Archive for February, 2011

Monday’s Round-up

With Lent just around the corner, the blog Northern Plains Anglican has posted a Lenten reflection on the nature of spiritual discipline.

The blog Creedal Christian has reprinted N.T. Wright’s 30-second summary of the gospel. It’s important to keep such summaries in mind, lest we forget our faith and replace it with our own version.

The theologian Christopher B. Hays writes in Christianity Today that Christian intellectuals should stop engaging the culture war with perpetual outrage against those who despise the church, such as Da Vinci Code author Dan Brown.


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Mitch Horowitz writes about cults in America, asking the question “When does a religion become a cult?

A moving video testimony from Isa Elmazoski, a survivor of a saline abortion procedure in 1977, is making the rounds on the web.

Tim Harris provides a theodicy for the earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand. Compare his specific theodicy to the general principles laid out by Mark S. M. Scott in his essay “Redefining Theodicy” in the Winter edition of the Center for Theology.

A very interesting article is provided by the blog Science and Religion discussing “The Religion of the Future.”

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Archbishop of Tanzania Valentino Mokiwa is claiming that multi-national mining firms are despoiling the land and disrupting the culture of Africa–despite their claims about “corporate social responsibility.” This is an interesting case study in the relation between the church, the economy, and the state.

A reaction against the use of technology in church worship services is occurring in different parts of the church. Read about a reaction in the Presbyterian church on the blog Beyond the Ordinary.

Russell E. Saltzmann provides an entertaining reflection on the highs and lows of parish ministry, over at First Things.

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Thinking Anglicans, a leftward leaning blog, has posted links to articles describing a mild controversy in the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) regarding the participation of Fr. Julian Linnell in an ACNA conference on evangelism in Malaysia. There is some confusion regarding Linnell’s allegiances–is he Episcopalian, or Anglican? A “controversy” like this rears up  only during times of tense divisiveness–God help us.

In other news, several different blogs are talking about U2 frontman Bono’s testimony of his faith in his interview with Michka Assayas. He makes a remarkable observation about the difference between the Old Testament God and the New Testament God:

…the God of the Old Testament is like the journey from stern father to friend. When you’re a child, you need clear directions and some strict rules. But with Christ, we have access in a one-to-one relationship, for, as in the Old Testament, it was more one of worship and awe, a vertical relationship. The New Testament, on the other hand, we look across at a Jesus who looks familiar, horizontal. The combination is what makes the Cross.

Representatives at the Third Annual Meeting of the Anglican-Methodist International Commission for Unity in Mission (AMICUM) have agreed that the Anglican and Methodist churches need to address dividing issues in order to achieve unity. Was a conference really needed to come to this conclusion?

An interview with Mark Regnerus, a sex sociologist who is claiming the West is facing a sexual crisis, is provided over at Christianity Today.

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Philip Turner reflects on the possibility that the Anglican Communion is on the verge of a breakdown in light of the conclusion of the Meeting of the Primates in Dublin.

The blog Creedal Christian discusses the relation between Koinonia (fellowship) and unity in faith and practice, and the importance of the latter to achieve the former.

Over at First Things, Elizabeth Scalia writes about open communion from a Catholic perspective.

Bernard Nathanson, the one-time abortionist (he claimed to be responsible for over 75,000 abortions) before becoming a pro-life activist and convert to Catholicism, died Monday.  Read about his Saul to Paul conversion story here.

Over at Christianity Today, Chuck Colson argues Christians need a doctrinal “boot camp” to get them up to speed with basic Christian beliefs.

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Sherif Girgis, Robert P. George, and Ryan T. Anderson have released a paper entitled “What is Marriage?” in which they present a non-religious argument for traditional marriage. Compare this paper with the articles on the Marriage & Sexuality page on the Center for Theology and we’ll have a well-rounded understanding of marriage!

The blog Catholic and Reformed discusses recent church settlements between reorganized Anglican churches in Pittsburgh and The Episcopal Church (TEC).

The website of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) has posted a message from Mouneer Hanna Anis, the Anglican bishop of Egypt, requesting prayer for the church during the political unrest caused by the revolution.

The Wall Street Journal published an essay over the weekend that explored the reasons why so many men in their 20s are “losers” who live in an extended adolescence.

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Friday’s Round-up

The Anglican District of Virginia is considering joining the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA). They have provided a nice timeline and summary of their decision making process over at the diocesan website.

In other ACNA news, the newly formed church has been formally recognized by the synod of the Church of England, with all three houses (bishops, clergy, laity) voting in approval.

Over at First Things, David G. Poecking writes about Anglican-Catholic ecumenical discussions.

British bishop Michael Nazir-Ali applauded prime minister David Cameron’s critique of multiculturalism, arguing that Great Britain needs to recover its Judeo-Christian past.

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Catherine Kroeger, the Ranked Adjunct Professor of Classical and Ministry Studies and pioneer in advancing women’s contributions to the church, died February 14th after succumbing to an illness. May she rest in the peace of her beloved Lord.

In honor of Catherine’s contribution to the church and the world, we’re offering links to various pieces of work she has contributed over the years.

First, read Catherine’s testimony, in which you can get a sense of her sprightly spirit.

Second, check out the series “Africa and the Bible” in which Kroeger is featured prominently:

Part I: The Myth of a Cursed Race

Part II: White Man’s Religion?

Part III: The River of Faith

Third, read about her work of reconciliation among the abused and those who abuse.  Catherine fought hard to prevent abuse within the Christian home.

Finally, read one of her academic papers entitled “The Apostle Paul and the Greco-Roman Cults of Women,” published in the March 1987 edition of the Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society (JETS).

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Although the hymn In the Bleak Midwinter is usually sung near Christmas, it seems more appropriate now, when true mid-winter is established. Frozen snow piles continue to line our routes,  dark with grit and sand; the wind howls through our window panes in the night’s deep watches; and cold, cold air greets us each day and evening, making us long to see the sun tomorrow. In this mid-winter, although we are in Epiphany, the season of Light, Christmas can feel very long ago as we sojourn from day to day.

But for children, time passes in a different way. Children are cosmic and philosophical, and easily operate outside the times and spaces that confine adults. This was evidenced at a recent prayer time in the Atrium. As I invited the children to consider whether they had thanks to give to God, someone stated the above grace: “I’m thankful to God that Jesus was born at Christmas, when it was his birthday.”

The child then seemed to ponder the realization that he was happy today for something that was not happening today, but had already happened. To him, the birth seemed  immediate.

Usually when the children have shared something profound, catechists realize it in the week or weeks that follow. In this case, I had not long to wait. The very next morning I was on the bus, jostling out to Cambridge, finishing A Wreath of Christmas Poems

I had tucked into my backpack. This small anthology includes a poem by local bard John Greenleaf Whittier, “The Mystic’s Christmas.” Two stanzas:

But now beyond the things of sense

Beyond occasions and events,

I know, through God’s exceeding grace,

Release from form and time and place.

Keep while you need it, brothers mine,

With honest zeal your Christmas sign,

But judge not him who every morn

Feels in his heart the Lord Christ born!

May we learn to keep the miracle of Christmas ever near, “every morn” –as these youngest do with such joy.

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Wednesday’s Round-up

Be sure to read the first post from a new blogger to The Writers’ Block, Jordan Hillebert. His first contribution reflects on the spiritual lessons in the poem “Invictus” by William Ernest Henley.

The blog Hot Rod Anglican reflects on the importance of beauty and aesthetics in Christian spirituality.

Fr. John Hunwicke parses out the importance of maintaining and developing liturgical law.

Jim Spiegel, over at Christianity Today, writes about the complex reasons for atheists’ unbelief.


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