Saturday, February 24, 2018

Anglican bishops slam VAT increase

From South Africa-

South African bishops from the Anglican church on Friday added their voice to the rising chorus of disapproval of this week's increase in value-added tax (VAT), saying ordinary citizens were being compelled to pay for gaps in the budget caused by corruption.

In a terse statement, the Synod of Bishops of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa said the Anglican Church of Southern Africa was very concerned about the one percent VAT increase, announced by finance minister Malusi Gigaba in his budget speech on Wednesday.

"It is distressing to us that the ordinary citizens of South Africa are being called upon through increased VAT to fill the gaps in government finances which are partly a result of massive maladministration and corruption, especially in state-owned enterprises," said the statement.

More here-

"Jesus Christ is my chief Druid": meet the Anglican Priest who is also a pagan

From Canada-

Here at Tapestry we often receive personal and thoughtful letters from our listeners.

But a letter from Rev. Shawn Sanford Beck in Saskatchewan was unlike any we'd ever received before.

"Greetings from the prairies!

I am a 'ChristoPagan' ... I practice magic, study the runes, and talk to trees and fairies; ...and I am a member of the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids.

AND I'm an ordained priest in the Anglican Church of Canada.  For 15 years I've preached and pastored churches in my diocese.  I'm a regional dean, and I train other priests, deacons, and lay ministers.  

More here-

Friday, February 23, 2018

An Evangelical Saint

From The Weekly Standard-

But Graham’s singular achievement was not in drawing people to his meetings; it was in his challenge to the dominance of midcentury Protestant liberalism. After World War II, attendance in the American churches now known as “mainline”—the Presbyterian, Methodist, Lutheran, Baptist, Episcopal, Church of Christ, and Disciples of Christ denominations—was at its peak. But cultural prestige and political influence had come at the cost of confessional clarity; the mainline denominations were (as indeed they still are) more interested in keeping up with the fast-evolving morality of our popular culture than in challenging it. By the late 1950s, many Christians were realizing that there wasn’t much point in busying oneself with church if it required no special belief other than a general assent that being good is better than being bad.

Graham showed Americans that Christianity, if it was true at all, placed demands on them, and they had to respond with a yes or a no. He realized that Christian belief wasn’t worth the trouble if it involved no risk and no sacrifice. Jesus’ disciples weren’t martyred for espousing some form of elevated do-goodism; they were martyred for believing that Jesus was the eternal son of God and that he was raised from the dead, bodily and not spiritually or metaphorically, on the third day.

More here-

Anglican Church Endorses Vatican's Call for Prayers for South Sudan, DRC

From VOA-

Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon, secretary-general of the Anglican consultative council, is appealing to the leaders of South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to end violence and restore peace.

Idowu-Fearon said the Anglican Communion will join Catholics’ peace efforts on Friday.

“With these countries, No. 1, you will see that, the extent of the loss of lives, the extent of the suffering in these two countries, honestly, it is an embarrassment to Africa in general and the powers that be in the world in particular,” Idowu-Fearon said.

He said the conflict in the two countries is because of power struggle, adding, “It has to do with an epidemic problem on the continent of Africa. ... Tribalism, corruption (and) power.”

More here-

Meet Australia's first transgender priest

From Australia-

When Jo Inkpin was a child, one of her greatest objects of desire was a box kept in her grandmother's attic in London.

In it were piles of sumptuous clothes, a "wonderful array of amazing costumes".

She would slip the "gorgeous dresses" over her head, slip little feet into long shoes and twirl, thrilling to the beauty of silks and satins against her skin, "the swirl of long skirts and tapered folds and pleats, reflecting grace and elegance".

Dr Inkpin, who is Australia's first openly transgender Anglican priest, had realised she was different when she was four or five, she says.

She "couldn't put her finger on" exactly what that meant. But she knew she was not like other boys.

More here-

Anglican Communion refutes reports on bishop’s election

From Nigeria-

The Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, has refuted claims on social media that its February 6, 2018 election of a successor to the Bishop of Lagos Diocese, Archbishop Ephraim Ademowo, who retires in August, was flawed.

The publications, which went viral on social media claimed that the election was not free and fair, a position that was also canvassed by some members of the Church.

But in its reaction, the Church said the publications were meant to tarnish its good image, just as they were intended to misinform and mislead members of the public.

More here-

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Billy Graham was on the wrong side of history

From The Guardian-

When Billy Graham stands before the judgment seat of God, he may finally realize how badly he failed his country, and perhaps his God. On civil rights and the environmental crisis, the most important issues of his lifetime, he championed the wrong policies.

Graham was on the wrong side of history.

The world’s most famous evangelist let his apocalyptic anticipation of the coming kingdom of God blind him to the realities of living in this world.

For Graham, the Bible had a clear message for Christians living in what he believed were humans’ last days on earth. Individuals alone can achieve salvation; governments cannot. Conversions change behaviors; federal policies do not.

These convictions shaped the evangelist’s views on civil rights.

In the late 1950s, Graham integrated his revivals and seemed to support the burgeoning civil rights movement. This is the Graham most Americans remember.

More here-

Luther vs. Erasmus: When Populism First Eclipsed the Liberal Elite

From NYRB-

Desiderius Erasmus of Rotterdam, the leading figure of the Northern Renaissance, is widely considered the greatest of early humanists. Five hundred years ago, he faced a populist uprising led by a powerful provocateur, Martin Luther, that resulted in divisions no less explosive than those we see in America and Europe today.

Between 1500 and 1515, Erasmus produced a small library of tracts, textbooks, essays, and dialogues that together offered a blueprint for a new Europe. The old Europe had been dominated by the Roman Church. It emphasized hierarchy, authority, tradition, and the performance of rituals like confession and taking communion. But a new order was emerging, marked by spreading literacy, expanding trade, growing cities, the birth of printing, and the rise of a new middle class intent on becoming not only prosperous but learned, too.

More here-

Is This the Prophet Isaiah’s Signature?

From Biblical Archeology-

King Hezekiah is one of the most important kings in the history of Israel. While scholars debate the historicity and literary embellishment of the reigns of David and Solomon, the reign of Hezekiah witnessed the defining event that engendered the tradition of Jerusalem as the inviolable city of God—an event corroborated by the extra-Biblical account inscribed on the Sennacherib Prisms. Despite the conflicting details, Sennacherib’s inability to destroy Jerusalem confirmed both Hezekiah and Jerusalem as God’s chosen. And it was the prophet Isaiah’s participation in the episode, and Hezekiah’s trust in his counsel, that is credited with the salvation of Jerusalem from the Assyrian menace.

When King Hezekiah was crowned king of Judah, in 727 B.C.E., he maintained the policy of his father, Aḥaz, who had asked the Assyrian king to come and save him from Peqaḥ ben Remaliyahu, king of Israel, and Reẓin, king of Aram-Damascus. These two kings had attacked Judah in concert and besieged Jerusalem (see 2 Kings 15:36–37). Hezekiah stayed loyal to the Assyrian king Sargon II (727–705 B.C.E.), who ruled during most of Hezekiah’s reign, while the surrounding kingdoms of Israel, Ḥamat, and those of the Philistines—one after the other—rebelled, were defeated, and became Assyrian vassals.

More here-

Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Curry on the death of the Rev. Billy Graham

From ENS-

The following is a statement from Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop and Primate Michael B. Curry on the death of the Rev. Billy Graham, well-known evangelist.

The phrase “a big tent” is often used to suggest gracious openness and respect for varieties and diversities of people and perspectives. It reflects the sentiment of the old spiritual that says, “There’s plenty good room in my Father’s kingdom.”

The crusades and ministry of the Rev. Billy Graham was a big tent, a revival tent — big, gracious, welcoming, and deeply grounded in the love that is the way of Jesus.

Before it was popular or widely accepted, Billy Graham required that his crusades must be interracial without a hint of segregation in the body of Christ at worship. Before the ecumenical movement had really taken hold in the culture, Billy Graham’s crusades were intentionally ecumenical. He was spiritual advisor to presidents and leaders of the nation, from both political parties, from many persuasions. As a faithful follower of Jesus Christ, he related to people of many faiths with genuine respect and a manner of love, reflecting the very spirit and teaching of Jesus.

More here-

Billy Graham, the Last Nonpartisan Evangelical?

From The New York Times-

It’s difficult to overstate the influence of the Rev. Billy Graham — who died at 99 in his Montreat, N.C., home on Wednesday — on American public life, and indeed the world, over the past century. It’s estimated that the globe-trotting preacher shared the Christian message with 215 million people in more than 185 countries, an effort that resulted in millions of conversions. Life magazine once listed him as one of the 100 most important Americans of the 20th century, and a Ladies’ Home Journal survey once ranked him as a top figure in “achievements in religion” — second only to God.

But Mr. Graham’s legacy stretches beyond his public influence to his personal integrity. He wasn’t a huckster, which is why you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who would speak ill of the man even before his passing.

Mr. Graham died in the house where he lived for decades and was known for wearing modest attire. He lived without a hint of scandal — notoriously faithful to his wife, Ruth — and, according to a biography by Roger Bruns, “his personal finances and that of his organization have been impeccably honest.”

More here-

The TL;DR Edition Of All 66 Books Of The Bible

A little humor to start the day-

Luckily for you, we at The Babylon Bee have studied our official company Scofield Reference Bible for the past 80 years in order to distill each of the 66 books down to a bite-sized snippet even you can understand. We reduced every book to a single, memorable line, so you don’t have to read a word of it for yourself. Nice!

Forget about reading through the Bible in a year—now you can read through the Bible in about five minutes!

Genesis – God makes everything and it’s really good for about 3.2 seconds.



More here-

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Billy Graham, America's pastor, has died

From USA Today- (Additional links below)

The world's best-known evangelist, the Rev. Billy Graham, has died. He was 99.

From the gangly 16-year-old baseball-loving teen who found Christ at a tent revival, Graham went on to become an international media darling, a preacher to a dozen presidents and the voice of solace in times of national heartbreak. He was America's pastor.

Graham retired to his mountain home at Montreat, N.C., in 2005 after nearly six decades on the road calling people to Christ at 417 all-out preaching and musical events from Miami to Moscow. His final New York City crusade in 2005 was sponsored by 1,400 regional churches from 82 denominations.

"Billy Graham grew up in what most would consider humble, ordinary beginnings but because he yielded himself to God, he was used to accomplish the extraordinary — forever impacting the lives of countless people," said Family Research Council President Tony Perkins.

More here-

and here- 

and here-

and here-

and here-

How Protestants Made the Modern World

From Religion and Politics-

Last fall marked the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, an event with profound consequences for the development of both religion and politics across the globe. Arising in sixteenth-century Europe, migrating into seventeenth-century America, and expanding by degrees across the remainder of the planet, Protestantism has achieved a level of international influence that is difficult to fathom.

In his latest book, Protestants: The Faith That Made the Modern World, historian Alec Ryrie takes on a formidable challenge: how to survey the history and assess the significance of a centuries-long and worldwide religious tradition. A professor in the Department of Theology and Religion at Durham University in northeast England, Ryrie also serves as an ordained minister in the Anglican Church. He is the author of six previous books, all of which focus on British religious history since the Reformation. This latest effort was released last spring, to correspond with the Reformation’s anniversary.

Eric C. Miller spoke with Ryrie about the Protestant tradition, its victories, its failures, and its ultimate importance. This interview has been lightly edited and condensed.

R&P: The subtitle of your book states that Protestants “made the modern world.” How? 

More here-

Edmund Burke’s Counsel on Religious Liberty and Freedom

From The Imaginative Conservative-

Edmund Burke, the eighteenth-century British statesman, has long been a popular figure for political conservatives to cite. But his views on religion get relatively little attention. This is a shame, because Burke has a lot to offer those concerned about matters of religion, morality, and politics in contemporary American life. He is a figure who may make some orthodox Catholics uncomfortable because, despite placing great emphasis on the importance of religion, he sometimes seems unconcerned about precisely which religion one follows. His writing on religion is centered on its role in politics, society, and morality, not on theology or questions of salvation. But his perspective is both sophisticated and pious, and speaks to the need for a deep sense of reverence—and of how to maintain it.

Burke’s own religious background is actually a matter of some controversy. He was an Irishman; his mother and sister were Catholic. Burke, his father, and his brothers were officially Anglican, but this was probably a reflection of the political realities of the time. Due to the severe challenges presented by the oppression of Irish Catholics, it was common in families for the women to be openly Catholic while the men were secretly Catholic but nominally Anglican.

More here-

Gosford church’s Father Rod Bower speaks out on gun control billboard: 'Thoughts and prayers are not enough'

From MSN-

He’s the Australian priest who’s making headlines around the world for his gun control campaign, and Gosford Anglican Church’s Father Rod Bower has no intention of keeping quiet any time soon.

In fact, he’s expressing his anger at US gun control in the loudest way possible; with a giant billboard outside his church on the Central Coast.

After 17 were killed in a mass school shooting in Florida, Father Rod has been using his famous billboard - which made headlines during the same-sex marriage vote for messages such as “DEAR CHRISTIANS, SOME PPL ARE GAY. GET OVER IT. LOVE GOD.” - to spotlight the troubling state of affairs.

And despite his role at the church, he says this situation needs more than just prayers.

“I don’t know how many billboards I’ve put up now about these school shootings,” he exclusively told 9Honey. “And always sending our thoughts and prayers and that kind of thing - which is lovely - but it’s not enough.

More here-’s-father-rod-bower-speaks-out-on-gun-control-billboard-thoughts-and-prayers-are-not-enough/ar-BBJopJC


From The Living Church-

Nearly 60 percent of Anglicans worldwide are African. But African Anglicanism is frequently misunderstood. Bishop Jack Spong memorably referred to African Christianity as “a very superstitious kind of Christianity” just before the 1998 Lambeth Conference.[1] Such post-colonial condescension did great damage. But alongside this, starry-eyed depictions of African Anglicanism need tempering with realism. African Anglicanism has great strengths, but also significant problems.

Moreover, African Anglicanism has been changing fast in recent decades. Many statements made about it, especially by people from the Global North, are dated or plain incorrect. As we look towards the 2020 Lambeth Conference, new research will help us find deeper understanding and, potentially, a healthier Anglican Communion.

The North’s Mistaken Views of Africa

My favourite spoof video features a group of youthful Africans glowing with health, appealing for aid to help rather shabby looking Norwegians! It is a glorious satire of the average British or American aid appeal, which routinely depicts vigorous white people assisting supposedly helpless Africans (an expression of the “white saviour complex”).

More here-

Episcopal bishop to Marco Rubio: 'Go to Jesus for wisdom about Parkland'

From Central Florida-

Dear Senator Rubio,

I follow you on Twitter and I am grateful that you trust in Christ. On February 15, 2018, you quoted the Gospel of John, “in the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world.” I replied, “True. Jesus has overcome. But as a senator I implore you to go to Jesus for wisdom about Parkland. Things legislatively have to change. We are too broken and sinful for things to remain as they are. The violence will only continue.”

I appeal to you as a bishop and as a fellow Christian who cares for the well being of all in our community. Politicians who only offer thoughts and prayers for the victims and their families are not enough. Politicians who attribute these acts of unspeakable violence only to mental illness are not acting in accordance with the responsibilities of their office.

More here-

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

When Religious Leaders, Parents, Teachers And Others Are Sexual Predators

From South Western Virginia-

When it comes to sexual abuse by religious leaders, however, the practice is not limited to Catholic priests. Youth minister Jeffrey Bondi in Virginia Beach began sexually molesting a 15-year-old female church member when he was 28. He walked because of jurisdictional problems in the case but left that church and sought to become the youth member at Galilee, an Episcopal Church, also in the Tidewater Area.

The father of the girl molested at Virginia Beach says he went to the pastor at Galilee, John Burnley, and told what happened.

“I told him what happened to my daughter, and he said it was all just hearsay,” the father said. “He acted like she was just some loose girl. I said, ‘I’m just trying to warn you because it’s going to be your responsibility if it happens again.’”

More here-

Anglican Bishops Denies Allegations Of Corruption, Impropriety On Election Of Lagos Bishop

From Nigeria-

The Episcopal Synod of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) has called on Anglicans and the discerning public to disregard malicious publications on the election the new Bishop of the Diocese of Lagos. The House of Bishops of the Nigerian Anglican Church was responding to some media reports alleging that the February 6 election of some new bishops in the Church was marred by corruption and impropriety. A statement issued by the Episcopal Secretary of the Church, the Rt. Rev David Onuoha, Tuesday in Abuja, said there was no iota of truth in publications in the social media, which attempted to smear the image of the Primate, Archbishop Nicholas Okoh. 

The House of Bishops explained that the process which led to the election of Rt. Rev Humphrey Olumakaiye, Bishop of Osun North East Diocese, as the new bishop-elect of the Diocese of Lagos was free and fair. ‘‘This particular election was held alongside four others at the Cathedral Church of St Barnabas, Ilorin in the Diocese of Kwara, Kwara State in accordance with the church’s laid down rules and regulations. The event was free and fair.
Read More at:

and here-


From The Living Church-

I have always been struck by a major difference between the Church of England and the Episcopal Church: the way clergy are paid. In England, all priests receive basically the same salary or stipend; there are minor increases over the base for bishops, cathedral deans, and archdeacons. This uniform wage is not high (roughly $33,500 plus housing and a few other allowances); a clergy family of four might have such a low income that they would qualify for public assistance. By contrast, the salaries in America vary enormously. Although a priest right out of seminary could earn less than English clergy, senior American clergy earn many times the English salary.

Despite the low stipends, many English clergy claim that parity is morally superior to the American scheme. They want to keep their system, even if it allows unproductive clergy to earn the same as leaders of large parishes.

But in a recent book, The Future Shapes of Anglicanism, the Very Rev. Martyn Percy claims that the Church of England would be rejuvenated if it moved toward the American system. He holds that parishes should be allowed to set salaries in order to reward initiative and creative ministry. “This would encourage a more realistic appraisal of many ministries, and allow congregations to value experience, responsibility, energy, challenge, and more besides.”

More here-

Juan Williams: Evangelicals sell their souls for Trump

From The Hill-

When it comes to the Stormy Daniels story, it is hard for me to understand the silence from evangelical Christians.

Let it sink in: It is now confirmed that the president’s personal lawyer paid a porn star for her silence.

After the story broke, a friend sent me an old article from a left-wing website.

Democrats, the story said, beat themselves up for not better understanding white, Christian support for President Trump.

But that is a fool’s errand, the writer argued, because there is no understanding people who don’t accept facts.

The facts on the porn star and Trump became clear last week when Michael D. Cohen, the president’s lawyer, said he personally paid $130,000 to Daniels.

The money changed hands just before the 2016 election to allegedly stop her from talking about a sexual affair with candidate Trump that took place in 2006, just after Trump’s wife had a baby.

More here-

Sewanee School of Theology Faculty Respond

From Episcopal Cafe-

The faculty of the School of Theology of the University of the South responds to the actions of the Board of Regents that decline to revoke the honorary degree for Charlie Rose. In declining the Board cited sin and forgiveness. The theology faculty asks them to look more deeply into these tenets fo the faith.

Dear Officers of the Board of Regents,

We believe that the recent action of the university Regents declining the petition torevoke the honorary degree conferred upon Charlie Rose in 2016 was taken with the be stinterests of the university in mind. We also know that under constraints of time and without opportunity for wider consultation, all of us can make decisions that with further reflection we may wish to revise. And so we, tenured members of the faculty of the School of Theology, want to contribute to this conversation by writing a public letter explaining why we are troubled by some of the theological assertions contained in your letter to the student trustees.

Because your letter invokes the concept of forgiveness, we wish to situate the matter of

the revocation or retention of Mr. Rose’s honorary degree within the larger, theologically grounded tradition of pastoral response to sin and forgiveness. In church tradition, forgiveness is offered after repentance and contrition. Typically, that means making appropriate restitution to those whom the individual has wronged, and the grace of forgiveness is singularly theirs to offer. 

More here-

At Current Rates Of Use World Could Run Out Of Thoughts And Prayers By As Early As 2019

From Out Abouter-

A worldwide shortage of thoughts and prayers may leave us with no choice but to actually do something by as early as January 2019, researchers are warning, after a recent study revealed the popular refrain is now fueling 93% of government inaction globally. And we are running out.

Dr. Tim Freely, a leading expert in thinking and praying, and author of the book Act Now Or Forever Wring Your Hands, explains:

“The trouble is that back in the 50’s, when they first started using this phrase as a catch-all for ‘I’m not motivated to actually do something here but feel obligated to open and close my mouth in some fashion or other,’ politicians and community leaders had no idea how much they’d be relying on this platitude by the time the 21st century rolled around. And now we’re just plain running out. Of thoughts. Of prayers. And of patience.” 

More here-

Monday, February 19, 2018

With church donation, Wyoming organization to create info packets for families affected by suicide

From Wyoming-

After the loss of a loved one to suicide, family members are left to navigate difficult, unthinkable questions in a haze of loss.

What do they tell their loved one's former employer? What do they need to do with the deceased's bank account? How do they arrange the funeral?

With a $22,700 grant from the Episcopal Diocese of Wyoming, suicide prevention organization Grace For 2 Brothers will provide packets with information that address those questions to coroners in all of Wyoming's counties. The grant will also help the group expand an existing program that dispatches volunteers to families who have experienced a death by suicide shortly after the act.

"We wanted to provide an informational packet to families in Wyoming that have to go through the storm of losing a loved one to suicide so they won’t feel so alone and also to help guide them through one of the most trying times in their lives," said Rhianna Brand, director of operations for the nonprofit. "It’s not an answer to all of the why’s we all carry, but it is a piece of hope and help from the very beginning, something that those of us who went through a loss all wished we had."

More here-

Russia church shooting kills 5 after gunman opens fire on people leaving service

From MSN-

Five women were killed and several others were injured after a gunman opened fire with a hunting rifle on people leaving a church service in Russia's Dagestan region on Sunday, Russian media outlets reported.

The shooting unfolded outside a church in Kizlyar, a town of about 50,000 people on the border with Chechnya. The Russian news agency TASS cited Svetlana Petrenko of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation as the source for the number of people killed and wounded.

The Islamic State terror network claimed responsibility, according to its Amaq media agency. ISIS said the killer was a "soldier of the caliphate," a man known as Khalil al-Dagestani, The New York Times reported.

More here-

UK to use medieval church spires to boost digital connectivity

From CNBC-

The U.K. government has signed an agreement with the Church of England that will see church spires across the country used to improve digital connectivity in rural areas.

The accord was signed by the National Church Institutions of the Church of England, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

It encourages the Church of England to uses its buildings and properties to boost mobile, WiFi and broadband connectivity for communities. The British government said that 65 percent of Anglican churches were in rural areas and that their locations, often in the center of communities, meant they were "well placed" to help solve problems surrounding connectivity and coverage.

More here-

and here-

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Vicar of Baghdad receives sign from God and visits Alderney

From The Channel Islands-

Jerusalem-based Canon Andrew White was the vicar of St George’s Church in Baghdad, the only Anglican church in Iraq, and had a role trying to maintain communications between Shia and Sunni leaders.

Canon White, who is a Harvard fellow, said that he had been asked to ‘prophesise’ for a visiting group of Christians from the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry in Redding, California.

He shared the details on a YouTube broadcast.

‘One of the people, Ivan, lived in Wales but he was from Guernsey,’ he said.

‘When I prophesised over him I said the Lord is calling us to do new work in Alderney.

‘Alderney is one of the smallest of the Channel Islands that hardly anybody has ever heard of. I said to him I feel we are being called to Alderney but God will confirm it within one day.’