Daily Archives: January 8, 2008

'Reform' a common theme in sports, politics and religion in 2007

In January, “reform” was the rally cry of the Democrat-controlled Congress that took office in 2007, but reform also was the prescription offered in sports with the late December release of the Mitchell Report detailing the wide extent of steroid and human growth hormone use in Major League Baseball.

Meanwhile, the lack of reform about liberal homosexual policies within the Episcopal Church caused the first entire diocese to break with the denomination. In Southern Baptist life, reform involved debate about the extent and impact of Calvinism in the convention.

However, both political and religious news of 2007 most likely will be remembered for what it meant to events yet to come in 2008, and for the apparent strengthening ties between religion and politics at a time when public attacks against faith in the public square are on the rise. Southern Baptists, meanwhile, experienced tensions about theology and methodology, but also saw positive signs that cooperation in missions and ministries continues to be a tie that binds.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Religion & Culture

Bush convenes Plunge Protection Team

Bears beware. The New Deal of 2008 is in the works. The US Treasury is about to shower households with rebate cheques to head off a full-blown slump, and save the Bush presidency. On Friday, Mr Bush convened the so-called Plunge Protection Team for its first known meeting in the Oval Office. The black arts unit – officially the President’s Working Group on Financial Markets – was created after the 1987 crash.

It appears to have powers to support the markets in a crisis with a host of instruments, mostly by through buying futures contracts on the stock indexes (DOW, S&P 500, NASDAQ and Russell) and key credit levers. And it has the means to fry “short” traders in the hottest of oils.

The team is led by Treasury chief Hank Paulson, ex-Goldman Sachs, a man with a nose for market psychology, and includes Fed chairman Ben Bernanke and the key exchange regulators.

Judging by a well-briefed report in the Washington Post, a mood of deep alarm has taken hold in the upper echelons of the administration. “What everyone’s looking at is what is the fastest way to get money out there,” said a Bush aide.

read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy

4 candidates named for Episcopal diocese of Maryland

Four candidates from across the country have been chosen by a search committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland to replace retired Bishop Robert W. Ihloff.

Among them is the Rev. Eugene Taylor Sutton, who was runner-up in an election last year as bishop of the church’s California diocese.

Sutton, 54, is the canon pastor of Washington’s National Cathedral and director of the Center for Prayer and Pilgrimage there.

Other nominees are:

”¢ The Rev. Jane Soyster Gould, 51, rector of St. Stephen’s Memorial Church in Lynn, Mass., where she leads services in English and Swahili.

”¢ The Rev. Peter D. Eaton, 49, a native of Washington who is dean of St. John’s Cathedral in Denver.

”¢ The Rev. Dr. John C. N. Hall, 49, rector of St. Matthew’s Church in Chandler, Ariz., near Phoenix.

Read the whole article.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops

Mugabe churchman conducts rival service in Harare

There was chaos as the Anglican’s St Mary’s and All Saints Cathedral in Harare yesterday after ousted controversial bishop Nolbert Kunonga held a rival service under heavy police presence.

Kunonga, who is a vocal supporter of President Robert Mugabe, is refusing to leave office as archbishop of Harare after he arbitrarily pulled out the diocese from the Province of Central Africa.

The Province of Central has since appointed the retired Bishop Sebastian Bakare to take over from Kunonga.

On Saturday, Father Morris Brown Gwedegwe claimed Kunonga was still in charge of the diocese.

Read it all.

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

A Global Look at Happiness

So why are the Swiss so happy? Perhaps because things there work well, Weiner says.

“The trains really do run on time; the streets are clean,” he says.

But Weiner says he believes there are other reasons why the Swiss rate high on the happiness scale.

“One is that they do vote a lot. They vote seven or eight times a year in public referendum, and they have a say in what happens. And having a say in your life is an important ingredient in happiness,” he says.

They also have a healthy attitude toward money, he adds.

“In America, we have this attitude of ‘If you’ve got it, flaunt it,’ and the Swiss way is ‘If you’ve got it, hide it. Do not provoke envy in others.’ And envy, I do believe, is one of the great enemies of happiness.”

In another stop on the happiness search, Weiner visited Bhutan, where he met a man with this rather unexpected advice: To be happy, you need to set aside a few minutes a day to think about death.

“That really hit home with me, I have to say,” Weiner says. “In this country, we do not talk about death. … We will talk about anything except for death. We will talk about how much money we make, we’ll talk about our sex lives, we’ll talk about politics. We will not talk about death.”

Listen to it all from NPR

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Death / Burial / Funerals, Economy, Globalization, Parish Ministry, Psychology

NY Times: Justices Weigh Injection Issue for Death Row

With conservative justices questioning their motives and liberal justices questioning their evidence, opponents of the American manner of capital punishment made little headway Monday in their effort to persuade the Supreme Court that the Constitution requires states to change the way they carry out executions by lethal injection.

Donald B. Verrilli Jr., the lawyer for two inmates on Kentucky’s death row who are facing execution by the commonly used three-chemical protocol, conceded that theoretically his clients would have no case if the first drug, a barbiturate used for anesthesia, could be guaranteed to work perfectly by inducing deep unconsciousness.

But as a practical matter, Mr. Verrilli went on to say, systemic flaws in Kentucky’s procedures mean that there can be no such guarantee, and the state’s refusal to take reasonable steps to avoid the foreseeable risk of “torturous, excruciating pain” makes its use of the three-drug procedure unconstitutional.

It was here that Mr. Verrilli met resistance from both sides of the court, and the closely watched case appeared to founder in this gap between theory and practice.

Of the 36 states with the death penalty, all but Nebraska, which still uses only the electric chair, specify the same three-drug sequence for lethal injections.

Read the whole article.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Capital Punishment

Obama Surges in Latest Rasmussen South Carolina Poll

The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey in South Carolina shows that Barack Obama has opened a double digit-lead over Hillary Clinton in the January 26th Primary Election. It’s Obama 42% Clinton 30%. John Edwards attracts 14% of the vote and nobody else tops 3%.

In December, Obama and Clinton were tied at 33%. In November, Clinton had a ten-point advantage.

This is the latest in a string of election polls showing a surge for Obama since his victory last week in Iowa. Nationally, Clinton’s lead in the Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll has nearly disappeared. In New Hampshire, Obama has opened a significant lead over the former First Lady on the eve of the first in the nation Primary.

Read it all.

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

Cal Thomas on the Bishop Nazir Ali Comments–Segregation: Muslim style

Multiculturalism, globalism, and an emphasis on “inter-faith” (which is really inter-faithless because in this view Truth does not exist) are contributing to the decline of the West just as paganism, hedonism and greed undermined past empires. Rather than learn from their mistakes, the West thinks it can engage in such practices without consequence.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown has expressed concern about the loss of “Britishness” and the failure to learn English and embrace the national heritage. But unless he does something to slow, even reverse Muslim immigration, Britain, as we’ve known it, will be lost and radical Islam will remake Britain in its own image.

As Bishop Nazir-Ali writes, “But none of this will be of any avail if Britain does not recover that vision of its destiny which made it great. That has to do with the Bible’s teaching that we have equal dignity and freedom because we are all made in G-d’s image.”

The segregationists didn’t believe that at one time in America and the Muslim segregationists in Britain don’t believe it now.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Islam, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

Leading C of E theologian sues bishop over 'bullying'

One of the Church of England’s best-known theologians is suing the Bishop of Liverpool following a row at an Oxford theological college.

Dr Elaine Storkey, a regular contributor to Radio 4’s Thought for the Day slot, told an employment tribunal in Reading yesterday she had been bullied while a senior research fellow at Wycliffe Hall.

She accepted around £20,000 from the trustees of the college after they acknowledged that she had been unfairly dismissed from the post. But the 64-year-old is still seeking a ruling of religious discrimination against the president of the 130-year-old college, Bishop James Jones, over the row.

The dispute, which has split evangelicals, erupted following clashes between the Rev Richard Turnbull, the principal, and staff who criticised his allegedly abrasive management style and conservative brand of Christianity.

Read the whole article.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Seminary / Theological Education, Theology

Washington Times: Virginia Diocese opens $2 million line of credit

The Diocese of Virginia, embroiled in the largest property dispute in the history of the Episcopal Church, is taking out a $2 million line of credit to finance lawsuits against 11 churches that left the denomination a year ago.

The announcement, made in the pages of this month’s Virginia Episcopalian, is the latest in a series of legal battles that is draining the Episcopal Church of millions of dollars. The denomination has filed lawsuits in at least 12 states against churches leaving over disputes on biblical authority and the 2003 election of New Hampshire Bishop V. Gene Robinson, who lives with a homosexual lover.

The diocese says it will sell off “non-strategic” diocesan properties to raise the money needed to win back $30 million to $40 million worth of real estate and assets.

The diocese has spent $1 million to date on the lawsuits, but instead of paying back the sum, is simply paying the interest ”” $80,000 ”” on the loan. The diocese borrowed from restricted endowment funds for the money, spokesman Patrick Getlein said.

“Church pledges to the diocesan budget will not be used to fund litigation,” he said in an e-mail. “There have been some churches, regions and individuals who have made unsolicited contributions to the cost of litigation, which is very much appreciated.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Virginia

Lord Carey backs MPs over blasphemy laws

Lord Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, is backing a new cross-party attempt by MPs to abolish Britain’s blasphemy laws, The Daily Telegraph can reveal.

Lord Carey argues that the existing legal protections for Anglican Christianity are outdated and should be abolished. The move, supported by a former bishop as well as writers, academics, campaigners and comedians, comes in the wake of the diplomatic row over Sudan’s jailing of a British teacher who blasphemed against Islam.

Gillian Gibbons was jailed after allowing schoolchildren to name a teddybear after the prophet Mohammed. She was later pardoned after diplomatic protests from Britain.

In the Commons tomorrow, MPs will debate an amendment to the current Criminal Justice Bill that would effectively abolish existing legal protections for Anglican Christianity.

The amendment is being tabled by Evan Harris, a Liberal Democrat front-bencher, Frank Dobson, a former Labour cabinet minister, and David Wilshire, a Conservative backbencher.

As well as Lord Carey, they are supported by figures including Lord Harries of Pentregarth, the former Bishop of Oxford, in a letter in the Daily Telegraph today.

Read it all.

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

CANA Welcomes Ten U.S. Churches Commended to CANA Oversight by Bishop of Bolivia

HERNDON, Va. (January 7, 2008) ”“ The Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA) has welcomed ten new congregations into its membership. The Rt. Rev. Francis R. Lyons, the Bishop of Bolivia, commended these U.S. Anglican congregations and their clergy to the oversight of CANA Missionary Bishop Martyn Minns.

“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to work with these churches that have been blessed by the leadership in Bolivia and will continue to be blessed by the Holy Spirit. CANA is eager to welcome them on their Christ-centered and faithful mission to serve God and to honor the worldwide Anglican Communion,” said Bishop Minns.
Originally under the ecclesiastical leadership of the Church of Bolivia, the ten U.S. congregations were given CANA oversight “with a profound desire to promote unity in Jesus Christ which issues from his reconciling work on the Cross and an abiding trust in the power of God’s Word written, and with a genuine commitment to support the emerging ecclesiastical structure of faithful Anglicans in North America,” said the Rt. Rev. Francis R. Lyons of Bolivia in a letter to Bishop Minns.

The newest CANA congregations are St. Luke’s Anglican Church, Fairlawn, OH, Church of the Holy Spirit (Anglican), Akron, OH, Anglican Church of the Good Samaritan (Fairhill), Cleveland, OH, St. Barnabas Anglican Church, Bay Village, OH, St. Anne in the Fields, Madison, OH, Holy Trinity Anglican Church, Milan, OH, Christ the King Anglican Church, Columbiana, OH, Christ Our King Anglican Church, Lexington, MI, St. Michael the Archangel Anglican Church, Indianapolis, IN, and The Shepherd Church, Evansville, IN.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, CANA, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, TEC Departing Parishes

Intrade on the New Hampshire Primaries

Obama 91, Clinton 7; and McCain 83.2, Romney 13.5.

Check it out (go to the left margin under “Predicition Markets” and find the link for Presidential Primaries 2008. Then make sure to scroll down using the arrow to see the Republicans as the Democrats are currently on the top).

Posted in * Economics, Politics, US Presidential Election 2008

James Carroll: The ghosts of racism

In his heart-breaking second inaugural address, Lincoln argued that the “unrequited toil” and “every drop of blood drawn with the lash” would be redeemed by the war, but a month later he was murdered. The quite deliberately constructed aftermath of the war destroyed Lincoln’s promise, although Americans told themselves otherwise. They glorified war, while preserving an injustice that war supposedly overcame. That was only yesterday.

Obama embodies more than he can know. “Change” is his mantra, but the potential for transformation goes far beyond the kinds of policies pursued in Washington. Those policies are rooted in assumptions sunk deep into the national psyche, and into the structure of memory that gives it shape. War is not necessarily redemptive. Africans are not necessarily disadvantaged. African-Americans are not mere victims. Race, for that matter, need not be definitive. An old story is offered a new ending – which is the beginning America has been awaiting. The day has come.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Race/Race Relations, US Presidential Election 2008

Bishop John Flack : A Farewell to Rome

I have had an unforgettable time in the last five years. My term of office has included being present at the Funeral of Pope John Paul II and the Inauguration of Pope Benedict XVI. Those were amazing events, forever enshrined in my memory. I have had the opportunity to engage with Popes and Cardinals and Archbishops, with ambassadors and senior politicians ”“ and even more importantly with ordinary Roman people, at all levels. I have had the enormous privilege of being “centre-stage” in the ecumenical engagement of Anglicans with Roman Catholics.

Along with Monsignor Don Bolen, my opposite number in the Vatican, I have masterminded four visits to the Vatican by the present Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, the current head of the world-wide Anglican church. I have watched with hope as the friendship between Pope Benedict and Archbishop Rowan Williams has grown warmer with each visit. They speak personally and gently with one another in both German and English. It is a revelation. Reunion between Anglicans and Catholics may still be a long way off, but over the years we have made deep friendships with one another, even at the top of the pyramid. And deep friendships keep the ecumenical journey alive, and assure its continuance into the future.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, - Anglican: Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic