Daily Archives: August 14, 2008

From the Do Not Take Yourself too Seriously Department

One crazy day in our pediatric clinic saw me hand a young patient a urine sample container and tell im to fill it up in the bathroom. A few minutes later, he returned to my nurse’s station with an empty cup.

“I didn’t need that after all,” he said. “There was a toilet in there.”

–Linda Felkie in the September 2008 Reader’s Digest, page 84

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, Health & Medicine, Humor / Trivia

Dan Martins on the Further Controversy in San Joaquin among Anglicans and TEC members

On July 10th, the Right Revd Jerry Lamb, putative bishop of the putative “Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin”, wrote this letter to the clergy of the diocese as it was constituted prior to December 8, 2007. It gave August 5th as the deadline for receiving responses from said clergy as to their intentions with respect to their future relationship to the Episcopal Church. Apparently it was not a precision operation. I know of at least two female deacons who were addressed as “Dear Father N.” I also know of two presbyters who never received the letter.

In any case, I am given to understand that the Standing Committee of the (rogue and illicit) Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin is set to meet this Friday. One might reasonably presume that their agenda includes taking notice of responses received and not received by last week’s deadline. One might further presume that a goodly number of letters will be in the mail shortly informing their recipients that they have been deposed from the ordained ministry as the Episcopal Church understands ordained ministry.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Cono Sur [formerly Southern Cone], Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: San Joaquin

36 states offer release to ill or dying inmates

North Carolina and Alabama have joined a growing number of states establishing programs that allow the release of dying or infirm prisoners to cut prison system health care costs.

Alabama’s law goes into effect Sept. 1. It will allow inmates who are permanently incapacitated or terminally ill to be furloughed. It will also allow for the release of inmates 55 or older who have life-threatening illnesses. About 125 of the state’s 25,000 inmates will be eligible, Alabama Prisons Commissioner Richard Allen said.

Inmates considered for parole will be “the frailest of the frail and sickest of the sick,” Allen said.

North Carolina’s legislation took effect June 10. Authorities are still assessing policies and procedures, state prisons system spokesman Keith Acree said.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Health & Medicine

ENI: Hope for Anglican healing after Lambeth gathering?

Still, Hong Kong Primate Paul Kwong said he regretted a lack of “concrete action” to deal with the sexuality issues. He told journalists the Hong Kong Anglican Church had ordained a woman in the 1940s but had later revoked the ordination when it became clear it was not acceptable to other churches.

“Sacrifice is what Hong Kong is asking for,” he said. “We are not talking about rights. For the sake of the communion, we are asking for sacrifice.”

However, Bishop Jon Bruno of Los Angeles said the proposals for a halt to same-sex blessings would be received with “fear and trembling” in his diocese, the Episcopal Café blog site noted. “For people who think that this is going to lead us to disenfranchise any gay or lesbian person, they are sadly mistaken.”

Some individuals expressed doubts that the archbishop’s plan for a covenant, a pastoral forum and a new round of talks with primates would heal the wounds caused by Bishop Gene Robinson’s consecration.

“I think this is not the last Anglican conference but I do think it will be the last Lambeth Conference,” said the Rev. Tom Wetzel of Anglicans United, a group headquartered in Dallas, Texas that says it campaigns for “Anglican orthodoxy”.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Lambeth 2008

Susan K. Smith: Forgiveness, Women and Infidelity

John Edwards has and had that “all American” look about him: clean-cut, polished, distinguished … and he talked all the things Americans like and need to hear.

So, when the news of his sexual liaison came out this week, I was disappointed. He was and is human after all, like all the rest of us. I don’t believe a word of his story about how the affair took place, when it started, and that the love child is not his. But that’s not my concern. All that is done in the dark comes out. It always does …

What I’m concerned about is Elizabeth Edwards, and in fact all women who deal with unfaithful husbands. Over and over, I have seen women in my office for pastoral counseling, hearts broken because of an unfaithful spouse, convinced that the Bible tells them they must stay and forgive their husbands.

The Bible does say forgive. It says nothing about staying.

And funny, the men who have cheating wives never seem to be bound by the same theological directive. They come angry and indignant, and decry the audacity of their wives to have cheated on them. I never get from them the sense … or the statement … that they should forgive their wives OR stay with them. If divorcing their wives mean they will go to hell, then, that’s life.

It’s the women – taught very well by men – who come thinking that they must forgive their husbands and that forgiving means “stay.”

There is, in other words, this huge double standard. What? Are there two gods, one for the men and another for the women, with separate instructions for each?

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Theology

Vatican Bars Use of 'Yahweh' In Catholic Churches

Catholics at worship should neither sing nor pronounce the name of God as “Yahweh,” the Vatican has said, citing the authority of both Jewish and Christian practice.

The instruction came in a June 29 letter to Catholic bishops conferences around the world from the Vatican’s top liturgical body, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, by an explicit “directive” of Pope Benedict XVI.

“In recent years the practice has crept in of pronouncing the God of Israel’s proper name,” the letter noted, referring to the four-consonant Hebrew “Tetragrammaton,” YHWH.

That name is commonly pronounced as “Yahweh,” though other versions include “Jaweh” and “Yehovah.” But such pronunciation violates long-standing Jewish tradition, the Vatican reminded bishops.

Read it all.

Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Inter-Faith Relations, Judaism, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Roman Catholic

Bishop Don Harvey offers some Reflections on recent Anglican Events

One of the key benefits of this Lambeth conference was the opportunity it afforded Anglican leaders from throughout the world, including our own Primate, Archbishop Greg, to meet together in groups, as well as one-on-one, to discuss important matters. There have been many reports of positive “indaba” and Bible study group meetings.

There have also been reports of frustration. Frustration that Lambeth, by design, did not produce any further clarity on the crisis ”“ no clear direction, no decisions. However, this was indeed by design and was cited by bishops who chose not to attend as one of the factors in their decision. Two Primates ”“ one attending Lambeth, one not ”“ spoke passionately and eloquently of the intransigent anti-Christian actions of the North American churches, actions that precipitated the crisis. I have great respect for both Archbishop Deng Bul (Sudan) and Archbishop Orombi (Uganda) for their courage in taking their stands when silence would have been far easier.

I was struck by the marked contrast between what I was hearing from Lambeth and what I experienced at the GAFCon meeting only a few weeks earlier in Jerusalem. The ambiguity and confusion created by Lambeth is in stark contrast to the clarity and joy of GAFCon. While Lambeth focused on holding together institutional unity in the absence of spiritual unity, GAFCon manifested the genuine unity of those who share the same Lord, the same Truth and the same Spirit. Those of us privileged to be in Jerusalem in June experienced daily symphonies of praise as brothers and sisters in Christ worshipped together in “one accord”.

Sadly, Lambeth again clearly demonstrated that there are those who call themselves Anglicans who have strayed far from Christian truth and have embraced another lord and a different gospel. The Archbishop of Canterbury, I believe, is struggling to do the impossible ”“ hold together under the Anglican banner two utterly incompatible religions. Thus, the incoherence, the confusion, and the contradictions contained in the Lambeth documents. Compare the 42 page Lambeth “Reflections” document which says everything, but in the end says nothing, to the four page GAFCon statement, which offered a clear statement of faith and outlined next steps.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, GAFCON I 2008, Global South Churches & Primates, Lambeth 2008

A Church of Ireland Gazette Editorial: Anglican Governance

The Archbishop of Canterbury, in responding to a Times report last week on correspondence in which he engaged some eight years ago on the issue of homosexuality, affirmed his acceptance of Resolution 1.10 of the 1998 Lambeth Conference “as stating the position of the worldwide Anglican Communion on issues of sexual ethics”. Dr Williams continued: “As Archbishop, I understand my responsibility to be to the declared teaching of the Church I serve, and thus to discourage any developments that might imply that the position and convictions of the worldwide Communion have changed.”

This statement raises questions about the role of the Lambeth Conference itself and, indeed, the ecclesial nature of the Anglican Communion.

The Lambeth Conference is, precisely, a conference. It is not a synod. To that extent, its resolutions do, indeed, carry great moral weight, but the Lambeth Conference’s decisions are neither definitive nor binding in the Churches of the Anglican Communion.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of Ireland

Gene Robinson attacks Diocese of Sydney

Gene Robinson, the first openly-gay Bishop in the Anglican Communion, has slammed the Anglican Diocese of Sydney.

Speaking about the diocese with Sydney’s weekly gay magazine “SX News”, he said: “It is ironic that the Sydney Diocese, taking in one of the great gay cities of the world, is also among the most bigoted.”

Robinson claimed that the Anglican Church had “abused” gay people and said, “God and the church aren’t the same thing. The church has gotten this and many other things wrong. God hasn’t gotten it wrong.”

Read it all.

I will consider posting comments on this article submitted first by email to Kendall’s E-mail: KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

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

Census report sees minorities becoming majority in the U.S. by 2042

In a new report out Thursday, the U.S. Census Bureau projects the nation will become much more diverse by midcentury, with minorities forecast to become the majority population by 2042, experts said.

The growing national diversity is also a trend seen locally, particularly among Hispanics, experts said.

“It’s already happening on Long Island,” said Lee Koppelman, director of Stony Brook University’s Center for Regional Policy Studies, citing the influx of Hispanics. Recently released census data estimate that Hispanic residents constitute 12.4 percent of Nassau County’s population in 2007, up from 10 percent in 2000; and 13.3 percent of Suffolk County’s in 2007, up from 10.5 percent in 2000.

“Hispanics are primarily drawn here by economic opportunity,” Koppelman continued. “If the economy remains robust on Long Island, this population will continue to expand.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A.

Notable and Quotable

Courage…is the indispensable requisite of any true ministry…. If you are afraid of men and a slave to their opinion, go and do something else. Go make shoes to fit them. Go even and paint pictures you know are bad but will suit their bad taste. But do not keep on all of your life preaching sermons which shall not say what God sent you to declare, but what they hire you to say. Be courageous. Be independent.

–Phillips Brooks, Lectures on Preaching, the 1877 Yale Lectures (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1969), p. 59, and also quoted by yours truly in this past Sunday’s sermon

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics

The Economist: Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s example””and the heirs who failed him

GEORGE KENNAN, the dean of American diplomats, called “The Gulag Archipelago”, Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s account of Stalin’s terror, “the most powerful single indictment of a political regime ever to be levied in modern times”. By bearing witness, Solzhenitsyn certainly did as much as any artist could to bring down the Soviet system, a monstrosity that crushed millions of lives. His courage earned him imprisonment and exile. But his death on August 3rd…prompts a question. Who today speaks truth to power””not only in authoritarian or semi-free countries such as Russia and China but in the West as well?

The answer in the case of Russia itself is depressing. Russia’s contemporary intelligentsia””the should-be followers of the example of Solzhenitsyn, Sakharov and the other dissident intellectuals of the Soviet period””is not just supine but in some ways craven (see article). Instead of defending the freedoms perilously acquired after the end of communism, many of Russia’s intellectuals have connived in Vladimir Putin’s project to neuter democracy and put a puppet-show in its place. Some may genuinely admire Mr Putin’s resurrection of a “strong” Russia (as, alas, did the elderly Solzhenitsyn himself)….

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Europe, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Russia

CEOs gloomier than public on U.S. economy

The vast majority of chief executives are gloomier about U.S. economic prospects than a year earlier, and top company officials have become more downbeat than the public at large, according to a survey released on Wednesday.

Some 90 percent of chief executives described U.S. economic conditions as fair or poor, up from 16 percent a year earlier, according to NYSE Euronext’s (NYX.N)(NYX.PA) fourth annual CEO survey, “Managing During Economic Turbulence.”

The survey was conducted in March, when housing and credit conditions were better than they are now. Just 83 percent of U.S. adults polled at that time felt the economy wasn’t in good shape.

The survey included 184 CEOs from the United States and 70 from other countries. Sixty percent of respondents run companies with market values of $1 billion or more.

Americans in general soured on the economy sooner than many corporate chiefs. Last year, 63 percent of adults thought conditions were fair or poor, compared with 16 percent of CEOs.

Read it all.

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

Living Church: Quincy, Springfield Plan Joint Meeting

“We’re going to do an assessment of what happened at Lambeth and [the Global Anglican Fellowship Conference] to see what might be possible,” Bishop [Peter] Beckwith said when reached by a reporter for The Living Church. “This is not a decision-making meeting, although I would not oppose a decision if a consensus is reached.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), GAFCON I 2008, Global South Churches & Primates, Lambeth 2008, TEC Bishops

Julia Duin, Relieved she Didn't go to Lambeth 2008

The upshot of Lambeth is that the Americans are going to continue ordaining homosexuals and celebrating same-sex blessings and the conservative foreign Anglican prelates will continue trespassing into American Episcopal dioceses on behalf of beleagured conservatives. Nothing really changed.

And I didn’t think I could persuade my bosses here to dump tons of money into sending me overseas for three weeks just to find that out.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Lambeth 2008, Media