didst inspire Simon Peter, first among the apostles, to confess Jesus as Messiah and Son of the Living God: Keep thy Church steadfast upon the rock of this faith, that in unity and peace we may proclaim the one truth and follow the one Lord, our Savior Jesus Christ; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.
— methoblog (@methoblog) January 18, 2018
O Blessed Lord, who in the days of thy earthly childhood didst earnestly desire to be about thy Father’s business: Give us the grace of thy Holy Spirit early to seek thee and evermore to follow thee; that being continuously aided by thy grace, we may be exercised in thy service; who livest and reignest with the Holy Spirit, world without end.
Now I know that the LORD will help his anointed; he will answer him from his holy heaven with mighty victories by his right hand. Some boast of chariots, and some of horses; but we boast of the name of the LORD our God. They will collapse and fall; but we shall rise and stand upright. Give victory to the king, O LORD; answer us when we call.