Ash Wednesday: Lent begins

Today, known as Ash Wednesday, marks the first day of Lent in the Western Christian tradition – including Anglicans, Roman Catholics, Old Catholics, Lutherans, and others. And Lent is, of course, the holy season of self-examination, penitence, and preparation as we who are Christians prepare for the Feast of the Resurrection on Easter Sunday. These two lovely images, from Enid Chadwick’s marvelous little volume, My Book of the Church’s Year, do an excellent job of presenting the key themes of Lent!

There are actually six Sundays in Lent; the others being Passion Sunday (Lent V) and Palm Sunday (Lent VI) – which, as the above notes, are found in a separate image – and are collectively known as “Passiontide.”

Wishing all my Christian viewers a holy, blessed, and fruitful Lenten observance!

Nota Bene: Chadwick’s book has recently be re-published by St. Augustine Academy Press. I’ve obtained a copy (not receiving any compensation for this “plug”), and I commend it to your attention!

 

It’s Shrove Tuesday – tomorrow, Lent begins!

No photo description available.

Wishing all my Christian friends a holy and blessed Lenten season. May our time of self-examination, penitence, and preparation prepare us for a joyful and blessed celebration of the Feast of the Resurrection, come Easter!

(Image, from Enid Chadwick’s My Book of the Church’s Year, shared from a Facebook friend’s posting. This splendid little book has recently been republished by St. Augustine Academy Press.)

 

Shrove Tuesday: penitence, absolution, and… pancakes!

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Pancake races are apparently a “thing” in the UK, for Shrove Tuesday  – the day before Ash Wednesday, and the start of Lent – and have been for centuries. Even clergy and choristers get into it, on occasion! Not to mention some really cute kids…

The town of Olney takes credit for their origin, as recorded on the town website:

“According to tradition it was in Olney, back in 1445, that pancake racing started. On Shrove Tuesday the church bell rang out to signal the start of the church service.

“A local housewife who was busy cooking pancakes before the start of Lent, ran to the church. She was still carrying her frying pan and wearing her apron and headscarf, and tossed the pancake to prevent it from burning.

“Local people who saw this were amused, and later started to organise pancake races. Pancake races still take place in Olney each Shrove Tuesday.”

Several of these pics are from Olney itself (a town which presumably gave its name to a town in Maryland, near where I grew up), both modern and historical; others are from elsewhere around the web… and the UK!

But of course, Shrove Tuesday (Pancake Day, Doughnut Day, Fastnacht, Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday, etc.) is not just an excuse to eat yummy pancakes or doughnuts. It is about preparing for a holy Lent by being shriven (past participle of “shrove”) – forgiven, pardoned – for one’s duly repented sins, in preparation for the great season of self-examination, repentance, and preparation that is Lent.

 

MP urges Britain to return to its Christian heritage | The Christian Institute

A new MP has used his maiden speech in the House of Commons to defend Christianity, and to argue that it can help to shape Britain for the better.

Source: MP urges Britain to return to its Christian heritage – The Christian InstituteThe Christian Institute

Further details and video: Look to Britain’s Christian past to address future problems, new Tory MP says | Christian News

Danny Kruger, MP for Devizes in Wiltshire, lamented that Britain had moved away from its shared Christian heritage, and said many of today’s problems could be solved by restoring Christianity to the public square.

“Traditionally we had a sense [that we] are children of God, fallen but redeemed, capable of great wrong but capable of great virtue.

“And even for those that didn’t believe in God there was a sense that our country is rooted in Christianity, that our liberties derive from the Christian idea of absolute human dignity.

“And even for those who didn’t believe in God, there was a sense that our country is rooted in Christianity, that our liberties derive from the Christian idea of absolute human dignity.”

While noting that “today these ideas are losing their purchase,” he continues, “I’m not sure we should so casually throw away the inheritance of our culture.” Nor am I! Kruger further notes,

“As we advance at speed into a bewildering world where we are forced to ask the most profound questions about the limits of autonomy and what it means to be human, we may have reasons to look about for the old ways and seek wisdom in the old ideas which are in my view entirely timeless.”

Well said, sir! I agree wholeheartedly. As an Anglican Bishop of my acquaintance (an English one, living in England) put it, “A brave man in the prevalent culture at Westminster.” I pray that Kruger is able to convince others!

 

Sex is for male-female marriage only, Church of England confirms | Christian News on Christian Today

marriage

Sex only belongs in heterosexual marriage, a new statement from the Church of England’s House of Bishops has declared.

Source: Sex is for male-female marriage only, Church of England confirms | Christian News on Christian Today

Somewhat surprisingly, given its history in recent years and decades, the House of Bishops of the Church of England – the “Mother Church” of all Anglican Christians – has affirmed that

“For Christians, marriage – that is the lifelong union between a man and a woman, contracted with the making of vows – remains the proper context for sexual activity.”

This is the traditional teaching, albeit phrased somewhat cautiously. They go on to say that

“In its approach to civil partnerships the Church seeks to uphold that standard, to affirm the value of committed, sexually abstinent friendships and to minister sensitively and pastorally to those Christians who conscientiously decide to order their lives differently,”

which is a legitimate call to pastoral sensitivity: as a dear, excellent, and godly Anglican priest of my acquaintance put it, the duty of the Church is to “uphold the standard, and deal pastorally with the exceptions.” They go on to affirm that

“Sexual relationships outside heterosexual marriage are regarded as falling short of God’s purposes for human beings. The introduction of same sex marriage… has not changed the church’s teaching on marriage or same sex relationships.”

The Church of England and its HOB has itself fallen what seems to be short of God’s purposes for human beings in a number of regards over, as I say, the last several decades, and they do waffle a bit on practical application. But I am a believer in giving credit where it’s due!

And on a related note… Be a rebel. Save society.

Be a rebel – and save society

Yes. This.

Settle down, raise a family. This is going to take a while.

Raise a family.jpg

“The real way to leverage your time and make a lasting difference is exponential and generational: get married, have children, practice your faith, raise liberty-minded children, be active in the community, serve your family, homeschool your children, give them a real education, and teach them to be self-sufficient, well-read, healthy, and wise.

The quote above is an excerpt (I’d say, the key excerpt) from a friend and fellow Christian clergyman’s Facebook post this morning. Here’s the whole thing:

“What’s the best way for young people to fight for human liberty in the west? A podcast? A blog? Go on a speaking tour? Run for office?

“Maybe.

“But the real way to leverage your time and make a lasting difference is exponential and generational: get married, have children, practice your faith, raise liberty-minded children, be active in the community, serve your family, homeschool your children, give them a real education, and teach them to be self-sufficient, well-read, healthy, and wise.

“And raise each of your children to do the same thing and create strong families of their own.

“Living the swinging single libertarian life and/or having a biologically unfruitful relationship simply neutralizes and nullifies any long-term influence you might have had, and surrenders the field to others who are doing the hard, generational work of raising their own children to promulgate their values. The cultures that reproduce will push all the others out. And if that culture is oppressive and tyrannical, you don’t want them in the majority.

“This is akin to Aesop’s Fable of the tortoise and the hare – only in this version, the rabbit is sterile while the turtle is prolific.

“The west is dying because most young people don’t have the long view in mind, and also because young women do not understand the old adage about ‘the hand that rocks the cradle [rules the world]’ and are thus clueless about what it means to be truly empowered and strong.”

As our Eastern Orthodox brethren would say,

Wisdom! Attend.

Now, if I could just find someone to raise a family with…! *wry smile*