Daily Archives: July 7, 2008

General Synod: Monday afternoon's debate

Thinking Anglicans has a helpful summary–Read it all.

Update: Ruth Gledhill’s summary is here.

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

Challenges of $600-a-Session Patients

Not long ago, a young titan of New York real estate sat in his psychotherapist’s office. An art collector, he was thinking of bidding about $8 million for a painting, and something about the deal made him uneasy.

The therapist thought the patient was merely trying to impress him. This happened whenever the man felt unsure of himself, which was most of the time.

But instead of trying to explore the patient’s anxiety, the therapist encouraged him to buy the artwork: “This is what you want; you should go get it.”

T. Byram Karasu, a Manhattan psychiatrist whom the therapist consulted about the patient, was appalled. “That was precisely the wrong treatment,” he said. “The doctor forgot that addiction cannot be satisfied by its object. The therapist’s job is not to comfort and validate the patient’s excesses and consumption. Those are neuroses.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Psychology

Iraq says they may agree to a timetable for U.S. withdrawal

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki raised the prospect on Monday of setting a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. troops as part of negotiations over a new security agreement with Washington.

It was the first time the U.S.-backed Shi’ite-led government has floated the idea of a timetable for the removal of American forces from Iraq. The Bush administration has always opposed such a move, saying it would give militant groups an advantage.

The security deal under negotiation will replace a U.N. mandate for the presence of U.S. troops that expires on December 31.

“Today, we are looking at the necessity of terminating the foreign presence on Iraqi lands and restoring full sovereignty,” Maliki told Arab ambassadors in blunt remarks during an official visit to Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Arab Emirates.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Iraq War

Jonathan Rosen on the Faith and Science Question

We are still figuring out what has been lost, and what has been found, in the aftermath of Darwin’s and Wallace’s great scientific discovery. Does recognizing that we are closer to nature automatically mean that we are further from God? This question is no more answerable today than it was 150 years ago, of course. But thinking about the men who devised the theory and drew such different conclusions from it restores a certain wholeness to the debate that has lately, with ultra-Darwinian notions of “the God delusion” and equally irresponsible ideas of “intelligent design,” grown nearly as polarized as it was in the mid-19th century when the theory was just floated to a world that still read the Bible as a scientific text.

It is foolish to be arguing about creation vs. evolution in the classroom, given the mountain of evidence for evolution by means of natural selection. But talking about Darwin and Wallace together, and the vastly different conclusions they drew from their theory of evolution, makes a great deal of sense in this fractured and contentious moment. We need them both.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology

PBS's Religion and Ethics Weekly–2008 Campaign: What's Appropriate as far as Faith goes?

BOB ABERNETHY, anchor: Religion has played an unusually prominent — and controversial — role throughout this campaign season, raising the question: What are the appropriate boundaries between religion and politics? Kim Lawton has our report.

Reverend LOUIS HUSSER (Pastor, Crossgate Church, Robert, LA, during sermon): What is right always outweighs what is wrong. Can I get an “Amen?”

KIM LAWTON: “Citizenship Sunday” at Crossgate, an evangelical church in Robert, Louisiana. God and country are the order of the day. There’s lots of patriotic music, a push to register new voters, and a sermon called “What’s Right with America?”

Rev. HUSSER (during sermon): Celebrate the freedom that we have as Americans, because it’s a God-given freedom. If you agree with that, can I get an Amen?

LAWTON: Pastor Louis Husser stresses that the Citizenship Sunday efforts at his church are all nonpartisan. He believes people of faith have a moral obligation to be involved in the political process.

Rev. HUSSER: One of the challenges with Americans is that we have been sold this idea that you separate politics from your faith and nothing could be farther from the truth.

Read it all.

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

Evangelical leaders discuss supporting McCain

Conservative evangelical leaders met privately this week to discuss putting aside their misgivings about John McCain and coalescing around the Republican’s presidential bid while urging him to consider social conservative favorite Mike Huckabee as a running mate.

About 90 of the movement’s leading activists gathered Tuesday night in Denver for a meeting convened by Mathew Staver, who heads the Florida-based legal advocacy group Liberty Counsel.

Many evangelical leaders backed other GOP candidates early on and remain wary of McCain’s commitment to their causes and his previous criticisms of movement leaders. But with the presidential field now set, many evangelical leaders are taking a more pragmatic view, realizing also that the Democratic candidate, Barack Obama, is making a strong play for evangelical voters and talking freely about his faith.

Read it all.

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

(London) Times letters on the Women Bishops Question

Here is one:

Sir, It is deeply disappointing that you choose to describe possible provision by the Church of England for those who cannot accept the ordination of women to the episcopate as “enshrining discrimination”. (Leader, July 3).

The issue has always been one of how best to hold together in one Church of England loyal Anglicans with differing convictions on a disputed question of faith and order, so that all may flourish. The signatories to the open letter to the Archbishops of Canterbury and York are not “threatening to defect,” if women are consecrated as bishops, but making plain their concerns about the need for provision which has theological integrity and is secure in law. Nor are they “defying” anyone. The note from the Archbishops which accompanied the publication of the text of the motion to be debated at the General Synod on Monday makes it clear that they are looking for an open discussion, in which all options will be given a fair hearing. The Archbishops have not, for very good reasons, declared their mind as to which outcome they might favour. Above all, they need our prayers as they weigh and ponder how best to lead the Church at this time.

The Rev J.M.R. Baker
Pusey House, Oxford

Read them all.

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

GetReligion Offers a correction to the Episcopal Bishop of Bethlehem

Read it all.

And may I continue to recommend the World Christian Database as one good source on this question?

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, - Anglican: Latest News, Media, Orthodox Church, Other Churches, Religion & Culture

Pastoral statement from Bishop Paul White, Vicar General of Melbourne

From here:

Following the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON), many of you are no doubt aware of media reports, suggesting that the Anglican Communion is facing serious division.

It’s premature to comment at this point. There will be opportunities, after our return from Lambeth, for reflection on GAFCON and the Lambeth Conference and to discuss various statements and resolutions resulting from both.

Meanwhile, together with my fellow Melbourne bishops, I wish to assure the clergy and laity of the Melbourne Diocese that relationships in the Anglican Communion will be properly and prayerfully considered at the forthcoming Lambeth Conference, the ten-yearly meeting of world Anglican leaders, held from 16 July to 4 August in Canterbury, England.

Please uphold with us, affirmation of Archbishop Freier’s hope for Lambeth: that it will provide an opportunity to “live the unity that we share in Christ.”

The need is for the Church to engage in mission in a world facing suffering as varied as climate change, poverty, aggression and corruption, to name but a few. Therefore, we ask that all Melbourne Anglicans heed the Archbishop’s call to prayer, and display grace and generosity of heart to which a life centred in the Gospel calls us.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Provinces, Lambeth 2008

George Pitcher: Church of England must not bottle women vote

Scepticism isn’t meant to characterise the Church of England’s parliament. But few here believe that women priests would really knock back bishoprics, having come so far, even if there are men-only dioceses. And if women win the day with a single episcopate and a simple code of practice to protect Catholic conscience, no one seriously expects a mass exodus to Rome of priests and laity who still adore the Anglican Communion, womanly warts and all.

But there is a greater risk to this debate. Never underestimate the Church of England’s capacity for bottling it. On Saturday there was a “take-note” debate, so called because delegates were invited to take note of the Manchester Report on women bishops by doing what Christians do best at conferences ”“ splitting into buzz-groups to discuss their feelings and then coming back for a plenary session.

It was a sort of dry run for today’s proper debate, designed to take some of the sting out of feelings that are running high. Instead, it revealed the Anglican tendency for pulling back from difficult decisions and hoping that God (or the Bishop of Manchester’s working group) comes up with a better idea before the next Synod.

Read the whole article.

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

The Independent: The Church would do well to learn from Elizabeth I

It might well be impossible to prevent a break-up of the Church’s traditional governing structure. The opposing forces within Anglicanism might prove too strong. And it would certainly be a mistake for the liberal leadership of the Church to jettison the principle of equality for women and homosexuals in a desperate pursuit of a deal. Yet the Archbishop, Dr Rowan Williams, is surely right at least to attempt to hold the ring. Unity is preferable to a schism. If a deal acceptable to all sides can be achieved, it should be energetically and tirelessly pursued. And it is by no means an impossible task. The Church of England’s leadership is attempting to hammer out a deal on special arrangements for those Anglicans who feel that their consciences would be offended by being preached to by female bishops.

Appeasing the hardliners will be difficult. And a rival grouping, headed by female clergy, is also warning that it will not back any deal that proposes discriminatory laws. Yet there would seem to be a way through. Those who have a problem with the authority of women bishops should be encouraged to attend churches under the control of male bishops. This kind of discreet, ad hoc “parish-swapping” already takes place in areas where there are women priests.

The issue of African objections to homosexuality in the American church is more problematic. The ideological chasm between these two wings of Anglicanism will be very difficult to bridge. The church leadership would seem to have no option but to float the idea of a looser association that permits doctrinal differences on the ordination of female and gay bishops.

The prize of unity is worth fighting for. The Anglican Communion can still be a force for good in a volatile world. And if this major Christian denomination manages to accommodate such differences of opinion, it could provide a stimulating example to other religions experiencing similar tensions.

Perhaps we should remember history. The Church of England was reformed in the 16th century with an extraordinary amount of doctrinal compromise. The task of reconciling England’s former Catholics with its hardline Protestants makes today’s disagreement look trivial in comparison. Elizabeth I said she did not desire to “make windows into men’s souls”. Global Anglicanism needs that kind of humane pragmatism today.

Read the whole editorial.

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

AFP: Anglicans await key ruling on women bishops

The General Synod is meeting in York, northern England, the second most important city in the church after Canterbury.

Members will be asked to back a motion calling for a national code of practice to accommodate parishes which cannot accept women bishops.

The Right Reverend John Packer, the Bishop of Ripon and Leeds, will attempt to amend this motion by putting forward proposals for work on two possible ways forward.

One option would be for a national code — but the other would be to explore the creation of a new class of “super bishop” called a “complementary bishop” to cater for objectors.

Under Packer’s proposals, there would be three “super bishops.

Packer’s proposals come amid calls from a significant number of General Synod members for a delay in pressing ahead with legislation to introduce women bishops.

The archbishops of Canterbury and York, the two most senior figures in the church, are understood to favour a compromise that would avoid an exodus of the most conservative wing, The Times newspapaper said.

Read it all.

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

Nadal Ends Federer’s Reign at Wimbledon

Nadal, seldom short of positive energy, leapt with delight and hustled to his chair to prepare to serve for the championship. It was 9:10 p.m. in London when he walked to the baseline, and the light was so dim at the end of this intermittently rainy day that both players were concerned.

“I almost couldn’t see who I was playing,” Federer said, shaking his head.

Nadal agreed. “In the last game, I didn’t see nothing,” he said. “Was unbelievable. I thought we have to stop.”

Wimbledon’s organizers have pushed their sessions to the limit this year, with other matches finishing at 9:30 p.m. Not finishing on Sunday would have forced the tournament to extend to Monday, with all the logistical challenges that would have entailed.

“It would have been brutal for fans, for media, for us, for everybody to come back tomorrow, but what are you going to do?” Federer said. “It’s rough on me now, obviously, to lose the biggest tournament in the world over maybe a bit of light.”

You have to love the picture. I was interested to hear Brad Gilbert, Patrick McEnroe, and Bud Collins all describe it as the best match ever in their mind. I leave that evaluation to later when more perspective is possible, I am just blessed to have seen it–read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Sports

Anglican Media Sydney: Primates Council a Body of Integrity

“The conference proceeded with the spotlight of world media upon it, it was not done in a corner. Its conclusions cannot be dismissed as the work of only a few.”

“The seven primates are significant leaders within the Anglican communion and they approach this work with appropriate seriousness and solemnity.” Dr [Peter] Jensen said.

The Archbishop says the lack of restraint by some revisionist church leaders in North America and the indecisiveness in response to it has made their task more urgent.

“No good can come from questioning the legitimacy of these men or their clear commitment to the church’s mission. Rather we must commend their willingness to provide clear leadership and to help bring order to this chaos.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, GAFCON I 2008, Global South Churches & Primates

American Energy Policy, Asleep at the Spigot

Outside the thriving oil patch, it makes for a bleak economic picture. But it didn’t have to be this way.

Over the last 25 years, opportunities to head off the current crisis were ignored, missed or deliberately blocked, according to analysts, politicians and veterans of the oil and automobile industries. What’s more, for all the surprise at just how high oil prices have climbed, and fears for the future, this is one crisis we were warned about. Ever since the oil shortages of the 1970s, one report after another has cautioned against America’s oil addiction.

Even as politicians heatedly debate opening new regions to drilling, corralling energy speculators, or starting an Apollo-like effort to find renewable energy supplies, analysts say the real source of the problem is closer to home. In fact, it’s parked in our driveways.

Nearly 70 percent of the 21 million barrels of oil the United States consumes every day goes for transportation, with the bulk of that burned by individual drivers, according to the National Commission on Energy Policy, a bipartisan research group that advises Congress.

SO despite the fierce debate over what’s behind the recent spike in prices, no one differs on what’s really responsible for all that underlying demand here for black gold: the automobile, fueled not only by gasoline but also by Americans’ famous propensity for voracious consumption.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, Politics in General