Daily Archives: November 25, 2007

Archbishop Rowan Williams on America

THE Archbishop of Canterbury has said that the United States wields its power in a way that is worse than Britain during its imperial heyday.

Rowan Williams claimed that America’s attempt to intervene overseas by “clearing the decks” with a “quick burst of violent action” had led to “the worst of all worlds”.

In a wide-ranging interview with a British Muslim magazine, the Anglican leader linked criticism of the United States to one of his most pessimistic declarations about the state of western civilisation

Read it all and the full interview is here.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Archbishop of Canterbury

Across the Country, Tenants Feel the Subprime Pain

Watch it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy

Bishop Harvey welcomes two parishes to jurisdiction of the Southern Cone

The first Canadian Anglican churches have been welcomed to the episcopal care of Bishop Donald Harvey under the Primatial authority of Archbishop Gregory Venables and the Province of the Southern Cone. Neither St John’s Richmond (BC) nor Church of the Resurrection (Hope, BC) was an Anglican Church of Canada (ACC) congregation at the time they joined, although both had their roots in the ACC.

“We are sending these churches out to minister, share the good news of Jesus Christ, and help rebuild an orthodox Anglican witness in Canada,” said Bishop Donald Harvey.
St John’s Richmond is a young vibrant congregation of 80 that meets in a Baptist church building. It started in 2005 as a Bible study group of members from St John’s (Shaughnessy) and has grown rapidly since. They have been an independent church in full communion with ANiC parishes.

”˜We’re very thankful that this allows us to be in full communion with Anglicans worldwide,” said the Rev Sean Love, rector of St John’s Richmond. “We look forward to Bishop Don’s episcopal ministry and are excited about continuing gospel mission and ministry in a growing urban centre.”

Church of the Resurrection began in 2006 as well but under very different circumstances. It was planted by the biblically orthodox majority of the former congregation of Christ Church Hope after their priest, the Rev Dr Archie Pell, was summarily fired by Bishop Michael Ingham following a parish vote to affiliate with the Anglican Network in Canada. The bishop then appointed a minister with a more liberal theology. The Rev Pell teaches at Regent College in Vancouver as a professor of Anglican Studies. Until recently, his wife, Dr Barbara Pell, taught English Literature at Trinity Western University.

“When the Diocese of New Westminster dismissed me and appointed a priest sympathetic to the bishop’s position, the Anglican Network in Canada and Bishop Harvey gave us support, both legally and spiritually,” said the Rev Pell. “Now, we are thrilled to be embraced by a God-fearing Province that allows us to remain fully Anglican and in fully communion with the worldwide Anglican Church. We no longer have to feel alone.”

The Anglican Province of the Southern Cone (Iglesia Anglicana del Cono Sur de America) is one of 38 Provinces that make up the global Anglican Communion. It encompasses much of South America and includes Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, Peru, and Uruguay and Argentina.

The Anglican Network in Canada (the Network) is committed to remaining faithful to Holy Scripture and established Anglican doctrine and to ensuring that orthodox Canadian Anglicans are able to remain in full communion with their spiritual brothers and sisters around the world. The Network will have members who are under the jurisdiction of the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone as well members who are in the Anglican Church of Canada during a transitional period.

The Network just concluded its national conference in Burlington, Ontario at which it outlined details of the church structure and relationship to the Province of the Southern Cone ”“ now available to biblically faithful Canadian Anglicans who are in “serious theological dispute” with the Anglican Church of Canada and want to be recognized as “fully Anglican” and in the mainstream of global Anglicanism.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Cono Sur [formerly Southern Cone]

This American Life on Harold Washington (1922-1987)

Listen to it all. A remarkably powerful and strikingly relevant piece on the tough subject of race and politics in America–KSH.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Race/Race Relations

Sub-prime ”˜time bomb’ is set to explode in Britain

Lenders are cracking down on sub-prime borrowers across Britain and could force tens of thousands of homeowners into forced sales of their homes, property experts warned yesterday.

The global credit crunch provoked by the crisis in American sub-prime mortgages is creating a time bomb in Britain’s own market for loans to borrowers with imperfect credit records.

The warning came as figures from the British Bankers’ Association (BBA) suggested that the slowdown in house prices was on course to be the most severe in at least a decade, as would-be buyers take fright at a declining market.The number of mortgages approved in October for home purchases by the BBA dropped by 17 per cent over the month to only 44,105, the lowest figure since the body began to compile figures in September 1997. Approvals were 37 per cent lower than a year ago.

Experts fear that the emerging British sub-prime crisis could further destabilise the domestic property market. As existing homeowners with particularly bad credit records ”“ known as “heavy” sub-prime customers ”“ come to the end of the cheap two-year fixed deals that were readily available until the summer, lenders are refusing to offer similar terms.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Economy, England / UK, Housing/Real Estate Market

Peggy Noonan: We're making too much of politicians' religious faith

But faith is also personal. You can be touched by a candidate’s faith, or interested in his apparent lack of it. It’s never wholly unimportant, but you should never see a politician as a leader of faith, and we should not ask a man who made his rise in the grubby world of politics to act as if he is an exemplar of his faith, or an explainer or defender of it

We have the emphasis wrong. It’s out of kilter. And the result is a Mitt Romney being harassed on radio shows about the particulars of his faith, and Hillary Clinton–a new-class yuppie attorney and board member–announcing how important her Methodist faith is and how much she loves wearing her diamond cross. For all I know, for all you know, it is true. But there is about it an air of patronizing the rubes and boobs.

We should lighten up on demanding access to their hearts. It is impossible for us to know their hearts. It’s barely possible to know your own. Faith is important but it’s also personal. When we force political figures to tell us their deepest thoughts on it, they’ll be tempted to act, to pretend. Do politicians tend to give in to temptation? Most people do. Are politicians better than most people? Quick, a show of hands. I don’t think so either.

Read it all.

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

Treating War Family Wounds

Another one that made me cry. Watch it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Military / Armed Forces

Dennett Buettner: On Realignment and Having a Clear Conscience

(I post it unaltered but it is from the long queue of will-post-when-I-can stuff and you can tell it was originally written in the second week of November–KSH)

From here:

Last weekend deputies to Pittsburgh’s Diocesan Convention voted to take a first step in disaffiliating with the national Episcopal Church in order to realign with another, overseas, Anglican jurisdiction. That process will take at least a year to complete.

Subsequently a colleague asked me (Dennett): “So, how are you feeling?”

My answer was: “Sad. I don’t dislike people on the other side; but I do think they’re wrong and it’s reached the point where, however much I may like them, I can’t keep on going the same direction they’re going.”

As I think about my answer, I reflect on our innate propensity to self-justify. I say “our,” because in my own comment I see the same propensity at work. The line of reasoning starts with my remark, or words to similar effect, that we have run out of options: we’re realigning because we just can’t do anything else, or go forward any other way. To assert simply that we have no other options sounds to me suspiciously like despair and is moreover simply not accurate. The reality is, there are other ways. We could choose to remain in the Episcopal Church and do nothing. We could choose to leave altogether and affiliate with some other denomination or none. There are other ways forward, but these are ways we are simply not choosing to go. We are choosing to go the way of realignment.

Our choice may be a good choice or a bad choice; it may prove to be the right choice or the wrong choice; but it is a choice. In making this choice and in attending to the consequences, it is important that we maintain a certain humility. We are acting because we believe obedience to God””as best our limited capacity can understand
it””demands this response.

That obedience to God demands response, however, does not in itself make us right in offering the response. We remain fallible people living in a fallen world. And even were it not for those two limiting factors we are also constrained in our ability to anticipate and evaluate the future before it happens.

In prayer leading up to Convention, the Scripture that kept running through my mind was the part of I Peter 3:21 which says: “”Baptism . . .now saves you also–not the removal of dirt from the body, but the pledge of a good conscience toward God.” My heart cry to the Father has been for a clear conscience toward him. I’m not sensible of having a troubledconscience; just that the sense of clear conscience that I have would be truly that and not deceived. As Paul wrote, “my conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me.” (I Cor.4:4)

Our choice to realign may be a good choice, or it may be a bad choice. In the longer run God may vindicate our choice and it may be established that our theology and ethics were well-grounded in him””or not. We cannot be concerned about any of those things. We choose realignment not because we are right in doing so (even if we are) but because we have come to believe God requires us to make this choice. Others, evidently equally believing they are called by God, are choosing differently. Some,
at least, of us will be proven wrong on the merits. Clear conscience or not, right or wrong as we may be, our “right” does not ultimately depend on how well or poorly we’ve done at discerning and responding to God’s leading in regard to alignment””but on the once-for-all sacrifice of Christ at the Cross. Our “right”-ness is not “realignment and Jesus” or “not-realigning and Jesus”””but simply him, and him alone.

–The Rev Dr Dennett Buettner is a priest in the diocese of Pittsburgh

Posted in Uncategorized

The Pope's Address to the Bishops in Kenya

Every Bishop has a particular responsibility to build up the unity of his flock, mindful of our Lord’s prayer “that they may be one, even as you, Father, are in me and I in you” (Jn 17:21). United in one faith, sharing one Baptism and believing in the one Lord, (cf. Eph 4:5), the Church is one throughout the world, yet at the same time she is marked by a rich diversity of traditions and cultural expressions. In Africa, the colour and vibrancy with which the faithful manifest their religious sentiments has added a new dimension to the rich tapestry of Christian culture worldwide, while at the same time your people’s strong attachment to the traditional values associated with family life can help to express the shared faith which is at the heart of the mystery of the Church’s unity (cf. Ecclesia in Africa, 63). Christ himself is the source and guarantee of our unity since he has overcome all forms of division through his death on the Cross and has reconciled us to God in the one body (cf. Eph 2:14). I thank you, dear Brothers, for preaching the love of Christ and exhorting your people to tolerance, respect and love of their brothers and sisters and of all persons. In this way you exercise the prophetic ministry that the Lord has entrusted to the Church, and in particular to the Successors of the Apostles (cf. Pastores Gregis, 26).

Indeed it is the Bishops who, as ministers and signs of communion in Christ, are pre-eminently called to make manifest the unity of his Church. The collegial nature of the episcopal ministry traces its origins to the Twelve Apostles, called together by Christ and given the task of proclaiming the Gospel and making disciples of all nations. Their pastoral mission is continued by the members of the episcopal College in such a way that “whoever listens to them is listening to Christ” (Lumen Gentium, 20). I urge you to continue your fraternal cooperation with one another in the spirit of the community of Christ’s disciples, united in your love for him and in the Gospel that you proclaim. While each of you has an individual contribution to make to the common collegial voice of the Church in your country, it is important to ensure that this variety of perspectives always serves to enrich the unity of the Body of Christ, just as the unity of the Twelve was deepened and strengthened by the different gifts of the Apostles themselves. Your dedication to working together on issues of ecclesial and social concern will bring great fruit for the life of the Church in Kenya and for the effectiveness of your episcopal ministry.

Read it all.

Posted in * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

Melinda Selmys: Faith in a Climate of Fear

End-of-the-world alarmism has been a perpetual feature of human existence for as long as we have recorded history.

Generally, it occurs within a religious framework: Whether it is Apocalypse mania, or a fear that any moment now Ragnarök is going to erupt in earnest, lavish claims of total world destruction have always furnished the necessary motivation for extremist agendas.

The new craze about global warming ought not to surprise us. Christ warned us, in Matthew 24 and Mark 13, that we would hear rumors of war, that there will be famines and earthquakes, that false prophets would arise and lead people astray, and so forth. And what does he say that we are to do?

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Climate Change, Weather, Energy, Natural Resources, Religion & Culture

Analysis: Churchgoing patterns in the UK

The Senior Minister of the People’s Church in Toronto, Canada, Englishman Charles Price, was giving an interview for a Premier Radio programme earlier this year at the final Easter People in Blackpool.

He argued that whereas culture can be defined denominationally as “the way we do things around here” or socially as “the things we believe, value and see”, in the 21st century, culture should be defined generationally.

Nowhere is that more true than in the frequency of church attendance. Older people, the so-called ”˜Builders’ Generation’ of those currently in their 60s and 70s, attend church regularly out of habit. The ”˜GenX Generation’ of those in their 20s and 30s attend church ”˜when they feel like it’, and the generation in between, the ”˜Boomer Generation’ of those in their 40s and 50s, attend church especially when they can use their gifts.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, England / UK, Religion & Culture

Paul Davies: Taking Science on Faith

Clearly, then, both religion and science are founded on faith ”” namely, on belief in the existence of something outside the universe, like an unexplained God or an unexplained set of physical laws, maybe even a huge ensemble of unseen universes, too. For that reason, both monotheistic religion and orthodox science fail to provide a complete account of physical existence.

This shared failing is no surprise, because the very notion of physical law is a theological one in the first place, a fact that makes many scientists squirm. Isaac Newton first got the idea of absolute, universal, perfect, immutable laws from the Christian doctrine that God created the world and ordered it in a rational way. Christians envisage God as upholding the natural order from beyond the universe, while physicists think of their laws as inhabiting an abstract transcendent realm of perfect mathematical relationships.

And just as Christians claim that the world depends utterly on God for its existence, while the converse is not the case, so physicists declare a similar asymmetry: the universe is governed by eternal laws (or meta-laws), but the laws are completely impervious to what happens in the universe.

Read it all. The key book in my mind in this whole area is Michael Polanyi’s Personal Knowledge.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology

Bob Herbert: Lost in a Flood of Debt

Thousands of poor people like Dorothy Levey, who worked for years to build modest amounts of equity in their homes, have been hammered ”” wiped out. The most unscrupulous of the mortgage lenders, and there were many of them, swooped in and sweet-talked their targets into signing contracts designed to squeeze them for everything they had in the world.

The fact that this is often legal doesn’t make it right. As insane as it sounds, Ms. Levey is still getting offers to refinance her mortgage.

There is some truth to the assertion that a lot of buyers signed up for deals they should have known they couldn’t afford. But it won’t do for the fat cats to fall back on empty phrases like “buyer beware.”

The subprime mortgage frenzy was a shameful, highly-charged phenomenon, motivated by greed and played out on a field of rampant exploitation. The victims deserved more protection than they got. As Paul Leonard, director of the California office of the Center for Responsible Lending, told me this week: “You shouldn’t have a marketplace that’s a ”˜buyer beware’ marketplace for the most important financial transaction of most people’s lives.”

It’s not too much to ask that when Americans of modest means put their economic futures on the line, we have regulations in place to see that they are not ripped off.

If you think this is a small matter, consider that the center reported a year ago that subprime loans represented roughly a quarter of all home loans in the U.S., and that an estimated 2.2 million households in the subprime market would ultimately face foreclosure.

Read it all.

Update: A related article is here.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy

Bread Is Broken While Interfaith Bonds Are Built

The outcome was uncertain when a group of mostly strangers sat down together for dinner Thursday night at a home in this Dallas suburb. Among the gathering were three Jews, two Mormons, three Muslims, two Bahais, two secular humanists and a Catholic-Baptist.

But over pasta and lentil soup, the guests discussed love, death, forgiveness, compassion and evil, and found plenty of common ground.

“How many times,” said one guest, Nelson Komaiko, a 59-year-old self-described “very Reform” Jew, “do we get in a situation where people from all these different religions can really talk?” Not with superficial workplace chatter, he said, but in a discussion about the big questions of life. “Usually when people of different faiths have a ”˜dialogue,’ it’s with guns blazing.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Inter-Faith Relations

Jenny Te Paa: Each of us Was Given grace

Transcendent grace enables us to hold both to the necessary project of pursuing God’s justice in the face of any and all injustice even as it simultaneously enables us to participate in the immediate and desparately urgent pastoral work of healing and of reconciling.

And so my sisters and brothers what is it that we are to do? Are we to continue to draw our lines in the shifting sands of ecclesial aggression and blaming, of accusing and judging? Or are we to shift our emphasis to embrace simultaneously and in sufficient measure, grace filled mutual affection and uplift of one another, together with boldly reconciling behaviour? Can we exemplify the very best of God’s grace even as we continue to name decisively and to act boldly and courageously against all of those things, which we know to be unacceptable in God’s sight? Can we stand more confidently together as members of the family of Christ, on the common ground of God’s world, on the basis of a newly apprehended indigenous model of unconditionally inclusive relationality?

Can we do all of this as people connected as adversaries and as friends, across the villages, towns, cities and nations into which we are blessed to be born ”“ a people who know and are known by the ancestors; who know the rivers and lakes and mountains which shelter and nurture us all; a people committed to the full participation and flourishing of all in God’s world; a people unafraid of simplicity or of suffering, a people instinctively attuned to heartfelt wisdom, to forgiveness, to unconditional belonging, to God’s grace and peace with and for us all? I am confident that we will, we can and we must . . . in Christ’s name. Amen.

Read it all.

Update: A related article to this address is here.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, Anglican Provinces