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When it comes to how we live our lives, making our day-to-day choices, the world only becomes a tangled and complicated place if we are drifting lazily into a dark confusion wrought by sin. Think about it for a moment. Keep it simple. There are only two kinds of people in the world—sons of God and sons of the devil. There are two destinations, and only two, toward which we are all traveling—the resurrection of life and the resurrection to death. There are only two ways of living—clean and dirty. There are only two outcomes to all of our choices, and those outcomes are “wreckage of human” and “glorified human.” There are only two gospels—one from the wisdom of man that will collapse underneath the weight of your sins, and one from the wisdom of God that will cause your sins to collapse beneath the weight of God’s infinite grace. And there is only one message that will cut cleanly through everything, leaving you always with two alternatives.The Text:
“And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God” (1 Cor. 2:1–5).Summary of the Text:
At the end of the previous chapter, Paul had exulted in the scriptural standard of true pride. Let the one who boasts, do so in the Lord (Jer. 9:23-24). Boasting is inescapable—it is not whether we will boast, but rather which kind of boasting it will be. Will we boast in the flesh, or will we boast in the Spirit of God? Will we boast in the so-called wisdom of man or will we boast in the wisdom and knowledge of God?
Paul then moves on to remind the Corinthians of something they would do very well to remember. He had not come to them in his own name, in the strength of his own powers, or on his own authority. Rather, he declared to them the testimony or witness of God (v. 1). He was a witness to the witness of God. He testified to the testimony of God. And so what was that divine testimony?
Remember that God had spoken from Heaven at the Lord’s baptism (Matt. 3:17). God had spoken from Heaven when Jesus had asked Him to glorify His name (John 12:28-29). God had arrayed Him in glory on the Mount of Transfiguration (Mark 9:3; 2 Pet. 1:17-18). Most profoundly, God manifested His darkest glory in the moment of crucifixion, when Christ was lifted up on the cross (John 12:32). And Jesus was declared with power to be the Son of God by His resurrection from the dead (Rom. 1:4). This is the testimony of God.
This is the testimony of God, and it reveals the wisdom of God. God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all (1 John 1:5), and at the same time, the most profound revelation of the deepest wisdom of God was that moment of darkest glory on the cross. The righteous made sinful, and the sinful made righteous, and all without any travesty on His holiness.
So Paul had determined, decided, and judged (krino) that he would know nothing among them except Christ and Him crucified (v. 2). Paul’s presence in Corinth was not that of some flashy mojo dude, exuding all his surplus charisma, radiating charm. Not at all. He came in weakness, fear, and trembling (v. 3). If you wanted to find something to criticize, there would be something to criticize. His words, and his preaching, were not dependent upon a flattering persuasiveness that naturally arises from sophistry (to those who want to be flattered, man’s wisdom, sophia, will always do the trick). Rather, instead of such sophistry, there was in Paul’s life and demeanor a proof of the Spirit and of power (v. 4).
The basic alternative is therefore presented. Your faith will either be in the wisdom of man or it will be in the power of God (v. 5). It will either be in the power of man, which is weak, impotent, helpless, and frail, or it will be in the wisdom of God, which is profound, eternal, infinite, and deep. So the choice is stark—man’s way or God’s way. And that power which was displayed by God is encapsulated in the message of Christ and Him crucified (v. 2).Sophistry, Then and Now:
Contrary to a common assumption, Paul’s contrast here between the power of the cross and the enticing words of carnal wisdom is not a contrast between eloquence as such and inelegant truth over on the other side. This is a fallen world, and there are always sophists who want to substitute human eloquence for divine wisdom, which is absurd. This is what the ancient sophists wanted to do, and it is what their postmodern descendants now in our era want to do.
The error is to think, first, that the message of the cross needs to be adorned with human wisdom, and second, when the deterioration has advanced a bit, that it needs to be reinforced or supplemented by human wisdom, and then, in the last analysis, replaced by human wisdom. At the first stage the message of the cross is thought to be true but ugly and unadorned. In the second, it is assumed to be true “as far as it goes” but inadequate. And by the time you get to the third stage, the message of the cross is thought to be false, harmful, pernicious, racist, misogynist, and homophobic.
So what then is the role of human eloquence in preaching the gospel? It is what Paul is actually demonstrating here. The words of the preacher, like the preacher himself, must be a bondservant to the message, and the words of eloquence, if they are to be true and not false, must be driven before the gale of good news that is our gospel, all sails out. The trireme of Christ is a ship of true liberty, and every true preacher of the gospel is chained to his oar.
Take the most striking sentence from this passage, and ponder it. “For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” That is elegantly stated. It is most eloquent. Paul did not deliberately stammer something halting and ungrammatical like “I thought, um, that I shouldn’t, uh, try to speechify about any other doctrines . . .” No, Paul was eloquent here, but his eloquence was a bondservant of the message.A Foundational Caution:
It would be a grotesque mistake to say that Christians should talk about nothing but a truncated message that consists of a mantra-like “Christ died on the cross,” and that all other topics are to be avoided as somehow sub-spiritual. No—far from exulting in the cross, such an approach would actually minimize and insult the cross. Rather, because Christ is the founder of a new humanity, and because His founding obedience was what He did on the cross, this means that absolutely everything that men and women can do—from forecasting the weather to changing diapers, from sailing a ship to digging a well, from driving a car to teaching a class—falls under the shaping authority of Christ’s death and resurrection.
The cross was not just one more event in a world filled with lots of other events. It is not simply another datum, which some people believe and others don’t. Rather, the cross was a new organizing principle, under which all things would be made new (Rev. 21:5).
The Latin word for cross is crux, and the death of Jesus on the cross is the crux of all human history. This is why we should be able to talk about absolutely anything in the world, and within a short space of time find ourselves talking about the death of Jesus, and all without changing the subject.The Solution First:
So our message is a straightforward one—we preach the person and work of our Lord Jesus Christ. We declare first, who He is. He is the divine Son of Almighty Jehovah. He is Yahweh with us. He is Himself fully divine, and He entered—forever—into our human condition through the Incarnation. He is the apostle of God, sent to man, and the high priest of the new humanity, gone before us into Heaven in order to ensure our safe arrival there.
He lived a perfect, sinless life, and He did this so that all His people, citizens of the new Israel, could be represented by His obedience. And because they all had been disobedient before His authoritative word gathered them, He represented them also by bending His head submissively underneath all the wrath that a holy God could muster in order to pour out upon Him. In that moment of dereliction, the Lord Jesus was struck hard by the fist of God. And He took it as a dutiful Son, and did not murmur against His Father.
And in the following moment of ultimate vindication, the moment that He knew by faith was coming, three days later, that same hand of God raised Him from the dead, and seated Him at His own right hand, where there is an everlasting river of pleasure. Jesus, before He passed through the valley of the shadow of death, saw it for what it was. Before He walked the paths of the dead, He considered the joy that was set before Him. Having done so, He endured the cross. Having done so, He poured out His contempt and scorn on the shame that He was to go through, and He received the wrath of God as your representative. Bring it down to the point. Why did He do this? He did it, not to put too fine a point on it, because of His intention to purchase you from your self-absorption.
He lived a life of perfect obedience in our stead, with our name on that obedience. He went through a hell of exquisite suffering in our stead, also with our name on it. He rose from the dead in a flash of unconquerable and everlasting victory, again, in our stead. And as surely as Adam represented you when he plunged the entire race into misery and darkness, so also the last Adam represented you when He walked out into the light of the eternal day. You are always, necessarily, carried by an Adam. The question is, which one?
Either the old Adam carries you into the darkness and leaves you there, or the new Adam picks you up, and carries you back to the fold.
“He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: He shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young” (Is. 40:11).The Solution Related to the Problem:
Now this gospel, this message, is to be declared to every creature (Mark 16:15). And the creatures who are to hear this message are creatures who are lost in their sins. “Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father” (Gal. 1:4).
The gospel is good news, but there are two kinds of good news. The first is a “bolt from the blue” good news, and which does not require any kind of antecedent difficulty. The second kind of good news (e.g. a pardon from the governor the day before your execution) is a type of news that requires a full apprehension of an earlier delivery of bad news.
News that they have discovered a cure for cancer will strike a man who has cancer quite differently than it will strike a man who is entirely healthy.And the Solution Applied to the Problem:
And so in the wisdom of God, He determined that men, women and children are delivered by means of this gospel when they (by the grace of God) do two things. And even these two things that we must do are themselves a gift from God—lest any man boast (Eph. 2:8-9).
We must first turn away from our sins, and secondly we must believe the gospel. These two actions may be performed in one single, solitary motion of turning. If you turn away from sin, really and genuinely, then you are in that same motion, turning toward Christ.
“Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord” (Acts 3:19).
So what is your condition? What is your sad state here today? Porn junkie? Selfish high school girl who has her parents totally whipped and baffled? Embezzler? Malicious and petty backbiter? Manipulator? Liar? Pharisee? Angry husband? Lazy wife? Foul mouthed pervert? Envious snarker? Shoplifter? We are human beings, and we do it all. We are people, and nobody fouls their own nest like we do.
And because you are, in the main, a church-going people, this means that if sin has you by the throat, if you are in desperate need of this message of grace, goodness, and gospel, it may be that you have turned church into a deadly trap. You may well have been maneuvered—by your own selfishness—into that false position where you smile and sing psalms with all the people you don’t know that well, but the people you love the most—well, they get your worst. Wretched man! Who can deliver us? Just a week in, and how many of your new year’s resolutions have you already broken?
So what is the message I have for you? What message is here that is of the sort that makes no sense to your carnal heart but which will nevertheless deliver your carnal heart? Look away from that sin. Turn away from it. In the power of Christ, who is present here today, turn so that the sin can see nothing but your back. And then flee to Christ, so that if the sin is still staring at your back, it is getting smaller and smaller. Flee to Christ. I am telling you, with the authority of Jesus Christ Himself, that you may do this thing.
But the only way this works is when you look to Christ. There is a way of “despising” sin that still looks at it. There is a way of despising sin that still cedes it power. There is such a thing as a Christless repentance, which might be better known as ten minutes of feeling bad about something. But you can be sorry about your state, and sorry tomorrow, and sorry the day after that, and eventually, if you keep it up, you will die in that sorrow. And then you will sink down into it forever.
“For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death” (2 Cor. 7:10, ESV).
There is a sorrow that does not lead away from death, but which rather is death. But the gospel brings a sharp contrast. There is a godly grief, a godly sorrow, a godly repentance, which leads to what? Salvation, and no regrets.
So repentance means turning away. Repentance means looking at something else. And that something else, that someone else rather, is Christ impaled on a tree outside Jerusalem, two thousand years ago. That is your only hope. That is your only forgiveness. That is your only salvation.
And by Christ, I mean a twisted bronze snake on a pole. I mean a rock in the wilderness, with living water flowing out of it. I mean bread from heaven, falling out of the sky. I mean the Lamb in the midst of the throne. I mean the one who holds the keys to both death and Hades.
I mean the one struck by the fist of God, and the one who was raised three days later—for your justification—by that same hand.
Jesus as Israel: Matthew Through New Eyes (Athanasius Press, 2017) p70
Don't you think the wonderful literary artistry of the Bible proves it must have been written by God, by the way? People literally could not have made it up.Marc Lloyd
Joseph of Nazareth is parallel to the Joseph in the book of Genesis: Both are righteous men who dream (1:20), both go to Egypt with their family (2:14), and both return (2:21).
Jesus as Israel: Matthew Through New Eyes (Athanasius Press, 2017), p69Marc Lloyd
It is easy to conclude the EU, and the Eurozone in particular, is a financial and systemic time-bomb waiting to happen. Most commentary has focused on problems that are routinely patched over, such as Greece, Italy, or the impending rescue of Deutsche Bank. This is a mistake. The European Central Bank and the EU machine are adept in dealing with issues of this sort, mostly by brazening them out, while buying everything off. As Mario Draghi famously said, "whatever it takes."
There is a precondition for this legerdemain to work. Money must continue to flow into the financial system faster than the demand for it expands, because the maintenance of asset values is the key. And the ECB has done just that, with negative deposit rates and its €2.5 trillion asset purchase program. But that program ends this month, making it the likely turning point, whereby it all starts to go wrong.
Most of the ECB’s money has been spent on government bonds for a secondary reason, and that is to ensure Eurozone governments remain in the euro system. Profligate politicians in the Mediterranean nations are soon disabused of their desires to return to their old currencies. Just imagine the interest rates the Italians would have to pay in lira on their €2.85 trillion of government debt, given a private sector GDP tax base of only €840 billion, just one third of that government debt.
It never takes newly-elected Italian politicians long to understand why they must remain in the euro system, and that the ECB will guarantee to keep interest rates significantly lower than they would otherwise be. Yet the ECB is now giving up its asset purchases, so won’t be buying Italian debt or any other for that matter. The rigging of the Eurozone’s sovereign debt market is at a turning point. The ending of this source of finance for the PIGS2 is a very serious matter indeed.
A side effect of the ECB’s asset purchase program has been the reduction of Eurozone bank lending to the private sector, which has been crowded out by the focus on government debt. This is illustrated in the following chart.
Following the Lehman crisis, the banks were forced to increase their lending to private sector companies, whose cash flow had taken a bad hit. Early in 2012 this began to reverse, and today total non-financial bank assets are even lower than they were in the aftermath of the Lehman crisis. Regulatory pressure is a large part of the reason for this trend, because under the EU’s version of the Basel Committee rules, government debt in euros does not require a risk weighting, while commercial debt does. So our first danger sign is the Eurozone banking system has ensured that banks load up on government debt at the expense of non-financial commercial borrowers.
The fact that banks are not serving the private sector helps explain why the Eurozone’s nominal GDP has stagnated, declining by 12% in the six largest Eurozone economies over the ten years to 2017. Meanwhile, the Eurozone’s M3 money increased by 39.2%. With both the ECB’s asset purchasing programs and the application of new commercial bank credit bypassing the real economy, it is hardly surprising that interest rates are now out of line with those of the US, whose economy has returned to full employment under strong fiscal stimulus. The result has been banks can borrow in the euro LIBOR market at negative rates, sell euros for dollars and invest in US Government Treasury Bills for a round trip gain of between 25%–30% when geared up on a bank’s base capital.
The ECB’s monetary policy has been to ignore this interest rate arbitrage in order to support an extreme overvaluation in the whole gamut of euro-denominated bonds. It cannot go on for ever. Fortunately for Mario Draghi, the pressure to change tack has lessened slightly as signs of a US economic slowdown appear to be increasing, and with it, further dollar interest rate rises deferred.TARGET2
Our second danger sign is the massive TARGET2 interbank imbalances, which have not mattered so long as everyone has faith that it does not matter. This faith is the glue that holds a disparate group of national central banks together. Again, it comes down to the maintenance of asset values, because even though assets are not formally designated as collateral, their values underwrite confidence in the TARGET2 system.
Massive imbalances have accumulated between the intra-regional central banks, as shown in our next chart, starting from the time of the Lehman crisis.
Germany’s Bundesbank, at just under €900 billion is due the most, and Italy, at just under €490 billion owes the most. These imbalances reflect accumulating trade imbalances between member states and non-trade movements of capital, reflecting capital flight. Additionally, imbalances arise when the ECB instructs a regional central bank to purchase bonds issued by its government and local corporate entities. This accounts for a TARGET2 deficit of €251 billion at the ECB, and surpluses to balance this deficit are spread round the regional central banks. This offsets other deficits, so the Bank of Italy owes more to the other regional banks than the €490 billion headline suggests.
Trust in the system is crucial for the regional central banks owed money, principally Germany, Luxembourg, Netherlands, and Finland. If there is a general deterioration in Eurozone collateral values, then TARGET2 imbalances will begin to matter to these creditors.Eurozone Banks
Commercial banks in the Eurozone face a number of problems. The best way of illustrating them is by way of a brief list:
- Share prices of systemically important banks have performed badly following the Lehman crisis. In Germany, Commerzbank and Deutsche Bank have fallen 85% from their post-Lehman highs, Santander in Spain by 66%, and Unicredit in Italy by 88%.
- Share prices in the banking sector are usually a reliable barometer of systemic risks.
- The principal function of a Eurozone bank has always been to ensure its respective national government’s debt requirement is financed. This has become a particularly acute systemic problem in the PIGS.
- Basel II and upcoming Basel III regulations do not require banks to take a risk haircut on government debt, thereby encouraging them to overweight government debt on their balance sheets, and underweight equivalent corporate debt. Banks no longer serve the private sector, except reluctantly.
- Eurozone banks tend to have higher balance sheet gearing than those in other jurisdictions. A relatively small fall in government bond prices puts some of them at immediate risk, and if bond prices decline it is the weakest banks that will bring down the whole banking system.
- Eurozone banks are connected to the global banking system through interbank exposure and derivative markets, so systemic risks in the Eurozone are transmitted to other banking systems.
This list is not exhaustive, but it can be readily seen that an environment of declining asset prices and higher euro bond yields increases systemic threats to the entire banking system. As was the case with Austria’s Credit-Anstalt failure in 1931, one falling domino in the EU can easily topple the rest.The ECB Itself is a Risk
As stated above, the ECB through its various asset purchase programs has caused the accumulation of some €2.5 trillion of debt, mostly in government bonds. The euro system’s central banks now have a balance sheet total of €4.64 trillion, for which the ECB is the ringmaster. Most of this debt is parked on the NCBs’ balance sheets, reflected in the TARGET2 imbalances.
The ECB’s subscribed equity capital is €7.74 billion and its own balance sheet total is €414 billion.3 This gives an operational gearing on core capital of 53 times. Securities held for monetary purposes (the portion of government debt purchased under various asset purchase programs shown on the balance sheet) is shown at €231 billion (it will have increased further in the current year). This means a fall in the value of these securities of only 3% will wipe out all the ECB’s capital.
If the ECB is to avoid an embarrassing recapitalization when, as now seems certain, bond yields rise, it must continue to rig euro bond markets. Therefore, the reintroduction of its asset purchase programs to stop bond yields rising becomes the last fling of the dice. The debt trap Eurozone governments find themselves in has also become a trap for the ECB.
The name Mary is used 12x in the gospels but only once (13:55) between chapters 2 and 27
The gift of a rich man's tomb recalls the gifts of the Magi
Herod's efforts to eliminate Jesus as a rival king // Pilate
The death of the innocents and of Jesus
The beatitudes and the woes of ch. 23
(Annoyingly, I have owned the book for less than a day and page has just fallen out!)
If only those who run our universities actually new stuff. For they’re making an economic claim about how wondrous our university system is, a claim which shows that we’d probably be better off with rather less of our university system. Not what they’re trying to achieve at all.
“University leaders are united in the view that the UK leaving the EU without a deal is one of the biggest threats our universities have ever faced,” the letter says. “As a sector which contributes over £2bn to UK GDP every year and supports 944,000 jobs, it is critical to the national interest, to the economy, communities and wider society, that the UK’s universities thrive post-Brexit.
A million jobs producing £2 billion of GDP. That’s about £20,000 per job. And as any fule kno GDP is all incomes, so we can say that the maximum income being produced by these jobs averages out at that £20,000. But median income for the UK is some £22,000 when measured for both part and full time. Meaning that university jobs are below average.
Thus we’d be better off if we had rather less university and rather more of just average jobs and incomes.
There is, obviously enough, also that point that universities do more than just produce GDP:
University leaders have said that a no-deal Brexit would constitute “one of the biggest threats” ever faced by the sector, as figures revealed a further decline in EU student enrolment, particularly in postgraduate research.
According to the Russell Group of universities, there was a 9% decrease in the number of EU postgraduate research students enrolling at its institutions this academic year. The fall follows a 9% decline the previous year, and has potential consequences for Britain’s research capacity.
The thing is, research is a public good. It’s actually the textbook description of a public good. It doesn’t matter who does it nor where we all benefit from it being done. Further, that the people who do it - or the society which finances it - isn’t able to capture the economic benefits precisely because it is one of those public goods.
That is, there’s absolutely no argument at all that we have to be the people who do the research nor that we finance the creation of the public good. Things discovered by a German postgraduate student in an Italian university enrich us just as much as the same work undertaken here does. If this isn’t true then there’s no argument in favour of any of that public subsidy they’re worried about.
We could well be better off if we had less of this university stuff in our society that is.
“Either same-sex unions will once again be rejected by all fifty states, with homosexuality therefore returning to the closet, or, second, your decision will stand in all fifty states, and the faithful church in America will go off-grid and underground in various ways, with all that implies, or, third, the Union will come apart ” (Same Sex Mirage, p. 254).
My dear people of God,
Receive New Year Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ who is the Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.
At our great assembly in Jerusalem last year, we gathered around the theme of ‘Proclaiming Christ Faithfully to the Nations’ so it is very appropriate that we begin a new year with the celebration of the Epiphany, the revealing of Jesus as God’s Son to the nations.
In the gospel God’s amazing grace continues to shine forth and brings about a new humanity from the four corners of the earth as we join the Magi and bow before the Son of God in joyful worship. According to St Paul, the church’s wonderful unity in Christ reveals the ‘manifold wisdom’ of God, not only on earth, but also in the heavenly realms. So as we play our part by drawing together faithful Anglicans from around the globe, from all their different cultures, we not only witness to the world, but we are also the theatre in which the wisdom of God is demonstrated to angelic powers.
This was the profound spiritual context of our great assembly in Jerusalem last year and will be equally true as those who were unable to join us in Jerusalem due to travel restrictions gather in Dubai at the end of February.
Such a wonderful privilege and responsibility should surely drive us to our knees in reverent dependence upon the Spirit of God. It should also make us passionate upholders of biblical truth, because it is through the Scriptures that God’s wisdom is taught to the Church.
The choice before us as a global communion is between this revealed wisdom of God and the wisdom claimed by secular ideologies. For a while the reality of this fork in the road can be obscured by an insistence on dialogue in its various guises such as ‘indaba’, ‘good disagreement’ and ‘walking together’, but in the absence of godly discipline, false teaching will continue to spread.
In the Church of England, just before Christmas, this process reached the point where its bishops took the unprecedented step of giving official guidance for what they described as ‘services to help transgender people mark their transition’ and it will be incorporated into ‘Common Worship’ (a range of services authorised by General Synod).
The guidance states that ‘the House of Bishops commends the rite of Affirmation of Baptismal Faith as the central feature of any service to recognize liturgically a person’s gender transition’. A form of service which is intended to mark a renewed commitment to Christ and the new life we receive through him is instead used to celebrate an identity which contradicts our God-given identity as male and female (as affirmed by Jesus himself in Matthew 19:4) and is still controversial even in secular society.
Although Lambeth Resolution I.10 of 1998 did not directly address gender transition, by taking this step, the Church of England is rejecting biblical authority in a similar way to TEC and other revisionist Provinces which have permitted same sex marriage.
So, much as we thank God for the rich history represented by the See of Canterbury, we cannot avoid the sad truth that insistence on full communion with Canterbury as an essential mark of belonging to the Anglican Communion now risks jeopardising the apostolic faith itself. Let us pray that there will be repentance and that God will give courage and boldness to those who remain faithful.
Finally, I commend to your prayers this month our new General Secretary, Archbishop Ben Kwashi. He is a great evangelist, teacher and a leader of outstanding courage and we pray that the wonder and glory of the gospel of Christ which has so captured his heart will capture all our hearts also in the year ahead.
The Most Rev’d Nicholas D. Okoh
Archbishop, Metropolitan and Primate of All Nigeria and Chairman, the Gafcon Primates Council
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[January 4, 2019] Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Michael Curry has issued the following statement:
Dear Friends in Christ Jesus,
On 3 January 2019, the 120-day canonically mandated period for gathering consents to the ordination and consecration of the Venerable Joseph Kerwin Delicat (pictured) as the Bishop Coadjutor of Haiti came to a close. I am writing to report that a majority of the bishops with jurisdiction in The Episcopal Church did not consent to the ordination and consecration, nor did the Standing Committee of the Diocese of Haiti provide evidence of consent from a majority of the Standing Committees of the dioceses of The Episcopal Church.
In the coming days I will be in consultation with leaders in the Diocese of Haiti, as well as with others around The Episcopal Church, as we look for the next, best steps forward.
The Diocese of Haiti is an important part of The Episcopal Church. Please continue to pray for the people, clergy, and bishop of Haiti as we seek to follow the Spirit of the living God.
The Most Reverend Michael B. Curry
Presiding Bishop and Primate
The Episcopal Church
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A pilot survey for the National Churchwatch and undertaken by academics at Royal Holloway, discovered that 10 percent of Anglican Clergy have been a victim of violence.
The survey also found that a sizeable number of Anglican Clergy found work more challenging now than two years ago and that male clergy were more likely to be threatened undertaking pastoral work, whilst female clergy were more likely to be threatened by an active church member or parishioner.
Professor Jonathan Gabe, of Sociology and Professor David Denney, of Social and Public Policy both in the School of Law at Royal Holloway, conducted the survey with more than 540 participants across the UK.
The main findings of the survey were:
- Less than 10% of respondents strongly agree/agree that they are experiencing more hate crime today than two years ago.
- 50% of respondents responded strongly agree/agree to work being more challenging now than two years ago, yet, it is not clear which aspects of work have become more challenging.
- 36% per cent of 35-44-year-olds and 55-64-year-olds strongly agree/agree that work has become more challenging.
- Male respondents were more likely to be threatened undertaking pastoral work, whilst women were more likely to be threatened by an active Church member or parishioner.
- 35% strongly disagree/disagree that they are experiencing more hate crime today than two years ago.
- More than 50% of respondents are unsure whether hate crime towards clergy (physical and online) has increased in the last two years.
- Older respondents seem to agree that there is less respect for clergy now than two years ago.
- Men are more likely to disagree with the statement that work has become more challenging in the last two years.
- Those who have been subject to violent behaviour in the last two years were more likely to strongly agree that the work is more challenging than two years ago. Statistically significant.
- 85% said that they used social media for clerical matters, whilst 90% said that they used social media for personal matter. Facebook is the most used social media platform.
- 68% have experienced verbal abuse, whilst 19% and 10% have experienced threatening or violent behaviour respectively. These percentages cannot be compared with the original study due to limitations outlined above.
- The main reasons for verbal abuse included: mental illness; declined requests for money; alcohol/drugs; anti-Christian sentiments; and other reasons (youths, female clergy, sexual abuse scandals, people not getting their own way, problems with graveyards/funerals).
- 83 respondents said that they had been threatened in the last two years. 90% of these had been threatened with personal harm, whilst nearly 20% had a relative threatened and 35% had experienced threats to Church property.
Professor Jonathan Gabe of the School of Law at Royal Holloway, said: “The clergy have a difficult job, especially when faced with the risk of violence, as documented in our survey.
“The research suggests that further thought needs to be given as to how best to help clergy manage when faced with such violence.”
Nick Tolson the Director of National Churchwatch added: “These figures are a reminder that Clergy have to deal with difficult circumstances where they are at risk of violence. It is vital that they receive training in dealing with these issues.”
The post Survey conducted to discover the safety and security of Anglican clergy appeared first on New Anglican Ink.
The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry, Presiding Bishop and Primate of the Episcopal Church, has appointed Teri Lawver as Board Chair for Episcopal Relief & Development. Ms. Lawver replaces Neel Lane who served as chair from 2015 until the end of 2018.
Episcopal Relief & Development welcomes Lawver and also new board member Matt Silva. Lawver was previously on the board of the organization from 2008 to 2013 and has continued to serve on the Advancement Committee.
“I am thrilled to welcome Teri back to the Board of Directors as Board Chair,” said Presiding Bishop Curry. “Teri and Episcopal Relief & Development know each other exceedingly well and I am confident that together with the rest of the board and staff, we will create lasting change.”
Lawver was named Board Chair, effective January 1, 2019 as Lane completed his term on the board.
“Teri brings vast governance experience from the private sector to her new role as Board Chair,” said Lane. “She will become the first woman to chair the board at a time when the organization’s strategic priorities are directed more than ever to improving the lives of women throughout the world—including, most obviously, our work with Anglican partners to eliminate gender-based violence (GBV).”
Lawver is the Global Commercial Strategy Leader, Global Vice President, for the Immunology Therapeutic Area with Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson (J&J). She has more than 20 years of global healthcare and business leadership experience spanning four continents, three healthcare sectors, and dozens of disease areas. A vocal advocate for diversity and inclusion, Teri has a proven track record of building new businesses, delivering sustainable, innovation-based growth and leading high-performance teams. Prior to joining J&J, Teri was an Associate Principal with McKinsey & Company in the firm’s New Jersey, Atlanta and Sao Paolo offices, and was a leader in the firm’s global healthcare practice. She began her career as a Derivative Analyst with Bloomberg Financial Markets, LLP.
Active with community and philanthropic causes, Lawver serves on Board of Trustees for the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra and has served on the Board of Trustees for the Seminary of the Southwest. A New Jersey native, Lawver was named to the NJBiz “Best 50 Women in Business” list in 2016.
“I am honored to be asked to serve in this capacity and to rejoin this strong board for an organization that has such commitment to empowering others to live healthier, more fulfilling lives,” said Lawver. “Episcopal Relief & Development’s work is unique. I am humbled to be a part of creating long-term solutions in the lives of the most vulnerable.”
Matt Silva also joined the board effective January 1st. He is the Director of Sales for Labatt Food Service in San Antonio Texas and manages the Labatt sales force responsible for $1.3 Billion in revenue per year in Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico. Silva volunteered frequently at the Good Samaritan Center while growing up, where he was Director of the Good Sam basketball camp in high school. He served as an acolyte for St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in downtown San Antonio, where he and his wife, Virginia, are now members.
“Teri and Matt’s multifaceted professional experience and passion will make them tremendous assets to the Board of Directors,” said Rob Radtke, President & CEO of Episcopal Relief & Development. “I look forward to working with them to expand our impact in our priority areas of women, children and climate.”
For over 75 years, Episcopal Relief & Development has been working together with supporters and partners for lasting change around the world. Each year the organization facilitates healthier, more fulfilling lives for more than 3 million people struggling with hunger, poverty, disaster and disease. Inspired by Jesus’ words in Matthew 25, Episcopal Relief & Development leverages the expertise and resources of Anglican and other partners to deliver measurable and sustainable change in three signature program areas: Women, Children and Climate.
Jeff Deist joins Australian podcaster Stephan Livera (twitter) for an in-depth look at money in an era of crazed monetary policy.
They tackle how Austrian economics relates to cryptos, why gold still matters, how deflation and "hoarding" are healthy for an economy, and how any challenge to the central bank cartel could create a political upheaval far beyond banking and economics.
The long-running joke about Brazil is that it is the country of the future, and always will be. If Jair Bolsonaro is able to follow through on the tone he has set at the start of his presidency, however, it may not be long until the future becomes the present.
Officially sworn into office at the start of the year, the Bolsonaro administration has already captured international attention. Having been portrayed for years by Western media as a sinister threat to Brazilian democracy, in spite of being a successful populist candidate embraced by a diverse electorate, the same outlets have been quick to depict the new government as a hostile threat to minority rights. The real story, however, is Bolsonaro’s apparent commitment to the sort of ideological revolution that is desperately needed for his country to thrive. While history shows we should never trust a politician to deliver on lofty promises of liberty and freedom, the initial days of his presidency have moves deserving of praise.
To start, his inaugural address, Bolsonaro vowed to follow through on his campaign message of dramatically changing a government plagued by corruption and economic crisis:
I stand humbled by the honor to address you all as President of Brazil, and stand before the whole nation on this day as the day when the people began to liberate themselves from socialism, from the inversion of values, from state gigantism and from political correctness. … Our flag will never be red. It will only be red if we need to bleed over it to keep it green and yellow.
He followed this up with a tweet vowing “to tackle the Marxist garbage in our schools head on.”
What’s encouraging here is that Bolsonaro is identifying that the true enemy of his administration is not simply a political rival or a series of bad policies that must be reformed, but the socialist ideology that has caused so much misery throughout the world and Latin America in particular. Correctly identifying the underlying problem is the best way to go about finding a solution.
This aligns well with Ludwig von Mises’s views about the importance of ideas in society. He wrote extensively about how the ultimate deciding factor to the success or failure of civilization has less to do with the politicians and institutions that have been built, but the underlying ideas that direct them. As he wrote in Economic Policy:
Everything that happens in the social world in our time is the result of ideas. Good things and bad things. What is needed is to fight bad ideas. We must fight all that we dislike in public life. We must substitute better ideas for wrong ideas. … Ideas and only ideas can light the darkness.
Of course, a true ideological revolution requires more than simply political rhetoric and rousing speeches, the question will be how he is able to follow through with pro-market policies that will actually allow Brazil to succeed.
Luckily what most of the Western media has completely ignored is that the rise of Bolsonaro isn’t as simple as populist politics sparked by the corruption of presidents past, the country has seen a remarkable rise in pro-market and libertarian scholars within its intellectual class.
Thanks to organizations such as Mises Brasil, Instituto Rothbard, Students for Liberty and more, the works of great thinkers such as Mises, Murray Rothbard, Frédéric Bastiat, and more have been translated and dispersed throughout the country. President Bolsonaro has even been photographed with Portuguese copies of Bastiat’s The Law and Mises’s Economic Policy.
This is important not only because it highlights the growth of these ideas beyond the narrow lens of politics, but also because it demonstrates that Bolsonaro has a talent pool to be able to tap into for his administration. In the words of Mises Brasil president Helio Beltrão, the new president has put together a "remarkable team and with noble intentions." This includes scholars affiliated with various free market and libertarian organizations, including Mises Brasil, have been tapped for positions within the administration — including Bruno Garschagen, host of their popular podcast. The new Minister of Education, Ricardo Velez Rodrigues, was himself a guest of the show.
Naturally, when taking over a huge government bureaucracy that has long been under socialist control, removing bad actors is every bit as important as bringing in new talent. While Donald Trump brought the term “the Deep State” into the American mainstream, his administration has been damaged by failing to truly drain the swamp of its long-standing political professional class. Here too is another area where Bolsonaro’s administration is showing true promise.
On January 3, Chief of Staff of the Presidency, Onyx Lorenzoni, announced that the Bolsonaro government will be removing communist-sympathetic officials from positions of public administration. While headlines about "communist purges" from a "right-wing Latin American leader" are designed to evoke images of the bloody policies of Augusto Pinochet and Jorge Videla, firing bureaucrats is hardly comparable to "right-wing death squads."
Of course, one of the best ways to follow through with Bolsonaro’s anti-Marxist vision would be to leave many of these vacated positions open as part of a general reduction of the Brazilian government. Hopefully, the administration will also pay heed to Helio Beltrão’s suggested plan for de-bureaucratization of the nation’s economy.
Another promising sign that has come from Lorenzoni is that he has instructed all government ministers to inventory the properties under their control so they can identify what assets are better off being privatized. The hope is that the Bolsonaro administration will follow through on the statements made by Paulo Guedes, the new Minister of the Economy, to "privatize everything that is possible." Not only will such sales help to work down the countries debt (currently at $1.6 trillion, or 81.4% of GDP), but allow assets and companies to operate more efficiently free of the strangulation of government central planning.
While there are many signs of optimism from the early days of Bolsonaro’s government, it would be unwise to ignore the challenges that still face the country. As Leandro Roque has noted, the administration is inheriting numerous challenges, including the rising costs of retirement programs and an aging population. Will an elected populist be willing to make the painful reforms necessary? We shall see.
Also, it would be a mistake to confuse anti-Marxist rhetoric for a genuine embrace of liberty and free markets. America’s own history has shown how some of the loudest opponents of communism have enacted some of the worst policies domestically. Will Bolsonaro’s team of classical liberals be able to stand strong with the pressures of public office, or end up being a disappointment like so many others have been before? Only time will tell.
What is encouraging is to see the rise of a popular politician willing to use his platform to openly call out the dangers of Marxist ideology. If Brazil can maintain a course of Menos Marx, Mais Mises, then it will finally be able to live up to its long acknowledged potential.
Anglican Unscripted is the only video newscast in the Anglican Communion. Each Episode Kevin, Canon George, Allan, and Bishop Gavin bring you news and perspective from around the globe. Please Donate – http://anglican.ink/donate
George and Kevin talk about the war happening in the Orthodox church, the Collapse of the Anglican Church of Canada, and the coming trouble with the Methodist church.
The healthcare system continues to inflict “moral injury” on physicians, causing burnout, depression, or apathy. And, built as it is on a mountain of debt, the edifice may also not provide any long term security for those who choose to remain on board. Yet the prospect of jumping ship may seem daunting to many.
Our guest today shares with us her personal story of how she did abandon the titanic and forged for herself a successful path to professional sanity.
Kathleen M. Brown, MD, obtained her medical degree from the Eastern Virginia School of Medicine and practiced dermatology and internal medicine for several years in Maryland. In 1997, she and her family moved to the coast of Oregon to join a multi-specialty group of which she was a partner in the group until mid-2011. This group was a good fit but the administrative and financial burdens of the system were increasingly taking a toll on her enjoyment of medicine.
After passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010, she saw that continuing to stay within an insurance-contracted system would make her style of medical practice impossible. In July, 2011, with help from her husband, Jack, she opened a direct pay Dermatology practice with a transparent fee schedule. Within a month of opening she had a full schedule and a restored sense of professional satisfaction.
The global controversy over video game loot boxes is now over a year old, and shows no signs of abating. In fact, quite the opposite: consumer outrage continues to grow, and governments around the world are increasingly interested in regulating the use of loot boxes and other microtransactions. Several US states have proposed legislation to restrict the marketing and sale of games containing loot boxes, and although none of these proposals has come to fruition, other regions have been more successful in extending the visible hand of government over video games. Most notably, Belgium and the Netherlands have taken steps to eliminate loot boxes, and various other countries are launching investigations and public hearings to examine the problem.
But what exactly is the problem? If you’ve played a game in the past few years, then you’ll likely have run afoul of microtransactions, small payments for in-game content. These payments aren’t especially controversial as such, but gamers tend to take offense when purchases can be made for content that provides a competitive edge, such as better loadouts for multiplayer matches. In the eyes of some, this is simply “paying to win,” and violates the spirit of fair competition.
Especially controversial are loot boxes, microtransactions based on chance. In addition to the fairness issue, the ability to use real-world currency to pay for randomized content also carries important psychological and regulatory implications, especially relating to addiction and gambling. It’s because of these problems that governments are considering various interventions. The gambling question is mainly a legal issue that varies depending on the game and on the region in which it’s sold, and there is no one-size-fits-all answer to it. Similarly, there is no serious empirical evidence yet to support the claim that loot boxes are addictive or psychologically equivalent to gambling. Yet sadly, public policy is rarely based on evidence, and the push for regulation continues, despite flimsy foundations. Gamers, for their part, seem perfectly happy encouraging government to take action against developers and publishers that incorporate loot boxes into their products.The Economic Rationale for Microtransactions
What are needed most in this discussion are economic studies of microtransaction models, and of the arguments for regulation. I have taken some steps in this direction in a new paper that discusses how both regulators and the game industry itself have reacted to the loot box controversy (see here). Much more needs to be done to study microtransactions, but this is as good a place as any to start.
The main conclusion of my paper is that there are economic reasons for companies to rely more on revenue from DLC, skins, loot boxes, and so on, and furthermore, that there is evidence the industry has taken the loot box fiasco seriously and is changing in response. Although I do not make this point explicitly in the paper, one further implication is that government intervention is unnecessary, because market regulation is quicker, more effective, and doesn’t disrupt competition.
Contrary to popular belief, microtransactions are not a get-rich-quick scheme invented by greedy businesses: the reality is more complicated. In particular, microtransactions allow developers to overcome growing production costs. AAA game development is expensive, and costs are ballooning, especially due to factors like the increased need for persistent customer support, server upkeep, licensing and other intellectual property-related issues, and basic software and hardware expenses. At the same time, the market is saturated, gamers have many alternatives, and attention spans (and thus, the shelf-lives of games) are growing shorter. The upshot is that it’s far more difficult than it was a few years or decades ago for a AAA title to turn a profit based solely on its sticker price.
Microtransactions and loot boxes have emerged as potential solutions. I say “potential” because they’re just that: solutions that are still being tested in the market. This is exactly what entrepreneurs do, of course: experiment with different ways of doing business to see which ones do the best job of serving consumers. Although microtransactions are already quite lucrative for the industry, the backlash they’ve caused among consumers also shows they are quite costly. In other words, the market is already doing a good job of “punishing” the poor judgments of companies like EA that rely excessively on these revenue models. In fact, at the beginning of the controversy in November 2017, EA removed loot boxes from Star Wars: Battlefront II before it was officially released — about as early as possible, given the circumstances. The publisher’s latest offering, Battlefield V, employs a system in which real money can only be used for cosmetic content.Are Developers Willing to Change?
Other developers have faced similar problems as EA, and are experimenting with their own solutions. For example, in response to customer complaints, Middle Earth: Shadow of War and Quake Champions removed their loot boxes after release. Forza Motorsport 7 also removed loot boxes by allowing players to buy specific items directly in an in-game shop: the gimmick is that the shop’s inventory changes every few minutes, thus keeping an element of risk, but effectively transferring it away from the gamer. Other games like Forza Horizon 4 avoid the accusation of gambling by removing the ability to use real money to pay for the in-game currency used in microtransactions.
A variety of other responses have appeared as well. Apple, whose app store is a major distribution platform, has revised its terms and conditions to require games to disclose loot box odds up front so that players know exactly what they’re being offered. This is now a common tactic, and developers have independently revealed loot box odds for titles like Overwatch, FIFA 19, and Rocket League.
Self-regulatory bodies like the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) are also working to allay fears of exposing children to addictive or costly game mechanics. The ESRB has adjusted its ratings system so that games with microtransactions are now marked as containing “in-game purchases” so that parents have a clearer idea of what their children are playing. In Europe, the PEGI system has adopted a similar policy. The ESRB has also launched a new website to help educate parents about the meaning of its ratings system, and how parents can better safeguard their children. It’s notable that many of these changes are being made by people and organizations that do not agree loot boxes are psychologically dangerous, deceptive, or illegal gambling. Yet that’s the beauty of the market: consumers ultimately get what they want, and entrepreneurs either provide it or go bust.The Looming Threat of Regulation
Although the loot box controversy is ongoing, and may prove to be in its early days, changes throughout the past year indicate that the prospects for meaningful self-regulation are bright. After all, self-regulation is basically another way to talk about regulation by consumers, who still wield considerable influence in the industry, and are making their opinions heard (loudly).
However, the future of gaming is not entirely rosy. One of the more disturbing features of this controversy has been the willingness of gamers to use government to get what they want. Typically, gamers and developers have been united in opposition against regulation, as they were, for example, in the 1990s controversies about potential links between games and violence. In those debates, players were adamant that government not be allowed to censor content. Yet when it comes to microtransactions, gamers appear all-too-eager to demand public solutions to what are little more than poor business decisions. This is a different and more dangerous kind of threat than the one posed by, say, over-zealous politicians using topical legislation to generate forgettable election-season soundbites for donors. Microtransactions are generating more persistent and serious interest, and some commentators believe this is a watershed moment when the game industry will be forced to accept regulatory oversight. One thing is certain: if consumers and regulators continue their joint venture against the industry, and if the industry fails to placate them, it won’t remain independent for long.
New updated LVE Manager, LVE-utils, and Alt-Python27-cllib packages are now available for download from our updates-testing repository.
- LU-1035: Investigate [Errno 14] Bad address when reading htaccess cache
- LU-1035: Investigate [Errno 14] Bad address when reading htaccess cache - added `kernel` field to sentry tags
- LU-1043: Investigate "Max retries exceeded" when sending statistics
- LU-1032: Skip user and write error to log when htaccess_cache is broken or not accessible
- LU-1035: Investigate [Errno 14] Bad address when reading htaccess cache
- LVEMAN-1408: Ignore users which do not exist in passwd while getting py/ruby statistics
To update run:yum update lvemanager alt-python27-cllib lve-utils --enablerepo=cloudlinux-updates-testing
To downgrade run:yum downgrade lvemanager alt-python27-cllib lve-utils
If you want to understand Murray Rothbard, you need to keep one principle in mind. If you remember this, you will have the key to grasping his thought. And you should want to understand Murray Rothbard, because he was the greatest American defender of liberty in the twentieth century.
The principle in question is that Murray Rothbard had a consistent vision of the good society that he upheld throughout his long career. He described this vision in a vast number of books and articles, including Man, Economy, and State, Power and Market, The Ethics of Liberty, and Egalitarianism as a Revolt Against Nature. That vision was always the same.
Some people, even among those who knew and admired Murray, fail to realize this because they view him through a political lens. They point to shifts in his political alliances, seeing him as shifting from Old Right to Left and finally to Paleolibertarian. They miss the essential point.
Of course, Murray wanted to put his vision into practice. But for him the vision was primary. If you concentrate on Murray’s political tactics you will miss the real Murray.
What was this vision? As everybody knows, Murray believed in a complete free market. The State , which Nietzsche called “that coldest of all cold monsters” was the enemy.
In order to maintain a free society, people needed to hold certain values. Murray was a traditionalist who believed in natural law and the family. He deplored assaults on tradition such as the modern feminist movement. In cultural matters, Murray started out on the Right, and he always remained there.
Here are a few samples of what he said: “In our century, we have been inundated by a flood of evil, in the form of collectivism, socialism, egalitarianism, and nihilism. It has always been crystal clear to me that we have a compelling moral obligation, for the sake of ourselves, our loved ones, our posterity, our friends, our neighbors, to do battle against that evil.”
To do so, we must stick with the wisdom of the perennial philosophy: “In contrast to other specific sciences or to history, there can be little genuine innovation in philosophy from one decade, or even century, to the next. Philosophy deals with eternal problems through rational discourse. Moreover, genuine philosophy is only refined common sense, which is in no greater supply now than in ancient Greece. So there is nothing much new that philosophers can legitimately say.”
He had no use for modern feminism: “At the root of the women’s liberation movement is resentment against the very existence of women as a distinctive entity.”
Murray saw leftist elites as enemies of the values he upheld: He said that “We live in a statist country and a statist world dominated by a ruling elite, consisting of a coalition of Big Government, Big Business, and various influential special interest groups. More specifically, the old America of individual liberty, private property, and minimal government has been replaced by a coalition of politicians and bureaucrats allied with, and even dominated by, powerful corporate and Old Money financial elites.” As he summed up, “The big danger is the elite, not the masses.”
During the 1960s, it became evident to Murray that the CIA agent Bill Buckley had thrust aside the non-interventionist Old Right. “Conservatives” in that period like the ex-Communist Frank Meyer and the ex-Trotskyite James Burnham wanted a preventive war to annihilate the Soviet Union.
For Murray, the struggle against war was always the primary political goal. “War is the health of the state,” in Randolph Bourne’s famous phrase, and the battle against the State is a battle against war. The Left during the 60s and 70s opposed the Vietnam War and the Cold War generally. Because of this, he formed a temporary political alliance with them.
One fact must always be borne in mind about this alliance. It was strictly confined to foreign policy. Murray never changed his mind about conservative social values or, of course, the free market.
When Murray saw how leftwing values had taken over much of the Libertarian Party, he helped start the famous “Paleoalliance.” He joined forces with traditionalists who also opposed war. In doing so, he remained true to his consistent vision. In that vision, he never wavered.
If you want to know what Rothbard’s vision applied to contemporary America would be like in practice, you should look to Ron Paul. Dr. Paul’s career in Congress, marked by his opposition to war and the Fed, is the best example of the anti-elitist free market values that Murray supported.
Those too much enamored of the “zigzag of politics” miss what is most real and most vital in Murray Rothbard’s work.