This is so central to the decline not only of the oldline churches, but of Evangelicalism and Roman Catholicism in the west:
“These students heard plenty of messages encouraging “social justice,” community involvement, and “being good,” but they seldom saw the relationship between that message, Jesus Christ, and the Bible. Listen to Stephanie, a student at Northwestern: “The connection between Jesus and a person’s life was not clear.” This is an incisive critique. She seems to have intuitively understood that the church does not exist simply to address social ills, but to proclaim the teachings of its founder, Jesus Christ, and their relevance to the world. Since Stephanie did not see that connection, she saw little incentive to stay. We would hear this again.”
I once read an essay, by Peter Berger, I believe, in which he argued that the mainline/oldline had won the cultural battle, in that their inheritors in our society hold to a basically mainline/oldline protestant public ethic, but that they lost the war, in the sense that they (we) were unable to demonstrate that the Church or even Jesus, was necessary to any of it. Why would someone spend their time believing? Practicing faith? etc…
The folks at the School of Theology booth in the exhibit hall at General Convention caught me for my reaction to the opening Eucharist. I was particularly excited about “The Way of Love,” a new evangelism initiative of The Episcopal Church, in which my friend Carrie Boren Headington participated in the development of. You can see more of the Way of Love materials here.
How do we deal with political disagreements with our friends and family? What prompts the strong emotions when we disagree with those close to us? How do we maintain relationships with intense disagreement?
This presentation is intended to lay out some major things in the background of our political disagreements, and then talk about some actions we can take to maintain and strengthen our relationships.
Unfortunately the camera had both a hard time focusing, and a shorter than needed battery charge. Bear with us and we’ll get better at these things.
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The full-length audio (it doesn’t have the question and answer period, however):
Sermon for the last Sunday after Pentecost
Christ the King Sunday*
November 26, 2017
Scriptures: Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24 and Psalm 95:1-7a • Ephesians 1:15-23 • Matthew 25:31-46
Image Info: Christ Enthroned, Byzantine Mosaic
*Yes, I know that Christ the King Sunday is not an official title in the Book of Common Prayer. I also know that the Collect is completely in keeping with the title, so I use it, because I appreciate the opportunity to preach on Christ’s kingship.
This is my sermon from the 10:30 service at St. Joseph of Arimathea on Sunday, July 23, 2017. As always, there are slight variations between the 8 o’clock and 10:30 service.
The scriptures of the day are:
Isaiah 44:6-8, Psalm 86:11-17, Romans 8:12-25, Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43
I have left the reading of the lessons in this recording because I think it is better to hear scripture at times than it is to read it. If you would rather not hear all of the readings, the Gospel procession begins at 7:50 and the sermon itself begins at 10:38.
Reading this, it would be easy to think that with quicker communication, division could’ve been avoided. But faster communication doesn’t mean better communication, as the past few decades of ecclesial conflict have shown. We find plenty of ways to divide from one another even when we can generally communicate immediately. You might even argue we find more ways to divide…
The healing of Anglican-Methodist division requires an honesty about our differences and our history.
Last month, the Episcopal and United Methodist bishops who lead the bilateral dialogue between the two churches issued a letter commending A Gift to the World: Co-Laborers for the Healing of Brokenness, a draft proposal for full communion. The proposal builds on several decades of ecumenical discussion aimed at healing a division that dates back to 1784. “The needs and concerns of the post-Revolutionary missional context,” as A Gift to the World calls it, gave rise to two solutions that, as yet, remain incompatible. Each is directly associated with a dynamic figure who definitively shaped his church’s future story: John Wesley, the prophet, a man of zeal; and Samuel Seabury, the priest, a man of patience.
For years I coasted, tightening up my accent whenever I traveled to New York or when I spoke with a colleague from Massachusetts or Maine, which I frequently had occasion to do at work. Sometimes, when I drank too many glasses of wine, my accent slipped in, my vowels becoming swollen and elongated. Years passed. When I wrote short stories, they were set in cities like New York or, worse, they were set nowhere at all, and my characters were accentless and well traveled, like a bunch of newscasters from the Midwest.
I’ve often shared with people that I think it’s imperative to prefer people over any ideology. Mark Clavier unpacks a number of the reasons why I say this in his latest for Covenant:
I think it’s the rare saint who can both feel passionately about a cause and resist treating others badly. I’ve known a few and respect them all the more for it. But ordinarily there’s something about our fallen nature that makes it hard for us to champion an idea or sentiment and still treat everyone with moderation, respect, and love. In fact, the nature of causes is such that they dispose us to downplay the failings of our allies while exaggerating those who oppose us. And if you seem to have betrayed the cause, even devoted pacifists begin to reach for long knives.