Trevin Wax: Don’t Tell Me N.T. Wright Denies “Penal Substitution”

A long read but a very good one for those of you who have ears to hear and minds to discern (HT: The Jesus Creed Blog).

When speaking of “the wrath of God” on Jesus at the cross, Wright turns to the Gethsemane narrative, and specifically Jesus’ use of the “cup” terminology from the Old Testament. Since, in the prophetic writings, the “cup” refers to God’s wrath, Wright believes it is historically sound to affirm that Jesus was referring to God’s wrath when He willingly faced the cross, in order to drink of the cup. Nowhere does Wright articulate the idea of the “cup” more powerfully than in his Matthew commentary:

“The Old Testament prophets speak darkly about the ‘cup of YHWH’s wrath.’ These passages talk of what happens when the one God, grieving over the awful wickedness of the world, steps in at last to give the violent and bloodthirsty, the arrogant and oppressors, the reward for their ways and deeds. It’s as though God’s holy anger against such people is turned into wine: dark, sour wine which will make them drunk and helpless. They will be forced to “drink the cup,” to drain to the dregs the wrath of the God who loves and vindicates the weak and helpless. The shock of this passage… is that Jesus speaks of drinking this cup himself.”

Notice how Wright maintains the “cup of wrath” in historical context. This is the way he avoids the picture of God as a tyrant taking out His vengeance on His Son for others’ mistakes. Wright sees the wrath of God in historical events. “Jesus takes the wrath of Rome (which is…the historical embodiment of the wrath of God) upon himself…” In fact, God has set Jesus forth as a hilasterion (propitiation).

It is because Jesus took upon Himself the wrath of God in order to shield His people that He uttered His cry of God-forsakenness on the cross. In that moment in which Jesus was most fully embodying God’s love, He found Himself cut off and separated from that love. Furthermore, Jesus’ taking upon Himself the wrath of God against sin (through the Roman crucifixion) frees us from sin and guilt.

“Jesus, the innocent one, was drawing on to himself the holy wrath of God against human sin in general, so that human sinners like you and me can find, as we look at the cross, that the load of sin and guilt we have been carrying is taken away from us. Jesus takes it on himself, and somehow absorbs it, so that when we look back there is nothing there. Our sins have been dealt with, and we need never carry their burden again.”

Read it all.

Teenage Hook-Up Sex Leaves Feminism Behind

See what our brave new world has wrought.

ZAH_girls_LW-20140629190628759557-620x349From there, I learn, the hook-up – a face-to-face meeting – occurs, which usually entails sex. ‘‘Usually just oral,’’ one young girl reassured me, seeing no irony in the ‘‘just.’’ ‘‘Everyone does it!’’” she added with eye-roll upon witnessing my obvious horror.

‘‘Why would you meet up with them if you’re not going to have sex?’’ another says, in a tone that implies I am way down the spectrum of coolness. ‘‘That’s just teasing.’’

‘‘But, don’t you worry that this is all too much, too soon? That you’ll wind up jaded or regret your choices?’’ I splutter, unable to contain myself. Rightfully, I receive an earful in response.

‘‘And you call yourself a feminist!’’ one young friend admonished. ‘‘Now girls are acting like men always have, there’s supposed to be a shame around it. How hypocritical!’’

It is true I find this issue a conundrum, one that tests my own moral boundaries and ethics. As a feminist, I agree I should be supporting young women to live their lives the way they wish; reinforcing the idea that it is their bodies and their choices.

But, perhaps because I have also have been talking to a lot of young men lately who are either participating in or witnessing hook-up culture, I must confess I am left in despair.

From what I’m hearing, young men are happy to participate in casual sex and claim they are still friends with lots of girls they have ‘‘been’’ with. However, ask if they would consider any of them as girlfriend material and a vast majority respond with a vehement ‘‘no way’’.

‘‘I would never go out with a girl who’s been with my mates,’’ one 17-year-old told me. His friend, 19, agrees. ‘‘No guys go out with girls who screw around.’’

Read it all.

Fr. Ron Feister: It’s Fire Time

Sermon delivered on Trinity 2A, Sunday, June 29, 2014, at St. Augustine’s Anglican Church, Columbus, OH.

If you prefer to listen to the audio podcast of this sermon, click here.

Lectionary texts: Genesis 22.1-14; Psalm 13.1-6; Romans 6.12-23; Matthew 10.40-42.

In the name of God: The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

The Church season of Ordinary Time can often seem as a time when the Church is not focused. Unlike Advent, Lent, Easter or Pentecost, in Ordinary Time it is rare if there is a single theme that last for more than a week or two and often in a single Sunday we are presented with a variety of different themes. This would appear to be one of those Sundays or so it seems.

Our Gospel reading from Matthew is remarkably short and to the point. If one welcomes one who is called by God to come into their lives those persons who welcome such will receive a blessing because they welcome not only that individual but Christ Himself. Welcome a prophet and you get a prophets reward. Welcome a righteous person and receive a righteous persons reward and even those who show even a minimum of compassion to the believer will not be forgotten by the Lord. This is good news not only to those who receive a prophet or righteous person or who provide some modicum of care, but to those who are sent out by the Lord that there is first an assurance that there will be those who will respond to them and to the Lord and second that such persons will having experiencing God’s blessing for doing so be more willing to do so in the future and to encourage others to likewise respond. In short, it is an encouragement to the one called to be a prophet or other instrument of God’s presence and to respond as we heard the prophet respond in a song we sang last week ” Here Am I” use me.

The Epistle Reading from Romans deals with a real problem for the early Church which flowed from the teaching of Paul. Salvation is a free gift of God and not something that the believer can earn. No act of sacrifice, no abstaining from sin can earn this Salvation; therefore, some reasoned that if staying away from sin cannot earn one salvation, why worry or concern oneself over sin or in another words if God’s grace is sufficient for salvation then whether I sin or not is unimportant. The natural result is that many do sin. Paul’s responds in the strongest response when he points out that those who sin have bound themselves to be slaves of sin – a relationship that leads to death – physical and spiritual death. Rather Paul exhorts the believers to offer themselves up to be slaves, that is to turnover their whole lives, to offer themselves, as slaves to righteousness that is also to offer themselves therefore as slaves to God. As in Paul’s time slavery was common, he knows well that is using that term that the people hearing him will understand how complete the dedication must be.

Then we turn to our first reading Genesis. It is a story that we are all familiar with. Abraham is called to sacrifice his son, in obedience he sets out to do so, and at the last minute his son is spared his life and his father is spared untold grief. But before, we get back to this reading, I would like for us to have a little better understanding of the importance and practice of sacrifice in the Old Testament. In those times, it was common for almost all people who believed in a divine person or entity to have some ritual in which something was offered to their god for one or more purposes – to win favor, to obtain forgiveness or to enter a special relationship with their god. Sadly it was not unusual for there to be the sacrifice of individual lives often of one’s own children and even babies during the time of Abraham. It is in this historical framework, that we find that from Genesis through to the New Testament a long history of sacrifices for the People of God. Some of these seemed to be spontaneously as when Noah having survived the floor makes a sacrifice to the Lord. Other sacrifices are set forth in great detail such as the sacrifices that occurred in the Temple at Jerusalem. Of these, I would like to reflect on several. The term for sacrifice can also be translated “offering.” This is because the thing that is being sacrificed is being offered or given to God. It is also a reflection that the person in giving the sacrificial gift is offering him or herself.

The first type of sacrifice that I want to discuss is the Peace Offering. It was a meal shared with the Lord, the ministers of the altar and depending on the circumstances a number of the people in the congregation. A portion of the animal offered was burnt upon the altar, and was understood to be sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving. There were also unleavened cakes of wheat which were normally eaten by the priests, but sometimes by the person making the offering and sometimes by members of the congregation as well. When different individuals or groups entered into agreements or covenants it was often entered into with the Sacrifice of the Peace Offering.

The next Sacrifice is the Trespass Offering. This was a sacrifice or offering that occurred when someone admitted that he has injured another through fraud or other means. The person would first be required to repay in full the injured party any losses that were the result of the wrong. Then the person seeking reconciliation would make an offering at the Temple worth the same amount plus 40%.

The Sin Offering was a sacrifice to make up for sins and failures to live up to God’s commandments. The animal sacrificed or offered depended upon the role the person played in the community. The High Priest would have to offer a Bull, the other Leaders at least a male Goat, and for the common people there was listing of acceptable animals that could be offered mostly depending upon levels of wealth. For the very poor a grain offering was acceptable. Important to this sacrifice was the pouring out or shedding of blood and it ceremonial sprinkling on and around the altar of sacrifice. Without the shedding of blood , it was believed that there could be no forgiveness of sin.

The Meal Offering consisted of fine flours, olive oil, or vegetables or a type of dough made with oil and flour but not honey or leaven. Often there would be the use of incense burned with a portion of the food stuffs. The priests would take a portion, but the rest would be eaten by the congregation. The purpose was an affirmation and speaks of a life that is dedicated to generosity and giving.

The last type of Sacrifice that that I want to discuss is the Burnt Offering. In this type of Sacrifice the animal offered is completely burned up on the fire of the Altar of the Temple which was never to go out. The animal was to be one without blemish. The Burnt Offering was performed to atone for the sins of the whole people rather than individual sin or as a dedication offering of a person’s life to the Lord. These five types of Temple sacrifices are the general types and there were variations for special occasions and circumstances. Prior to the Temple there was even greater variety and practice.

This now leads us back to the story of our first reading. In this story we see Abraham who had been promised by God that he would be the father of a great nation now being told that he must sacrifice his only son – remember last week when he disinherited the son he had with the slave girl. But now a son that had come to Sarah and him while they were way past normal child baring years – again as an answer to their prayers and fulfillment of God’s promise.

In our current story, three times God calls out to Abraham and each time he responded with the expression meaning “Hear am I” an expression which is not only an acknowledgement of hearing God, but of a willingness to do what God asks. Abraham is told to go on a journey to a designated place to sacrifice his only son as a Burnt Offering. Abraham’s life had been one of many journeys but never one so dramatic. We can only imagine the thoughts and pain that must have run through his mind and heart. From this story and others we know that he loved his son. We also know that upon the sacrificing of his son that any hope of being the ancestor from which a great nation was doomed. It would seem as if God was backing out of his promises. This was a test. Would he be faithful. He was and at the very moment he was about to slay his son God stepped it with a substitute. The term test as used in this story means to proof something is true or reliable. Despite the many weaknesses of Abraham when put to an ultimate challenge he did indeed prove reliable and God showed Himself true to his promises. The people of the Old Testament saw in this story a proof of God’s faithfulness. It would also show them the need to be faithful even when it appeared that God was bringing them into times of great trial.

For the Church of the New Testament we often see in this story a hint or preparation for what God the Father would do.In the death and suffering of Jesus on the Cross the Father did not provide a substitute but sacrificed his only Son and in doing so proved His love for his people. In the death of Jesus Christ we have the perfect sacrifice in which the victim was without the slightest blemish of sin and yet was the perfect Sin Offering. By His Death, Jesus reopened the relationship between God’s People and God and restored the Covenant of Grace in what is the perfect Peace Offering. In His dying upon the cross, Jesus paid the price not for just some of our transgressions but all of or sin and thus became the perfect Sin and Transgression Offering.

Through His Gift of the Eucharist, Jesus has and continues to invites us to bring to the Father simple offerings of bread and wine which through His Sacrifice become His very presence and unite us both with Him and with that Sacrifice which was and is also the perfect Meal Offering.

Given the wonderful, awesome and complete offering and sacrifice made by Jesus, no other sacrifice is needed or can compare but by God’s grace we are able to join our sufferings, our caring for others, our praises, and our lives to those of Jesus as He continues to offer Himself to the Father.

In the name of God: The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

IBN Live: 100 Years of World War I: June 28, 1914 – The Day that Changed the World

Hard to believe it’s been a century since the Great War started. Are there really any coincidences?

Arrest of Gavrilo Princip, assassin of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, 1914.General Oskar Potiorek, military governor of Bosnia, assured the archduke the situation was under control, but if Franz Ferdinand thought his troubles were over, he was wrong.

After the ceremony at city hall, the 50-year-old decided to visit the hospital where people injured in the bomb attack were being treated.

But driving back along the Miljacka river, the convoy took a wrong turn up a small street on the right – named after the emperor Franz Joseph – and had to stop and turn round.

“That was a fatal error,” writer and Sarajevo chronicler Valerijan Zujo told AFP.

Read it all.

Fox News: Florida Cop Replaces Elderly Woman’s Stolen Engagement Ring

Good for her and shame on the thief who stole the ring.

Hospt4544A Florida police officer last weekend bought a replacement engagement ring from J.C. Penney for an elderly woman suffering from Alzheimer’s who apparently had hers stolen, reported.

“I came in the morning, and I’m holding her hand, talking to her, and the ring is gone,” Arthur Wagner, the woman’s husband, told the police officer. Wagner, who spent $400 on the ring in 1946, said that the ring stayed on his wife’s finger for 67 years.

Read it all.

The Anglican Church in North America Elects New Archbishop

Received via email.

LATROBE, PA (JUNE 21, 2014)—-The College of Bishops of the Anglican Church in North America elected today the Rt. Rev. Dr. Foley Beach of the Diocese of the South.  Bishop Foley Beach will succeed the Most Rev. Robert Duncan, the first archbishop for the Anglican Church in North America.

“The election occurred Sunday afternoon at the conclusion of  the College of Bishops three-day conclave where they met in the crypt of the basilica at Saint Vincent Archabbey,” said the Rev. Andrew Gross, Communications Director for the Anglican Church in North America.  The new archbishop will serve a five-year term and is eligible for re-election.

“I am delighted by this election and how the College of Bishops, after much deliberation and prayer, came to a unanimous decision,” said Archbishop Robert Duncan.  “This is a happy day for the Anglican Church in North America, a happy day for the Anglican Communion, and a happy day for the Christian Church.”

Though the current archbishop is stepping down from his role as archbishop of the North American province, he will continue in his role as bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh.

Archbishop-elect Beach served as the Rector and Pastor of Holy Cross Anglican Church in Loganville, GA, from its founding in February 2004, until December, 2013. On October 9, 2010, he was consecrated in Atlanta, Georgia as the first Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of the South in the Anglican Church in North America.

Dr. Beach is a graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, the School of Theology at the University of the South, and Georgia State University. He has served in ministry with Young Life, the Episcopal Church, and the Anglican Church.

His passion is to share the Word of God in such a way as to help others discover the incredible living Jesus. Married for more than 30 years, he and his wife, Allison, have two grown children and make their home in the Metro-Atlanta area.

The new archbishop will officially take office at the conclusion of the Provincial Assembly of the Anglican Church in North America which begins on Wednesday, June 25, 2014, at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, PA, with a formal investiture to follow in the coming months.

The Anglican Church in North America is recognized as a province by the Primates of the Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans, which is composed of over 50 million Anglicans.

The Anglican Church in North America consists of 112,000 Anglicans in nearly 1,000 congregations across the United States, Canada, and Mexico.

Discipleship 101: Don’t Be Afraid (Even Though There’s Plenty to Make Us That Way)

Sermon delivered on Trinity 1A, Sunday, June 22, 2014, at St. Augustine’s Anglican Church, Columbus, OH.

If you prefer to listen to the audio podcast of this sermon, usually somewhat different from the text below, click here.

Lectionary texts: Genesis 21.8-21; Psalm 86.1-10,16-17; Romans 6.1b-11; Matthew 10.24-39.

In the name of God: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Do you know what the most common command is in the Bible? A command for us to ditch our idols? To behave ourselves better (to repent)? To pray and trust God more? The answer is none of the above. It’s don’t be afraid. We see the command stated explicitly in our OT lesson. It is implicit in our psalm with its assumption that if God will hear us and answer our prayers, especially when we are in trouble or afraid, we will have no reason to fear. It is surely one of the themes running in the background of our epistle lesson this morning and Jesus explicitly commands it in our gospel lesson. So guess what I want us to look at briefly this morning.

At first blush, our Lord’s command to not be afraid is puzzling. In the pericope right before our gospel reading, Jesus had just finished giving his disciples a lot of reasons to be afraid. The context is mission. He was sending them out to proclaim the kingdom’s coming. He told them they would suffer all kinds of physical and emotional violence and even be killed for being his followers. Now in today’s lesson he tells us that we should be prepared to be called all kinds of names and even be accused of acting on Evil’s behalf! And of course we know Jesus was right. Try speaking out on behalf of traditional marriage in the broader public debate about what constitutes marriage and be prepared to be vilified as a homophobe, a hater, a bigot, or just plain being evil. These epithets are designed to shame us into silence, i.e., to make us afraid to speak the Truth in love, and for the most part they have been pretty effective. Many of us keep our mouth shut to prevent this kind of abuse. But our lessons suggest we should not.

Why should we not be afraid to proclaim the gospel? Jesus gives us three primary reasons and Paul adds another in our epistle lesson. First, our Lord tells us that when we try to be his faithful and obedient disciples and stand up for biblical Truth, which is God’s Truth, it should not surprise us that instead of being perceived as agents of God’s compassion, salvation, and liberation, we are reviled as agents of demonic oppression and enslavement. When that happens, instead of being silenced by fear, we should lift up our heads and rejoice, because as Jesus reminds us, our enemies are doing to us what his enemies did to him and this is a sure sign that we are “in Jesus,” i.e., that we have a real and living relationship with the Lord of the cosmos. Here we must take a lesson from Jesus’ disciples because they were living examples of what happens to people who have a real relationship with the risen and ascended Lord. Consider how they were transformed into bold evangelists in the name of Christ and how they faced death fearlessly. They were transformed from being sniveling cowards precisely because they knew Jesus had risen and had conquered death so that there was no longer any reason to fear suffering and death. Why don’t we have that same boldness today? This question demands an answer and cuts to the heart and nature of our faith (or lack thereof).

Paul affirms the reality of the risen Lord in our epistle lesson, where he tells us that those who are in Christ have been baptized into a death like his. What does Paul mean by this? What is a death like Jesus’? It is a death that has been destroyed and swallowed up forever in life. To be sure, Jesus’ mortal death was real and horrible; he suffered on our behalf. But God raised him from the dead and thereby destroyed death forever. And because we are baptized believers in Jesus, we share the same kind of death. Barring the Lord’s return before we die, we too will suffer death. But like our Lord, our death will be swallowed up in life when the new creation comes in full and our mortal bodies are raised as immortal and imperishable bodies.

And here is where Paul has some intensely practical advice that will help us not be afraid. He tells us that we are to consider (or reckon) ourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. The word Paul uses for “consider” means literally “do the math.” In other words, Paul is telling us when we are afraid, when we look at our lives and don’t see much Christian growth or evidence of God’s love, we are to stop and calculate the objective reality. In Jesus’ death, resurrection, and ascension death has been destroyed, evil has been defeated, and life and new creation is our destiny. It’s not about us. It’s about what Jesus has done for us.

Paul and Jesus seem to be saying, “Don’t always trust your feelings because your feelings can be terribly wrong.” Just ask pilots learning to fly planes via instruments instead of their senses and feelings! No. Stop and do the math. Reflect on the objective truth that is in Jesus, our risen and ascended Lord, and then take courage to be his disciples and proclaim God’s truth in Jesus! Coming back to our point about being persecuted for Jesus’ sake, this knowledge is critical for us to live and proclaim the Good News and God’s Truth boldly and with power. Even if our families turn on us and hate us as Jesus warned some families would do, even if our enemies kill us, hurt and death have no ultimate power over those who are in Jesus.

Now of course Jesus never had in mind that we would go out and be his kingdom workers on our own as rugged individualist Christians. Jesus sent out the first disciples in pairs (Luke 10.1-24) and Paul spent a lifetime talking to first-century churches on the ground (and beyond) about how to love one another, support one another, and encourage one another in their work (and ours), precisely because both Jesus and Paul knew we are called to live out and proclaim our faith in a hostile world where evil has not yet been fully defeated. When we do our discipleship together, we also have each other to help remind us not to be afraid.

Second, Jesus tells us not to be afraid because nothing that is covered up will remain hidden and nothing that is secret will remain unknown. Our Lord seems to be saying that one day Truth, God’s Truth, will win out over the world’s lies and evil, and that if we have been courageous enough to proclaim and live the gospel publicly and faithfully, we will have nothing to fear on that day. Not so with Jesus’ enemies. As our Lord reminds us, the only One we are to fear is God himself who alone has the power of life and death in his hands. We are not to be afraid of God, but rather to reverently and humbly respect the One who holds our lives and eternity in his loving and gracious hands. And if we are tempted to be afraid of God in a pathological manner, we must always remember what Paul just said about the God who became human and gave himself for us in a terrible and costly act on the cross.

Why is it so important for us to know that nothing covered up will remain covered? Because a favorite mantra of those who seem to be winning the cultural wars today is to say that they are on the right side of history and we Christians are not. If true, this is reason enough for us to despair. Who wants to be on the wrong side of history? But our Lord is telling us here not to believe such propaganda because he is Lord and they are not. And one day the whole universe will see and know this is true as well as who is on the right side of history (helpful hint: it won’t be Jesus’ enemies). So those of us who really are in Jesus never need to be afraid.

Last, we are not to be afraid because we do not worship and serve a distant and uncaring God. We worship and serve a God who is so intimately involved in the activities of his world, our lives included, and who knows us so well that even the hairs on our head are numbered. This is a pretty big buzzkill for those who scoff at Christians who pray for seemingly minute and trivial things like finding a parking space, etc. Not so fast, Jesus seems to be saying.  That’s the kind of God we worship! Nothing is too small to be outside the attention and care of God the Father. Again, we must look to Jesus’ apostles to see how this can affect our courage. Surely their belief in the risen and ascended Lord was powered by the firm knowledge that this same Lord was intimately involved in their lives, and especially in their suffering for his sake. And like any other relationship, if we want to know intimately this God who knows us even more intimately, we have to work at it each day through prayer, Bible study, worship, and fellowship.

Don’t misunderstand. The command to not be afraid is hard to obey, primarily because we are fallen and broken creatures who live in a fallen and broken world. But we must do the math. We are to carefully consider what is real versus what is not. In other words, we are to consider what the world offers us to follow its gods and agendas (fleeting victories, fame, wealth, power, etc.) versus what our Lord offers us (eternal life, real healing, and the chance to be citizens forever in God’s new world) and then act accordingly. This explains why Jesus would say that those who save their lives—those who side with the gods of this age and their lies and lifestyles that lead to destruction—will lose it, but those who lose their lives (sometimes literally) for Jesus—those who adopt lifestyles that are difficult to live out because they are so unnatural to us, at least initially—will save it because Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. This is what it means to take up our cross and follow him, dying each day to sin in the power of the Spirit. Perhaps it is here, in learning not to be afraid to take up our cross, that we begin to learn to confront our other fears.

It is only in having this kind of living and vital relationship with Jesus that we can find the power to overcome our fears and order our lives in ways that imitate our Lord so that we can be his faithful kingdom workers. What does that look like in your life? In the life of this parish? Whatever it is, and we need to be talking with each other about this constantly, we are called to do this work together under Jesus’ Lordship and to love and support one another as we do. We can overcome our fears, of course, because Jesus is present with us right now in the power of the Spirit and because in his death and resurrection, he has abolished death forever and allows us to share it with him. This means we have Good News, now and for all eternity. To him be honor, praise, and glory forever and ever.

In the name of God: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Bradley R.E. Wright (CT): Your Faith Might Cost You Your Next Job

Troubling, but is anyone really surprised?

40201Our study seems to confirm a social norm in America: that religious expression should be compartmentalized and private, something kept at home or brought out only in specific, limited circumstances. Publically identifying oneself with a certain belief system can be a faux pas with real and negative consequences. This norm applies to a wide range of religious and irreligious expressions. As such, both the proselytizing evangelical and the adamant atheist are suspect.

Many Christians intuitively sense this norm. We feel that we should be discreet, if not silent, about our faith. This creates a tension, because Scripture presents our faith as good news to be shared, as light to be shown, as salt to be tasted—not a hobby to be hidden. Negotiating this tension between the demands of society and the teachings of Christ is a fascinating, critical aspect of the Christian practice.

Read it all.

London Times: Jihadists Create App to Flood Twitter with Tide of Hatred

Well isn’t that special? The light of truth needs to shine on this kind of stuff. God have mercy on them all.

156349612__718483c[The Jihadist group] Isis is using a sophisticated strategy to spread its bloodcurdling message on social media sites.

Belying its ideology and rejection of Western values, the group has embraced modern technology and built its own computer app, which has been available since April.

The Dawn of Glad Tidings app is designed to circumvent spam filters on Twitter and stagger the release of identical tweets and hashtags through the accounts of those who have downloaded it.

The resulting “Tweetskrieg” has ensured that in recent days, Isis tweets have reached an unusually wide audience — a strategy echoing those used by marketing companies to build a “buzz” around a product.

This is only a partial quote from the article. Subscription required to read the whole thing.

A Fathers’ Day Prayer

Heavenly Father,
you entrusted your Son Jesus,
the child of Mary,
to the care of Joseph, an earthly father.
Bless all fathers
as they care for their families.
Give them strength and wisdom,
tenderness and patience;
support them in the work they have to do,
protecting those who look to them,
as we look to you for love and salvation,
through Jesus Christ our rock and defender.

Happy Fathers’ Day, Dad

My dad has been dead now for over 10 years. In some ways it seems like an eternity, that he was never here, but thankfully I know that’s not true. I still miss my dad as much as I did the day he died but I am really happy for him because I know where he is. I know he is healed from all that bedeviled him in the last years of his life. I know he is reunited with mom and the rest of his family. I know they are enjoying their rest in the Lord and are safely in his care. How could I be anything but glad for him?

My dad continues to influence me in a thousand different ways. He’s instilled in me a sense of responsibility for my family. He instilled in me a love for life and made me understand the importance of being a responsible and good community member. He also taught me a thing or two about honoring my family name, although I have not always done a very good job with that.

I have his fierce streak of independence in me in ways that I am only now beginning to understand. Dad owned his own business and because it never grew very big, he struggled financially. But I know he wouldn’t have traded it in for anything in the world. He loved being his own boss and contributing to the growth of his community in that capacity. In fact, he was voted as outstanding young businessman by the JCs shortly after he returned home from the Army. Maybe that is one of the reasons I enjoy being the rector at St. Augustine’s Anglican Church.

I am proud of my dad for serving his country during WWII. He loved his country, but never blindly. He kept a balanced perspective on life and loved to be with his friends, especially mom’s and his dear friends, the Terrys.

I am proud of my dad for the courage and grace he displayed throughout his life, especially in the last years when his body slowly robbed him of his mobility. I know that had to be hard for him, very hard. But he never complained, never lost his good spirit or sense of optimism. Dad always believed things would work out for the best and he lived that belief right up to the day he died.

Dad also taught me to persevere, to never tuck my tail and run. That has helped me in many ways over my life because perseverance can indicate a belief in our ability to get the job done, even if we need a little help from our friends on occasion.

Our home was always stable and I could always count on a sense of regularity and familiarity. I knew when to expect him home. I knew when he would be at work. I didn’t have to worry about him running around or being reckless with our family’s resources. This familiarity did not breed a sense of contempt. Instead, it fostered a sense of security and stability.

Like my grandpa Maney did with him when he was a boy, my dad took me to a ball game every year, starting when I was 5 years old, and that string continued unbroken until the last year of his life when he could no longer get to the ballpark. We would usually go to Cincinnati, but during the baseball strike in the early 1980’s we went to watch the Toledo Mudhens game so that our streak would not be broken. He would let me invite a buddy to come with me and I am sure we drove him nuts on more than one occasion. But he never complained, never got angry with me or my invited friend.

Dad also played catch with me on a regular basis when I was a kid. Hit me in the mouth with pitched balls on more than a few occasions (well, maybe I just missed the pitched balls, which then hit me in the mouth—but I like my story better).

Another fond memory I have of dad is when he took me to Canada to go fishing a couple of times. Neither one of us were great outdoorsmen but we survived somehow and got along just fine.

I worked for my dad at his shoe store and he was a tough boss. He always told me that working for your dad was the worst thing you could do because dads expected more out of their kids than out of their regular employees—and he practiced what he preached. But in hindsight that was a good thing for me because it taught me to do my best.

I could go on and on but I’ll stop here and just enjoy some more fond memories of my papa.

I hope that some day, God willing, I can be the man my father was. I’m almost 61 now and I’m not there yet, not even close. But even if I don’t reach the goal, I am thankful that God blessed me with my dad for almost 51 years. Thank you, God, for blessing me with my father, John Fox Maney. Thank you dad, for being the Father you were to me. Happy Fathers’ Day, Bear. I love you and look forward to seeing you again someday, this time never to be separated again.