Daily Archives: June 18, 2007

Neal Michell: What the Kenyan Initiative Means

The Province of Kenya issued a statement on Wednesday, June 13, 2007, announcing its intention to consecrate The Rev. Canon Bill Atwood as a Suffragan Bishop “to support the international interests of the Anglican Church of Kenya, including support of Kenyan clergy and congregations in North America.” Their further “goal is to collaborate with faithful Anglicans (including those in North America who are related with other provinces). A North American Anglican Coalition can provide a safe haven for those who maintain historic Anglican faith and practice, and offer a way to live and work together in the furtherance of the Gospel.”

So, what does this mean? It is illustrative of the truism, “nature abhors a vacuum.”

In this analogy, nature is the Anglican Communion. What is the vacuum? The lack of leadership from the Archbishop of Canterbury.

I have long been a supporter of the Archbishop’s leadership and the difficult position that he has been in. I have gleaned his writings and comments for those tidbits that would give an indication of the direction in which he would lead the Communion.

He has been quoted to say that “actions have consequences,” leading me, and others, to believe that he would allow the TEC to suffer the consequences of their decisions in some form of discipline. He said that he gave a September 30th deadline for the assurances from the American Episcopal House of Bishops so that invitations to Lambeth could be sent out or withdrawn in response to the American bishops’ responses. He said that the primates would decide what course of action they would take.

This all made sense in light of his perceived ecclesiology: he did not want to make an arbitrary decision that would give subsequent Archbishops of Canterbury more power that might be abused later; he had a conciliar view of the authority of the church and its bishops. All this made sense to me until the invitations to Lambeth were issued in an untimely manner, and the actions of the American Episcopal church bishops that consented to and consecrated the bishop of New Hampshire that has caused this rupture in the Communion.

The act of issuing these invitations at this time has shown that some actions have not had any consequences. The American House of Bishops’ response to the Primates’ Communiqué from Dar es Salaam clearly rejected the pastoral scheme of the Communiqué and dismissive of the underlying concerns of the Primates.

Since the actions of the American Church seem to have no consequences with respect to the full Communion, contrary to their stated concerns, we are left with the consequences of inaction. The inaction of the primates as a whole and our Archbishop of Canterbury have resulted in the consequences of yet another Anglican bishop being consecrated by another foreign (African) province to provide oversight for churches who want to leave the Episcopal Church because the actions of their American bishops have been shown to have no consequences at the international level.

In short: nature abhors a vacuum. Because the conciliar vision expounded by the Archbishop of Canterbury is either not working or not being followed we are left with everyone doing what is right in their own eyes (Judges 17:6). This has led to the multiplicity of foreign jurisdiction Anglican bishops in the United States, lawsuit upon lawsuit, inhibition and deposition upon early resignation and retirement.

How does Jesus view us? I suspect just as he did when he saw the crowds: “he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.”

We are a bishop-based church. Whether one believes that bishops are of the esse or the bene esse of the church, it is time for our bishops, both primates and diocesans, and especially the Archbishop of Canterbury, and in consultation with the Archbishop of York, to step up and bring some order out of this chaos. We are witnessing the breakup of the Anglican Communion before our very eyes. It has been given to the primates to enforce their own Communiqué. If they do not, the Anglican witness in the United States will truly be diverse, with a multiplicity American-born Caucasian bishops from Bolivia, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Uganda, Venezuela, overseeing their little niches of Anglicans in the United States, while the greater cause of Christ is hampered by our sad divisions that speak the lie to all our self-affirmations of unity. Maybe this is what God wants. Maybe this is what Anglicanism deserves.

–The Rev. Canon Dr. Neal O. Michell is Canon Missioner for Strategic Development in the Diocese of Dallas; this is posted here with his permission

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Analysis, Anglican Primates, Archbishop of Canterbury, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Lambeth 2008, Theology

TitusOneNine Top Ten: Week of June 11-17

It seemed obvious all week that the most hotly discussed blog entries would be related to the Executive Council meeting and last week’s news about the Anglican Church of Kenya’s announcement that Canon Bill Atwood will be consecrated as a missionary bishop for North America. However, a late entry posted yesterday afternoon just barely eclipsed those entries to emerge as the past week’s comment leader.

Here are the stories from June 11-17 with the most comments as of 14:00 EDT / 18:00 GMT today, June 18. It was definitely an interesting week in the Anglican blogosphere.

1. A Seattle Episcopal Priest says: “I am both Muslim and Christian” (74)
2. Nigerian Gay Rights Advocate Addresses Executive Council (72)
3. Network welcomes Kenya’s decision to care for U.S. Anglicans (58)
4. Two More Articles on the recently concluded Executive Council Meeting in New Jersey (50)
5. Statement from the Most Rev. Henry Luke Orombi (47)
6. From AP: Episcopal panel rejects Anglican demand (46)
7. Homosexuality & the Church: Two Views from Eve Tushnet and Luke Timothy Johnson (41)
8. Carolyn J Sharp Responds to the Proposed Anglican Draft Covenant (39)
9. Executive Council Rejects Primates’ Pastoral Plan; Insists on Diocesan Accession Clause (39)
10. Newark Diocese Addresses Executive Council, Moves Forward on Same-Sex Blessing (34)

Posted in * Admin, * General Interest, Top Ten on T19

Michael Medved: A war on memory

What shocking visual image inspires so much fear, disgust and outrage that even in this era of unfettered free expression, federal courts feel compelled to take drastic steps to cover it up?

(Judges will rarely use their power to hide public sculptures depicting sadistic brutality, or to obscure billboards peddling sex and nudity, but in the California desert they’ve ordered the concealment of a simple white cross that has honored the nation’s war dead for more than 70 years.

In 1934, the Veterans of Foreign Wars erected a monument on a barren hilltop known as “Sunrise Rock” in the Mojave National Preserve to commemorate “the dead of all wars.” More than a half-century later, the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California challenged the memorial, claiming that it violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment because the cross (recognized by the government as a war memorial) stood on public land. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the dismantling of the monument, but Congress took action in 2004 to authorize the transfer of the ground surrounding the cross to private parties.

A federal district judge invalidated that transaction, even as officials responsible for the desert refuge took steps to hide the cross while the legal wrangling continued. Government agents covered the offending crossbeam with boards, making it look like a crude screen, or a shallow box, perched incongruously on a stick in the middle of the California desert.

The absurd status of this ongoing struggle shouldn’t obscure its serious and alarming undercurrents including a common attitude among militant “separationists” that treats Christian symbols with more hostility and less tolerance than those of any other religious tradition.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Church-State Issues, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture

Terence Finlay: It's time for Anglicans to bless same-sex partnerships

The Anglican Church of Canada has been far behind the governments and courts of this country in recognizing the rights and privileges of same-sex partnerships. Although the church has passed statements of welcome and support, same-sex couples have not been able to have their commitment to one another blessed within their parish church.

This month the national decision-making body of the Anglican Church of Canada will meet in Winnipeg and one of the agenda items could open up an option for supportive dioceses to bless same-sex partnerships. If, however, this option is denied again there will be a call for more study and more discussion even though the Anglican Church in Canada has studied and debated this issue for over 30 years.

Caution has held sway over the decades because it is a divisive issue for Christian traditionalists and because the Anglican Church has to work within a vast international communion that struggles with cross-cultural tensions.
To many in the secular world this rift within Anglicanism may seem unimportant: a sign of yet another moribund institution unable to ”˜keep up with the times’. Not so; this struggle is much more broadly instructive because it is about the risks ”“and promises ”“ of communal decision-making. It is about the openness that societal organizations must allow for successful local autonomy, while at the same time fostering a broader sense of identity and kinship with those from whom they differ.

Read it all (subscription required) or read it there.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

The MinuteMan Takes Paul Krugman to Task

Europe was racked by two world wars in the last century, both of which created near-famine conditions. Presumably, this caused Euro-heights to lag that of Americans, an effect that probably skews data until we get to Europeans born after, say, 1955. In other words, when Paul Krugman saw eye-to-eye with Europeans in the early 1970’s, he was looking at a lot of war-deprived shorties.

However, regardless of the absolute wealth of Europe versus the United States, from about 1955 onwards (or, in terms of measuring adults, form about 1975 onwards), one would expect Europe to increase more quickly than the US, simply because they are moving up from a war-depressed baseline.

Second problem – what is the ethnic mix of Europe relative to the United States? I would hazard a guess that healthy, well-fed Swedes are taller than healthy, well-fed Irish or Italians. The United States has descendants from all three countries, but I would hardly be surprised to learn that Sweden has surpassed the US in height. But are the Irish in Ireland taller than their US counterparts? Are the Scandinavians in this country lagging the Scandinavians who stayed behind? Who knows?

And an alternative explanation – rather than blaming America’s work ethic, let’s idly speculate that the cause is the general European welfare state.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Europe, Health & Medicine

5 Chinese arrested in enslavement case

Authorities in northern China have arrested five people accused of starving and beating workers at a brick kiln to keep them enslaved, state media reported Monday.

The suspects were arrested for “illegally holding and deliberately injuring laborers … and forcing them to do highly intensive manual labor,” the official Xinhua News Agency said.

The five include the kiln boss, the foreman and three hired thugs, Xinhua said. It said police are looking for three others in connection with the case, which has shocked China and exposed links between Communist Party officials and the kiln owners.

A man who answered the telephone at the Shanxi provincial public security bureau confirmed the arrests but would not give any details.

Heng Tinghan, the foreman, accused of using slave workers since March, was captured in central China’s Hubei province Saturday night after a nationwide hunt.

Read it all.

Posted in * International News & Commentary, Asia

Canadian Anglicans Tackle Gay Rites

From the Winnipeg Sun:

Planning a wedding is usually complicated, taking months to sort out a seemingly endless parade of details.

For Frank Kajfes, 60, the months leading up to the big day with Bryan Wannop, his partner of 30 years, were difficult for another reason.

As Anglicans, it was important to Kajfes and Wannop, 70, to have a religious component to their wedding. Since the church doesn’t allow its priests to bless same-sex unions, having Kajfes and Wannop at the altar on their wedding day was a delicate matter.

Church leaders came up with a clever compromise.

Before they were legally married by a Federal Court judge at the end of a regular Sunday mass, they were prayed for by the entire congregation of St. John the Evangelist in Ottawa — instead of just the priest.

“They were blessing us, not our marriage. That was a technical point,” said Kajfes.

“It was the closest thing they could do without contravening the bishop’s directives.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

Some Canadian Synod coverage links

Scott at Magic Statistics blog has a good listing of links for those wanting to follow the Canadian General Synod as coverage by various orthodox bloggers.

Oh, and Scott, here’s another link for your roundup. We category-loving elves have created a Canadian General Synod category for all the Canadian Synod news here on T19.

From Magic Statistics blog:

The big event is almost here. On Tuesday morning, a week of festivities kicks off as General Synod 2007 convenes in downtown Winnipeg. Lots of important stuff will be discussed and voted upon. A new primate will be chosen on Friday 22 June, with formal installation scheduled for the following Monday.

You can follow the action via the internets. Here are a few suggested sources.

Anglican Essentials Canada is running a blog where they will endeavour to post the latest news as it happens. The blogmeister is Peter (I don’t know if he’s ever mentioned his last name online), proprietor of the fine blog The Age To Come. He’s from an orthodox Anglican parish on the south side of Calgary. AEC also has a page of general information about General Synod 2007 and another on the AEC 24/7 prayer vigil.

The mighty, mighty webelf Binky oversees the CaNN General Synod 2007 blog. At last report, Binky has been laid low by the hot humid weather out east, combined with other health problems. Prayers, please.

Also in attendance will be my friend The Rev Joseph Walker, of St Timothy’s, Edmonton. Joe’s been making fun of certain Anglican leaders and talking about going on pub crawls with Winnipeg Anglican priest Preston Parsons, so I don’t know if Joe will be a reliable news source. On the other hand, he may be able to report dirt information that no one else can, so stay tuned to his blog felix hominum.

For those who want the official line, the Anglican Church of Canada says it will provide webcast and other coverage here.

Much prayer is needed for the bloggers, for their jobs demand stamina, quick thinking, and nimble fingers. Pray also for the clergy and lay delegates, for they will need our Lord’s wisdom and guidance.

In the run-up to GS 2007, Anglican prayer blog Lent & Beyond has posted a series of prayers for Canada. This one was posted today:

O Lord,
The Anglican Church of Canada is fragmented and in need of rebuilding. Turn the hearts of its leaders to fear and obey You that they may become like a signet ring, carrying the authority of Jesus, teaching Your people to obey everything He has commanded, and making disciples of all nations.

Lord, it is our hearts’ desire that the Anglican Church of Canada be rebuilt upon the foundation of the apostles and the prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the cornerstone. All authority is given to Jesus in heaven and in earth. Rebuild this church on Jesus, dear Lord. Amen.

Haggai, Matthew 28:18-20, Ephesians 2:20

You can read Scott’s full post, including links to previous background on General Synod here.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Resources & Links, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Canadian General Synod 2007, Resources: blogs / websites

Mark Steyn: Beware of government as the last action hero

From the Orange Country Register:

The other day, six Anglican archbishops called for the church to bless the unions of same-sex couples. The Anglican Church of Canada is about to have a big vote on the issue, and depending which way they swing it will either deepen the schism within the worldwide Anglican Communion or further isolate the Episcopal Church of the United States.

But never mind all that. What struck me was the rationale the archbishops came up with. This gay thing, they sighed. We’ve been yakking about it for years. Let’s just get on with it, and then we can get back to the important stuff. “We are deeply concerned that ongoing study,” they fretted, “will only continue to draw us away from issues which are gradually destroying God’s creation ”“ child poverty, racism, global warming, economic injustice, concern for our aboriginal brothers and sisters and the growing disparity between the rich and the poor.”

That’s it? Anglicans need to fast-track a liturgy for gay couples so they can free up time to deal with the real issues like global warming? Half that catalogue of horrors seems to be different ways of saying the same thing (“child poverty”¦ economic injustice”¦ growing disparity”) in order to give a bit of pro forma padding to the totally cool cause du jour of global warming. Which is so cool that, if an Anglican archbishop shows up at a climate-change conference, he’ll be lucky to get in the room, and if he does he’ll be stuck at the table with the wonky leg next to the toilet, barely able to see the Most Reverend Almer Gortry up on stage doing his power-point presentation and warning that rising sea levels will send tidal waves crashing through every gay wedding reception in Provincetown by Saturday afternoon.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Religion & Culture

Analysis: older churchgoers in Britain

From Religious Intelligence:

Of the 3.2 million people going to church on an average Sunday in England, over 900,000 are 65 or over. That is one person in nine over 65 in the entire country.

The opportunity therefore to reach out to other folk in the country is huge, which is exactly what Manchester diocese found when they started their “Back to Church” campaign in 2005, and what the recently published Tearfund survey showed of some 3 million waiting to be invited back to church. A good many of such people are older people.

Through the wonders of modern health science we are living longer on average, and over the past 50 years the expectation of life, for both men and women, is some eight or nine years more, although women usually continue to live longer than men. Since until very recently the normal retirement age was 60 or 65 (that is, the extra years were not translated into an extended working life), these “extra years” being mostly when people are between 65 and 74. Those who are 75 today are often of similar health and energy as those who were 65 in 1957.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Aging / the Elderly, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Religion & Culture

The best bookmark for TitusOneNine

For those of you who have mentioned that when you first get on the T19 homepage it is not correctly displaying whether you are currently logged in, thanks to Greg G., we figured out the problem. Make sure you are using this bookmark for TitusOneNine: http://new.kendallharmon.net/t19 (i.e. with the full www and also the /t19).

At one point we were publicizing the link as http://kendallharmon.net That link works and will get you to the site, but the above link is better and will enable the blog to properly display your login status whenever you visit the blog.

Posted in * Admin, Blog Tips & Features

Some Anglican gays switching churches, as same-sex vote looms

While the Anglican Church of Canada prepares to vote this week on whether to let priests bless same-sex couples, a relaxed Christopher McBain is celebrating Edmonton’s gay pride week with members of his new church.

The former Anglican marched Saturday in the gay pride parade behind a banner for the Robertson-Wesley United Church, a church that welcomes gay, lesbian and transgendered people.

After 15 years as an Anglican, McBain left that church in April 2006.

“I left because of the gay issue,” said McBain, who said he never felt comfortable telling people in the Anglican Church he is gay.

The Anglican church’s longtime indecision over the issue has served to alienate supporters on both sides, McBain said.

“I’ll certainly celebrate with them if they are able to make a decision in favour of gay and lesbian rights, but it certainly won’t affect where I worship. It’s too little, too late,” said McBain, 27.

The issue of blessing same-sex unions is slated to go before the Anglican Church’s General Synod, the governing body of the Anglican Church of Canada, which begins its weeklong meeting in Winnipeg on Tuesday.

About 350 delegates representing bishops, clergy and lay people will discuss a so-called “local option” resolution that would let each diocese decide whether to perform the blessings.

Critics have said such a move would split the church.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Canadian General Synod 2007, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

Michael Goldfarb: Antioch College, RIP

For the increasingly vocal radical members of the community, change wasn’t going far enough or fast enough. They wanted revolution, but out there in the middle of the cornfields the only “bourgeois” thing to fight was Antioch College itself. The let’s-try-anything, free-thinking society of 1968 evolved into a catastrophic blend of legitimate paranoia (Nixon did keep enemies lists, and the F.B.I. did infiltrate campuses) and postadolescent melodrama. In 1973, a strike trashed the campus and effectively destroyed Antioch’s spirit of community. The next year, student enrollment was down by half.

Most of the talented faculty members began to leave for other institutions, and the few who were dedicated to rebuilding the Yellow Springs campus found themselves increasingly isolated. The college that gave the Antioch University system its name had become just another profit center in a larger enterprise and not even the most important one at that.

Antioch College became a rump where the most illiberal trends in education became entrenched. Since it is always easier to impose a conformist ethos on a small group than a large one, as the student body dwindled, free expression and freedom of thought were crushed under the weight of ultraliberal orthodoxy. By the 1990s the breadth of challenging ideas a student might encounter at Antioch had narrowed, and the college became a place not for education, but for indoctrination. Everyone was on the same page, a little to the left of The Nation in worldview.

Much of this conformist thinking focused on gender politics, and it culminated in the notorious sexual offense prevention policy. Enacted in 1993, the policy dictated that a person needed express permission for each stage in seduction. (“May I touch your breast?” “May I remove your bra?” And so on.) In two decades students went from being practitioners of free love to prisoners of gender. Antioch became like one of those Essene communities in the Judean desert in the first century after Christ that, convinced of their own purity, died out while waiting for a golden age that never came.

I grieve for the place with all the sadness, anger and self-reproach you feel when a loved one dies unnecessarily. I grieve for Antioch the way I grieve for the hope of 1968 washed away in a tide of self-inflated rhetoric, self-righteousness and self-indulgence.

The ideals of social justice and economic fairness we embraced then are still right and deeply American. The discipline to turn those ideals into realities was what Antioch, its community and the generation it led was lacking. I fear it still is.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Education

The Presiding Bishop and Bonnie Anderson Review the recent Executive Council Meeting

Check it out.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Presiding Bishop

How Donald Landry reconciled science with religion and got the attention of Washington

From the front page of Saturday’s Wall Street Journal:

One morning in April, Dr. Donald Landry, the interim chairman of Columbia University’s department of medicine, boarded a 3 a.m. train from New York to Washington, D.C. He was there for an unfamiliar kind of meeting: Though he’s neither a political insider nor a stem-cell specialist, Dr. Landry was in the capital to tell two dozen U.S. Senate staffers how he proposed to sidestep the ethical concerns that have largely blocked stem-cell research. Back at home later that day, Dr. Landry and his two teenage sons watched on C-Span as senators debated the merits of a plan the doctor had hatched during off-hours musing a few years earlier.

“It was surreal,” says Dr. Landry.

Dr. Landry’s unlikely brush with national policy making culminates a personal journey that began years before, when the devout Catholic grappled with an ethical dilemma. As a man of faith, he believed harvesting stem cells from a human embryo was an immoral destruction of life. As a doctor, he believed stem-cell advances could save lives.

His solution — which involved extracting stem cells from dead embryos rather than live ones — turned out to be persuasive, and it has led to a new avenue of research. It will also figure prominently in a conflict that is likely to come to a head in coming weeks: President George W. Bush is expected to veto a bill that would provide government funding for research using stem cells derived from living embryos that are unused by fertility clinics. Instead, the White House has signaled that it prefers legislation that incorporates Dr. Landry’s proposal, among others.

The doctor has been to the White House to discuss his stem-cell approach, and is due for another visit in coming days. The state of New York has provided $1 million to help Dr. Landry, 53, kick-start his own experiments at Columbia. “The destruction of nascent human life is something that society should be wary of,” Dr. Landry says. “I think I’ve found a potentially simple answer to the problem.”

Dr. Landry’s answer has drawn fire from other scientists. Harold Varmus, who won the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1989 and is president of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, says the approach is scientifically dubious. The bill that includes the Landry proposal, he says, is an effort to “provide political cover for people who want it both ways — to say they voted for stem cells, but without offending their political base.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Life Ethics, Other Churches, Roman Catholic, Science & Technology