Blogroll Category: Christian Resources

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LET US PRAY: Prayers From Women of Color - Bev Chao Berrus

The Good Book Company - Sun, 14/06/2020 - 06:00

A Message from the TGBC team: 

Whatever the color of our skin, there is much to grieve and lament over right now. So many of us are hurting. So many of us feel powerless to help. Those of us who are not people of color want to stand with our brothers and sisters, but sometimes are unsure how to.

But all of us can pray. And all of us must pray.

So we’ve invited women of color to help all of us lift our eyes to the Lord of all and speak to him as our Father about the times we’re walking through. Each day for the next week or two, visit this blog and you’ll find a video, voice recording, or written prayer that will help you to pray into this situation. 

We’re honored that serving us today is Bev Chao Berrus, a member of First Baptist Church of Hacienda Heights, CA, and a writer and speaker.

Father in Heaven,
 
We praise you for you are our faithful Creator. There is none like you Almighty God. Each of us was fearfully and wonderfully created out of your infinite beauty and wisdom. In your image, we are made, and all the diversity and varied beauty of the human race finds its origins in you. 
 
And yet the world we live in is a far cry from the one you breathed into existence. We know who’s to blame. It is not you. It is our sinfulness that has given birth to destruction and death. It is our wickedness that severed the union between God and man. In Adam, our rejection of your good authority brought chaos into a once-orderly world.

So we come and lay our grief at the foot of your throne. Oh Lord, we grieve the pandemic that racism is among your image-bearers. We grieve the vicious killings of countless innocent people because of the color of their skin. We grieve all wicked discrimination that has kept and is keeping people around the world in egregious oppression. And Lord, we, your sons and daughters, especially grieve division within the very body of Christ over what is happening in the world. We confess that we are tempted to suppress compassion for others, being quicker to resurrect dividing walls of hostility that you tore down in Christ’s body on the cross. We grieve how instead of truth spoken in love so as to give grace to hearers, we throw love-less words and insults around like they are nothing more than confetti. Forgive us, Lord!
 
We ask with the psalmist, “Has his steadfast love forever ceased? Are his promises at an end for all time?” (Ps. 77:8) And your word answers with a resounding NO, “the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end.” (Lam. 3:21) You are the one who gathers the outcasts, heals the broken-hearted, and lifts up the humble while casting the wicked to the ground. (Ps. 147)

Glory be to God on High! For while our rebellion gave birth to death, your mercy brings the second birth through the better Adam. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight… (Eph. 1:4-9) By his stripes, we are healed.

Continue to heal us. Help us to not only tolerate one another but to celebrate the mosaic of differences that highlight your creative power! Help us to remember that with your blood, you redeemed a people for your own possession, who are eager to do good works. Remind us to lift up the arms of our black brothers and sisters who are so tired of having to defend themselves against what is obvious oppression. Comfort them as they share in the sufferings of Christ. Give your church unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. (1 Peter 3:8) Remind us at every turn, that we have been given the ministry of gospel reconciliation to those inside and outside the church. May we respond to one another with the same heart that Christ had as he went to the cross for his enemies.
 
Father unify us in love and purpose for the sake of your glory because we bear your name. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. (Matt. 5:9)

In Jesus’ name we pray,
Amen
 

Bev Chao Berrus is also a contributor to His Testimonies, My Heritage. Hear the voices of women of color on the most important subject in any age—the word of God.

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This inspiring collection of devotions is by a diverse group of women of color—African-American, Hispanic, Caribbean, and Asian women. Contributors include Kristie Anyabwile, Jackie Hill-Perry, Trillia Newbell, Elicia Horton, Christina Edmondson, Blair Linne, Bev Chao Berrus and more.

Categories: Christian Resources

Anglican Unscripted 603 – How do we Regather?

Anglican Ink - Sat, 13/06/2020 - 12:53

The time has come to start to regather churches around the world. How do we do that? Also, TEC has brought disciplinary charges against Bishop Love of Albany. This and much more on this week’s Anglican Unscripted with Kevin Kallsen and George Conger.

The post Anglican Unscripted 603 – How do we Regather? appeared first on Anglican Ink © 2020.

LET US PRAY: Prayers From Women of Color - Jamika Munn

The Good Book Company - Sat, 13/06/2020 - 06:00

A Message from the TGBC team: 

Whatever the color of our skin, there is much to grieve and lament over right now. So many of us are hurting. So many of us feel powerless to help. Those of us who are not people of color want to stand with our brothers and sisters, but sometimes are unsure how to.

But all of us can pray. And all of us must pray.

So we’ve invited women of color to help all of us lift our eyes to the Lord of all and speak to him as our Father about the times we’re walking through. Each day for the next week or two, visit this blog and you’ll find a video, voice recording, or written prayer that will help you to pray into this situation. 

We’re honored that serving us today is Jamika Munn, a member of Risen Christ Fellowship, Philadelphia, PA.

Merciful and Sovereign God!

How majestic is Your Name in all the earth. We acknowledge you as the One true God.  We just want to thank you for your kindness. We thank you for your mercies that know no end. We thank you for your faithfulness. We thank you that you are a man of your word. That if you say it- you will surely do it. We acknowledge you as the only one who is able to save us and who is able to comfort us in our affliction. Your word says that “the Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.”  Father, we need comfort. People are hurting. We look around and all we see is sin, sickness, and sadness. It’s too much to bear. Thankfully, you are strong and mighty and when we're weak, your perfect strength is displayed. Our hearts ache over the things that are going on in the world right now. Along with daily fighting our own sin, we are in the middle of a pandemic, and we continue to see the lives of Black men and women not valued- not seen as the Imago Dei. Our hearts need healing. We are grieved. Yet, we are not without hope. Not only that, we are still able to rejoice-even in our sorrows. We rejoice in Your word. Lord your word is perfect, reviving the soul. Your word is right, and it rejoices the heart. In the midst of our grief God, help us to find comfort in your word. We rejoice in the Son! Thank you for Jesus. We were once far off from you. Through His life, death, and resurrection, you have brought us near. Thank you that our Lord is risen- He reigns with all authority in His hand. He has defeated sin, death, and the devil. He is the perfect Judge and He overlooks not one act of injustice- He will repay. We rejoice in the gift of prayer- your word tells us that we can cast every single care on you. Thank you that you are a God who hears us. You are not exhausted by us. You never sleep. You never slumber. You are always listening and always working on our behalf. We rejoice in knowing that our tears are not wasted. You keep our tears in a bottle. You give ear to our tears. Grief over this world is appropriate. In fact it’s worshipful when done with Jesus before our eyes. We ask that you will help us to keep the Lord before our eyes in the midst of our grief. We rejoice in knowing that we will see Jesus! Oh, what a sight when we finally behold His face! He will wipe away every tear from our eyes and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” I am thankful that what we see in this broken world, is not all that there is to it. We cry out Lord haste the Day when you return and right everything that is wrong. But until then, help us to not lose heart. Help us to do the work that you have called us to do on this earth- we want to see revival, Lord. We want to see many men and women come to know you. Help us to keep our eyes on you! In Jesus’ Name. 

Jamika Munn is also a contributor to His Testimonies, My Heritage. Hear the voices of women of color on the most important subject in any age—the word of God.

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This inspiring collection of devotions is by a diverse group of women of color—African-American, Hispanic, Caribbean, and Asian women. Contributors include Kristie Anyabwile, Jackie Hill-Perry, Trillia Newbell, Elicia Horton, Christina Edmondson, Blair Linne, Bev Chao Berrus and more.

Categories: Christian Resources

A Report on the Hearing Panel from Bishop Love and Note of Thanks

Anglican Ink - Sat, 13/06/2020 - 05:11

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Earlier today, the Title IV Hearing Panel (chaired by The Rt. Rev. Nicholas Knisely) met to deal with “The Matter of The Episcopal Church –vs- The Rt. Rev. William H. Love.

Following today’s public presentation, during which both sides had 45 minutes each to make their case, the five members of the Hearing Panel adjourned to confer with one another in an effort to reach a verdict regarding the case. They will then need to write a written argument supporting their decision. It is my understanding that the public will not be notified of the decision until the written argument is complete, which according to Bishop Knisely may take several weeks. Once that is done, each side will have an opportunity to appeal the ruling if they choose. At the moment, it is unknown exactly when the final outcome of this case will be resolved.

It has been a very long and arduous process thus far, not only for me and my family, but for the entire Diocese of Albany and all those in the wider Body of Christ who have been following this case. Unfortunately, as just shared, it is not over. As Bishop, one of the most difficult and frustrating aspects of the situation we find ourselves in, is knowing that regardless of what action I took in response to General Convention Resolution B012, it would be seen as divisive, resulting in hurting, angry people being left in the wake

As the Bishop of Albany, I love and care deeply for all the people of this Diocese, even those who may have a different understanding than I do regarding same-sex marriage. I know there are people of good will on both sides of this issue, and that ultimately, we want the same thing – to know how best to show God’s love and minister to our Brothers and Sisters in Christ who have same-sex attractions. The problem is, we have a different understanding of how to go about it. May God give us the grace to figure it out as we work together, keeping Christ at the center of all that we do. My hope and prayer is that whatever the outcome of this Hearing / Trial, God will use it for His purposes and that He will be honored and glorified, and His Church and people be blessed.

In closing, I want to say a special THANK YOU to everyone who has been holding me, my family, the Diocese of Albany, The Episcopal Church, and the wider Body of Christ up in prayer. During these past 18 months, I have been deeply touched and humbled by the hundreds of emails, cards, letters, text messages, and phone calls I have received from literally all over the world. The love and concern shared by so many of you, means more that I can ever adequately express. May God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit bless and keep you this day and for evermor

Faithfully Your Brother in Christ,
+Bill
Rt. Rev. William H. Love

The post A Report on the Hearing Panel from Bishop Love and Note of Thanks appeared first on Anglican Ink © 2020.

LET US PRAY: Prayers From Women of Color - Dennae Pierre

The Good Book Company - Fri, 12/06/2020 - 10:10

A Message from the TGBC team: 

Whatever the color of our skin, there is much to grieve and lament over right now. So many of us are hurting. So many of us feel powerless to help. Those of us who are not people of color want to stand with our brothers and sisters, but sometimes are unsure how to.

But all of us can pray. And all of us must pray.

So we’ve invited women of color to help all of us lift our eyes to the Lord of all and speak to him as our Father about the times we’re walking through. Each day for the next week or two, visit this blog and you’ll find a video, voice recording, or written prayer that will help you to pray into this situation. 

We’re honored that serving us today is Dennae Pierre who has written a poem. Dennae is a member of Roosevelt Community Church, Phoenix, AZ. She leads the Surge Network, a movement of local churches in Phoenix, and serves on the North America Leadership Team for Redeemer City to City.

Kingdom Vision

Give me a vision
Of your kingdom
I want the eyes to see it
Your people, glorious
Unhindered by the lies
Freedom to love
Abundance flows
 
Ordinary people
Lonely people
Awkward people
Even grumpy people
 
Are redeemed
Laughing, rejoicing in love
Give me a vision of your kingdom 
I want to see it
Where the things we once treasured
Are laid down at your Holy feet
Delighting instead in the treasure
You’ve given us in the brethren
 
Give me a vision of your kingdom
Every tear wiped away
By the tender hand 
And listening ears
of another saint
Christ’s compassion flowing
 
Give me a picture of your kingdom
As we remember
Abused and broken bodies
Weak, old, and young
Sick and strong
No one limping
Instead they all radiate Christ’s light
 
Give me a vision of your kingdom
Where no amount of 
Wealth, praise, or power
Can possibly replace 
The holy wonder 
of uniting with our Lord
Give me a vision of your kingdom
When the things we have done in secret 
Are exposed in love’s perfect light
No longer ashamed
We will stand around and marvel
That we have been made clean
 
Give me a vision of your kingdom
In which our delight is in You 
And your delight is in us
Being with each other
One with you 
Sharing all things in common
Receiving from you our daily bread
 
Lord give me a vision of your kingdom
And words to describe 
To those far off and alone
Disgusted by religion
Tired by the rules
Worn out from the addictions
Burdened and weary 
From the sirens’ tune
That they are welcome 
to arrive at your shores
And delight in pure love
Greeted by our Lord
 

Dennae Pierre is also a contributor to His Testimonies, My Heritage. Hear the voices of women of color on the most important subject in any age—the word of God.

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This inspiring collection of devotions is by a diverse group of women of color—African-American, Hispanic, Caribbean, and Asian women. Contributors include Kristie Anyabwile, Jackie Hill-Perry, Trillia Newbell, Elicia Horton, Christina Edmondson, Blair Linne, Bev Chao Berrus and more.

Categories: Christian Resources

Anglican Church in Burundi launches COVID-19 relief program

Anglican Ink - Fri, 12/06/2020 - 03:32

The Anglican Dioceses of Makamba and Rumonge have joined other initiatives seeking to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in the communities they serve. Through the Humanitarian Partnership Project supported by Christian Aid Burundi, the project is supporting mainly vulnerable people including orphans, returnees, the elderly, widows, and people living with disabilities.

Recently around 320 vulnerable people have been assisted with COVID-19 kits to use in their households and meeting places.

People are still able to attend public meetings such as church services and ordinary community meetings. The project has supported around 130 churches and other facilities such as health centres and schools operating in the provinces of Makamba and Rumonge with hygiene kits to be used when people gather.

The Church is urging people to follow instructions indicated by the Ministry of Public Health concerning Covid-19 prevention and commit to stop its spread. Regular hand washing using clean water and soap or hand sanitiser and respecting social distancing are measures people have adopted.

Since in some contexts social distancing remains a challenge, some churches have redesigned their programmes. Two or three services on a Sunday have enabled worship that respects social distancing and keeps congregations safe.

Initiatives to support people across the country are being supported and encouraged by the Church as resources are available.

The post Anglican Church in Burundi launches COVID-19 relief program appeared first on Anglican Ink © 2020.

Episcopal Church Executive Council calls for dismantling white supremacy

Anglican Ink - Thu, 11/06/2020 - 23:00

At its June 8-11 virtual meeting, The Episcopal Church’s Executive Council doubled down on the church’s anti-racism efforts, acknowledging in light of recent events that the church must do more, both to understand its own complicity in white supremacy and to dismantle it.

In order for that to happen in a mostly white church, there needs to be a paradigm shift, said House of Deputies Vice President Byron Rushing. During his meditation for Morning Prayer on the final day of the meeting, Rushing shared his perspective as a black man being acutely aware of racism every day, and challenged white members of council to have the mindset.

“We can’t be honest about doing this work together until it is as equally important, every day, for you as it is for us, and that each of us know that,” Rushing said.

Council passed several resolutions affirming the church’s racial justice work, emphasizing efforts to respond to the recent killings of black Americans by police and white vigilantes and highlighting the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 in communities of color.

One resolution will send $150,000 to the Episcopal Church in Minnesota and $150,000 to the Diocese of Kentucky to “support their continuing work of dismantling the systemic racism we have create in this country and still permeates our church and society.”

George Floyd, an unarmed black man, was killed May 25 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, while being detained by police. Officers pinned him to the ground for nearly nine minutes while one pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck as he repeated, “I can’t breathe.” That killing prompted protests nationwide and around the world denouncing police brutality. Protesters also have drawn attention to the March 13 killing of Breonna Taylor, a black woman fatally shot in her Louisville, Kentucky, home by police who were executing a “no knock” warrant.

By providing substantial assistance to the dioceses that are responding to those two high-profile killings, Executive Council shows it is listening to Episcopalians who expect their church to take concrete action in opposing systemic racism, the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, president of the House of Deputies, said June 10 during a committee discussion.

“The church is waiting for us,” she said, adding that this emergency spending is offered to the dioceses with no strings attached. The bishops will decide how the money can best support racial justice work on the ground.

Rushing also praised the work of the dioceses of Georgia and Atlanta in responding to the Feb. 23 killing of Ahmaud Arbery, a black jogger who was attacked and fatally shot by a white father and son in Glynn County, Georgia. Rushing and other church leaders chose not to include those two dioceses in the emergency funding, partly because the dioceses’ continued efforts don’t appear to depend on new spending.

“They’ve done a tremendous amount of work, and we know where they are,” Rushing told the Joint Standing Committee on Mission Within the Church.

Rushing also helped draft two resolutions that reaffirmed The Episcopal Church’s commitment to racial justice work after the killings of Arbery, Taylor, Floyd and other black victims. One of the resolutions singled out Arbery’s killing as a case of “violent racial vigilantism” that brought to mind lynchings and other historic forms of racial terror. Arbery’s attackers, who said they thought he was a suspect in a series of recent break-ins, were not arrested in the killing for more than two months.

Executive Council “praises the prompt response of the Episcopal people and churches in the Dioceses of Georgia and Atlanta to publicly call for justice in response to this heinous crime,” the resolution says.

A parallel resolution focuses separately on cases of deadly police violence toward African Americans, citing Floyd and Taylor by name and praising the response of Episcopalians in Minnesota and Kentucky. It also calls on all Episcopalians “to organize, advocate, and dismantle systems, policies, and practices that reinforce police violence and brutality.”

Executive Council approved another resolution that outlines specific criminal justice reforms that would improve police accountability and help protect people of color from violence. The resolution encourages Episcopalians to advocate for the reforms, including bans on chokeholds, stricter protocols on use of force, creation of community oversight bodies and federal review of killings by police.

“Working to enact these policies is not a means to an end but one part in addressing systemic racism and providing long overdue protections to communities of color, ensuring that we live in a society that recognizes, values, and empowers all of God’s children,” the resolution concludes.

When it was brought before council, the Rev. Devon Anderson of Minnesota noted that the resolution seemed to preclude any of the various proposals that fall under the umbrella of “defunding the police,” but ultimately offered her support, and the resolution passed easily.

Another resolution addresses the toll that the COVID-19 pandemic has taken on communities of color, including Indigenous communities, often because of barriers to adequate health care caused by poverty. Executive Council urged Episcopalians to “join with their communities in actively removing these barriers and addressing the social determinants of health.”

The pandemic and national outrage over police brutality toward people of color also prompted Executive Council to adopt a new program of “rapid response” grants as part of its core racial reconciliation initiative, Becoming Beloved Community. Episcopal and Episcopal-affiliated entities are encouraged to apply this summer for grants of up to $10,000 to back immediate efforts “to address systemic racism and racial violence.” Executive Council approved up to $100,000 for those grants.

While anticipating that the coming years will be some of the worst the U.S. economy has seen since the Great Depression, the Rev. Mally Lloyd, chair of the Joint Standing Committee on Finance, assured council that the church is in “solid financial shape.” Short-term reserves are above their targeted amount, with $12 million in unrestricted funds immediately available, and 2020 expenses are below budget so far.

However, Lloyd and Treasurer Kurt Barnes warned that while income in the first quarter was not seriously affected by COVID-19, they do not expect that to continue. Several dioceses have asked to defer their assessment payments, and two have requested emergency hardship assessment waivers. Council passed a resolution granting a full waiver of Colombia’s assessment and a partial waiver of the Dominican Republic’s assessment. That resolution also granted a partial waiver to the Diocese of Dallas as it works toward a full 15 percent payment in 2021. In addition, the Diocese of Honduras requested financial assistance, as its schools – which are its primary source of income – are now closed, but teachers are still being paid. Council approved a $50,000 grant for two months of payroll and asked the presiding officers to appoint a short-term task force to work with the diocese on financial sustainability.

In light of expected income shortfalls from diocesan payments and investments, church staff were asked in April to identify immediate savings that could be implemented without personnel cuts. Staff identified $4.2 million in potential savings, and the finance committee went through the 2020 budget with those recommendations and other circumstances in mind. The committee ultimately put forward a resolution to make about $2 million in immediate budget cuts, much of it “low-hanging fruit” like travel expenses that are now moot. This sets a baseline for deeper cuts to be made as needed, in a “staged reduction” approach depending on how much income might decline.

Lloyd praised church staff and the committee for their work on the budget, which she said struck a balance between saving up for an uncertain future and using the church’s resources now to address the immediate crises of racism and COVID-19, with a nod to the Biblical story of Joseph.

“Are we in the stage of building and filling the barns against the future famine, or are we in the famine? … We’re in the cusp, I think.”

Council is next scheduled to meet Oct. 9-12, and further budget discussions – as well as possible changes to the 2020 parochial report – are expected.

The post Episcopal Church Executive Council calls for dismantling white supremacy appeared first on Anglican Ink © 2020.

NZ Anglican churches resume communion in both kinds

Anglican Ink - Thu, 11/06/2020 - 22:56

Today the Bishops in Tikanga Pākehā have confirmed that they are happy for churches to offer communion in both kinds, but with no compulsion or expectation that everyone will take it in full or part.

Bishop Steve of Dunedin commented: “We believe we fully engage in communion whether we take one or both kinds. We all need to feel comfortable and safe – anyone who wants to receive a blessing or communion in one or both kinds is welcome”.

We are encouraging liturgical best practice around this that includes:

  • Regular washing / sanisting of the hands of anyone involved in handling elements, vessels and so on throughout the Eucharist
  • Recommended provision of wine (with alcohol, not juice) in a central cup
  • Use of clean purificators, with those administering the chalice wiping the edge of the chalice and rotating before administering to the next communicant.
  • Thorough cleaning of all vessels in boiling water after the Eucharist.
  • Intinction is not recommended. 

The post NZ Anglican churches resume communion in both kinds appeared first on Anglican Ink © 2020.

Martyn Percy falls foul of Marxist conformism in the Church of England

Anglican Ink - Thu, 11/06/2020 - 17:23

Though he has a track record of high-profile campaigning for political correctness in the Church of England, the Dean of Christ Church, Oxford, Martyn Percy, has been inclined to go off message. Is this the reason the increasingly Marxist CofE establishment has turned against him?

The British satirical and investigative magazine Private Eye has reported  on the decision by the CofE’s National Safeguarding Team to set up a ‘core group’  to investigate Percy, who is both head of Oxford University’s most prestigious college and senior resident cleric at the city’s cathedral, for alleged safeguarding failures. Percy’s enemies among the academics (called Censors) at Christ Church are the complainants.

According to Private Eye: ‘The dean himself is not represented on the Core Group, and not allowed to know who is on it or when it meets. But two of the complainants from the college, including Senior Censor Geraldine Johnson, are members. It is hard to see what the group can achieve. It can’t question the students whose safeguarding issues the dean allegedly mishandled, since they did not make any complaints and their identity is not known. It can’t ask the dean, since the students spoke to him in confidence.’

The Eye concluded: ‘The National Safeguarding Team has now asked Dean Percy to stand down during the inquiry, even though nobody believes he poses a risk to anyone. Professor Johnson has indicated that if Percy is still in post when the governing body next meets, she will put a notice on the college’s website to the effect that Christ Church’s safeguarding protocols are all robust except in respect of the dean – richly ironic, given that one of the Censors’ previous complaints about Percy was that he wanted them to take their safeguarding responsibilities more seriously.’

It would seem that the NST’s Stasi-like treatment of Percy follows a distinctly Marxist pattern of behaviour towards fellow revolutionaries inclined to independent thought.  That Percy has been a leader in the CofE revolution against traditional biblical orthodoxy cannot be doubted. In 2017 he was in the vanguard of the campaign against the Bishop designate of Sheffield, the Anglo-Catholic suffragan Bishop of Burnley, Philip North.

In article on the revisionist Modern Church website, Percy wrote that North’s opposition to female priests would ‘cause significant pastoral and public damage to the church’. He claimed there was a ‘substantial amount of resistance building up’ to North’s appointment, arguing that he should withdraw because his becoming a diocesan bishop would ‘represent the toleration of gender-based sectarianism’.

After a concerted campaign against North by female clergy in Sheffield Diocese and their male accomplices, Percy got his wish. North did not take up the role and the second choice for the nomination, the former Dean of Liverpool, Pete Wilcox, got the job.

But Percy has also criticised the culture of bureaucratic managerialism in the CofE. In 2016 he wrote an afterword in his book, The Future Shapes of Anglicanism, arguing that Archbishop Justin Welby’s ‘Renewal and Reform’ programme for the CofE was moving towards ‘centralised management, organisational apparatus and the kind of creeping concerns that might consume an emerging suburban sectarianism, instead of a national church’.

He wrote: ‘It will take more to save the Church of England than a blend of the latest management theory, secular sorcery with statistics and evangelical up-speak.’

He was blistering about Welby’s leadership, arguing that a cure for the ailing established Church ‘would require a much deeper ecclesial comprehension than the present leadership currently exhibit … There seems to be no sagacity, serious science or spiritual substance to the curatives being offered’.

He declared that the CofE ‘is being slowly kettled into becoming a suburban sect, corralling its congregations, controlling its clergy and centralising its communication. Instead of being a local, dispersed, national institution, it is becoming a bureaucratic organisation, managing its ministry and mission – in a manner that is hierarchically scripted’.

For the intellectual non-conformism on display in this withering critique, it would seem that Percy has earned the hatred of the CofE’s Politburo and is now paying the price.

Julian Mann is an evangelical journalist based in Morecambe, Lancashire, and author of Christians in the Community of the Dome

The post Martyn Percy falls foul of Marxist conformism in the Church of England appeared first on Anglican Ink © 2020.

Christian, read fiction

The Good Book Company - Thu, 11/06/2020 - 10:32

Parents are often told to read to their children. It helps children to learn to read for themselves if we read to them—regularly and often—from a very young age. Nearly all little children love stories and rhymes, and can be encouraged to take pleasure and delight in language and books. Parents should cultivate that early love for as long as they can.    

As we grow up, we all continue to read in some way. We read textbooks while in school in order to learn. We read newspapers and magazines in order to be informed. As Christians, we read the Bible in order to know God and grow in him. But for too many, something happens to strip away the natural love of reading stories. We don’t read books for pleasure in the way that children do. We may make sure we have time for books on theology and Christian living, but we don’t bother venturing into other genres.

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But the theologian Kevin Vanhoozer says that imagination, trained and developed by reading literature, is “a vital ingredient” in the believer’s sanctification. We shouldn’t think of books as merely an educational tool (though they are a very effective one). Reading stories and loving language can help us to pursue God and love his people more.

The value of reading widely

There are some who enjoy books on theology and Christian living but stay away from novels and poetry. It’s true that it is well worth reading books specifically designed to help us grow as Christians. But just as an athlete training for a marathon must vary her exercise and train in a variety of ways to maximize her performance in the race, so a reader will find that reading various types of books can strengthen her vocabulary, comprehension, and critical thinking skills. These things can enhance our enjoyment and understanding of the Bible and theology books.

For example, some of the best works of theology use poetic language and figures of speech to present powerful truths even more powerfully. The mind exercised by reading poetry or poetic prose is often more receptive to the tendrils of truth contained in such literary language. This goes for Scripture, too. The Bible is composed of various literary genres—each with its own rules and demands—and the language of the Bible is some of the most beautiful and most-cited in the world. Improving our reading skills helps us to understand and appreciate God’s revealed word as he speaks to us through it by his Spirit.

The better we become at reading, and the more thoroughly and carefully we read, the more we will enjoy both language and the God-created world that language describes.

Creatures of imagination

Literature also trains and forms our minds more generally. We are by nature creatures of imagination, and the way we form and feed the imagination is no small matter. We need imaginations which seek God and connect our story to his: which look out for ways in which he is working in our lives and the lives of those around us.

God expressed delight in his created world by declaring that it was good, and he wants his image bearers, too, to experience delight in what is good. One way we can appreciate the world around us is through books. The better we become at reading, and the more thoroughly and carefully we read, the more we will enjoy both language and the God-created world that language describes.

Reading good literature allows us to delight in a story well told, a phrase well turned, a description well captured, or a truth well expressed. That is good stewardship of God’s wonderful gift of language. And becoming aware of these things in books will help us to take notice of what we see in the world around us and to find meaning in it. Instead of walking straight past the fuzzy pink slipper left on the sidewalk, we might wonder how it got there and where its partner is. Instead of focusing on our work or the music in our headphones on the train, we might look at the people around us and wonder where they are going and what experiences have brought them this far. These are small, everyday examples of the use of human imagination. But they are different only in degree from the big, universal questions about the human condition: Who am I? Where did I come from? What is the meaning of my life?

The answers to these questions are found only in the word of God. But it is in little acts of imagination that such questioning can begin.

A great gift            

Reading is a wonderful way of helping children to learn. It’s not just that it teaches them language and helps them develop their own reading and writing skills. It also introduces them to people, places, and experiences that they may not face directly. It is the same for any of us: reading expands our mental, emotional, and imaginative horizons. As Christians seeking to love those around us, we can read in order to develop empathy and compassion for our real- life neighbors.

But reading also leads us to delight in the world our God has created: the endless variety of people, places and creatures he has made. There is so much to enjoy in his gifts to us of imagination, creativity, and language. This is the best reason of all to read to children and to teach them using books. I encourage people of any age to read not only the things they feel they “should” read, but also the things they like to read. Science fiction, historical novels, romance, crime, nature writing, poetry, plays, non-fiction. Let reading be delightful! And pray that reading may lead you closer to the Lord.
 

How should we listen to, and think in a gospel way about, the ordinary things we come across in modern life? Things we watch, read, eat, and do. There are so many voices saying so many different things that the temptations are to either disengage completely, or find ourselves being influenced more and more by the world.

In Beautifully Distinct, godly, clear-thinking women talk about a range of areas of life and culture. They help us to be thoughtful about films, books, and the media; set out biblical principles for approaching topics such as body image and racism; and encourage us to shape the world around us for Christ—becoming beautifully distinct.

Categories: Christian Resources

LET US PRAY: Prayers From Women of Color - Elissa Weichbrodt

The Good Book Company - Thu, 11/06/2020 - 09:29

A Message from the TGBC team: 

Whatever the color of our skin, there is much to grieve and lament over right now. So many of us are hurting. So many of us feel powerless to help. Those of us who are not people of color want to stand with our brothers and sisters, but sometimes are unsure how to.

But all of us can pray. And all of us must pray.

So we’ve invited women of color to help all of us lift our eyes to the Lord of all and speak to him as our Father about the times we’re walking through. Each day for the next week or two, visit this blog and you’ll find a video, voice recording, or written prayer that will help you to pray into this situation. 

We’re honored that serving us today is Elissa Weichbrodt, a member of New City Fellowship, Chattanooga, TN, and Associate Professor of Art and Art History at Covenant College, Lookout Mountain, GA.

Elissa Weichbrodt is also a contributor to His Testimonies, My Heritage. Hear the voices of women of color on the most important subject in any age—the word of God.

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This inspiring collection of devotions is by a diverse group of women of color—African-American, Hispanic, Caribbean, and Asian women. Contributors include Kristie Anyabwile, Jackie Hill-Perry, Trillia Newbell, Elicia Horton, Christina Edmondson, Blair Linne, Bev Chao Berrus and more.

Categories: Christian Resources

Statement from the Bishops of The Society on the Eve of the Feast of Corpus Christi on church reopenings

Anglican Ink - Thu, 11/06/2020 - 02:59

We are grateful that the Government has heard the increasing dissatisfaction of Christians, and people of other religious traditions, and announced their intention to allow places of worship to open for individual prayer and worship from 15 June. We hope that basic principles of religious freedom, and indeed equity with other groups in society, will continue to be borne in mind in the coming stages of easing the lockdown. We are also grateful to all those in the Church of England, in other churches and in other faith communities, for their continuing work on the Government’s Places of Worship Taskforce to find a safe way of enabling congregational worship to resume as soon as possible.  

We are acutely aware of the painful experience borne by the vast majority of lay people and some clergy in recent months, deprived of corporate worship and the sacraments, and many others who have been unable either to marry or pray for their deceased family and friends in church. We hope that all who wish to – and are able to do so – will make use of the restored freedom to enter Christian churches, where it is feasible for those churches to open safely, and will continue to make use of widely available resources and opportunities to support their faith as we await a further easing of the lockdown.

The influential Anglican priest and theologian Richard Hooker wrote these words in the sixteenth century, “Churches receive as everything else their chief perfection from the end whereunto they serve. Which end being the public worship of God, they are in this consideration houses of greater dignity than any provided for meaner purposes.” While our use of language has changed slightly in the intervening centuries, the essential truth of Hooker’s statement remains: the worship of God through gathered, corporate worship, as well as private prayer, is intrinsic to that dignity in worship we seek as Christians. Hooker’s writings go on to re-iterate the words of the Psalmist, “O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.”

On this Eve of the Feast of Corpus Christi, we look forward to people being able to return to churches next week to offer their prayers before the Blessed Sacrament of the Lord. We also look forward to the time, over the coming months, when the Eucharist can be celebrated and shared among God’s people. The Eucharist is not an optional liturgical extra or a contemporary lifestyle choice; it is the source and summit of the Church’s identity and forms an essential part of our Christian witness, as the historic formulae, the canons and the liturgies of the Church of England rightly recognise.

In this short devotional video on the theme of Corpus Christi (below), the Bishop of Fulham speaks powerfully of the vital role the Blessed Sacrament has in our spiritual lives. The film is a joint initiative between The Society and the Church Union and was made in accordance with the Government guidelines in place during the pandemic. It is the final film in a series of eight such films, covering the themes of Holy Week, Easter, Our Lady, Pentecost, praying for the dead and, now, Corpus Christi. The films are offered, with our prayers, as a resource to all those looking to reflect on these important Christian themes at home in this time of pandemic.

The post Statement from the Bishops of The Society on the Eve of the Feast of Corpus Christi on church reopenings appeared first on Anglican Ink © 2020.

Standing in the breach — a meditation on recent events by Mark Lawrence

Anglican Ink - Wed, 10/06/2020 - 22:51

If it is true as author Shelby Steele has stated in a recent interview that “racism is endemic to the human condition,” and, I believe it is, it is so because sin itself is endemic to the human condition. To address endemic racism in ourselves, others or our institutions whether it is a prejudice, bigotry, guilt or shame, which hides in the shadows, or that, which parades itself in public, we shall be more successful if we invite the Holy Spirit to journey with us. He after all is not only the promised “Helper,” the One Jesus taught would be sent; he is also the One who shall convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgement. (John 16:7-8)

Racism is a dark dimension of sin that is difficult for most of us, regardless of our ethnicity, to admit is in us. We sometimes hear someone say, “There is not a racist bone in his body!” One might as well say, “There is not a sinful bone in his body.” For most people such a statement would be nonsense. Perhaps for some of us it is more accurate to say, “God’s grace is bringing me forgiveness for and deliverance from the sin that clings so closely to me, including prejudice.” That at least is my prayer.

Therefore, as we continue in this octave of prayer for our nation while in the midst of this crisis of pandemic and quarantine, with tensions about policing, protests, violence and race, and throw in political jousting for good measure, I invite you to what I believe God’s Spirit has been urging us—that is, to step into the breach. The prophets Ezekiel and Isaiah spoke of standing in this breach—through both prayer and action.

Thus says the Lord GOD, And I sought for a man among them who should build up the wall and stand in the breach before me for the land, that I should not destroy it, but I found none.” (Ezekiel 22:30)  

And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; /you shall raise up the foundations of many generations;/ you shall be called the repairer of the breach,/the restorer of streets to dwell in. (Isaiah 58:12)

This begins for many of us with intercessory prayer and should lead to prayerful action. Consider the juxtaposition of two black men killed in recent acts of violence.

Most reading this meditation will have heard of George Floyd and his last words, “I can’t breathe.”  His name and words are placarded around the world.  His funeral watched by millions. The context of his death and the words so painfully uttered form a simple eloquence Shakespeare described well when he penned the lines, “O! but they say the tongues of dying men/Enforce attention like deep harmony:/Where words are scarce, they are seldom spent in vain,/For they breathe truth that breathe their words in pain.” George Floyd through social media has become the archetypal victim and his dying words the rallying cry of a generation that has taken to the streets by the thousands. Upon the archetype whether inherent or not virtue is conferred. To watch even a portion of the eight-minute video clip is to feel the painful scab ripped from the deep wounds of those who have suffered from centuries’ old prejudice and the futility of any who would seek to deny it or put on a band aid to stay the bleeding.

The name of retired police captain, David Dorn, a 77 year old black man murdered during the lootings that accompanied the protests in St. Louis on June 2 fewer have heard of.  He died defending a friend’s pawnshop. His body was found on the sidewalk at 2:30 a.m. He served his community as an officer for 38 years and dedicated his free time to helping disadvantaged youth. His widow, Ann Marie Dorn, remains a sergeant on the police force. The Ethical Society of Police, which has represented black officers in St. Louis since 1972 in  addressing race-based discrimination, said of David Dorn, he was “the type of brother that would’ve given his life to serve them if he had to.”  As it turns out, he did. Nevertheless, he like Floyd is a symbol now, not of victimhood but of individual and community initiative. Yet this will never play so well on the screen or in the street. Frankly, that is about all that I know of him. Except this, one of those young black men fleeing the scene of the crime is overheard on the pawnshop camera saying “C’mon, man, that’s somebody’s granddaddy!” These words spoken by a young man in the midst of violent crime testify to a conscience and heart that is still able to care. This too is the human condition: that in the midst of violence a young man’s heart can still care and he the sort of young person retired Police Captain David Dorn was set on reaching.

To stand in the breach, to kneel in the place prayer is to hold all of this in our hearts before God: the young marching in peaceful protest; a looter and burglar fleeing the scene of  violence perpetrated by his companion in crime; and all the George Floyds and David Dorns of the world . It is not only to stand in the breach, it is to have one’s heart enlarged. In the words of Edwin Corley, intercession “… is the principle by which praying people allow their own spiritual hearts to become enlarged enough to take on [through prayer] the care of others.” To share in the compassion of Jesus Christ for this world where so many people are like sheep without shepherds. To ask God’s Spirit to address our own “…feelings that have become calloused and remote for most of the people around [us].”  May God work in us a deep feeling of love and compassion for His people. So we lift up those suffering from the Covid-19; those working for a vaccine and cure; those burying their loved ones either from the pandemic, the street violence or the normal stuff of life; for those who have lost their business and jobs from quarantine or fire, rioting and looting; for those who continue to suffer the weight of racial injustice; for police officers who risk their lives in their daily round of duty; and those for whom the killing of George Floyd makes the world feel less safe.  That may sound almost like a litany. It is—or at least a prayer list. We pray for the light of Christ to come into our darkened world, and after this week of prayer and fasting to show each of us what the next step is, so we might fulfill the promise of our Lord. “You are the light of the world…let your light shine before others that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” 

The post Standing in the breach — a meditation on recent events by Mark Lawrence appeared first on Anglican Ink © 2020.

Anglican Unscripted 602 – The Canterbury Conspiracy

Anglican Ink - Wed, 10/06/2020 - 20:49

Today we discuss three conspiracies that may or may not be real. That and much more on today’s Anglican Unscripted with Kevin Kallsen and George Conger.

The post Anglican Unscripted 602 – The Canterbury Conspiracy appeared first on Anglican Ink © 2020.

LET US PRAY: Prayers From Women of Color - Elicia Horton

The Good Book Company - Wed, 10/06/2020 - 06:00

A Message from the TGBC team: 

Whatever the color of our skin, there is much to grieve and lament over right now. So many of us are hurting. So many of us feel powerless to help. Those of us who are not people of color want to stand with our brothers and sisters, but sometimes are unsure how to.

But all of us can pray. And all of us must pray.

So we’ve invited women of color to help all of us lift our eyes to the Lord of all and speak to him as our Father about the times we’re walking through. Each day for the next week or two, visit this blog and you’ll find a video, voice recording, or written prayer that will help you to pray into this situation. 

We’re honored that serving us today is Elicia Horton, the Director of Women’s Ministry at Reach Fellowship Church, Long Beach, CA, and an author, speaker, and writer.

Elicia Horton is also a contributor to His Testimonies, My Heritage. Hear the voices of women of color on the most important subject in any age—the word of God.

[inline_product:heritage]

This inspiring collection of devotions is by a diverse group of women of color—African-American, Hispanic, Caribbean, and Asian women. Contributors include Kristie Anyabwile, Jackie Hill-Perry, Trillia Newbell, Elicia Horton, Christina Edmondson, Blair Linne, Bev Chao Berrus and more.

Categories: Christian Resources

NOTICE OF HEARING: The Rt. Rev. William H. Love, June 12, 2020

Anglican Ink - Tue, 09/06/2020 - 22:23

The Title IV Hearing Panel appointed by the President of the Disciplinary Board for Bishops in the matter concerning the Rt. Rev. William H. Love, Bishop of Albany (Respondent), will hold a hearing on Friday, June 12, 2020 at 9:00 a.m. (EST) via remote electronic means, Zoom. The hearing participants will receive a meeting invitation in advance of the hearing. The purpose of the hearing is to provide an opportunity for oral argument on the Motion of The Episcopal Church (“TEC”) for Summary Judgment and the Cross Motion of the Rt. Rev. Bishop William H. Love (“Bishop Love”) for Summary Judgment in the case of In the Matter of The Episcopal Church v. The Rt. Rev. William H. Love.

In accordance with Canon IV. 13.8 of the Canons of the General Convention of The Episcopal Church, the hearing will be open to members of the public who may view the proceedings at https://www.facebook.com/events/265211354592608/ .  One need not have a Facebook account to view the proceedings.

Tentative Agenda
The purpose of the hearing is to provide an opportunity for oral argument on the Motion of TEC for Summary Judgment and the Cross Motion of Bishop Love in this matter. A copy of all of the briefs and exhibits filed by both parties in the matter are available at https://episcopalchurch.org/title-iv/active-cases .

The tentative agenda for the Hearing is as follows:

  1. Welcome & Opening Prayer
  2. Overview of the Proceeding
  3. Argument by Church Attorney: overall time allotment, 45 minutes; counsel may reserve time for response.
  4. Argument by Counsel for the Respondent: overall time allotment, 45 minutes; may reserve time for a response.

Rules of Order for the HearingThe Hearing Panel has approved the following Rules of Order and Decorum for this hearing:

Preliminary Statement 
The proceedings in this proceeding under Title IV of the Canons of the General Convention of The Episcopal Church involve matters of high seriousness and great importance to the Respondent and to the Church. We ask that all persons who are present for this proceeding conduct themselves in a manner that reflects the seriousness of the proceeding and respects the Hearing Panel, the Respondent the Church, and counsel for both parties.

The post NOTICE OF HEARING: The Rt. Rev. William H. Love, June 12, 2020 appeared first on Anglican Ink © 2020.

Cornhill 2020-21 will be an online course

The Proclaimer - Tue, 09/06/2020 - 10:15

We have taken the decision that PT Cornhill will take place entirely online, for the coming academic year (2020-21).

We know that this is a period of great uncertainty about the future, not least in knowing when the current lockdown regulations and guidance may be relaxed. Some people have contacted us to ask us what Cornhill might look like next year, and even wondering whether they should apply at all. To give some clarity now for applicants and for their churches, we have made the decision that the whole course will be provided online for the whole of the academic year 2020-21.

By committing now to this course of action (rather than continuing with an temporary plan that extends the uncertainty), we can give confidence to those who will be studying with us, and also offer a ‘this year only’ opportunity to those who geographically couldn’t otherwise join us.

As well as providing this clarity for the whole year, factors behind our decision include:

• our building, Willcox House, is not well set for social distancing. We couldn’t safely accommodate half a year group, let alone a whole year group, within our facilities. We did trial hybrid teaching, with some students online and some in the building, but we found it the least satisfactory option.
• we anticipate that travel into central London will be disrupted for many months. There’s no easy way to vary our start and end times to be well away from rush hour, and the government continue to request that we should work from home if at all possible.

We’ve been running Cornhill online this year since before full lockdown began and the feedback from current students has generally been good. We’ve been able to deliver all our content this year as we would have done without the pandemic – none of the various elements that make up Cornhill has been lost – and we’ve been learning lots about how to make it work better.

Of course, at its heart ministry is relational, so we have no intention of making the unusual situation of this next year any kind of precedent for succeeding years. And we are actively exploring options to enable people to physically come together at some point during this year. We don’t yet know what this might look like, and can’t guarantee it will happen. But it might be, for example, that a year group meets once or twice in a large church building at the start of the year, probably for a shorter time in the middle of the day so they can travel outside rush hour, just to start to build relationships. That wouldn’t be possible under current guidance, but might be at some point.

As a result of this decision, Cornhill Foundation Year 1 will be live on a Monday while, on a Tuesday (for those unable to be free on a Monday), a recording of the Monday lectures will be available. Teaching practice groups will take place live by Zoom on both Monday and Tuesday afternoons. These teaching practice sessions will be the only part of F1 which takes place live on a Tuesday.

F2 (Wednesdays) and Core (Thursdays and Fridays) will all be live.

Whilst this wasn’t what we had initially planned, we are really excited about this unique opportunity to equip men and women from all around the world to unashamedly preach and teach God’s word. Please pray for us as we adapt to these challenging circumstances.

Categories: Christian Resources

Eating to glorify God

The Good Book Company - Tue, 09/06/2020 - 06:00

There is growing fear around food in our society. Each documentary (and blogger, and nutritionist, and neighbor) answers differently. Supplements. Organic. Paleo. Vitamins. Gluten-free. Cleanses. Vegan. Gut health. Essential Oils. Ketones. If you don’t choose a solution, it can feel as though you’ve just conceded: you’re letting “the industry” kill off your family with cancer, high cholesterol or obesity.

Don’t get me wrong, being wise about food and exercise is good. But there is a difference between being wise and careful and putting all your hopes into your diet. The danger is that our health food of choice can become a functional savior. It’s as if healthy eating is a new gospel. But in truth it is no gospel at all. 

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The sad result of seeing health food as a savior is that we become evangelists for it, telling others about all the benefits, hoping to convince them that the cost, time, and inconve- nience are worth it. We end up preaching a gospel that is— conveniently—far less offensive and far more easily shared with our neighbors than the gospel of Jesus Christ. Instead of helping them, we are distracting them from what is the real threat to their health: sin and its wages of death. 

But you may be asking, “Does rejecting the health-food gospel mean I should give no thought to what I eat?” Of course not. The Bible speaks clearly about managing all that God has entrusted to us, including our bodies, in responsible, God-honoring ways (1 Corinthians 6 v 19-20). But that’s not all that the Bible says about the issue. So how does the Bible instruct us to think about what we eat? Here are three ways to approach food to the glory of God.

1. Eat in faith              

Therefore do not be anxious, saying, “What shall we eat?” or “What shall we drink?” or “What shall we wear?” For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. (Matthew 6 v 31-34)        

When my husband and I were in India to bring home our adopted son, the orphanage welcomed us with tea, muffins and cookies. The conditions for food preparation in this rural town were likely not ideal, and I knew the risks in eating and drinking what was offered. But I also knew how offensive it would be to reject this kindness. As representatives of Jesus in this foreign land, we ate in faith. Faith that God could keep our bodies well, even when exposed to potential health risks.

I might not be in rural India anymore, but social media keeps me well aware of the potential health risks in the food we have here. And so I continue to eat in faith—faith that God sustains my body and can keep it in good health despite the hazards around me. This doesn’t mean I lack common sense. Eating cheesecake three times a day probably isn’t the best decision. But instead of over-analyzing all of our consumption—instead of worrying all the time about tomorrow—our family strives for a well-balanced diet according to the financial means God has provided. I trust God with any concerns that remain.        

2. Eat to share the gospel

If one of the unbelievers invites you to dinner and you are disposed to go, eat whatever is set before you without raising any question on the ground of conscience ... So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God ... just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved. (1 Corinthians 10 v 27, 31, 33)          

Sharing a meal together has long been a basic form of human connection and, as such, a prime avenue for the gospel. Paul understood this. He tells us that gospel proclamation trumps food preference every time. Paul is talking about matters of conscience—his readers were concerned about whether or not to eat meat that had been sacrificed to idols. If his in- struction even in that situation is to eat for the sake of the gospel, then it also applies to situations where it is only our preferences, not our consciences, that are at stake. We are to eat whatever is set before us without complaint, because the gospel is more important than a narrow palette or even our optimal health.  

Now, if you are allergic to peanuts, by all means don’t eat the PB&J offered by your unbelieving neighbor. But if you prefer gluten-free bread simply because you feel better eating gluten- free food, this is your opportunity to trust God with your physical body and lay aside your preferences. Don’t make much of food: make much of God. As you receive the hospitality of your neighbor, you will have a much better opportunity to tell them of the hospitality of God in the gospel.              

3. Eat to enjoy God        

[God] humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.        
(Deuteronomy 8 v 3)            

Jesus was born in a town named Bethlehem, which means “house of bread.” As a baby he was laid in a feeding trough. Later he called himself the bread of life. What might he be tell- ing us? Simply this: God intends our eating to remind us of a greater reality. God made us with a need for food so that we might understand our need for him. He alone can satisfy us. 

Food is a shadow, a picture, of what God is for us. It is not ultimate. When Jesus was going through his forty-day fast in the desert, the devil tempted him to break his fast by turning stones into bread. But Jesus knew that what truly sustained him was not food but the word of God (Matthew 4 v 4). The same can be true for us too. Let’s not elevate food to a position that it was never meant to occupy.
                        
Instead, we can use food to remind ourselves of all the good gifts that God has given us and the fact that he has provided for us eternally. When we are hungry, we can remember that God is the one who knows all our needs. When we eat—whether our bread is gluten-free or sourdough, multigrain or plain white, or even if we don’t eat bread at all—we can thank God for sending Jesus, the bread of life.          

The most important thing

No matter what choices we make and what food we prefer, we should always be careful that we don’t fall into the trap of following the false gospel of healthy eating. The most important thing in life isn’t being healthy. The truth is that following Jesus can actually be hazardous to our health. As his followers, we are promised persecution and suffering. In some parts of the world, to choose Christ is to choose a shorter life. That kind of sacrifice makes our daily worries about what to eat seem very small.            

In the end, all of us will get sick in this life. All of us will die. Our hope lies not in a more exhaustive knowledge of food or better choices at the grocery store but in a Savior who truly is making all things new. 

How should we listen to, and think in a gospel way about, the ordinary things we come across in modern life? Things we watch, read, eat, and do. There are so many voices saying so many different things that the temptations are to either disengage completely, or find ourselves being influenced more and more by the world.

In Beautifully Distinct, godly, clear-thinking women talk about a range of areas of life and culture. They help us to be thoughtful about films, books, and the media; set out biblical principles for approaching topics such as body image and racism; and encourage us to shape the world around us for Christ—becoming beautifully distinct.

Categories: Christian Resources

LET US PRAY: Prayers From Women of Color - Dr. K.A. Ellis

The Good Book Company - Tue, 09/06/2020 - 06:00

A Message from the TGBC team: 

Whatever the color of our skin, there is much to grieve and lament over right now. So many of us are hurting. So many of us feel powerless to help. Those of us who are not people of color want to stand with our brothers and sisters, but sometimes are unsure how to.

But all of us can pray. And all of us must pray.

So we’ve invited women of color to help all of us lift our eyes to the Lord of all and speak to him as our Father about the times we’re walking through. Each day for the next week or two, visit this blog and you’ll find a video, voice recording, or written prayer that will help you to pray into this situation. 

We’re honored that serving us today is Dr. K.A. Ellis, Director of the Center for the Study of the Bible and Ethnicity at Reformed Theological Seminary, Atlanta, GA.

Dr. K.A. Ellis is also a contributor to His Testimonies, My Heritage. Hear the voices of women of colour on the most important subject in any age—the word of God.

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This inspiring collection of devotions is by a diverse group of women of colour—African-American, Hispanic, Caribbean, and Asian women. Contributors include Kristie Anyabwile, Jackie Hill-Perry, Trillia Newbell, Elicia Horton, Christina Edmondson, Blair Linne, Bev Chao Berrus and more.

Categories: Christian Resources

LET US PRAY: Prayers From Women of Color - Ka Richards

The Good Book Company - Mon, 08/06/2020 - 06:00

A Message from the TGBC team: 

Whatever the color of our skin, there is much to grieve and lament over right now. So many of us are hurting. So many of us feel powerless to help. Those of us who are not people of color want to stand with our brothers and sisters, but sometimes are unsure how to.

But all of us can pray. And all of us must pray.

So we’ve invited women of color to help all of us lift our eyes to the Lord of all and speak to him as our Father about the times we’re walking through. Each day for the next week or two, visit this blog and you’ll find a video, voice recording, or written prayer that will help you to pray into this situation. 

We’re honored that serving us today is Ka Richards, a bible teacher at Springs of Grace Baptist Church, Shreveport, LA and has spent time living in Minneapolis area. 

Ka Richards is also a contributor to His Testimonies, My Heritage. Hear the voices of women of colour on the most important subject in any age—the word of God.

[inline_product:heritage]

This inspiring collection of devotions is by a diverse group of women of colour—African-American, Hispanic, Caribbean, and Asian women. Contributors include Kristie Anyabwile, Jackie Hill-Perry, Trillia Newbell, Elicia Horton, Christina Edmondson, Blair Linne, Bev Chao Berrus and more.

Categories: Christian Resources

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