Daily Archives: July 11, 2008

Archbishop Greg Venables Interviewed on BBC's Hardtalk

In a HARDtalk interview broadcast on 10th July, Stephen Sackur talks to (Arch)bishop Greg Venables, Primate of the Southern Cone.

Watch it all (almost 23 1/2 minutes).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Analysis, Anglican Provinces, Cono Sur [formerly Southern Cone], Lambeth 2008, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

Tamar Snyder: Single Jewish Female Seeks Stress Relief

People often compare dating to interviewing for a job. In the Orthodox Jewish world, this notion is taken almost literally.

Upon returning from post-high-school studies in Israel, young Orthodox women (such as myself) meet with recruiters, commonly known as shadchanim (matchmakers). After determining whether the young woman wishes to marry a “learner” (a man studying full time in yeshiva), an “earner” (a professional) or a combination of the two, the shadchan collects the prospective bride’s “shidduch résumé,” detailing everything from education and career plans to dress size, height, parents’ occupations and synagogue memberships. The shadchan then approaches a suitable single man or, most likely, his parents — who add the woman to their son’s typically lengthy “list.”

Before agreeing to a noncommittal first date, the man’s parents begin a thorough background check that puts government security clearance to shame. Phoning references isn’t enough — of course they’ll say good things — so they cold-call other acquaintances of the potential bride, from camp counselors to college roommates. The questions they ask often border on the superficial: “Does she own a Netflix account?”; “Does she wear open-toed shoes?” (The correct response may vary depending on how Orthodox a woman the man is looking for.)

Just as the economy is headed to recession, the shidduch system is in crisis mode. Or so the rabbis moan, noting the surplus of women eager to marry and the corresponding shortfall in the quality and quantity of available Jewish men.

Read it all.

Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Judaism, Other Faiths

John Templeton RIP

John M. Templeton, a Tennessee-born investor and philanthropist who amassed a fortune as a pioneer in global mutual funds, then gave away hundreds of millions of dollars to foster understanding of what he called “spiritual realities,” died on Tuesday in Nassau, the Bahamas, where he had lived for decades. He was 95.

His death, at Doctors Hospital, was caused by pneumonia, said Donald Lehr, a spokesman for the John Templeton Foundation.

The foundation awards the Templeton Prize, one of the world’s richest, and sponsors conferences and studies reflecting the founder’s passionate interest in “progress in religion” and “research or discoveries” on the nebulous borders of science and religion.

In a career that spanned seven decades, Mr. Templeton dazzled Wall Street, organized some of the most successful mutual funds of his time, led investors into foreign markets, established charities that now give away $70 million a year, wrote books on finance and spirituality and promoted a search for answers to what he called the “Big Questions” in the realms of science, faith, God and the purpose of humanity.

My father’s father had a phrase, “you are a gentleman and a scholar,” and I always thought of it when I watched or heard John Templeton. He will be greatly missed–read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Death / Burial / Funerals, Economy, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Stock Market

From the Do Not Take yourself too Seriously Department

I live for baseball. But I had to go to work during an important game, so I asked my wife to tape it for me. After I left the office, I flew through our front door, bursting with anticipation.

“Dont tell me the score!” I yelled to her.

“I don’t know the score,” she assured me. “All I know is your team lost.”

–Michael Bogess in the June 2008 Reader’s Digest, page 61

Posted in * General Interest, Humor / Trivia

Jamaican Anglican delegation attending 15th Lambeth Conference

BISHOPS of the Anglican Church in Jamaica and the Cayman Islands are in London to attend the 15th Lambeth Conference of Bishops, being held July 16 to August 4. The delegation includes the Lord Bishop, Rt Rev Dr Alfred Reid, Bishop of Mandeville Rt Rev Dr Harold Daniel, Bishop of Montego Bay Rt Rev Dr Howard Gregory and the Bishop of Kingston, Rt Rev Dr Robert Thompson.

This will be the first time at Lambeth for Bishops Daniel, Gregory and Thompson. Bishop Reid attended twice before as a Suffragan Bishop (of Montego Bay). However, this will be his first time in the capacity of Lord Bishop.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Lambeth 2008

Economist: Anglicans’ inability to solve their domestic problems bodes ill for Lambeth Conference

WHAT makes a group (of voters, relatives, believers) stick together, even when its membership is varied and quarrelsome? Sometimes deference to a common authority; sometimes fear of adversaries; sometimes common axioms that trump any differences; and sometimes a sentimental “family feeling” that makes people tolerant of eccentricity or even obnoxious behaviour. If none of those factors is present, then break-up looms.

The Church of England may be approaching that point. Matters came to a head at the session this week of its ruling General Synod, which saw more than its share of tears, jeers and cheers. The topic under discussion””or so it was reported”” was whether women, who have served as priests since 1994, could also be bishops.

Actually, that was not precisely the matter at issue; the idea of women bishops had been accepted in 2005, and nobody suggested that this decision was reversible. The furore was over what accommodation, if any, should be made for the minority of the faithful who disagree with the idea of women bishops (and, in most cases, with the idea of women priests). Of these, some say that administering the sacraments (to put it simply, rites in which God’s grace is mysteriously invoked) is a male-only prerogative; others take literally the teaching of Saint Paul that authority in the church is best handled by men.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Analysis, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Lambeth 2008

Lance Dickie: An evolving Anglican identity

Fathoming a new Anglican identity will not be easy, because the conference in Canterbury is rigorously designed not to point in any direction or leave any discernible fingerprints.

Business meetings with parliamentary procedure and resolutions that live to haunt another day were scrapped in favor of small group discussions and intense get-acquainted sessions. The presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, the Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, describes them as conversations that go to the root of the words, “to spend time with.”

Each day, eight groups of five will merge into gatherings of 40 for Indaba, a Zulu word for purposeful conversation among leaders, a suggestion from one of the African designers of the conference.

Getting to know you, getting to know all about you.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Identity, Lambeth 2008

Living Church: Colleagues Rally to Keep Gene Robinson in Lambeth Spotlight

When it was announced during the House of Bishops’ March retreat that a Lambeth invitation to Bishop Gene Robinson of New Hampshire would not be forthcoming, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori said during a media briefing afterward that the bishops would make sure that Bishop Robinson was “at least as present at Lambeth as if he’d had an invitation.”

Toward that end, a number of bishops and others have promised to stop by the exhibit hall where Bishop Robinson has a booth and to keep him informed about activities underway in the indaba listening group sessions. Bishop Robinson also will be supported by a large number of gay and lesbian persons who volunteered as part of an effort to ensure that the bishops of the Communion hear the voices of faithful gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Anglicans.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Lambeth 2008, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts

Pastor puts zany characters in his Lego church

For a 134-year-old church, Emanuel Lutheran features some unusual worshippers in a model that mixes realistic details with whimsical touches ”” like the Batmobile parked outside.

The church made from more than 12,000 Lego bricks by the Rev. Stuart Dornfeld has little toy people scattered inside, including recognizable facsimiles of SpongeBob SquarePants, Indiana Jones and Batman.

“We’ve had some famous members, it’s true,” Dornfeld deadpanned.

Dornfeld, who is married and has two young daughters, said he was inspired last year when he saw an exhibit of Lego artist Nathan Sawaya’s work at the Children’s Museum of Appleton.

He spent two or three hours a week over six months to create the church model from the toy building blocks.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Lutheran, Other Churches, Parish Ministry

Alf McCreary: Sexuality in the 21st century continues to plague churches

It looks as if nothing will change radically within the Presbyterian or Methodist Churches on the whole subject of homosexuality, in the near or medium-term future.

In the meantime, the Anglicans worldwide, and the Church of Ireland nearer home, will continue to make headlines in their heart-searching on same-sex relationships which, it must be said, they themselves have made part of their public agenda.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, England / UK, Religion & Culture, Sexuality

ABC Nightline: One Reporter's Journey Reveals An Epidemic of Child Slavery in Haiti

Well worth watching [click on the video link on the first page when you click]–even though it is profoundly disturbing.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Children

One Cancer survivor comforts the ailing with high notes

Lovely stuff–watch it all.

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

T. Boone Pickens: My Plan to Escape the Grip of Foreign Oil

One of the benefits of being around a long time is that you get to know a lot about certain things. I’m 80 years old and I’ve been an oilman for almost 60 years. I’ve drilled more dry holes and also found more oil than just about anyone in the industry. With all my experience, I’ve never been as worried about our energy security as I am now. Like many of us, I ignored what was happening. Now our country faces what I believe is the most serious situation since World War II.

The problem, of course, is our growing dependence on foreign oil ”“ it’s extreme, it’s dangerous, and it threatens the future of our nation.

Let me share a few facts: Each year we import more and more oil. In 1973, the year of the infamous oil embargo, the United States imported about 24% of our oil. In 1990, at the start of the first Gulf War, this had climbed to 42%. Today, we import almost 70% of our oil.

This is a staggering number, particularly for a country that consumes oil the way we do. The U.S. uses nearly a quarter of the world’s oil, with just 4% of the population and 3% of the world’s reserves. This year, we will spend almost $700 billion on imported oil, which is more than four times the annual cost of our current war in Iraq.

Read it all.

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

What is the best American State for businesses?

Guess before you watch it all.

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

Anglican Women bishops debate rumbles on

The issue has caused a great deal of hurt and pain, on both sides – liberals (pro-women bishops) and traditionalists (anti) alike.

“It feels like a bereavement,” said Canon David Houlding, a vicar in north London, and one of the loudest voices against female bishops.

“The Church of England will never be quite the same again.”

So will he and others now leave?

“We don’t know. We’re still struggling to find a way forward.”

While he believes 500 years of history has been turned on its head, others believe the cobwebs have finally been blown off one of the Church’s most discriminatory laws.

One female priest, the Reverend Miranda Threlfall-Holmes from Durham, couldn’t disguise her relief.

Read it all.

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