Daily Archives: May 1, 2008

Methodist delegates vote to reject same-sex unions

Delegates at the United Methodist Church’s General Conference voted Wednesday to adhere to the church’s position that marriage should not include same-sex unions and that homosexual acts are not compatible with Christian teaching.

Those guidelines are included in church’s Social Principles, which do not have the force of church law but are to instruct the denomination’s 11 million members. The nearly 1,000 delegates at the international conference at the Fort Worth Convention Center are struggling with social issues at the conference that ends Friday.

While affirming the existing guidelines about sexuality, delegates also approved a resolution Wednesday opposing homophobia.

Numerous delegates at the crowded session spoke into microphones placed around the convention center floor. One man from Africa said that “we love homosexuals, but we detest what they do.”

Others said condemnation of homosexual behavior conflicts with Jesus’ message of love and acceptance.

The church must guard against “denying companionship and intimacy in loving relationships just because there are differences of understanding,” a Texas pastor said.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Methodist, Other Churches, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

What the New Blackberry Kickstart might look like

Check it out.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Science & Technology

Bill to ban genetic test bias nears passage

Important ethical questions raised here–watch it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Theology

Roman Catholc Bishops in Australia use Youtube to Promote Internet Safety

Australian bishops are educating the faithful about the possibilities and dangers of the Internet, and doing so with their own Internet ventures.

A pastoral letter called “Internet Safety” marks World Communications Sunday, celebrated in Australia this Sunday. And the letter has a unique element — a video introduction featuring Bishop Peter Ingham on YouTube.

Bishop Ingham, the Australian bishops conference’s delegate for media issues, said the video is a way to get the message out.

“That’s where we have to be, if we’re going to be talking to people, especially to young people about navigating the Net safely,” he said. “If only a few people see this video message and think over the points raised, it will be most worthwhile.”

Read it all and Check this out also.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Australia / NZ, Blogging & the Internet, Other Churches, Pornography, Roman Catholic

Memo: Presiding Bishop Subverting Constitution and Canons

Sufficient legal grounds exist for presenting Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori for ecclesiastical trial on 11 counts of violating the Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church, according to a legal memorandum that has begun circulating among members of the House of Bishops.

A copy of the April 21 document seen by a reporter representing The Living Church states Bishop Jefferts Schori demonstrated a “willful violation of the canons, an intention to repeat the violations, and a pattern of concealment and lack of candor” in her handling of the cases of bishops Robert W. Duncan, John-David Schofield and William Cox, and that she “subverted” the “fundamental polity” of The Episcopal Church in the matter of the Diocese of San Joaquin.

Prepared by an attorney on behalf of a consortium of bishops and church leaders seeking legal counsel over the canonical implications of the Presiding Bishop’s recent actions, it is unclear whether a critical mass of support will form behind the report’s recommendations for any action to be taken, persumably as a violation of the Presiding Bishop’s ordination vows.

Read it all.

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

I am Trying not to get Too Excited, but…

How about those Cubs?.

Posted in Uncategorized

In Kenya Anglican and Roman Catholic leaders want more than talk on displaced

Anglican Archbishop Benjamin Nzimbi and Catholic Cardinal John Njue of Kenya have welcomed a joint visit by President Mwai Kibaki and his former political opponent, Raila Odinga, now prime minister, to camps for those displaced by recent post-election conflict. But they are also calling for compensation and a speedy resettlement of those who were forced from their abodes.

“This was a very important visit. We praise the leaders for that,” Nzimbi told Ecumenical News International in Nairobi. “It shows the leaders are concerned about the plight of these people.”

Nearly 300,000 people were forced to take refuge in camps following ethnic violence that erupted after the country’s electoral commission announced Kibaki as the winner of general elections held in December. Odinga said the election had been rigged. The conflict ended with the signing of a national peace accord in February. This in turn resulted in the formation of a coalition government between Kibaki’s Party of National Unity and Odinga’s Orange Democratic Movement.

“It is painful to see innocent people turned into refugees in their own country,” said Njue in Embu in eastern Kenya on April 27, while urging the government to create a suitable environment for a speedy resettlement.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Anglican Church of Kenya, Anglican Provinces, Kenya, Other Churches, Roman Catholic

Parkinson's Patients move to the Music

Lovely stuff–watch it all.

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

Saudi Money; Australian Universities and Islam – where is the line in the sand?

[We will now discuss]…the decision by Griffith University in Queensland to accept $100,000 from the government of Saudi Arabia for its Islamic Studies Centre.

Griffith University describes itself as ‘The Australian university of choice for Saudis’, and in the past Week District Court Judge Clive Wall, who is also Deputy Judge Advocate General in the Australian Defence Force, has compared the university with a Pakistani madrasa and accused its administration of naiveté over its decision to accept funding from the home of hardline Wahhabist Islam.

It has also revealed that the university had previously lied when it said it had not solicited the funding. Documents obtained by The Australian newspaper show the university asked for $1.35-million from the Saudis. Even worse, the university offered to keep the source of the donation secret.

Then last week in an opinion piece published in The Australian, the Vice Chancellor of Griffith University, Professor Ian O’Connor, described the official religion of Saudi Arabia as ‘Unitarianism’ and suggested that the reason the Saudi government was financing Islamic Studies Centres in foreign universities was because it was keen to promote progressive Islam. It was later revealed that Ian O’Connor had lifted his material on Wahhabism from Wikipedia, substituting the innocuous term ‘Unitarianism’ for ‘Wahhabi’ on the way through.

Professor O’Connor has since released a statement in which he says the material used in his newspaper article was provided by senior staff, and a small number of sentences were not directly attributed, but that this was unintentional.

Read it all from The Religion Report Down Under

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Australia / NZ, Education, Islam, Other Faiths

Low Spending Is Taking Toll on Economy

For months, beleaguered American consumers have defied expert forecasts that they would soon succumb to the pressures of falling home prices, fewer jobs and shrinking paychecks. Now, they appear to have given in.

On Wednesday, the Commerce Department reported that the economy continued to stagnate during the first three months of the year, with a sharp pullback in consumer spending the primary factor at play.

Pressures on households in which cash is tight appeared to weigh significantly in the calculations of the Federal Reserve as it rolled back interest rates Wednesday for the seventh time since September ”” this time by one-fourth of a percentage point ”” in a bid to prevent a further falloff in the economy.

The Fed made clear, though, that investors and borrowers should not expect another drop in interest rates anytime soon. In the statement accompanying their action, policy makers said they believed that with the short-term rate at 2 percent, they had already unleashed enough economic stimulus to “help promote moderate growth.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy

Against Odds, New Orleans Schools Fight Back

Success will be a tall order in a school district where 85 percent of some 32,000 students are a year and a half to two years below their grade level. In a typical district, the figure would be around 15 percent, said Paul G. Vallas, the new superintendent here.

Worse, a third of the students here are some four years below grade level, a challenge that Mr. Vallas, a veteran of the Chicago and Philadelphia schools, calls “extreme.”

Yet nearly a year into the job, Mr. Vallas professes to be unfazed. With no politics in his way ”” he answers neither to the neutered parish school board nor to the mayor, but to the state ”” he is far freer to plan grand schemes than in the much larger cities where he made his mark…

Mr. [Curtis] Sherrod’s class has made improvements in reading since the start of the school year, but the hurdles are real nonetheless.

“Most of the kids come from broken homes,” he said. “Their parents are dead, in jail or on drugs. You can tell the kids from two-parent homes. They’re getting straight A’s, and they are respectful.”

They are a minority, though. “The kids, for most of them, it’s no more than a social dating scene,” Mr. Sherrod said. “They don’t care about the work.”

Read it all from the front page of yesterday’s New York Times.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Education

From the Morning Scripture Readings

For to me the people of Israel are servants, they are my servants whom I brought forth out of the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.

–Leviticux 25:55

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Philip Turner: A Self-Defining Moment for the Anglican Communion

A final comment about the significance of the covenant and the process of its adoption is in order. For many, if not most, the covenant will be viewed simply as a means of dispute settlement. It certainly is that, and for this reason the Appendix containing procedures for dispute settlement is an essential part of the document. Failure to include such a procedure renders the covenant ineffective from the outset. However, to focus primary attention on the settlement of disputes is to miss the significance of the process and its outcome. The basic issue before the Communion as it struggles to adopt a covenant is that of the identity of the Anglican Communion as an expression of catholic Christianity. How is it that Anglicans propose to negotiate the passage of time in a way that both remains faithful to the apostolic witness and bears witness to the Christian Gospel in ways suitably adapted to time and place? The St Andrew’s Draft makes clear that the Anglican way is not that of the Roman Catholic Church with its focus on papal authority and a uniform juridical system. As articulated in the draft, the Anglican way is also not the way of the Orthodox Churches with their focus not on pervasive synodality but upon ecumenical councils (which now seem impossible to assemble). I have indicated as well that it ought not to be the way adopted by the confessional churches of the Reformation.

The way proposed by the St. Andrew’s Draft and WR is that of common belief and practice expressed in common worship, common ministry, mutual support, and open hospitality, all sustained by the practice of mutual subjection expressed by forbearance and restraint over time within a conciliar polity. This way is the way that indeed pervades the witness of the New Testament, but it is a way that cannot prevail through time unless commonly understood and commonly supported.

I have written this response in large measure to make this final point. I can only hope and pray that in the midst of the push and pull of politics and ideological difference it will not be forgotten that Anglicans are in this debate giving identity to themselves. In its “Introduction” (#4), the St Andrew’s Draft mentions a special Anglican “charism among the followers and servants of Jesus”, but does not actually say what that is. Taken as a whole, however, the draft in fact puts that charism on display and in so doing asks that we take notice of it, cherish it, and offer it to the Christian churches for testing.

Read it carefully and read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Covenant, Anglican Identity, Ecclesiology, Theology

A Dallas News Article on the Presiding Bishop's visit to Dallas

Why would the busy, some might say embattled, leader of the 2.4 million-member Episcopal Church travel to Dallas for a 300-member congregation’s garden blessing service?

“Well, I was asked,” said Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, the first woman to lead the Episcopal Church.

The Episcopal Church of St. Thomas the Apostle invited Bishop Jefferts Schori for what was her first official visit to Dallas.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Presiding Bishop

George Pitcher: Rowan Williams will not be driven out of office

The latest debacle in the Church of England – the proposed gender-apartheid between dioceses, with those who can’t abide the prospect of women bishops being catered for by men-only provinces – has those with only a passing acquaintance with their established church staring in disbelief at the institution’s capacity for chaos and meltdown.

Meanwhile, most of those inside the church do a reasonable impression of Ronaldo missing a penalty; falling to their knees and holding their heads despairingly in their hands.

It is embarrassing. How could such allegedly wise men propose a scheme that alienates and angers both traditionalists and liberals? Is it, possibly, because there are no women among them to talk sense?

Read it all.

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