Daily Archives: January 19, 2008
Now that you have read the previous entry which has the full text of the RNS story, read the Albany version. Compare the two and note what has changed–Houston, we have a problem.
It would be easier to let U.S. conservatives secede to join another Anglican province without a fight, said Jefferts Schori, “but I don’t think that’s a faithful thing to do.”
Episcopal leaders are stewards of church property and assets, protecting past generations’ legacies and passing them on to future Episcopalians, according to the presiding bishop. Allowing congregations to walk away with church property condones “bad behavior,” she said.
“In a sense it’s related to the old ecclesiastical behavior toward child abuse,” when priests essentially looked the other way, she said.
“Bad behavior must be confronted.”
But Jefferts Schori can be “heavy handed” in her treatment of conservative bishops and churches who’ve left or distanced themselves from the church, said the Rev. Neal Michell, canon for strategic development in the Diocese of Dallas.
Earlier this month, Episcopal leaders, including Jefferts Schori, charged two conservative bishops with “abandonment,” barring San Joaquin
(Calif.) Bishop John-David Schofield from active ministry and threatening similar action against Bishop Bob Duncan of Pittsburgh.
Both [Neal] Michell and [Kendall] Harmon also criticized the presiding bishop’s decision to become involved in a legal battle between the Diocese of Virginia and 11 churches that have split to join Nigerian Anglicans.
“To be so directly and explicitly and publicly and intentionally involved in these processes is terribly counterproductive to the church’s mission,” said Harmon.
Until recently, like most liberals, I was convinced that 2008 was going to be a Democratic year. While Republicans have been listless and divided, Democrats have been passionate and enthusiastic about their candidates for president. An unpopular war, a sinking economy, a general sense of conservative exhaustion: All pointed toward a Democratic triumph in November. A lot of conservatives had come to grudgingly agree and were preparing to spend four years in political rehab.
But after the first rounds of caucuses and primaries, the prospects don’t look so rosy for the Democrats or so bleak for the Republicans. The presidential race now looks like a tossup — perhaps even with a Republican edge. If Democrats don’t stay smart, tough-minded and realistic, we could blow it yet again.
The first problem is our likely foe. Notwithstanding his loss in Michigan, Sen. John McCain has a plausible route to the GOP nomination, and he remains by far his party’s best bet for holding on to the White House. The Republican field has been so preoccupied with appealing to the party’s hard-core base that it seems that the eventual winner will have little appeal to the independent voters who can swing a general election. Even McCain started out by embracing the evangelical Christians he had once denounced. But as his seemingly dead campaign has been reborn, his initial efforts to pander to the religious right have been forgotten, and he is once again happily running as a “maverick.” Though his nomination is hardly guaranteed, the Arizona senator would provide the GOP with a powerful mix of continuity and change — continuity with the Bush administration on Iraq at a moment when it has become conventional wisdom that the “surge” is succeeding, and a sense of change and freshness from McCain’s cheerfully frank past deviations from conservative orthodoxy.
But the major reason I see trouble ahead for the Democrats is that voting patterns so far, as well as rumbling tensions over race and gender, suggest serious vulnerabilities in both of the Democratic front-runners that McCain (or another rival) could exploit.
What actually happened in the 1990s is that the church’s official teaching (no sex outside marriage) was tightened. So what the liberals actually want is a break with the entire tradition of the church in respect of its teaching on sexual morality. This amounts to a revolution, for churches have always issued moral rules about sex. To say the church should withdraw from sexual moralism is to jeopardise its entire claim to authority. However, the liberal Anglicans cannot admit that this is what is going on.
The liberal Anglican priest (let’s call him Father Giles) is bitterly critical of the church’s collusion in homophobia. But he fully believes in the authority of the church, and his own authority. He affirms the right of the church to define orthodoxy: the doctrine of the Trinity, for example, is decided by the corporate mind of the church. Likewise a true sacrament is something authorised by the institution. He claims to have authority by virtue of having been ordained into the church. Christianity is not a subjective free-for-all, he insists: it is a communal, traditional thing, with rules.
Yet when the church claims authority to rule on sexual morality his tune changes. This aspect of its teaching is mistaken, he says, and amounts to a betrayal of the Gospel. The problem is that this tradition of sexual moralism is part of the traditional authority of the church, which Father Giles claims to affirm. In other words, he accepts the authority of the church when it suits him and rejects it when it does not.
In my opinion, the gay crisis shakes the foundations of ecclesiology.
Senator John McCain capped his final full day of campaigning in South Carolina with a big rally in an aircraft carrier museum here on Friday evening, as Mike Huckabee delivered his populist economic message on the trail while highlighting his religious beliefs to draw out the evangelical vote in Saturday’s primary here.
As the campaign wound down here, its tone was in stark contrast to the lead-ups to the New Hampshire and Michigan primaries, and there was remarkably little direct sparring between Mr. McCain and Mr. Huckabee, the two leading candidates here, who seemed to be campaigning across the state on parallel paths, rather than engaging each other.
Mr. McCain campaigned along the Atlantic Coast, which has had big population increases in recent years, trying to appeal to veterans and military families by talking about improvements on the ground in the Iraq war, calling for better health care for veterans, and urging cuts in taxes and spending. Mr. Huckabee, meanwhile, worked the uplands, the state’s religious conservative heartland, and spoke at every stop about the economic pain that many South Carolinians are experiencing.
“A lot of Americans wonder, Does government understand what it’s like to live paycheck to paycheck?” Mr. Huckabee said at Wofford College, in Spartanburg, noting that the state had hit its highest unemployment rate in years. “Do the people who live in the special bubble of the rarefied air of Washington, D.C., do they truly understand?”
Home construction plunged last month to its lowest level in 16 years, as builders cut back and their lenders grew wary amid rising delinquent construction loans.
Housing starts plunged 14.2% in December to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.006 million, the slowest pace since 996,000 starts in May 1991. Permits, an indicator of future construction, tumbled 8.1% to a 1.068 million pace, the Commerce Department said.
While builders have been scaling back for many months, some said the end of 2007 was the bleakest period yet in the slump, forcing them to make sharp cutbacks.
“The last quarter was the most challenging environment since the downturn started in July 2005,” said Douglas Smith, president of Miller & Smith, a builder in McClean, Va., which sold 350 homes last year. “All of the ramifications from the mortgage meltdown really took hold.”
Update: According to CNN, in the Detroit area one out of every 138 homes is in foreclosure at the present time,
The call for patience in the 30-year battle for the soul of the Episcopal Church does not resonate as loudly as it once did, however, as the doctrinal differences between the liberal and conservative wings of the church deepen.
For the diocese of Fort Worth, Bishop Jefferts Schori’s Christmas card epitomized the two faiths co-existing within the Episcopal Church. The card sent to all of the church’s bishops shows a mother and child surrounded by three wise women. No mention of Jesus appears on the card, while the card speaks of “wise women throughout time and in every culture know themselves to be seekers and seers of the divine.”
This card “defies explanation” the diocesan leadership said. Bishop Jefferts Schori is an “intelligent woman, so this re-interpretation of Scripture to exclude masculine images must be intentional. This card illustrates in many ways the core problem of the General Convention Church. Scripture cannot be made to conform to us, we must conform our lives and our faith to Scripture,” the diocese said.
The two remaining contenders here happen to be the two strongest candidates ”” Mike Huckabee and John McCain. Gov. Huckabee is an exciting newcomer who shows a wonderful ability to connect with voters’ concerns, and Republicans could do far worse than to choose him. But his utter lack of knowledge of foreign affairs is unsettling.
It’s not just about Iraq and Afghanistan. As freshly demonstrated by the incident involving U.S. warships in the Strait of Hormuz last week and the assassination earlier of the opposition leader in the world’s most volatile democracy (which possesses nuclear weapons, and shelters Osama bin Laden), our commander in chief will need a far broader and deeper understanding of our relationship to the world than on-the-job training can adequately provide.
Clearly, the best Republican candidate to lead our nation at this time is U.S. Sen. John McCain of Arizona. He has the necessary experience, not just in time served, but in the quality of understanding he exhibits across the board.
Update: the local paper endorsed John McCain on Thursday in words that included these:
In fact, the senator clearly feels regular communication with the American people has been sorely lacking. He pledges press conferences at least once every two weeks and also said he would go on television once a week ”” even if only C-SPAN would cover it ”” to update the American people “on what’s happened where our young people are in harm’s way.”
In terms of national defense, what he describes as the ‘war against radical extremism’ would never be far from his thoughts. While he believes al-Qaida is on the run, “it is by no means defeated,” and Iraq will continue to be the central battleground. He is encouraged by signs that there is an increased recognition around the world about the nature of the struggle, and he is well equipped to make America’s case in the international arena. Certainly as the victim of vicious torture at the hands of the enemy, there is no one more credible to reassure this country and the world “that we will never torture another person in American custody.”
He has equal credibility on the domestic side, particularly for his opposition to wasteful spending in general and, specifically, such hot-button, pork-barrel earmarks as a $230 million Alaskan “bridge to nowhere.”
The only Episcopal congregation in Lake County to leave the national denomination over the issue of homosexuality and other doctrines has found a new home and ally in its quest to begin worshipping anew — a tiny Pentecostal congregation.
The Rev. Woodleigh Volland and an overwhelming majority of his congregation at St. Edward’s Episcopal Church departed the national Episcopal Church in late October but remained with the 77-million-member worldwide Anglican community.
The dissidents regrouped and formed a new church, Epiphany Celebration Anglican Church, but quickly found themselves with nowhere to worship or hold services.
“We had to move nearly the entire congregation and didn’t have anywhere to go,” said Volland, an ordained minister since 1990 and pastor at St. Edward’s for six years.
Four of the five staff members and 10 of 12 vestry members opted to leave along with 130 of the roughly 170 regular church worshippers, Volland said.
“We stepped out in faith and started completely over,” he said. “It was an extraordinarily difficult decision.”
Archbishops and bishops from both the Evangelical and Anglo-Catholic wings of the Church, who lead 30 million of the world’s 55 million active Anglicans, will make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land in June 2008 for the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON: News, 4 January). They are travelling to the places of Christ’s ministry, where the gift of the Holy Spirit was first poured out, in order to strengthen them for what they believe will be difficult days ahead.
The vision, according to the Archbishop of Kenya, the Most Revd Benjamin Nzimbi, is to inform and inspire the invited leaders “to seek transformation in our own lives and help impact communities and societies through the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ”.
The convening Primates have said that their pastoral responsibility requires that they provide an opportunity for their bishops, who would normally have looked to the Lambeth Conference, to meet for prayer, fellowship, and counsel, on matters vital to their Church’s mission and ministry.
President Bush, acknowledging the risk of recession, embraced about $145 billion worth of tax relief Friday to give the economy a “shot in the arm. ”
Bush said such a growth package must also include tax incentives for business investment and quick tax relief for individuals. And he said that to be effective, an economic stimulus package would need to roughly represent 1 percent of the gross domestic product””the value of all U.S. goods and services and the best measure of the country’s economic standing.
“There is a risk of a downturn,” the president said in his remarks at the White House.
White House advisers say that in current terms, 1 percent would amount to around $145 billion, which is along the lines of what private economists say should be sufficient to help give the economy a short- term boost.