Against Eternal Youth

February 10, 2016 — Leave a comment

An excellent article from Frederica Mathewes-Green:

I’m a fan of old movies, the black-and-whites from the 1930s and 1940s, in part because of what they reveal about how American culture has changed. The adults in these films carry themselves differently. They don’t walk and speak the way we do. It’s often hard to figure out how old the characters are supposed to be—as though they were portraying a phase of the human life-cycle that we don’t have any more . . .

Characters in these older movies appear to be an age nobody ever gets to be today. This isn’t an observation about the actors themselves (who may have behaved in very juvenile ways privately); rather, it is about the way audiences expected grownups to act. A certain manner demonstrated adulthood, and it was different from the manner of children, or even of adolescents such as Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney . . .

Today actors preserve an unformed, hesitant, childish quality well into middle age. Compare the poised and debonair Cary Grant with Hugh Grant, who portrayed a boyish, floppy-haired ditherer till he was forty. Compare Bette Davis’ strong and smoky voice with Renée Zellweger’s nervous twitter. Zellweger is adorable, but she’s thirty-five. When will she grow up? . . .

In a review in the Village Voice of the film The Aviator, Michael Atkinson dubbed our current crop of childish male actors “toddler-men.” “The conscious contrast between baby-faced, teen-voiced toddler-men movie actors and the golden age’s grownups is unavoidable,” he wrote. “Though DiCaprio is the same age here as Hughes was in 1934, he may not be convincing as a thirty-year-old until he’s fifty.” Nobody has that old-style confident authority any more. We’ve forgotten how to act like grownups . . .

Be sure to click through and read it all.

From the NYT:

On a recent episode of the television series “South Park,” the character Cartman and other townspeople who are enthralled with Yelp, the app that lets customers rate and review restaurants, remind maître d’s and waiters that they will be posting reviews of their meals. These “Yelpers” threaten to give the eateries only one star out of five if they don’t please them and do exactly as they say. The restaurants feel that they have no choice but to comply with the Yelpers, who take advantage of their power by asking for free dishes and making suggestions on improving the lighting. The restaurant employees tolerate all this with increasing frustration and anger — at one point Yelp reviewers are even compared to the Islamic State group — before both parties finally arrive at a truce. Yet unknown to the Yelpers, the restaurants decide to get their revenge by contaminating the Yelpers’ plates with every bodily fluid imaginable.

The point of the episode is that today everyone thinks that they’re a professional critic (“Everyone relies on my Yelp reviews!”), even if they have no idea what they’re talking about. But it’s also a bleak commentary on what has become known as the “reputation economy.”

Read it all.

 

The brutal, worldwide persecution of Christians during the past year makes 2015 “the most violent and sustained attack on Christian faith in modern history,” according to a watchdog organization that has been monitoring Christian persecution for decades.

Open Doors, an organization founded in 1955 to assist persecuted Christians, publishes an annual “World Watch List,” documenting attacks on Christians and ranking the most hostile national environments for believers.

“The 2016 World Watch List documents an unprecedented escalation of violence against Christians, making this past year the most violent and sustained attack on Christian faith in modern history,” Open Doors CEO David Curry said at the rollout of the list.  Persecution is “continuing to increase, intensify and spread across the globe,” he said.

Read the article and check out the World Watch List.

 

Longing for Home

December 25, 2015

Bishop Steve Wood’s Christmas Sermon

I’m very pleased that Brian Morgan was able to book John Hall as our Men’s Retreat speaker this year. John is one of our church planters in the Diocese of the Carolinas and his most recent plant is Christ the Redeemer Church in Clemson, meeting at Littlejohn Community Center.

John has been at St. Andrew’s numerous times and is well acquainted with us. Last spring we were privileged to have him speak at the Ridley Institute on The Communion of the Holy Spirit. Below you can watch a short testimony from his lecture about his encounter with the Holy Spirit.

Registration this year is a little different. We have set aside a block of rooms for the retreat and those rooms are released back to the hotel after January 8 so it is important that you register by then in order to guarantee a room. For more information and registration visit StAndrewsMen.com.

TRIonlyOur final core Ridley Institute class, “What We Believe:  An Introduction to Christian Theology” will begin next Tuesday, September 22. This ten-week course covers, in a systematic fashion, essential topics of the Christian faith. This is a new course in Christian systematic theology, never before taught at Ridley which will be resourced first and foremost through the scriptures, but will also lean heavily on writings within our own Anglican tradition. As always, participating in a Ridley course is not just about learning but also about mission.  A portion of your tuition goes to pay for the live streaming service to impoverished churches all over the world that otherwise could not afford theological education for their clergy and lay leaders.

The class will be taught by The Rev’d Robert Sturdy. The cost is $120 and includes dinner. You can register for the class and take a look at the topics covered at TheRidleyInstitute.com. If you do not live in the area, you can also register to watch the class via live streaming.


Today the Ridley Institute trains nearly 400 lay students a year in the thought and practice of Reformation Anglicanism as well as serving and preparing pastors and church planters for their ministries. We are privileged to be served by renowned Cranmer scholar, Dr. Ashley Null as our Senior Research Fellow and enjoy an international team of visiting scholars and church leaders to help advance our vision of Reformation Anglicanism in the church and the world. Learn more about the Ridley Institute.

The Opportunities at Alpha

September 9, 2015

Dear Friends,

I write you with an amazing two-fold opportunity.

Beginning Monday, September 14, we will kick-off The Alpha Course at St. Andrew’s. Over the past 20 years 5000+ people have participated in an Alpha Course at St. Andrew’s. And, as Alpha is a global phenomenon, over 15,000,000 people have participated in the course from every country and culture on the face of the planet. It has been a primary means by which the Spirit has grown and deepened our relationships with God and with one another here at St. Andrew’s.

What happens on The Alpha Course?

The Guardian newspaper wrote, “What Alpha offers, and what is attracting thousands of people, is permission, rare in secular culture, to discuss the big questions – life and death and their meaning.”

Bob Buford, of Leadership Network, says, “Most of us skip bases in developing our faith, leaving us plagued with unanswered questions. Alpha fills the gaps. Alpha fosters spiritual peace and stability.”

Over a 9-week period you will have the opportunity to explore the foundational teachings of Jesus Christ and to ask your questions of faith and spirituality. Unlike “programs” which simply seek to present a body of information, Alpha is geared toward the development of relationships – you relationship with God and with other people who are asking the same kinds of questions that you are asking.

Each night begins with a dinner, a talk (this year’s speakers are Rob Sturdy, Todd Simonis and me) on a topic like:

  • Why did Jesus die?
  • How does God guide us?
  • How do we deal with the problem of evil and suffering?
  • Does God heal today?

You will then have an opportunity to meet in small groups for discussion – discovering with others the joy and security of a living faith grounded in Christ.

The Opportunities

Back to my initial statement: you have an amazing two-fold opportunity before you.

First, God means for you to be sure of your faith in Christ. Sure that it has relevancy for today, sure that He is with you, and sure that your faith in Christ will see you through this life. One of the saddest things I’ve seen as a priest/bishop are folks who gave insufficient attention to their spiritual health and then were surprised when trials and suffering befall them and their faith faltered. If you would like to register for the Alpha course visit AlphaCharleston.com.

Secondly, over the past decade we have asked our new members why/how they came to St. Andrew’s. 80% of them said it was because a family member, friend, work colleague, or neighbor invited them to come to St. Andrew’s. 80%!

God has placed into your hands the privilege and responsibility of sharing the Gospel message. The Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 10: “How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent?” Quite literally, you are the one sent – sent to your families, sent to your colleagues and classmates, sent into the community to announce that God, in Christ, has come. And, what I want to do is to partner with you to reach your family and friends with the good news of Jesus Christ – you invite and we’ll present.

So, will you join me? Will you join me Monday night, September 14, as we together explore how our faith in Christ might deepen? Will you extend the wonderful, biblical, grace-filled invitation to “come and see” to the people in your world who are disconnected from Christ?

Together for the Kingdom,

Steve

Learn more about what others have said about Alpha

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If you have something to do with communications in your church, this might be for you. The workshop is for church staffs, pastors, church planters, and volunteers. The guest speaker is St. Andrew’s Communications Director, Greg Shore.

Zero Budget/Zero Time Church Communications

HOW TO ESTABLISH AND MAINTAIN A WEB PRESENCE WHEN RESOURCES ARE LOW

During the morning session Greg Shore, Director of Communications for ACNA parish, St. Andrew’s ~ Mt. Pleasant, will look at social media – Facebook, Twitter and Instagram – and hear not only why we should be using it, but when and how.

We’ll reconvene after lunch to have David Childs, Director of Communications for Church of our Saviour, John Island, show us how to create a low-cost website using Wix as well as a brief foray into other current programming options.

There will be plenty of time for conversations, questions, and answers.

To register visit the Diocese of South Carolina’s website.

About Greg Shore

Greg-Shore_200-pxGreg’s job responsibilities started 18 years ago at St. Andrew’s ~ Mt. Pleasant with producing two service bulletins for three services and a weekly newsletter along with producing occasional advertising and collateral pieces. The job has grown and he now produces or oversees the production of all visual communications at St. Andrew’s and the Diocese of the Carolinas which includes weekly materials for 11 services in four locations, six websites, multiple social media outlets, video production, printed and online advertising, press relations, and live streaming operations for a weekly theology class and occasional worship service. He attends St. Andrew’s church plant in North Charleston where he serves as a LifeGroup Leader. In his spare time he bikes, runs, and coaches other runners. Greg lives in North Charleston with his three cats: Burley, Kowbeidu, and Woody.

From Christianity Today:

When was the last time you read a book? For almost 1 in 4 of us, it was more than a year ago, according to Pew Research. That’s three times the number who didn’t read a book in 1978. In America, we have a literacy problem. But more concerning to me, we have a biblical literacy problem. Americans, including churchgoers, aren’t reading much of any book, including the Good Book. 

Christians claim to believe the Bible is God’s Word. We claim it’s God’s divinely inspired, inerrant message to us. Yet despite this, we aren’t reading it. A recent LifeWay Research study found only 45 percent of those who regularly attend church read the Bible more than once a week. Over 40 percent of the people attending read their Bible occasionally, maybe once or twice a month. Almost 1 in 5 churchgoers say they never read the Bible—essentially the same number who read it every day.

Because we don’t read God’s Word, it follows that we don’t know it. To understand the effects, we can look to statistics of another Western country: the United Kingdom. The United Kingdom Bible Society surveyed British children and found many could not identify common Bible stories. When given a list of stories, almost 1 in 3 didn’t choose the Nativity as part of the Bible and over half (59 percent) didn’t know that Jonah being swallowed by the great fish is in the Bible.

British parents didn’t do much better. Around 30 percent of parents don’t know Adam and Eve, David and Goliath, or the Good Samaritan are in the Bible. To make matters worse, 27 percent think Superman is or might be a biblical story. More than 1 in 3 believes the same about Harry Potter. And more than half (54 percent) believe The Hunger Games is or might be a story from the Bible.

But it’s more than simply not knowing stories from Scripture. Our lack of biblical literacy has led to a lack of biblical doctrine. LifeWay Research found that while 67 percent of Americans believe heaven is a real place, 45 percent believe there are many ways to get there—including 1 in 5 evangelical Christians. More than half of evangelicals (59 percent) believe the Holy Spirit is a force and not a personal being—in contrast to the orthodox biblical teaching of the Trinity being three Persons in one God. As a whole, Americans, including many Christians, hold unbiblical views on hell, sin, salvation, Jesus, humanity, and the Bible itself.

Read it all.