English Evangelicals

They’re shaking up the Church of England:

A handful of big evangelically-minded parishes now exercise huge influence, far beyond their immediate patch. Saint Helen’s in Bishopsgate reaches out to workers in London’s financial district; it has “planted” a dozen new communities in other places, using an American model of religious expansion. Holy Trinity, Brompton has exported a charismatic brand of Christianity via the Alpha course. Meanwhile All Souls in Langham Place, which shares a neighbourhood with department stores, broadcasters and arty bohemians, radiates forth a more sober brand of evangelism. What all these churches have in common is a reluctance to do the Church of England’s traditional job of marrying, baptising or burying people who have no real religious commitment. That is a break with Anglicanism’s familiar role as the undemanding “default mode” of faith for a secular country.

Read the rest: The Church of England: Hot and bothered | The Economist.

Women Who Oppose Women

Women who oppose women bishops, that is, in the Church of England:

The Church of England is, in its own confounding and impenetrable way, preparing to welcome women as bishops. At the meeting of its general assembly earlier this month there was much debate about what should be done for Anglicans who do not accept female clergy ahead of a vote this summer. Among these traditionalists are several women.

One of them is Emma Forward, a teacher in her 20s who was elected to the Church of England’s lawmaking body at 21, making her the youngest of its 485 members. One of almost 9,000 women who signed a petition in 2008 objecting to the ordination of women as bishops, she says many other female members of Synod share her views.

“We represent thousands in the Church across the country. I think that women who oppose haven’t been in the spotlight as we are from ordinary walks of life who aren’t known to the media. Perhaps some press coverage finds it easier to portray this as a male versus female issue, and we complicate the issue for those who only see it in those terms.”

Traditionalists such as Forward want to serve under a male bishop because they believe the Church of England has no right to introduce women bishops. They may not have a majority, certainly not expected to be enough to stop the legislation to allow women bishops getting final approval in July, but they cite Jesus’s choice of only male apostles and the fact that other, major Christian denominations have not introduced female clergy as evidence to support their beliefs.

Read the rest: The women who oppose female bishops | World news | The Guardian.

I’ll admit, I don’t get it. But then again, the catholic church is full of women, and there’s a gender-based caste system in that church, too.

Clergy Taxes Made Easier

Do you perform “sacerdotal functions”? If so, and if you’re “ordained” — yes, those are “scare quotes” — then you may qualify for a housing allowance, a funny part of the U.S. tax code that allows clergy and military to bypass federal taxes with a certain portion of income.

It’s not easy to complete clergy tax returns, and I’ve found that most tax preparers have no idea how to do it. That’s why for many years I’ve used Clergy Financial Resources. Mark and his team at Clergy Financial know the tax code, and they prepare tax returns for all states. Plus, they’re great to work with — always responsive, knowledgable, and kind.

I dislike tax season — it makes me anxious. But at least with Clergy Financial, I feel like I’m in good hands.

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A Flat Church in Action

If I had the chance to do my dissertation research today, instead of 2005, there are a few other churches I’d use in the study. One of them would surely be Common Table in Washington, D.C., where Mike Stavlund and Co. are doing what they can to embody the flat church that I hope for in my latest book. Here’s a something Mike wrote recently for the Emergent Village Blog:

Mike Stavlund

Listening to a recent ‘On Being’ podcast with the venerable and feisty Walter Brueggemann, I was struck by what seems at first to be rank overstatement.  His contention is that the ancient Hebrew ‘prophetic/poetic messengers’ serve to critique everything:  all political, social, and religious systems. In Brueggemann’s opinion, the worst thing we can do with these Biblical messages is to organize them, domesticate them, and to “create another ‘ism’”.

Surely, part of the reason emergence churches like Common Table don’t get more organized is because we lack that kind of drive and motivation.   We might get around to establishing a denomination, if we had the time to do it.  We might try to create some kind of legacy, it it wasn’t such a burdensome project.  No, we’re too busy with Twitter, Facebook, fixing our hair, and with finding the perfect hipster glasses to get much done.

via A Seat at The Table: Keep it Wild | Emergent Village.