Daily Archives: March 20, 2008

Jeremiah Wright's Successor: Following in the Footsteps of a Controversial Minister

The Rev. Otis Moss is set to take over as pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, the church Illinois Sen. Barack Obama attends. Moss talks to Michele Noris about the most famous member of his congregation and the now-controversial former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

Listen to it all from NPR.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture

Notable and Quotable (II)

Paul is 28. He’s had one serious relationship that only lasted six months, but he says it was enough to put him off them for life.

“It sounds bad but if someone offered me either love and companionship or an endless stream of loveless sex with different men, I’d take the second one,” says Paul. “Sex exists over here, and I get my love from my friends over here, “ he gestures. “Some might say that I’m missing out, but I don’t agree.”

He said when he fell in love with his ex he was cautious, but his partner kept re-assuring him. “He told me over and over that he felt the same way I did, that he’d never hurt me. He begged me not to hurt him. And then one day he just left. Dropped me like a hot brick. No explanations, nothing. I was left hanging for months, wondering what I’d done wrong. I don’t want to go through that ever again….

Adrian, 35, is of the opinion that while gay rights activists are waving the flag of domestic wedded bliss, less of us are actually settling down in meaningful relationships. He says that he thinks it’s all about what’s fashionable.

“Yes, there’s this political push for relationship rights, but that’s all about looking equal to everyone else. If we have marriage then we have to be treated like equally. It makes sense. I don’t think that’s necessarily reflective of what the community wants or how many of us are actually partnering up.”

Christian Taylor, A Good Man Is Hard To Find

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Australia / NZ, Sexuality


Bloomberg News reports Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s Capitol Hill home is slipping in value and may soon be worth less than he paid for it. An economist quoted by Bloomberg estimates Bernanke’s house has lost $260,000 in value.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market

From NPR: A Closer Look at Black Liberation Theology

Dwight Hopkins, a professor at the University of Chicago Divinity School, says black liberation theology often portrays Jesus as a brown-skinned revolutionary. He cites the words of Mary in the Magnificat ”” also known as the “Song of Mary” ”” in which she says God intends to bring down the mighty and raise the lowly. Hopkins also notes that in the book of Matthew, Jesus says the path to heaven is to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the sick and the prisoners. And the central text for black liberation theology can be found in Chapter 4 of Luke’s gospel, where Jesus outlines the purpose of his ministry.

“Jesus says my mission is to eradicate poverty and to bring about freedom and liberation for the oppressed,” Hopkins says. “And most Christian pastors in America skip over that part of the book.”

Hopkins attends Trinity United Church of Christ, where Rev. Wright just retired as pastor. In the now-famous sermon from 2003, Wright said black people’s troubles are a result of racism that still exists in America, crying out, “No, no, no, not God bless America! God damn America ”” that’s in the Bible ”” for killing innocent people.”

Read or listen to it all.

Posted in Theology

Notable and Quotable (I)

This was not just an instance of the West defining itself against Christianity, but also, more tellingly, of a post-Christian West, still recovering from seeing religion as contagion, mobilizing behind a domesticated highbrow view of culture for safeguard.

At Lambeth itself, and subsequently, there was widespread consternation among Western bishops that the Third World bishops seemed misguided enough to think that the Bible could replace enlightened reasonableness as a standard of guidance and Christian teaching. The unprecedented large conversions taking place in Africa and elsewhere were viewed as unwelcome resistance in the path of the West’s cultural juggernaut.

Lamin Sanneh, the D. Willis James Professor of Missions and World Christianity and professor of history at Yale Divinity School

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Analysis, Global South Churches & Primates, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

LA Times: Obama pastor's words ring familiar in Chicago

Carolyn Devine wiped the sweat out of her eyes and glanced up at her gym’s TV sets, where a national debate over race was roiling.

Newscasters heatedly debated Illinois Sen. Barack Obama’s recent speech about his longtime pastor’s incendiary comments. They analyzed video clips of the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., whose church is about a mile from this South Side gym, preaching “God damn America” and condemning the government for “treating our citizens as less than human.”

Devine, who is African American, doesn’t break her stride on the treadmill.

“The race debate? It’s always this way here,” said Devine, 42, who runs a beauty business. “It always gets people hot under the collar, and it’s always going to. I’m stunned that the rest of the country seems shocked that racism still exists.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture

From Surrounded in regard to what is happening in San Joaquin: Wisdom vs. the Dull Axe

Read it all.

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

One Parish's Agony in the Midst of the Episcopal Church Crisis

“We’ve been torn””all of us,” said Diane Friend, a parishioner who voted to align with the Anglican Church and is leaving St. John’s as a result of the vote.

The Episcopal Church “has gotten away from the Gospel” and is interpreting scripture in a new way to support positions the Bible does not, Friend said.
“We’ve lost a lot of families in the last few years because of this issue,” Friend said. “More are leaving than coming.”

Within the congregation there was “a lot of agonizing, a lot of tears and a lot of flip-flopping as we got closer to the vote,” [the Rev. Rob] Eaton said. “When the vote came, I was just a mess, getting sick too. A lot of others were feeling a lot of anxiety.” Eaton, who describes himself as “a conservative, Bible-believing disciple of Christ,” said he did not want to align with the Southern Cone because he felt God was calling him to remain an Episcopal priest.

In a letter he wrote to parishioners on the church’s Web site in December, he spoke of “strident” voices in both the liberal and conservative camps of the U.S. church and said there is a need for a “clear and reasonable voice” from within the denomination.

“Perhaps this is part of why the Lord continues to call me to be a priest within the Episcopal Church…I know it’s not because He thinks this is going to keep my blood pressure down,” he wrote.

While Eaton felt God was calling him to stay within the Episcopal Church, he said others in his parish felt just as strongly God was calling them to leave.

Read it all.

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

From the Email Bag

Hi Kendall

I hope you and the Elves are enjoying the break from comments. I have to say though that I am missing them. Not the fiery robust ones — but the many thoughtful and helpful ones. I have realised that I rely on the commentators to analyse the significance of the posts and to point out how they fit with the overall pattern of what is going on. I am looking forward to the return of these kind of posts, which have always been the greater proportion of all the comments on your site.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Blogging & the Internet

Church Of England Newspaper: Doubts over Episcopal Church House of Bishops deposition trial

Title IV, Canon 9 section 2 of the Episcopal Church’s Constitution and Canons requires that the House of Bishops “by a majority of the whole number of Bishops entitled to vote” must give its consent to depose a bishop under the abandonment of communion canon.

Eligible voters are defined as both active and retired bishops. Of the 294 bishops eligible to vote, less than a third were present for the trial. To lawfully depose Bishop Schofield, 148 votes would have to have been cast in favor of deposition.

As of breakfast on the last day of the House of Bishop’s March 7-12 meeting, 115 active and retired bishops were present. However, by the start of the trial only 68 active bishops answered the roll call, as did an undisclosed number of retired bishops.

The two hour trial in absentia began with a reading of the charges, followed by prayers from the chaplain. The bishops then broke apart into small groups and then gathered in a plenary session for debate.

A voice vote was held, first for Bishop Schofield and then for Bishop Cox, and both were declared to have been deposed. Questioned about the canonical inconsistencies at a post-meeting press conference, North Carolina Bishop Michael Curry defended the proceedings but admitted that there had been no discussion of its legality. “We have acted in recommendation to our canonical advisers,” he said. ”We acted in accordance with the canons.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Polity & Canons

High Court Says Blacks Kept off Jury in Murder Case

The Supreme Court overturns a murder conviction and death sentence for a black defendant in Louisiana who said his trial was tainted by racism. A seven-member majority of the justices said the prosecutor improperly kept blacks off the jury.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Law & Legal Issues, Race/Race Relations

Anglicans to mobilise Church Army in Jamaica

The launching of the 50th anniversary celebration of the Church Army in Jamaica will be a feature of the 138th Synod of the Anglican Church in Jamaica and Grand Cayman. The launch takes place with the opening service at St Peter’s, the parish church in Falmouth, on March 26, beginning at 4:30 p.m.

At the service, Lord Bishop the Rt Rev Dr Alfred Reid will deliver the first part of his charge to the church and nation, under the theme: ‘God’s mission, God’s people, God’s power’.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Latest News

Pope Benedict XVIth's Palm Sunday Sermon

During his entry into Jerusalem, the people paid homage to Jesus as the Son of David with the words of the pilgrims of Psalm 118[117]: “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” (Mt 21: 9). He then arrived at the temple. There, however, in the place that should have been taken up by the encounter between God and man, he found livestock merchants and money-changers who occupied this place of prayer with their commerce. Certainly, the animals on sale were destined to be burned as sacrifices in the temple, and since in the temple it was impossible to use coins that bore the likeness of the Roman emperors, who were in opposition to the true God, they had to be exchanged for coins that did not show the idolatrous image. All this, however, could have taken place elsewhere: the place where this was now occurring should have been, in accordance with its destined purpose, the atrium of pagans. Indeed, the God of Israel was precisely the one God of all peoples. And although pagans did not enter, so to speak, into the Revelation, they could however, in the atrium of faith, join in the prayer to the one God. The God of Israel, the God of all people, had always been awaiting their prayers too, their seeking, their invocations. Instead, commerce was prevailing – dealings legalized by the competent authority which, in its turn, profited from the merchants’ earnings. The merchants acted correctly, complying with the law in force, but the law itself was corrupt. “Covetousness… is idolatry”, the Letter to the Colossians says (3: 5). This was the idolatry Jesus came up against in the face of which he cites Isaiah: “My house shall be called a house of prayer” (Mt 21: 13; cf. Is 56: 7), and Jeremiah: “But you make it a den of robbers” (Mt 21: 13; cf. Jer 7: 11). Against the wrongly interpreted order, Jesus with his prophetic gesture defends the true order which is found in the Law and the Prophets.

Today, all this must give us, as Christians, food for thought. Is our faith sufficiently pure and open so that starting from it “pagans”, the people today who are seeking and who have their questions, can intuit the light of the one God, associate themselves in the atriums of faith with our prayers and, with their questions, perhaps also become worshippers? Does the awareness that greed is idolatry enter our heart too and the praxis of our life? Do we not perhaps in various ways let idols enter even the world of our faith? Are we disposed to let ourselves be ceaselessly purified by the Lord, letting him expel from us and the Church all that is contrary to him?

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Holy Week, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

'Positive visualization' for stroke victims

Encouraging news from the world of medicine–watch it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Health & Medicine

Ken Myers: A Culture of One

“In this era of exploding media technologies there is no truth except the truth you create for yourself.” That’s the assertion of Richard Edelman, the founder and CEO of one of the world’s largest public relations companies. The work of PR professionals has always caused concern from people who believe in the importance of truth-telling. But Edelman’s observation suggests that in the communications ecosystem that is the Internet, where everyone is a spinmeister, the very idea of truth becomes less and less plausible. The quote from Edelman is in a new book by journalist Andrew Keen called The Cult of the Amateur: How Today’s Internet Is Killing Our Culture (Doubleday/Currency). “Today’s media,” writes Keen, “is shattering the world into a billion personalized truths, each seemingly equally valid and worthwhile.”

Andrew Keen hasn’t always been so negative about the Internet. He almost made a fortune in the 1990s by founding Audiocafe.com, one of the first digital music sites. Keen got involved in that project because he wanted to make the world’s best music more available to more people. But the more time he spent among the digirati in Silicon Valley, and the more he heard the utopian pronouncements of its most energized leaders, the more he realized that his view of culture and theirs were at odds. He wanted to expand the audience for great music. The Web enthusiasts wanted to make money by allowing more people to distribute home-made music, no matter how unimaginative and insipid it was, and collect revenue for all of the web advertising that accompanies the narcissism-enabling websites.

Read the whole thing.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Blogging & the Internet