Tuesday, February 27, 2007
Friday, February 23, 2007
Thursday, February 22, 2007
From C. FitzSimons Allison's The Cruelty of Heresy
"The fact that orthodoxy has been at times badly represented ought not to obscure the larger fact that the essence of Christianity is resisted by a human desire for a religious justification of our self-centeredness, on the one hand, and for a religious encouragement of escape from life, on the other. The good news of Christ frees us from the prison of self-centeredness with the gift of an eternal Center and from an escape into death by the promise of abundant life." p. 178
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
9 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
This passage shows that homosexual behavior is not a matter of indifference in the New Testament. It is not like the issue of eating meat sacrificed to idols in Romans 14 or 1 Cor. 8 where Paul urges 'strong' Christians to refrain from eating such meat (even though an idol, he says is nothing) if it might weaken the resolve of 'weak' Christians.Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori, using the issue of the strong and weak Christians as an analogy to the issue of homosexual practice, suggests that it might be appropriate to meet the conditions of the Windsor Report and the Primates Communique so as not to cause our (weaker) brethren to stumble.
Thus, homosexual practice and eating meat dedicated to idols are equivalent moral concerns.
Is there something wrong here?
Here is what Bishop Jefferts Schori said:
A parallel to this situation in our tradition might be seen in the controversy over eating meat in early Christian communities, mentioned both in the letter to the Romans and the first letter to the Corinthians. In those early communities, the meat available for purchase in the public market was often part of an animal that had been offered (in whole or in part) in sacrifice in various pagan religious rites. The troubling question in the Christian community was whether or not it was appropriate to eat such meat - was it tainted by its involvement in pagan religion? Did one participate in that religion (and thus commit apostasy) by eating it? Paul encourages the Christians in Rome and Corinth to recall that, while there may be no specific prohibition about eating such meat, the sensitive in the community might refrain if others would be offended. The needs of the weaker members, and the real possibility that their faith may be injured, are an important consideration in making the dietary decision.
The key word is "parallel." Meat offered to idols is parallel to homosexual practice.
Monday, February 19, 2007
Here is here response to bloggers hoping against hope that there was something positive in the subcommittee report given to the primates at Dara es Salaam.
"The analogy they articulate is similar to this one. You are the general of an army, and you have surrounded the enemy with superior ground troops and firepower. You have sent terms to the general of the opposing army, asking that they surrender their arms, release their prisoners, and advance to the center of the field under a white flag of peace where the treaty will be signed. The opposing general sends back a communique with something along these lines:
"We receive and embrace your invitation to engage in a process of healing and reconciliation; we call upon all infantrymen in our army to exercise restraint in the use of their firearms. We express our regret for inviting certain members of the opposing army, discovered while on patrol last night, to participate in our underground living quarters, and partake of our meals of hard bread and cold water. As we have no white flag -- nor have we ever even seen or used a white flag in the past -- we find ourselves unable to respond to your request of a white flag until such time as we are able to grow and harvest the cotton, weave the cotton strands together, and form them into an appropriate white flag suitable for display."
You, the general of the "victorious" army send back a rather lengthy communique, surrounded by a number of rhetorical flourishes, frills, furbelows, and bowings and scrapings, which essentially says "We accept your surrender. We will be arriving to collect your surrendered arms and the former prisoners this afternoon at 3. With regards to the little matter of the white flag, we will bring you one ourself to present to us at the center of the field. See you there."
Friday, February 16, 2007
From a USA Today article:
She sees two strands of faith: One is "most concerned with atonement, that Jesus died for our sins and our most important task is to repent." But the other is "the more gracious strand," says the bishop who dresses like a sunrise.
18 When they heard these things they fell silent. And they glorified God, saying, "Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life."
Repentance that leads to life is given to us through the death and resurrection of Jesus. What she suggests as one strand is the gospel.
The Liturgical Sermon in TLC, February 5 edition is a very sad, yet revealing article about the state of preaching the Episcopal Church today.
He asserts that the sermon 'fulfills an essential function as a bridge uniting other elements in the liturgy." Sermons, he suggests, play an important (damning by feint praise) but subordinate role to the Eucharist by connecting the liturgy of the word with the Eucharist itself.
He even says, "nothing prevents the preacher from doing exegetical justice to scripture..." Can you imagine?
I have heard and believe that the greatest enemy of biblical preaching is plausible preaching - the kind suggested by Mr. Hoffacker.
Is there no wonder there is a famine of hearing the word of the gospel, despite the spate of readings in our church.
Some Christians in the Cambridge Christian Union, fearful that one of their preachers would try to over intellectualize the sermon to curry favor with the Cambridge dons, wrote a note to their preacher which said, "Ram the red hot gospel down their throats." But, of course, that might not tie the liturgy together.
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
Tuesday, February 13, 2007
It's driving me crazy. Please, please, just say it! - or rather 'he', or 'him,' or 'his' or 'himself'!
From our PC PB - "Christianity in its breadth says that God became human in Jesus, that God revealed God's full self (my emphasis) in Jesus," Jefferts Schori said in an interview with the News Sentinel. "It does not overtly say that God has never been present anywhere else, and I think that's what irritates people.
God revealed HIMSELF. There, I feel so much better.
Monday, February 05, 2007
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, "BUT THE RIGHTEOUS man SHALL LIVE BY FAITH."
16 Οὐ γὰρ ἐπαισχύνομαι τὸ εὐαγγέλιον δύναμις γὰρ θεοῦ ἐστιν εἰς σωτηρίαν παντὶ τῷ πιστεύοντι Ἰουδαίῳ τε πρῶτον καὶ Ἕλληνι 17 δικαιοσύνη γὰρ θεοῦ ἐν αὐτῷ ἀποκαλύπτεται ἐκ πίστεως εἰς πίστιν καθὼς γέγραπται Ὁ δὲ δίκαιος ἐκ πίστεως ζήσεται
A solution - why not both? God's gift of a new relationship with him through Christ, a gift which transforms the character and will of the believer.