Saturday, July 22, 2017

Vatican Journal Jousts Against Imaginary ‘Ecumenism of Hate’ in America

From National Catholic Register (Original article is at link below)-

I was surprised by a recent piece of extended commentary in La Civiltà Cattolica, the Jesuit newspaper that functions as a quasi-official mouthpiece for the Vatican.
Written by the editor in chief, Jesuit Father Antonio Spadaro, and Argentinean edition editor Rev. Marcelo Figueroa, “Evangelical Fundamentalism and Catholic Integralism in the USA: A Surprising Ecumenism” is a collection of uninformed assertions spiced with malice. It argues that Protestant and Catholic support for American conservatism amounts to an “ecumenism of hate.”

It’s hard to take this seriously. Father Spadaro and Figueroa seem to know very little about the history of religion and politics in the United States. For instance, they say “religion has had a more incisive role in the electoral process and government decisions over recent decades, especially in some U.S. governments.” This is wrong. The great reform movements in our history — abolition, prohibition and civil rights — have been motivated and articulated in explicitly Christian terms. Princes of the Church, such as Cardinals Mundelein and Spellman, were frequent guests at Franklin Roosevelt’s White House.



More here-

http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/italian-journal-builds-a-classic-straw-man-against-us-catholicism

Original Article-

http://www.laciviltacattolica.it/articolo/evangelical-fundamentalism-and-catholic-integralism-in-the-usa-a-surprising-ecumenism/

Texas Bathroom Bill Has Emotions, and Stakes, Running High

From The New York Times-

And on Wednesday, the presiding officers of the Episcopal Church wrote to the speaker of the Texas House and suggested that if the bill passed, the church would cancel its nine-day General Convention in Austin scheduled for July 2018.

“In 1955, we were forced to move a General Convention from Houston to another state because Texas laws prohibited black and white Episcopalians from being treated equally,” read the letter from Bishop Michael B. Curry and another leader. “We would not stand then for Episcopalians to be discriminated against, and we cannot countenance it now.”

Jeff Moseley, chief executive of the Texas Association of Business, the state’s most influential business lobby, announced that the group was taking its opposition to the bill to the airwaves by making a “seven-figure media buy.” The group has long aligned itself with the state’s conservative causes and issues, and has rarely taken public stands on social issues.


More here-

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/21/us/texas-bathroom-bill-transgender.html

The death of reading is threatening the soul

From The Washington Post (Philip Yancey)-

I am going through a personal crisis. I used to love reading. I am writing this blog in my office, surrounded by 27 tall bookcases laden with 5,000 books. Over the years I have read them, marked them up, and recorded the annotations in a computer database for potential references in my writing. To a large degree, they have formed my professional and spiritual life.

Books help define who I am. They have ushered me on a journey of faith, have introduced me to the wonders of science and the natural world, have informed me about issues such as justice and race. More importantly, they have been a source of delight and adventure and beauty, opening windows to a reality I would not otherwise know.

My crisis consists in the fact that I am describing my past, not my present. I used to read three books a week. One year I devoted an evening each week to read all of Shakespeare’s plays (Okay, due to interruptions it actually took me two years). Another year I read the major works of Tolstoy and Dostoevsky. But I am reading many fewer books these days, and even fewer of the kinds of books that require hard work.


More here-

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2017/07/21/the-death-of-reading-is-threatening-the-soul/?utm_term=.eb49a9cfa077

Panel: Suspend Bruno, Save St. James

From The Living Church-

In a scathing repudiation of the Bishop of Los Angeles, a disciplinary hearing panel of the Episcopal Church has decided to suspend the Rt. Rev. J. Jon Bruno from ministry for three years, effectively ending his career after more than 40 years of ordained ministry.

The panel also recommended that the St. James the Great congregation be restored to its former church building in Newport Beach, which has been padlocked for more than two years.

In a 4-1 decision, the panel wrote that “the scope and severity of Bishop Bruno’s misconduct … have unjustly and unnecessarily disturbed the ministry of a mission of the Church. St. James the Great is a casualty of Bishop Bruno’s misconduct.”


More here-

http://livingchurch.org/2017/07/21/panel-suspend-bruno-save-st-james/

Friday, July 21, 2017

Anglican leader to seek Church apology to domestic violence victims

From Australia-

The head of the Anglican Church in Australia hopes the general synod in September will apologise to victims of domestic violence, and for any failure where the Church hasn't "listened to people, or understood the depth of their suffering".

The head of the Anglican Church in Australia says he hopes the general synod in September will apologise to victims of domestic violence, and for any failure from the Church.

On The Drum, Anglican Primate of Australia Archbishop Philip Freier read out an unequivocal apology written by an Aboriginal priest, Father Daryl McCullough, who heads a parish in western New South Wales.

More here-

http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2017-07-21/anglican-leader-to-seek-church-apology-to-domestic-violence-victims/1687824

Trump threatens to change the course of American Christianity

From The Washington Post-

If you want to understand white evangelicalism in the age of Trump, you need to know Robert Jeffress, the pastor of First Baptist Church in Dallas.

Jeffress is not a household name in the United States, known mainly in Southern Baptist circles. But he has recently gained national attention as a “court evangelical” — my term for a Christian who, like the attendants and advisers who frequented the courts of monarchs, seeks influence through regular visits to the White House.

The court evangelicals are changing the religious landscape in the United States. The Trump presidency is only six months old, but it is already beginning to alter long-standing spiritual alignments. It seems as though Christians are not changing Trump, but rather that Trump could be changing Christianity.


More here-

https://www.washingtonpost.com/amphtml/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2017/07/17/trump-threatens-to-change-the-course-of-american-christianity/

Conservative clergy attack Barber for saying prayers for Trump ‘border on heresy’

From North Carolina-

Conservative clergy are returning fire at the Rev. William Barber for his criticism of ministers who prayed over President Donald Trump in the Oval Office last week.

At a Wednesday news conference in Charlotte, five faith-based leaders said that Barber, the liberal president of the North Carolina NACCP, was misguided and un-biblical when he called the White House prayer “theological malpractice bordering on heresy.”

“The scriptures are exceedingly clear that we are to pray specifically for our leaders,” said the Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League of North Carolina, which organized the news conference. He also quoted Jesus’ command to pray for enemies. “It doesn’t matter which side of the political aisle you may be on, whether Republican or Democrat, conservative or progressive, Jesus’ words don’t leave any room for the kind of qualification in our prayers set forth by Dr. Barber.”


Read more here:

http://www.charlotteobserver.com/living/religion/article162559693.html#storylink=cpy

National Episcopal Church urges defeat of Texas "bathroom bill"

From The Texas Tribune- (more links below)

In line with concerns that tourism officials have raised about the bathroom bill’s effect on the convention business, Curry and Jennings wrote that the bathroom bill could also keep the national church from holding its 2018 general convention in Austin. A bathroom bill would keep the church from ensuring that “all Episcopalians and visitors to our convention, including transgender people, are treated with respect, kept safe, and provided appropriate public accommodation consistent with their gender identities.

“Because we are currently scheduled to hold our triennial General Convention — a nine-day event that includes as many as 10,000 people — in Austin in July 2018, we are paying especially close attention to the news emerging from your special session,” Curry and Jennings wrote.

The church first raised the prospect of relocating its convention in February in its first letter to Straus. The church moved its convention out of Texas in 1955 because of the state’s segregation laws.

The divisions sowed by bathroom restrictions today ring similar to Jim Crow discrimination from that time, the church leaders wrote.


More here-

https://www.texastribune.org/2017/07/20/national-episcopal-church-urges-defeat-texas-bathroom-bill/

also here-

http://www.dallasvoice.com/episcopal-church-denounces-bathroom-bill-10239702.html 

and here-

http://kxan.com/2017/07/21/bathroom-bills-targeting-public-buildings-schools-get-hearing-today/

Thursday, July 20, 2017

First cathedral offers gay weddings

From Premier UK-

A Scottish cathedral has become the first Anglican cathedral in the country to offer weddings for homosexual couples, after a historic ruling.

St Mary's Cathedral in Glasgow is now taking bookings after the Scottish Episcopal Church's governing body, the General Synod, decided last month to let clergy conduct ceremonies for same-sex couples.

Provost of the Cathedral, the Very Rev Kelvin Holdsworth said: "It is hugely exciting to open up wedding services to all couples who want to get married.

"People at St Mary's were part of the campaign to allow gay and lesbian couples to get married in Scotland so it is not surprising that we would want to be able to offer such weddings in the cathedral itself."


More here-

https://www.premier.org.uk/News/UK/First-cathedral-offers-gay-weddings

Liturgy for transgender transitions?

From Patheos-

There are liturgies that go with birth, coming of age, getting married, and dying.  Now it is being proposed to develop a liturgy to mark gender transitions.

The Church of England has voted to affirm transgendered individuals and to study developing a liturgy that would solemnize the decision or medical procedures whereby a man assumes a new identity as a woman, or a woman assumes a new identity as a man.


This would seem to stop short of re-baptism, as some transgender activists have called for.
This could go along with other liturgies for contemporary culture.  Some churches offer divorce ceremonies.  What other occasions might call for a liturgical blessing from liberal churches?


More here-

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/geneveith/2017/07/liturgy-for-transgender-transitions-draft/

Four arrested protesting health care policy outside GOP senators’ offices

From Kansas-

Before heading to the Capitol, organizers and participants met at nearby St. Mark's Episcopal Church for civil disobedience training. Leaders broadcast directions about getting arrested. Protesters scribbled phone numbers of legal counsel on their arms while hearing songs of solidarity and shared stories.

"What do we want?" the group chanted, practicing for the protests.

"Health care!"

"When do we want it?"

"Now!"

"We're coming together, not just against something, but also for something else," Kerr said. "And that's universal health care."

Faflick, who grew up in Wichita, said traveling to Washington was crucial to show his support for universal health care and tell his senators why they need to say no to an Obamacare repeal.

"I want to be part of the political revolution, and I want to stand for all people and the basic human right that all people deserve access to affordable health care," he said. "Civil disobedience is a very visual step that gets a lot of recognition ... it makes our voices heard in a very loud and very strong way."


Read more here:

http://www.miamiherald.com/news/politics-government/article162535858.html#storylink=cpy

More U.S. Protestants Have No Specific Denominational Identity

From Gallup-

Americans have become less likely to identify with an official or formal religion in recent decades, and nowhere is this more evident than in the dwindling percentage who identify with a specific Protestant denomination. In 2000, 50% of Americans identified with a specific denomination; by 2016 that figure had dropped to 30%.

This shrinking proportion of Americans who identify with specific Protestant denominations is the result of two trends.

First, an increasing percentage of Americans are "nones," saying they don't have a specific religious identity of any kind. Since the percentages of Catholics, Mormons and those who identify with a non-Christian religion have stayed roughly the same over time, this "rise of the nones" -- from 10% in 2000 to 20% in 2016 -- has generally been accompanied by an associated decrease in the broad category of Protestants, whose numbers shrank from 57% to 47%. Therefore, there are fewer Protestants of any kind in the American population today, and the pool of those who identify with a specific Protestant denomination is smaller.


More here-

http://www.gallup.com/poll/214208/protestants-no-specific-denominational-identity.aspx?g_source=Religion&g_medium=newsfeed&g_campaign=tiles

Why Anglicans should pray the rosary

From The Living Church-

Every time I get on an airplane, I pray the rosary. Flying is nerve-racking for me, even after several years of routine air travel. Praying the rosary comforts me and keeps me calm: I feel protected and able to trust that the plane will be a safe place for me, no matter what happens.

I did not grow up praying the rosary. It was not until I became an Episcopalian in my early 20s that I took it up as a serious devotion.

Some people would probably find that surprising. The rosary is not a particularly common devotion for Episcopalians. In fact, the invention of the so-called Anglican rosary in the latter half of the last century was intended to give Episcopalians a way of praying with beads without being associated with anything that seemed too Roman Catholic.


More here-

http://livingchurch.org/covenant/2016/08/15/why-anglicans-should-pray-the-rosary/

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Extinction is all around us

From The Washington Post- (Keillor's piece referenced below)

The big news last week was that giraffes and lions are approaching extinction because we humans are turning their habitat into farms and senior high-rises. I read the article and of course thought of the lion who killed a giraffe and brought the corpse back to the den and his wife said, “You can’t leave that lyin’ there,” and he said, “That’s not a lion, it’s a giraffe.”

The truth is that people who love jokes like that — joke jokes, not mere sarcasm, but the How Many Talking Dogs Walking Into a Bar Does It Take to Change a Lightbulb sort of joke — are facing extinction. Women wince at those jokes, men edge away, afraid the joker is an aluminum siding salesman. If you like jokes, you find yourself sitting at the children’s table at Sunday dinner. (What did the fish say when it hit the wall? Dam.)


More here-

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/extinction-is-all-around-us/2017/07/18/d2b54e72-6bc1-11e7-b9e2-2056e768a7e5_story.html?utm_term=.7cb5322aead0

We faithful few?

From Episcopal Cafe-

The second voice is that of noted humorist and poetry fan, Garrison Keillor, who writes in his unique wistful style of  a world that is passing away.  Titled “From Giraffes to Episcopalians, World Going Extinct,”Keillor laments its passing.

“Giraffes are dying out because they are a joke, an ungainly mythological-looking amalgamation of a horse and a stepladder. God is not proud of the giraffe. In Scripture, He refers to horses, sheep, cattle, swine, snakes, camels, but nothing about this oddity. Isaiah did not write, “All we like giraffes have gone astray” – their problem isn’t a willful nature, it’s bad design.

As for lions, they used to roam Europe, but do you want to get off your tour bus in Rome and walk into the Colosseum and suddenly hear low raspy sounds and turn and there is the MGM lion 15 feet away with a napkin around his neck? You, a good Episcopalian, about to be martyred by a circus act?

Episcopalians are also facing extinction, along with the rest of the orthodox wing of Christianity that takes the Bible at its word. The Church of the Beautiful Hair is taking over the habitat, humunga-churches where magenta spotlights sway and peroxided men in spangly jumpsuits play Metallica with spiritual lyrics and ponytailed preachers tell the multitude that we are the Chosen and the Lord is going to maximize and monetize us.


More here-

https://www.episcopalcafe.com/we-faithful-few/

Fuller Theological Seminary closing campuses after decline in admissions

From Christian Today-

The influential US evangelical institution Fuller Theological Seminary has suffered a significant decline in admisisons to its regional campuses, forcing it to close several of its locations. The seminary said it was grieving the loss, but 'retooling for a different world'.

The news of the closure was released in an email to Fuller students on July 17. The largely California-based seminary says it has seen an expansion of its 'global footprint', with enrollments reaching 6,500 a year across 260 courses due to the widened capacity of online and distance-learning teaching.

Fuller's provost Joel Green wrote: 'However, the significant increase in online enrollment has been matched by a decrease in enrollment on our geophysical campuses. To offer one snapshot, while winter quarter online enrollment has increased by almost 50 per cent from 2013-17, enrollment on our regional campuses has decreased by about 30 per cent during the same period.'

He added: 'This shift from our geophysical classes to online brings with it certain challenges. Primary among those is the increasing difficulty of attracting enough students to foster a genuine learning community in some of our regional campus classrooms – a difficulty that has had a negative impact on the financial sustainability of some of our regional campus efforts.


More here-


St. John's Episcopal in Kingsville celebrates its 325th anniversary

From Maryland-

St. John's Episcopal Church in Kingsville, one of the oldest parishes in Maryland, celebrated its 325th anniversary with a day of activities Sunday that included the installation of a new pastor.

The church, which serves residents of Harford and Baltimore counties, began in 1692, before there was a state or even a nation here, according ot Karen Smith Manar, a member of the 325th anniversary committee.

Manar provided the following history of the church:

Beginnings

In 1608, Captain John Smith first explored the land that would become St. John's Parish. In 1692, with the formation of its first Vestry by the Maryland General Assembly, St. John's began as a parish of the Church of England. The parish probably had its beginnings as a "church of logs" built in a clearing at Elk Neck along the Gunpowder River.


More here-

http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/harford/aegis/entertainment/ph-ag-xcomm-st-johns-kingsville-20170718-story.html

METHODISTS AND ANGLICANS: LINGERING DIFFERENCES

From The Living Church-

After decades of ecumenical dialogue, leaders of the Episcopal and United Methodist Churches recently issued a proposal for full communion between our two churches (see the documents, reporting from Jeff MacDonald, and an editorial on the proposal from The Living Church: “Slightly Less Than Full Communion“). The proposal seeks to heal a division that dates to 1784, when two groups of Anglicans sought contradictory solutions to the crisis posed by the collapse of their church in this land during the Revolutionary War. (A related scheme for reunion is on the table in England as well.)

My earlier essay focused on the key decisions made by the zealous John Wesley and the patient Samuel Seabury, whose actions set significant trajectories for the churches they founded.  The initial break was not inevitable, nor its persistence necessary, but these trajectories toward Methodist zeal and Episcopalian patience factor significantly in the work that remains unfinished before full reconciliation can come.


More here-

http://livingchurch.org/covenant/2017/07/19/methodists-and-anglicans-lingering-differences/

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Catholic priest is married with 8 children; here’s how that’s possible

From Wisconsin-

 Food has a way of bringing people together -- in nourishment, in service and in just plain ‘ole good company. The fish fry at Holy Family Catholic Church in Whitefish Bay is one of the best around, according to those who have devoured the golden, fried cod. At the fish fry, there is a sense of community.  Some would even argue it is an extension of family that comes together for the meal and fellowship.

There is one thing that is for sure: It is Father David Zampino’s happy place.

You might not be able to tell just by looking at him, but Father Dave Zampino is unlike most Catholic priests.  He is married, and he has kids -- eight of them!

“My oldest child is David,” explained Father Dave. “My next child is Maria.  Then comes Thomas. Then Elizabeth. Then John Paul. Then Theresa. Then Philip. Then Gianna.”


More here-

http://fox6now.com/2017/07/17/im-one-of-those-exceptions-catholic-priest-is-married-with-8-children-heres-how-thats-possible/

Every Day Is Casual Friday

From The Living Church-

The Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, broke with tradition in late June to allow Members of Parliament to skip wearing jackets and ties in the chamber. Now the Church of England’s General Synod has decided it is in keeping with the modern world for clergy to have the choice of leading worship while wearing casual clothes.

In a similar vein. the Queen wore a dress and hat rather than the traditional robes and crown while presenting the traditional monarch’s speech spelling out the government’s program for the next Parliament. And on a hot day in June, men in the membership enclosure at the Royal Ascot races were allowed to dispense with jackets.

The synod decision needs an Amending Canon, after which it will go to the Monarch for Royal Assent. Many clergy, particularly evangelicals, ignore existing canon law that says “the presiding minister shall wear either a surplice or alb with scarf or stole” at Holy Communion, baptisms, and funerals.

More here-

http://htl.li/OEEz30dH5vF

The other Eastern churches

From Christian Century- (Philip Jenkins)


Most Americans know the basic Christian division between Prot­es­tants and Catholics, and they are at least aware of the Orthodox tradition of the faith, even if they might not be too clear about the exact differences separating them. But besides these three great Christian families there is the distinct (and numerous) group of Orien­tal Orthodox churches, which will be an increasingly visible part of the Western religious spectrum in years to come.

The Orthodox divisions date to fierce conflicts that raged when the Roman Empire was a superpower faced with the clear and present danger posed by Goths and Huns. Protestants, Catholics, and Orthodox all accept the authority of a series of four church councils that met between 325 and 451 to define Christian doctrine and belief, and in each case the decision was enforced by imperial authority. That sequence of councils culminated in 451 with the Council of Chalcedon, which proclaimed that Christ is both fully divine and fully human. The pro-Chalcedonian churches based in Rome and Constantinople evolved into what we would later call the Roman Catholic and Orthodox communions. The 16th-century Reformers accepted the Chalcedonian settlement, which was fundamental for Protestants, Catholic and Orthodox alike.


More here-

https://www.christiancentury.org/article/other-eastern-churches

God is Love. Full Stop.

From Experimental Theology-

Over the summer I've re-read two of George MacDonald's novels. I haven't read a George MacDonald novel since college when they had such a transformative effect upon me.

I know a lot of George MacDonald fans, but not many of them express my degree of enthusiasm for his novels. Most MacDonald fans love Unspoken Sermons, his fairy stories or his children's stories. There aren't very many people who adore MacDonald's novels. Admittedly, they aren't all that good. But I love them, and they had a huge impact upon me.

Why?

During High School I had reached the conviction that the deepest confession I could make about God is that God is love. Simple enough, but at that time I still lacked the courage to make that confession unconditional. I lacked the courage to confess that "God is love" full stop.


More here-

https://experimentaltheology.blogspot.com/2017/07/god-is-love-full-stop.html

Sam Rodman ordained, consecrated bishop of the Diocese of North Carolina

From ENS-

 It was joyful in Durham, North Carolina, on July 15, when the
Rt. Rev. Samuel Rodman was ordained and consecrated as the XII Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina.

Rodman was elected on March 4, marking the culmination of a search that began after former bishop Michael Curry was elected presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church at the 78th General Convention in 2015.


Approximately 1,000 people attended and participated the 2 ½-hour service at Duke University Chapel, where Curry returned to North Carolina to celebrate his successor and serve as the chief consecrator. Several bishops served as co-consecrators, including the Rt. Rev. Alan Gates, bishop of the Diocese of Massachusetts; the Rt. Rev. Rob Skirving, bishop of the Diocese of East Carolina; the Rt. Rev. Jose McLaughlin, bishop of the Diocese of Western North Carolina; the Rt. Rev. Barbara Harris, bishop suffragan of the Diocese of Massachusetts, retired; and the Rt. Rev. Anne Hodges-Copple, bishop suffragan of the Diocese of North Carolina. Hodges-Copple served as bishop diocesan pro tempore during the time of diocesan transition.


More here-

http://episcopaldigitalnetwork.com/ens/2017/07/17/sam-rodman-ordained-consecrated-bishop-of-the-diocese-of-north-carolina/

Monday, July 17, 2017

Is Synod competent?

From Psephizo-

The General Synod of the Church of England (of which I am a member) met last week in York, and there were many good things about it. We spend most of Saturday afternoon exploring some exciting developments from the ‘centre’ offering resources to dioceses and churches in the task of evangelism and the making of disciples. There was a motion allowing the flexible use of vestments, bringing canon law into line with the reality of variety of practice on the ground. A private member’s motion (PMM) (by Tiffer Robinson) proposed making a sensible change to the allocation of school places, so that clergy moving into tied accommodation are not unfairly penalised. I co-presented the report of the Archbishops’ Council (AC), and it was notable that both suspicion of the Council and reluctance to engage with Renewal and Reform had mostly dissipated.

But there were two other items of business that consumed disproportionate amounts of emotional energy and which have sparked debate ever since, and they tested the competence of Synod. I am not sure that the test was passed.

More here-

https://www.psephizo.com/sexuality-2/is-synod-competent/

Episcopal Church in central N.C. gets new bishop

From North Carolina-

Nearly 55 years ago, a young Sam Rodman stood before the priest at a west Massachusetts Episcopal church with a younger sister on the left and an older one on the right as they were baptized before the congregation.

Rodman was just 4 years old, but the sense of community and goodwill he felt stayed so strongly with him that he drew a sense of purpose in the church. He became a deacon, then a priest, and eventually the acting chief of staff for the Massachusetts diocese.

Saturday morning, Rodman, 58, was back before another Episcopal leader, taking another step in his now lifelong spiritual journey. Dressed in a simple white robe, with a white rope serving as a belt, Rodman stood at the front of Duke Chapel before the leader of The Episcopal Church, who asked the 1,000 congregants in attendance if Rodman should be ordained the bishop for the central North Carolina diocese that includes Charlotte, Greensboro and the Triangle.


Read more here:

http://www.charlotteobserver.com/living/religion/article161597013.html#storylink=cpy

Sunday, July 16, 2017

No magic wand

From The Church Times-

SEX in the long grass is not as pleasurable as it sounds. As the Bishops learnt at the Synod, a commitment to a teaching document and a pastoral-practices subgroup does not buy you a great deal of sympathy. Several Synod members voiced dis­satisfaction with the proposed timetable, with several references to the state of the outfield, as well as a lack of confidence in the end result. But the Archbishop of Canterbury was right when he said that three years was “a remarkably short period”. Revisiting the extensive literature on the subject, consulting the most knowledgeable people, listening to all the special-interest groups, liaison with other Anglican Provinces and other de­­nominations, and then composing and agreeing an author­itative text, is not the work of a moment. It is comparable to producing a Ph.D. thesis, knowing that, when you get to your viva, the examiners will be in deep disagreement with each other. After the reception of the Marriage and Same-sex Rela­tionships report in February, which was sniped at by conser­vatives, dismissed by liberals, the Bishop of Coventry, the man in charge of the project, knows that the reputation of the Bishops is on the line.

More here-

https://www.churchtimes.co.uk/articles/2017/14-july/comment/leader-comment/no-magic-wand

It is time to get past the snobbery against pastoral theologians

From American Magazine-

Over the years, I have often heard pastors and teachers say, apologetically, that they were not theologians or academics or that they did not fully understand a book written by some theologian. Such humility may be commendable, but it is misplaced. Let me explain why.

In today’s big graduate theology programs, one sometimes encounters a status snobbery regarding the various theological subspecialties. Dogmatic or systematic theology is assumed to be for the brightest graduate students, those philosophically inclined and willing to tackle how all the doctrines ought to be connected and understood. Then there are people who are not drawn to “big ideas” but take up scriptural and historical studies; they like to focus on specifics and details. And those who go into ethics want to resolve difficult moral situations, to have an immediate impact by addressing particular contemporary problems.


More here-

https://www.americamagazine.org/faith/2017/07/13/it-time-get-past-snobbery-against-pastoral-theologians

The Radical Origins of Christianity

From The New Yorker-

Kierkegaard relates a chilling parable in “The Sickness Unto Death.” An emperor summons a poor day laborer. The man never dreamed that the emperor even knew of his existence. The emperor tells him that he wants to have him as his son-in-law, a bizarre announcement that must strike the man as something he would never dare tell the world, for fear of being mocked; it seems as if the emperor wanted only to make a fool of his subject. Now, Kierkegaard says, suppose that this event was never made a public fact; no evidence exists that the emperor ever summoned the laborer, so that his only recourse would be blind faith. How many would have the courage to believe? Christ’s kingdom is like that, Kierkegaard says.

The French writer Emmanuel Carrère doesn’t mention Kierkegaard in his latest book, “The Kingdom” (Farrar, Straus & Giroux), but the Danish philosopher—the Danish Christian lunatic, one might say—hovers over the book as God’s face is said to have hovered over the waters during the creation of the world. The Kierkegaard whose work is scarred by the great “offense” of Christianity, by its shocking challenge to reason and empirical evidence; who claimed that modern philosophy amounts to the premise “I think therefore I am,” while Christianity equals the premise “I believe therefore I am”; who writes that the best proof that God exists is the circular proof one was offered as a child (“It is absolutely true, because my father told me so”)—that brilliant, mutilated Christian is the unnamed patron of “The Kingdom.” An amazingly various book, it narrates the author’s crises of religious faith in the nineteen-nineties; combines conventional history and speculative reconstruction to describe the rise of early Christianity; deftly animates the first-century lives and journeys of Paul, Luke, and John; and attempts to explain how an unlikely cult, formed around the death and resurrection of an ascetic lyrical revolutionary, grew into the established Church we know today. “Can one believe that such things are still believed?” Nietzsche asked, scornfully. “And yet they are still believed,” Carrère replies.



More here-


http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/07/10/the-radical-origins-of-christianity?mbid=social_facebook_aud_dev_kw_paid-the-radical-origins-of-christianity&kwp_0=464771&kwp_4=1692999&kwp_1=726096

N.C. Rector to Lead in Delaware

From The Living Church-

Brown led among laity from the first ballot, drawing 39 of the 52 votes he would need to win. Clergy first favored Gunn. Brown took the lead among clergy on the second ballot.

A native of the U.S. Air Force who has worked for FedEx Corp. and the investment banking company Coolidge & Co. of Memphis, Brown is a graduate of Duke University, the University of West Florida, and General Theological Seminary. He was ordained deacon and priest in 2007, and has served parishes in Tennessee and North Carolina.

“I had no inkling of priesthood until my early thirties, a few years after starting a family, buying a house, and building a career,” Brown wrote in a narrative biographical statement [PDF]. “Though I was ‘successful,’ I was shaken by an urgent question. I knew I could teach my daughters to work hard and find good jobs. But could I, their father, lead them toward a life worth living? What is a life worth living? My priorities were upended. I found myself praying seriously for the first time in my life, and I learned firsthand that honest prayer can rock your world. Within a few years my family and I were at General Seminary marching toward an unexpected future.”


More here-

http://htl.li/KA9u30dF3HH

Saturday, July 15, 2017