Category : Uncategorized

Douglas Farrow on the Meaning of the Ascension for Ascension Day

Ascension theology turns at this point to the Eucharist, for in celebrating the eucharist the church professes to know how the divine presents itself in our time, and how the question of faithfulness is posed. Eucharistically, the church acknowledges that Jesus has heard and has answered the upward call; that, like Moses, he has ascended into that impenetrable cloud overhanging the mountain. Down below, rumours of glory emanate from the elders, but the master himself is nowhere to be seen. He is no longer with his people in the same way he used to be. Yet he is with them, in the Spirit.

–Douglas Farrow, Ascension Theology (New York: T and T Clark, 2011), p. 64

Posted in Advent, Christology, Eucharist, Sacramental Theology, Theology, Theology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology), Uncategorized

(Spectator) Isabel Hardman–It’s not Tim Farron who is illiberal: it’s society

So why the squeamishness about certain beliefs? If it’s OK to say that Heaven exists, then why not answer a question on abortion or sex outside of heterosexual marriage? The answer is that even if Farron thinks it is perfectly possible to be a conservative Christian and an effective Liberal, he doesn’t believe it is possible to express certain Christian beliefs in today’s society. In other words, he suspects that our public debate isn’t particularly liberal.

And this is what the problem is. It’s not that Tim Farron is illiberal: his voting record suggests otherwise. It’s that he appears to fear that the reaction to his own religious beliefs would be so illiberal as to damage his party, and therefore he must obfuscate on those beliefs when asked. We live in a society of liberal intolerance, where only certain worldviews are deemed acceptable by people who often refuse to accept that they themselves have a worldview that also deserves interrogating. Such intolerance is often born of a sincere desire to make life better for those who have been persecuted in the past, including gay people, women who have abortions and those who divorce. But it becomes a form of persecution in itself, just focused on a newly unpopular group.

An election campaign is not the easiest time for a politician to take a principled stand against this liberal intolerance. But with every prominent figure who locks away the unpalatable parts of their worldview, society becomes a little less liberal. Which should worry many more people than just those who support Tim Farron’s party.

Read it all.

Posted in England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Uncategorized

A Prayer to Begin the Day from the Gelasian Sacramentary

Into thy hands, O Lord, we commend ourselves this day. Let thy presence be with us to its close. Strengthen us to remember that in whatsoever good work we do we are serving thee. Give us a diligent and watchful spirit, that we may seek in all things to know thy will, and knowing it, gladly to perform it, to the honour and glory of thy name; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer, Uncategorized

NYT: How one Christian School Dealt with a Teenager who bravely chose to Keep her Baby

Ms. Runkles’s story sheds light on a delicate issue: how Christian schools, which advocate abstinence until marriage, treat pregnant teenagers.

“You have these two competing values,” said Brad Wilcox, a sociologist at the University of Virginia who directs the National Marriage Project, which conducts research on marriage and families. “On the one hand, the school is seeking to maintain some kind of commitment to what has classically been called chastity — or today might be called abstinence. At the same time, there’s an expectation in many Christian circles that we are doing all that we can to honor life.”

Navigating that balance is exceedingly difficult for Christian educators, and schools respond in various ways, said Rick Kempton, chairman of the board of the Association of Christian Schools International, which represents about 3,000 schools in the United States and many others overseas.

“There’s a biblical term that many Christian schools use, and it is the whole idea of grace: What would Jesus do?” Mr. Kempton said. Of Ms. Runkles, he added: “She’s making the right choice. But you don’t want to create a celebration that makes other young ladies feel like, ‘Well, that seems like a pretty good option.’”

Read it all.

Posted in Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Life Ethics, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Teens / Youth, Uncategorized

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Mightier than the thunders of many waters, mightier than the waves of the sea, the LORD on high is mighty! Thy decrees are very sure; holiness befits thy house, O LORD, for evermore.

–Psalm 93:4-5

Posted in Uncategorized

(Catholic Herald) Nic Hallett–Can Catholics and Protestants still debate Mary? Last night I saw they can

For most people, the word “ecumenism” will bring to mind images of people of different denominations sitting down with cups of tea and saying how wonderful everyone is.

Certainly, inter-Christian dialogue in recent years has tended to emphasise what everyone has in common as if the great theological differences that created the division in the first place have vanished, hushed up like an embarrassing secret.

..[earlier this week] in London, however, a very different type of ecumenical meeting took place. Frank, uncompromising and at times brutally honest – yet always in the spirit of charity and respect – two very different Christians sparred on one of the central tenets of Catholicism.

Read it all.

Posted in Ecumenical Relations, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Theology, Theology: Scripture, Uncategorized

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

O God, who has given into our hands the ministry to which he has called us, help us this day to fulfill our responsibilities in thy Name with wisdom, cheerfulness and honesty; through Jesus Christ our Lord (slightly edited).

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

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer, Uncategorized

An AMiE Statement in response to the Jonathan Pryke consecration

We can confirm that the consecration of the Revd Jonathan Pryke was a gospel decision taken independently of AMiE. His consecration was never discussed at our Executive meetings.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Religion & Culture, Uncategorized

Notable and Quotable

The cultural and political elites in our society, especially those on the left (but not only on the left), have become decidedly anti-Christian, at least insofar as Christians continue to cleave to Christianity

–R R Reno, First Things (February 2017), p.6

Posted in Uncategorized

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

O God who hast made us in thine image, and who, sustaineth us in our failures, preserve us, we beseech thee, from presumption and despair, and grant that we may serve thee with steadiness and patience; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

–The Pastor’s Prayer Book

Posted in Uncategorized

Kendall Harmon’s Maundy Thursday Sermon–Jesus and the Point of No Return (Luke 22: 39-46)

You can listen directly there and download the mp3 there.

Posted in Uncategorized

A Prayer to Begin the Day from the Book of Common Order

Almighty God, who broughtest again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the glorious Prince of Salvation, with everlasting victory over sin and the grave: Grant us power, we beseech thee, to rise with him to newness of life, that we may overcome the world with the victory of faith, and have part at last in the resurrection of the just; through the merits of the same risen Saviour, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end.

Posted in Uncategorized

(WSJ) James Martin SJ–Celebrating Easter: Why a Watered-Down Resurrection Doesn’t Work

…particularly when we look at the disciples, the watered-down resurrection doesn’t seem credible at all. Remember that the Gospel of John (whose author had little to gain by making the disciples, future leaders of the early church, look bad) notes that the disciples were so frightened that they barricaded themselves behind locked doors after Jesus’s death. They had good reason to be. “If the authorities dealt that way with Jesus, who had so many people supporting him,” they must have thought, “what will they do to us?” Even before the crucifixion Peter shrank in fear from being identified as a follower of Jesus. Imagine how their fear would have intensified after witnessing the Romans’ brutal execution of their master.

With one exception, all of Jesus’s male followers were so terrified that they shrank from standing at the foot of the cross, unable to accompany Jesus during his final hours. Their reluctance may have stemmed from an inability to watch the agonizing death of their friend, but much was out of fear of being identified as a follower of an enemy of Rome. (The women, showed no such fear, though the situation may have posed less danger for them.)

The disciples were terrified. So does it seem credible that something as simple as sitting around and remembering Jesus would snap them out of their abject fear? Not to me. Something incontrovertible, something undeniable, something visible, something tangible, was necessary to transform them from fearful to fearless.

This is one of the most compelling “proofs” of the Resurrection.

Read it all.

Posted in Apologetics, Christology, Easter, Eschatology, Theology: Scripture, Uncategorized

John Piper for Easter–I Have Seen the Lord

Today that question, that debate””Did Jesus really rise from the dead historically, bodily?””is not as prominent or as intense because, at one level, people feel that it doesn’t matter to them, because different people believe in different things, and maybe it happened, maybe it didn’t; and if it did, or didn’t, and that helps you get along in life, fine; but it doesn’t make much difference to me. I may or may not call myself a Christian, and if the resurrection seems helpful to me, I may believe it; and if it doesn’t, then I won’t, and I don’t think any body should tell me that I have to.

Behind those two different kinds of unbelief–the kind from 40 years ago and the kind from the present day–is a different set of assumptions. For example, in my college days the assumption pretty much still held sway, though it was starting to give way with the rise of existentialism, that there are fixed, closed natural laws, that make the world understandable and scientifically manageable, and these laws do not allow the truth of the claim that someone has risen from the dead to live forever. That was a commonly held assumption: The modern world with its scientific understanding of natural laws does not allow for resurrections. So unbelief was often rooted in that kind of assumption.

But today, that’s not the most common working assumption. Today the assumption is not that there are natural laws outside of me forbidding the resurrection of Jesus, but there is a personal law inside of me that says: I don’t have to adapt my life to anything I don’t find helpful. Or you could state it another way: Truth for me is what I find acceptable and helpful.

Read it all.

Posted in Easter, Uncategorized

(Tel) Lord George Carey: Christians face genocide, but the Government looks the other way

On Maundy Thursday today in which we remember the last supper, it is distressing beyond belief to know that the steady ‘crucifixion’ of Middle East Christians continues.

There are millions in the Middle East today whose identities are attacked daily. They are being eradicated in a region of the world where they have always coexisted with others. These are ancient communities who face a daily threat of being slaughtered in the relentless brutality of war.

One of the most disturbing things about the current crisis is how slow the world has been to recognise that Christians, and indeed other groups such as Yazidis, are facing genocide in Syria and Iraq. Even those governments which recognise there is a serious problem are sitting on their hands and doing nothing to prevent the eradication of Christians from the birthplace of our faith.

Read it all (may require subscription).

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Middle East, Terrorism, Uncategorized