Daily Archives: August 22, 2008

Kathryn Jean Lopez: The Problem With Liberation Ordination

A few weeks ago, a group called Roman Catholic Womenpriests staged what it called an ordination, vesting three Boston-area women in white chasubles and red stoles. It told the local papers that the ordinations were valid, despite the Catholic Church’s teaching to the contrary; it even asserted episcopal approval from a rogue bishop whose name it won’t reveal. But, as a statement from the Archdiocese of Boston put it: “Catholics who attempt to confer a sacred order on a woman, and the women who attempt to receive a sacred order, are by their own actions separating themselves from the Church.” In other words: The ordinations were not Catholic.

Don’t tell that to Judy Lee, one of the “priests.” She insists that the archdiocese’s pronouncement will be a dead letter: “We are Roman Catholics. . . . The all-male hierarchy and their legal traditions came along with the spiritual package that we embrace. We do not have to embrace both if they are contradictory.” Bridget Meehan, spokeswoman for Roman Catholic Womenpriests, which claims 61 priests in North America, including one bishop, insists: “Nothing or no one can stop the action of God’s Spirit moving in the Church. . . . We are not discouraged by excommunication. In fact, in many ways, it is a catalyst for growth.” Ms. Meehan, who was ordained in 2006, believes that a “more transparent, community model” can bring nonpracticing Catholics back into the fold.

Read it all.

Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Other Churches, Roman Catholic

Personal Bankruptcy filings up 30 percent Year over Year

Watch it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy

Welcome, Freshmen. Have an iPod.

Taking a step that professors may view as a bit counterproductive, some universities are doling out Apple iPhones and Internet-capable iPods to students.

The always-on Internet devices raise some novel possibilities, like tracking where students congregate. With far less controversy, colleges could send messages about canceled classes, delayed buses, campus crises or just the cafeteria menu.

While schools emphasize its usefulness ”” online research in class and instant polling of students, for example ”” a big part of the attraction is, undoubtedly, that the iPhone is cool and a hit with students. Basking in the aura of a cutting-edge product could just help a university foster a cutting-edge reputation.

Apple stands to win as well, hooking more young consumers with decades of technology purchases ahead of them. The lone losers, some fear, could be professors.

Students already have laptops and cellphones, of course, but the newest devices can take class distractions to a new level. They practically beg a user to ignore the long-suffering professor struggling to pass on accumulated wisdom from the front of the room ”” a prospect that teachers find galling and students view as, well, inevitable.

“When it gets a little boring, I might pull it out,” acknowledged Naomi J. Pugh, a first-year student at Freed-Hardeman University in Henderson, Tenn., referring to her new iPod Touch, which can connect to the Internet over a campus wireless network. She speculated that professors might try harder to make classes interesting if they were competing with the devices.

Read it all.

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

A family of fighters, but only world records are broken

A nice profile of one family involved in this year’s Olympics–watch it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Sports

Man Petitions Court Over Conversion Rules In Father's Will

An Illinois man has petitioned the state supreme court to weigh in on a clause in his father’s will that disinherits grandchildren who marry non-Jewish spouses.

In a 2-1 decision, a state appeals court on June 30 upheld a lower court ruling that a provision in a will known as the “Jewish clause” was “unenforceable” and “contrary to state policies.”

“I believe (the case) does create a precedent for conditions attached to estate planning,” said Michael J. Durkin, attorney for Michael Feinberg, who wants the “Jewish clause” in his father Max Feinberg’s will held intact.

“It would be a reduction of a person’s right to dispose of his or her property as he sees fit, and an intervention by virtue of public policy by those rights.”

Read the whole article.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Judaism, Law & Legal Issues, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

Church of England Newspaper–Analysis: The winners and losers from the Lambeth Conference

Over the succeeding five years [since 2003], the inability of Anglican bishops to worship round a common altar has not been addressed, and even with a boycott of over 200 bishops the opening eucharist in Canterbury Cathedral saw three primates and a number of bishops refrain from receiving communion due to their theological difficulties with the American church. These positions were not softened during the three weeks at Lambeth, but hardened with some bishops convinced that dialogue in the terms proposed by Dr. Williams was now fruitless.

Up until now, the Anglican Communion has held together “by appealing to diversity,” Bishop [Greg] Venables said.

However, he asked “Can we sacrifice what we believe for unity? I don’t think we can make that decision on the spur of the moment. It is unfair to ask people to sacrifice their convictions for the sake of a unity that is by no means certain.”

The attempts at conversation had not worked. “I hoped we would be able to talk about very serious things, we tried to but were unable to,” he said. The small group process helped “but there wasn’t enough trust. The level of conflict, fear, mistrust, frustration hasn’t allowed it.”

The problem of authority within Anglicanism was not being addressed, he argued. “Anglicanism has always said we were not a vertical church, but now it would help to have a council of cardinals to help us.”

“You have authority in the local church, authority in the diocese, authority in the province, why not have it in the whole church?” he asked. However, there are “no ground rules to define the Anglican Church. No ground rules outside the province. Now we have no way of avoiding the division,” Bishop Venables said.

“We talk but nothing is decided. People are frustrated,” and Lambeth 2008 did not address these needs, Bishop Venables said.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Lambeth 2008

Bishop Charlie vonRosenberg of East Tennessee reflects on Lambeth 2008

Another factor has a profound influence as we consider Anglican strains around the world – a much greater influence than I had realized previously. The distinct polity (church governance) of the Episcopal Church is included; however, this is a larger and more significant matter than polity alone. As Americans, our country was born in revolution, and our individual rights are matters that hold almost a holy quality for us. Our constitutional Bill of Rights is nearly sacred writ in our self-understanding.

Yet the Anglican world values communion and community life as still higher aspirations and greater goods. Individual self restraint and forbearance for the sake of the common good are entirely consistent with Anglican values and priorities in most of the world. Matters involving individual rights and personal justice do not take as high a priority in many other countries as they do in our own. In many places, focus of attention is directed to the whole, rather than to the parts. Please understand that neither is excluded, but the emphasis is often different.

To express this matter as I heard it put repeatedly at Lambeth – when all the Instruments of Communion agreed on a direction for all churches of the Communion, it astounded our fellow Anglicans that we in the Episcopal Church did not follow that course. I need to add that colleagues in Great Britain and elsewhere considered the actions of General Convention 2003 to be much more confrontational to the entire Communion than I did at the time. Having spent these weeks at Lambeth, I do understand better their perception of apparent American disregard of Communion concerns. In the view of many Anglican colleagues, the Archbishop of Canterbury, along with the Lambeth Conference, the Anglican Consultative Council, and the Primates, all indicated disagreement with consecration of an openly gay man in a partnered relationship and yet the Episcopal Church did precisely that. Therefore, our appeals to Provincial polity have a very individualistic and hollow ring in the ears of many fellow Anglicans.

Read it all.

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

Sand-tastic: U.S. men win beach gold

Phil Dalhausser blocked out the score, the sun and the sounds of the crowd that danced for Brazil while samba music shook the Olympic beach volleyball venue for the gold medal game.

Then he blocked just about everything else.

Rejecting four straight shots in the decisive set of the final on Friday to turn a tight match into a blowout, Dalhausser did it again on the championship point to give the Americans the sport’s first Olympic gold medal sweep.

“I got in a zone, I guess,” Dalhausser said. “I blocked it all out. It’s just one of those things where you see everything perfectly and it all seems to be in slow motion.”

Read it all. I caught it live during the morning run this morning–they played great. I especially enjoyed the after match interview in which they noted how much they benefited from losing early on to Latvia–a match I also caught.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Sports

Bernard Greenhouse: A Master And His Cello

Master cellist Bernard Greenhouse, 92, and his 300-year-old Stradivarius cello have been constant companions for the last half century.

Greenhouse was a founding member of the legendary Beaux Arts Trio, which plays its final U.S. concert at the Tanglewood Festival in Massachusetts.

Make sure to take the time to listen to it all. A superb example of what a real musician is, and what a sense of calling means.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Music

Notable and Quotable

I am around more young people these days than at any point since I was young myself. Between my work…and my status as the parent of teenagers, I hear much of what young people have to say, both the things they say to adults and the things they say to each other. They say a lot ”” some of it scary, of course, but also much of it reassuring.

But here is something I never hear any of them say: “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Only adults ask that question, and whenever I hear it, I cringe. I mean, this is mostly from people in their forties and fifties ”“ a group for whom you’d think the experience of deciding, re-thinking, re-deciding, and finally (sometimes) deciding not to decide, would be a fresh one….

My husband tells a story about when he was working as a reporter. He asked a question of Senator [George] Mitchell, during the Iran-Contra affair, and the Senator replied, “I disagree with the premise of your question. If you’d like to ask another, I’ll try to answer it.” Whenever I feel myself starting to ask a student what he or she wants to be, I remind myself that the premise of the question is wrong. It’s not what to be, it’s who.

–Alison M. Bennie

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Education, Young Adults

Alex Cornell du Houx: From Campus to War Zone

Six months into my junior year at Bowdoin College, I was deployed to Iraq with the Marines. I went from sitting in my Middle East politics class in a quaint Maine town to patrolling the war-torn city of Fallujah. My two lives could not have been more different: I didn’t write papers, play soccer or see kegs in Anbar province. But both Bowdoin and the Marines have made me who I am today. I joined the Marine Reserves for the same reasons I chose Bowdoin: to learn, to meet new people, to improve myself and to gain new perspectives.

When I returned to school after my yearlong tour of duty, I re-entered my Middle East politics class and wrote my final paper on the political choices facing Iraq. Knowing how to detect an IED doesn’t help much with a 12-page essay. But I was a better Marine for learning about the Arab world in the classroom, and I was a better student because of the eight months I lived on the front lines of the Arab world.

When I switched from campus to combat zone, I still carried my other life with me, just like my fellow Marines who left their civilian lives to serve our country. I was always eager for the arrival of the mail convoy, which carried with it notes from friends and family, professors and staff at Bowdoin. Back home, people still ask me why I joined. There isn’t a single answer. As a kid, I kept a poster of a Marine in my room and was always interested in the military. In the Maine town where I grew up, most people do not go to college. Bowdoin seemed like another world. I wanted to get an education and do something honorable; joining the Marine Reserves was a way to serve others and to move the country forward.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Education, Iraq War

For Coach, God and Archery Are a Package Deal

Two weeks before leaving to compete in the Olympics, the archer Brady Ellison waded into a pool not far from the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif., and was baptized in the Christian faith.

In the water with him was Kisik Lee, the head coach of the United States archery team and a Christian who has become a spiritual guide for Ellison, 19, and the larger group of athletes who train and live full time at the Olympic Training Center. He has also served as a sponsor in the baptism of three other resident archers.

During the Olympics, Lee and at least three of the five United States archers who qualified to compete in Beijing met every morning to sing hymns and read from the Bible, and to attend church together in the chapel at the Olympic Village. Lee believes having a strong faith makes for better archers because it helps quiet their minds. To that end, he tailored Ellison’s Olympic schedule to include spiritual and athletic objectives.

“I give him six tasks a day, including reading the Bible and education,” Lee said. “And he’s doing it.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Religion & Culture, Sports

One Man, One Year, One Mission: Read The OED

Many avid readers know the sense of sadness that can come along with the end of a book. For Ammon Shea, that feeling led him to an idea. Why not read one of the longest books out there, The Oxford English Dictionary?

“I figured if I was reading a book that was almost 22,000 pages long, that that feeling would take significantly longer to come around,” Shea told Renee Montagne….

But Shea says that what also made the reading enjoyable for him was the chance to unearth “wonderful words that are kind of hidden in the depths of the English vocabulary that we don’t come across.”

And once he has learned about a new word, Shea said, he finds himself thinking about the concept it describes more often.

An example, he says, is “petrichor,” a word for the scent that rises from pavement after rain has begun to fall.

“It’s a beautiful smell,” Shea said. “I’ve always loved that smell, when it first starts raining.”

Read or listen to it all (Hat tip: Elizabeth).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Books, Education

An Interesting Look Back to the Episcopal Church's General Convention of 1940

Unlike its sister churches in the Anglican Communion, the Protestant Episcopal Church of the U. S. has never had an archbishop. But last week it took a step to get itself within three years the next thing to an archbishop. Hitherto U. S. Episcopalians have merely chosen a Presiding Bishop, expected him simultaneously to run his own diocese and head the church at large. The present Presiding Bishop, the Right Rev. Henry St. George Tucker of Virginia, has a nationwide job but ecclesiastical authority only in Virginia. Most often he is in Manhattan, where he must get leave from Bishop William Thomas Manning to officiate in the chapel of the Church Missions House.

Last week the Episcopalians’ 53rd triennial General Convention, at Kansas City, did not quite get around to creating an archbishopric but it voted to make the National Cathedral at Washington the official seat of the Presiding Bishop, thus giving him a national pulpit for his pronouncements. Eventually the change may mean that the diocese of Washington will become a primatial see for the U. S. such as Canterbury is for England.

Not likely to be the first U. S. Episcopal archbishop is lean, spiritual Bishop Tucker, who as a good Virginia Low Churchman would dislike the trappings of the office. He will reach the retirement age for Presiding Bishops (68) at the next General Convention in 1943, when by a pleasant coincidence Bishop James Edward Freeman of Washington will reach the newly set retirement age for other bishops (72). With the two offices falling vacant at once, Episcopalians will then have a good excuse for merging them.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Episcopal Church (TEC)

Most Americans Believe God Can Save Lives, Even If Doctors Can't

A majority of Americans believe that divine intervention can trump doctors’ advice in end-of-life cases, according to a new report published in Archives of Surgery.

The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Connecticut, found that 57 percent of adults believe in the possibility of a miracle even after doctors have told them a family member’s life can’t be saved.

Just 20 percent of trauma professionals felt divine intervention could save a patient.

Read it all.

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