Daily Archives: May 24, 2007

Iraq Presents Graduating Class at West Point With New Challenges

The graduating cadets of the United States Military Academy spent their final days here like scores of seniors, or firsties, before them: packing foot lockers and showing their mothers around gray buildings and sweeping lawns. All smiles. Even the lone cadet marching in full uniform in a parking lot under the hot sun ”” a form of punishment called “walking the area” ”” flashed a grin when a friend passed.

Lt. Col. David A. Jones was one of the graduates 22 years ago, in the class of 1985. Now 43 and a staff officer who works in the academy’s leadership and ethics programs, he was smiling upstairs in his office, but his words betrayed his worry for the young men and women who will, in all likelihood, be leading other soldiers in Iraq next year.

“We can’t provide them with all the solutions and all the answers,” he said. “This is too complex.”

The war in Iraq has hovered over the class of 2007, perhaps more than any class before. The 1,000-plus cadets graduating on Saturday were the first to enter West Point after the invasion of Iraq in March 2003. Most arrived on campus in June of that year.

The events of the last four years have directly shaped the curriculum at West Point, as instructors who for years taught the fine points of battlefield strategy found themselves leading drills with fake bombs made of pop bottles and clocks. “Ain’t no front line anymore,” Colonel Jones said. “It’s all front line.”

Today, role-playing sessions regularly descend into chaos. “I never did this when I was here in ’85,” he said. “We did road marches. We prepared the defense for defense operations. We were confident the enemy wouldn’t hit us for 24 hours. That was our scenario.”

Today’s West Point cadets are taught how to react to surprise uprisings, often while accompanied by someone acting as an embedded television reporter. “We have a road march, and a crowd of people come in the middle of the road,” Colonel Jones said. “There’s a vehicle on the side. There’s a camera, there’s a kid with a bat, there’s a pregnant woman.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Iraq War

African Anglicans could boycott summit over gays

U.S Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori, leader of the liberals, called for calm and said: “It is possible that aspects of this matter may change in the next 14 months.”

But, judging by the furious reaction to Williams’ decision, the chances of bridging the yawning chasm between liberals and conservatives look as slim as ever.

In the liberal camp, Integrity USA President Susan Russell accused Williams of lacking leadership, by not inviting Robinson, and said: “He has allowed himself to be blackmailed by forces promoting bigotry and exclusion in the Anglican Communion.”

Minns, in turn, said: “It should be remembered that this crisis in the Anglican Communion is not about a few individual bishops but about a worldwide Communion that is torn at its deepest level.”

British religious commentator Clifford Longley, reflecting on the harsh rhetoric being bandied around, told Reuters: “In trying to maintain this entity called the Anglican Communion, Williams’ job has become virtually impossible.”

“Maybe this is the point when it is brought home to the Americans that this is not a pain-free option.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Latest News, Lambeth 2008

Theo Hobson: An imaginary letter from the Archbishop of Canterbury to gay bishop Gene Robinson

You know what I want to say to such people? You damn well try it. Go on. You try running an international Christian organisation that is committed to both liberalism and biblical tradition. You think it’s easy? You think it’s about being nice and progressive?

The real question, Gene, is whether we believe in the church at all. To believe in the church is to believe that God wills the Gospel to be incarnated in something that looks very like a human ideology, full of all-too-human flaws, and not unstained by human violence. Can it be that God wills this? That he allows himself to be mediated by a morally flawed society, a place in which homophobia (and much else) is rife?

This is what we must ask ourselves: do we dare to take the (considerable) risk of identifying the cause of Jesus Christ with a particular human tradition, a particular model of human wellbeing? Such a tradition will have rules – otherwise it would lack all coherence, all grammar. And these rules change slowly, if the tradition is old and large. Yes, the Catholic model of church does seem to implicate us in certain habits of cultural violence. Dare we accept that? Dare we suffer it? Is there an alternative? Yes: the alternative is to reduce Jesus Christ to a mere idea, to allow him to be eroded by secular anarchism, to be wise in our own sophistications.

For Catholic and apostolic Christians, Jesus Christ is not an idea but a living body. He calls us to defend his body, Gene. Perhaps it currently feels as if you are the waste matter excluded from the body – but is this not a crucial part of bodily health? When it comes to this very natural process, the dichotomy of inclusion/exclusion is transcended. You are part of the body that excludes you. May God grant you the wisdom to see this.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Commentary, Lambeth 2008

William Pike: Pentecost – The Crazy Uncle We Just Ignore

The concept of the Holy Spirit would eventually be seen as equal with the Father and Son as manifestations of the Triune God ”“ a monotheistic concept in which Christians attempt to explain three ways in which the single God is experienced by and revealed to believers. In modern times, the evangelical movement known as Pentecostalism places deep importance upon a personal experience with the Spirit, and especially upon being “baptized” by the Spirit in the model of the original Pentecost.

Outside of this and similar movements, however, the role of the Holy Spirit in Christian theology and worship is too often misunderstood and underemphasized. And indeed, with rare exception, Pentecost Sunday will go by once again like the crazy uncle at Christmas dinner ”“ forgotten and ignored; it will go largely unnoticed by the global church it helped plant so many years ago.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Pentecost, Theology, Theology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology)

Affirming Catholicism Expresses Disappointment at Lambeth invitations

Canon Nerissa Jones, MBE Chair of Trustees for Affirming Catholicism, said:

Lambeth Conferences should reflect the diversity and range of theological opinions contained across the Anglican Communion and provide an opportunity for bishops to grow in their appreciation of others’ points of view through prayer, worship and study. Although Bishop Robinson is only one bishop, his being excluded because of his openness about his sexuality sends a damaging signal to faithful and honest lesbian and gay Christians world-wide, and undermines the integrity of the conference. The wholeness Affirming Catholics strive for requires every voice to be expressed and included, but yet again it looks as though Lambeth bishops will be talking about homosexuality without honestly acknowledging the presence of the gay people already in their midst. We call on the Archbishop of Canterbury to find ways for Bishop Gene Robinson to be included in the Conference so that his experience can be heard.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Primary Source, -- Statements & Letters: Organizations, Church of England (CoE), Lambeth 2008

Changing Attitude England regrets Gene Robinson has not been invited to the Lambeth Conference

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Primary Source, -- Statements & Letters: Organizations, Church of England (CoE), Lambeth 2008

A Stand Firm Audio Report: Analyzing the Lambeth Invitations

Listen to it all and make sure to note the comment of Chris Seitz below the audio link.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * By Kendall, * Resources & Links, - Anglican: Analysis, Lambeth 2008, Resources: Audio-Visual

New York General Convention Deputation on the Draft Covenant

1. Do you think an Anglican Covenant is necessary and/or will help to strengthen the interdependent life of the Anglican Communion? Why or why not?

It would be helpful at this point in time for the Anglican Communion to make up its mind whether the needs of the world and the mission of the church in response to those needs will be better served by a more strictly and centrally regulated structure, or by a more open model deployed for ministry. We favor the latter as more in keeping with Christ’s commission to the church, which is focused not on itself and its structures but on the proclamation of the saving message to a wounded world. It appears that the more we attempt to secure our inner agreements the more we focus on the things that divide us. The Anglican Communion has been known until recently as a body governed not by statute but by bonds of affection, and a Covenant, if needed, should, unlike the present proposal, focus on the affection rather than the bondage. Such a Covenant would be tolerant of diversity and encourage bilateral cooperation in meeting local and global needs through partnerships rather than promoting more complex and rigid structures, as the present proposal seems to advise.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Primary Source, Anglican Covenant, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC House of Deputies

Anglicans Ready to Face Episcopal Church in Virginia Court

The Anglican District of Virginia (ADV) is facing the Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Virginia in the Fairfax Country Circuit Court. The first hearing was on Monday, May 21 and involves a property dispute among 11 churches and the Diocese of Virginia.

The case is rooted in the decision of the Episcopal Church and The Episcopal Diocese of Virginia to separate from the historic Christian faith. ADV churches chose to hold steadfast to historic faith and to Scripture. Virginia Bishop Peter Lee appointed a Reconciliation Commission whose charge was to find a means of reconciliation of the break caused by The Episcopal Church.

“I would say that we preceded ”“ we being both Truro Church and all the churches that voted to sever our ties with the Episcopal church ”“ did everything we did as much out in the open as we knew how to do it and worked with the Diocese of Virginia over a period of about three years or more acknowledging that there were deep divisions, acknowledging that those divisions might force some of us to have to sever our ties with the Episcopal Church in order to survive as viable congregations,” said ADV Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors Jim Oakes in an exclusive interview.

“We had to sever our ties with the Episcopal Church for our own survival as a worshiping congregation,” said Oakes

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Latest News, CANA, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Virginia, TEC Departing Parishes

Blog admin roundup: All posts about the new site

We thought it would be helpful to create a “blog admin roundup” post with all the links to this week’s admin posts in one place.

Here is a listing of all of this week’s Blog Admin posts with key information to help folks get up to speed with the new blog. I’ve grouped posts into 3 broad categories.

1. Welcome / Blog Overview
Welcome to the new Site (by Kendall, Tues. May 22)
This is the new Titusonenine Site, A blog purpose reminder (by Kendall, Tues. May 22)
Bloggers please update your links to Titusonenine! (elfgirl, Wed. May 23)

2. User Registration and Commenting
A Note on User Registration and Posting Comments (Greg Griffith, Tues. May 22)
15 or more pending members (elfgirl. Tues. May 22)
Update from elfgirl re: sign in and comment problems (elfgirl, Wed. May 23)

3. Blog Features and Troubleshooting
OPEN THREAD: Bugs, Turkeys and Requests (elfgirl, Thurs. May 24)

As always, feel free to contact the elves with any questions: T19elves@yahoo.com

Posted in * Admin

Cause for Concern?

From here:

A report today from Portales Partners on brokerage margin debt, which at $318 billion is 14% above its highest level reached in March 2000 — the year the dot.com bubble burst.”

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Personal Finance & Investing

Two US Bishops not invited to Lambeth

By George Conger

BISHOP Gene Robinson is not coming to Lambeth. The New Hampshire bishop, CANA Bishop Martyn Minns and Bishop Chuck Murphy of the AMiA and his suffragans will not receive invitations to the July 16 to Aug 4 gathering in Canterbury of the bishops of the Anglican Communion, Canon Kenneth Kearon, the secretary of the 2008 Lambeth Conference said this week.

Invitations to the 2008 conference have been mailed to over 800 bishops by the Conference’s host, the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams. Invitations to two other diocesan bishops, including the controversial Bishop of Harare, Dr Nolbert Kunonga, have been held pending further “consultation,” said Canon Kearon, the ACC secretary general. Dr Williams is “seeking further advice” on inviting Dr Kunonga, Canon Kearon told The Church of England Newspaper but noted his case and that of “one or two others” had “nothing to do with the Windsor process.” In 2002 the EU banned Dr Kunonga from travel to Europe in response to his complicity with the crimes of the regime of Zimbabwe strongman Robert Mugabe.

A spokesman for the ACC noted Bishop Robinson Cavalcanti of Recife would not be invited either.

In 2005 Bishop Cavalcanti and 32 of his clergy were deposed by the Primate of Brazil for contumacy.

They and over 90 per cent of the communicants in the diocese transferred to the jurisdiction of the Province of the Southern Cone under the jurisdiction of Archbishop Gregory Venables.

In a letter accompanying the invitation, Dr Williams stated he hoped the meeting would be “a place where we can try and get more clarity about the limits of our diversity and the means of deepening our Communion, so we can speak together with conviction and clarity to the world.”

He noted that Lambeth would not be “a formal Synod or Council of the bishops of the Communion” nor does attending the Conference commit a bishop to accept “the position of others as necessarily a legitimate expression of Anglican doctrine and discipline, or to any action that would compromise your conscience or the integrity of your local church.” Dr Williams said he had reserved the right “to withhold or withdraw invitations from bishops whose appointment, actions or manner of life have caused exceptionally serious division or scandal within the Communion.”

Canon Kearon stated there was “no question that Gene Robinson had been duly elected and consecrated” Bishop of New Hampshire in 2005. However, paragraph133 of the Windsor Report recommends the Archbishop “exercise very considerable caution in inviting or admitting him to the councils of the Communion,” he said.

The “archbishop recognises the widespread objections in many parts of the communion to [Bishop Robinson’s] consecration and to his ministry,” said Canon Kearon. However, the “Archbishop intends to explore the possibility of inviting [Bishop Robinson] to Lambeth as a guest or observer,” he added.

The Bishops of the Anglican Mission in America would not be invited to Lambeth because of the decision taken by Archbishop George Carey in 2000. Archbishop Carey “wrote to them saying he could not recognise their ministry” and that their “consecrations were irregular,” Canon Kearon explained. This decision was “confirmed at Oporto” by the Primates in 2000 and the “decision was already fixed” by Dr Williams’ predecessor.

The case of CANA Bishop Martyn Minns exhibits “no difference” from the AMiA and he falls into the same category, Canon Kearon said.

Dr Williams has been under intense pressure to act upon the Lambeth invitations. While the Conference has no juridical powers, it is seen as the symbolic centre of Anglican identity ”” and the arbiter of who is and is not an Anglican. The Primate of Canada, Archbishop Andrew Hutchison, urged Dr Williams to postpone Lambeth to forestall the political confrontation

A number of American and British bishops had suggested they may boycott Lambeth should Bishop Robinson not be invited.

However, on May 15 the Primate of the West Indies, Archbishop Drexel Gomez told The Church of England Newspaper the Global South Primates had written to Dr. Williams saying that if Bishop Robinson were invited to Lambeth, the Global South bishops would not attend.

–This article appears in the May 25, 2007 edition of the Church of England Newspaper

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Latest News, Episcopal Church (TEC), Lambeth 2008, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts

Oil Industry Says Biofuel Push May Hurt at Pump

Gas prices are spiking again ”” to an average of $3.22 a gallon, and close to $4 a gallon in many areas.

And some oil executives are now warning that the current shortages of fuel could become a long-term problem, leading to stubbornly higher prices at the pump.

They point to a surprising culprit: uncertainty created by the government’s push to increase the supply of biofuels like ethanol in coming years.

In his State of the Union address in January, President Bush called for a sharp increase in the use of biofuels, along with some improvement in automobile fuel efficiency to reduce America’s use of gasoline by 20 percent within 10 years. Congress is considering legislation calling for a nearly fivefold increase in the use of ethanol.

That has forced many oil companies to reconsider or scale back their plans for constructing new refinery capacity.

In hearings before Congress last year, oil executives outlined plans to increase fuel production by expanding existing refineries. Those plans would add capacity of 1.6 million to 1.8 million barrels a day over the next five years, for an increase of 10 percent, according to the National Petrochemical and Refiners Association.

But those plans have since been scaled back to more than one million barrels a day, according to the Energy Information Administration, an arm of the federal government.

“If the national policy of the country is to push for dramatic increases in the biofuels industry, this is a disincentive for those making investment decisions on expanding capacity in oil products and refining,” said John D. Hofmeister, the president of the Shell Oil Company. “Industrywide, this will have an impact.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Energy, Natural Resources

John Garvey–Of Monks and Madmen Tempted by Silence and Darkness

There has been a lot written about Into Great Silence, a film which shows the life of monks in the Carthusian monastery of Le Grande Chartreuse. I saw it not long ago, and so should you if you get the chance-which you may not; so far its distribution has been limited, and it is easy to see why: there is very little talking, no background music, and nothing like a plot. The film lasts for nearly three very quiet hours. But here in New York, it packed them in at Film Forum and was held over for weeks.

Philip Gröning, the director, said during one interview that he found looking at the paintings of Mark Rothko helpful when he was editing the film, and I can see the connection. There is a similarity between the esthetic stillness in Rothko’s paintings and the contemplative stillness the monks seek in prayer. This sensibility shows up in Gröning’s camera work, in the images of flame and snow that begin the film, in the passage of time in slow seasonal change captured by time-lapse photography, in the rhythm of the communal liturgical hours and the solitude of the monks in their hermitages, in the scenes we are offered of their solitary prayer and study.

The film has been a huge hit, not only in New York but also in allegedly secular Europe. Its success reminds me of the rave reviews given to Marilynne Robinson’s wonderful, quiet, and unabashedly Christian novel Gilead. There is a spiritual hunger that goes deep. Some of its expressions can be shallow, but the need is heartfelt and real. Many churches may not meet it, but some places and ways of life (monasteries and monasticism, for example) attract people because they offer the hope that there is an answer to an eternal, deeply felt need.

Read it all.

Posted in Media

Is Everything Fine in the Episcopal Church?

I just thought I would ask. Doesn’t sound like it to me:

“The proportion [of parishes] with excellent or good financial health declined from 56% to 32% between 2000 and 2005.”

And: “The proportion in some or serious financial difficulty almost doubled, increasing from 13% in 2000 to 25% in 2005.”

Where is this from? Find out here.

Posted in Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Data