Archive for June, 2012

Problems with Same Sex Marriage

Friday, June 29th, 2012

By Dr Lisa Nolland

IMPACT ON THE CHURCH

Though David Cameron initially claimed there would be separate marriage ‘tracks’ and that religious bodies would be exempt from performing SSM , this promise is looking increasingly unlikely to be fulfilled. According to various sources, if SSM is legalised, the local church will have to officiate at SS ceremonies. Leading UK religious law barrister, Neil Addison (17 April 2012), writes, ‘The combined effect of the European Court decision and the Ladele decision seems to be clear. If same sex marriage is legalised in the UK then religious same sex marriage will have to be legalised also. Churches which perform heterosexual marriages will have to be willing to perform same sex marriages and they will have no legal grounds to resist since the (secular) Courts have determined that the “Orthodox Christian view of Marriage” is not a “Core” part of Christian belief’. Others, including the gay Justice minister, Crispin Blunt, Anglican commentator, ‘Archbishop Cranmer’, RC William Oddie and a recent constituency delegation to Mr Cameron, all say much the same. Even the Church of England is publicly worried. (1)

BORN GAY BASIS FOR SSM

The ‘justice’ demand for same-sex marriage (SSM) is fuelled and given moral legitimacy by the notion that people are ‘born gay’: ‘gay is the new black’. This brilliant psychological strategy (perfected by media experts Kirk and Madsen (After the Ball (1989), p 184) is untrue but nevertheless widely believed. Identical twin studies disprove it–if one twin is gay the other most often is not (only in 1/9 cases, according to Bailey et al (2000))–as does Frisch et al‘s massive marriage research on the love lives of two million Danes (2006). Even Peter Tatchell discredits the ‘Born Gay’ theory. (2)

Read here (pdf)

Global Charter upholds religious freedom

Friday, June 29th, 2012

June  2012 

Dr Os GuinnessFrom Christian Today

A new Global Charter has been issued by academics and activists to uphold the right to freedom of thought, conscience and belief enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The drafting of the Global Charter of Conscience was overseen by English author and critic, Dr Os Guinness, and German sociologist, Dr Thomas Schirrmacher.

They hope that the document will bring religious tolerance back to the centre of public debate and safeguard the freedom of future generations to engage in public life.

The document calls for a public square that maximises freedom for all and asks people to have respect for those with differing views.

In one section, it appeals to religious believers and secularists to “acknowledge the excesses and at times evils of their respective positions, and commit themselves to an equal regard for the rights of all who differ from them in their ultimate beliefs”.

Read here

A priest to pray against this plague of plagues?

Friday, June 29th, 2012

From Stand Firm with thanks to

Reading and praying this morning, I was arrested by the lesson from Numbers 16:

…and the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Get away from this congregation, so that I may consume them in a moment.” And they fell on their faces. Moses said to Aaron, “Take your censer, put fire on it from the altar and lay incense on it, and carry it quickly to the congregation and make atonement for them. For wrath has gone out from the LORD; the plague has begun.” So Aaron took it as Moses had ordered, and ran into the middle of the assembly, where the plague had already begun among the people. He put on the incense, and made atonement for the people. He stood between the dead and the living; and the plague was stopped. (vv. 44-48)

Aaron reminds us that Jesus is our High Priest, standing between us and the judgment our race goes out of its way to merit.  Incense represents a pleasing offering to God, and only the perfect offering of Christ on the cross can make up for the way we live life on our own terms rather than as an offering to our Creator.  Incense also symbolizes prayer, and Jesus is the High Priest who “…is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.”  (Hebrews 7:25 ESV)

After offering the morning “Suffrages” (a short litany for the church and the world), I found myself praying them again later, with that picture of Christ standing between those who will draw near to God through him and the many plagues that are upon us in this fallen world.  I prayed something like this:

Show us your mercy, O Lord;  And grant us your salvation.
Jesus, stand betwen our self-centered, sin-enthralled race and the judgment we deserve.

Clothe your ministers with righteousness; Let your people sing with joy.
Jesus, stand between all the flaws and falsehood in our churches and the rejection we deserve.

Give peace, O Lord, in all the world; For only in you can we live in safety.
Jesus, stand between our corruption of your creation and the disasters that afflict us through it.

Lord, keep this nation under your care; And guide us in the way of justice and truth.
Jesus, stand between this abundantly blessed yet ungrateful nation and the calamity we risk.

Let your way be known upon earth; Your saving health among all nations.
Jesus, stand between misguided peoples and the spiritual forces that deceive them.

Let not the needy, O Lord, be forgotten; Nor the hope of the poor be taken away.
Jesus, stand between suffering people and the despair that can engulf them.

Create in us clean hearts, O God; And sustain us with your Holy Spirit.
Jesus, stand between our flesh and the “second death” it courts.

Churches fret and strive about so much – too much, really.  If we neglect the proclamation of the true High Priest, the only one who can stand in mercy between humanity and unsparing divine justice, we are truly disposable.  Plague infested, toxic waste.

May we be thankful that he lives and stands in prayer for us.

Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Proposes $2 million for 20 new churches

Friday, June 29th, 2012

June 27th, 2012 Posted in TEC |

By David Virtue, VOL

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori released her Budget Proposal for consideration at the upcoming General Convention of the Episcopal Church this past week. Deep in the heart of her budget request was $2 million for 20 new churches. This is what she calls a “mission driven budget.” She says Episcopalians have been “sent to heal the world.”

Now the obvious question must be asked, who among the liberal apparatchiks and graduates of liberal and revisionist episcopal seminaries possibly know how to plant a church given the current ideology, theology and morals of The Episcopal Church? An Episcopal seminary president screaming “abortion is a blessing and our work is not done” and then calling for the suppression of rights of conscience for health care workers, will jump start new churches.

It is ironic that the liberal Bishop of Arizona, Kirk Smith said that the current crop of seminary graduates is not exactly well-formed, either in intellectual knowledge or leadership ability. “We need scholars in the church, to be sure, but even more we need young men and women who can grow the church. This clearly is not happening.”

Does anyone think that the former Governor of NJ Jim McGreevey, twice married and now living with his homosexual lover while studying at General Theological Seminary in NY, can start a parish with Good News about Jesus? Or a combination of Gene Robinson, Mary Glasspool, and Tom Shaw announcing a Billy Graham style Crusade with J. Jon Bruno offering the benediction while leading hundreds to Christ out of which new churches are formed is going to happen? If this weren’t straight blasphemy, it would be hysterically funny, something a writer for New Yorker magazine might pick up.

Read here

VIRGINIA: Lesbian Priest Recalled from Sudan to Lead Worship at Falls Church Episcopal

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012

By Jeffrey Walton
http://juicyecumenism.com/2012/06/25/lesbian-priest-recalled-from-sudan-to-lead-worship-at-falls-church-episcopal-6/

The continuing Episcopal congregation of the Falls Church (TFCE) has invited an openly lesbian Episcopal priest who was famously recalled from the Sudan to lead services on July 1.

The invitation to the Rev. Lauren Stanley comes one month after TFCE assumed control of the historic property following a court ruling against the departing Anglican congregation. The Anglican congregation (TFCA) voted overwhelmingly to separate from the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia in 2006 following disagreements about the authority and interpretation of scripture.

Stanley’s invitation to TFCE follows the diocese’s first ordination of an openly lesbian clergywoman earlier this month. On June 2, Assistant Bishop Edwin F. “Ted” Gulick Jr. ordained Jo Belser of Alexandria, VA to the transitional diaconate in a service at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Burke, VA. As a layperson, Belser served as an official with Integrity Virginia, the diocese’s unofficial homosexual and transgender caucus.

Stanley is best known for her four year missionary assignment at Renk Theological College in Sudan. In March of 2009, Stanley was recalled to Virginia by Bishop Peter Lee at the request of Archbishop Daniel Deng Bul Yak. The head of the Sudanese church acted after the Virginia clergywoman made public comments at Diocesan Council defending a resolution opening the door to the blessing of same-sex unions. Responding to concerns that such a resolution would do irreparable harm to the long-standing mission relationship between the Diocese of Renk and the Diocese of Virginia, Stanley insisted that the Sudanese did not care. Archbishop Deng Bul Yak told Bishop Lee that Stanley’s comments were offensive.

In December of 2011 the Episcopal Church of the Sudan publicly revoked an invitation to Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori, citing the U.S.-based church’s liberal stance on sexuality issues. The Sudanese church simultaneously recognized the Anglican Church in North America, while stating that they would continue to work with some individual churches and dioceses within the Episcopal Church.

Following termination of her work in the Sudan, Stanley was stationed as an Episcopal Church missionary in the Diocese of Haiti, the largest in the U.S.-based Episcopal Church. That assignment also ended with Stanley being recalled after only a year. Stanley is currently listed as a doctoral candidate at Virginia Theological Seminary and is described as “Priest, Preacher, Consultant, Visionary”; her blog has been silent since 2010.

Formed soon after the Anglican congregation split from the Episcopal Church, TFCE has been led by an interim priest-in-charge for the past year. Unlike the Anglican congregation, the significantly smaller Episcopal congregation has remained comfortable with the theologically liberal direction of the diocese. In 2010, an alternate Lay delegate from the church, Doug Hansen, spoke before the Resolutions Committee Open Hearing at Diocesan Convention in support of Resolutions R-3 (Inclusiveness in Ordained Ministry Regardless of Sexual Orientation) and R-4 (Authorizing Rites of Same-Sex Blessings).

The congregation’s vestry recently announced that the Rev. John Ohmer of St. James Episcopal Church, Leesburg, VA, has been called to be Rector of the church.

SEWANEE: School of Theology Appoints Ultra-liberal Bishop as Dean

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012


June, 2012

Dear alumni of the School of Theology, I am delighted to share the following news with you.

This morning I had the pleasure of announcing that the Rt. Rev. J. Neil Alexander, Bishop of the Diocese of Atlanta and Chancellor of the University, has been appointed Dean of Sewanee’s School of Theology.

Many of you have had the opportunity to work with Bishop Alexander during his tenure as Chancellor or in other service to the Church.

I know you will understand why this news was greeted with enthusiasm by the assembled faculty.

This appointment will be effective August 1. As you are aware, Bishop Alexander had previously announced his intention to step down this year after 11 years as Bishop.

He also will step down as Chancellor, and the Chancellorship will transfer to the Rt. Rev. Samuel Johnson (John) Howard, Bishop of the Diocese of Florida, until the next election by the University’s Board of Trustees.

I look forward to continuing my working relationship with Bishop Alexander in his new role.

The years we have served together have been enormously productive for the University, and I believe we can expect great things for The School of Theology.

I would be remiss if I did not take this opportunity to again thank Bill Stafford, whose retirement as Dean of The School of Theology occurs June 30.

During his tenure, The School of Theology launched a new D.Min. in preaching program, planned new master’s degrees, and hired eminently qualified new faculty.

Bill Stafford served as Dean with great distinction, and he leaves the School on solid footing financially, academically, and theologically.

You can find the complete announcement of this appointment on the Sewanee website: http://news.sewanee.edu/academics/2012/06/25/the-rt.-rev.-j.-neil-alexander-named-dean-of-the-school-of-theology.

Please join me in thanking Dean Stafford for his devoted service and welcoming Dean Alexander back to the Mountain.

Sincerely,

John M. McCardell, Jr.
Vice-Chancellor and President

SSM: The Wrong Side of Intellectual History

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

June 2012 

From The American College of Pediatricians

The core case against gay marriage is extremely simple: If a mother’s missing, that’s important; if a father’s missing, that’s also important. We should think of it this way: When you were growing up, didn’t you notice the psychological difference between your mother and your father? Wasn’t some of the difference obviously attributable to the fact that one was a man and the other a woman? There has been an ideology, a kind of religion since the Seventies that says that psychological differences between the genders were mere social constructs, but the advent of brain scanning devices and new research in social psychology are now shifting the balance back to show that nature shapes us to some extent after all. All this has enormous significance in the area of child-rearing, which is far-and-away the most important reason why society should keep committing itself to giving economic benefits and social recognition to mother-and-father couples.

Social Psychology. Studies in social psychology confirm the common observation that women tend to describe themselves more in relational terms, welcome more help, experience more relationship-linked emotions, and are more attuned to others’ relationships (Addis & Mahalik, 2003; Gabriel & Gardner; 1999; Tamres & others, 2002; Watkins & others, 1998, 2003). In conversation, men more often focus on tasks & connections with large groups, women on personal relationships (Tannen, 1990). When on the phone, women’s conversations with friends last longer (Smorda & Licoppe, 2000). When on the computer, women spend more time sending emails in which they express more emotion (Crabtree, 2002; Thomson & Murachver, 2001). When in groups, women share more of their lives and offer more support (Dindia & Allen, 1992; Eagly, 1987. When facing stress, men tend to respond with fight-or-flight; often, their response to a threat is combat. In nearly all studies, notes Shelley Taylor (2002), women who are under stress more often “tend and befriend”; they turn to friends and family for support. With children, women tend to coddle, men to challenge.

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