Friday, February 06, 2015

United Methodists and Episcopalians Mark “Waystation” to Full Communion

February 6, 2015

Officials from the United Methodist Church and Episcopal Church have joined together at the Washington National Cathedral to mark an agreement bringing the two oldline Protestant denominations closer together.

“Today as Episcopalians and United Methodists, we remember who we are kin too. We celebrate our family tree and our common roots in the Lord Jesus Christ,” proclaimed the Rev. Dr. Kim Cape, General Secretary of the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry of the United Methodist Church.

Cape gave the January 25 sermon at the Episcopal cathedral, declaring the day “historic” and that the two communities were acting “to mend a long division.”... the rest

Christian life in the age of Facebook and Twitter; It's Time for the Church to Grow Up...

It's Time for the Church to Grow Up
...We tend to think that maturity means perfection. But the New Testament clearly teaches that spiritual maturity is different from heavenly perfection. Spiritual maturity is presented (in passages like Heb. 5, Eph. 4, and 1 Cor. 3) as foundational in the Christian life. But our popular theology says things like, “We’re all just sinners saved by grace.” True enough, but that can start to sound like what Dallas Willard called “miserable sinner Christianity”: that no progress can be expected in this life...

...But this desire for digital connectivity is fueled by something else: the triggering of reward centers in our brains. In a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science that involved analysis of brain scans, researchers concluded that self-disclosure—the activity behind such things as Facebook status updates and tweets—arouses our central reward center, dispensing dopamine, the neurotransmitter whose effects are amplified by stimulants like cocaine and methamphetamine. Consequently, some people turn to social media for this stimulation. “Humans so willingly self-disclose,” the authors write, “because doing so represents an event with intrinsic value, in the same way as with primary rewards such as food and sex.” Another study found that getting Facebook “likes” gives us the same neurological response. In an article in The International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, Daria Kuss and Mark Griffiths found that “extraverts appear to use social networking sites for social enhancement, whereas introverts use [them] for social compensation, each of which appears to be related to greater usage,” and “may be indicative of potential addiction.”...

...Beyond neurological stimulation, such compulsive behaviors are driven by the pursuit of “micro-celebrity.” In her book Camgirls: Celebrity and Community in the Age of Social Networks, Theresa Senft defines micro-celebrity as “a new style of online performance in which people employ webcams, video, audio, blogs and social networking sites to ‘amp up’ their popularity among readers, viewers, and those to whom they are linked online.” It is, as Senft asserts, a way of crafting one’s persona so as to make oneself irresistible to others. In Paul VI’s time, preoccupations with consumerism were thought to do the same. Today, however, this behavior is not limited to traditional conceptions of who is and who is not a celebrity, and virtually anyone can develop an audience online....

China Less and Less Enamored of Social Media, Study Finds
  ...But tighter management wasn’t the only reason social media was declining in popularity.

“Social media has penetrated into the lives of Chinese people and they now realize they are spending too much time on it,” said Sophie Shen, who led the Kantar poll, in a statement. “At the same time, they are receiving more low-quality and duplicate content.”

The No. 1 worry brought about by social media use, according to the survey, was reduced time reading books. Reduced privacy, sleep deprivation and worsening eye-sight were other concerns.

Overuse of the Internet is a common topic of conversation in China. The world’s second-largest economy has had a steady stream of dismal, and sometimes gory, accounts of Internet addiction, such as the recent one of a teen who evidently chopped off his hand (in Chinese) in an effort to stay off the web...

Judge Finds Christian Bakers Guilty of Discrimination, Fines May Put Company Out of Business  ...The Kleins could be forced to pay up to $200,000 for refusing the service. The couple now awaits a hearing March 10 to determine the exact amount they must pay. Christian News Network reports that the couple said last October that a high fine would “definitely” cause the family to declare bankruptcy...

Surrogacy motherhood: the European Court of Human Rights ratifies the sale of children

Anti-Semitic attacks more than double in UK

The march of the new political correctness I wonder how many of you know that you’re cis. Not very many, I’m guessing. So let me break this gently. You are almost certainly cis. It is short for ‘cisgendered’, which means that you ‘identify’ with the gender you were assigned at birth. To put it in everyday language, you were born male and are still male, or were born female and are still female...

Fox to Air Show About Lucifer?  
...In the DC comic book series, Lucifer was modeled after David Bowie and ran a piano bar. God isn't portrayed all that well (as if you couldn't guess.)

Here's the thing, the thing most people like about comic book characters is that for all their moral grayness, in the end they stand up against evil. I've read some people are comparing it to the comic turned television show Constantine. But in the end of that show every week, John Constantine, usually attempts to makes the right decision and tends to be willing to sacrifice himself for others. Gives the audience someone to root for.

Now, as Milton proved, it's perfectly believable that an artist could portray a story including Satan that could be interesting, engaging, and not blatantly anti-Christian. But I'm suspecting that's not what we're going to get from the creator of Californication which was criticized for attempting to use nuns for a sexual punch line...

A.S. Haley: South Carolina Decision Is Full Vindication for the Victims of ECUSA’s Oppression

February 5, 2015

Circuit Judge Diane S. Goodstein’s carefully crafted 46-page decision in the case brought by Bishop Mark Lawrence’s Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina (along with 35 of its parishes, plus St. Andrew’s, Mt. Pleasant) against the Episcopal Church (USA) and its rump group (ECSC, or “Episcopal Church in South Carolina”) is a complete vindication of the positions taken and arguments advanced for so long, by so many, inside and outside the Church.

It is a vindication first, for the Right Reverend Mark Lawrence and his legal team, who conceived the winning strategy, assembled and put on all the evidence, wrote all the briefs, argued all the appeals, fought back in the federal courts, and at last brought ECUSA to its day of reckoning.
It is a vindication, as well, of Bishop Lawrence’s pastoral strategies, by which he showed how spiritual leaders can follow and submit themselves to the civil law, while in doing so remain faithful and Biblical counselors and guides for those in their spiritual care. It was Bishop Lawrence who decided on behalf of his Diocese not to appeal the All Saints Waccamaw decision to the U.S.

Supreme Court and run the risk of dividing his parishes still further. It was Bishop Lawrence who accepted responsibility for giving each parish in his Diocese a quitclaim deed in compliance with the holding in All Saints Waccamaw that the Dennis Canon could on its own not create a trust in any property in South Carolina. These decisions led to the accusations of “abandonment” brought against Bishop Lawrence by his detractors, but they were pastorally the right decisions to make under the circumstances. Had ECUSA’s leaders shown a comparable willingness to submit to the everyday requirements of the civil law, the Church would not be where it is today: millions and millions of dollars poorer, with absolutely nothing to show from the squandering of all its trust funds.

It is a vindication of all of the faithful parishioners and clergy in the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina who remained by their Bishop, and provided much-needed financial support, as ECUSA and its minions sought to bring him down by the sheer weight of all the forces they could bring to bear against him and his Diocese...     the rest
As has long been argued on this blog, any restriction which ECUSA tried to put upon the ability of its member dioceses to withdraw would be in violation of the First Amendment, and unenforceable in any civil court in the land.

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Anglican Unscripted Episode 156

Feb 5, 2015

Anglican Unscripted is the only video newscast in the Anglican Church. Each Episode Kevin, George, Allan and Peter bring you news and prospective from around the globe. Please Donate!

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Circuit Court Rules Diocese of SC Keeps Historic Property

ST. GEORGE, SC, Feb. 3, 2015 – In a 46 page opinion, South Carolina Circuit Court Judge Diane S. Goodstein, ruled that The Diocese of South Carolina, The Trustees of the Diocese and 36 parish churches successfully withdrew from The Episcopal Church in 2012 taking with them all their property, including churches, symbols and other assets. The ruling is the result of a three-week trial last summer in which over 50 witnesses testified.

The historic ruling comprehensively resolves the issues surrounding the more than $500 million in property owned by the Diocese and its parishes, which disassociated from the denomination in 2012 after TEC improperly attempted to remove Bishop Mark Lawrence as head of the Diocese.

The judge’s decision found baseless TEC’s claim that it owned the Diocese’s identity and properties.  During the trial, the Diocese demonstrated that it existed long before TEC was established – and that it was one of the dioceses that founded the denomination in 1789.  It also proved that every diocese is free to associate with a denomination of its choosing.

The Court found that “the Constitution and Canons of TEC have no provisions which state that a member diocese cannot voluntarily withdraw its membership.” The ruling found that had there been such a provision, it would have violated the Diocese’s “constitutionally-protected right” to freedom of association. “With the freedom to associate goes its corollary, the freedom to disassociate,” Judge Goodstein said... the rest

Anglican Unscripted Episode 155

Feb 3, 2015

Anglican Unscripted is the only video newscast in the Anglican Church. Each Episode Kevin, George, Allan and Peter bring you news and prospective from around the globe. Please Donate!

Monday, February 02, 2015

And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple...

“Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts. But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner's fire and like fullers' soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and they will bring offerings in righteousness to the Lord. Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord as in the days of old and as in former years. - Malachi 3:1-4 image

Please God, Don’t Let Us Get Audited; An Open Letter from the Child of a Loving Gay Parent...more

Islamic State terror cell in Israel slaughtered sheep as part of training ...According to the indictment, the members of the cell trained in a farm in Kafr Manda owned by the attorney. They learned how to ride horses and how to prepare Molotov cocktails and purchased sheep to slaughter them as part of their training...

Please God, Don’t Let Us Get Audited: IRS Is Scaring The Hell Out Of Churches ...Erik Stanley, senior legal counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom, works with churches across the country on how to avoid violating tax laws. He said that fear of the IRS prevents many pastors from speaking their minds on political issues.

The IRS recently said that it currently has 99 churches under high priority investigation, Stanley said.

“The problem with the vagueness of the law is exacerbated by the spotty enforcement, and basically unequal and sometimes selective prosecution that’s gone on,” Stanley told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “The IRS will go after certain groups and other groups, but not other groups and there’s no explanation given for why that seems to be that case.”

In the case of Branch Ministries vs. Rossotti, the IRS went after a church that put an ad in USA Today telling Christians not to vote for Bill Clinton. Stanley said that for their defense they submitted hundreds of pages of newspaper articles of churches doing the same thing who were not prosecuted, demonstrating a long history of seemingly arbitrary enforcement...

Challies: Lessons from 50 Shades of Grey
The trailer is smoldering temptingly on computers around the globe. Fans of the book are checking their diaries and booking tickets online. Reviewers are readying their pens and preparing their remarks. In just a few short days 50 Shades of Grey will hit the big screen, just in time for Valentine’s Day.

On one level, this is just another in a long line of films with a storyline that portrays sex and relationships in ways far removed from God’s design. But it is so much more than that. I believe that 50 Shades of Grey can serve as a kind of cultural barometer that alerts us to the colossal changes that have been occurring in recent years, and to the consequences they bring.

So what can the 50 Shades phenomenon teach us today? I teamed up with Helen Thorne, who has written Purity Is Possible: How To Live Free of the Fantasy Trap, and together we prepared 7 lessons from 50 Shades of Grey...

Dear Justice Kennedy: An Open Letter from the Child of a Loving Gay Parent  ... If it is undisputed social science that children suffer greatly when they are abandoned by their biological parents, when their parents divorce, when one parent dies, or when they are donor-conceived, then how can it be possible that they are miraculously turning out “even better!” when raised in same-sex-headed households? Every child raised by “two moms” or “two dads” came to that household via one of those four traumatic methods. Does being raised under the rainbow miraculously wipe away all the negative effects and pain surrounding the loss and daily deprivation of one or both parents? The more likely explanation is that researchers are feeling the same pressure as the rest of us feel to prove that they love their gay friends...

Conger: The Church of England Is Not Dead Yet, The Economist Reports ...The Church of England, like the old man in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, is not dead yet. Granted, it is not at all well. A steady decline of a hundred years or so is not an indicator of health, but a report last week in The Economist shows some signs of life.

The article in the January 17, 2015, print edition entitled London supplies England with wealth, culture—and, increasingly, Christians” reports on the church-planting movement within the Church of England. Unlike many press accounts of the CoE, which predict its imminent demise, the editorial line of The Economist article favors its subject matter.

There is nothing in this story about women bishops, homosexuality, liberal politics, naughty vicars or any of the usual fodder for CoE articles. In some ways I am surprised by this piece, as it could have been printed in a religious newspaper or magazine. The assumptions and attitudes it displays value the church and its mission. Overall this is a very nicely done story, yet I wonder if The Economist could have pushed a bit harder. Were they too respectful?

The article reports on St. Peter’s Church in Brighton and its vicar and his wife, Steve and Jodi Luke, and the remarkable growth the church has experienced...

Madden simulation accurately predicts Super Bowl XLIX score
Madden NFL 15's simulation of Super Bowl XLIX proved to be strikingly accurate.

In the Madden simulation, the Seahawks led 24-14 in the third quarter following a Marshawn Lynch touchdown run, but the Patriots dug deep and came storming back to win 28-24.

Sound familiar?

In the real Super Bowl, the Seahawks also led 24-14 in the third quarter, albeit after a Doug Baldwin touchdown catch. But the Patriots still came back to win 28-24 after a Julian Edelman touchdown catch...