Monthly Archives: August 2003

It’s enough to make one pessimistic

Current mood: sleepy

Current music: Cold – Whatever You Became

Its enough to make one pessimistic. . .

This might be depressing. . .

Unless you’re already so disgusted you can’t be surrprised anymore. . .

I suppose my view that all academic writing is really intellectual imperialism might help me in such an environment.

Confessions of a Grieving Seminary Professor

by Thomas C. Oden

Lay persons are increasingly demanding the right to know why their parish pastors are so often going astray like lost sheep–with political indiscretions, sexual escapades, and ideological binges. I hate to be the bearer of rotten news, but after a lifetime of teaching in a tradition-deprived seminary ethos, I am nearly convinced that its present system is practically irreformable.

My hypothesis is: That form of education for ministry which has attached itself like a leech to modernity is dying as modernity dies. The seminary that weds itself to modernity is already a widow as we enter the era of post-modernity. Here is the dreary list of characteristic symptoms of rapid depreciation:

1. The tenure principle which was designed to protect academic freedom has become so exploited that it now protects academic license, absenteeism, incompetence, and at times moral turpitude. Once tenure is offered, it is virtually impossible to dismiss a professor. It requires many strata of grievance procedures before the tenured professor can even begin to be challenged, regardless of the offense.

Whenever the seminary faculty feels or imagines that it is being subjected to review by anyone, the battle-cry goes out: Safeguard academic freedom! Yes, the seminary has a duty to defend its faculty from unjust challenges that would inordinately invade the sanctuary of the classroom and dictate to faculty what they are to teach. I do not want the KKK or the neo-Nazi party to tell me what I should be teaching and the textbooks I should be using. But neither do I want liberal dogmatists or ideological advocates of someone’s ideas of political correctness to be dictating what textbooks I should be using.

It simply will no longer do for seminaries to continue avoiding dialogue with church constituencies by claiming that professors have the freedom to teach whatever they please. If they teach apostasy, the believing church has no moral obligation to give them support or to bless their follies.

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An article from Christianity Today

Current mood: sleepy

Current music: Cold – Stupid Girl

It’s hard for liberals to imagine that maybe, just maybe, they’re the ones that’ve screwed up the world and perhaps it is the orthodox Christians who must put it right and continue to make a better world. I have thought and continue to believe that the best way for the Church to remain “relevant” is for it to preach the Gospel of Christ, as one friend recently put it “Preach the blood and you will be fine.” Christianity is inherently radical because it goes against the sin nature we all have. The best social statement a Christian can make is to truly be a Christian, and that means we must stop compromising and must reverse previous softenings of the faith.

Enjoy this article from CT.

The Next Sexual Revolution

By practicing what it preaches on marriage, the church could transform society.

A Christianity Today editorial | posted 08/27/2003

Same-sex marriage makes perfect sense�if you buy North American culture’s take on sex and marriage. More than four decades after the introduction of the Pill, hardly anyone now getting married remembers the time when pleasure, procreation, passion, companionship, and parenthood were all intimately knotted into a bundle called marriage. Without those connections, marriage has become an arena for mere self-fulfillment and sexual expression. Even the Ontario Court, in its June 10 affirmation of same-sex marriage, could describe marriage as only an expression of love and commitment. If that is all there is to marriage, why not grant the same legal benefits to committed same-sex couples as to married heterosexuals?

There is, however, an alternative view, rooted in the Bible, in history, in tradition, and in nature. And those of us who see marriage through those lenses can only think of “same-sex marriage” as we think of “fat-free sour cream”�a triumph of the modern, technologically blunted imagination.

The modern spirit has often been devoted to overcoming nature with technology. This has been a blessing when it has nearly wiped out some life-threatening diseases. Unfortunately, it has also synthesized inferior substitutes for real things, ranging from the invention of calorie-free sweeteners to the recent creation of embryos that were genetically both male and female.

That same modernist spirit is at work in the juggernaut that seems bent on normalizing same-sex marriage in North America. May God bless the resistance: First, Matt Daniels and the Alliance for Marriage for promoting the Federal Marriage Amendment. Second, Rep. Marilyn Musgrave (R.-Colo.) and her 75 colleagues cosponsoring the Amendment in Congress. And third, commentators like Cal Thomas and Mona Charen for exposing the diabolical logic of the Supreme Court’s recent Lawrence v. Texas decision. And Maggie Gallagher for elucidating the cultural consequence of legalizing same-sex marriage.

A Laboratory for Marriage

Still, the local church has a key role in recreating a biblical understanding of marriage in our society.

First, we must admit that the church’s current record is dismal. Divorce statistics inside the church are indistinguishable from those outside.

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The Orthodox speak

urrent mood: sleepy

Current music: Cold – Cure My Tragedy

Standing Committee of Orthodox Bishops in America/ SCOBA

Statement on Moral Crisis in Our Nation August 27, 2003

As members of the Standing Conference of the Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA), representing more than 5 million Orthodox Christians in the United States, Canada and Mexico, we are deeply concerned about recent developments regarding “same sex unions.”

The Orthodox Christian teaching on marriage and sexuality, firmly grounded in Holy Scripture, 2000 years of church tradition, and canon law, holds that marriage consists in the conjugal union of a man and a woman, and that authentic marriage is blessed by God as a sacrament of the Church. Neither Scripture nor Holy Tradition blesses or sanctions such a union between persons of the same sex.

Holy Scripture attests that God creates man and woman in His own image and likeness (Genesis 1:27-31), that those called to do so might enjoy a conjugal union that ideally leads to procreation. While not every marriage is blessed with the birth of children, every such union exists to create of a man and a woman a new reality of “one flesh.” This can only involve a relationship based on gender complementarity. “God made them male and female… So they are no longer two but one flesh” (Mark 10:6-8).

The union between a man and a woman in the Sacrament of Marriage reflects the union between Christ and His Church (Ephesians 5:21-33). As such, marriage is necessarily monogamous and heterosexual. Within this union, sexual relations between a husband and wife are to be cherished and protected as a sacred expression of their love that has been blessed by God. Such was God’s plan for His human creatures from the very beginning. Today, however, this divine purpose is increasingly questioned, challenged or denied, even within some faith communities, as social and political pressures work to normalize, legalize and even sanctify same-sex unions.

The Orthodox Church cannot and will not bless same-sex unions. Whereas marriage between a man and a woman is a sacred institution ordained by God, homosexual union is not. Like adultery and fornication, homosexual acts are condemned by Scripture (Romans 1:24-27; 1 Corinthians 6:10; 1 Timothy 1:10). This being said, however, we must stress that persons with a homosexual orientation are to be cared for with the same mercy and love that is bestowed by our Lord Jesus Christ upon all of humanity. All persons are called by God to grow spiritually and morally toward holiness.

As heads of the Orthodox Churches in America and members of SCOBA, we speak with one voice in expressing our deep concern over recent developments. And we pray fervently that the traditional form of marriage, as an enduring and committed union only between a man and a woman, will be honored.

+Archbishop DEMETRIOS, Chairman Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America

+Metropolitan HERMAN Orthodox Church in America

+Metropolitan PHILIP, Vice Chairman Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America

+Archbishop NICOLAE Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese in America and Canada

+Metropolitan CHRISTOPHER, Secretary Serbian Orthodox Church in the USA and Canada

+Metropolitan JOSEPH Bulgarian Eastern Orthodox Church

+Metropolitan NICHOLAS of Amissos, American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese in the USA

+Metropolitan CONSTANTINE Ukrainian Orthodox Church in the USA

+Bishop ILIA of Philomelion Albanian Orthodox Diocese of America

More articles about the more recent unpleasantness

The fallout from the appointment of the first openly gay Anglican bishop continues, with the archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams calling an October meeting of church primates to discuss the issue. Dr Williams also authorised the republishing of an essay written six years ago, in which he calls for a reinterpretation of the Bible regarding homosexuality and supports faithful gay relationships.

As the organ peals out the tunes to traditional hymns and an eager congregation sings, members of St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church are wondering what the future holds for the denomination they love so dearly.

Catholics warn Anglicans

A few comments I found

Current mood: awake

Current music: Blues Traveler – Let Her & Let Go

I thought this selection from Ronald Stuart Thomas’ Bleak Liturgies was particularly apt for our current times:

What Lent is the machine

subjected to? It neither fasts

nor prays. And the one cross

of its Good Fridays is the change

over of its gears. Its Easter

is every day when, from the darkness

of man’s mind, it comes forth

in a new form, but untouchable as ever.

Must the Church also

suffer a mutation?

The communicants’ jeans,

the whiskered faces with

their imitation of Christ?

Re-editing the scriptures

we come on a verse suggesting

that we be gay, so gay we are.

Here are a few more comments and letters I found, including one from IRD, a letter to a friend:

With shame I watched as Archbishop Livingston Mpalanyi Nkoyoyo of Uganda, Archbishop Benjamin Nzimbi of Kenya, and Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon of Nigeria listened to this terrible debate from the international bishops� table. Presiding Bishop Griswold announced that the bishops would spend fifteen minutes in prayer and reflection �loosely based on the Ignatian model.� The archbishops were deep in prayer as well. As the floor speeches continued, Josiah, whose Kaduna Diocese is one of the areas of Nigeria most besieged by Islamists, lay his head down on the table and wept. But the revisionists don’t care how this decision affects our brothers and sisters in the Anglican Communion around the world — some of whom in the Islamic world will die as Muslims react to this latest scandal by the infidels. The best thing that we can do is to remain in solidarity with them.

As well as Titusonenine:

Until that time when we come into the glory of our Savior, this world holds many dangers, toils and snares. In our lesson from St. Matthew, Jesus warns us about false prophets. He does not speculate that they may come. He tells us that they will come, and to beware of them. False prophets appear to be just ordinary sheep, part of the flock, roaming the pasture, seeking the consolation of nature, but actually they are not so. They are inwardly, says Jesus, like ravening wolves.

the Church of Ireland has weighed in.

and many Parishes are now with-holding funds

note

Current music: Blues Traveler – Thinnest of Air

Classical Anglican Net News is contemplating the purpose of ECUSA even as the future becomes either more muddied or more clear (I’m not sure which :-p) as South Carolina and Fort Worth seem to have been busy. Since I now reside in TN, its only right that I include Bishop Herlong’s pastoral letter. I don’t expect Western North Carolina will be taking a stand for anything soon. There’s also more from South Carolina.

Doing well

Current mood: calm

Current music: Blues Traveler – Unable to Get Free

Well, I’m basically settled in here in Sewanee where our class started orientation yesterday. By the end of 6 days of orientation I’m not sure I’ll know which way is up. Everyone is very nice here, as has been my impression each time I’ve visited and what is now being referred to by some as the “recent unpleasantness) is discussed, but not in a virulent way. There are many people from Dioceses that stand firmly against Robinson’s appointment, the blessing ceremonies etc. . . I only wish my own diocese had taken such a stand. I also want to express my concern here, as I have done in person elsewhere, that the coverage of the Robinson affair took precious energy away from other important issues. To my way of thinking there should have been no reason to debate either Robinson or the ceremonies, and doing so, along with the coverage it caused, let the debate over scientific experiments on stem cells slip under the radar. I know there are no “worse” sins than any others, but I think it is a sin to focus so much on one issue, obsess over it in reality, and allow something as important as embryonic stem cell research pass without comment. This is probably even more evidence that the Episcopal Church has lost its way.

Pax

The Move In

Current mood: cheerful

Current music: Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers – The Man Who Loves Women

Well,

I’m just about settled in Sewanee; I still have the organizational things to do and some details to iron out, but on the whole I am ready to begin. There’s going to be a morning prayer service at the Chapel of the Apostles and I will probably go. I’ve met several fellow students and even those I disagree with, I pretty much like, so I am looking forward to my time here. That being said, let me direct your attention to this commentary from Maggie Gallagher:

What really happened last week among Anglicans in Minneapolis? When push came to shove, the remnants of the old WASP elites decided to snub the black folks in the Anglican communion in favor of the voices of people who are white, affluent, with post-graduate educations, just like themselves. Is anybody really surprised?

Doxos

Current mood: lethargic

Current music: The Gibson Brothers – The Lighthouse

I just wanted to plug the blog known as “Doxos” which is the online diary of Huw Raphael. I was on the Gathering the neXt Generation email list and over-lapped Huw’s stay there. Huw is a very inspirational person to me and I’m thankful that he shares so many of his thoughts through his blog. I really respect his search for Truth, his obvious love for God and, through it all, an acceptance of the fact that we all struggle with various issues. I commend his writing to any and all who read this. here’s the link