Daily Archives: November 9, 2007

Balimore Sun: Funeral prompts firing of Roman Catholic priest

Baltimore’s new Roman Catholic archbishop removed a priest who was pastor of three South Baltimore parishes for offenses that include officiating at a funeral Mass with an Episcopal priest, which violates canon law.

Archbishop Edwin F. O’Brien personally ordered the Rev. Ray Martin, who has led the Catholic Community of South Baltimore for five years, to resign from the three churches and sign a statement yesterday apologizing for “bringing scandal to the church.”

Martin led the funeral Mass on Oct. 15 for Locust Point activist Ann Shirley Doda at Our Lady of Good Counsel with several clergy, including the Rev. Annette Chappell, the pastor of the Episcopal Church of the Redemption in Locust Point, Martin said.

Doda’s son, Victor, who had invited Chappell to participate in the service, was stunned and outraged by the action taken against Martin.

“I am sickened that they would treat our pastor this way,” he said. “It doesn’t sound possible that the church would take such a petty thing and ruin a man’s career.”

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Roman Catholic

Irene Monroe: Episcopal rift isn't really over Robinson

Is the Episcopal Church’s impending schism really about the theological rift that sprung up after the consecration of its first openly gay bishop, the Rev. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire?

Or is the brouhaha really about a church in battle with itself about how to be financially solvent and theologically relevant in today’s competitive religious marketplace?

Last weekend, the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh voted in favor of separating from the national church over theological beliefs on homosexuality. “What we’re trying to do is state clearly in the United States for the authority of Scripture,” Bishop Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh said after the vote.

But “authority of Scripture” doesn’t hold weight here because the Episcopal Church has always been challenged on this issue.

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I will consider posting comments to this thread submitted by email first: Kendall’s E-mail: KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Conflicts, Theology

Clark Strand: The Baby Boom and the Buddhist Bust

A colleague recently took me to task for consulting Jews and Christians on how to keep American Buddhism alive. He didn’t agree with either premise–that Jews and Christians could offer advice to Buddhists, or that Buddhism was in any danger of decline. But he was wrong on both counts. American Buddhism, which swelled its ranks to accommodate the spiritual enthusiasms of baby boomers in the late 20th century, is now aging. One estimate puts the average age of Buddhist converts (about a third of the American Buddhist population) at upwards of 50. This means that the religion is almost certain to see its numbers reduced over the next generation as boomer Buddhists begin to die off without having passed their faith along to their children. And Jewish and Christian models offer the most logical solution for reversing that decline.

The basic problem is that non-Asian converts tend not to regard what they practice as a religion. From the beginning, Buddhism has been seen in its American incarnation not as an alternative religion, but as an alternative to religion. American converts have long held Buddhism apart from what they see as the inherent messiness of Western religious discourse on such issues as faith and belief, and from the violence that has so often accompanied it.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Buddhism, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

US credit crisis now worse than Long-Term Capital Management, Lehman's Malvey says – Reuters

Lehman Chief Global Bond Strategist sees “deepest correction” ever in structured finance. Current market is in ‘recession-risk denial’.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy

Face of homelessness is often vet's

More than 195,800 military veterans were homeless on any given night last year, and there are “troubling” indications that many service members returning from Iraq and Afghanistan could face the same fate, according to a study released Thursday.

The report, from the National Alliance to End Homelessness, found that veterans make up one-quarter of the U.S. homeless population.

The report, which relied on data from Veterans Affairs facilities across the country, reflects a slight increase from previous estimates and confirms past surveys showing that former service members are much more likely to face homelessness than the rest of the population.

Although veterans make up about 11 percent of the civilian adult population, they represent 26 percent of homeless people, a figure the report calls “shockingly disproportionate.”

“As a country, I think we should be shocked and concerned that [nearly] 200,000 veterans don’t have a place to go,” said Stacey Stewart, former president and chief executive of the Fannie Mae Foundation, which announced a $200,000 grant Thursday to build housing for veterans. “Shouldn’t those who served their country be better served by the society that benefited from their service?”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Military / Armed Forces

In Finland YouTube killer shocks a grieving nation into breaking its silence

It was the day that Finns broke their silence, abandoned their legendary stoicism.

As flags fluttered at half-mast across the nation and candles lit in the icy wind, the survivors of the country’s first chilling school bloodbath tried to talk away their fears.

“Finns usually prefer to maintain a stiff upper lip during an emotional crisis,” said youth worker Jenni Lehtinen in Jokela church, an hour’s drive out of Helsinki. “This time it’s different ”” the kids cannot stop talking, asking where it is safe nowadays if not in their own school.”

As if to underline the new sense of insecurity in this most placid of Nordic societies, two armoured personnel carriers have been parked close to the school. Only the Army and the church, it seems, can reassure these young Finns.

The shooting spree by a disturbed 18-year-old student, Pekka-Eric Auvinen, has stunned the nation. In 20 minutes around noon on Wednesday ”” maths for some pupils, English for others ”” Auvinen used his newly acquired Sig Sauer pistol to kill the headmistress, the school nurse and six pupils. At least a dozen others were injured.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Education, Europe, Violence

Robin T Adams: Our Move from TEC to Nigeria — Some Questions and Answers

Now, almost one year after having left The Episcopal Church (TEC), we look back at our experience and some frequently asked questions regarding our departure.

You really need to take the time to read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, CANA, Church of Nigeria, Episcopal Church (TEC), Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Virginia

Richard Kew Makes an Observation About the Church Pension Fund

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

Christian Smith: The challenge of emerging adulthood

These four social transformations together have helped dramatically to alter the experience of American life between the ages of 18 and 30. Studies agree that the transition to adulthood today is more complex, disjointed, and confusing than it was in past decades. The steps through and to schooling, first real job, marriage, and parenthood are simply less well organized and coherent today than they were in generations past. At the same time, these years are marked by an historically unparalleled freedom to roam, experiment, learn (or not), move on, and try again.

What has emerged from this new situation has been variously labeled “extended adolescence,” “youthhood,” “adultolescence,” “young adulthood,” the “twenty-somethings,” and “emerging adulthood.” I find persuasive Jeffrey Arnett’s argument that, of all of these labels, “emerging adulthood” is the most appropriate””because rather than viewing these years as simply the last hurrah of adolescence or an early stage of real adulthood, it recognizes the unique characteristics of this phase of life. These, according to Arnett in Emerging Adulthood, mark this stage as one of intense (1) identity exploration, (2) instability, (3) focus on self, (4) feeling in limbo, in transition, in-between, and (5) sense of possibilities, opportunities, and unparalleled hope. These, of course, are also often accompanied by big doses of transience, confusion, anxiety, self-obsession, melodrama, conflict, and disappointment. Many popular television shows of the last two decades””Beverly Hills 90210, Dawson’s Creek, Seinfeld, and Friends, for example””have taken as their point of departure the character and challenges of this new, in-between stage of life. I think it all signifies something big and serious.

Note that some of the statistics about emerging adulthood today are not historically unique. For example, young Americans in the 19th and very early 20th century, when society was more rural and agricultural, also married later in life than they did in the 1950s. Nevertheless, changes in the larger culture and social order in late 20th-century America make the experience of emerging adulthood today very different from the young adulthood of a century ago.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Race/Race Relations, Young Adults

Premium Gasoline Tops $5 A Gallon In Gorda, California

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Update:The New York Times has an article entitled “Rising Demand for Oil Provokes New Energy Crisis” which begins thus:

With oil prices approaching the symbolic threshold of $100 a barrel, the world is headed toward its third energy shock in a generation. But today’s surge is fundamentally different from the previous oil crises, with broad and longer-lasting global implications.

Just as in the energy crises of the 1970s and ’80s, today’s high prices are causing anxiety and pain for consumers, and igniting wider fears about the impact on the economy.

Unlike past oil shocks, which were caused by sudden interruptions in exports from the Middle East, this time prices have been rising steadily as demand for gasoline grows in developed countries, as hundreds of millions of Chinese and Indians climb out of poverty and as other developing economies grow at a sizzling pace.

“This is the world’s first demand-led energy shock,” said Lawrence Goldstein, an economist at the Energy Policy Research Foundation of Washington.

Forecasts of future oil prices range widely. Some analysts see them falling next year to $75, or even lower, while a few project $120 oil. Virtually no one foresees a return to the $20 oil of a decade ago, meaning consumers should brace for an era of significantly higher fuel costs.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy

Church Times: English bishops back Bob Duncan of Pittsburgh over warning letter

THE BISHOPS of Chester, Chichester, Exeter, and Rochester issued a statement on Tuesday in support of the Rt Revd Robert Duncan, the Bishop of Pittsburgh, after the warning letter sent to him by the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Dr Katharine Jefferts Schori.

She wrote to Bishop Duncan on Wednesday of last week, asking him to lead his diocese “on a new course that recognises the interdependent and hierarchical relationship between the national Church and its dioceses and parishes” (see above).

If his course did not change, she wrote, “I shall regrettably be compelled to see that appropriate canonical steps are promptly taken to consider whether you have abandoned the Communion of this Church . . . and whether you have committed canonical offences that warrant disciplinary action.”

The English bishops’ statement, which was instigated by the Bishop of Rochester, Dr Michael Nazir-Ali, read: “We deeply regret the increase in the atmosphere of litigiousness revealed by the Presiding Bishop’s letter to Bishop Duncan. At this time, we stand with him and with all who respond positively to the Primates’ Dar es Salaam requests. We hope the Archbishop’s response to Bishop John Howe of Central Florida will also apply to Bishop Bob Duncan of Pittsburgh.”

The Bishop of Chester, Dr Peter Forster, said on Tuesday that the statement gave personal support to Bishop Duncan. He described the Presiding Bishop’s letter as “aggressive, inappropriate, and unfortunate”. “They are acting as if it is the OK Corral. This is the North American culture: it is a managerial rather than a pastoral approach.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Episcopal Church (TEC), Presiding Bishop, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts

Peter Navarro: Yahoo isn't the only villain

Which company has committed the greater evil? Yahoo Inc. helped send a reporter to prison by revealing his identity to the Chinese government. Cisco Systems Inc. helps send thousands of Chinese dissidents to prison by selling sophisticated Internet surveillance technology to China.

If bad press is to be the judge, the “stool pigeon” Yahoo is clearly the bigger villain. In 2004, after the Chinese government ordered the country’s media not to report on the 15th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests, journalist Shi Tao used his Yahoo e-mail account to forward a government memo to a pro-democracy group. When China’s Internet police — a force of 30,000 — uncovered this, it pressured Yahoo to reveal Shi’s identity. Yahoo caved quicker than you can say Vichy France, and Shi is doing 10 years in a Chinese slammer for one click of his subversive mouse.

For ratting out Shi, Yahoo Chief Executive Jerry Yang has been dragged before Congress, called a “moral pygmy” and forced to issue an apology. In contrast, Cisco and Chief Executive John Chambers have received little public scrutiny for providing China’s cadres of Comrade Orwells with the Internet surveillance technology they need to cleanse the Net of impure democratic thoughts.

Cisco is hardly alone in helping China keep the jackboot to the neck of its people. Skype, an EBay Inc. subsidiary, helps the Chinese government monitor and censor text messaging. Microsoft Corp. likewise is a willing conscript in China’s Internet policing army, as Bill Gates’ minions regularly cleanse the Chinese blogosphere. Google Inc.’s brainiacs, meanwhile, have built a special Chinese version of their powerful search engine to filter out things as diverse as the BBC, freeing Tibet and that four-letter word in China — democracy.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Blogging & the Internet, China

Fed Chairman Says Economy Likely to Slow

Ben S. Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve, told Congress today that the economy is going to get worse before it gets better, a message that got a chilly reception from both Wall Street and politicians.

On a day when stock prices swung wildly, the dollar hit another new low against the euro and further signs emerged that consumers are growing more cautious about spending, Mr. Bernanke warned that the economy is about to “slow noticeably” as the housing market continues to spiral downward and financial institutions tighten up on lending.

But in a disappointment to investors, Mr. Bernanke offered no signal that the central bank might soften the blow by lowering interest rates for a third time this year at its next policy meeting on Dec. 11.

Stock prices, which had plunged Wednesday, went on a roller-coaster ride after Mr. Bernanke testified. The Dow Jones industrial average first fell 205 points by mid-afternoon, but then clawed back most of the way and ended the day at 13,266.29, down just 33 points.

Testifying before the Joint Economic Committee, the Fed chairman said that the two rate cuts in September and October “should” be enough to keep the economy from slipping into a recession. Without being specific, he reinforced statements by other Fed policymakers that the economy would have to show signs of stalling out entirely before they would reduce rates again.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy

Atlanta preacher: Is request for financial info legal?

A prominent Atlanta preacher is challenging requests from a powerful senator for detailed financial information on his ministry.

The Rev. Creflo Dollar of World Changers Church International in College Park said his team of legal experts is reviewing a request for financial records from Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), head of the Senate Finance Committee.

Dollar wants to know if Grassley or the committee has authority to request the records and if the request infringes on religious liberty.

“Are we saying the First Amendment [which protects churches from government intrusion] is null and void by allowing this to happen?” Dollar asked.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Religion & Culture

Reuters: Traditionalist pressure mounts on Anglican Communion

Traditionalist Anglican leaders have stepped up pressure on their deeply split Communion by urging it to postpone its consultative conference and pledging more support for rebels against liberal local churches.

Nine leaders from the “Global South”, known as primates, want to delay the Lambeth Conference, a 10-yearly assembly due in 2008, and hold an emergency summit of primates to resolve a crisis sparked by a gay bishop being named in the United States.

Also this week, two leading traditionalist archbishops — Peter Akinola in Nigeria and Gregory Venables in Argentina — vowed to continue to defend parishes and dioceses seeking to leave the Episcopal Church, the U.S. branch of Anglicanism.

Four Episcopal dioceses are considering switching allegiance to foreign primates in protest against their church’s support for gay bishop Gene Robinson, despite threats of disciplinary action from Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, - Anglican: Latest News, Africa