Daily Archives: August 11, 2008

Issue of non-celibate Same Sex Unions Left Undecided at Lambeth Conference

Yet, according to some, avoiding taking a stand doesn’t mean nothing will happen.

Reverend Peter Frank, spokesman for Anglican Communion Network, an evangelical renewal movement, said that by design, the Lambeth Conference was structured to forestall any decision-making.

“It was depressing for those who hoped the Anglican Communion would return to mainstream Christianity,” said Frank.

Further, because of the moratorium on decisions concerning ordination of gays and same-sex unions, Frank foresees a widening in the present divisions between liberal and conservative factions.

“Nether side will wait for another 10 years to act,” said Frank. “The moratorium will empower the innovative to be freer to act because they know that nothing on the radar will happen to them. However, it (the lack of any official decisions) will empower the defenders of the faith to be realistic, not count on the leadership, and organize within the structure. And they are in the majority.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Lambeth 2008

Henry G. Brinton: The race for the religious center

In a year in which one state or another could tip the election, every demographic can play the spoiler, and the religious center is no exception.

Candidates have already seen the danger of being associated with the religious fringe. Obama has famously rejected his far-left former pastor, Jeremiah Wright, and he’s veering right while courting evangelicals, the first Democrat since Jimmy Carter to dare go there. Meanwhile, McCain has distanced himself from far-right televangelist John Hagee, who had endorsed him. He’s also moving ahead without the blessing of James Dobson, chairman of Focus on the Family and an influential leader of the religious right.

So why the shift away from the poles? I raised this issue with my parishioner George Barker, a Virginia state senator and Presbyterian elder. He told me that “while many voters want a candidate with religious convictions and core values, most Americans do not want leaders whose absolutist beliefs diminish openness to others’ views.”

He’s right. Indeed, Americans want to hear religious talk from their candidates, because faith provides a window on personal values and integrity. But voters don’t want someone with an extreme religious position. After all, the American president has to represent people of all faiths ”” or of no faith.

Read it all.

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

Matt Bondy: Reflections on the end of the Anglican era

Anglicans, with all Christians, should be chiefly concerned with projecting biblical faith into the community — not with projecting the community’s values into the faith.

Alas, such rich debates among Anglicans are fast falling into irrelevance.

Via media — the Anglican motto, meaning by way of the middle — has disintegrated into infighting, and it’s taking the Anglican Communion with it.

But we must remember that for a time, the Church of England, even with all her contradiction, vulnerability to error and organizational shortcomings, was sufficient. Glorious, even.

For she stood, above all else, for the freedom of the English people and the supremacy of the Sovereign.

She was an expression of England’s identity, a bulwark of national independence and, at her best, an endeavour to fuse Enlightenment with Revelation.

And so we’re left with the hard questions.

Is Anglicanism itself an anachronism? A vestige of empire? Destined to succumb to the pulsating rush of liturgical, spiritual and cultural change?

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, - Anglican: Commentary, Canada

Thomas Friedman: Flush With Energy

Frankly, when you compare how America has responded to the 1973 oil shock and how Denmark has responded, we look pathetic.

“I have observed that in all other countries, including in America, people are complaining about how prices of [gasoline] are going up,” Denmark’s prime minister, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, told me. “The cure is not to reduce the price, but, on the contrary, to raise it even higher to break our addiction to oil. We are going to introduce a new tax reform in the direction of even higher taxation on energy and the revenue generated on that will be used to cut taxes on personal income ”” so we will improve incentives to work and improve incentives to save energy and develop renewable energy.”

Because it was smart taxes and incentives that spurred Danish energy companies to innovate, Ditlev Engel, the president of Vestas ”” Denmark’s and the world’s biggest wind turbine company ”” told me that he simply can’t understand how the U.S. Congress could have just failed to extend the production tax credits for wind development in America.

Why should you care?

“We’ve had 35 new competitors coming out of China in the last 18 months,” said Engel, “and not one out of the U.S.”

Read it all.

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

More from RNS: Anglican unity in 'grave peril' if gay bans not enforced, Williams says

A number of bishops expressed frustration with the conference’s design, comparing it to “Bible school for bishops,” with endless talk but little action. “I don’t think we’ve done anything to resolve the crisis,” said conservative bishop Keith Ackerman of Quincy, Illinois, despite Williams’s suggestion that “the pieces are on the board” to resolve some problems.

In a presidential address, Williams said he would be bringing forward proposals within two months for a pastoral forum to deal with conflict situations in the Anglican Communion. The forum could also offer recommendations on what to do if any of the three moratoria were broken, said a paper presented to the conference.

Liberal Episcopalians such as Dean Wolfe, a bishop from Kansas, said the succession of meetings after Lambeth “is a dance that will go on for some time.” Wolfe added: “We don’t see this as a permanent marginalization.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Lambeth 2008

Jason Lezak, Not Michael Phelps, Puts On a Show at the Olympics

Would Michael Phelps’s bid for eight gold medals in the Beijing Games dissolve in a pool at the Water Cube on Monday? The answer was a resounding No.

Not over Jason Lezak’s 32-year-old body.

Lezak, swimming the anchor leg of the United States’ 4×100-meter freestyle relay, hit the water a half-second after Alain Bernard of France, who came into the race as the world-record holder in the 100-meter freestyle.

“I knew I was going to have to swim out of my mind,” Lezak said, adding, “I had more adrenaline going than I’ve ever had in my life.”

Dragging off Bernard, who was hugging the lane line that separated them, Lezak made up ground, but with 25 meters remaining it appeared as if he would run out of pool. Trailing Bernard by half a body length, Lezak put his head down and surged to the wall.

I caught the whole thing live this morning, and I honestly was not sure who won, even after I watched the first replay–incredible! Read it all.

Update: There is a lot more here also.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Sports

The Bishop of Central New York is interviewed about Lambeth 2008

I live in a culture that is used to exercising its freedom. We live in cultural context where those conversations can be had.

When you talk with people in other parts of the world, they are dealing with life and death issues. The conversations about human sexuality, they often don’t have time to deal with it, and when it comes up they are dealing with a context in which homosexuality is criminalized.

What did you bring to the table in terms of explaining the American experience?

They were able to hear from me and other bishops from the U.S. about the possibility of the holiness of life of GLBT (gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender) people.

We’re accused of not embracing the authority of Scripture. I was able to explain to them I do embrace the authority of Scripture, but I understand some parts of Scripture differently because of my cultural context.

Read it all.

Posted in Uncategorized

Evangelicals increasingly tolerant of other paths

At a meeting with Sen. Barack Obama recently, the Rev. Franklin Graham asked the presidential hopeful a burning question: Did he think Jesus was the way, or merely a way?

For Graham, — president of the Billy Graham Evangelic Association and Samaritan’s Purse, both based in North Carolina — the answer was critical. Through the ages, Christian evangelicals have affirmed that eternal life is available only through belief in Jesus. This is why they send missionaries around the globe and translate the New Testament into every known language.

For many evangelicals, the exclusivity of Jesus is the linchpin of their faith.

“Anyone who claims to be an evangelical and who says it’s possible to go to heaven other than through faith in Jesus Christ is not an evangelical,” said Danny Akin, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest.

But according to accounts of those who were there, Obama’s response to Graham may be more in line with where evangelicals are today.

“Jesus is the only way for me,” Obama said. “I’m not in a position to judge other people.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Evangelicals, Other Churches, Religion & Culture

Russia expands Georgia blitz, deploys ships

Russia and Georgia clashed on land and at sea Sunday despite a Georgian cease-fire offer and claim of withdrawal from the separatist province of South Ossetia, officials from both countries said.

Georgian officials said Russian planes bombed an area near the Georgian capital’s airport and Russian tanks moved from South Ossetia into Georgian territory, heading toward a strategic city before being turned back.

A Russian general said Georgian forces directed heavy fire at positions around Tskhinvali, the capital of South Ossetia, early Monday, even though Georgia had claimed to be withdrawing from the shattered city and called for a cease-fire.

“Active fighting has been going on in several zones,” the Interfax news agency quoted Maj. Gen. Marat Kulakhmetov as saying. He is commander of the Russian peacekeeping contingent that has been in South Ossetia since 1992.

Russia also claimed to have sunk a Georgian boat that tried to attack Russian vessels in the Black Sea.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Europe, Military / Armed Forces, Russia

Following Jesus into virtual space

Some food for thought.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Blogging & the Internet, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology

Christian Century: Will evangelicals respond to Obama's overtures?

Heather Rosema of Grand Rapids, Michigan, is precisely the kind of Christian voter that Senator Barack Obama covets.

Rosema, 41, chose George W. Bush in 2000, when she put greater emphasis on issues like abortion and gay marriage. This year, she intends to vote for Obama.

Rosema, a member of Roosevelt Park Community Christian Reformed Church, sees a true man of faith in the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee. “He talks about God very easily,” said Rosema. “I think that I hear that from him. They seem to be a Christian family.”

Mike Langerak, meanwhile, remains unimpressed.

“Obama has got a good line. He presents himself well. But his walk does not follow his talk,” says Langerak, a 50-year-old roofing contractor from suburban Hudsonville who also attends a Christian Reformed church.

Read it all.

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

American sceptisim over Lambeth Conference

Former civil rights activist Cox, 87, the oldest man in the history of the American House of Bishops, was one of two bishops ceremonially ”˜deposed’ ”“ or stripped of office ”“ three months ago, despite his age and the fact that his wife has Alzheimer’s.

His faithful congregations were thrown out of their churches, and he suffered financially.

Worse, according to Turley, is that Jefferts Schori in her deposition speech to the House of Bishops asked the bishops assembled ”˜to continue to reach out’ in pastoral care to both the Rt Rev John-David Schofield and Cox.

“Abandoning the Communion of this Church does not mean we abandon a person as a member of the Body of Christ,” Jefferts Schori said.

Cox told British-based Lapido Media that there has been no single contact, or even telephone call, to confirm his welfare.

“As a matter of fact I haven’t heard anything from her or any of her friends. Nonetheless, I have not had any kind of disparaging conversation about her with anybody. I have not even spoken ill against the two bishops who brought charges against me. I have just let it go because I know where my faith is and I have stated that.”

Cox was ”˜deposed’ on March 12 this year for crossing diocesan lines in ordaining two priests and a deacon in Kansas at the request of the Bishop of Uganda, Henry Orombi.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Lambeth 2008

Some Protestants find spiritual appeal in natural family planning

Phaedra Taylor abstained from sex until marriage. But she began researching birth control methods before she was even engaged, and by the time she married David Taylor, she was already charting her fertility.

Taylor, a fresh-faced 28-year-old who would blend in easily with South Austin bohemians, ruled out taking birth control pills after reading a book that claimed the pill could, in some cases, make the uterus uninhabitable after conception occurred. She viewed that as abortion, which she opposes.

“I just wasn’t willing to risk it,” she said.

Taylor wanted her faith to guide her sexual and reproductive decisions after marriage. Natural family planning felt like the best way to honor God, she said.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Marriage & Family, Other Churches, Religion & Culture

Terry Mattingly: Suffragan New York Episcopal bishop stirs more controversy

“We have 700 men here. Do you think any of them beat their wives? Chances are they do,” argued Roskam, in The Lambeth Witness, a daily newsletter for gay-rights supporters in the 77 million-member Anglican Communion.

“The most devout Christians beat their wives. … Many of our bishops come from places where it is culturally accepted to beat your wife. In that regard, it makes conversation quite difficult.”

The key, she added, is that “Violence against women, and violence against children for that matter, is violence against the defenseless. With women, it goes hand-in-hand with misogyny.”

The New York bishop’s accusations rocked the conference, which was already tense due to the absence of about 280 conservative bishops – many from Nigeria and Uganda – who declined to attend due to the presence of U.S. leaders who backed the 2003 consecration of the openly gay and noncelibate Bishop Gene Robinson of New Hampshire. Only 617 Anglican bishops pre-registered and some of those failed to attend, according to a report in The Living Church magazine. Thus, nearly a quarter of the bishops in attendance came from the small, but wealthy, U.S. Episcopal Church.

Read it all but also make sure to read Bishop Roskam’s own comments about this (entry #9 for July 31,2008):

So it was on this day that I was one of the press briefers for the Episcopal Church. And no, I did not say that clergy in the Third World beat their wives! In fact I said nothing about violence in the developing world per se. All my comments were made in the context of the pervasive nature of vioence against women all around the world. The only area I singled out was our own context, siting the recent spate of murders in the New York area of women, and sometimes their children also, by husbands or boyfriends. But of course, those comments were not quoted.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Lambeth 2008, TEC Bishops

Ephraim Radner:–True Christian Unity? Reflections on the Lambeth Conference

3. From this covenantal form of common following, the already called-for “moratoria” take force ”“ no consecration of sexually active gay bishops, no same-sex blessings, and no cross-jurisdictional oversight. Obviously, these are already standing requests made by the Windsor Report, the ACC, and the Primates in various guises. But now, in a way that goes far beyond the Windsor Report’s general notion of communion order, the moratoria appear as concrete aspects of faithfulness and obedience to and “in” the Lord.

Furthermore, in restating the authority of the 1998 Lambeth Resolution I.10, the Archbishop made clear the weight of accountability that the moratoria embody. There is “no supermarket of choices” given to the Christian church from which to choose possible paths of discipleship, even while legitimate and free theological discussion takes place concerning important matters of Christian teaching and witness; but “the practice and public language of the Church acts always as a reminder that the onus of proof is on those who seek a new understanding” and that this burden has not been met most recently by North American churches is abundantly borne out by the turbulence innovation has set loose.

The issue of boundary crossing is within the same “framework”, the Archbishop added, not because such violations of received order and unrestrained innovation are equivalent acts, but because a covenantal and consensual following takes place in walking together after the one Master with and over us, and not through asserting vying claims of differing Masters ”“ that is, Anglicanism’s scandal is not just in teaching and practice, but in proposing to the world a vision of “confusion” among the Lord’s followers, now appearing as a house divided. Here is where “charity’s power as an ensign to the nations is severely undermined, and the Archbishop’s later discussion of Zimbabwe’s Anglican witness as bound to the Communion’s life was, in this respect, far more than a passing example: permit and even further confusion, and the calling of the Gospel is ripped from the hands of the little ones for whom the Kingdom is given. It is not possible to separate the calling of such common mission ”“ something else, less controversial, that was nonetheless reiterated by the bishops with force ”“ from the calling of “true Christian unity” in its covenanted and discipled form.

Read it all.

Posted in Ecclesiology, Theology