Sunday, July 08, 2007

Face to faith,,2120916,00.html

[Guardian Unlimited] 8 July 2007--Tomorrow the general synod of the Church of England will be asked to pass a resolution from the House of Bishops that hands a blank cheque to the archbishops in negotiations with the rest of the Anglican communion for a "covenant".

The Church of England arose from the Elizabethan settlement of 1559, which settled half a century of vicious religious bigotry by virtue of a broad-based generous church with porous edges, shrewd intentional vagueness about doctrinal certainty and governance that included bishops, priests and people (laity). If the synod passes the motion unamended, the nature of the Church of England will change dramatically; first, because the way will be open for bishops to agree a document without recourse to the clergy and the laity. This looks curiously like a form of governance that the English Reformation abolished, a Curia, rule by the bishops. Secondly, the way will be paved for the "covenant" between provinces of the Anglican communion worldwide and, however widely drawn that is, some decision-making power will be ceded overseas, exporting some of its historic inheritance.

Jewish groups criticise Pope’s decision to use old Latin mass

[European Jewish Press] 8 July 2007--Jewish groups have criticised a decision by Pope Benedict XVI allowing greater use of the old Latin mass, as it included a prayer for the conversion of Jews.

In a statement, the Nazi-hunting Simon Wiesenthal Centre asked the head of the Roman Catholic Church "to declare this text contrary to the current teaching of the Church, in accordance with the Second Vatican Council". In its statement, it noted that the so-called John XXIII missal of 1962 which outlines celebrations of the mass in Latin includes a Good Friday prayer calling for the conversion of Jews....

Revival of Latin Mass upsets liberals

[ Seattle Times] 8 July 2007--In addition to Jewish concerns, bishops in France, and liberal-minded clergy and faithful elsewhere expressed concerns that allowing freer use of the Tridentine liturgy would imply a negation of Vatican II and create divisions in parishes since two different liturgies would be celebrated.

In a letter to bishops accompanying the Latin text, Benedict said those fears were "unfounded."

He said the New Mass remained the "normal" form of Mass while the Tridentine version was an "extraordinary" one that would probably be sought by only a few Catholics.

Missing the Mark

[Christianity today] 8 July 2007--Are today's pastors caught in an outdated or broken sermon system—one that emphasizes alliteration over communication and fill-in-the-blank outlines over transformed hearts? A pastor offers his perspective and insights on preaching for life.

The Missional Church

[] 8 July 2007--There is much talk in the American church about being missional. This word implies at least two theological and ecclesiological course corrections. On the one hand, missional hints at moving from church as a “club” for Christians, to church as Christ’s body, sent by God to reconcile the world to Himself. On the other hand, missional means moving from missions as an activity in which a few Christians are sent to foreign countries to convert unbelievers, to mission as God’s most basic purpose, intended for all believers. One definition of missional congregations is "those communities of Christ-followers who see the church as the people of God who are sent on a mission."

I have painted these distinctions in stark contrast to each other and almost as caricatures. Many people reading this will say “We have always been missional. There is nothing new in this, so why do we need a new word?” We need a new word to spark us to discussions like this; to cause us to reconsider what God’s mission is and whether we are partaking of it as we should. The old words, like missions and missionary, are laden with historical baggage and strong cultural images that prevent us from seeing a broader picture.

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