Daily Archives: December 1, 2007

Sarah Hey Responds to Andrew Goddard's Latest Anglican Analysis

As a Communion Conservative, let me assure the Federal Conservatives who are departing the Communion that I in no way see your position on homosexuality as in any way connected with the ham-fisted “Rejectionist” category that Andrew Goddard has described.

I am quite able to disagree with Federal Conservatives and their tactics, even their eventual destination which appears to be the Common Cause Partnership, without making up out of whole cloth a category about their theology concerning homosexuality which does not in fact exist.

I suspect that most of the ComCons with which I work feel the same way.

So why would Collaborationists wish to create such categories? I think there’s a simple strategic reason. If one creates such large, grand, and very flawed theological categories, that allows Collaborationists within the Communion to group themselves with a much larger group of traditionalists than they otherwise would find themselves in. After all, the thinking might go, surely no one among the ComCons will want to be perceived as a “Rejectionist” — perish the thought!

Thanks, but I’ll stick with the Reasserters. And I’ll take note of the Collaborationists as well.

Read it all. Now, there are a lot of things I could say about this, but what I want to point out now is that this is one more indication of the diversity that exists among reasserters. The same diversity exists among reappraisers. I find the monolithic treatment of each “position” or “side” by some in the debate (read: The House of Bishops/Deputies listserv, a number of blogs,etc) very exhausting at present.

Also please notice that in general this is a model of how to disagree with someone. You try to reflect accurately what someone is saying, and you critique their arguments, using counter arguments and evidence, without making it personal. It would be helpful if this were kept in mind by all as the Advent season approaches–KSH.

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The Full text of the Latest Papal Encyclical

19. We must look briefly at the two essential stages in the political realization of this hope, because they are of great importance for the development of Christian hope, for a proper understanding of it and of the reasons for its persistence. First there is the French Revolution””an attempt to establish the rule of reason and freedom as a political reality. To begin with, the Europe of the Enlightenment looked on with fascination at these events, but then, as they developed, had cause to reflect anew on reason and freedom. A good illustration of these two phases in the reception of events in France is found in two essays by Immanuel Kant in which he reflects on what had taken place. In 1792 he wrote Der Sieg des guten Prinzips über das böse und die Gründung eines Reiches Gottes auf Erden (“The Victory of the Good over the Evil Principle and the Founding of a Kingdom of God on Earth”). In this text he says the following: “The gradual transition of ecclesiastical faith to the exclusive sovereignty of pure religious faith is the coming of the Kingdom of God.” 17 He also tells us that revolutions can accelerate this transition from ecclesiastical faith to rational faith. The “Kingdom of God” proclaimed by Jesus receives a new definition here and takes on a new mode of presence; a new “imminent expectation”, so to speak, comes into existence: the “Kingdom of God” arrives where “ecclesiastical faith” is vanquished and superseded by “religious faith”, that is to say, by simple rational faith. In 1795, in the text Das Ende aller Dinge (“The End of All Things”) a changed image appears. Now Kant considers the possibility that as well as the natural end of all things there may be another that is unnatural, a perverse end. He writes in this connection: “If Christianity should one day cease to be worthy of love … then the prevailing mode in human thought would be rejection and opposition to it; and the Antichrist … would begin his””albeit short””regime (presumably based on fear and self-interest); but then, because Christianity, though destined to be the world religion, would not in fact be favoured by destiny to become so, then, in a moral respect, this could lead to the (perverted) end of all things.” 18

20. The nineteenth century held fast to its faith in progress as the new form of human hope, and it continued to consider reason and freedom as the guiding stars to be followed along the path of hope. Nevertheless, the increasingly rapid advance of technical development and the industrialization connected with it soon gave rise to an entirely new social situation: there emerged a class of industrial workers and the so-called “industrial proletariat”, whose dreadful living conditions Friedrich Engels described alarmingly in 1845. For his readers, the conclusion is clear: this cannot continue; a change is necessary. Yet the change would shake up and overturn the entire structure of bourgeois society. After the bourgeois revolution of 1789, the time had come for a new, proletarian revolution: progress could not simply continue in small, linear steps. A revolutionary leap was needed. Karl Marx took up the rallying call, and applied his incisive language and intellect to the task of launching this major new and, as he thought, definitive step in history towards salvation””towards what Kant had described as the “Kingdom of God”. Once the truth of the hereafter had been rejected, it would then be a question of establishing the truth of the here and now. The critique of Heaven is transformed into the critique of earth, the critique of theology into the critique of politics. Progress towards the better, towards the definitively good world, no longer comes simply from science but from politics””from a scientifically conceived politics that recognizes the structure of history and society and thus points out the road towards revolution, towards all-encompassing change. With great precision, albeit with a certain onesided bias, Marx described the situation of his time, and with great analytical skill he spelled out the paths leading to revolution””and not only theoretically: by means of the Communist Party that came into being from the Communist Manifesto of 1848, he set it in motion. His promise, owing to the acuteness of his analysis and his clear indication of the means for radical change, was and still remains an endless source of fascination. Real revolution followed, in the most radical way in Russia.

Together with the victory of the revolution, though, Marx’s fundamental error also became evident. He showed precisely how to overthrow the existing order, but he did not say how matters should proceed thereafter. He simply presumed that with the expropriation of the ruling class, with the fall of political power and the socialization of means of production, the new Jerusalem would be realized. Then, indeed, all contradictions would be resolved, man and the world would finally sort themselves out. Then everything would be able to proceed by itself along the right path, because everything would belong to everyone and all would desire the best for one another. Thus, having accomplished the revolution, Lenin must have realized that the writings of the master gave no indication as to how to proceed. True, Marx had spoken of the interim phase of the dictatorship of the proletariat as a necessity which in time would automatically become redundant. This “intermediate phase” we know all too well, and we also know how it then developed, not ushering in a perfect world, but leaving behind a trail of appalling destruction. Marx not only omitted to work out how this new world would be organized””which should, of course, have been unnecessary. His silence on this matter follows logically from his chosen approach. His error lay deeper. He forgot that man always remains man. He forgot man and he forgot man’s freedom. He forgot that freedom always remains also freedom for evil. He thought that once the economy had been put right, everything would automatically be put right. His real error is materialism: man, in fact, is not merely the product of economic conditions, and it is not possible to redeem him purely from the outside by creating a favourable economic environment.

Take the time to read it all.

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Pope Criticizes Atheism in Encyclical

Pope Benedict XVI strongly criticized atheism in a major document released Friday, saying it had led to some of the “greatest forms of cruelty and violations of justice” ever known.
In his second encyclical, Benedict also critically questioned modern Christianity, saying its focus on individual salvation had ignored Jesus’ message that true Christian hope involves salvation for all.

The document, titled “Saved by Hope,” is a deeply theological exploration of Christian hope: that in the suffering and misery of daily life, Christianity provides the faithful with a “journey of hope” to the Kingdom of God.

“We must do all we can to overcome suffering, but to banish it from the world is not in our power,” Benedict wrote. “Only God is able to do this.”

Read it all.

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

Anglican Network in Canada Responds to the Pastoral Statement from the Primate of Canada

Yesterday’s pastoral letter from the Primate and Metropolitans of the Anglican Church of Canada is cause for further disappointment. Rather than honestly acknowledging the irreconcilable differences and seeking to find amicable solutions, the Primate and Metropolitans have chosen to issue a statement that will only further confuse the Canadian church.

The Pastoral Statement fails to acknowledge the true cause of the crisis identified by the Windsor Report and the unanimous Communiqués of the Primates (including the Archbishop of Canterbury) from 2003 (Lambeth), 2005 (Dromantine) and 2007 (Dar es Salaam). These documents affirmed the Anglican Communion’s doctrinal position on human sexuality as articulated in the 1998 Lambeth Resolution 1.10 and appealed to the ACC and the US Episcopal Church (TEC) to not further “tear the fabric of the Communion at its deepest level”, and to not “walk apart” from the Communion by violating the Communion’s doctrinal standard.

The Pastoral Statement also fails to mention that those Communion documents clearly identified the actions of the ACC (and TEC) and the diocese of New Westminster as the real cause of the divisions in the church. The Windsor Report and the Primates’ Communiqués warned that these actions would lead to further division in the church. Unfortunately, rather than heeding the Primates warnings, the dioceses of Ottawa, Montreal and Niagara have followed New Westminster’s lead.

Rather than being the cause of broken fellowship, the provision of Primatial oversight from Archbishop Venables is, in fact, a response to the existing broken fellowship – both within Canada and between Canada and much of the rest of the Communion.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Cono Sur [formerly Southern Cone], Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

Archbishop Gregory Venables comments on specific points raised by the Primate of Canada

3. Regarding the contravening of agreements by interventions:

“In the Dar es Salaam communiqué we said, “Furthermore, those Primates who have undertaken interventions do not feel that it is right to end those interventions until it becomes clear that sufficient provision has been made for the life of those persons.”

On the other hand the bishop of New Westminster within the ACOC a few hours after the appearance of the Primates’ letter from Brazil in 2003 went ahead with the very action the letter had pleaded should not be taken. It also went against the Bible and the consensus of 2000 years of Christianity.

The implication of this violation and the resulting crisis was ignored.

Since then there have been egregious examples in clear rejection of Lambeth 1 10, Windsor and the requests of the Communion leadership. Once again nothing has been said even though this has meant the tearing apart of the Anglican Communion and an exodus from the church.

Now suddenly those who seek to take care of those who side with historic, biblical Christianity and the Anglican Communion are accused of the very lapse that has produced the crisis.

Is it possible in the real world to use the very agreements that one is contravening to protect oneself”.

Read it all (note it is apended at the bottom of the first letter).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Global South Churches & Primates, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

Canadian Muslims enter Sudanese Teddy debate

The Muslim Canadian Congress is organizing a teddy bear mail-in to protest Sudan’s imprisonment of Gillian Gibbons, a British schoolteacher.

The 54-year-old woman was jailed on Thursday for 15 days for allowing her young students to name a teddy bear Muhammad as part of a class project.

Tarek Fatah, MCC’s founder, said he is asking the group’s 300 members to send “tiny teddy bears” (including the one pictured) to Faiza Hassan

Taha, Sudan’s ambassador in Ottawa, as a protest.

Yesterday, protests at the leniency of Ms. Gibbons’ sentence brought hostile crowds out on the streets of the Sudanese capital Khartoum, with angry men brandishing ceremonial swords and calling for her execution.

Read it all.

Posted in * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Canada, Islam, Other Faiths

Local High School Football Coach, A Legend, to Play for Another State Championship Today

[John] McKissick remembers when he started [56 years ago], Summerville had 296 students in the top four grades.

“I was the coach,” McKissick says. “I did football, girls basketball, boys basketball, baseball. I added track. I don’t know how in the world I did it.”

Now, the high school has roughly 3,400 students. McKissick, himself, has 10 coaches on the football staff.

And as the school has grown, so has Summerville. In the early days, he’d drive around town in an old pickup he bought from surplus in Columbia, and stop by the pool hall, poke his head in, to make sure all his boys were home by 9 o’clock.

He’d make them get haircuts if they wanted to play. He still hates long hair, and ear bobs, he really hates ear bobs.

“He calls them ear bobs sometimes because that’s what they called them growing up,” Mrs. McKissick says.

“But all their heroes wear them,” McKissick says. “So we let them wear ’em around the school, just not on the field.”

Adaptation has been his ally. First rule of convention: Choose the practical solution. The best systems require retrofitting.

“He’s been able to adapt better than anyone I’ve ever seen, especially as a coach,” says Billy Long, one of McKissick’s former players and coaches. “The kids have changed, and it’s not just football. It’s everything.”

556 victories and 10 state championships. Whoa. Read it all.

Update: A CBS News report on Coach McKissick is here.

Another update: A USA Today article is there also.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Sports

Andrew Goddard: The Anglican Communion – Mapping the Terrain

There are clearly a number of centrifugal forces currently threatening the unity of the Anglican Communion. The focus of these for many is the issue of the proper response to same-sex unions and here I have suggested there is a wide spectrum of views among Anglicans which can be broadly classified into four groups: rejection, reassertion, reassessment and reinterpretation.

Faced with these divisions, the Communion responded by addressing the underlying ecclesiological questions relating to how we live together in communion and maintain our unity in the face of diversity. This produced the Windsor Report and now the Windsor Process (and within it the covenant process). This has articulated a vision of life in communion that I have called ‘communion Catholicism’ and then sought to apply that to the differences over sexuality.

The danger is that this process has, in turn, produced (or perhaps uncovered) further points of tension. At the level of principle there are new fracture lines developing as, competing with the Windsor vision, there are at least two other alternative ways of envisioning our life together – what I’ve called connectional confessionalism and autonomous inclusivism. These now supplement the tensions over sexuality and (in as much as there is a correlation between these and the two extremes of the sexuality spectrum) they may strengthen and reinforce them. At the level of practice there are those who, even if they share Windsor’s vision of life in communion and reject these two alternative paradigms, are unhappy with at least some of Windsor’s practical outworkings of this vision in relation to how the Communion should respond to its diversity over sexuality.

In addition to these three different levels of tension over more theoretical areas – attitudes to sexuality, visions of life in Communion, the implications of Windsor for sexuality – there is now the added and most pressing concrete question of discerning whether, if one accepts Windsor’s proposals in relation to the current crisis, TEC has (as JSC argue)accepted and implemented Windsor’s recommendations.

Finally, these forces are at play within and between at least four different institutional arenas within the Communion’s life – individual provinces and their relationships with other provinces, the Instruments of Communion, coalitions of provinces, and unofficial networks of committed protagonists.

Miraculously, for the last five years (since the current high-level tensions really began with the decisions of New Westminster diocese) the Instruments have been able to bring together all the provinces (though at ACC Nottingham, TEC and Canada attended as observers) and facilitate ongoing conversation across these various divides and wide spectra of beliefs and visions for the Communion. It has done so even as inter-provincial relationships and eucharistic fellowship among the Primates broke down. The challenge now is whether and how that achievement can be maintained, especially in relation to Lambeth 2008, and, if it cannot, what sort of viable ‘second best’ arrangements can be developed or ‘amicable separations’ negotiated.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Analysis, Anglican Identity, Ecclesiology, Instruments of Unity, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Windsor Report / Process

From AP: Green sermons taking root throughout the Southeast

The tall, tan pastor stood at the pulpit of his Baptist church on a recent Sunday morning, cleared his throat, and nervously proclaimed the following: First, he believes in God. And second, he believes in the Bible.

Robert Walker Jr.’s audience, a crowd of about 100 faithful parishioners, shuffled uncomfortably as he spoke. As Walker shifted gears, it became clear why.

“We can embrace God and Scripture and science together,” he said. “And it’s enough to say when they agree – and sometimes they do – we should embrace it. And they agree that our Earth cannot last forever. And that we are charged with the responsibility of taking care of it.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Energy, Natural Resources, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Religion & Culture

Canadian Anglican leader blasts Reasserters

The Anglican Church of Canada is striking back at its orthodox critics.

In a statement to be read out in Anglican churches across the country on Sunday, Primate Fred Hiltz condemns the actions of breakaway members as “inappropriate, unwelcome and invalid” and “deplores” efforts by a South American archbishop to extend his influence into Canada.

“We deplore recent actions on the part of the primate and general synod of the Province of the Southern Cone to extend its jurisdiction into Canada,” says the pastoral statement, also signed by four regional archbishops.

Last week, Archbishop Gregory Venables extended an invitation to conservative Canadian Anglicans to switch their allegiance from the Anglican Church of Canada to his 27,000-member church representing Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay.

The church has been pushed to the brink of schism over the issues of same-sex marriage blessings and gay clergy. Conservative Anglicans in Canada and the U.S. hope to set up a parallel church in North America along theological lines, saying they no longer feel welcome in the liberal national churches.

Read it all and there is a Reuters story here also.

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

Valerie Weaver-Zercher looks at recent books on the Wedding Industry

Three recent books scrutinize the $80 billion wedding industry. Vicki Howard offers a historical survey of the business of weddings; Rebecca Mead provides a journalistic account of the contemporary wedding scene; and Colleen Curran collects women’s stories about weddings. Although none of the writers is equipped to counsel pastors, all of them detail the way in which commercial interests have stepped into what Mead calls the “vacuum of authority” regarding how people should marry. And all of them point to small but promising signs of a movement toward nuptial common sense that questions a climate in which a $15,000 wedding is regarded as frugal.

The wedding industry””that cluster of corporations and individuals that provides products and services to brides and grooms and hopes to hook them as customers for life””is less frequently a target than are the minutiae-obsessed modern brides themselves, also known as “Bridezillas.” They’re the women who throw tantrums if the reception punch doesn’t match the place cards, who make their attendants show up for ten fittings, and who weep if none of the guests remortgage their house to buy the silver tableware on the gift registry. Bridezilla is a figure of such mythic proportions that bridal magazines and Web sites themselves are dishing out advice about how not to be one””which journalist Anne Kingston, in The Meaning of Wife, says is “not unlike a drug dealer expressing worry that his customers might end up addicted.” And while many women of marrying age have at least one story of a friend-turned-wedding-monster, Mead writes that the now fashionable derision of Bridezilla “provides a way to separate off, into safe quarantine, the disconcerting sense that the way we conduct weddings has somehow gone wrong. . . . The Bridezilla caricature is a stand-in representing a much larger anxiety: that we are all living in a Bridezilla culture.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Marriage & Family