Daily Archives: February 22, 2008

Pope Urges Jesuits to Commit to Orthodoxy

For the second time in two months, Pope Benedict XVI urged leaders of the Catholic Church’s largest religious order to affirm their commitment to orthodoxy in several controversial areas, including religious pluralism and human sexuality.

Benedict made his remarks on Thursday at a meeting with delegates to the 35th General Congregation of the Society of Jesus, also known as the Jesuits.

The pope asked the Jesuits for their “renewed commitment to promote and defend Catholic doctrine,” as a response to the “powerful negative forces” of contemporary life, including “subjectivism, relativism, hedonism (and) practical materialism

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Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

The Furor Over the McCain Report –NY Times Letters

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, US Presidential Election 2008

Andrew Brown: We need the Church of England

One of the things that has emerged from the debacle is that there is a very strong body of opinion in this country which holds that you can’t be truly Muslim and truly British. This isn’t just the belief of the Islamist nutters, though they make it their central claim. It also animates an astonishing number of people writing in or to the media who would describe themselves as Christians. It is as if three quarters of the country had risen to sing “Land of hope and glory” at the Last Night of the Proms.

It is at moments like that that we need an established church, precisely because it dampens zeal down. The undemocratic privileges of the Church of England are much better for everyone than democratically won privilege would be. Bishops in the Lords are infinitely preferable to priests who tell people how to vote.

If, say, the Economist got its way and the Church of England were disestablished, and replaced by the American model of a confusion of sects all competing for votes, what could stop them responding to the popular demand for a condemnation of Islam? What could give them anything of the Church of England’s woolly, incoherent but essential belief that it has a duty to everyone in this country, no matter what their beliefs are. Can any sane person want a hundred English Paisleys competing against each other for the nationalist Christian congregations, and their money, and at last their votes? Because that is the spectre that rose from the debacle caused by Williams’ speech and interview.

It’s silly to pretend that Williams should have made the speech just because it could have made a number of reasonable and important points. Of course he shouldn’t. There are some things that no Archbishop of Canterbury can say if he wants to maintain respect for his office or the institution that he heads. This particular Archbishop seems to think it beneath his dignity to say anything plain and short and he cannot tell the difference between a sentence that is deathless and one that was stillborn.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE)

ABC: A Man's Home Is His Castle, and He Can Defend It

Even in Texas, some prosecutors are wary of the new law. It expands Texans’ rights to use deadly force in their homes, vehicles and workplaces. And no longer do they have an obligation to retreat, if possible, before they shoot.

“There’s too many imponderables in this law, whereas the previous law was working just fine,” said Warren Diepraam, the Harris County Assistant District Attorney. “Frankly, life is precious.”

Consider the case of Joe Horn, a 61-year-old computer technician who lives in an affluent subdivision in Pasadena, Texas. Last November, he called 911 to report a burglary in broad daylight at the house next door….

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Law & Legal Issues

Canadian Anglican Church facing danger point, says expert

The Anglican Church of Canada is approaching an “open schism” because of its inability to resolve differences over issues such as same-sex marriage, an expert in Anglican church history said Thursday.

“We’re at a danger point,” said Bill Acres, a professor of religious studies at the University of Western Ontario in London, Ont. “There will be some really sad consequences if this whole thing breaks apart. We’re a very spread out church and there are not a lot of Anglicans in Canada as is.”

Acres estimates there are 77 million members of the Anglican church, worldwide.

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

NFL Reverses Call On Church Parties

The NFL, which found itself on the receiving end of protests and controversy after it objected to churches showing the Super Bowl on big-screen televisions, has reversed course and will now permit the viewings.

In a letter to Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah), NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said the league would not object to “live showings — regardless of screen size — of the Super Bowl” by religious organizations.

In response to questions from Hatch, Goodell said in the letter, dated Feb. 19, the NFL will implement the policy starting with next year’s Super Bowl.

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

In Illinois a new rector Takes the Helm

[Timothy] Squier, with wife Kristal and four children, are living in Evanston but looking for a home in the Antioch area.
This is Squier’s first call as a rector. He served on the Northwestern University campus at Canterbury House as interim chaplain and was assisting priest at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Evanston before his call to St. Ignatius.

He appreciates the long history of St. Ignatius in Antioch, where it was established in 1915 in a former Campbellite church on Main Street that was built in 1863. The former church and rectory are now owned by the Lakes Region Historical Society. The parish built a larger building on five acres at the corner of Depot Street and Deep Lake Road in 2001.

Ironically, Squier grew up as a Campbellite, now known as Disciples of Christ, because his father was a Disciples of Christ pastor. He was ordained in that church in 1996 but in 2000 became Episcopalian and started the process to become an Episcopal priest.

“I changed my denomination because of the overall difference between the denominations of the Christian philosophy and in the way the sacraments are viewed,” said Squier. “In my experience in the Episcopal Church there is a deep desire to be connected to the long history of Christianity, and that is reflected in the belief that Jesus is present in the bread and wine. Campbellites believe the sacraments is simply a memorial meal to remember Jesus.”

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

A Statement from the Leadership of Seabury Western Seminary

At the same time, all the seminaries of the Episcopal Church face real economic and missional challenges. The stand-alone residential model developed in the nineteenth century is becoming unsustainable for most of our institutions. Bishops, congregations, and seminarians have fewer resources to allot to the education of seminarians. And the cost of theological education has resulted in an unprecedented level of student debt.

Like many other Episcopal Church institutions, over the past two decades Seabury has both confronted and thought hard about how it can adapt to the challenges and opportunities of the present moment. We have come to the realization that we cannot continue to operate as we have in the past and that there is both loss and good news in that. We believe that the church does not need Seabury in its present form; there are a number of other schools who do what we have traditionally done as well as we do. But we also believe that the church very much needs a seminary animated by and organized around a new vision of theological education””one that is centered in a vision of Baptism and its implications for the whole church, one which is flexible and adaptive and collaborative in nature. We are committed to Seabury’s historic and ongoing ministry as a vital center of theological education, reflection, and congregational study. We are enthusiastic about the prospect of doing this in a new and, we hope, more economically feasible and pedagogically innovative way. At its heart, Seabury will always be a school in service of the mission of God as proclaimed and enacted in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ….

After consultation with the faculty, students, and staff, the Planning Committee met on Tuesday, February 19, 2008. The Planning Committee asked the board’s Executive Committee to clarify its understanding of the long-range educational mission of Seabury, and it proposed two resolutions which the Executive Committee passed in the following form on Wednesday, February 20, 2008:

The Executive Committee affirms that Seabury will no longer offer the M.Div. as a freestanding 3-year residential program. This does not preclude offering the M.Div. in other formats.

The Executive Committee accepts the 3 following recommendations of the Planning Committee:

1. That Seabury will immediately suspend recruitment and admissions to all degree and certificate programs in this time of discernment.

2. That Seabury will enable all current D.Min. students to complete their programs.

3. That Seabury will assist all current M.Div., MTS, MA, and certificate students to find alternative arrangements for the completion of their programs as may be required.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Seminary / Theological Education, Theology

New Claim of Taping Emerges Against Patriots

The Patriots’ pattern of illicitly videotaping the signals of opposing N.F.L. coaches began in Coach Bill Belichick’s first preseason with the team in 2000, a former Patriots player said. The information was put to use in that year’s regular-season opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Belichick’s debut as New England’s coach.

The secret taping of signals, which is against league rules, continued at least through three championship seasons to the 2007 season opener against the Jets, when the Patriots were caught and subsequently sanctioned by the league.

As coaches and executives gathered here Thursday for the N.F.L. scouting combine, many saying they were satisfied with the league’s investigation and ready to move on, new details were emerging about the history of the Patriots’ videotaping.

According to several executives in the league, the season opener against the Jets was not the first time the Patriots had been spotted taping another team’s defensive coaches at Giants Stadium. In the final preseason game of 2006, the Patriots were caught taping a Giants defensive assistant giving signals, the executives said.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Sports

Anglican Church ”˜has failed the people of Kenya’

The Anglican Church has failed the people of Kenya by not speaking with a “prophetic voice” in the wake of the disputed Dec 27 elections, the former Archbishop of Kenya has declared.

“We did not need Tutu to come all the way from South Africa to solve this crisis. We did not need Kofi Annan…

The Church should have been able to solve this problem.

But they are seen as partisan,” Archbishop David Gitari told the East African Standard.

Kenya’s post-election violence has led to the deaths of over 1,000 people and forced over 350,000 from their homes.

Last week the National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK) apologised to the nation for the partisan political divisions within the churches, which had muted its prophetic voice. “Religious leaders failed to stay on the middle path, they took sides and were unable to bring the unity needed when the crisis arose,” NCCK secretary-general Canon Peter Karanja said on Feb 13.

In an interview with the Standard, Dr Gitari recounted the church-led campaign to end one-party political rule in the 1990s. “The Church is a reconciler and a reconciler does not take sides unless he is completely sure the side he is taking is the right one,” he said.

However, we are called “the light of the world and salt of the earth. Whoever does wrong has to be challenged, whether that person is your brother or tribesman,” the retired archbishop said.

Kenya’s Anglican bishops either were “not courageous enough or have taken sides,” he charged. The church’s bishops were split down the middle along tribal lines in the current dispute and “it is wrong.”

They were “failing to be prophetic,” and had lost the public’s trust, Dr Gitari said.

Following a meeting in Limeru last week, the NCCK’s executive council released a statement acknowledging that “Church leaders have displayed partisan values in situations that called for national interest. The church has remained disunited and its voice swallowed in the cacophony of vested interests.”

Kenya’s Christian leaders called for a fresh start. “All have failed, including the church leaders.”

In a statement published on the NCCK’s website, church leaders called for the arrest of those involved in inciting violence as well as the disciplining of police officers who had used excessive force in responding to
the unrest.

They also called for the strengthening of the judiciary, Parliament and the Electoral Commission, and a ban on political parties that pandered to tribal interests and sectarian passions.

–This article appears in this week’s edition of the Church of England Newspaper

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Anglican Church of Kenya, Anglican Provinces, Kenya, Violence

For Muslim Students, a Debate on Inclusion

Amir Mertaban vividly recalls sitting at his university’s recruitment table for the Muslim Students Association a few years ago when an attractive undergraduate flounced up in a decidedly un-Islamic miniskirt, saying “Salamu aleykum,” or “Peace be upon you,” a standard Arabic greeting, and asked to sign up.

Mr. Mertaban also recalls that his fellow recruiter surveyed the young woman with disdain, arguing later that she should not be admitted because her skirt clearly signaled that she would corrupt the Islamic values of the other members.

“I knew that brother, I knew him very well; he used to smoke weed on a regular basis,” said Mr. Mertaban, now 25, who was president of the Muslim student group at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, from 2003 to 2005.

Pointing out the hypocrisy, Mr. Mertaban won the argument that the group could no longer reject potential members based on rigid standards of Islamic practice.

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

From NPR: Old-Fashioned Play Builds Serious Skills

The Mattel toy company began advertising a gun called the “Thunder Burp.”

I know ”” who’s ever heard of the Thunder Burp?

Well, no one.

The reason the advertisement is significant is because it marked the first time that any toy company had attempted to peddle merchandise on television outside of the Christmas season. Until 1955, ad budgets at toy companies were minuscule, so the only time they could afford to hawk their wares on TV was during Christmas. But then came Mattel and the Thunder Burp, which, according to Howard Chudacoff, a cultural historian at Brown University, was a kind of historical watershed. Almost overnight, children’s play became focused, as never before, on things ”” the toys themselves.

“It’s interesting to me that when we talk about play today, the first thing that comes to mind are toys,” says Chudacoff. “Whereas when I would think of play in the 19th century, I would think of activity rather than an object.”

Chudacoff’s recently published history of child’s play argues that for most of human history what children did when they played was roam in packs large or small, more or less unsupervised, and engage in freewheeling imaginative play. They were pirates and princesses, aristocrats and action heroes. Basically, says Chudacoff, they spent most of their time doing what looked like nothing much at all….

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

Clinton Spokesperson Rules Out Pursuit Of Obama's Pledged Delegates

Good to hear it isn’t true–it didnt make much sense to me when I first read it.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, US Presidential Election 2008

Colorado Students say tournament schedule is discrimination

A local high school basketball team may miss out on a first-ever championship because the athletic association will not accommodate their religious beliefs.

The Herzl-Rocky Mountain Hebrew Academy’s boys team is just one win from the playoffs.

However, even if they keep winning, they may not be able to get to the championship because one of the tournament games is set for a Saturday afternoon.

The students’ religious observance of the Sabbath won’t allow them to travel to Sterling for that game.

“It’s disappointing. I’m a senior and we’re not going to have anything to show for it at the end of the year,” said Desi Rotenberg, one of the students.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture

Megan McCardle on the Change Coming with the Baby Boomers Retirement

Shopping is the least of it. Everywhere I go, I meet people who would never have lived so long if they’d been born a few decades earlier. Indeed, I’m one of them; I’d likely be deaf without penicillin for childhood ear infections, and dead without the al­but­erol inhaler that was only approved in the U.S. in 1981. Western New York is not the mighty economic colossus that once let Buffalo boast more millionaires per capita than any other city in America, but it is still a better place to live in now than it was then. And it is getting better all the time.

That, too, is our future. Aging will make the economy grow more slowly than we would like, and probably more slowly than we are used to. Social Security and Medicare will almost certainly be financed by a combination of benefit cuts, increased taxes, and higher retirement ages””which means that all of us will work longer than we want to, and pay more in taxes than we have before.

The political battles over all of this will be bitter, and they will probably be, too often, won by the retirees, who vote in force (though not always as a bloc). Those same retirees may also vote against things that are actually in their interest””thus shutting out the immigrants who could help them stay at home, and out of the nursing home, longer; turning down school taxes that could create a more productive workforce to support them; fighting for zoning restrictions that make it harder for the low-income workers who provide their services to live within easy commuting distance.

But if we will be worse off than we could be in an ideal world, we will still be better off than we are now, workers and retirees alike. We’ll not only be at least somewhat richer; we’ll also have years and years more to enjoy our health and wealth. The past in Newark is lovely, but the future, while not without its blemishes, is likely to be better still.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Aging / the Elderly