Daily Archives: August 12, 2007

Time Magazine: Billy Graham, Pastor In Chief

When we went back for a final conversation in January 2007, it was clear that the pressure on Bush was also weighing on Graham. He said he did not want to “take sides on this Iraq thing,” but he kept returning to the war in our conversation, without mentioning that his grandson was an Army Ranger serving there. “I’m getting a little depressed about Iraq,” Graham admitted at one point. “Think of what it is doing to Bush. There doesn’t seem to be any way out.” The President, he said, had reached out in recent months on different subjects, trying to arrange a White House lunch or visit. “We’ve postponed it three times now. I’ve not been able to do it because of my wife. I felt badly.”

Graham still was following politics, albeit from a safe distance now. Though he has never met John McCain, the evangelist recalled stopping in Hawaii on his trips to and from South Vietnam and praying on his knees next to McCain’s father Admiral John McCain, then commander of U.S. forces in the Pacific, for the son who was being held as a prisoner of war. He watched Mitt Romney wrestle with the Mormon question. “It will be somewhat of a problem for him, like Jack Kennedy being a Catholic,” Graham predicted, although he believed Romney could overcome it by directly addressing the concerns as Kennedy did. Graham was also keeping a close eye on the progress of Hillary Clinton, whom he knows the best of all the candidates. “I keep up with her,” he said of his old friend. “I think a lot of Hillary.”

That feeling is mutual: Clinton first met him in person when she was First Lady of Arkansas, but they became close when she was First Lady of the United States. She needed some pastoral care of her own in 1998, at the height of the Monica Lewinsky scandal, and became the latest public figure to sense Graham’s unique attraction to the occupants of the Oval Office. He was, she concluded, a political junkie himself. “He loved elections,” she told us, “because he knew that you had to tell a story, you had to connect with people–all the things we talk about in politics.” To the Presidents, Graham’s fame and charisma made him a virtual peer: “I think there was a recognition there, and a comfort, with dealing with someone who was a public person,” Clinton observed, “who had to put up with what’s wonderful about being in the public eye and what’s kind of a drag.”

We see Presidents fight so hard to win the office, but we often forget the price they pay to hold it. If Graham helped raise these men up, he also caught them after they returned to earth. “Every President I think I’ve ever known, except Truman, has thought they didn’t quite get done what they wanted done,” Graham said. “And toward the end of their Administrations, they were disappointed and wished they had done some things differently.”

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

Bishop Pope: Catholic Movement at an End

The Catholic movement in The Episcopal Church has degenerated from a theological imperative into haberdashery, the retired Bishop of Fort Worth, the Rt. Rev. Clarence C. Pope, Jr., told a reporter for The Living Church, explaining his departure to the Roman Catholic Church.

On Aug. 6, Bishop Pope wrote to Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, resigning from the House of Bishops, and telephoned his successor, the Rt. Rev. Jack L. Iker, to announce his decision.

Bishop Pope said the Catholic movement, which has been part of “Anglicanism from the time of the Elizabethan Settlement, has gradually dissipated until we are left with lots of ”˜catholic’ vestments worn in areas of The Episcopal Church where ”˜low church’ used to be the order of the day.”

The movement has reached its end within the current institutional structures of The Episcopal Church, Bishop Pope asserted, and as a matter of conscience, it was time for him to go.

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Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Other Churches, Roman Catholic

Religion and Ethics Weekly: South Korean Missionaries

DE SAM LAZARO: He says the Yoido church is adding 10, 000 members every year — this in a country where there were hardly any Christians a century ago. Nowhere, at least in recent history, has Christianity grown so much in such a short period. It may have much to do with Christianity’s place in recent Korean history. Unlike many other countries where Christianity was brought by missionaries, in Korea the church is not part of a colonial legacy. The colonial power here was Japan, and churches were involved very closely with the Korean independence movement. Although some Catholic influences in East Asia date back to the late 1700s, the first missionaries — American Presbyterians — arrived in the late 1800s.

Rev. HA (through translator): The missionaries 120 years ago came and built schools first. They established junior high, college, medical facilities, and they evangelized the noble families. So when we were still under Japanese, those intelligentsia — they linked that believing in Jesus Christ is equal to working for Korea’s liberation movement.

DE SAM LAZARO: And for a country that’s seen unprecedented growth in wealth and prosperity in the past four decades, it’s not hard to believe in miracles. Korea today is considered a developed country with a standard of living equal to some European Union nations.

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Posted in * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Asia, Religious Freedom / Persecution, Theology, Theology: Evangelism & Mission

Can priest be both Christian and Muslim? Jackson rector says no

Redding, the Seattle priest, was ordained in Rhode Island and is under the leadership of Bishop Geralyn Wolf.
Wolf removed Redding’s collar for one year so the Seattle clergywoman could reflect on her thoughts, Ferrell said. Next summer, Wolf will revisit the case.

“My guess is that she’s got to decide what she’s going to do,” Ferrell said. “It’s hard to see her continuing on this path and staying in her pastoral position.”

Ferrell said he has no problem with lay people exploring different faiths.

“But as a representative Redding ought not to be doing that,” he said. “As a clergy person, she speaks on behalf of other people in the congregation.”

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

Vermont Commission members all support same-sex marriage

The Rev. Nancy Vogele, an Episcopal minister in White River Junction, is apparently the only gay member of the commission. She said she has a civil union and would like marriage herself, but emphasized that the commission’s work is not about her. “I think we’re here to listen to what Vermonters have to say.”

Sen. John Campbell, D-Windsor, who sponsored a same-sex marriage bill last session and will serve on the commission, said members should not be judged by their opinions. “Even though I am for the extension of marriage, that does not preclude me from listening to opposing points of view. I know I have the responsibility to report back to the Legislature what I hear, even if that testimony goes against my personal opinion.”

Several commissioners said they think what they’ll hear is that more Vermonters are comfortable with same-sex marriage after seeing civil unions in place for seven years.

“I would never want to see us go through the anger of last time,” said Rep. Johanna Donovan, D-Burlington. “I don’t think we’re going to have to.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Marriage & Family, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

Cops investigate theft report

Armstrong’s attorney, Dennis Hartley, said the Episcopal court no longer has jurisdiction over Armstrong now that he is a member of the Convocation of Anglicans in North America, a mission of the Nigerian diocese.

A spokesman for the breakaway Grace Church, Alan Crippen, said that he learned of the criminal complaint Friday, and he welcomed it.

“We view this as a positive development,” Crippen said. “We are utterly confident of a fair process with the Colorado justice system, unlike the witch hunt conducted by the Episcopal Diocese.”

Both Armstrong and Colorado Episcopal Bishop Robert O’Neill have 30 days to respond to the ecclesiastical court’s preliminary ruling. The court will then issue a final judgment along with recommendations for a sentence.

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

Church rift cuts deeper for brothers

The Murdoch brothers don’t often talk about the controversy dividing the Episcopal Church, but they really don’t have to: In the Murdoch family, schism starts at home.

The Rev. Bill Murdoch, 58, an Episcopal priest in West Newbury, is so frustrated by the Episcopal Church’s selection of an openly gay bishop that he is bolting and taking his parish with him. At the end of this month, he is to be consecrated a bishop by the Anglican Church of Kenya, and he will return to the North Shore to start a new Kenya-affiliated parish there.

But the Rev. Brian Murdoch, 53, an Episcopal priest in West Roxbury, is not planning to join his brother for the ceremony in Nairobi and is not celebrating his elevation to bishop.

That’s because Brian, as Bill has long known, is gay.

The crisis in the Anglican Communion, set off by the Episcopal Church’s decision to approve a gay bishop who is not celibate to lead the New Hampshire diocese, has divided parishes and dioceses and is threatening to split the global church.

But the Murdochs, who maintain amicable relations with one another despite their differences, provide a rare example of how personal the theological dispute can be and how complex the responses.

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

Chicago Sun-Times: 'A huge victory' for gay Lutheran clergy

Still, Saturday’s 538-431 decision was widely viewed as historic and a sign of shifting thinking on homosexuality within the 4.8-million member denomination.

“It’s a huge victory,” said Jeremy Posadas, a voting church member from Decatur, Ga. “The gospel of inclusion has won, and we’re going to keep winning.”

The Rev. Mark Chavez, leader of Lutheran CORE, a group that opposes non-celibate gays serving as pastors, called the vote “tragic.”

“This decision will be an excuse for bishops to disobey ELCA policy,” he said. “This decision does not reflect the will of the people, but of bishops and clergy who disregard God’s word.”

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

Iraqi PM calls for crisis summit

Iraq’s Prime Minister, Nouri Maliki, has called for a summit of the nation’s main political factions in an attempt to break Iraq’s political paralysis.
In recent weeks almost all Sunni members of the cabinet have quit. Others are boycotting meetings, leaving at least 17 cabinet seats empty.

Many of them have accused Mr Maliki of sidelining them.

A BBC correspondent says the crisis is worrying for the US, which wants to see progress before withdrawing troops.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Iraq War

Anglican Report #34

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Analysis

Richard Kew on the Don Armstrong Ruling in Colorado

I want to plead with folks always to be more thoughtful before they rush to judgment. It may be natural to want to smear the motivation of those who oppose us, or whose ideology and beliefs are at odds with our own, but is this a worthy way of proceeding? Just because we believe people are deeply in error in one area, it is illogical to assume that they are going to be incapable of seeing facts clearly in other areas.

While I have experienced misrepresentation and have seen much misrepresentation in the church, I have never in 30+ years as a priest of the Episcopal Church seen anything on the scale that is being implied by respondents here. From all I know it appears that the Diocese of Colorado is seeking to get to the bottom of this apparent mishandling of money because it has grave fiduciary responsibilities.

What those making the accusations seem unwilling to accept is that the outcome of the court makes it increasingly likely that the priest actually did commit what he is accused of doing. Just because his theology is sound when compared to the belief systems of those adjudicating the business does not mean that he is not prone like all of the rest of us to give way to temptation and fall into sin.

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

Reuters: Lutherans to allow pastors in gay relationships

Clergy members who are in homosexual relationships will be able to serve as pastors, the largest U.S. Lutheran body said Saturday.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America passed a resolution at its annual assembly urging bishops to refrain from disciplining pastors who are in “faithful committed same-gender relationships.”

The resolution passed by a vote of 538-431.

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

Central Banks Add Cash to Avert Crisis of Confidence

Central banks in the U.S., Europe, Japan, Australia and Canada added about $136 billion to the banking system in an attempt to avert a crisis of confidence in global credit markets.

The Federal Reserve, in a second day of action in concert with the European Central Bank, provided $38 billion of reserves and pledged more “as necessary,” in a statement unprecedented since after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

Money market rates rose worldwide the past two days on evidence the subprime crisis is spreading after global investors piled into U.S. securities backed by mortgages. By the end of the day, the central bank actions helped spark a turnaround in American stocks and drive the U.S. overnight bank lending rate below the Fed’s target.

“They accomplished their short-term mission to make sure the market stabilized ahead of the weekend,” said David Resler, chief economist in New York at Nomura Securities International Inc. “It remains to be seen how much more they’ll have to do.”

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

Emmanuel Kimbowa Offers some Thoughts

THE article by Pastor Joseph Serwadda of Victory Christian Centre that appeared in The New Vision of Wednesday, August 1 cannot go unanswered. Jesus chose Peter and appointed him to a position of leadership (Matthew 16:18-19).

This is the foundation of the Catholic Church. Paul never entrusted his mission to dreamers. Timothy and Titus emerged after serious scrutiny.

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

Archbishop to pen Diana prayer

PRINCES William and Harry have invited the Archbishop of Canterbury to compose a special prayer in memory of their mother to be said at this month’s memorial service to mark the 10th anniversary of her death.

Rowan Williams’s prayer for Diana, Princess of Wales, is also likely to be circulated to Anglican parishes around the country to mark the anniversary on August 31.

Mourners at the service, which will be shown on BBC1, will be led by the Queen and other senior members of the royal family. Gordon Brown and his two predecessors as prime minister – Tony Blair and Sir John Major – are also expected to be present at the Guards Chapel in Wellington Barracks, London.

The prayer is expected to reflect Williams’s strong feelings about the death of Diana. Writing shortly after her fatal car crash, he described the response from the public as “a potent lament for a lost sacredness, a magical and highly personal but equally a ritualised focus for public loyalty”.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Archbishop of Canterbury