Daily Archives: October 23, 2007

Living Church: Two Sees in Central Africa Declared Vacant

The Anglican Province of Central Africa has removed Bishop Nolbert Kunonga of Harare and another diocesan bishop in Zimbabwe from its college of bishops.

In a statement released on Oct. 19, the Dean of the province, Bishop Albert Chama of Northern Zambia, stated that Bishop Kunonga and Bishop Elson Jakazi of Manicaland were no longer bishops of the church and the Sees of Harare and Manicaland had been declared vacant “with immediate effect.” Vicar generals would be appointed to supervise the election of new bishops, Bishop Chama wrote.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of Central Africa

Mary Lefkowitz: Bring back the Greek gods

Prominent secular and atheist commentators have argued lately that religion “poisons” human life and causes endless violence and suffering. But the poison isn’t religion; it’s monotheism. The polytheistic Greeks didn’t advocate killing those who worshiped different gods, and they did not pretend that their religion provided the right answers. Their religion made the ancient Greeks aware of their ignorance and weakness, letting them recognize multiple points of view.

There is much we still can learn from these ancient notions of divinity, even if we can agree that the practices of animal sacrifice, deification of leaders and divining the future through animal entrails and bird flights are well lost.

My Hindu students could always see something many scholars miss: The Greek gods weren’t mere representations of forces in nature but independent beings with transcendent powers who controlled the world and everything in it. Some of the gods were strictly local, such as the deities of rivers and forests. Others were universal, such as Zeus, his siblings and his children.

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Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Other Faiths

Meridor: We must be ready to preempt threats

Israeli Ambassador to the US Sallai Meridor declared Monday that Israel should always be prepared “to preempt, to deter and to defeat if we can” when speaking about the threats facing the country.

Chief among those threats was Iran, said Meridor, who called for a unified international as well as domestic American front to counter the Islamic Republic’s nuclear ambitions.

“This will take a united United States on this matter, that they would not have the illusion today that come January ’09, they [Teheran] have it their own way,” he said, referring to the inauguration of President George W. Bush’s successor, who could potentially change US policy on Iran.

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Posted in * International News & Commentary, Iran, Middle East

Archbishop Ndungane condemns Anglican covenant as 'a mechanism for exclusion'

But this does not mean “anything goes.” By no means!

We are all permanently under the three-fold testing and purifying scrutiny of the refining fire of God’s holiness (Zech 13:9), of the two-edged sword of Scripture (Heb 4:12), of minds transformed by the renewing Spirit (Rom 12:2).

It is on this basis we dare to engage with the complexities of contemporary life around us.

God is God of everything, and we need to have the spiritual maturity, and the depth and breadth of faith, to know how to listen to what he has to say about everything from global security and biotechnology to poverty and development.

We need to be able to engage profoundly, and often critically, with every aspect of human behaviour.

Sometimes we speak of the need to “baptize culture.”

This is no cursory wipe with a damp cloth to produce a superficial religious veneer.

Baptism is the radical transformation that comes through burial with Christ and being raised with him to new life. Every culture must die to the priorities, the loyalties, the idols, of this world; and find new, authentic, life-giving, contemporary expression — transfigured under the Lordship of Jesus, Saviour and Redeemer, who calls us to walk in holiness of life.

This is God’s call to all of us, and to every area of our lives ”“ it is not just about sexuality and the morality of our sexual behaviour.

It is the life of obedience and self-discipline, and often costly self-denial, for, as Paul reminds the Corinthian church, even where “all things are lawful,” it may well be that “not all things are beneficial” (1 Cor 10:23).

All of us would do well to remember this, as we grapple with our diversity — believing it to be a gift of God’s creative abundance.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Southern Africa, Anglican Covenant, Anglican Provinces

Chris Sugden: What is it to be Anglican?

This debate is at the heart of the arguments in the Anglican Communion.

For some, being Anglican means belonging to a particular hierarchical Church organisation with a specific set of rules (canons). Those of “Anglo- or Liberal-Catholic” persuasion identify the church by the “Bishop at the altar”. The Bishop has a geographical jurisdiction. This Roman approach was settled at the Council of Whitby in 697. The Celtic Church “lost” the argument for having more flexible ways of working.

Since all Christians in a geographical area were presumed to be in fellowship with the Bishop round his altar, at the Reformation the Church of England accommodated those who took different views on matters that were not required by the scripture. It differed from some of the Reformation churches in distinguishing those matters required scripture, and those cultural matters which were allowable as long as they did not go against scripture. Elizabeth I insisted that she could not make windows into men’s souls. It was enough to subscribe to the articles of faith and the Book of Common Prayer.

But there is more to be said.

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

Evangelicals Gather at Summit

Evangelical voters gathered here yesterday to weigh their political options even as one of their champions, Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas, officially withdrew from the 2008 presidential contest, robbing many of their first choice in the Republican nominating battle.

The 2,000 activists attending the Values Voter Summit listened to the candidates, some prayed for guidance, and many expressed deep discomfort with the Republican Party’s two front-runners: former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani.

Romney presented himself as the antiabortion, pro-family, pro-religion contender whom Christian conservatives are seeking.

“I’ll oppose taxpayer funding of abortion, oppose partial-birth abortion. I’ll oppose abortion in military clinics. I’ll work to ban embryonic cloning,” Romney promised.

Romney only briefly mentioned his Mormon faith, a source of concern among some Christian groups, saying, “I understand that some people think that they couldn’t support someone of my faith,” then joking that they must be thinking of Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.), who is also a Mormon.

Giuliani is scheduled to face the group this morning with a message that emphasizes areas where he agrees with social conservatives, such as national security, taxes and the economy.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Evangelicals, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, US Presidential Election 2008

RNS: Anglicans in Montreal, San Francisco Vote for Same-Sex Blessings

The day after the Montreal vote, representatives of the San Francisco-based Episcopal Diocese of California approved use of rites for the blessing of same-sex couples, opening the way for Bishop Marc Andrus to allow them on a trial basis in Bay Area Episcopal churches.

The resolution both affirmed “the unanimous decision…to refuse to discriminate against partnered gay and lesbian(s)” and deplored “the lack of access to adequate pastoral and ritual care for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in large parts of the Episcopal Church and the refusal of the majority of our bishops to make provision for it.”

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

Cary McMullen: Has Bishop John Howe averted Schism?

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

Drexel Gomez: Anglican Faith Needs “Serious Adjustments” To Remain Intact

The worldwide Anglican Communion will have to undergo a drastic reformation if it is to stave off a split that would shake the faith to its core, Anglican Archbishop His Grace Drexel Gomez suggested last night as he opened the 107th Session of Synod at Christ Church Cathedral.
The crisis over same sex blessings and openly gay clergymen has been simmering ever since some liberal Episcopalians endorsed both, much to the chagrin of conservative Anglican primates.

“It is clear that the future of the Anglican Communion is unclear at the moment but there can be no doubt that the future shape of Anglicanism will have to undergo significant adjustments if the Communion is to remain intact,” said Archbishop Gomez, who heads The Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Diocese.

The basic issue the church is faced with resolving is its relationship with the Episcopal Church and the rest of the Anglican Communion in light of the consecration of the openly gay Bishop of New Hampshire and the ongoing ambiguity over same sex blessings.

Archbishop Gomez added that in addition, the Communion must make some decisions on the resolution of the situation created by the interventions of certain Primates on behalf of those members of the Episcopal Church who feel alienated on theological grounds.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Commentary, Anglican Provinces, West Indies

Will Okun: Disguised Silence

When is silence not golden?

Last Thursday, Illinois lawmakers passed legislation that requires all public schools to provide students with a moment of silence at the beginning of the school day.
And, pray tell, how do you think the students are to utilize this moment of silence?

Mandated silent prayer in the public schools? No, of course not, that would be illegal. Instead supporters claim the students can use this moment of silence as either an opportunity for silent prayer or “for silent reflection on the anticipated activities of the day.”


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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Education, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture

Archbishop Peter Jensen on the American House of Bishops meeting in New Orleans

How has the verdict of the Joint Standing Committee been received around the world? The Church of England Evangelical Council headed by Bishop Benn has dissented from it. Those American Bishops and Dioceses who have been planning to leave The Episcopal Church have not been stopped in their tracks. A large group of African Primates ”“ representative of the people who posed the questions ”“ have said, ”˜on first reading we find it to be unsatisfactory. The assurances made are without credibility and its preparation is severely compromised by numerous conflicts of interest. The report itself appears to be a determined effort to find a way for the full inclusion of The Episcopal Church with no attempt at discipline or change from their prior position.’

Why this dissent from the Joint Committee? It would of course be best to have the whole Dar Es Salaam communiqué, but, failing that, here are the two questions which were put to the Americans for an answer by September 30th:

”˜In particular, the Primates request, through the Presiding Bishop, that the House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church

1.make an unequivocal common covenant that the bishops will not authorise any Rite of Blessing for same-sex unions in their diocese or through General Convention (cf TWR, 143, 144); and
2. confirm that the passing of Resolution B033 of the 75th General Convention means that a candidate for episcopal orders living in a same-sex union shall not receive the necessary consent (cf TWR, 134);
Unless some new consensus on these matters emerges across the Communion (cf TWR, 134).’

We only have time to look at the response to the first request. The wording of the reply certainly does not give the assurance that is sought. The Americans were asked to restrain General Convention from authorising a Rite of Blessing; they could do this, I am told, by exercising what amounts to a veto; but they undertake only to refrain ”˜until General Convention takes further action’, a different proposition altogether. In fact the Primates used, and stressed the word unless, the Bishops replied with ”˜until’. The difference tells us something about the enthusiasm of many Americans to see these developments agreed to. In short the different heart of the Americans and the different heart of their critics is not going to understand these words in the same way even if they were not ambiguous. This is not black-letter dispute over words.
The Primates already knew that no rite has been approved as yet by General Convention; the Americans observe that the majority of bishops ”˜do not make allowance for the blessing of same sex unions.’ But that concedes the very point at issue. This is a practice allowed by some Bishops at least; perhaps many. The consequence is, then, if I understand the situation correctly, at least one American Bishop, though a believer in same-sex blessings, has now forbidden them occurring. He understood that even permitting them was not an option. But they will still occur elsewhere. Thus Bishop Chane of Washington is reported in Washington Window, his own newspaper, as saying, that, ”˜the Diocese of Washington does not have an authorised rite for blessing same-sex relationships. However, he added that the statement passed by the bishops will allow for such blessings to continue in the Diocese.’

And here are the honest reflections of Bishop Gene Robinson on what has occurred. ”˜Let me also state strongly that the Joint Standing Committee of the ACC and the Primates misunderstood us when they stated that the HOB in fact “declared a moratorium on all such public Rites.” Neither in our discussions nor in our statement did we agree to or declare such a moratorium on permitting such rites to take place. That may be true in many or most dioceses, but that is certainly not the case in my own diocese and many others. The General Convention has stated that such rites are indeed to be considered within the bounds of the pastoral ministry of this Church to its gay and lesbian members, and that remains the policy of The Episcopal Church.’

I believe that this is what Canon Kearon was referring to when he spoke of the need for some episcopalian bishops to consider their position in the Communion. It already dents the modified rapture of the Joint Committee in saying, ”˜The Communion should move towards closure on these matters, at least for the time being,’ It certainly justifies the response of Bishop Mouneer and others. The matter is not resolved.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Primates, Anglican Provinces, Episcopal Church (TEC), Primates Mtg Dar es Salaam, Feb 2007, Sept07 HoB Meeting, TEC Bishops

Two Bishops In Kentucky on the Recent House of Bishops Meeting

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Sept07 HoB Meeting, TEC Bishops

Medal of Honor Ceremony at White House

The president posthumously awarded the nation’s highest military honor for valor to Lt. Michael Murphy of Patchogue, N.Y.””the first given for combat in Afghanistan.

Before the emotional White House ceremony, Murphy’s parents Dan and Maureen Murphy met with Bush and gave him a gold dog tag in tribute to their son.

“What we were most touched by was that the president immediately put that on underneath his shirt, and when he made the presentation of the Medal of Honor, he wore that against his chest,” said the father.

After the ceremony, Dan Murphy said, Bush told the family: “I was inspired by having Michael next to my chest.”

The father, who fought back tears during the ceremony, said they were “deeply moved” by Bush’s gesture.

“It was very emotional on everybody’s part,” said Maureen Murphy.

Bush presided over a solemn ceremony honoring their son’s battlefield decision to expose himself to deadly enemy fire in order to make a desperate call for help for his elite combat team.

“While their missions were often carried out in secrecy, their love of country and devotion to each other was always clear,” Bush said. “On June 28, 2005, Michael would give his life for these ideals.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Military / Armed Forces

Doug Leblanc: Interpreting the First Epistle to Central Floridians

Catholic order matters. Rowan Williams understands the importance of Catholic order and will not reward actions that threaten such order. Will the Anglican Right now step up and show at least as much commitment to Catholic order?

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Archbishop of Canterbury, Ecclesiology, Theology

More From the Do Not Take Yourself Too Seriously Department

The inimitable Tim Conway from the old Carol Burnett Show

Posted in Uncategorized