Daily Archives: April 19, 2008
Rosanne Cash is the daughter of country legend Johnny Cash, but has been a singer-songwriter in her own right for more than 25 years. Her family history couldn’t help but play a role in her own career; but on her latest album, Black Cadillac, it takes on a different tone.
Within the two-year period preceding the album, Cash’s mother, father and stepmother all died. Their names are listed in dedication on the CD’s liner notes, and the album is suffused with issues of mortality and mourning. Family plays another kind of role on the album as well: Cash’s husband, John Leventhal, is a co-producer.
Cash talks with Scott Simon about family, music, and the new movie about her father, Walk the Line.
Another update: Marsha Steele has an interesting album review there as well.
TEC’s Bishops who are taking these extreme actions maintain they are simply defending their diocesan territories. The problem, they say, is that when a priest withdraws from their jurisdiction to join, say, the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone, he or she does not leave and go to Argentina, but stays and conducts services (say) in the Diocese of Los Angeles, just as before. Pardon my impertinence, but so what? They cannot prevent that from happening, can they, with all of their thunderbolts? How do their threats and depositions change the situation by one whit for the better? It is the souls of fellow Christians that are at stake here, not medieval concepts of territoriality. (Depositions do not prevent the breakup of diocesan territory; they most likely exacerbate it.) Given that realization, one might think that TEC’s bishops could take the Christian route, and issue letters dimissory . . . .
In all of these inhibitions and subsequent depositions, we see the results of treating the joining of other provinces of the Anglican Communion as equivalent to “abandoning the communion of the Episcopal Church.” What TEC and her bishops are saying by these actions is that the only communion that matters to TEC is a communion subject to TEC’s Constitution and Canons—the rest of the Anglican Communion can go hang, for all the comity that TEC cares to show to it. And as for the care of souls—the less said, the better.
TEC’s Bishops have now rewritten Canons IV.9 and IV.10 so that they equate “abandonment of communion” not only with joining the Roman Catholic or Greek Orthodox Church, but also with joining the Anglican Church of Uganda, or the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone. This turns the canons into measures like those of the Anglican Church of Canada, which do not differentiate between joining another religious body that is in communion with the Canadian Church, and one that is not—both acts are equally subject to inhibition and deposition for “abandonment”. (Most recently, the Canadian canons were used in this way to threaten the 82-year-old evangelist Dr. J. I. Packer with inhibition.)
We should truly be cautious before proceeding down Canada’s path. What is happening in front of our eyes with all of the inhibitions and depositions is the balkanization of the Anglican Communion, in violation of the very principles of the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral which lie at its heart. Soon, each province of the Communion will have two classes of clergy: those who are licensed to practice in that province, and those who cannot, but who are licensed elsewhere, even though they live and minister in the province in question. Once that happens, what can one say is left of the Anglican Communion? It will have become a tradition, in Hamlet’s sad words, that is “more honor’d in the breach than the observance . . .”.
…We, who live the life of grace within the Church’s communion, are called to draw all people into this mystery of light.
This is no easy task in a world which can tend to look at the Church, like those stained glass windows, “from the outside”: a world which deeply senses a need for spirituality, yet finds it difficult to “enter into” the mystery of the Church. Even for those of us within, the light of faith can be dimmed by routine, and the splendor of the Church obscured by the sins and weaknesses of her members. It can be dimmed too, by the obstacles encountered in a society which sometimes seems to have forgotten God and to resent even the most elementary demands of Christian morality. You, who have devoted your lives to bearing witness to the love of Christ and the building up of his Body, know from your daily contact with the world around us how tempting it is at times to give way to frustration, disappointment and even pessimism about the future. In a word, it is not always easy to see the light of the Spirit all about us, the splendor of the Risen Lord illuminating our lives and instilling renewed hope in his victory over the world (cf. Jn 16:33).
Yet the word of God reminds us that, in faith, we see the heavens opened, and the grace of the Holy Spirit lighting up the Church and bringing sure hope to our world. “O Lord, my God,” the Psalmist sings, “when you send forth your spirit, they are created, and you renew the face of the earth” (Ps 104:30). These words evoke the first creation, when the Spirit of God hovered over the deep (cf. Gen 1:2). And they look forward to the new creation, at Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles and established the Church as the first fruits of a redeemed humanity (cf. Jn 20:22-23). These words summon us to ever deeper faith in God’s infinite power to transform every human situation, to create life from death, and to light up even the darkest night. And they make us think of another magnificent phrase of Saint Irenaeus: “where the Church is, there is the Spirit of God; where the Spirit of God is, there is the Church and all grace” (Adv. Haer. III, 24, 1).
Back in Iowa, Barack Obama promised to be something new ”” an unconventional leader who would confront unpleasant truths, embrace novel policies and unify the country. If he had knocked Hillary Clinton out in New Hampshire and entered general-election mode early, this enormously thoughtful man would have become that.
But he did not knock her out, and the aura around Obama has changed. Furiously courting Democratic primary voters and apparently exhausted, Obama has emerged as a more conventional politician and a more orthodox liberal.
He sprinkled his debate performance Wednesday night with the sorts of fibs, evasions and hypocrisies that are the stuff of conventional politics. He claimed falsely that his handwriting wasn’t on a questionnaire about gun control. He claimed that he had never attacked Clinton for her exaggerations about the Tuzla airport, though his campaign was all over it. Obama piously condemned the practice of lifting other candidates’ words out of context, but he has been doing exactly the same thing to John McCain, especially over his 100 years in Iraq comment.
These differences are significant because they put into relief what these accounts have in common. Whatever the particular gospel tradition, two elements recur in them. There is always something immediate and physical. The women running from the tomb in Matthew, and Mary Magdalene alone in John, cling to him; in John, Thomas is invited to place his finger into Jesus’s wounded hands and his hand into His side; on various occasions, whether in the upper room in Jerusalem, at Emmaus, or by the lakeside, Jesus is said to eat with the Disciples or He invites them to eat. At the same time, besides this physical immediacy there is also something surprising or odd. And so Mary Magdalene, first of all, supposes Jesus to be the gardener; the Disciples on the road to Emmaus also fail at first to recognise Him; when He shows himself to the Disciples in the upper room, we are told that he entered even though the door was locked; and there is also that more general expression in Matthew’s Gospel when Jesus meets the Disciples on the mountain in Galilee and we are told that “some doubted”.
There is always this combination of the immediate and the odd. My favourite example is the moment in St John’s Gospel when, after an unsuccessful fishing expedition, a figure on the shore calls to Peter and the others, encouraging them to cast their nets again. They do so and haul in an immense catch. They come ashore and have breakfast with Him. They recognise it is Jesus. But we are told, “Now none of the Disciples dared to ask him, ‘Who are you?’ because they knew it was the Lord”. If they knew Him, why is “daring” even mentioned?
These passages are not precise descriptions of events; instead they convey an experience. The man who was with them was really there, recognisably the man they had known and loved and followed; but he was not simply as He had been before.
Faced with these difficulties, we must first recall that the unity of the Church flows from the perfect oneness of the Trinitarian God. In John’s Gospel, we are told that Jesus prayed to his Father that his disciples might be one, “just as you are in me and I am in you” (Jn 17:21). This passage reflects the unwavering conviction of the early Christian community that its unity was both caused by, and is reflective of, the unity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This, in turn, suggests that the internal cohesion of believers was based on the sound integrity of their doctrinal confession (cf. 1 Tim 1:3-11). Throughout the New Testament, we find that the Apostles were repeatedly called to give an account for their faith to both Gentiles (cf. Acts 17:16-34) and Jews (cf. Acts 4:5-22; 5:27-42). The core of their argument was always the historical fact of Jesus’s bodily resurrection from the tomb (Acts 2:24, 32; 3:15; 4:10; 5:30; 10:40; 13:30). The ultimate effectiveness of their preaching did not depend on “lofty words” or “human wisdom” (1 Cor 2:13), but rather on the work of the Spirit (Eph 3:5) who confirmed the authoritative witness of the Apostles (cf. 1 Cor 15:1-11). The nucleus of Paul’s preaching and that of the early Church was none other than Jesus Christ, and “him crucified” (1 Cor 2:2). But this proclamation had to be guaranteed by the purity of normative doctrine expressed in creedal formulae – symbola – which articulated the essence of the Christian faith and constituted the foundation for the unity of the baptized (cf. 1 Cor 15:3-5; Gal 1:6-9; Unitatis Redintegratio, 2).
Read it all (my emphasis).
Time is running out on Hillary Rodham Clinton, the long-ago front- runner for the Democratic presidential nomination who now trails Barack Obama in delegates, states won and popular votes.
Compounding Clinton’s woes, Obama appears on track to finish the primary campaign fewer than 100 delegates shy of the 2,025 needed to win.
Clinton argues to Democratic officialdom that other factors should count, an unprovable assertion that she’s more electable chief among them. But she undercut her own claim in Wednesday night’s debate, answering “yes, yes, yes” when asked whether her rival could win the White House.
There’s little if any public evidence the party’s elite, the superdelegates who will attend the convention, are buying her argument anyway.
The media coverage, insofar as I have been able to follow it, is still excessively preoccupied with comparisons between Benedict and John Paul the Great. That is both unfair and misleading. Benedict is who he is, the 264th””or, according to some reckonings, the 265th”“successor to St. Peter, doing what Peter among us is supposed to do, strengthening the faithful. They key thing, as one has occasion to say for the thousandth time, is to concentrate not so much on the person as the message. Listen, and listen carefully, to what he says! He is very much the man many of us have known and admired for years. And now he speaks as the Vicar of Christ, the shepherd of the universal Church in the service of the Good Shepherd. Remembering, of course, that this is the week of Good Shepherd Sunday.
By George Conger
Bishops attending the Lambeth Conference will be asked to affirm their willingness to abide by the recommendations of the Windsor Report and work towards the creation of an Anglican Communion Covenant.
A spokesman for the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams told The Church of England Newspaper that letters affirming support for Windsor and the Covenant process had not yet been mailed, but would go out presently.
Bishops attending Lambeth must have a “willingness to work with those aspects of the [Lambeth] Conference’s agenda that relate to implementing the recommendations of [the Windsor Report], including the development of a Covenant,” Dr. Williams wrote in his Dec. 14 Advent pastoral letter.
The Windsor Report calls for a ban on gay bishops and blessings and discouraged violating the diocesan boundaries of bishops in opposing theological camps. Affirming the recommendations of the Windsor Report may cause difficulty for US Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and other progressive American, Canadian, Brazilian and British bishops who have given either their formal or informal support to moves to normalize homosexuality within the life of the church. It also closes the door on full participation in the conference of the Bishop of New Hampshire, the Rt. Rev. Gene Robinson.
Overseas primates who have backed the violation of diocesan boundaries by African-consecrated American missionary bishops, could also fall afoul of Dr. Williams’ dictate. However, as the principle provinces backing overseas missionary bishops-Nigeria, Rwanda and Uganda-will not be at Lambeth, the warning is a “moot point”, one overseas primate told The Church of England Newspaper.
Approximately 600 of the Communion’s 716 diocesan and 171 suffragan and assistant bishops have stated they would attend Lambeth, and more responses are expected to arrive in the coming weeks, a member of the conference team said.
Dr. William’s Advent letter warned against campaigning by the bishops on the disparate issues dividing the Communion. Attendance at Lambeth was predicated at avoiding “the present degree of damaging and draining tension arising again. I intend to be in direct contact with those who have expressed unease about this, so as to try and clarify how deep their difficulties go with accepting or adopting the Conference’s agenda.”
Speaking to the Fulcrum Conference in Islington last week, the Bishop of Durham, the Rt. Rev. N.T. Wright said “when the Archbishop issued his invitations, he made it clear as I said that their basis was Windsor and the Covenant as the tools to shape our future common life.”
“Those bishops who might be thought particularly unsympathetic to Windsor and the Covenant” would be asked by Dr. Williams “whether they were really prepared to build on this dual foundation. “
“Many will say this is far too little, far too late – just as many others will be livid to think that the Archbishop, having already not invited Gene Robinson to Lambeth, should be suggesting that some others might absent themselves as well,” Dr. Wright said. “But this is what he promised he would do, and he is doing it.”
–This article appears in the April 18th, 2008, Church of England Newspaper, page 1
The 55th Annual North American Cathedral Deans Conference was held in New Orleans, Louisiana from April 2-7. The conference brought together Cathedral deans representing more than 100 Anglican Communion Cathedral Congregations from across the United States, Canada, the Caribbean and the European community.
The theme of this year’s conference was “In the Mix — the Music and Cuisine of New Orleans: Sustenance in Body and Soul.” New Orleans Cultural Ambassador and Christ Church Cathedral artist-in-residence Irvin Mayfield was the conference keynoter.
In conjunction with the conference, Christ Church Cathedral’s Cathedral Concerts series presented An Evening of Spirituals with Irvin Mayfield & Friends in a free concert performance on April 4, commemorating the 40th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Mayfield delivered the address at the 10 a.m. Cathedral Eucharist.
Participants visited various groups involved in Katrina-related activities designed to enable the continuing recovery, including Episcopal response ministries such as the Diocese of Louisiana’s Disaster Response Case Management Program, the Jericho Road Episcopal Housing Initiative and All Souls Mission in the lower Ninth Ward.
Pope Benedict met Thursday with a private audience of Catholic educators at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. His message was about the nature and cultivation of Catholic identity on campus.
Unlike Pope John Paul II, who lectured Catholic university leaders 18 years ago for watering down their institutions’ “Catholic identity,” Pope Benedict ”” a former college professor ”” spoke to them Thursday as one of their own.
Catholic identity, he said, is not about course offerings or the number of Catholic versus non-Catholic students and faculty on campus. It’s about faith, he said: In Catholic institutions, students must be able to grow in the knowledge of Christ and his teachings.
Call Pope Benedict XVI a “cultural Catholic” and you’re likely to get puzzled looks if not angry rejoinders. Cultural Catholics rank right down there with “cafeteria Catholics” in the opinion of those who argue that only a deep experience of Christian faith and a tight embrace of church teachings can make one authentically Catholic.
To a great extent that would also be the perspective of Benedict, whose Augustinian view of man’s fallen state and need for grace, discovered in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, is almost Lutheran in its theology and evangelical in its expression. But Benedict is also, of course, a thoroughgoing Catholic, by birth and upbringing. And he recognizes that Catholicism is a culture as well as a religion, and that a strong cultural identity can cultivate faith in the present generation and pass it along to the next, as it has for centuries. (“Never!” Joseph Ratzinger once exclaimed to an interviewer who asked if he had ever thought of converting to Protestantism. The man who was to become Pope Benedict XVI had been so infused by “the Baroque atmosphere” of his native Bavaria, he said, that “from a purely psychological point of view I have never been attracted to it.”)
Thus it should come as no surprise that Benedict has made recovering a distinctive Catholic culture a principal theme of his first visit to the U.S., which concludes this weekend in New York. The theme has been evident in the liturgies, which stress Latin in the prayers and Roman styling in the vestments. But it has also been underscored in Benedict’s remarks, calling for stronger Catholic education from parishes to universities and for a more powerful Catholic presence in the public square as a way of “cultivating a mindset, an intellectual ‘culture’,” as he said at Thursday’s Mass in Washington, “which is genuinely Catholic.” When asked during a Wednesday encounter with the nation’s bishops how to redress a “a certain quiet attrition” by Catholics who drift away from practice, Benedict lamented “the passing away of a religious culture, sometimes disparagingly referred to as a ‘ghetto,’ which reinforced participation and identification with the Church.”