Daily Archives: July 25, 2007

Central New York Defends Its Defiance of Court Order

In an interview with The Living Church, Canon Lewis described the case as complex with numerous rulings and motions prior to the start. She said it was regrettable that during the trial the court refused to consider any of the more than 1,000 pages of documentary evidence against Fr. Bollinger that the church attorney had prepared. She defended the diocese’s decision to withhold what became known as the Shafer Report from the court, describing it as a “privileged piece of attorney-client work product.”

The Shafer Report is identified with the last name of a previous church attorney retained by the diocese after Fr. Bollinger accused the former financial controller for the diocese of improperly gaining access to his personal financial records. In a letter to clergy after completion of the investigation, the diocese quoted a paragraph from the report, but the report itself has not been made public and there are no plans to do so, Canon Lewis said.

Read it all.

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

St. Mary's goes budget-lean to keep doors open in changing times

But recent cost-cutting steps are meant to ensure better financial management of the spiritual seat for some 9,500 Episcopalians in 35 parishes spread out over 21 counties.
“There’s a myth that the cathedral is crashing and burning, but it’s not going under, it’s not closing, and it’s not for sale,” Bishop Don Johnson said recently in an exclusive interview.

“We’re in a very methodical process of assessing the strengths of the cathedral to determine areas where we need to improve. It’s in solid financial shape, but we have to tighten up and live within our budget.”

The situation is not because of any fiscal malfeasance, Johnson said. Instead, the problem arose as yearly budgets remained stable or increased while funding decreased.

At issue is an aging and shrinking congregation, resulting in diminished annual giving.

Read it all.

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

Christopher Jamison: How could God allow 26 pilgrims to die in a crash?

In the film Bruce Almighty Jim Carrey is allowed by God to run the world for a day. He’s a nice guy and says yes to all prayers. Both he and the world quickly spiral into chaos. While the film reminds us that this is God’s world and not some human invention, trying to see how we are in fact better off with God can be bewildering in the face of unforeseen death.

Now and the hour of our death; these two moments in life are inevitably drawing closer together. For the 26 Polish pilgrims killed so tragically in a coach crash in France on their way home, the two moments unexpectedly became the same moment. The knowledge that they had been visiting the shrine dedicated to the Virgin Mary at La Salette only underlined the poignancy of this sudden, unmerited death.

They will have recited the Hail Mary many times on their pilgrimage and maybe they were reciting it at the moment their coach crashed through the safety barriers; perhaps its concluding phrase was on their lips in their final agony: “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.” The image of good and devout people saying that prayer just before they died will be a comfort to their relatives. But in the many stages of grief their families may also experience anger with the God who allowed this to happen.

Read it all.

Posted in Theology

Guess who is buying the Motorcycles

American women are the fastest-growing part of the motorcycle business, buying more than 100,000 of them a year. Even though aging baby-boomer men, with money to spend and time on their hands, have played a big role in expanding the market in recent years, motorcycle companies are trying hard to woo women buyers.

“Fifty percent of the population is female there is pent-up demand,” said Jim Ziemer, the chief executive of Harley-Davidson. “We need to remove barriers.”

So they are producing more motorcycles that are lower to the ground – so women can plant their feet firmly on the ground – with narrower seats and softer clutches, and adjusting handlebars and windshields to make bikes more comfortable for smaller riders.

They are selling more clothes, too, in bright colors and with rhinestones, rather than the standard-issue black and orange leather jackets. Even the Harley-Davidson skull emblem has undergone a friendly makeover on some clothes to include wings and flowers. Suzuki last year rolled out a new line of clothes called Suzuki Girl with tight-fitting riding jackets in pink and baby blue.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy

Peter Brierley– Analysis: Evangelical strength in England

The 2005 English Church Census showed that evangelicals as a group declined in church attendance between 1998 and 2005, along with all other churchmanships. No group saw growth. However, the evangelicals had not declined as much pro rata as other churchmanships, and, like every other group, had some special strengths as well as weaknesses. This article looks at some of the variations to the general picture as exhibited by evangelicals.

Part of the strength of English Christianity during these first years of the 21st century is the burgeoning attendance seen by the black churches especially but also by many of those in other ethnic communities. While some of this is drawn by immigration much is due to overt evangelism. The large majority of these ethnic churches are firmly evangelical, with most of the black churches (but few of other ethnic backgrounds) charismatic evangelical.

The term ”˜evangelical’ is broken down in the Census analyses into three groups: Broad Evangelical, Mainstream Evangelical and Charismatic Evangelical according to how the minister for individual congregations deemed it best to describe his or her church. The ethnic evangelical churches and the black charismatic evangelicals are therefore included within the broad “evangelical” classification.

Read it all.

Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Evangelicals, Other Churches

Lauren F. Winner–An Outpost of God's Kingdom: Making a Christian home

It’s easy to mock the spiritual language that saturates today’s domestic discourses, but in fact, as Margaret Kim Peterson argues in Keeping House, there is something deeply theological at stake in housework. Peterson’s creative and compelling exploration of keeping house as a basic practice of the Christian life ranges from the practical (good knives should never be put in the dishwasher) to the spiritually incisive (if you think your house is too small, consider the ways in which, through practices ranging from fasting to marriage, “Christian tradition. . . has been inclined to see limits as a necessary component to human flourishing”; thus the cramped house may in fact be a place in which “to live out our dependence on God and our interdependence on one another”).

Contemporary Americans, argues Peterson, a professor at Eastern University, have been shaped by two different cultural conversations about housekeeping. The first tells us that housekeeping is sheer drudgery, that it is mindless, meaningless, and menial, and that if you possibly can avoid it, you should. At the same time, housekeeping has become fodder for fantasy””fantasy that sustains and is sustained by magazines like Better Homes and Gardens and Real Simple. Such glossies tell us that housekeeping is not about “doing a good job at something that needs to be done.” Rather, housekeeping is an effortless exercise in fulfilling consumerism: buy this magazine/storage unit/boutique, organic cleaning product, and your house and life will be perfect. The truth is that housework is hardly effortless, and it involves, to be sure, some drudgery. But when viewed through the lens of the Gospel, rather than the lens of Better Homes and Gardens, housekeeping presents itself as a theologically meaningful site of Christian formation.

Peterson’s interpretation of housework is deeply scriptural. Keeping House is organized around what Peterson identifies as three crucial imperatives in the Bible””the injunctions to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and shelter the homeless….

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture

Hollywood is in their prayers

Nearly 5,000 people are on the network’s email list; “people who want to create art but keep an ethical and moral code to our lives,” Covell says.

And the ministry has put together nearly 650 prayer partnerships, in which a Christian outside the industry is teamed up with someone on the inside.

Payne was going about his business in Illinois a year ago when he saw a blurb in some random church publication about HPN seeking prayer partners.

“And I thought, ‘Now there’s something I’d be interested in,” he says. “I’m an Anglican Priest. But I’m also an old thespian.”

Payne has stood on many a community theater stage, once playing the lead cowboy, Curly, in the musical Oklahoma. Yet he is “disgusted” by many of the movies they make these days.

“They exploit women, that’s what they do,” he says. “And they portray religious people as, you know, strange.”

Yet now he prays up to an hour most every night for the makers of those movies, and specifically for his prayer partners, two Hollywood writers whose names he doesn’t feel comfortable divulging. The writers email Payne when they need divine intervention. One of them recently asked Payne to pray that his writers block lifts and his manuscript sells. There’s been no word on whether Payne’s prayers have been answered, he says, chuckling. “But nevertheless, to me, it’s a form of ministry.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Movies & Television, Religion & Culture

Attempt on life of Bishop Ben Kwashi of Jos

For the second time in 18 months an attempt has been made on the life of Bishop Benjamin Kwashi, the Bishop of Jos.

Early on the morning of Tuesday July 24 at 2.15 a.m. a gang of men, more than five in number bound the two security guards at the gates of his compound and locked up the four domestic staff,

Armed with guns and knives, they then battered through the doors of the house, went upstairs and marched Bishop Ben Kwashi downstairs and outside.

They told Bishop Ben, they were going to kill him. Then, inexplicably the men changed their minds, gave up that plan, took him back inside and ransacked the house for valuables. They beat up his teenage son Rinji. Help came after about half an hour.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of Nigeria

In 10-nation poll, Africans see a better future

Despite a thicket of troubles, from deadly illnesses like AIDS and malaria to corrupt politicians and deep-seated poverty, a plurality of Africans say they are better off today than they were five years ago and are optimistic about their future and that of the next generation, according to a poll conducted in 10 countries in sub-Saharan Africa by The New York Times and the Pew Global Attitudes Project.

The poll results offer an unusual and complex portrait of a continent in flux, a snapshot of 10 key modern African states as they struggle to build accountable governments, manage violent conflict and turn their natural resources into wealth for the population.

It found that in the main, Africans are satisfied with their national governments and a majority of respondents in seven of the 10 countries said their economic situation was at least somewhat good. But many said that they face a wide array of difficult and sometimes life-threatening problems, from illegal drug trafficking to political corruption, from the lack of clean water to inadequate schools for their children, from ethnic and political violence to deadly disease.

Read it all and Check out the fuller documentation is you are so inclined.

Posted in * International News & Commentary, Africa

FYI: Global South Steering Committee Meeting info has been updated

An update has been posted on the original thread below giving further details as to who was not in attendance, and how the Steering Committee normally operates in terms of getting approval for its statements.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Global South Churches & Primates

The Younger Generation Finds Religion

Recent articles have reported that young adults are turning to religion to the surprise ”” and sometimes chagrin ”” of their less observant parents. Guests discuss God and the generation gap, and why parents aren’t always thrilled when their children become more observant.

Listen it all from NPR.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Religion & Culture

Falcons, NFL appear blindsided by Vick indictment

From Sporting News:

I came away from today’s press conference with Falcons officials convinced the team and NFL were blindsided by Michael Vick’s indictment. They didn’t know it was coming, and they didn’t know how bad it would be. What baffles me is why.

“We had no reason to believe what came out in the indictment would be in the indictment,” team owner Arthur Blank told reporters in Atlanta. “As soon as we saw the indictment, we began to deal with it.”

Team G.M. Rich McKay said the team had no idea the indictment would come down when it did.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Ethics / Moral Theology, Sports, Theology

Church of England statistics

From Anglican Mainstream:

The Church of England yearbook for 2006 records the following figures for 2003

Church Electoral Rolls ( effectivelty membership rolls) 1,235,000

Average weekly attendance 1,187,000
Average Sunday attendance 1,017,000

Usual Sunday attendance 901,000

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE)

Church May Erect Cross-Shaped Cell Phone Tower

A local [New Jersey] church along with the help of Verizon Wireless may take cell phone tower development to a new and technologically divine level.

You’ve likely seen them erected somewhere along the side of the road or hidden with a grouping of trees, but it’s hard to miss those tall cell phone towers, usually identifiable by their triangle-shaped platforms, planted among our communities. And it’s definitely not often that a town is forced to balance its respect for a religious symbol against a cell phone company’s reliability, but that’s exactly what’s happening in Pequannock Township.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Economy, Other Churches, Religion & Culture

Missouri retreats from stem cell work

Eight months ago, Missouri seemed well on its way to becoming a national leader in stem cell research.

Voters amended the state’s constitution to protect stem cell research ”” even the controversial form using cells from human embryos. Actor Michael J. Fox appeared in TV ads, visibly shaking from Parkinson’s disease as he sought votes for stem cell supporter Claire McCaskill in her bid for the U.S. Senate.

Now the spotlight is all but gone after a research institute and lawmakers withdrew financial support.

“Things are obviously not moving forward,” said state Sen. Chuck Graham, a Democrat who backed the amendment in November. “Right now, you can’t tell the amendment passed. People are running in the opposite direction. It’s incredibly frustrating.”

Read it all.

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