Daily Archives: July 19, 2007

Nominees for Bishop of Nevada

During their day-long meeting at St. Paul’s Church, Sparks, the Diocesan Standing Committee received a report from the Bishop Search Committee in which 5 priests were commended for nomination to our October 12 Diocesan Convention in Las Vegas. At the same time, Standing Committee declared the Petition Process open until August 1 for additional nominations. Procedures for nomination by Petition provide for a process in lieu of nomination from the floor of Convention because of the lack of time for required background checks for floor nominations.

The 5 Nominees from the Bishop Search Committee are presented below for consideration by all the members of the Diocese of Nevada….

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops

Dean Goodson: Do we have to treat Muslims as Muslims?

Will the advent of Gordon Brown seriously change the Government’s approach towards radical Islamism? Since the abortive attacks on a London night club and Glasgow airport, much energy has been expended on two issues: whether we can or can’t call terrorists Muslims and the number of days that the police can detain jihadi suspects.

But another, even more important, battle is being waged behind the scenes. Who should be the Government’s chosen Muslim partners in the struggle against radicalisation? Mr Brown is already facing a big push from an Islamist-friendly faction in the Cabinet, led by Jack Straw and John Denham, to bring the once pre-eminent Muslim Council of Britain back in from the cold.

The MCB was cast into outer darkness in October by Ruth Kelly, the first Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. The breaking point for the Blair Government had been the MCB’s denunciation of British foreign policy in the aftermath of the airlines plot of last August. Mass casualties had been narrowly averted ”“ but the best that the MCB could do was blame the West. Far from challenging extremism ideologically, it was appeasing it.

The MCB lost government money, but it always had plenty of funding from other sources. What really hurt the MCB was the loss of influence, as Government sought to engage with a wider range of groups such as the Sufi Muslim Council. How to get back inside the tent has therefore been a serious goal for the MCB in the intervening period; it had been counting the days till Mr Blair’s departure.

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Posted in * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, England / UK, Islam, Other Faiths

Episcopal Media Center’s president talks

Canon Schueddig: Our leadership has not been afraid to adapt new technologies even before they became popular within parish life. It’s meant we have not always realized full acceptance at the start, but we have offered leadership in helping The Episcopal Church move from its history in print and oral communication to what is current without losing substance.

As an independent church agency, we have the luxury of staying focused on the gospel. I think it is what has kept us alive for over 60 years. Today, for example, our work in the digital arena with the Digital Faith Community is far ahead of where 99 percent of congregations and dioceses are, and they don’t seem to “get it” yet. Bishops and communicators are still rather patronizing to the “techies” among us and don’t give them a serious place at the table when communications strategies are developed. We are blessed at the Episcopal Media Center that our head of technology is also a fine theologian.

TLC: Realizing the pace of change has accelerated, and that it may be difficult to look out even five years, how might information technology continue to change church life?

Canon Schueddig: Research used in developing the Digital Faith Community revealed that mainline denominations don’t show up on the list of the top 30 most visited religious websites (searched with Google, Yahoo, etc.) We are in the midst of a digital revolution that can be used to serve evangelism and mission, but we must harness this energy together…

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

Notable and Quotable

In him, the great messianic words are fulfilled in a disconcerting and unexpected way: “You are my Son; today I have begotten you” (Ps 2:7). At certain key moments, the disciples came to the astonishing realization: This is God himself. They were unable to put all this together into a perfect response. Instead they rightly drew upon the Old Testament’s words of promise: Christ, the Anointed One, Son of God, Lord. These are the key words on which their confession focused, while still tentatively searching for a way forward. It could arrive at its complete form only when Thomas, touching the wounds of the Risen Lord, cried out, in amazement: “My Lord and my God” (Jn 20:28). In the end, however, these words send us upon a never-ending journey. They are so vast that we can never grasp them completely, and they always surpass us. Throughout her entire history, the pilgrim Church has been exploring them ever more
deeply. Only by touching Jesus’ wounds and encountering his Resurrection are we able to grasp them, and then they become our mission.

–Pope Benedict XVI, Jesus of Nazareth

Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Christology, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic, Theology

Americans Trail Chinese In Understanding Another Person's Perspective

People from Western cultures such as the United States are particularly challenged in their ability to understand someone else’s point of view because they are part of a culture that encourages individualism, new research at the University of Chicago shows.

In contrast, Chinese, who live in a society that encourages a collectivist attitude among its members, are much more adept at determining another person’s perspective, according to a new study.

One of the consequences of Americans’ and other Westerners’ problems of seeing things from another person’s point of view is faltering communication, said Boaz Keysar, Professor in Psychology at the University of Chicago.

“Many actions and words have multiple meanings. In order to sort out what a person really means, we need to gain some perspective on what he or she might be thinking and, Americans for example, who don’t have that skill very well developed, probably tend to make more errors in understanding what another person means,” Keysar said.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch

Disciples of Christ set to converge on Fort Worth

More than 7,000 people from the United States and Canada are expected to gather for the 2007 Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) General Assembly from Saturday through Wednesday at the Fort Worth Convention Center.

The theme is Share the Feast, based on the account of Jesus’ miraculous feeding of 5,000 people in the Gospel of Matthew .

Sharon Watkins, the denomination’s general minister and president, said she will share good news with clergy and lay representatives in her State of the Church address: that the denomination of more than 700,000 members is ahead of schedule on its goal of starting 1,000 new congregations by 2020.

The assembly will also consider nonbinding resolutions about contemporary issues such as the war in Iraq, tobacco use and healthcare.

In the early 1980s, the Indianapolis-based denomination had about 1 million members. But a plummet in membership prompted an effort to start new congregations in 2001. Already, 503 new churches have been established, many of them serving minorities and ethnically diverse congregations, she said.

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Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Other Churches

Stubborn President still has the power to stand firm over Iraq

Lee Hamilton could be forgiven for feeling a measure of smug satisfaction. Eight months after he saw his Iraq Study Group report ”“ a bipartisan prescription to end the Iraq war ”“ rejected by the White House and both parties on Capitol Hill, its recommendations are now being embraced across Washington.

But Mr Hamilton, the Democratic co-chairman of the commission, is a deeply worried man. Just as the group’s plan for a phased withdrawal of US troops receives the political consensus and respect its authors sought eight months and nearly 20,000 deaths ago, it faces failure again: this time victim of a gridlocked Congress and a President still powerful enough to run the war without constraint.

“Time is running out,” he said of the chance for a deal between Republicans and Democrats that could force Mr Bush’s hand. Speaking to The Times, Mr Hamilton added: “It’s very, very tough to turn a president around if he’s stubborn enough. The Iraq Study Group is the only bipartisan report that charts a responsible exit. But the President can hold it off through most of his term.”

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Iraq War

Diocese of Massachusetts announces the departure of West Newbury rector

Bishop M. Thomas Shaw of Massachusetts has announced that the Rev. William Murdoch, who has served as the rector of All Saints’ Episcopal Church in West Newbury since 1993, is leaving the Episcopal Church to serve as bishop suffragan of All Saints Cathedral, Diocese of Nairobi, in the Anglican Province of Kenya. Murdoch was elected on June 29 and is to be consecrated on Aug. 30 in Nairobi.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts

Terry Mattingly: How Doug Marlette mixed faith and humor

Cartoonist Doug Marlette got used to hearing people mix comments about his humor with references to Almighty God.

After all, one of the main characters in his syndicated comic strip “Kudzu” was the Rev. Will B. Dunn, a deep-fried Southern preacher who always remained optimistic, even as he battled with the insanity of modern life (especially trendy Bible translations).

Meanwhile, Marlette’s political cartoons often inspired readers to barrage editors with the kind of God talk that cannot be printed in family newspapers.

There was, for example, his caricature of Pope John Paul II wearing a “No Women Priests” button. The caption said, “Upon this Rock I will build my church” and Marlette drew an arrow pointing at the pope’s head.

Another infamous cartoon showed an Arab terrorist driving a truck containing a nuclear bomb. The caption: “What Would Mohammed Drive?” A cartoon on my office wall — a gift from Marlette as I left the Charlotte Observer — shows PTL televangelist Jim Bakker kneeling before a dollar sign that towers over a stone altar framed with candles. Bakker proclaims, with his boyish grin, “Gimme that old time religion!” The cartoonist knew he was playing with holy fire. You can’t draw Jesus climbing Calvary on Good Friday — carrying an electric chair — and not expect people to react.

Marlette insisted that his goal was to remind his fellow believers to practice what they preach.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Religion & Culture

When to let go? Medicine's top dilemma

From Reuters:

A terminal leukemia patient must have daily blood transfusions or die. A family begs doctors to do everything possible to keep their elderly mother alive. Parents cannot accept their newborn baby will not survive.

End-of-life issues top the list of ethical dilemmas hospitals face as medical progress enables doctors to extend an endangered life to the hard-to-determine point where they may actually only be dragging out death.

Private dramas like these play out in hospitals every day, rarely hitting the headlines as did the family feud over ending life support for Terri Schiavo in the United States in 2005 or a British couple’s fight to save their severely handicapped baby Charlotte Wyatt in 2003 when doctors wanted to give up on her.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Life Ethics, Theology

Democrats pledge support for wide access to abortion

From the Chicago Tribune:

Elizabeth Edwards said Tuesday that her husband’s health-care plan would provide insurance coverage of abortion.

Speaking on behalf of Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards before the family planning and abortion-rights group Planned Parenthood Action Fund, Edwards lauded her husband’s health-care proposal as “a true universal health-care plan” that would cover “all reproductive health services, including pregnancy termination,” referring to abortion.

Edwards was joined by Democratic candidates Sens. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) and Barack Obama (D-Ill.) at the group’s political organizing conference in addressing issues at the core of the political clash between cultural liberals and conservatives, including abortion rights, access to contraception and sex education.

The recent 5-4 Supreme Court decision upholding a federal ban on a late-term abortion procedure that opponents call “partial-birth abortion” has increased anxieties among reproductive-rights advocates over the future of constitutional protections for abortion rights. All three of the Democratic campaigns used the forum to signal their determination to appoint Supreme Court nominees who would uphold the 1973 Roe vs. Wade abortion ruling.

Obama, who earlier gained the endorsement of Washington, D.C., Mayor Adrian Fenty, offered the group a vision of equal opportunity for women, tying a call for improved access to contraceptives for low-income women with a call for an “updated social contract” that includes paid maternity leave and expanded school hours.

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

A Press Release from the Diocese of Central New York

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, TEC Conflicts

Daring Leaps of Faith

NEED TO VERIFY THIS. It is posted on a quite odd blog and was just circulated by Virtue. It could be some old article by Duin.
Daring Leaps of Faith
By Julia Duin
Courtesy The Washington Times

Having just come out of church, they were at an indoor cafe, conversing about former Muslims they knew who were now Christians. Some married into the faith. Some of the converts no longer believed in the Koran. Others said they had had visions or dreams of Jesus Christ. And others felt the Christian message of God becoming a man was more compelling than their faith. These converts face all kinds of dangers for having left Islam: ostracism from family members and friends, kidnappings and even death threats.

“Most of the people who come here start to question the Koran,” one of the Egyptians said. “They can read sources not available in our countries, especially sources in Arabic.” The government of Saudi Arabia, for example, blocks thousands of Web sites through its Internet Services Unit in Riyadh, including anything criticizing Islam. A Harvard University study conducted in May showed that out of 2,038 sites banned by the Saudis, 250 were religious.

In the West, seekers who’ve never heard a serious debate on Islam can click on Exmuslim.com, Islamreview.com and Arabicbible.com. Then there’s Paltalk.com, a chat site featuring discussions in various languages on a wide range of topics. Some former Muslims enter these chat rooms with the intent to convert Arabic speakers to Christianity, including “Sam Ash,” a New Jersey hairdresser.

“I ask them to prove to me that Islam is the way to God,” he said. “Jesus said He is the way, the truth and the life. If you can show I have eternal life through Muhammad, I’ll become a Muslim this moment.”

There is no lack of people who wish to challenge him, which is why he will not divulge his real name.

“I’ve been hacked” into, he said, “and you should see the viruses people send me.”

Most of these converts keep their new affiliation secret, as Islam considers those who leave the faith to be apostates. According to Islamic law as practiced in countries such as Iran, Sudan, Pakistan and in northern regions of Nigeria, the penalty for changing one’s religion is execution.

The U.S. State Department has documented numerous instances of religious persecution overseas against Muslim converts to Christianity. What is not so well known are the threats against such converts in the United States.

The full article is here.

Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Islam, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Faiths, Religious Freedom / Persecution

U.S. Announces Major al-Qaida Arrest

The U.S. command announced on Wednesday the arrest of an al-Qaida leader it said served as the link between the organization’s command in Iraq and Osama bin Laden’s inner circle, enabling it to wield considerable influence over the Iraqi group.
The announcement was made as the White House steps up efforts to link the war in Iraq to the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks, with a growing number of Americans opposing the Iraq conflict. Some independent analysts question the extent of al-Qaida’s role in Iraq.

Khaled Abdul-Fattah Dawoud Mahmoud al-Mashhadani was the highest- ranking Iraqi in the al-Qaida in Iraq leadership when he was captured July 4 in Mosul, U.S. military spokesman Brig. Gen. Kevin Bergner said.

Bergner told reporters that al-Mashhadani carried messages from bin Laden, and his deputy Ayman al-Zawahri, to the Egyptian-born head of al-Qaida in Iraq, Abu Ayyub al-Masri.

“There is a clear connection between al-Qaida in Iraq and al-Qaida senior leadership outside Iraq,” Bergner said.

He said al-Mashhadani had told interrogators that al-Qaida’s global leadership provides “directions, they continue to provide a focus for operations” and “they continue to flow foreign fighters into Iraq, foreign terrorists.”

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Iraq War, Terrorism

Vestry of Gloria Dei Church Statement on APO

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Alternative Primatial Oversight (APO), Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts