Daily Archives: April 7, 2008

Andy Horowitz: Degrees of Matriculation

Entertaining stuff.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Education

Mary Zeiss Stange: Obama's believers

Never mind the flap over his “Muslim-sounding” middle name, or the controversy generated by his former pastor, Jeremiah Wright. Over the past several weeks, a far more interesting question about Barack Obama’s “true” religion has emerged in the news media’s fascination with the “Obamessiah.”

Even though, as Newsweek’s Eleanor Clift recently observed, his media halo has “tarnished” a bit, pundits and political operatives remain at a loss to explain what Hillary Clinton herself referred to, in a Feb. 26 interview on Pat Robertson’s The 700 Club, as the Obama “phenomenon.” They are particularly befuddled by the intense involvement of so many young people, many of them university students and first-time voters. They dub them Obamaniacs and Obamabots: “glassy-eyed, brainwashed cult worshippers,” who chant “mantra-like” slogans and “swoon with euphoria.”

New York Times columnist David Brooks has likened them to Hare-Krishna people and to Moonies ”” “Soon they’ll be selling flowers at airports and arranging mass weddings.” Joe Klein of Time has dubbed their “mass messianism” to be “just a wee bit creepy.” And William Lowther, Washington correspondent for the Telegraph (United Kingdom), reported something “unnervingly akin to the hysteria of a cult, or the fervour of a religious revival” at Obama events.

Picking up on the hysteria theme, syndicated columnist Kathleen Parker has dismissed their “New Age glossolalia” as spiritual hunger gone terribly wrong, seduced by Obama’s rhetoric, which “drips with hints of resurrection, redemption, second comings.” MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, going Parker one better, was quoted in Australia’s The Age as saying, “I’ve never seen anything like this. This is bigger than Kennedy. Obama comes along and he seems to have the answers. This is New Testament.”

Read it all.
[i][note: the link is to the blog page at USAToday. Some readers are reporting that the site is causing their firewall programs to report spyware, etc. See comments for details. This elf had no problem with the link and our security software reported no adware or spyware problems. But obviously different programs and browsers react differently, and some readers may have higher security settings engaged.][/i]

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Religion & Culture, US Presidential Election 2008

China's Military Growth Creates Uncertainty for U.S.

In nearly every aspect of military capability ”” from cruise missiles to submarines, satellites to cluster bombs ”” China has been working hard to modernize its military. Some see this as a natural result of China’s emergence as a rising power, while others see danger to the United States and its interests in Asia.

The evidence of China’s military modernization is ample: double-digit increases for military spending since 1989; the rapid expansion of China’s cruise and ballistic missile force and the deployment of hundreds of missiles along China’s coast across from Taiwan; the rapid expansion of China’s submarine force and the modernization of the missiles those submarines carry; and last year, China’s destruction of one of its own satellites by a land-based missile, announcing China’s unexpected capability in anti-satellite warfare.

There is no doubt that China is a rising military power, says Kurt Campbell, a former Defense Department official who now heads the Center for a New American Security.

“No country has risen to a status of great power as rapidly as China has, I would argue, over the last 20 years,” Campbell says.

Read or listen to it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Asia, China, Military / Armed Forces

A Tech note from the elves about comment timestamps

As we’re sure many of our readers have noticed, we’ve had some issues with the timestamps of posts and comments being incorrect over the past week both here at TitusOneNine as have our friends and colleagues at StandFirm, with whom we share a server. Some comment threads have gotten quite confusing because the comment numbers and sequence have been unstable, with “replies” sometimes winding up above the comment which prompted the reply!

While our fearless tech leader is working on finding the cause and solution, we suggest you read this comment which I left on a thread earlier today. It offers suggestions on how to help minimize confusion in the comment threads should the sequence get jumbled (i.e. how to link to the comment to which you are replying).

Also, it gives you the link to the place in your account page where you can verify that your timezone and daylight savings time setting (if applicable) are correct.

Hope this is helpful. If questions persist, feel free to e-mail us at: T19elves@yahoo.com.


Posted in * Admin, Blog Tips & Features

A Public Challenge to the Reappraisers on the depositions of Bishop Cox and Schofield

Is there anyone out there who can show, based on the language of the canons themselves, and the language of the history and explanation of the Canon in White and Dyckman, the standard reference work on the canons, that the canons were followed in these two depositions?

I have seen much special pleading, dodging, and sophistry, but I have seen not one case of such a defense from anyone including the presiding Bishop’s Chancellor.

People who claim to speak for justice and polity continue to undermine their own witness and credibility in this matter and the clock is ticking–KSH.

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

D.C. Toedt: Bishop Schofield might not have been deposed canonically

At Preludium, the Rev. Mark Harris offers an argument why the deposition is supposedly effective. I greatly admire Mark, but in this case he appears to be abandoning judgment in favor of wishful thinking. Mark writes:

To read “whole number” as meaning a reference back to all the possible bishops (300 or so) absent or present would provide the parliamentary boondoggle of making some votes based not on those present but on those possibly present. One might suppose it would be a virtue of any democratic system to insist that a majority vote ought to be on the basis of the whole body of voters on the rolls, but it would be a virtue that would either require compelling voters to be present or it would be increasingly unmanageable.

Nonsense. Requiring certain actions to be approved by a stated percentage of an entire body is a common procedural safeguard. For example, if the U.S.
Senate wishes to remove a president from office (after impeachment by the House), a full 2/3 of all sitting senators must vote to convict, not just 2/3 of those senators present. If the Congress wishes to override a presidential veto, a full 2/3 of the entire membership of each house must approve the override. These requirements are hardly parliamentary boondoggles.

Mark writes:

The whole number of persons eligible to be present at the meeting is the list of 300. The list of bishops eligible to vote at the meeting are (i) persons present and (ii) persons part of the whole list.

If this were true, then the definition of a quorum in Art I.2 would be incoherent: ”A majority of all Bishops entitled to vote, exclusive of Bishops who have resigned their jurisdiction or positions, shall be necessary to constitute a quorum for the transaction of business.”

Under Mark’s argument, testing whether a quorum was present would entail counting up those bishop-voters who happened to be present, and then determining whether a majority of them were present. That, however, implies that the remaining minority of bishop-voters were somehow both present and not present at the same time. (Insert here your favorite joke about boring meetings.)

I would like nothing better than to see +Schofield defrocked and, independently, stripped in civil court of every stick of diocesan property he controls. But we need to face the facts: The deposition motion failed for lack of the required number of votes.

Read it all.

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

In Massachusetts Three Episcopal churches sign joint covenant

Three Episcopal churches in the city are in the process of merging into a single parish.
The Episcopal Church of the Ascension, 160 Rock St., St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, 125 Mason St., and the St. John’s-St. Stephen’s Episcopal Partnership, 711 Middle St., held a covenant-signing worship service Sunday at the Episcopal Church of the Ascension.
The new Episcopal parish will be named the Church of the Holy Spirit, located at 160 Rock St.
A fourth Episcopal church, St. Luke’s, 315 Warren St., has decided against joining the merger at this time.
“Over the past few years, none of those churches was going particularly well,” said the Rev. Wallace Gober, who was interim pastor of St. John’s-St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church.
“They were doing okay, but it was the decision of the people that they could do more of the work of the church if they pooled their resources,” Gober said.

Read it all.

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

Robert Munday: The Depositions of Bishop Cox and Schofield were Railroaded

Then on the Stand Firm thread Commenter “Chancellor” adds this very helpful history of the applicable Canon:

A little history may be helpful here. From White and Dykman (1981 ed.), Vol. II, pp. 1079-80 (with emphases added):

The first canonical enactment on the subject of the “Abandonment of the Communion of the Church by a Bishop” was Canon 1 of 1853, which read as follows:

In all cases where a Bishop, Presbyter or Deacon of this Church . . . has abandoned her Communion . . . either by an open renunciation of the
Doctrine, Discipline and Worship of this Church, or by a formal admission into any religious body not in Communion with the same: such Bishop, Presbyter
or Deacon . . . shall thereupon be pronounced deposed; . . . and if a Bishop, by the Presiding Bishop, with the consent of the majority of the Members of the
House of Bishops.

. . .

This canon was enacted to meet the case of Bishop Ives of North Carolina, who, on December 22, 1852, renounced the communion of the Protestant Episcopal
Church and submitted himself to the authority of the Church of Rome. No canon on this subject had before been enacted, as there had been no need thereof . . . .

It was recognized that the canon, hastily enacted to meet an emergency, was far from perfect . . . . In the revision of the canons by [the] Convention [of 1859],
Canon 1 of 1853 was made Title II, Canon 8, and amended to read as follows:

If any Bishop . . . abandon the Communion of this Church, either by an open renunciation of the doctrine, discipline, and worship of this Church,
or by formal admission into any religious body not in communion with the same, it shall be the duty of the Standing Committee of the Diocese to make certificate
of the fact to the Senior Bishop . . .

Notice shall then be given to said Bishop . . . that unless he shall, within six months, make declaration that the facts alleged in said certificate are false, he will
be deposed from the Ministry of this Church.

And if said declaration be not made within six months as aforesaid, it shall be the duty of the Senior Bishop with the consent of the majority of the House of Bishops,
to depose from the Ministry the Bishop so certified as abandoning . . . .

It has thus been the case ever since the first version of the “abandonment” canon was adopted that a majority of the House of Bishops was required to consent to the
deposition of a Bishop.

Read it all carefully.

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

'Why?': Remembering Nina Simone's Tribute to the Rev. Martin Luther King. Jr.

Hauntingly powerful–you need to listen to it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Music, Race/Race Relations

Notable and Quotable: Remembering George Way Harley (1894-1966)

George Harley was a medical doctor from the USA who went as a missionary to Liberia with his pregnant wife. He had obtained his medical degree from Yale University and his Ph.D. in tropical diseases from the University of London. He served in a remote jungle area, which he reached after walking seventeen days with his pregnant wife. After five years there no one had responded to the gospel. Every week they met for worship, and the people were invited to come, but no African joined them. Then his son died. He himself had to make the coffin and carry it to the place of burial. He was all alone there except for one African who had come to help him.

As Harley was shoveling soil onto the casket, he was overcome with grief, and he buried his head in the fresh dirt and sobbed. The African who was watching all this raised the doctor’s head by the hair and looked into his face for a long time. Then he ran into the village crying, “White man, white man, he cry like one of us.” At the following Sunday service the place was packed with Africans.

Harley served in Liberia for thirty-five years. His achievements in numerous fields are amazing. He produced the first accurate map of Liberia. He was given the highest award Liberia could bestow. But before all that he had to give his son. When a bishop from his Methodist denomination pointed that out to him, his response, referring to God, was, “he had a boy too, you know.”

–From Ajith Fernando, The Call to Joy and Pain: Embracing Suffering in Your Ministry (Crossway, 2007), pp.96-97; and brought to mind because Bishop Mark Lawrence related this story in yesterday’s confirmation sermon at Christ Saint Paul’s, Yonges Island, South Carolina

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Church History, Liberia, Missions

An Exciting Upcoming Theological Conference of Which You Should be Aware

Check it out.

Posted in * International News & Commentary, Canada, Theology

Christian Science Monitor: Price Shock in Global Food

Americans may fret that Wheat Thins cost 15 percent more than a year ago but in poor nations, such price hikes aren’t taken lightly. In Ivory Coast last week, women rioted against higher food costs, leaving one person dead.

In Haiti, four people were killed in protests last week over a 50 percent rise in the cost of food staples in the past year. From Egypt to Vietnam, price rises of 40 percent or more for rice, wheat, and corn are stirring unrest and forcing governments to take drastic steps, such as blocking grain exports and arresting farmers who hoard surpluses.

The UN International Fund for Agriculture predicts food riots will become common on the world scene for at least a year. The World Bank says 33 countries face unrest from higher prices in both food and energy.

Even in grain-rich America, wholesale food prices are rising at a rate not seen in 27 years. The most acute “ag-flation,” however, is in Asia and Africa, where food costs take up a higher proportion of family income. And the face of hunger is now seen more in cities as a historic shift takes place with more than half of the world’s population soon to be living in or near urban areas.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Globalization

A remote outpost of Roman Catholics in Japan sees numbers dwindle

Fringed with sheer cliffs and the narrowest strips of flat land, covered in mountains of dense forest, the islands of the Goto Archipelago of Japan are some of the country’s most remote and forbidding. And yet atop hills overlooking fishing villages, reached by bridges and serpentine roads paved over just a generation ago, rise the steeples of Roman Catholic churches.

Japan’s persecuted Christians fled here centuries ago, seeking to practice their faith in one of the country’s southwesternmost reaches. They eventually forged Roman Catholic communities found nowhere else in Japan, villages where everyone was Catholic, life revolved around the parish and even the school calendar yielded to the church’s.

Today, one quarter of the roughly 25,000 inhabitants of the district, a collection of seven inhabited islands and 60 uninhabited ones, are Roman Catholic, an extraordinary percentage in a country where Christianity failed to take root. It is by far the highest level in Japan, where Catholics account for about one-third of 1 percent of the overall population and where the total number of Christians amounts to less than 1 percent.

But like Japan’s Roman Catholicism in general, this redoubt is also losing its vitality for reasons both familiar to Catholics in other wealthy nations and peculiar to Japan. Young Catholics here are loosening their ties to the church, their spiritual needs fulfilled elsewhere. Those who have left for the cities are marrying non-Catholics and are being absorbed into an overwhelmingly non-Christian culture.

Read it all.

Posted in * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Asia, Other Churches, Roman Catholic

Dan Senor: Condoleezza Rice Is Pursuing the VP Spot

ABCNews’ Mary Bruce Reports: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is actively courting the vice presidential nomination, Republican strategist Dan Senor said.

“Condi Rice has been actively, actually in recent weeks, campaigning for this,” Senor said this morning on “This Week with George Stephanopoulos.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, US Presidential Election 2008

Notable and Quotable

Have not many of us, in the weary way of life, felt, in some hours, how far easier it were to die than to live?

The martyr, when faced even by a death of bodily anguish and horror, finds in the very terror of his doom a strong stimulant and tonic. There is a vivid excitement, a thrill and fervor, which may carry through any crisis of suffering that is the birth-hour of eternal glory and rest.

But to live,””to wear on, day after day, of mean, bitter, low, harassing servitude, every nerve dampened and depressed, every power of feeling gradually smothered,””this long and wasting heart-martyrdom, this slow, daily bleeding away of the inward life, drop by drop, hour after hour,””this is the true searching test of what there may be in man or woman.

When Tom stood face to face with his persecutor, and heard his threats, and thought in his very soul that his hour was come, his heart swelled bravely in him, and he thought he could bear torture and fire, bear anything, with the vision of Jesus and heaven but just a step beyond; but, when he was gone, and the present excitement passed off, came back the pain of his bruised and weary limbs,””came back the sense of his utterly degraded, hopeless, forlorn estate; and the day passed wearily enough.

Long before his wounds were healed, Legree insisted that he should be put to the regular field-work; and then came day after day of pain and weariness, aggravated by every kind of injustice and indignity that the ill-will of a mean and malicious mind could devise. Whoever, in our circumstances, has made trial of pain, even with all the alleviations which, for us, usually attend it, must know the irritation that comes with it. Tom no longer wondered at the habitual surliness of his associates; nay, he found the placid, sunny temper, which had been the habitude of his life, broken in on, and sorely strained, by the inroads of the same thing. He had flattered himself on leisure to read his Bible; but there was no such thing as leisure there. In the height of the season, Legree did not hesitate to press all his hands through, Sundays and week-days alike. Why shouldn’t he?””he made more cotton by it, and gained his wager; and if it wore out a few more hands, he could buy better ones. At first, Tom used to read a verse or two of his Bible, by the flicker of the fire, after he had returned from his daily toil; but, after the cruel treatment he received, he used to come home so exhausted, that his head swam and his eyes failed when he tried to read; and he was fain to stretch himself down, with the others, in utter exhaustion.

Is it strange that the religious peace and trust, which had upborne him hitherto, should give way to tossings of soul and despondent darkness? The gloomiest problem of this mysterious life was constantly before his eyes,””souls crushed and ruined, evil triumphant, and God silent. It was weeks and months that Tom wrestled, in his own soul, in darkness and sorrow. He thought of Miss Ophelia’s letter to his Kentucky friends, and would pray earnestly that God would send him deliverance. And then he would watch, day after day, in the vague hope of seeing somebody sent to redeem him; and, when nobody came, he would crush back to his soul bitter thoughts,””that it was vain to serve God, that God had forgotten him. He sometimes saw Cassy; and sometimes, when summoned to the house, caught a glimpse of the dejected form of Emmeline, but held very little communion with either; in fact, there was no time for him to commune with anybody.

–Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, which kept coming to mind as I thought on the 40th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s death in Memphis this weekend

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