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Hans Küng

March 22nd, 2010 3 comments

file-kung3Hans Küng is a Swiss Catholic priest, a controversial theologian, and a prolific author. Küng claims to remain “a Catholic priest in good standing”, but the Vatican has rescinded his authority to teach Catholic theology.

Though he had to leave the Catholic faculty, he remained at the University of Tübingen as a professor of EcumenicalTheology, serving as Emeritus Professor since 1996. In spite of not being allowed to teach Catholic theology, neither his bishop nor the Holy See has revoked his priestly faculties.

He has commented on the child abuse scandal in his own characteristically lucid way here. It is, as my friend Carl Trueman described it, “vintage Kung”. I have quoted the article in full below the fold.

Read more…

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Wake up to Easter

March 15th, 2010 4 comments
The Garden Tomb

The Garden Tomb

In his typically thought-provoking way, Bishop Tom Wright says that it’s time the church re-thought the way it celebrates Easter. It is the greatest Christian festival of the year, and yet many churches struggle to give Easter the significance it deserves in their calendar of activities.

“Easter week itself ought not to be the time when all the clergy sigh with relief and go on holiday. It ought to be an eight-day festival … with lots of Alleluias and extra hymns and spectacular anthems. Is it any wonder that people find it hard to believe in the resurrection of Jesus if we don’t throw our hats in the air? Is it any wonder we find it hard to live the resurrection if we don’t do it exuberantly in our liturgies? Is it any wonder the world doesn’t take much notice if Easter is celebrated as simply a one-day happy ending tacked on to forty days of fasting and gloom? It’s long overdue that we took a hard look at how we keep Easter in church, at home, in our personal lives, right through the system. And if it means rethinking some cherished habits, well, maybe it’s time to wake up.” (Surprised by Hope, p268)

Typically, Presbyterians don’t focus on the church year or the ecclesiastical calendar, and we don’t normally make a big deal about Lent or Palm Sunday. Good Friday and Easter Day are more prominent. But compared with the emphasis that we give to Christmas, our celebration of Easter seems less than half-hearted. The over-full Christmas programme means that most ministers struggle to come up with a series of sermons, children’s talks and carol service epilogues that are fresh and new each Christmas season. In a typical advent season, I have counted six or seven different occasions when I have had to reflect publicly on the Christmas story of the incarnation. The Advent season is such a challenge to my creativity.

But in biblical terms, if you leave the Christmas story out, all you lose is two chapters at the beginning of Matthew and Luke. That’s not to say that the incarnation and virgin birth are unimportant doctrines. However, if you leave Easter out, you finish up without a New Testament. Christianity and the gospel make no sense apart from the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ. So why do we not give it greater prominence? Read more…

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Lord knows He tried

March 13th, 2010 18 comments

If I was ever of a mind to use visual material in a service of worship, or a rap for that matter, then this might just be on my list! It will thrill some people and irritate others, but it certainly makes a good theological point that has been debated for many centuries. Methinks if John Calvin were around today, he might just tap his foot to this one!

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Women and Children First

March 8th, 2010 2 comments

titanicIt’s interesting that after almost a century since it’s demise, the story of RMS Titanic continues to attract interest and may even be capable of triggering a bit of controversy. An article in a recent edition of the New York Times will be of interest to all local Titanic enthusiasts. It describes the behaviour of the men on the occasion of the sinking of the Titanic in 1912 compared with the behaviour of the men when the Lusitania sank in 1915.

Most of us know that the Titanic struck an iceberg on 14 April 1912 and sank early the next morning, with the loss of 1,517 of the 2,223 lives on board. Less well-known is the sinking of the Lusitania, which was torpedoed by a German U-boat on 7 May 1915, taking 1,198 of 1,959 lives on board. The sinking of the Lusitania was a major factor in bringing the United States into war against the German Empire in the First World War.

The two sinkings were notably different in one crucial respect. The Titanic took hours to sink, leaving time for a remarkable human drama on board the sinking ship. The Lusitania sank in just eighteen minutes. Read more…

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Multi-screen church

March 4th, 2010 23 comments

One feature I have noticed in many of the meeting houses I have visited these past months has been the addition of projection screens, with all the necessary sophisticated, hi-tech equipment, to project words and pictures. Even some quite small, rural congregations have installed data projectors and screens for use during worship.

If it were just one screen and one projector in each meeting house, it might not be so obvious. But given the style and architecture of our buildings, and the fact that in many places the only point visible to everyone assembled in the building is the pulpit, it means that projecting words and images to the whole congregation often requires multiple screens and sometimes several mounted on the front of the gallery. In many places, it is a case of multi-screen church. It is an interesting innovation that raises a number of questions. Read more…

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