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From the Morning Bible Readings

Blessed is he who considers the poor!
The Lord delivers him in the day of trouble;
the Lord protects him and keeps him alive;
he is called blessed in the land;
thou dost not give him up to the will of his enemies.
The Lord sustains him on his sickbed;
in his illness thou healest all his infirmities.

–Psalm 41:1-3

Posted in Theology: Scripture

Prayers for the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina This Day

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

Today’s Washington Post Front Page–a Good Morning to Pray for America

Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Law & Legal Issues, Police/Fire, Race/Race Relations, Spirituality/Prayer, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

Blessed Pentecost 2020 to all Blog Readers

Posted in Pentecost

A Prayer for Pentecost

O Holy Spirit of God, who didst descend upon our Lord Christ at the river Jordan, and upon the disciples at the feast of Pentecost: Have mercy upon us, we beseech thee, and by thy divine fire enlighten our minds and purify our hearts; for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord.

–Saint Nerses of Clajes (4th century Persian Bishop and Martyr)

Posted in Pentecost, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Scripture Readings

So they called them and charged them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge; for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.” And when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding no way to punish them, because of the people; for all men praised God for what had happened. For the man on whom this sign of healing was performed was more than forty years old.

When they were released they went to their friends and reported what the chief priests and the elders had said to them. And when they heard it, they lifted their voices together to God and said, “Sovereign Lord, who didst make the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them, who by the mouth of our father David, thy servant, didst say by the Holy Spirit,

‘Why did the Gentiles rage,
and the peoples imagine vain things?
The kings of the earth set themselves in array,
and the rulers were gathered together,
against the Lord and against his Anointed’—

for truly in this city there were gathered together against thy holy servant Jesus, whom thou didst anoint, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever thy hand and thy plan had predestined to take place. And now, Lord, look upon their threats, and grant to thy servants to speak thy word with all boldness, while thou stretchest out thy hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of thy holy servant Jesus.” And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God with boldness.

Now the company of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things which he possessed was his own, but they had everything in common. And with great power the apostles gave their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all.

–Acts 4:18-33

Posted in Theology: Scripture

A Prayer for Today from the Church of England

Risen, ascended Lord,
as we rejoice at your triumph,
fill your Church on earth with power and compassion,
that all who are estranged by sin
may find forgiveness and know your peace,
to the glory of God the Father.
Amen.

Posted in Ascension, Church of England (CoE), Spirituality/Prayer

(RNS) US Roman Catholic bishops, Southern Baptists, grieve death of George Floyd, call for justice, condemn abuse of police power

Leaders from two of the largest faith groups in the United States issued statements lamenting the death of George Floyd and calling for an end to racial inequality.

“We are broken-hearted, sickened, and outraged to watch another video of an African American man being killed before our very eyes,” wrote a group of U.S. Catholic bishops who head committees for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. “What’s more astounding is that this is happening within mere weeks of several other such occurrences. This is the latest wake-up call that needs to be answered by each of us in a spirit of determined conversion.”

Bishops drafting the letter include Archbishop Nelson J. Pérez of Philadelphia, Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City, and Bishop Joseph N. Perry, auxiliary bishop of Chicago, and numerous others.

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Baptists, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Police/Fire, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Theology

(CBS) Saturday Afternoon Encouragement–A couple who have been married for 70 years, separated for months due to coronavirus, now get to reunite

Posted in Marriage & Family

(CT) Dennis Edwards–The Revolution Will Not Be Videoed: What Paul and Silas might have said about George Floyd and…

For years, black and brown people have been doing the same as Paul in calling out injustice. The apostle Paul’s demands to the magistrates foreshadows Mamie Till’s bold move to have the body of her lynched son, Emmett, open for viewing. She wanted America to see what was allowed to happen to her son. White Christians have blamed victims of violence, waiting for some dirt on the victim to be dug up. White Christians have minimized the actions of the perpetrators by imagining there must be “another side to the story.” Perhaps even worse is the relegation of injustice to the actions of a few bad characters rather than the failings of an entire system and a worldview that vilifies non-whiteness.

The Revolution Is Really About Love

In that Acts 16 story, the magistrates apologize. They also ask Paul and Silas to leave the city. But before the apostles leave, they meet with the newly forming Christian community in Lydia’s house to encourage and admonish them. Surely this church, which now included a jailer, understood how power worked in Philippi and began their own revolution. Judging from what Paul wrote to that church sometime later (from prison!) they were to learn that the revolution means being like Jesus, considering others as more important than yourself (Phil. 2:3–4). The revolution means laying aside privilege in service to others (Phil. 2:5–11). Perhaps white Christian America can be motivated by that.

It is possible to be, like Jesus, angry at injustice while demonstrating and calling for love. In the many times over the years that I’ve been asked to speak about racial injustice, people expect me to end the message with hope. For some reason, those most vulnerable to oppression are the same ones who are supposed to give white people hope. Yet I do think about what moving forward means, especially since my wife and I have adult children and three grandsons. We think about a revolution for them. A revolution of love.

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Christology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Police/Fire, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, Theology, Theology: Scripture, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Joan of Arc

Holy God, whose power is made perfect in weakness: we honor thy calling of Jeanne d’Arc, who, though young, rose up in valor to bear thy standard for her country, and endured with grace and fortitude both victory and defeat; and we pray that we, like Jeanne, may bear witness to the truth that is in us to friends and enemies alike, and, encouraged by the companionship of thy saints, give ourselves bravely to the struggle for justice in our time; through Christ our Savior, who with thee and the Holy Spirit livest and reignest, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Posted in Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer for the Day from the Leonine Sacramentary

Almighty and merciful God, into whose gracious presence we ascend, not by the frailty of the flesh but by the activity of the soul: Make us ever by thy inspiration to seek after the courts of the heavenly city, whither our Saviour Christ hath ascended, and by thy mercy confidently to enter them, both now and hereafter; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Scripture Readings

He turns rivers into a desert, springs of water into thirsty ground, a fruitful land into a salty waste, because of the wickedness of its inhabitants. He turns a desert into pools of water, a parched land into springs of water. And there he lets the hungry dwell, and they establish a city to live in; they sow fields, and plant vineyards, and get a fruitful yield. By his blessing they multiply greatly; and he does not let their cattle decrease. When they are diminished and brought low through oppression, trouble, and sorrow, he pours contempt upon princes and makes them wander in trackless wastes; but he raises up the needy out of affliction, and makes their families like flocks. The upright see it and are glad; and all wickedness stops its mouth. Whoever is wise, let him give heed to these things; let men consider the steadfast love of the LORD.

–Psalm 107:33-43

Posted in Theology: Scripture

Some Acna Bps on the Minneapolis Tragedy–“What happened to George [Floyd] is an affront to God because his status as an image-bearer was not respected”

What happened to George is an affront to God because his status as an image-bearer was not respected. He was treated in a way that denied his basic humanity. Our lament is real. But our lament is not limited to George and his family. We mourn alongside the wider Black community for whom this tragedy awakens memories of their own traumas and the larger history of systemic oppression that still plagues this country.

George’s death is not merely the most recent evidence that proves racism exists against Black people in this country. But it is a vivid manifestation of the ongoing devaluation of black life. At the root of all racism is a heretical anthropology that devalues the Imago Dei in us all. The gospel reveals that all are equally created, sinful, and equally in the need of the saving work of Christ. The racism we lament is not just interpersonal. It exists in the implicit and explicit customs and attitudes that do disproportionate harm to ethnic minorities in the country. In other words, too often racial bias has been combined with political power to create inequalities that still need to be eradicated.

As bishops in the ACNA, we commit ourselves to stand alongside those in the Black community as they contend for a just society, not as some attempt to transform America into the kingdom of God, but as a manifestation of neighborly love and bearing one another’s burdens and so fulfilling the law of Christ. We confess that too often ethnic minorities have felt like contending for biblical justice has been a burden that they bear alone.

In the end, our hope is not in our efforts but in the shed blood of Jesus that reconciles God to humanity and humans to each other. Our hope is that our churches become places where the power of the gospel to bring together the nations of the earth (Rev 7:9) is seen in our life together as disciples.

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Anthropology, City Government, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Police/Fire, Politics in General, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

(JE) Anglican Bishop Ryan Reed on Seeking the Gospel Amidst Litigation

“One of the things that we have learned is the spiritual handicap or weight that comes upon you even when you are defending yourself in a lawsuit,” Reed shares. ” This Sunday on Pentecost I am calling the entire diocese to a day or penance and of repentance. We are all collectively going to pray the litany of penance together and repent of any way in which this lawsuit has kept us from being faithful to the Gospel, any way it may have hardened our hearts to those who differ with us or those who wanted to hurt us.”

“This Sunday is a day of penance and a day of re-dedication. On Pentecost we are all going to re-affirm our baptismal vows and return to 100 percent focus upon sharing the Gospel and the transforming love of Jesus because that is what is important,” Reed declares. “All of this property and these funds and the buildings — those are just tools to help us share the good news of Jesus Christ. We could do with or without them to be honest, but if we’re not doing that, then those things don’t matter at all.”

Read it all and watch the whole interview (just over 23 minutes).

Posted in Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Pentecost, TEC Conflicts: Fort Worth

(Independent) James Pacey–‘I’m a hospital chaplain working during the coronavirus crisis – it’s the funerals that are the hardest’

There is no typical day in the life of a vicar. Before the pandemic, an average day might consist of morning prayer, a midweek eucharist service, catching up with emails, visiting our community café, doing some admin, going on home visits and a meeting or two in the evening. Vicars are often described as being “paid not to work” – what that means is, although you might have a lot on, you’re available and around. You should never be too “busy” for people – I think that’s a damaging, corporate word.

Since the pandemic, the workload has been consistent, but different. At the moment, my time is split between three days in the parish and three days across two hospitals in Nottingham. I can’t physically be with my congregation right now, but all of the admin, preparation for worship, meetings and pastoral stuff goes on – it’s just moved online. I’ve had to become an expert in livestreaming and Zoom, which takes time, and mentally it takes up a lot more headspace. Celebrating the eucharist from behind the altar and looking out at loads of empty seats is still a very odd thing.

One of the things I’m finding most difficult is that I love people and I love being alongside them – to physically not be with them during this time is hard. I’m also careful to protect my own mental health: when you’re in the parish or the vicarage, you feel like you’re always “on”, but vicars are also human. In the past I’d disappear into town if I needed a break, settle into a coffeeshop and write my sermon; just being in a different place was mentally uplifting. Now, that’s not possible.

But it’s strange; even though we’re far apart, we’ve never felt so united as a congregation.

Read it all.

Posted in England / UK, Health & Medicine, Ministry of the Ordained, Religion & Culture

(PA) On Pentecost, Pope to take part in online service with UK church leaders for first time

Pope Francis is to take part in an online service alongside senior UK church leaders, including the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, for the first time.

He is set to call on people to turn away from the “selfish pursuit of success without caring for those left behind” and to be united in facing the “pandemics of the virus and of hunger, war, contempt for life and indifference to others”.

His special message is to mark Pentecost Sunday, the day Christians celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit and the birth of the Church.

The virtual service is the finale of this year’s global prayer movement, called Thy Kingdom Come, which is usually filled with mass gatherings and outdoor celebrations involving 65 different denominations and traditions.

It has had to be adapted due to the pandemic so people can take part in their homes.

Read it all.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Blogging & the Internet, Church of England (CoE), Ecumenical Relations, England / UK, Health & Medicine, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Pentecost, Pope Francis, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Science & Technology

(Church Times) ‘Failing’ welfare state needs investment, reports think tank

The Covid-19 crisis has exposed “deep failings” in the UK’s welfare system, which is equally unprepared to deal with “decades of disruption” ahead, a report from a left-wing think tank warns.

The think tank, the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), has launched a year-long review of the welfare state, which, it says, must be reformed to deal with the impending threats of climate and environmental breakdown, further pandemics, and a rapidly ageing population. The task group is to be led by the Bishop of Dover, the Rt Revd Rose Hudson-Wilkin, and the former Conservative Cabinet minister Lord Heseltine.

The IPPR report, Decades of Disruption: New social risks and the future of the welfare state, published on Monday, states that the Government was too slow to introduce emergency measures to the welfare system and had excluded key groups such as people on zero-hours contracts, who are not entitled to sick pay. The Government should have increased the base Universal Credit payments, and failed to reward unpaid care hours provided during the crisis, it says.

The lead author and IPPR Senior Research Fellow, Harry Quilter-Pinner, said: “Covid-19 is just one of many shocks our society faces in the decades to come. . . The lesson from Covid-19 is clear: we cannot wait for shocks to overwhelm us but must instead ‘future-proof’ our welfare state so we are ready next time.

Read it all.

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

(C of E) 1,000 answered calls for help in Shropshire town

In a Shropshire town, a young church member’s idea to help people with shopping has seen more than 1,000 answered calls for practical support for the vulnerable and isolated.

Shifnal Help launched the week before lockdown as St Andrew’s Church, brought together a community partnership to launch an emergency phone line for local people who were self-isolating. Two months later, today it now operates a helpline six days a week offering support, medication collection and delivery, shopping and other key tasks – with the local pub becoming a food donations hub.

Shifnal Vicar, The Revd Preb Chris Thorpe reveals: “It all started with one young mum from church called Elizabeth, who posted an offer to help people with shopping!”

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Health & Medicine, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Care, Religion & Culture

(WSJ) Minneapolis Police Station Set on Fire as George Floyd Protests Intensify

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz sent in the National Guard as demonstrators clashed with police for a third straight day to protest the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after a white officer pinned him to the ground with a knee on his neck in an incident captured on video.

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, who has called for the police officers involved in the incident to be criminally charged, had requested the assistance.

The Third Precinct police station, which has been a central site for demonstrations, was taken over and set on fire late Thursday, according to local news reports and video posted on social media.

Earlier, a large crowd gathered in a plaza outside the Hennepin County Government Center, waving signs, chanting George Floyd’s name and calling for charges against the officers involved in his arrest. Those demonstrations started peacefully Thursday evening but turned tense when police officers in riot gear approached protesters who screamed at them. Police shot flash-bang grenades and tear gas into the crowds. Protesters marching through downtown, passing by a boarded up Lumber Exchange Building, shouted with their hands up in the air. Some poured milk into their eyes to ease the sting of the gas.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, City Government, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Police/Fire, Politics in General, Race/Race Relations, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

Yesterday’s NYT Front Page–Renters Out of Work, Money And, Very Soon, Their Homes

The United States, already wrestling with an economic collapse not seen in a generation, is facing a wave of evictions as government relief payments and legal protections run out for millions of out-of-work Americans who have little financial cushion and few choices when looking for new housing.

The hardest hit are tenants who had low incomes and little savings even before the pandemic, and whose housing costs ate up more of their paychecks. They were also more likely to work in industries where job losses have been particularly severe.

Temporary government assistance has helped, as have government orders that put evictions on hold in many cities. But evictions will soon be allowed in about half of the states, according to Emily A. Benfer, a housing expert and associate professor at Columbia Law School who is tracking eviction policies.

“I think we will enter into a severe renter crisis and very quickly,” Professor Benfer said. Without a new round of government intervention, she added, “we will have an avalanche of evictions across the country.”

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Personal Finance

A Prayer to begin the day from the Prayer Manual

Almighty God, who after thy Son had ascended on high didst send forth thy Spirit in the Church to draw all men unto thee; Fulfill, we beseech thee, this thy gracious purpose, and in the fullness of time gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth; even in him, who is the head over all things in the Church which is his body, Jesus Christ our Lord.

–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)

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Bible Readings

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. But fornication and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is fitting among saints. Let there be no filthiness, nor silly talk, nor levity, which are not fitting; but instead let there be thanksgiving. Be sure of this, that no fornicator or impure man, or one who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for it is because of these things that the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not associate with them, for once you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is a shame even to speak of the things that they do in secret; but when anything is exposed by the light it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it is said, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give you light.”

–Ephesians 5:1-14

Posted in Theology: Scripture

South Carolina Daily Reported Cases of Covid19 take an encouraging turn down

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) today announced 156 new cases of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 and 4 additional deaths.

This brings the total number of people confirmed to have COVID-19 in South Carolina to 10,788 and those who have died to 470.

The deaths occurred in 4 elderly individuals from Chesterfield (1), Fairfield (1), Greenville (1), and York (1) counties.

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, State Government

Preparing for Pentecost: Reflections on the Person and Work of the Holy Spirit with Bishop Mark Lawrence

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Adult Education, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Care, Theology, Theology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology), Theology: Scripture

Archbp John Sentamu: Carers who risk their lives need funding, not applause

“I feel like a Roman gladiator in the ring, clapped by cheering crowds as I risk death.” These words from a brave care worker stopped me in my tracks. I heard them through my work with the Living Wage Foundation. This person, who asked to remain anonymous, does vital work on a zero-hours contract, paid just £8.72 an hour. The clapping on a Thursday is a kind gesture – but it won’t pay the rent.

The fate of the country is in the hands of people like this brave care worker. It is just morally wrong for them to face infection and potential death and to do it for poverty pay. Almost half of all care workers are earning below the foundation’s Real Living Wage.

For me this is simply unacceptable. And while so many of us across the country take to our doorsteps every Thursday at 8pm to clap for carers and other key workers, this week my prayer is that we begin to show real compassion and protect our key workers – whether British, European or even former refugees – who are the most at-risk group when it comes to catching Covid-19.

They are literally risking their lives for us, day in, day out, and they do it for a wage that means they struggle to stay afloat financially.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Archbishop of York John Sentamu, Corporations/Corporate Life, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Personal Finance, Religion & Culture

(FT) David Pilling–No lockdown, few ventilators, but Ethiopia is beating Covid-19

Ethiopia’s technocratic government decided it could not afford a rich-country response to the virus. Though its economy has grown rapidly in recent decades, Ethiopia remains a poor country with a per capita income — adjusted for prices — of just $2,500. When the pandemic began, it had 22 ventilators dedicated to Covid. 

Arkebe Oqubay, senior minister and special adviser to the prime minister, says the government concluded early it could not afford a lockdown that would be difficult to enforce and socially costly. Nor did it immediately stop direct flights from China, a stance for which it was much criticised. Instead, temperature checks were imposed at the international airport. Its first case came from Japan, he says, with later imported infections mainly from Europe.

Instead of strict lockdown, Ethiopia chose a response built around public messaging. “This is not a disease you fight by ventilators or intensive care units,” says Mr Arkebe, “90 per cent of the solution is hand washing and social distancing. The only way we can play and win is if we focus on prevention.”

The government has leaned heavily on a community-based health system built by Meles Zenawi, prime minister until his death in 2012, and his health minister, one Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, now director-general of the World Health Organization. Shunning flashy hospitals, Ethiopia has instead poured what money it can into basic healthcare: vaccination campaigns and child and maternal support.

Read it all.

Posted in Ethiopia, Health & Medicine, Politics in General

(PBS News Hour) Dr. Fauci on the ‘terrible hit’ of 100,000 deaths and being realistic about the fall

Well, Judy, what’s happening right now — and we were just at a meeting down at the White House yesterday, one of our meetings, where we went over with several of the governors the kinds of things that are in place. The testing is getting better and better and better.

I mean, I have always been publicly skeptical about that. But, right now, what I’m seeing is that the kinds of testing availability is getting better and better. And, as the weeks go by, I believe strongly that we’re going to be able to address that.

But you make a very good point. When I see some of those pictures of how people are congregating, at a time when there are still infections around, that’s not prudent, and that people need to really take a step back and look at that.

I mean, everybody wants to see us get back to some sort of normality. Everybody wants to open up the country, including an economic rebound. But we need to be really careful that we don’t do it in a way that is, in some respects, stepping over the prudent steps.

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Anthropology, City Government, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Politics in General, State Government

(CC) Three women in Cleveland who are serving the most vulnerable

So has Cleveland activist Yvonne Pointer, who spearheads several programs. She founded Positive Plus, an organization for women whose lives have been touched by violence. She built and maintains a school for young children in Ghana: the Gloria Pointer Memorial School, named for her young daughter who was raped and murdered in 1984.

During the pandemic, Pointer has added another project: she’s begun attending to essential workers. Like Hall, Pointer tapped into her network to provide lunch for staff at some local hospitals and police precincts. Restaurants, such as Angie’s Soul Food and the Harvard Park Chick-fil-a, have pitched in with matching contributions. “Essential workers don’t have time to go out for lunch,” Pointer noted. This wave of giving started when Pointer teamed up with another Christian woman, Victoria L. Davis, to provide food to the local women’s shelter at the onset of the pandemic.

Both Hall and Pointer bear earthly riches—creativity, charisma, generosity—that are unquantifiable yet priceless. In the face of a death-dealing pandemic, fear has not stymied either one.

Serving in a place like Cleveland is so very necessary. The city has experienced eight straight decades of population loss as jobs from the steel and auto industries diminished. Children grow up and leave the city for education and opportunity.

The pandemic has provided the church with “an opportunity to connect to what is relevant and real,” said Frances Mills, director of the Cleveland Office of Mi­nority Health and an associate minister at New Freedom Ministries in Cleveland.

Read it all.

Posted in Urban/City Life and Issues

Food for Thought from John Calvin on his Feast Day—-Do We see The Truth About Ourselves?

For (such is our innate pride) we always seem to ourselves just, and upright, and wise, and holy, until we are convinced, by clear evidence, of our injustice, vileness, folly, and impurity. Convinced, however, we are not, if we look to ourselves only, and not to the Lord also—He being the only standard by the application of which this conviction can be produced. For, since we are all naturally prone to hypocrisy, any empty semblance of righteousness is quite enough to satisfy us instead of righteousness itself….

So long as we do not look beyond the earth, we are quite pleased with our own righteousness, wisdom, and virtue; we address ourselves in the most flattering terms, and seem only less than demigods. But should we once begin to raise our thoughts to God, and reflect what kind of Being he is, and how absolute the perfection of that righteousness, and wisdom, and virtue, to which, as a standard, we are bound to be conformed, what formerly delighted us by its false show of righteousness will become polluted with the greatest iniquity; what strangely imposed upon us under the name of wisdom will disgust by its extreme folly; and what presented the appearance of virtuous energy will be condemned as the most miserable impotence. So far are those qualities in us, which seem most perfect, from corresponding to the divine purity.

–John Calvin, Institutes I.1.2

Posted in Church History, Theology