Sunday, September 17, 2006

Sunday Sept 17th a.m. posts

Bishop Henderson invites feedback on his blog

September 17th, 2006 posted by kendall at 7:19 am

Bishop Dorsey Henderson of the Diocese of Upper South Carolina is continuing the blog he began during General Covention. In his most recent post he invites input from readers regarding their opinions of Katharine Jefferts Schori’s remarks about the mission of the church:

The Bishop’s Invitational Blog–No. 1 (What do you think . . .?)
September 8th, 2006

In the Gospel according to St. Luke, Jesus, immediately following his baptism and temptation, describes his life’s mission. This is how his initial, public “statement of vocation” is recorded:

“(In the synagogue Jesus) opened the scroll and found the passage which says, ‘The spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has anointed me; he has sent me to announce good news to the poor, to proclaim release for prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind; to let the broken victims go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.’ …’Today’, he said, ‘in your very hearing this text has come true.’” (Luke 4:17-21) In an initial interview following her election as Presiding Bishop, Katharine Jefferts Shori was asked, “What will be your focus as head of the U.S. Church?” She responded, “Our focus needs to be on feeding people who go to bed hungry, on providing primary education to girls and boys, on healing people with AIDS, on addressing tuberculosis and malaria, on sustainable development. That ought to be the primary focus.” Later in the same interview, she identified her favorite Bible verse: “Chapter 61 of Isaiah is an icon for me of what Christian work should be about. That’s what Jesus reads in his first public act. (The verse) talks about a vision of the reign of God where those who are mourning are comforted where the hungry are fed, where the poor hear good news.”

I am surprised that there is criticism about Ms. Jefferts Shori’s response. Recently I had a conversation with a Bible teacher in our diocese who was incensed that, in his opinion, she did not express the correct “priority”. What do you think? Is her statement of call consistent with the Lord’s, or not?

You can comment here

[Note, we’re keeping our eyes open for Bishop Henderson’s comments about the NY Meetings but have not yet seen anything]

Ephraim Radner comments on Michael Poon’s “Works of Love”

September 17th, 2006 posted by kendall at 7:19 am

The interesting Radner - Poon dialogue continues. It’s encouraging to see the Global South Anglican website host some vibrant online theological debates.

A comment from Ephraim Radner on Michael Poon’s ‘Works of Love’

Epraim Radner’s responded in the comment section but since that article (Works of Love) was posted a while back, I am posting the comment as a fresh article to encourage continuing dialogue. - TW

I appreciate and am thankful for the chance to converse with such an acute thinker as Dr. Poon.

I agree with Dr. Poon on most of his fundamental points: the church (and the Anglican Communion) should be wholly subject to the Word of God embodied in Jesus and the Scriptures; the structures of the Communion should be “reformed”; N. America and Britain are currently more an obstacle (and worse) to the above than a help; “leadership” within the Communion is properly exercised by Africans (though, along with others); “communion” as a larger calling among Christians, and not just Anglicans, is a primary divine demand; many aspects of Western ecclesial existence are corrupted and alarmingly alluring in their corruption. I could go on.

Where there may be differences between our views lies in our sense of confidence regarding the process by which these fundamental points are asserted historically, and the character of the players involved. I have far less confidence than Dr. Poon (it seems) in the usefulness of various players – including Africans, not to mention Americans and British! – taking matters into their own hands, precisely because I have little confidence that there is some greater human purity motivating various leaders from the different churches of the Communion. Yes – to use the example given – most African Christians have a stronger and more faithful sense of the Scripture’s authority for the Church than their American Episcopalian counterparts; no, it is not clear that this clear sense is more purely enacted in the lives of church and society on the part of these Christians. The “works of love” that are witnessed to in deed and not in word only are rare enough among us all, because the reach of our horrendously fallenness is equivalent within us all. Dr. Poon does a good job (and I mean this) of excoriating some of the failings and hypocrisies of the West; but the job needs to be universalized if it is truly to be illuminating and edifying.

The reform of the Communion and the shift of leadership, let us say, to Africa should happen on the basis of the clarity of teaching that, in accordance with the Scriptures, is rightly viewed as authoritative and more rightly articulated in many Global South churches than among those of the West. But the means of this reform and shift, I believe, need to be conciliar, consensual, and self-controlled. That is a “catholic” bequest, that has little to do with modern inventions of Anglicanism or anything else. I believe that this bequest has, to a real extent, provided a demanding blessing in West, East, North, and South; and that it can be shown that, when ignored or even “squandered”, much ill has resulted. The fact that I have made this plea to leaders of the Global South in particular is not that, somehow, they need to hear it more than others. It is, first, because Western leaders have egregiously failed to heed it already (one of the main sources of our malaise) and seem to have their ears stopped; and second, because the reform and shift are already well along their way, and such pleas are rightly addressed to those in power.

It could also be the case that we differ on a fundamental ecclesiological commitment in our understandings of “catholic”,with Dr. Poon taking a more Protestant perspective that perceives catholicity in terms of the vital mutual engagement of more atomized Christian congregations, and I taking the more historically “Catholic” perspective that values mutual subjection of individual communities. This difference is one of enormous importance, and touches broader ecumenical concerns. I sense, however, that it is not in fact at play in the current debate and conflict within Anglicanism (except within the U.S.), where we are dealing instead with vying episcopal jurisdictions and relationships, not with smaller localized units of pastoral organization.

Source: Global South Anglican

You can read all of Dr. Poon’s original essay here.

Martyn Minns: How can we know it is of God?

September 17th, 2006 posted by kendall at 7:19 am

Martyn Minns preached this sermon on September 10 as the kickoff for Truro Church’s 40 Days of Discernment.

Then Jesus left the vicinity of Tyre and went through Sidon, down to the Sea of Galilee and into the region of the Decapolis. 32 There some people brought to him a man who was deaf and could hardly talk, and they begged him to place his hand on the man. 33 After he took him aside, away from the crowd, Jesus put his fingers into the man’s ears. Then he spit and touched the man’s tongue. 34 He looked up to heaven and with a deep sigh said to him, “Ephphatha!” (which means, “Be opened!”). 35 At this, the man’s ears were opened, his tongue was loosened and he began to speak plainly. 36 Jesus commanded them not to tell anyone. But the more he did so, the more they kept talking about it. 37 People were overwhelmed with amazement. “He has done everything well,” they said. “He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.” Mark 7:31–37

Have you noticed how much God-talk there has been lately? All kinds of people speak in the name of God. But how can we know that it is the one true God that they are representing and not merely their own ideas?

This past week we witnessed yet another unusual happening at the Washington National Cathedral. The former Iranian president, Mohammad Khatami, was invited to speak. In his address he described Muslims, Jews and Christians as followers and faithfuls of the Abrahamic faiths. He challenged them to “return to their vital, vibrant and common essence” He talked a great deal about God and God’s relationship with us—but is it the same God who made himself known as a babe in Bethlehem? Was he really speaking of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ or was it another god?

A little while ago Presiding Bishop Griswold admitted that, “Broadly speaking, the Episcopal Church is in conflict with Scripture.” He then went on to say, “The only way to justify it is to accept that that the Spirit of Christ has led the church to in effect contradict the words of the Gospel.” Is it the Spirit of Christ or is it another spirit? How can we tell?

During the General Convention in Columbus there was an amazing amount of God-talk. Everyone seemed to be using the language of the Spirit. I heard people describe the outcome of the special committee that dealt with the Windsor Report as inspired by God because they were finally able to agree on a carefully crafted compromise. Was it an act of God or was it merely the result of back room wheeling and dealing?

You will remember that there was also a lot of God-talk surrounding the election of the new Presiding Bishop. Some of those who observed the election declared that it was a Holy Spirit moment and that Katharine Jefferts Schorri was proof that God was doing a new thing through The Episcopal Church. Was God at work or was it yet another example of ECUSA giving the rest of the Anglican Communion a deliberate poke in the eye?

How are we to tell? How can we know when it is God who directs and when it is not? These are not new questions but they are crucial ones for all of us—especially at this time.

Next week we will be joining with a number of other churches in what we are calling Forty Days of Discernment. It is a season during which we will discern God’s will for the future of Truro Church. It is perhaps the biggest decision that has ever confronted us this Church. Underneath it will be the questions:

How can we know that we are hearing from God or not?
How do we distinguish between the Spirit of God and the spirit of the age?
How can we tell the difference between our own voice and the voice of God?

Let me start with a few basic assumptions:

God wants to communicate with us.

That may seem rather obvious, but it is a brand new idea for many people. If they believe in God at all, they imagine God as far off and aloof. But the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ does not sit silent in the heavens—God wants to communicate with us. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the
glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:1,14) Or as the writer to the Hebrews puts it, “In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son…”
(Hebrews 1:1,2a)

God has spoken! Of course, the next question is, “Why is it that so many people still don’t get it?” Why do people still seem oblivious to the claims of Christ? Why?
Read the rest of this entry »

Anglican Bishops Root for Unity of Communion

September 17th, 2006 posted by kendall at 7:19 am

Catholic Information Service for Africa (Nairobi)
September 15, 2006

The Anglican Church in Southern Africa has pledged to pray and work for continued unity of the 77-million-strong Anglican Communion that is threatened with a split.

At the end of their synod on Monday, the bishops of the Church of the Province of Southern Africa - comprising Angola, Namibia, South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland and Mozambique - called for unity in diversity.

“In our life, worship and witness we have learned, and will continue to need to learn, how to live together with our differences and conflicts. We know from experience that unity is a divine given but requires constant effort to be realized; a journey that requires tolerance and grace so that no-one should be hurt and all should feel that they belong,” the bishops said.

“As bishops, we remain convinced that within the Anglican Communion what unites us far outweighs what divides us.”

A split in the Anglican Communion has been occasioned by recognition of same-sex ‘marriage’ and ordination of openly gay persons to the priestly orders in some churches in the West.

Some Anglican provinces have rejected what they call Western ‘revisionist theology’ and have cut links with certain churches in Europe and America.

“We urge the Anglican Communion to choose to remain united in accordance with the will of the Triune God whom we seek to serve,” the bishops of Southern Africa said.

“We understand that, given the situation in which we find ourselves at present, there is no simple or quick solution to the difficulties we face. We urge every part of the Anglican Communion to recognize, in one another, our common sanctification in Christ and to seek steps that, in time, will lead to reconciliation and the unity and peace that Christ wills for his Church.”


Just following holy orders

September 17th, 2006 posted by kendall at 7:19 am

THOUGH he is an Anglican bishop, a prolific writer and a man of strong opinions, Tom Frame has been unable to reach a personal position on the ethics of embryonic stem cell research.

He’s tried to balance his Christian beliefs about the sanctity of life with the compassion he feels for the injured and diseased who might benefit from the highly contentious treatment.

But what’s weighing on Frame’s conscience should not matter to the wider world. At the front line of public politics where science and faith converge, Frame argues there are some debates which church leaders should steer clear of, or at least reserve comment for the pulpit.

Australia is not a Christian nation, never has been, and churches are overstepping the mark in trying to exercise political influence in their pursuit of a moral theology, he says in a new treatise on church/state relations.

The election of the Family First senator Steve Fielding, the Coalition’s public courtship of the Hillsong church and the appointment of an archbishop as governor-general have underlined tensions between church and state.

Frame’s slim volume, Church and State: Australia’s Imaginary Wall, is his attempt to broker the boundaries between religious activity and government. It’s his 13th book, a prolific output by any stretch of the imagination, but even more for someone who is only 44, one of the youngest bishops appointed to the Anglican Church.

His writings have wandered from military history and accounts of the Voyager disaster to political biography, comment on the ethics of war and surrogacy motherhood and a deeply personal account of his own troubled childhood as an adopted child.

But this time Frame has returned to familiar ground to blame some Christians for failing to understand the constitutional separation of church and state, and to caution against attempts at political influence while neglecting constituents.

Full article is here.

Pictures from Albany

September 16th, 2006 posted by kendall at 6:58 pm

Check them out and blessings on Bill Love and the diocese today.



AnglicanTV has video of the Albany consecration here.

Transfigurations has lots more pictures too.


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