Daily Archives: August 24, 2007

From the LA Times: Fearing the Nazis again

For more than half a century, Rachel Kane kept the memories at bay.

There were her daughters to think of, twins born in a displaced persons camp in the aftermath of the second World War. Kane didn’t want to burden them with tales of the Holocaust, of a husband shot to death by the Nazis, a baby who starved to death in the forest, an extended family wiped out in a mass execution.

Nazi memories return. She didn’t explain the nightmares that woke her, screaming, in the long string of cramped apartments the family called home after resettling in Detroit and then Los Angeles.

Instead, the university-educated Hebrew teacher who spoke seven languages regaled her daughters with stories about her “beautiful life” before Hitler’s armies stormed Poland, successfully locking the war years away until 1998.

That was when her second husband died. When she began to lose her battle with dementia. When she became convinced that the soldiers were coming for her, as they’d done so many years before.

Read it all.

Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Judaism, Other Faiths, Religious Freedom / Persecution

Bari Weiss: A Religious Split

Susan Rosenfeld’s marriage wasn’t what you’d call romantic. She was thrown up against a wall, doused with a bucket of cold water in bed, and, toward the end, became her husband’s punching bag. “Since I wear long sleeves, no one really knew,” she says. Looking back, Ms. Rosenfeld regrets keeping the abuse a secret. But “in the Jewish community, you don’t call the police on your husband.”

In her mid-30s, Ms. Rosenfeld hopes to remarry and build a new life for herself. But as an Orthodox Jew, a civil divorce is not sufficient. For Ms. Rosenfeld to be officially released from her vows, her husband has to grant her a Jewish bill of divorce, called a get. The document, which certifies the termination of the marriage–the Aramaic text declares “you are hereby permitted to marry any man”–not only allows women to remarry, but ensures that future children will not be deemed mamzerim (bastards able to marry only other mamzerim).

Two years have passed and Ariel HaCohen, Ms. Rosenfeld’s husband, has refused to grant her the get. This makes Ms. Rosenfeld an aguna–literally, an anchored woman–trapped in a dead marriage.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Ethics / Moral Theology, Judaism, Marriage & Family, Other Faiths, Theology

AIDS Nurse Addresses Communion and Liberation

From Zenit:

The nurse warned that the greatest problem of the continent isn’t poverty or a lack of infrastructure, but rather “the absence of reference points [”¦] an ideal and a sense of the meaning of life is lacking.”

She contended that this has caused a general insecurity in personal relationships.

Busingye said she combats this phenomenon by responding not only to the material needs of her patients, but trying to make them aware of their worth, which cannot be reduced even if they are sunk in misery.”

To promote change, Busingye encourages not only children, but also their parents, to get an education.

Read it all.

Posted in * International News & Commentary, Africa

Washington Post: Romney Struggles to Define Abortion Stance

Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney said this week that as president he would allow individual states to keep abortion legal, two weeks after telling a national television audience that he supports a constitutional amendment to ban the procedure nationwide.

In an interview with a Nevada television station on Tuesday, Romney said Roe. v. Wade should be abolished and vowed to “let states make their own decision in this regard.” On Aug. 6, he told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos that he supports a human life amendment to the Constitution that would protect the unborn.

“I do support the Republican platform, and I do support that being part of the Republican platform, and I’m pro-life,” Romney said in the ABC interview, broadcast days before his victory among conservative Iowa voters in the Ames straw poll.

The two very different statements reflect the challenge for Romney, who has reinvented himself as a champion of the antiabortion movement in recent years and is seeking to become the conservative alternative to former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani in the battle for the Republican presidential nomination.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Life Ethics, Religion & Culture, US Presidential Election 2008

NY Times: Of Church and Steak: Farming for the Soul

Near a prairie dotted with cattle and green with soy beans, barley, corn and oats, two bearded Hasidic men dressed in black pray outside a slaughterhouse here that is managed by an evangelical Christian.

What brought these men together could easily have kept them apart: religion.

The two Hasidim oversee shehitah, the Jewish ritual slaughtering of meat according to the Book of Leviticus. The meat is then shipped to Wise Organic Pastures, a kosher food company in Brooklyn owned by Issac Wiesenfeld and his family. When Mr. Wiesenfeld sought an organic processor that used humane methods five years ago, he found Scott Lively, who was just beginning Dakota Beef, now one of the largest organic meat processors in the country.

Mr. Lively adheres to a diet he believes Jesus followed. Like Mr. Wiesenfeld, he says the Bible prescribes that he use organic methods to respect the earth, treat his workers decently and treat the cattle that enter his slaughterhouse as humanely as possible.

“We learn everything from the Old Testament,” Mr. Lively said, “from keeping kosher to responsible capitalism.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Religion & Culture

Washington Post: What Credit Crunch?

On AOL.com this week, the Internet-based loan company LendingTree offered “Bad credit options” and a $425,000 loan for only $1,376 a month. And Countrywide Financial, the nation’s largest mortgage lender, declared, “Bad Credit? Call Today. Refinance or Tap into Your Home’s Equity” in an online ad from its Full Spectrum Lending Division.

No-money-down mortgages and subprime loans that cater to people with spotty credit are quickly disappearing as lenders tighten their standards in response to a rise in foreclosures. But you wouldn’t know that if you looked at the ads that some banks and loan companies have placed on the Internet and in newspapers, including this one, often right next to the very stories chronicling the meltdown in the mortgage industry. So what’s with the mixed messages?

Read it all.

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

Denise Irvin Chimes In

From here:

This [“South Carolina re-elects Mark Lawrence as bishop”] is one ugly chapter in the troubled life of the Episcopal Church that needs to be brought to an end. There is no more worthy a candidate for bishop than [the Rev. Mark] Lawrence. The people of South Carolina have chosen well, and they know it. We pray they will soon have the bishop of their choice in their midst.

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

Harriet Baber: How to survive in a violent world

The governing body of one of our state university systems is considering a plan to arm professors. In response to the Virginia Tech shootings on 16 April this year, the Nevada Board of Regents has proposed sending professors on a training course, and deputising them so that they can carry firearms on campus legally. “God, guns, and guts make America great”, as the old bumper sticker had it.

Why do we Americans like guns so much? Because we think we live in Mogadishu. Somalis won’t lay down their weapons because they know that if they give up their firearms, but others don’t, they’ll be shot by members of rival clans. If you live in a failed state you can’t count on the government to protect you; so you rely on God, guns, and guts.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Violence

The Church Times Story on Martyn Minns and Peter Akinola

In response to this story, we have the following from Greg Griffith:

– Archbishop Akinola was in Virginia last week, when the statement was released. He and Minns spent much time together. It is entirely possible that +Akinola was using Minns’ computer to compose his statement. It is more likely that +Akinola was dictating the statement to Minns. It is far more likely that +Akinola was giving shape and form to the statement, while relying on Minns for the exact wording… in other words, exactly what a trusted confidant and Assistant Secretary of the Global South Steering Committee is for. Surely Jim Naughton, as a diocesan communications director who has no doubt ghost-written more than a few of John Chane’s statements, understands how that works.

– Any notion – asserted both by [Father]Jake and [Jjim] Naughton – that Martyn Minns “pulled one over” on Archbishop Akinola is absurd. There is simply no way the Anglican Church of Nigeria released a statement that was not approved by +Akinola.

– The idea – also asserted both by [Father]Jake and [Jim] Naughton – that Peter Akinola doesn’t possess the intellectual acumen or the command of the English language to compose “Agonizing Journey,” is equally absurd, and tinged with more than a touch of racism. The archbishop is a highly educated man (master’s degree from Virginia Theological Seminary) and is quite articulate.

The important point about the article is that the author has raced to a conclusion without evidence. If I have a word document on my computer written by Bishop Salmon with changes in it (if the Word software indicates so), the changes were made on my computer but by whom they were made is still not known. Indeed, on a number of occasions Bishop Salmon has called me and made changes to the document with me on the phone. He was speaking, and I was typing. Yes, you guessed it, this has happened on a number of occasions. I can think of several where both Bishop Salmon and Bishop Skilton made multiple changes to the final text, which of course they both then signed. Every change came through my computer, but was made by them because they were concerned about every word. This is called care and collaboration, and it happens all over the church all the time–KSH.

Update: Ekklesia [U.K., not to be confused with the U.S. version] has a piece on this which goes even farther over the top.

Further Update: Don’t miss the press release from The Venerable AkinTunde Popoola, Director of Communications for the Church of Nigeria, below in the comments (#41)

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, CANA, Church of Nigeria, Media

Kenya: Anglicans Plan to Send Clergy to America

ACK’s decision to spread its wings to America follows months of consultations with other Anglican Church provinces around the world opposed to gay relations.

The 72-member global Anglican communion is facing a split over gay rights. This follows moves in some countries to appoint gay and female priests. African branches have vehemently opposed gay clergy. In 2003, the Episcopal Church, the Anglican body in the US named Rev Gene Robinson who confessed to be gay, bishop of New Hampshire. The action was met with angry disapproval from church followers around the world opposed to gay relationships.

The division pits wealthy provinces notably in the US and Canada in North America against another group concentrated in Africa and Asia.

Read it all.

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

A look back to 2006–Marilyn McCord Adams: A Shameless defense of a Liberal Church

At least from the mid-twentieth century, traditional gender and sexual mores have been coming “unstuck” in Europe and North America. Legal and social prohibitions have been lifted–first against divorce, then divorce and remarriage; against extra-marital sexual activity and cohabitation; against birth control and abortion; against out-of-wedlock pregnancies; against homosexual activity and partnerships; against adoption by singles and homosexual couples. Reproductive technologies have opened the possibility of effective birth control, in vitro fertilization, artificial insemination, surrogate motherhood and other biological-clock extensions. In some places, public consensus is beginning to resettle and to take the form of positive legal provisions–no fault divorce laws with equal parental rights; legalized abortions; a variety of legal arrangements for cohabiting and/or reproducing couples; and–in this country most recently–civil partnerships open to same-sex as well as mix-gendered pairs. Likewise, after a post-war lull, women have re-entered the workplace and moved into the professions. Slowly, laws have been passed to guarantee equal access, to require equal pay for equal work, to institute maternity/paternity leaves, and to remove glass ceilings.

In all of this, our Church has been a follower rather than a leader. Where divorce and the remarriage of divorced persons were concerned, the Church ”˜waited upon’ secular consensus before making changes in its own canons. Despite the Queen and Margaret Thatcher, the Church delayed the ordination of women to the priesthood until 1991, and only in the last two synods has voted to creep ahead towards making the appointment of women bishops possible. While not yet church-dividing, the Anglican communion generally and the Church of England still officially regards the ordination of women as pending reception and in principle reversible. North American church moves to treat homosexual partnerships as legitimate–by authorizing rites for blessing (New Westminster, Canada) and by ordaining +Gene Robinson, a coupled gay man, bishop of New Hampshire–now focus a furor in the Anglican communion. Just last month, the Archbishop of Canterbury extended the new, gay-friendly woman Presiding Bishop of ECUSA (now, TEC) his prayers, but not his congratulations.

Whether or not these gender developments constitute a/the cause or even a symptom, conservatives have made them the pretext for an institutional crisis within the Anglican communion. The Archbishop’s recent proposal, ironically entitled Challenge and Hope, reads like a recipe for dividing our Church. For modern church persons, these rough-and-tumble developments raise a host of questions: Where were we? How did we get here? Why? Where do we go from here?

Read it all (Word document).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Identity, Ethics / Moral Theology, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology

Samson N. Gitau: Reflections on the Reaction of the Global South to TEC's new Theology

…for the Global South, the saying is true, “once bitten, twice shy.” It must therefore not be a surprise to see the strong reactions from Global South Christians to Western revisionism. There is no doubt the church in the Global South can benefit from Western church aid. But issuance and receipt of such aid must be preceded by lives transformed by the gospel of Jesus Christ. In the absence of this transformation, such aid amounts to the social gospel of salvation by works.

This is what most of the Global South leadership is opposed to. For them, the Bible is either the true and liberating word of God or it is not. For Christians in the Global South, it is déjà vu. It is betrayal all over again. The fact is that once the word of God has been shown, the show-er no longer has control over it. As the prophet Isaiah puts it:

“For as rain and snow come down from heaven, and return not thither, but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth, it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purposed, and prosper in the thing for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:10-11).

History informs this issue. The Jewish religious leaders tried in vain to control and contain converts to Christianity. They couldn’t do it. Neither will the Western world. The tide has changed. The Global South has become the focus of Christianity just as it found focus with the gentiles in the Pauline era. Consecrations of bishops by Global South provinces and the planting of new Anglican congregations in America is just the beginning of things to come.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Global South Churches & Primates

Notable and Quotable

Stuart Smalley (Voiceover): I deserve good things. I am entitled to my share of happiness. I refuse to beat myself up. I am attractive person. I am fun to be with.

Announcer: “Daily Affirmation with Stuart Smalley”. Stuart Smalley is a caring nurturer, a member of several 12-step programs, but not a licensed therapist.

[ open on Stuart giving himself a pep talk in his full-length mirror ]

Stuart Smalley: I’m going to do a terrific show today! And I’m gonna help people! Because I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and, doggonit, people like me!

Comedian Al Franken

Posted in * General Interest, Humor / Trivia, Notable & Quotable

Desmond Tutu urges full Lambeth Participation

Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town Desmond Tutu has appealed to Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams to invite all bishops to the 2008 Lambeth Conference, “even those irregularly consecrated or actively gay.”

The Nobel Peace Prize laureate’s plea came in a letter to the present Archbishop of Cape Town, Njongonkulu Ndungane, in which he also called on all Anglican bishops to be “more welcoming and inclusive of one another.”

“Our Communion has always been characterized by its comprehensiveness, its inclusiveness, its catholicity,” he said. “…we are really family, held together not so much by law as by bonds of affection. There is no family that is unanimous on every single subject.”

The Lambeth Conference, the once-a-decade gathering of Anglican Communion bishops, is due to be held July 16-August 4, 2008 at the University of Kent in Canterbury, England. About 880 invitations have been sent out to serving diocesan, suffragan and assisting bishops.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Lambeth 2008

Historic Texas Episcopal Church Building threatened with demolition

The oldest church in Bell County may not be standing too much longer.

The stones at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Belton are cracked and broken, and the 130-year-old church could be on the verge of being destroyed. “Old St. Luke’s” has been condemned by the city of Belton and its days are numbered.

Tyler Fletcher was baptized in this church when he was three years old. He runs his grandfather’s antique shop in Salado and is part of the group of people trying desperately to save it.

“We’ve got to find a way to save it. It’s part of that heritage from the early thread of Christianity and if it somehow can be saved, we should attempt it,” Fletcher said.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Parish Ministry