I read recently a comment saying that, in the future, when Christianity has largely died out in a secular and decadent West, Christians will not be known for how they worship or who they follow, but simply as that strange bunch of people who don’t kill babies and don’t kill their old people. I could live with that.
Archive for January, 2012
Gutted: Meeting between Pope Benedict and Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kiril not on the cards in the near futureTuesday, January 31st, 2012
Ugh, I’m gutted to read of this. As long time readers will know, I dream of the day the two great lungs of Christendom finally join together once again, to breath deeply of that wondrous and tantalising aroma of full and joint communion. It’s the only way forward to truly re-evangelise Europe in my opinion. I think I most recently blogged on this issue back in June if you’re interested.
I doubt the great schism will be reversed in my lifetime…but I can live in hope….
A meeting between the Pope and the head of Russia’s Orthodox Christian church is not on the cards in the near future, Patriarch Kirill said.
“For such a meeting to succeed we need to solve, or at put some serious effort at solving, our issues,” Kirill told the Serbian Vecernje Novosti daily in an interview published on Sunday.
A meeting between Kirill and Benedict – the first in the history of both denominations – was last discussed in the media in February 2011, when Russian President Dmitry Medvedev visited the Vatican and had an audience with the Pope. However, no such meeting followed.
The previous heads of two churches, Patriarch Alexy II and Pope John Paul II, had a meeting scheduled in 1997, but the plan fell through at the last minute over disputes concerning Catholic proselytism in Russia and a conflict over Greek Catholics in Ukraine.
Protect the Pope has picked up on this and has some interesting comments.
I am the Way, the Truth and the Life, says the Lord;
No one can come to the Father except through me.
Gospel Mark 5:21-43
When Jesus had crossed in the boat to the other side, a large crowd gathered round him and he stayed by the lakeside. Then one of the synagogue officials came up, Jairus by name, and seeing him, fell at his feet and pleaded with him earnestly, saying, ‘My little daughter is desperately sick. Do come and lay your hands on her to make her better and save her life.’ Jesus went with him and a large crowd followed him; they were pressing all round him.
Now there was a woman who had suffered from a haemorrhage for twelve years; after long and painful treatment under various doctors, she spent all she had without being any the better for it, in fact, she was getting worse. She had heard about Jesus, and she came up behind him through the crowd and touched his cloak. ‘If I can touch even his clothes,’ she had told herself ‘I shall be well again.’ And the source of the bleeding dried up instantly, and she felt in herself that she was cured of her complaint. Immediately aware that power had gone out from him, Jesus turned round in the crowd and said, ‘Who touched my clothes?’ His disciples said to him, ‘You see how the crowd is pressing round you and yet you say, “Who touched me?”’ But he continued to look all round to see who had done it. Then the woman came forward, frightened and trembling because she knew what had happened to her, and she fell at his feet and told him the whole truth. ‘My daughter,’ he said ‘your faith has restored you to health; go in peace and be free from your complaint.’
While he was still speaking some people arrived from the house of the synagogue official to say, ‘Your daughter is dead: why put the Master to any further trouble?’ But Jesus had overheard this remark of theirs and he said to the official, ‘Do not be afraid; only have faith.’ And he allowed no one to go with him except Peter and James and John the brother of James. So they came to the official’s house and Jesus noticed all the commotion, with people weeping and wailing unrestrainedly. He went in and said to them, ‘Why all this commotion and crying? The child is not dead, but asleep.’ But they laughed at him. So he turned them all out and, taking with him the child’s father and mother and his own companions, he went into the place where the child lay. And taking the child by the hand he said to her, ‘Talitha, kum!’ which means, ‘Little girl, I tell you to get up.’ The little girl got up at once and began to walk about, for she was twelve years old. At this they were overcome with astonishment, and he ordered them strictly not to let anyone know about it, and told them to give her something to eat.
I’ve just received an email from Christian Concern entitled: Lesley Pilkington Appeal.
I originally blogged about this a year ago, but if you don’t know the details, it revolves around Lesley Pilkington, a Christian psychotherapist, who currently faces being stripped of her accreditation to the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) after treating a patient who had told her he wanted to be “cured” of his homosexuality.
It transpired that the “patient” was in fact prominent homosexual rights campaigner and journalist, Patrick Strudwick, who secretly recorded two sessions of the “Sexual Orientation Change Efforts” (SOCE) counselling, and subsequently complained to BACP and attacked her in the press.
BACP ruled last year that Lesley Pilkington was guilty of professional misconduct and had broken the ethical code.
This has hit the news again as Lesley Pilkington is appealing the decision today (30th Jan) seeking to have her disciplinary case ‘struck out’ on the basis that the original hearing was unfair, lacked in due process and discriminated against her Christian faith.
Added to this is the fact that Former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey and two serving bishops (as well as others) have today called for Lesley Pilkington to be restored to full professional status.
Here’s the text of the letter:
Lesley Pilkington is a practising psychotherapist who distinguishes very carefully between her non-directive counselling and the biblical and pastoral counselling which, as a Christian, she also offers. She was approached, at a conference, by a man who said he was unhappy being homosexual, and wanted her to help. Lesley explained to him that she only works in this area within a biblical Christian framework, after which he claimed that he was a Christian.
After two sessions he announced that he was in fact a gay journalist, wanting to ‘expose’ her and people like her. He then lodged complaints against her with the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP). He objected to the biblical Christian values used in this case of therapy, and also to the claim that ‘change is possible’ even though he had expressed his willing agreement to undergo this therapy.
Psychological care for those who are distressed by unwanted homosexual attractions has been shown to yield a range of beneficial client outcomes, especially in motivated clients. This is supported by recent empirical evidence from Byrd, Nicolosi, Shaeffer, Spitzer, Jones and Yarhouse. Such therapy does not produce harm despite the Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCPsych) and others maintaining the contrary. In this area, the RCPsych seems to be guided by the Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Mental Health Special Interest Group, and could therefore be partial to one view.
We believe that people who seek, freely, to resolve unwanted same-sex attractions hold the moral right to receive professional assistance. Whether motivated by Christian conscience or other values, clients, not practitioners, have the prerogative to choose the yardstick by which to define themselves. Not everyone stakes their identity on sexual feelings.
If practitioners reject or challenge a client’s right to self-determination, they risk causing potential harm to that client’s well-being. They would also be violating professional ethical codes which, among other things, call for respect for client autonomy.
The mental health profession, which professes to be sensitive and respectful towards diversity and equality, should be aware of taking a paternalistic line that says, effectively, ‘Not all clients know what is best for their lives.’ Furthermore, competent practitioners, including those working with biblical Judeo-Christian values, should be free to assist those seeking help.
Just a couple of quick points.
There appears to be some indication that Pilkington views homosexuality as mental illness. This is obviously not a view shared by her profession, as homosexuality was removed from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).
Both BACP and the Royal College of Psychiatrists are opposed to sexual reparative therapy and as I’ve said recently, I for one could not imagine any amount of therapy reorienting my sexual proclivity. However, if a person seeks treatment for an unwanted sexual attraction, I feel they should be free to do so, and psychotherapists should be free to offer this service.
Another issue surrounds Pilkington’s use of a biblical Christian framework in the counselling, which was picked up on at the BACP hearing. It must be borne in mind that Strudwick approached Pilkington at a “largely Christian conference” and agreed contractually with her for this particular Christian based sexual reorientation service.
Anyway, Pilkington was most certainly the victim of a cunning sting operation and it will be interesting to see how this all pans out.
A few links I found interesting for one reason or another:
I thought this a simultaneously beautiful, uplifting, encouraging, hopeful, harrowing, honest and brave testimony. Written by Tim Elmer, posted on Premier Forum, and shared here with permission.
I am a terminal cancer patient currently on a reprieve due to two experimental drugs, but I should have been dead three years ago. That’s my latest near death experience. As I have battled cancer over the past seven years, Paul’s words “for me to live is Christ and to die is gain” have become more rich and promising each day. I have much to live for: my wife of 21 years, my two young sons, about 1,000 people who pray for me regularly, my ministry teaching science to middle schoolers
But there have been many times that God has given me a taste of heaven through dreams and even a brief vision, glimpses through the fog. Since I’ve come to a place of peace with my eventual death, this world has become increasingly grey and unattractive. I long for the bounty, peace and relief of heaven. I want to see the vibrant colors, swim through seas crowded with God’s creatures, tour civilizations both ancient and vibrant, and enjoying quiet conversations with my savior. I want my daily pain to end; I want anxiety banished from my thoughts; I want to see the unspeakable joys of heaven unveiled for me anew each day.
This is the glorious contradiction Christians enjoy. In short, being a Christian molds my entire attitude toward my own death.
The Cross exemplifies every virtue
Why did the Son of God have to suffer for us? There was a great need, and it can be considered in a twofold way: in the first place, as a remedy for sin, and secondly, as an example of how to act.
It is a remedy, for, in the face of all the evils which we incur on account of our sins, we have found relief through the passion of Christ. Yet, it is no less an example, for the passion of Christ completely suffices to fashion our lives. Whoever wishes to live perfectly should do nothing but disdain what Christ disdained on the cross and desire what he desired, for the cross exemplifies every virtue.
If you seek the example of love: Greater love than this no man has, than to lay down his life for his friends. Such a man was Christ on the cross. And if he gave his life for us, then it should not be difficult to bear whatever hardships arise for his sake.
If you seek patience, you will find no better example than the cross. Great patience occurs in two ways: either when one patiently suffers much, or when one suffers things which one is able to avoid and yet does not avoid. Christ endured much on the cross, and did so patiently, because when he suffered he did not threaten; he was led like a sheep to the slaughter and he did not open his mouth. Therefore Christ’s patience on the cross was great. In patience let us run for the prize set before us, looking upon Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith who, for the joy set before him, bore his cross and despised the shame.
If you seek an example of humility, look upon the crucified one, for God wished to be judged by Pontius Pilate and to die.
If you seek an example of obedience, follow him who became obedient to the Father even unto death. For just as by the disobedience of one man, namely, Adam, many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one man, many were made righteous.
If you seek an example of despising earthly things, follow him who is the King of kings and the Lord of lords, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Upon the cross he was stripped, mocked, spat upon, struck, crowned with thorns, and given only vinegar and gall to drink.
Do not be attached, therefore, to clothing and riches, because they divided my garments among themselves. Nor to honours, for he experienced harsh words and scourgings. Nor to greatness of rank, for weaving a crown of thorns they placed it on my head. Nor to anything delightful, for in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.
God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son:
everyone who believes in him has eternal life.
Gospel Mark 4:35-41
With the coming of evening, Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Let us cross over to the other side.’ And leaving the crowd behind they took him, just as he was, in the boat; and there were other boats with him. Then it began to blow a gale and the waves were breaking into the boat so that it was almost swamped. But he was in the stern, his head on the cushion, asleep. They woke him and said to him, ‘Master, do you not care? We are going down!’ And he woke up and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, ‘Quiet now! Be calm!’ And the wind dropped, and all was calm again. Then he said to them, ‘Why are you so frightened? How is it that you have no faith?’ They were filled with awe and said to one another, ‘Who can this be? Even the wind and the sea obey him.’