Daily Archives: December 2, 2007

South Carolina economy: Why ’08 might not be so great

health is threatened in the coming year as the old problem of declining manufacturing meets a new reality of stalling retail sales and a deteriorating construction market.

And the woes of the housing market are spreading into finance, witnessed by Bank of America’s announcement in November that it will close a 105-employee mortgage bundling office in Florence in early January.

Retail sales and housing recovered swiftly from the last recession, in 2001, and helped generate jobs that more than replaced the number that manufacturing continued to lose.

But help at the checkout counter and the construction site will be hard to find next year, said Doug Woodward, USC’s economic research director.

“We really believe we’re at a tipping point,” said Woodward, who along with his staff will present an annual forecast for the state’s economy at a conference Monday in Columbia. “There are going to be layoffs in sectors we haven’t seen in a while. It’s spreading from construction into finance.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, Economy

Split in world church could mean change for local parish in San Joaquin

On Dec. 8, clergy and lay delegates of the San Joaquin Diocese of the Episcopal Church will meet in Fresno for their 48th annual convention and to vote on whether or not to remain a part of the Episcopal Church of America.

“This is a landmark convention for us,” said the Rev. J.P. Wadlin of St. Michael’s Episcopal Church in Ridgecrest. “This is the second part of a two part process. Any move must be ratified by two successive conventions to become canon law. If it passes and we do remove ourselves from ECUSA, we have to belong to some branch of the Anglican Church. The Archbishops and Bishops of the Province of the Southern Cone in South America have extended an invitation to us to come under their protection. The move would be temporary, pastoral and reversible.”

If ratified, the Diocese of San Joaquin, under the leadership of Bishop John-David Schofield, would be the first to make the move. Prior to this, only individual parishes have broken away and joined themselves to provinces in Africa or South America. San Joaquin Diocese, which extends from Stockton to Bakersfield and Rosamond to Mammoth, would become part of the Southern Cone, along with up to five other conservative dioceses, which are expected to make the move in the next six months.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: San Joaquin, TEC Diocesan Conventions/Diocesan Councils

Pittsburgh Decision to Realign sends churches into unknown territory

With an Episcopal diocese that wants to secede from its denomination and several Presbyterian Church (USA) congregations that are trying to do the same, Western Pennsylvania courts could soon be awash in lawsuits over church property.

What is at stake beyond souls are millions of dollars in assets and in buildings where generations have worshiped. Activists for both the denominations and seceding parishes express public confidence that civil courts will rule on their favor. But experienced attorneys on both sides believe the outcomes uncertain. That may be especially true if a whole diocese tries to secede — which is without legal precedent.

“Property law varies from state to state. It varies from one end of the commonwealth to the other,” said Michael McCarty, a Philadelphia attorney who has represented several churches that want to leave the mainline Presbyterian Church (USA) for the more conservative Evangelical Presbyterian Church.

Because the state Supreme Court has ruled that church cases will be decided on the basis of their deeds and other legal documents, “I suspect that in Pennsylvania [decisions] are going to come down to a case-by -case, parcel-by-parcel, analysis,” he said….

“This is new and sad territory,” said Robert Royce, a former Episcopal chancellor, now living in North Carolina, who has been an expert witness for the denomination’s side. “Both in our canons and experience we have never had a diocese threaten to bolt before. As far as I am concerned, this has never been litigated to the point where there is a legal precedent which would be binding. This is all new territory for everybody.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, Other Churches, Presbyterian, TEC Conflicts

Effort to Limit Junk Food in Schools Faces Hurdles

Federal lawmakers are considering the broadest effort ever to limit what children eat: a national ban on selling candy, sugary soda and salty, fatty food in school snack bars, vending machines and cafeteria lines.

Whether the measure, an amendment to the farm bill, can survive the convoluted politics that have bogged down that legislation in the Senate is one issue. Whether it can survive the battle among factions in the fight to improve school food is another.

Senator Tom Harkin, Democrat of Iowa and the chairman of the Agriculture Committee, has twice introduced bills to deal with foods other than the standard school lunch, which is regulated by Department of Agriculture.

Several lawmakers and advocates for changes in school food believe that an amendment to the $286 billion farm bill is the best chance to get control of the mountain of high-calorie snacks and sodas available to schoolchildren. Even if the farm bill does not pass, Mr. Harkin and Senator Lisa Murkowski, Republican of Alaska, a sponsor of the amendment, vow to keep reintroducing it in other forms until it sticks.

They are optimistic about their chances because there is more public interest than ever in improving school food and because leaders in the food and beverage industry have had a hand in creating the new standards.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Children, Education, Health & Medicine

From the Morning Scripture Readings

So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober.

For those who sleep sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night.

But, since we belong to the day, let us be sober, and put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation.

–1 Thessalonians 5: 6-8; I wish all blog readers a blessed Advent–KSH

Posted in Uncategorized

Clerics' Letter: Signatories Show Global 'Handshake'

The document is signed by 138 Muslim scholars, clerics and political leaders; it shows similarities among Christianity, Judaism and Islam. Signatory Akbar Ahmed, chairman of the Islamic Studies Department at American University, sees it as a “handshake across the oceans.”

Scott Simon talks to Akbar Ahmed.

Listen to it all from NPR, it serves as a good compliment to the previously posted story.

Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Islam, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Faiths

The Archbishop of Canterbury hosts a Muslim-Christian gathering

Muslim and Christian scholars are to gather in Singapore next week at the invitation of the Archbishop of Canterbury. On the agenda will issues including gender and diversity issues.

The meeting is the latest ”˜Building Bridges’ exercise, the sixth in the annual series, which will bring together over 30 scholars to examine issues of current interest from a religious perspective.

Hosted by the National University of Singapore, it will consider how the respective religions approach such matters as care and responsibility for the environment. As previously, the Seminar will consist of the presentation of papers in public and separate private sessions for the participants.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Archbishop of Canterbury, Islam, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Faiths

Religion and Ethics Weekly: Healing the Wounds of War

War is, in some ways, the ultimate spiritual crisis.

By its very nature, it requires participants to perform acts that would be considered legally and morally wrong in civilian life. “Your whole life, regardless of religion, you’re told, ‘Don’t kill, don’t kill, don’t kill.’ Then all of a sudden it’s, ‘Here’s a gun.’ It’s hard to reconcile that,” says Linda McClenahan, a Dominican nun, trauma counselor, and former Vietnam Army sergeant who lives in Racine, Wisconsin.

In a 1995 study, 51 percent of veterans in residential post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) treatment in a Veterans Affairs facility said they had abandoned their religious faith during the war in which they fought. In the same study, 74 percent of respondents said they had difficulty reconciling their religious beliefs with traumatic war-zone events. Battle creates moral confusion, and it can leave a soldier spiritually as well as physically wounded.

Unlike many other traumatic experiences, combat can cause “moral pain” arising from “the realization that one has committed acts with real and terrible consequences,” according to a seminal 1981 article in PSYCHOLOGY TODAY by Peter Marin. He was writing about Vietnam, but his overarching thesis could be applied to any military conflict. Profound moral distress is the “real horror” of war, yet its effect on those who fight is rarely discussed.

The difficulty of talking about the spiritual wounds of war was apparent in October when the Episcopal Society of St. John the Evangelist in Cambridge, Mass., announced a four-day retreat at its monastery called “Binding Up Our Wounds,” for men and women returning from places of war. Nobody showed up.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Military / Armed Forces, Religion & Culture

Congratulations to Oklahoma

The game against Missouri just ended. What a season–tonight #2 West Virginia lost to Pittsburgh. My goodness.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Sports

The Archbishop of Canterbury draws friendly fire in Times Letters

Here is one:

Sir, I was saddened to read the Archbishop of Canterbury’s ill-advised comments about US imperialism (report, Nov 26). Quite apart from the assertions, which are simply incomprehensible, as a man of God, the Archbishop will know two key principles. One is the importance of motive and the other is gratitude and appreciation.

Americans may be naive but their motives are generally “principle-driven” and charitable. They may have got Iraq wrong (although events may yet prove them right) but their intentions were to create a better world, just as their intentions were when they bailed us out in two world wars and when they provided us with a shield during the Cold War and when they rebuilt Europe, economically, under the Marshall Plan. The world owes America a huge debt of gratitude. A debt it can never repay but at least it can, and ought to, appreciate.

Joshua Rowe

Read them all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Archbishop of Canterbury

Andrew Sullivan on Barack Obama: Goodbye to All That

He could be president in five or nine years’ time””why the rush?

But he knows, and privately acknowledges, that the fundamental point of his candidacy is that it is happening now. In politics, timing matters. And the most persuasive case for Obama has less to do with him than with the moment he is meeting. The moment has been a long time coming, and it is the result of a confluence of events, from one traumatizing war in Southeast Asia to another in the most fractious country in the Middle East. The legacy is a cultural climate that stultifies our politics and corrupts our discourse.

Obama’s candidacy in this sense is a potentially transformational one. Unlike any of the other candidates, he could take America””finally””past the debilitating, self-perpetuating family quarrel of the Baby Boom generation that has long engulfed all of us. So much has happened in America in the past seven years, let alone the past 40, that we can be forgiven for focusing on the present and the immediate future. But it is only when you take several large steps back into the long past that the full logic of an Obama presidency stares directly””and uncomfortably””at you.

At its best, the Obama candidacy is about ending a war””not so much the war in Iraq, which now has a mo­mentum that will propel the occupation into the next decade””but the war within America that has prevailed since Vietnam and that shows dangerous signs of intensifying, a nonviolent civil war that has crippled America at the very time the world needs it most. It is a war about war””and about culture and about religion and about race. And in that war, Obama””and Obama alone””offers the possibility of a truce.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, US Presidential Election 2008

Robert Wilken–Amo, Amas, Amat: Christianity and Culture

Last spring on a trip to Erfurt Germany, the medieval university town famous for the Augustinian cloister where Martin Luther was ordained to the priesthood, I learned that only twenty percent of the population professed adherence to Christianity. When the topic of religion came up in a conversation with a young woman in a hotel lounge I asked her whether she was a member of a church. Without hesitation she replied: Ich bin Heide. I am a heathen.

It is hardly news to discover pagans in the heart of western Europe where once Christianity flourished. The steep decline in the number of Christians has been underway for generations, even centuries. What surprised me was the complete absence of embarrassment in her use of the term “heathen”. She did not say she no longer went to Church, nor that she was not a believer. For her, Christianity, no doubt the religion of her grandparents if not her parents, was absent from her horizon. Two days earlier my train had stopped at Fulda where St. Boniface, the apostle to the Germans, was buried. Boniface had gone to Germany to convert the heathen, and in a spectacular and courageous gesture felled the sacred oak at Geismar. The astonished onlookers soon hearkened to Boniface’s preaching and received Baptism. It would seem that if Christianity is ever to flourish again in the land between the Rhine and the Elbe a new Boniface will have to appear to fell the sacred oaks of European secularism.

Yet what made an even deeper impression on me in Europe was the debate over the preface to the new constitution of the European Union. I was living in Italy at the time and had been following the discussion in the Italian press. All the nations of the European union are historically Christian, and the very idea of Europe””which is not the doings of nature””was the work of Christian civilization. The Carolingians, Christians kings, first brought together the peoples west and the east of the Rhine to form a political alliance with the blessing of the bishop of Rome. The story of Europe is a spiritual drama fueled by religious convictions, not geography, economics or technology. Yet the framers of the EU constitution refuse even to invoke the name of Christianity in its preface. While readily acknowledging the inheritance of Greece and Rome, and even the Enlightenment, in a wilful act of amnesia, they excise any mention of Christianity from Europe’s history. Not only is Christianity excluded from a role in Europe’s future, it has been banished from Europe’s past. One wonders whether the new Europe, uprooted from its Christian soil, will continue to promote the spiritual values that have made western civilization so unique.

Talking to the young woman in Erfurt and listening in on the debate about the EU constitution I found myself musing on the future of Christian culture. In my lifetime and in the lifetime of others in this room we have seen the collapse of Christian civilization. At first the process of disintegration was slow, a gradual and persistent attrition, but today it has moved into overdrive, and more troubling, it has become deliberate and intentional, promoted not only by the cultured despisers of Christianity, but often aided and abetted by Christians themselves.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Church History, Europe, Religion & Culture

Kay Buckley: A Personal Tribute to Madeleine L’Engle

This past Thursday would have been Madeleine L’Engle’s 89th birthday. She was long a member of All Angels’ Church in New York City, an orthodox congregation which is part of the Diocese of New York. This is posted here with permission and I would be very grateful if when you linked to it you gave credit to the blog please. It is all the result of a dedicated and faithful blog reader to whom I say a special thank you–KSH.

A Personal Tribute to Madeleine L’Engle
By Kay Buckley
Made at All Angels’ Church, New York City
September 9, 2007,

I have been asked to say a few words this morning in tribute to my friend Madeleine L’Engle. I am not certain that I can speak without weeping. Madeleine always told me that I had “the gift of tears,” a gift I often exercise.

I asked our son David what he thought I should talk about when preparing this tribute and he replied, “Pray about it and ask God what would be pleasing to Him and what would bring a smile to Madeleine’s radiant face.” That is my desire this morning, to please God and honor Madeleine.

My husband Jimmy and I met Madeleine in 1989 through our son Rob Buckley. Rob died fourteen years ago at the age of twenty seven. He was Director of Community Ministries here at All Angels’ and there is a Memorial Gallery here at the church in his memory. For a long time he had been telling us that we had to come to this church he had started attending with some of his friends. One morning when we visited, we walked in and Rob pointed to the front of the church and said, “Do you see that lady sitting up there?” That’s Madeleine L’Engle! She goes to this church, she wrote A Wrinkle in Time, and she is my friend.” Our introduction that day began the Buckley family’s eighteen year friendship with Madeleine.

Madeleine was a great friend and mentor, wise, and fierce in her faith. We spent hours discussing all manner of things, especially spiritual matters. She told me that way down deep in my heart I would always be a Baptist girl. This she said, as my sponsor, after I was confirmed into the Episcopal Church! She had a keen sense of humor. She often suggested that we get two cans and string a wire across the Hudson River so we could cut down on our phone bills between New York and New Jersey.

Madeleine held writer’s workshops in her apartment in New York for eight years just for the congregation of All Angels’. She offered workshops all over the world, but All Angels’ people held a very special place in her heart. She touched countless lives in so many ways. She was available, approachable and unblemished by fame. She adored people and people adored her in return.

After my son’s death there was a time when I could not pray. “Don’t worry about praying,” she said, “We will pray for you!” It was as simple as that and pray they did.

In the church service, we sometimes prayed in small groups. One Sunday I told her I was not moving my chair into the “circle of prayer”. I announced I wasn’t praying, I wasn’t talking to God. She locked her eyes with mine and in that famous voice said, “Move your chair into this circle. You do not have to pray. All you need to do is “be”. So, I obediently joined the circle and I just “be-d”.

A few weeks ago a friend and I drove to Connecticut to visit Madeleine. An incredible gift and miracle were waiting for us. She was awake and sitting up in bed. For four hours she was totally in the present. We remembered, we prayed, we laughed and cried, we had Compline and Eucharist, and even sang songs. That was her last great day here on earth. Shortly after that she began her journey Home.

This week I received a note from a friend that said: “I have been told that you visited Madeleine regularly and were able to get her out over these past months. This is truly a treasure and gift for the both of you. Because of the communion of saints, I feel that your physical visiting with this dear one has in some ways represented us all and our love for her. We are all sending love to the family and seeing visions of angels welcoming her into the unending celestial dinner parties of the beyond. I can’t wait to see her again there. And with that, the tears come flooding with bittersweet loss and joy.”

When my Father died many years ago, a friend sent a telegram that said. “Our loss, heaven’s gain.” Certainly those words ring true when we speak of our dear Madeleine. Our earth is poorer, but heaven is so much richer. Thanks be to God.

© Kay Buckley

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Books, Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

Notable and Quotable

Nobody on the other side was ever an enemy. They were always an adversary.

Mark Shields on the Lehrer News Hour. You need to guess about whom he was speaking before you look. It would be very helpful if this could be remembered by all in the current Anglican debate–KSH.

Posted in Uncategorized

NBC hits the Ball out of the Park with its Series on African American Women

You need to take the time to watch all five reports.

Here is a quiz I gave my youngest daughter on the series from this week. First, what is the percentage of Amican American men to African American women currently enrolled at undergraduate universities and Colleges in this country? Second, what percentage of African American children born in this country currently are born to single parent families? You need to guess the answer to both before you start watching–KSH.

When you are all done make sure to take the time to hear some of the letters NBC recieved in response to the series.

Update: Ron Allen has comments here also.

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