Saturday, August 19, 2017

Diocese in Europe ‘shocked and alarmed’ by terrorist attacks in Spain

From The Church Times-

THE Archbishop of Canterbury has joined faith leaders and politicians in expressing his sorrow for the 14 people who were killed and hundreds more injured in a spree of terrorist attacks in Barcelona and the surrounding Catalonian region in Spain on Wednesday and Thursday.

Reports first emerged of an explosion at a house in the small town of Alcanar, 200 km south of Barcelona, on Wednesday night, which killed one person and wounded 16. Senior police officials in the region said that the blast — from a failed attempt to create an explosive device — was directly related to a van attack in Barcelona the next day.

Police were hunting for an 18-year-old, Moussa Oubakir, on Friday, who is said to have driven a white Fiat van into pedestrians outside the Pla├ža de Catalunya metro station, in the centre of the city, on Thursday night, killing 13 and wounding at least one hundred others.


More here-

https://www.churchtimes.co.uk/articles/2017/25-august/news/world/diocese-shocked-and-alarmed-by-terrorist-attacks-in-spain

Trump's evangelical panel remains intact as others disband. Here are his religious cheerleaders

From The Guardian-

Donald Trump was forced to disband two business advisory councils and an infrastructure panel after some of America’s most prominent business leaders fled their posts, protesting against Trump’s statements appeasing white nationalist marchers at the weekend rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

But the president’s religious evangelical advisory board, a mix of radical born-again preachers, televangelists and conservative political influencers, still stands almost intact. Not only have members avoided criticism of the president, while occasionally scolding the violence in general – some have been openly supportive of Trump’s statements assigning blame “on many sides” and slamming those who turned up to oppose the militant neo-Nazis.


More here-

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/aug/18/donald-trump-evangelicals-charlottesville

Angry Arminian Mob Pulls Down Statue Of John Calvin

From Babylon Bee-

PITTSBURGH, PA—A rowdy gang of angry, riled-up Arminian believers gathered to pull down a statue of Reformer John Calvin standing in front of Calvin Reformed Bible College & Seminary, authorities confirmed Friday.

The band of Wesleyan troublemakers brought a rope, lassoed it around the neck of the stone likeness of Calvin, and yanked it down while yelling rallying cries like “Down with limited atonement!” “You’ll never take our free will!” and “For Servetus!”

Mob members then stomped on the statue and spray-painted crude Arminian slogans on the downed Reformer, according to police reports.


More here-

http://babylonbee.com/news/mob-angry-arminians-pulls-statue-john-calvin/

Friday, August 18, 2017

Vexing times for many S.C. Episcopalians

From South Carolina-

The recent State Supreme Court ruling that The Episcopal Church (TEC) can reclaim 29 of the original 36 breakaway parishes is a stunning and largely unexpected setback for the clergy and congregants of the (Episcopal) Diocese of South Carolina represented by those parishes, which broke away from the national church (The Episcopal Church) in 2012 after years of bitter fighting over scriptural interpretation, governance matters and — yes — the role of openly gay clergy within the church hierarchy.

In a complicated ruling rife with disagreement and decided by the five-member court as it was comprised two years ago (former Chief Justices Toal and Pleicones are no longer on the bench), the essence of the legalities appears to have boiled down to canon law vs civil law — and canon law won.


More here-

http://www.postandcourier.com/columnists/vexing-times-for-many-s-c-episcopalians/article_8aca27d8-8294-11e7-ac9c-139149d27dbe.html

Is the Solar Eclipse a Message From God?

From Atlantic-

In Silverton, Oregon, Sonrise Ranch is hosting a sold-out, family-friendly festival on its grounds called “Eclipsed With God’s Love,” which will include outdoor church services and Christian film screenings. In Casper, Wyoming, which is expecting thousands of visitors, a pair of Baptist churches and a local chapter of a Christian nonprofit will hand out hundreds of copies of God of Wonders, a movie, styled like a nature documentary, that features creationist explanations for everything from weather systems to DNA. “Additionally, if our parking lot is utilized for eclipse watchers, we will take that opportunity to try and share the Gospel,” a pastor explained, according to the Baptist Press. In Chillicothe, Missouri, a Baptist-run campground will host a “Wonders of Creation Solar Eclipse Family Retreat” of hiking, swimming, and other activities, interspersed with time for worship and teachings. “Since we’re in the range of the eclipse, we thought we were in a position to do teaching and ministry for families,” an organizer told The Pathway, a Baptist publication in Missouri.

More here-

https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2017/08/solar-eclipse-as-religious-experience/536823/

A Message to the Church from the Presiding Bishop

From The Epsicopal Church- (Video)

Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community?

In this moment – when the stain of bigotry has once again covered our land, and when hope, frankly, sometimes seems far away, when we must now remember new martyrs of the way of love like young Heather Heyer – it may help to remember the deep wisdom of the martyrs who have gone before.

The year was 1967. It was a time not unlike this one in America. Then there were riots in our streets, poverty and unbridled racism in our midst, and a war far away tearing us apart at home. In that moment, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote a book, his last one, with a message that rings poignant today. It was titled, “Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community?”

One of his insights then was that a moment of crisis is always a moment of decision. It was true then and is true now. Where do we go from here? Chaos? Indifference? Avoidance? Business as usual? Or Beloved Community?

I’m a follower of Jesus of Nazareth because I believe the teachings, the Spirit, the Person, the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus have shown us the way through the chaos to true community as God has intended from the beginning.


More here-

http://publicaffairs.cmail19.com/t/ViewEmail/r/1C15B0C226A8449B2540EF23F30FEDED/0D2066E3A39D3F72F1E87EB810D8F10A

Why are thousands of people who've never set foot in church before suddenly showing up for choral evensong?

From Christian Today-

Thousands of people are turning out to hear free choral music around Britain, many for the first time.

The ancient church music has been around for centuries – but is getting a new audience due to a new website set up to enable people to find choral evensong services at cathedrals, colleges and churches anywhere in Britain and Ireland.

The website is now receiving about 8,500 unique visitors a month, and 11,500 visits a month, and that number is rising. There are now 505 churches, chapels and cathedrals with their own pages on the website, and the number keeps growing.

And the effect on congregations is staggering.

One poorly-attended church in London found attendance shot up from around 20 people to nearly 200 at one evensong alone. 


More here-

https://www.christiantoday.com/article/why.are.thousands.of.people.whove.never.set.foot.in.church.before.suddenly.showing.up.for.choral.evensong/112048.htm?internal_source=ct_most_popular

Thursday, August 17, 2017

A small Episcopal church’s welcome to refugees hits the movie screens

From ACNS-

The true story of how a group of refugees from Burma helped to save an Episcopal church in the US state of Tennessee has been turned into a movie. Distributed by Sony Pictures, All Saints will open in cinemas in north America next week and is also being distributed internationally.

The diocese of Tennessee explains that the All Saints movie “is a fictionalised account of how the congregation of All Saints’ in Smyrna was very close to shutting its doors just a few years ago until a group of refugees from Burma (Myanmar) came to the vicar and asked if they might attend church there. The Karen are a close-knit group of people who found Christ through the Anglican Church in Burma prior to moving to the United States.

“As more and more Karen began to join the congregation of All Saints, it became clear that the Holy Spirit was at work … in a big way. Needed health care services, farming on the church’s land, selling products from the farmed land to create income, and more activities opened up to the new members a vivid experience of what the American dream looks like within a close church family.”


More here-

http://www.anglicannews.org/news/2017/08/a-small-episcopal-churchs-welcome-to-refugees-hits-the-movie-screens.aspx

A word from Bishop Wayne Smith about Charlottesville and Racism

From Missouri-

Only a few days ago I had meant merely to point the people and clergy of the Diocese of Missouri to the statement from the Bishops of the Diocese of Virginia, which can still be found here. Charlottesville, after all, lies in the geography of their pastoral concern, not mine. My desire was then, and still remains, to support ministry and faithful witness on the ground, where the wound actually occurred. The President’s news conference on August 15, however, has broadened the reach of some deeply troubling issues and made them pertinent to every citizen, everywhere in this country. I thus have no conscientious option left but to speak out. And I do so primarily from a moral and theological perspective, not a political one.

A foundation of Biblical faith requires belief in the One True God and a corresponding renunciation of all others, who are but idols. Idolatry is a cagier, more insidious matter than we often realize. It certainly includes all the false gods made of sticks, stones, or metal, yes. At base, however, an idol is just something that is no god at all—but still demands the allegiance which belongs to the true God. Ideology, for example, can therefore become such an idol. 

More here-

https://www.diocesemo.org/news/2017/08/16/word-bishop-wayne-smith-about-charlottesville-and-racism

NCC Condemns “Unite the Right”

From The NCC-

The National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA condemns, in the strongest terms, the “Unite the Right” gathering of white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Saturday, August 12th.  We deplore the ideology behind it and the hatred manifest in it. White supremacy must find no sanction or shelter in America today.

We grieve for the lives needlessly lost.  Heather Heyer, 32, died in what we believe has been appropriately named a terrorist act by Attorney General Sessions.  She died as a witness to love and justice for all.  We grieve for the two officers in the Virginia State Police, Lieutenant H. Jay Cullen, 48, and Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates, 40, and pray for their families.

We also give thanks for the moral witness given by concerned people of faith, including clergy, who came to Charlottesville to stand as a barrier before those gathered in the cause of white supremacy.  We are grateful for the leadership offered by Rev. Brittany Caine-Conley, Rev. Seth Wispelwey, Congregate C’ville (a group instrumental in the organizing of the counter-protest), and dozens of others who spent countless hours preparing for this now-infamous day.  Their courage and faith in the face of hate is an inspiration to all of us.


More here-

https://nationalcouncilofchurches.us/ncc-condemns-unite-the-right/

Bay Ridge Episcopal Church Removes Plaques Honoring Confederate General Robert E. Lee

From Brooklyn-

In the wake of riots and a murder in Virginia related to the removal of Confederate monuments, the Episcopal church this morning removed two plaques honoring Confederate general Robert E. Lee on church property in Bay Ridge.

“I think it is the responsible thing for us to do,” Bishop Lawrence Provenzano told Newsday. “People for whom the Civil War is such a critical moment — and particularly the descendants of former slaves — shouldn’t walk past what they believe is a church building and see a monument to a Confederate general.”


The plaques commemorated a spot where, according to legend, Lee planted a tree while he was stationed at Fort Hamilton as a member of the Army Corps of Engineers during the 1840s, before he became a Confederate military leader. He was a vestryman at the congregation of St. John’s Episcopal Church, located at 9818 Fort Hamilton Parkway near the army base.

The church is known as “the Church of the Generals,” because of all the military men who have worshipped there. By curious coincidence, another Confederate general, Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, was baptized there.


More here-

http://www.brownstoner.com/brooklyn-life/robert-e-lee-brooklyn-st-johns-church-bay-ridge-fort-hamilton/

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

UNDEREMPLOYED: THE PRESENT AND FUTURE OF TEC CLERGY

From The Living Church-

The first time I heard this — two years ago — I wondered how much money was in the trust fund of the young postulant sitting in my office. He had come to me seeking a parish field placement, and was responding to my standard question — “What kind of priestly ministry do you imagine for yourself upon graduation?”

But he was not an anomaly. Bishops and commissions on ministry are telling more and more ordinands that the Episcopal Church cannot guarantee employment upon ordination, and therefore that ordinands should prepare an alternate source of income.

“Be tentmakers!” they are told. “You should be in the community anyhow,” they are advised. “Your priestly ministry will be strengthened by your outside work.”

According to a little-noticed study [PDF] published by the Church Pension Group in 2016, a representative survey of all Episcopal clergy under the age of 72 revealed that 42 percent were not employed by a single Episcopal employer (what the study calls the old model). Ten percent of these clergy were employed part time; 11 percent were bivocational (meaning that they worked both for a TEC and non-TEC employer, often drawing their income from non-parochial employment), 5 percent were employed by multiple TEC institutions at the same time, and 5 percent served as interims or supply priests. The remaining 11 percent drew no salary, were not employed by TEC, or had no employment at all.


More here-

http://livingchurch.org/covenant/2017/08/16/underemployed-the-present-and-future-of-tec-clergy/

Possible Canonization of Major League Ball Player Gains Traction

From Catholic Marketing-

A baseball player may be on the way to becoming a saint. The idea may sound like it is out of left field, but the pitch thrown to Pope Francis by filmmaker Richard Rossi turned out to be an unlikely strike. What about the requirement for a miracle to greenlight the canonization of baseball icon Roberto Clemente beyond beatification? It was met today, according to Sports Illustrated and the Associated Press. He is now declared officially “blessed.”

Olympian Jamie Nieto was paralyzed from the neck down in a backflip accident three years after Rossi’s controversial film “Baseball’s Last Hero” was released. Nieto starred in the lead role of Roberto Clemente. His stellar acting in portraying Clemente’s Christlike decision to give his life to save others caught the pontiff’s attention, inspiring the Clemente canonization campaign. Saturday in El Cajon, CA, Nieto walked 130 steps at his own wedding to fellow Olympian Shevon Stoddart.


More here-

http://www.catholicmarketing.com/2017/08/03/possible-canonization-major-league-ball-player-gains-traction/

A STATEMENT FROM CHRISTIAN ETHICISTS WITHOUT BORDERS ON WHITE SUPREMACY AND RACISM

From Daily Theology-

As followers of Jesus Christ and as Christian ethicists representing a range of denominations and schools of thought, we stand in resolute agreement in firmly condemning racist, anti-Semitic, anti-Muslim, and neo-Nazi ideology as a sin against God that divides the human family created in God’s image.

In January of 2017, white nationalist groups emboldened by the 2016 election planned an armed march against the Jews of Whitefish, Montana. On August 11th and 12th, hundreds of armed neo-Nazis marched in Charlottesville, Virginia. As we mourn the deaths of 32-year old counter-protester Heather Heyer and state troopers H. Jay Cullen and Berke Bates from this most recent incident, we unequivocally denounce racist speech and actions against people of any race, religion, or national origin.

White supremacy and racism deny the dignity of each human being revealed through the Incarnation. The evil of white supremacy and racism must be brought face-to-face before the figure of Jesus Christ, who cannot be confined to any one culture or nationality. Through faith we proclaim that God the Creator is the origin of all human persons. In the words of Frederick Douglass, “Between the Christianity of this land and the Christianity of Christ, I recognize the widest possible difference.”

More here-

https://dailytheology.org/2017/08/14/a-statement-from-christian-ethicists-without-borders-on-white-supremacy-and-racism/

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Episcopal Church of the Central Gulf Coast announces opening of seminary in DeFuniak Springs

From Florida-

This past week Bishop Russell Kendrick, of the Episcopal Church of the Central Gulf Coast announced the church would be opening an educational facility on Circle Drive in DeFuniak Springs next month in the church rectory adjacent to St. Agatha’s Episcopal Church.

Making the announcement, Kendrick work has been underway for the last two years to establish a local school for the education, formation, and transformation of those called to ordination either as a deacon or as a priest.

Kendrick says what began two years ago as an idea is now set to become a reality this September, with seven students already signed up.  “We have a team of instructors and a dean, and a curriculum,” said Kendrick in his formal announcement.

Describing the School for Ministry as a residential model for formation,  Kendrick said students will learn and live together for one weekend each month for over ten months for a period of three years.



More here-

http://fosterfollynews.com/2017/08/15/episcopal-church-of-the-central-gulf-coast-announces-opening-of-seminary-in-defuniak-springs/

Bishop urges legislature to defeat bill

From Ft. Worth-

August 14, 2017

I am writing to join my voice with that of many other faith leaders in opposition to Texas SB3, the so-called bathroom bill. This legislation is unnecessary – there already are laws that make it a crime to enter a bathroom with the intention of harming someone or invading privacy. It is dangerous because it is based in fear and lack of understanding – it targets some of the most vulnerable Texans for discrimination. Already in 2017 there have been 16 murders of transgender people in the United States. Finally, this legislation is unenforceable. But most of all, it is an offense against the human dignity of transgender people, painting them as somehow dangerous to the rest of us. We are commanded by God to love our neighbors as ourselves, indeed, as God loves us. This bill will foster hate, not love. I urge the legislature to defeat this bill.

The Rt. Rev. J. Scott Mayer
Provisional Bishop
Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth


 More here-

https://episcopaldiocesefortworth.org/bishop-urges-legislature-to-defeat-bathroom-bill/

The Feast of St. Mary the Virgin, Dormition, and Assumption

From Interrupting the Silence-

Today, August 15, is one of the great Marian feast days. The Eastern Orthodox call it the Feast of the Dormition while Roman Catholics call it the Feast of the Assumption. They deal with the same event but the interpretation is a bit different. The Rev. Patrick Comerford offers the following distinction:

The Orthodox Church teaches that Mary died a natural death, like any human being; that her soul was received by Christ upon death; and that her body was resurrected on the third day after her burial, at which time she was taken up, bodily only, into heaven, so that her tomb was found empty on the third day.

On the other hand, Roman Catholic teaching says Mary was “assumed” into heaven in bodily form. Some Roman Catholics agree with the Orthodox that this happened after her death, while others hold that she did not experience death. In his dogmatic definition of the Assumption in Munificentissimus Deus (1950), Pope Pius XII was not so dogmatic, for he appears to leave open the question of whether or not she actually underwent death and even alludes to the fact of her death at least five times.

Fr. Bosco Peters, blogging at Liturgy, offers some quotations from the Anglican – Roman Catholic dialog concerning Mary. 


https://interruptingthesilence.com/2011/08/15/the-feast-of-st-mary-the-virgin-dormition-and-assumption/

Episcopalians rally against hate as white supremacists bring violence to Charlottesville

From ENS-

 When white supremacists descended on Charlottesville, Virginia, over the weekend, sparking violence that left a counter-protester dead and dozens more injured, Episcopalians and other people of faith were among the most visible groups standing in solidarity against hate and bigotry.

St. Paul’s Memorial Church overlooking the University of Virginia campus hosted a prayer service on Aug. 11, the evening before the clashes. The next morning, members of St. Paul’s, Trinity Episcopal and Christ Episcopal joined an interfaith prayer service and then participated in a march to Emancipation Park to rally against the supremacists’ event planned there. The outbreak of violence prompted authorities to shut that event down before it even got started.


The three Episcopal churches in the city also have been active in the Charlottesville Clergy Collective, which now is helping the faith community regroup in the aftermath of the riot.
“I think that it’s incumbent upon us as people of faith to claim that ground, that we’re all created in God’s image, and those who are targets of this hate need people of faith, people of privilege, to show up,” said the Rev. Elaine Thomas, associate rector at St. Paul’s and the co-leader of the Charlottesville Clergy Collective.


More here-

http://episcopaldigitalnetwork.com/ens/2017/08/14/episcopalians-rally-against-hate-as-white-supremacists-bring-violence-to-charlottesville/

Monday, August 14, 2017

Los Angeles bishop coadjutor says disputed St. James property sale contract is legally binding

From ENS-

Diocese of Los Angeles Bishop Coadjutor John Taylor has written to the diocese about the disputed St. James the Great Episcopal Church property on Lido Island in Newport Beach, California, that is at the heart of disciplinary proceedings against diocesan Bishop J. Jon Bruno.
Taylor’s bottom line is that the contract to sell the property that Bruno struck is legally binding on the diocese.


“In prayerful discernment, we opened our hearts to a variety of possibilities for reconciliation in Christ and healing for St. James and our whole community. But Bishop Bruno has entered into a binding contract to sell the property. The buyer has the legal right to expect the seller to honor the contract,” Taylor wrote in a letter emailed to the diocese Aug. 14 and posted on the diocese’s Facebook page. “Much as we might wish it were otherwise, we do not believe that it would be in the interests of the diocese or consistent with our fiduciary responsibilities to endorse any steps leading to breaching or threatening to breach an enforceable contract that could lead to further expense and litigation.”


More here-

http://episcopaldigitalnetwork.com/ens/2017/08/14/los-angeles-bishop-coadjutor-says-disputed-st-james-property-sale-contract-is-legally-binding/

Jonathan Daniels Forgotten Hero of the Civil Rights Movement

From Plough-

On August 14, 1965, Jonathan was part of a protest in Fort Deposit, Alabama. He, Stokely Carmichael, and some twenty others were arrested and held in the Hayneville county jail, where they sat for a week in the sweltering heat. On August 20 they were released and quickly set about trying to get to somewhere safe. While some of the activists organized rides, Jonathan and a Catholic priest named Richard Morrisroe along with two local women, Ruby Sales and Joyce Bailey, walked to a local store known to serve blacks and whites.

As Ruby opened the door, a figure from the shadows warned them off the property. Then the man raised a shot gun and pulled the trigger. Jonathan pulled Ruby from the line of fire and was hit instead. He was dead before he hit the ground. The gunman shot Father Morrisroe in the back, and then walked over to the county courthouse to call the state police chief and inform him he had just shot two preachers.

At Jonathan’s funeral, many of the mourners stood around the grave and sang the anthem of the movement, “We Shall Overcome”– a final tribute from those who had come to love this son of New England and his integrity, love, and commitment to freedom.

More here-

http://www.plough.com/en/topics/faith/discipleship/jonathan-daniels-forgotten-hero-of-the-civil-rights-movement

Christianity Does Not Justify Trump’s ‘Fire and Fury’

From The New York Times-

Following President Trump’s initial threats of “fire and fury” toward North Korea on Aug. 8, Robert Jeffress, the evangelical pastor of the First Baptist Church of Dallas, and a presidential adviser, released a statement claiming that God had given the president authority to “take out” North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Jeffress was the president’s selected preacher at the traditional pre-inauguration liturgy at St. John’s Episcopal Church and claims to speak with Mr. Trump “on a variety of issues.”

Regardless of his political credentials, Jeffress’s theology is shockingly uninformed and dangerous, and it is a sobering reminder of the power of misguided moral statements to influence matters of life and death in policy. President Trump’s language, which he intensified a few days later, evoked apocalyptic nuclear war. Despite what either of the men claim, there is no possible Christian justification for provoking such a conflict.

In an interview with The Washington Post, Jeffress backs up his argument by citing Paul, in Romans 13, a famous passage on the relationship between earthly and divine authority. Yet even the casual reader of the Bible will be hard-pressed to recreate this interpretation of Romans. In order to reach his desired conclusion, the pastor rips this passage from its context; Paul is telling Christians to obey the Roman authorities in temporal matters such as taxation, not justifying the authority of one ruler over another.


More here-

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/14/opinion/christianity-does-not-justify-trumps-fire-and-fury.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20170814

The Bishops of the Diocese of North Carolina Respond to Violence in Charlottesville

From Virginia-

The bishops of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina - the Rt. Rev. Sam Rodman, bishop, and the Rt. Rev. Anne Hodges-Copple, bishop suffragan - offer a statement in response to yesterday's violence in Charlottesville:

The violence this past weekend in Charlottesville is both heartbreaking and sickening. Heartbreaking that innocent lives were lost and others were seriously injured, and that violence was used to try and silence and intimidate those who stood against hatred, racism and evil. The events were sickening in that our divisions in this country have reached a crisis point that resulted in an eruption of violence with deadly consequences.

How are we to respond, as Christians, in a way that condemns these actions, but does not contribute to the rhetoric of hate? We will need to rediscover the deep roots of non-violence embedded in the gospel and the Jesus Movement: non-violence that calls us to love our enemies, to pray for those who persecute others, to refuse to fight evil with evil, but to overcome evil with good.


More here-

http://www.dionc.org/dfc/newsdetail_2/3187339

Christians Must Resist White Supremacy

From The Bishop of Western Louisiana-

The nation and the world watched in heartsick disbelief this weekend as white supremacists gathered in Charlottesville, Virginia. Waving Nazi flags and raising the Nazi salute, the mob could not have made its racist ideology clearer.
Chillingly, the mob chanted “blood and soil,” a notorious catchphrase of the Third Reich. “Blood” refers to racial distinctions and asserts the superiority of whites over all others. Suppression of non-whites in a struggle for racial dominance is part of this distorted worldview.

“Soil” refers to geographical territory. In other words, those who shout this phrase insist that America is a white nation. They are claiming that whites should inhabit a privileged position politically and economically in the U.S. precisely because of their race.

For Christians, such ideas are appalling. We are all God’s children. In Christ we are all sisters and brothers. Every human being possesses infinite dignity, and it is our right, duty and privilege to respect each person we meet as God’s beloved. Everyone is equal before God. Everyone should be equal under the laws of the land.


More here-

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/christians-must-resist-white-supremacy_us_59902e30e4b0caa1687a60e7

Sunday, August 13, 2017

The Trump administration's alternative Christianity

From The LA Times-

Evangelicals have never had it so good, politically speaking.

Since President Trump took office in January, the White House has become a Christian roundtable, with just about every top-tier seat filled by a faithful member of the fold or someone who is happy to further the fold’s agenda.

The lineup of believers who are in positions of power is truly dizzying. Betsy DeVos, who leads the Department of Education, has stated that her goal as a public servant is to “advance God’s kingdom.” Secretary of Energy Rick Perry employed mass prayer as a means of addressing social problems when he was governor of Texas. Ben Carson, secretary of Housing and Urban Development, believes that the theory of evolution was encouraged by the devil.

It doesn’t stop there. Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions has said that people who don’t believe in God can’t be truthful. Scott Pruitt, the Environmental Protection Agency chief, is a devout Baptist who denies that climate change is real. Mike Pompeo, the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, is an evangelical who opposes abortion even in cases of rape. The president’s attorney, Jay Sekulow, another evangelical, has defended school prayer at the Supreme Court, and Trump’s spiritual advisor, Paula White, is a Pentecostal televangelist who teaches that if people give her church thousands of dollars, God will reward them with favors. Vice President Mike P
ence might be the most piously anti-gay politician in America.

More here-

http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-zuckerman-christians-trump-administration-20170811-story.html

Clergy convene in Charlottesville, protesting Alt-Right rally

From The Cafe-

On Friday night, ahead of tonight’s planned rally, members of the alt-right and white supremacist groups marched through the streets of Charlottesville, VA carrying torches and chanting slogans steeped in the history of bigotry. “Blood and soil,” a Nazi ideology of so-called purity based on ethnicity and national origin, “Jews shall not replace us,” and “white lives matter” were among their rallying cries. They are protesting the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee.

Some counter-protesters clashed with the white supremacists near a statue of Thomas Jefferson, but many remained in a peaceful prayer vigil at St. Paul’s Memorial Episcopal Church. Clergy from many different faiths and from across the nation were present, answering a call from the bishops of the Diocese of Virginia. For some time, the white supremacists surrounded the church, but they were eventually disbanded by police for unlawful assembly. Traci Blackmon, a United Church of Christ minister tweeted that the police weren’t letting people inside the church go out for their own safety.


More here-

https://www.episcopalcafe.com/clergy-convene-in-charlottesville-protesting-alt-right-rally/

Charlottesville: A Message from Bishop McConnell

From Pittsburgh-

Dear Friends in Christ,

We mourn for our country this evening. The most violent public assembly of hate groups in decades has taken place yesterday and today in Charlottesville, Virginia. The deaths and injuries are the direct result of the white nationalist ideology at the core of the gathering.

Some of those espousing these views see their movement as a holy crusade, and even invoke a Christian God to support their efforts.  Yet, nothing could be further from the love of Christ in His Cross than the politics of racial purity.

Our Lord founded His Church to be a Kingdom of priests to our God, gathered from every family, language, people and nation (Revelation 5: 9-10). Any suggestion that God desires the triumph of any race over others is a slander against the Holy Spirit, and must be rejected by Christians of every party.


More here-

http://www.episcopalpgh.org/charlottesville/

The Faith-Led Counter-Protest to White Nationalism in Charlottesville

From Sojourners-

The evening before a scheduled rally of thousands of white nationalists in Charlottesville, Va., marchers carrying torches clashed with counter-protesters on the University of Virginia campus.

"I am beyond disgusted by this unsanctioned and despicable display of visual intimidation on a college campus," Mayor Mike Singer said in a statement.

At least one person was arrested and several on campus were treated for minor injuries, the Daily Progress newspaper said.

Also, in Charlottesville Friday evening, Dr. Cornel West, Rev. Traci Blackmon, and other faith leaders led an interfaith prayer service as the group prepared to march in counter-protest on Saturday.


More here-

https://sojo.net/articles/faith-led-counter-protest-white-nationalism-charlottesville

Bonhoeffer’s Answer to Political Turmoil: Preach!

From Christianity Today-

“Let’s say there is a ship on the high sea, having a fierce struggle with the waves. The storm wind is blowing harder by the minute. The boat is small, tossed about like a toy; the sky is dark; the sailors’ strength is failing. Then one of them is gripped by . . . whom? what? . . . he cannot tell himself. But someone is there in the boat who wasn’t there before. . . . Suddenly he can no longer see or hear anything, can no longer row, a wave overwhelms him, and in final desperation he shrieks: Stranger in this boat, who are you? And the other answers, I am Fear. . . . All hope is lost, Fear is in the boat.”

On January 15, 1933, in a Berlin church, Dietrich Bonhoeffer delivered this haunting allegory in a sermon entitled “Overcoming Fear.”

Germany was in the midst of fearful and turbulent times, indeed. The devastation of defeat from World War I, just 14 years earlier, was fresh on the people’s minds and hearts. The Stock Market Crash of 1929 compounded further pressures on the struggling German economy, driving the number of unemployed to more than six million. The new Weimar Republic lacked political stability and leadership, and fears of communism and extremism loomed large. As these dark waves battered them from all sides, many Germans—including German Christians—feared what the future would hold.

More here-

http://www.christianitytoday.com/pastors/2016/may-web-exclusives/dietrich-bonhoeffers-answer-to-political-turmoil-preach.html?share=+oeI4AVw2O7icbKtWGt6xmAIPhsK9hGk