Daily Archives: January 14, 2008

Evangelical Leaders Say Democratic/GOP Polling Skewed

Evangelical leaders have called on pollsters to ask Democrats–and not just Republicans–if they are evangelicals when future primaries occur.

“Thus far, the National Election Pool’s exit poll surveys have pigeonholed evangelicals, reinforcing the false stereotype that we are beholden to one political party,” wrote nine leaders, including Sojourners founder Jim Wallis and Christianity Today editor David Neff. “No party can own any faith.”

Their Thursday letter was sent to polling and political directors of media outlets that are represented by the National Election Pool, which supplies poll data to ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox, NBC and the Associated Press.

An official from the National Election Pool was not immediately available for comment.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Evangelicals, Other Churches, US Presidential Election 2008

David Gushee: A plea to evangelicals ”” from an evangelical

The fundamental task of a religious organization is to serve God, not win in secular politics. Once this distinction is lost, the identity of the religious organization is compromised beyond repair. This is bad not just for the integrity of that religious group, but also for society, which if it is to flourish needs a variety of social institutions performing a variety of functions ”” not every social institution morphing into a political organization.

Specifically for Christians, we (should) know that the mission of the church is to be Christ’s faithful people, and to do its core work of preaching, teaching and serving our neighbors. If it is true (as we boldly believe) that the church is the central location for the work God is doing to redeem the world, then our focus should be on the church’s work, not the state’s. As one aspect of our God-inspired love for our neighbor, we can ask the state and its leaders to do justice, protect life and advance the common good. We can do this in many quite constructive ways, from scholarly work to declarations of principles to activism on specific issues.

But we dare not identify the work of any state, any political party or any politician with the work of God or the task of the church. Every time we do so we end up embarrassing ourselves, enraging the neighbors we are called to love, deepening the culture wars and damaging our own mission.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Evangelicals, Other Churches, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

Family's four generations are baptized together

When Jane Andrews Parker was growing up in railroad towns in New Mexico and Arizona in the 1920s, her mother said they’d wait until the family moved to a town with an Episcopal church to baptize her.

But her father’s career with the railroad never took them to such a town.

She grew up and married a man who wasn’t a churchgoer. He died in 1996. Now she lives with her daughter and son-in-law, who also aren’t churchgoers.

Parker awoke Sunday, which would have been her mother’s birthday, still unbaptized at 90.

Shortly before noon, two priests at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church poured water over her head and anointed her with oil, saying she was “marked as Christ’s own forever.”

Receiving the sacrament alongside her were her daughter, Dale Holden, 65; her son-in-law, Richard Holden, 67; her granddaughter, Jennifer Wierks, 38; and two great-grandchildren, Jonathan Wierks, 3, and Jane Wierks, 1.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Baptism, Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, Sacramental Theology, Theology

Documents and Press Coverage of the Inhibition of the Bishop of San Joaquin

First, make sure to see the report of the Title IV Review Committee here and the Inhibition itself there.

Second, note the articles from the LA Times, the Bakersfield Californian and the Fresno Bee. An AP article began this way.

The Episcopal Church banned a California bishop Friday from practicing his religious duties until March after he led his congregants to secede from the national church.

Bishop John-David Schofield drew sharp criticism from the U.S.-based denomination when he urged his conservative diocese to sever its ties to the church last month in a fight over the Bible and homosexuality.

Clergy and lay members of the Diocese of San Joaquin became the first full diocese to break from the U.S. wing of the 77 million-member worldwide Anglican family when they voted to secede Dec. 6.

Schofield cannot give sermons, do confirmations or perform any religious rites until the national denomination’s leaders meet to determine a final judgment by March 13, said the Rev. Canon Charles Robertson, canon to Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori.

Read it all also.

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

Uganda Native Wears 4 Hats As An Episcopal Priest

Describe your job.

I wear four hats. I call them the four P’s. First, I am a priest. I prepare people to communicate with God. This part of my job includes preparing the worship services.

Then, I am a pastor. As a pastor, I am a nurturer. I am there to help the people. In times of sorrow, I weep with them. In happy times, I celebrate with them. I can celebrate a birth in the morning and be at a funeral in the afternoon. It can all happen in a 24-hour period. It can be emotional.

Third, I am a prophet. I must give God’s word to the people. This is the part I love the most. I love the Bible. I wish I had the time to tell it all day.

Fourth, I am a professional. I have to abide by the standards of my profession. I have to be a manager. I manage the budget. I manage the building. I plan for the future. I work with other priests and clergy.

How do you balance everything and still make time for school?

I only take one or two classes a semester. That’s why it’s taking me so long. I have to take care of myself, take care of my health and manage my time. It’s hard, but I have help.

I take Friday off every week to spend with my family. My eldest is 6, then 4, then 4 months. At home, when I walk into the door, all work must remain outside.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry

The Scottish Episcopal Church Responds to the Draft Anglican Covenant

We have three principle areas of concern regarding the Draft Covenant:

–The discussion of the foundations which are traditionally held to undergird Anglicanism omits to mention reason, which has long been thought to stand alongside scripture and tradition.
–The wording of section 6 of the Draft Covenant is potentially open to a wide variety of interpretations. For example, to take paragraph 6.3 alone, we feel that the expressions such as ”˜common mind’, ”˜matters of essential concern’, and ”˜common standards of faith’, all require significant further definition before they can bear the weight being placed upon them in the context of this Covenant. We are led to wonder whether the wording of section 6 of the Draft Covenant is fit for purpose in any practical circumstance in which it is likely to be called upon.
–We note that the Draft Covenant invests the Primates’ meeting with considerable and wide-ranging powers. We question whether the Primates’ meeting is the Instrument of Unity best suited to the task being entrusted to it (rather than the ACC, which contains a more wide-ranging representation of Church members).

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Covenant, Anglican Provinces, Scottish Episcopal Church

Ny Times Editorial: H.I.V. Rises Among Young Gay Men

AIDS appears to be making an alarming comeback. The Journal of the American Medical Association reports that the incidence of H.I.V. infection among gay men is shooting up, following an encouraging period of decline. The rise of infections among younger gay men, especially black and Hispanic men, is troubling, and the study carries the clear implication that people at high risk of contracting the disease are becoming less cautious.

Statistics gathered by New York City health officials show that new diagnoses of H.I.V. infection ”” the virus that causes AIDS ”” in gay men under age 30 rose 32 percent between 2001 and 2006. Among black and Hispanic men, the figure was 34 percent. Most troubling, the number of new diagnoses among the youngest men in the study, those between ages 13 and 19, doubled.

New York officials say increased alcohol and drug use may be partly responsible since they make unprotected sex more likely. Other basic precautions, including finding out whether a potential partner is infected, are also apparently being ignored.

Read it all.

I will consider posting comments on this article submitted first by email to Kendall’s E-mail: KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com–KSH.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Health & Medicine

The Anglican Church of New Zealand Responds to the Anglican Covenant

The responses show that our Church has at least three different attitudes to the Covenant as a solution to the Communion’s difficulties:

1. The Anglican Communion does not have machinery that allows us to discern the validity or otherwise of differing points of view and the Covenant may be a way of creating such a mechanism. We should be able to trust the international process to resolve any detailed difficulties we may have.

2. The nature of this Draft Covenant, and the underlying assumptions make it an unsatisfactory solution to our difficulties as a Communion, and runs the danger of exacerbating them. We therefore need to keep searching for a different way forward.

3. For Tikanga Maori tino rangatiratanga (self determination), Christian and ethnic identity are of foundational importance. Tangata whenua (the indigenous people) have a rootedness that precedes the Anglican Communion, and would not lightly cede their autonomy.

Read it all.

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

Wolfgang Münchau: This is not merely a subprime crisis

If this had been a mere subprime crisis, it would now be over. But it is not, and nor will it be over soon. The reason is that several other pockets of the credit market are also vulnerable. Credit cards are one such segment, similar in size to the subprime market. Another is credit default swaps, relatively modern financial instruments that allow bondholders to insure against default. Those who such sell such protection receive a quarterly premium, based on a percentage of the amount insured.

The CDS market is worth about $45,000bn (€30,500bn, £23,000bn). This is not an easy figure to imagine. It is more than three times the annual gross domestic product of the US. Economically, credit default swaps are insurance. But legally, they are not, which is why this market is largely unregulated.

Technically, they are swaps: two parties swap payments streams ”“ one pays a regular premium for protection, the other pays up in case of default. At a time of low insolvency rates, many investors used to consider the selling of protection as a fairly risk-free way of generating a steady stream of income. But as insolvency rates go up, so will be the payment obligations under the CDS contracts. If insolvencies reach a certain level, one would expect some protection sellers to default on their obligations.

So the general health of this market crucially depends on the rate of insolvencies. This in turn depends on the economy. The US and Europe are the two largest CDS markets in the world. It is now widely recognised, including by the Federal Reserve, that the US economy is heading for a sharp downturn, possibly a recession. The eurozone, too, is heading for a downturn, but possibly not quite as sharp.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy

Priest, members form new church in Tennessee

The rector, vestry and most members of Trinity Episcopal Church in Winchester, Tenn., began worship in a new location today as Christ the King Anglican Church.

Charging that the Episcopal Church today is pursuing a “false” gospel, the Rev. William Midgett, his staff, the lay leadership and a number of parishioners left the 149-year-old church last Sunday.

“For us, it came down to choosing between two gospels,” the former rector said. “We recognized there was one (gospel) the church has held onto for 2,000 years, and what’s being promoted now looks very different from that.”

Read it all.

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

McCain Rises in Fluid G.O.P.; Obama Gains on Electability

Republican voters have sharply altered their views of the party’s presidential candidates following the early contests in Iowa and New Hampshire, with Senator John McCain, once widely written off, now viewed more favorably than any of his major competitors, according to the latest nationwide New York Times/CBS News Poll.

The findings underscored the extraordinary volatility in the Republican race and suggested that the party was continuing to search for a nominee to rally around. Nearly three-quarters of Republican primary voters said it was still too early for them to make up their minds “for sure,” meaning that they could shift their allegiances yet again if one or more of Mr. McCain’s rivals breaks through in the two Republican primaries this week, in Michigan and South Carolina.

On the Democratic side, Senator Barack Obama’s victory in Iowa has improved his standing within the party on a critical measure: his electability. The percentage of Democrats who say he would be the strongest candidate against the Republicans has more than doubled in a month, to 35 percent from 14 percent in December.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, US Presidential Election 2008

Congratulations to San Diego and the New York Giants, to the Patriots and the Packers

Interesting that all 4 games this weekend were such good games.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Sports

The Gospel of Survival

Watch it all; God bless pastor Steve.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Parish Ministry

Obesity now a 'lifestyle' choice for Americans, expert says

As adult obesity balloons in the United States, being overweight has become less of a health hazard and more of a lifestyle choice, the author of a new book argues.

“Obesity is a natural extension of an advancing economy. As you become a First World economy and you get all these labor-saving devices and low-cost, easily accessible foods, people are going to eat more and exercise less,” health economist Eric Finkelstein told AFP.

In “The Fattening of America”, published this month, Finkelstein says that adult obesity more than doubled in the United States between 1960 and 2004, rising from 13 percent to around 33 percent.

Globally, only Saudi Arabia fares worse than the United States in terms of the percentage of adults with a severe weight problem — 35 percent of people in the oil-rich desert kingdom are classified as obese, the book says, citing data from the World Health Organization and Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Health & Medicine

Peter Gosselin: The new bubble-prone economy

In the current downturn, something more unsettling than a traditional swing in the business cycle appears to be at work: The United States has become increasingly prone to financial bubbles — huge, seemingly irreversible rises in the value of one sort of asset or another, followed by sudden and largely unforeseen plunges.

What makes bubbles so dangerous is that their consequences, when they burst, are wider, often more damaging, and certainly more unpredictable than those of ordinary downturns.

“We are more prone to bubbles than we used to be,” said John H. Makin, a former senior Treasury official with several Republican administrations and now a scholar with the conservative American Enterprise Institute in Washington.

“The old-fashioned recession, where the consumer ran out of gas or there was an economic policy mistake, doesn’t seem to occur much anymore,” said Alice M. Rivlin, a former vice chair of the Federal Reserve and Clinton administration budget director. “As we’ve seen from recent events, bubbles seem to be playing a bigger role.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy