Daily Archives: December 6, 2007

The Latest Poll Numbers from South Carolina for Democrats

New York Senator Hillary Clinton’s lead over Illinois Senator Barack Obama in South Carolina’s Presidential Primary has disappeared. The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of the race shows Clinton with 36% of the vote while Obama is the top choice for 34% of the state’s Likely Primary Voters. A month ago, Clinton had a ten-point advantage. In September, the former First Lady was up by thirteen points.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, US Presidential Election 2008

The Full text of Mitt Romney's "Faith In America" speech

“There are some who may feel that religion is not a matter to be seriously considered in the context of the weighty threats that face us. If so, they are at odds with the nation’s founders, for they, when our nation faced its greatest peril, sought the blessings of the Creator. And further, they discovered the essential connection between the survival of a free land and the protection of religious freedom. In John Adams’ words: ‘We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion… Our constitution was made for a moral and religious people.’

“Freedom requires religion just as religion requires freedom. Freedom opens the windows of the soul so that man can discover his most profound beliefs and commune with God. Freedom and religion endure together, or perish alone.

“Given our grand tradition of religious tolerance and liberty, some wonder whether there are any questions regarding an aspiring candidate’s religion that are appropriate. I believe there are. And I will answer them today.

“Almost 50 years ago another candidate from Massachusetts explained that he was an American running for president, not a Catholic running for president. Like him, I am an American running for president. I do not define my candidacy by my religion. A person should not be elected because of his faith nor should he be rejected because of his faith.

Read it all. It wasn’t too bad, i thought, especially on the religious freedom of this country. But he left unaswered the key questions of how his faith would impact his policies, and what Mormons believe and how that is different from what Christians believe–KSH.

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

The gospel according to Chicago

The 175 blue-robed choir members take the stage at the Apostolic Church of God on the South Side.

They crowd together, preparing for a service that will start momentarily.

A soloist stands at the center, the twinkle of the keyboard softly playing underneath his voice. Another soloist replaces him for the next stanza and before long the rest of the choir — some are mouthing words in the background — join in, warming the space with its melodies….

Read the whole article.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Music, Religion & Culture

The Church of Nigeria Wails for the Anglican Communion

Prayer ministers cutting across all ranks in the Anglican Church of Nigeria assembled at St. Piran’s Church, Jos, Plateau State in a corporate and intensive intercession focusing on Church renewal and advancement of evangelization process in the 21st century.

The convocation which formally kicked off with a solemn Holy Communion Service presided over by the Bishop of Jos Diocese and the Archbishop-elect of the Province of Jos, the Rt. Revd. Benjamin Kwashi, had in attendance bishops, clergy, intercessors, missionaries and evangelists from all across the Anglican communion in Nigeria.

Bishop Kwashi speaking in a sermon at the service admonished the intercessors not to relent in their prayers for the Primate and the Leadership of the Church of Nigeria as they champion the opposition to all unbiblical acts in the world and the move into large missionary enterprise in Africa.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of Rwanda

Pulpit Was the Springboard for Huckabee’s Rise

In August 1980, as the conservative Christian movement was first transforming American politics, Ronald Reagan stood before a Dallas stadium full of 15,000 foot-stomping, hand-clapping evangelicals and pledged his fealty to the Bible. “All the complex and horrendous questions confronting us at home and worldwide have their answer in that single book,” said Mr. Reagan, the Republican presidential nominee.

Assisting with logistics for the event was a young seminary dropout named Mike Huckabee. “It was the genesis for the whole movement,” Mr. Huckabee recalled of those early days.

Now Mr. Huckabee is running for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination, his campaign shaped by his two decades as an evangelical pastor and broadcaster. While he says he is running based on his career in the Arkansas governor’s mansion, not the pulpit, he has grounded his views on issues like abortion and immigration in Scripture, rallied members of the clergy for support, benefited from the anti-Mormon sentiment dogging a political rival and relied on the down-to-earth style he honed in the pulpit to help catapult him in the polls.

Read it all.

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

Thomas Friedman: Intercepting Iran’s Take on America

There are two intelligence analyses that are relevant to the balance of power between the U.S. and Iran ”” one is the latest U.S. assessment of Iran, which certainly gave a much more complex view of what is happening there. The other is the Iranian National Intelligence Estimate of America, which ”” my guess ”” would read something like this…

Read it all.

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

Benjamin B. Twinamaani: How American Anglicans Think and Act

At the end of all this, it is American Ecclesia Anglicana that has asked the rest of the Anglican Communion to pay the steep price of breaking down Anglican Order worldwide just to save Anglican Faith in America. Yet it is American Ecclesia Anglicana that needs Anglican Order the least, and may not be able to appreciate the true cost many a province will pay for this great loss. Cognitively, I blame it all on a generational gap — that we have a generation for whom the values of laying down one’s “rights” for the other are fully beyond the cognitive horizon. This generation just cannot see it, no matter how much information is presented.

There is hope (there is always hope), that it will take the next decade for all the various pieces of Anglican Order to settle so that a new structure can be reconstituted in some form. It will also take that time period for many of the players that have been at the forefront of this fragmentation to retire from active ministry and thereby effect some change in the high levels of cathetic investment in the current state of intransigency. But a decade in a time of economic globalization is equivalent to a century during colonialism, and the impact of Anglican Order to mediate alternative terms and conditions of the rapacious ethics of globalization will be lost for millions. And that is the cost the rest of the Anglican Communion will have to pay for trying, and failing, to save Anglican Faith in America at the end of the day. Cognitively speaking, if colonialism was like a lion, a predator that devoured the globe economically but left in place global Anglican Faith and Order that delivered the gospel for millions, globalization is like an African Hyena. It is a different predator animal altogether- more rapacious. Let me explain. A lion usually kills its prey before it starts to feed on it. A hyena has no compunction about such niceties. Hyenas just start feeding while the prey is still alive. And economic globalization is one huge, hairy starving hungry hyena for those of us in Global South Anglicana.

An African proverb from my tribe says Empisi y’owanyu ekurya nekurundarunda -loosely translated to mean, “the hyena from your home village will eat you without scattering your bones too far, perchance your family might have a piece of you left to bury.” What we have lost is the unique infrastructure of global Anglican Order that would have effectively carried the new bold initiatives enshrined in the idea of the Global South Economic Empowerment Fund, which in turn would have rightly mediated those awesome Millennium Development Goals in our contexts, in a process that promised to us a new history of negotiating different (better) terms of engagement for us in the globalization dynamic. Our great Anglican Faith notwithstanding, globalization for us in the Global South, without Anglican Order to deliver the prophetic ethics of Anglican Faith, will be that other strange hyena from another village that will scatter our bones to the four winds. Sadly, this reality it also beyond the cognitive horizon of many in American Anglicanism who will continue to safely live off the benefits of their legal base, oblivious to the actual price paid by the rest of us for the breakdown of Anglican Order. As Winston Churchill put it, “Never was jeopardized so much for so many by so few for so little.”

And as the MasterCard commercial put it, “some things may cost so much by price, but some other things are priceless”. And as Anglicans facing Christian witness in the 21st Century, we have missed this point. The words of St. Paul to the Romans provide a fitting end to this essay:

Personally, I’ve been completely satisfied with who you are and what you are doing. You seem to me to be well-motivated and well-instructed, quite capable of guiding and advising one another. So, my dear friends, don’t take my rather bold and blunt language as criticism. It’s not criticism. I’m simply underlining how very much I need your help in carrying out this highly focused assignment God gave me, this priestly and gospel work of serving the spiritual needs of the non-Jewish outsiders so they can be presented as an acceptable offering to God, made whole and holy by God’s Holy Spirit. Looking back over what has been accomplished and what I have observed, I must say I am most pleased-in the context of Jesus, I’d even say proud, but only in that context. I have no interest in giving you a chatty account of my adventures, only the wondrously powerful and transformingly present words and deeds of Christ in me that triggered a believing response among the outsiders. In such ways I have trailblazed a preaching of the Message of Jesus all the way from Jerusalem far into northwestern Greece. This has all been pioneer work, bringing the Message only into those places where Jesus was not yet known and worshiped. My text has been,
Those who were never told of him-
they’ll see him!
Those who’ve never heard of him-
they’ll get the message!
Romans 15: 14-21 The Message

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Global South Churches & Primates, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Conflicts, TEC Polity & Canons

An NBC Report: Orphans of War

Holidays are hard for family members of American soldiers who have died fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, but one organization is giving them something to look forward to. Watch the whole heartwarming piece.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Children, Military / Armed Forces

L. Gregory Jones on Social Entrepeneurship

The daylong symposium was about “social entrepreneurship,” a relatively new idea in business education but a well-established phenomenon. The concept focuses on people who undertake innovations in the social sector””addressing problems in society and advancing a particular social mission to serve a larger good. We Christians have long had people who fulfilled this role””indeed, they founded many of the institutions we now take for granted.

I was struck by the response of one of the leaders when I asked about the origins of the social entrepreneurship movement. He said that while many of the most important social institutions in the United States were started out of faith-inspired motivation by churches and denominations, these organizations had lost their steam in the last few decades. Today, he said, much of the energy for social entrepreneurship is emerging in secular contexts.

He mentioned faith-inspired organizations””the Salvation Army, Goodwill, hospitals and many colleges and universities that denominations founded in the 19th and early 20th centuries. But then he began talking about Teach for America, a secular organization that has emerged over the past decade and now has a significant scale and scope of mission.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Religion & Culture

Crucial Test for Romney in Speech on His Religion

Mitt Romney’s planned speech today at the George Bush Presidential Library in Texas to confront suspicions about his Mormon faith is being viewed as the biggest moment of his presidential campaign.

With surveys showing many Americans less likely to vote for a Mormon presidential candidate, the address has drawn comparisons to John F. Kennedy’s call for religious tolerance when, as the Democratic presidential nominee in 1960, he sought to defuse hostility about his Roman Catholic faith before Southern Baptist ministers in Houston.

Kennedy’s task was in many ways easier, given that 42 million Americans were Roman Catholic then, compared with an estimated six million Mormons nationwide today, just 2 percent of the population.

Mr. Romney and his advisers have made clear that he will not be explaining his faith, or doing “Mormon 101,” as one top adviser put it, in his speech.

Read it all.

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

US Episcopal Church faces one possible Diocesan Vote to Move to Another Province

The U.S. Episcopal Church faces major tumult this week when an entire California diocese with more than 9,000 members decides whether to secede in an unprecedented protest over gay issues.

The Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin, based in Fresno and consisting of nearly 50 churches in 14 counties, would be the first diocese to bolt from the U.S. branch of the 77-million-member global Anglican Communion if Saturday’s final vote passes.

The U.S. church and Anglicanism generally have been in upheaval since 2003 when the Episcopal Church consecrated Gene Robinson of New Hampshire as the first bishop known to be in an openly gay relationship in more than four centuries of church history.

Dissent over that as well as the blessing of same-sex unions practiced in some congregations has caused a number of defections by traditionalists in the U.S. church.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Cono Sur [formerly Southern Cone], Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts

Daniel G. Amen: The Presidential candidates' health is a campaign issue

As a neuropsychiatrist and brain-imaging expert, I want our elected leaders to be some of the “brain healthiest people” in the land. How do you know about the brain health of a presidential candidate unless you look? The brain is involved in everything humans do: how we think, how we feel, how we get along with others, how we negotiate, how we pay attention in meetings and how we turn away the advances of White House interns or decide to invade a country based on contradictory intelligence.

Three of the last four presidents have shown clear brain pathology. President Reagan’s Alzheimer’s disease was evident during his second term in office. Nonelected people were covering up his forgetfulness and directing the country’s business. Few people knew it, but we had a national crisis. Brain studies have been shown to predict Alzheimer’s five to nine years before people have their first symptoms.

President Clinton’s moral lapses and problems with bad judgment and excitement-seeking behavior — indicative of problems in the prefrontal cortex — eventually led to his impeachment and a poisonous political divisiveness in the U.S. The prefrontal cortex houses the brain’s supervisor, involved with conscience, forethought, planning, attention span and judgment.

One could argue that our current president’s struggles with language and emotional rigidity are symptoms of temporal lobe pathology. The temporal lobes, underneath your temples and behind your eyes, are involved with language, mood stability, reading social cues and emotional flexibility.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Health & Medicine, Psychology, US Presidential Election 2008

Paul Collins: Smoke This Book

If the mark of a classic is that every time you read it you discover something new, then the 1972 paperback of A. E. Van Vogt’s science-fiction novel “Quest for the Future” just might be a classic. Those who read the book when it was first published in hardcover in 1970 certainly won’t recognize this passage from Chapter 15: “A large gleaming machine with an opening at one end was wheeled in, and once again the cycle ran its Micronite Filter. Mild, Smooth Taste. For All the Right Reasons. Kent. America’s Quality Cigarette. King Size or Deluxe 100s.”

A full-color advertising insert, bound directly into the book, brings “Quest for the Future” crashing into the mundane present. And this whiplash effect isn’t unique to Van Vogt’s book. A familiar if puzzling sight to flea market devotees, ad-stuffed paperbacks from the 1960s and ’70s now have a paper trail hidden among more than 40 million pages of internal tobacco industry documents archived online in the University of California, San Francisco’s Legacy Tobacco Documents Library (legacy.library.ucsf.edu). Read the memorandums and you’ll want a shower afterward ”” or perhaps a cigarette.

The story of paperback advertising started innocently enough: with babies, in fact. In 1958, the Madison Avenue adman Roy Benjamin founded the Quality Book Group, a consortium of the paperback industry heavyweights Bantam Books, Pocket Books and the New American Library. Despite the lofty name, the group’s real purpose was to sell advertisements in paperbacks, and its first target was the biggest success of them all: Dr. Benjamin Spock’s “Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care.” A 1959 Pocket Books print run of 500,000 included advertisements by Q-Tips, Carnation and Procter & Gamble. By 1963, a 26-page insert in Spock was commanding $6,500 to $7,500 per page, and ads were spreading into mysteries and other pulps as well.

It was a windfall for everyone ”” everyone, that is, except the authors. “Authors were horrified by these ads,” Paul Aiken, the executive director of the Authors Guild, said in a recent interview, adding jokingly, “And doubly horrified that they weren’t paid for them.”

Read it all. What I found most interesting about this was that some authors did not even know the tabacco advertisements were in their books–KSH.

Posted in * Culture-Watch

Joseph Loconte: Teddy Bear Totalitarianism

THE ARREST OF a British school teacher in Sudan last week–amid demands for her execution–had all the earmarks of a Samuel Beckett play, a theatre of the absurd that is attracting sell-out crowds in many parts of the Islamic world. The latest source of Muslim rage: a teddy bear.

Gillian Gibbons was arrested and convicted of insulting Islam because her class of seven-year-olds innocently named a teddy bear Muhammad. Initially sentenced to 15 days in jail, she could have spent six months rotting in a Sudanese prison and gotten 40 lashes or worse, courtesy of Sudan’s shari’a law. After an international outcry, President Omar al-Bashir granted her a pardon and kicked her out of the country earlier this week. The private school in Khartoum where she taught, which educates Christian and Muslim students, has been shut down.

The saga of Ms. Gibbons has hardly been more stupefying than the reaction of media elites and others desperate to avoid charges of “Islamophobia.” The BBC’s Amber Henshaw, for example, euphemistically dismissed the protestors as “a small group of hotheads.” Jeffrey Gettleman of the New York Times similarly downplayed the intensity of incensed locals. “Aside from a large gathering outside the presidential palace, most of Khartoum was quiet,” he reported. Sure, imams “brought up the case” in sermons–New York Times doublespeak for a fiery call to jihad–but not to worry, since “few of them urged violence.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Islam, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

The Bishop of San Joaquin responds to the Presiding Bishop

Dear Bishop Schori:

Greetings in the name of Jesus Christ, our one and only Lord and Savior.

I have read your letter of December 3, 2007 and thank you for your prayers. There is a pastoral tone to this letter which is much appreciated. Informing me that you are not writing with any threats is most encouraging also. One would hope that this indicates your serious consideration of the Primates’ specific request that deposition and litigation under the present circumstances be abandoned as unacceptable behavior among Christians.

Please know I do not share your feelings that I am isolated. My understanding of the authority of the Holy Scriptures, as well as Catholic Faith and Order are shared by the Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox Churches and by some 60 million faithful Anglicans worldwide. It is The Episcopal Church that has isolated itself from the overwhelming majority of Christendom and more specifically from the Anglican Communion by denying Biblical truth and walking apart from the historic Faith and Order.

It is true that the House of Bishops has ignored my views for nearly twenty years. After this length of time, one wonders how genuine the offer of change for the Church can be by having the “loyal opposition” present at the table. Despite all of this, we are not pining away here in the Diocese of San Joaquin; we are rejoicing in the truth of God’s word!

The decision to be made by our Annual Convention this Saturday is the culmination of The Episcopal Church’s failure to heed the repeated calls for repentance issued by the Primates of the Anglican Communion and for the cessation of false teaching and sacramental actions explicitly contrary to Scripture. For years, I have tried in vain to obtain adequate Primatial oversight to protect the Diocese from an apostate institution that has minted a new religion irreconcilable with the Anglican faith. Hopes were raised in February 2007 when leaders of the Anglican Communion met in Dar es Salaam. The direction given by them for the formation of a pastoral council would have provided the protection we requested and would have averted the need for the Diocese to seek sanctuary from another Province. You were in Dar es Salaam, and in the presence of the assembled Primates you verbally signified your agreement to this direction. By the time you returned to the United States, however, you denied your public statement and declared you had only meant to bring it back for further consideration. It was no surprise, therefore, when the Executive Council and the House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church later denounced the plan for a pastoral council that you went along with them. This was a clear signal that our religious freedom to practice the Historic Faith as this Church has received it would not be protected by The Episcopal Church. My Ordination vows require me to be a faithful steward of God’s holy Word and to defend His truth and “be ready, with all faithful diligence, to banish and drive away from the Church all erroneous and strange doctrines contrary to God’s Word; and to use both public and private monitions and exhortations…” I can do no other.

The Anglican Church of the Southern Cone has graciously offered the Diocese sanctuary on a temporary and emergency basis. This action is unprecedented but so, too, are the apostate actions of The Episcopal Church that make these protective measures necessary. The invitation of the Southern Cone is a matter of public record. In essence it embodies the solution agreed upon by you and the rest of the Anglican leaders at Dar es Salaam to provide adequate, acceptable Alternative Primatial Oversight. To endorse this as a way forward need not be a final nor irreconcilable commitment. Should it be the will of the Annual Convention to accept this most generous gift, I will welcome the opportunity implied in your letter to discuss how it impacts our relationship. In the event that the clergy and laity reject this offer from the Southern Cone, I would, of course, follow your recommendation to participate as a dissenter of the present unbiblical course of action being pursued by the House of Bishops. To do anything else would be to abandon God’s people of San Joaquin and, in the end, prove to be a hireling and not a shepherd. For me, at least, this is the honorable course the Lord would have me follow.

You will remain in my prayers,

Sincerely,

+John-David M. Schofield
Bishop of San Joaquin

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Presiding Bishop, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: San Joaquin