Daily Archives: August 24, 2008

Barack Obama opts for ”˜bare-knuckle fighter’ Joe Biden

The race for the White House entered a new, decisive phase yesterday as Barack Obama introduced Senator Joe Biden of Delaware, a seasoned Washington veteran, as his running mate, describing him as ready to “step in and be president”.

In the same historic setting at the Old State Capitol in Springfield, Illinois, where he put on the mantle of President Abraham Lincoln to launch his campaign last year, Obama described Biden as a “statesman with sound judgment who doesn’t have to hide behind bluster to keep America strong”.

In a declaration of war, Republicans swiftly moved to kick Biden by pointing to his criticisms of Obama, their disagreements over the Iraq war and his reputation for verbosity.

From now on, the rival camps will be battling hammer and tongs and the campaign can only get nastier.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, US Presidential Election 2008

Columbian Bank and Trust of Kansas Closed by U.S. Regulators

Columbian Bank and Trust Co. of Topeka, Kansas, was closed by U.S. regulators, the nation’s ninth bank to collapse this year amid bad real-estate loans and writedowns stemming from a drop in home prices.

The bank, with $752 million in assets and $622 million in total deposits, was shuttered by the Kansas state bank commissioner’s office and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., the FDIC said yesterday in a statement.

Citizens Bank and Trust will assume the failed bank’s insured deposits. Columbian Bank’s nine branches will open Aug. 25 as Citizens Bank and Trust offices, the FDIC said. Customers can access their accounts over the weekend by writing checks or using ATM or debit cards.

“There is no need for customers to change their banking relationship to retain their deposit insurance coverage,” the FDIC said.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy

Notable and Quotable

And the night shall be filled with music
And the cares, that infest the day,
Shall fold their tents, like the Arabs,
And as silently steal away.

–Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882)

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Music, Poetry & Literature

From the Washington Post's The Trail: Biden and McCain, Rivals Again

By selecting Sen. Joe Biden as his running mate, Barack Obama has picked a Senate colleague who has a long and friendly rivalry with Obama’s Republican opponent, Sen. John McCain.

From their perches on the leading foreign policy committees, Biden and McCain have shadowboxed across the globe, building reputations as experts in their respective parties on war and peace.

But their clash over the direction of the war in Iraq — and now the prospect of a high-stakes political campaign this fall — has strained that collegial relationship, leaving both men more than willing to do battle with the other.

“He has respect for McCain but he’ll be the first to angered by the sort of cheap shots they’re throwing at Obama now,” said Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), who predicted that Biden will relish the role of playing a lead attack dog on McCain.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, US Presidential Election 2008

Fresno Bee: in San Joaquin Episcopal priests' church stance sought

The Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin, based in Stockton, is planning a second go-round for priests and deacons to clarify whether they wish to remain in the U.S. Episcopal Church.

Bishop Jerry Lamb of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin says “roughly a third” of the 110 priests and deacons responded to letters mailed July 10 asking them to clarify their status with the denomination. The deadline was Aug. 5. Lamb says he planned this week to send a second letter because of the low response.

Read it all and there is much more here.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: San Joaquin

German Bishop Removes Priest for Same-Sex 'Blessing'

The Catholic bishop of Limburg, Franz Peter Tebartz van Elst, has removed a priest from office after reports that the latter had “blessed” or “consecrated” the partnership of a pair of homosexual men.

Fr. Peter Kollas, a dean of priests in the city of Wetzlar, participated in the “blessing” of the two men who had undertaken a civil “marriage” ceremony.

The event, Friday August 15, was also witnessed by a Protestant minister and about 150 guests, local news reports.

The bishop, appointed to the diocese of Limburg by Pope Benedict XVI in 2007, said that Catholics “have a duty to protest the legal recognition of homosexual partnerships.”
In a statement appearing on the diocese’s website, Bishop Tebartz-van Elst said he had removed Fr. Kollas as dean of priests to avoid further “damage” to the Church’s reputation.

Read the whole article.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Roman Catholic, Sexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths)

Peter Townley: The value of William Temple’s vision in a cynical world

Working with his Rugby contemporary R. H. Tawney, the seminal Labour thinker, and William Beveridge, the architect of the welfare reforms which sought to banish the five giants of want, idleness, squalor, ignorance and disease, Temple’s book Christianity and Social Order, published in 1942, provided a challenging theological gloss to this vision: “. . . there is no hope of establishing a more Christian social order except through the labour and sacrifice of those in whom the Spirit of Christ is active, and that the first necessity for progress is more and better Christians taking full responsibility as citizens for the political, social and economic system under which they and their fellows live.”

After Temple’s death at the age of 63 after being Archbishop of Canterbury for only 30 months, Bishop Barry of Southwell asked angrily in The Spectator: “Is the Church so rich in prophets that it can afford to squander the gifts of God?” A contrasting view, expressed by Hensley Henson, was that he died just in time “for he had passed away while the streams of opinion in Church and State, of which he became the outstanding symbol and exponent, were at flood, and escaped the experience of their inevitable ebb”.

Although a much different world than that of 60 years ago, the weight of Temple’s greatness is still felt. Once described as “a man so broad, to some he seem’d to be Not one, but all Mankind in Effigy”, his wide informed vision checks our growing narrowness and self-obsession, his realism our Utopian perfectionism, his generosity of heart a worthy riposte to the mood of cynicism and anger epitomising the age and his statesmanship a powerful reminder of what it is to serve as the national church.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Church History, Church of England (CoE)

BBC: Women 'leave churches in England'

Churches in England have lost about 50,000 women every year from their congregations since 1989, according to a Derby-based sociologist.

Dr Kristin Aune, from the University of Derby, said many young women were put off by the traditional values.

She said television programmes promoting female empowerment also discouraged women from going to church.

Read it all.

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

Stephen Sondheim on Send in the Clowns

Watch it all. Also, here is one Judy Collins version of the song.

Finally, one of my favorite discussions of this wonderful song may be found on NPR’s Performance Today from May 2002.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Music, Theatre/Drama/Plays

The Year of the Political Blogger Has Arrived

WHEN Pam Spaulding heard from two contributors to her blog, Pam’s House Blend, that they couldn’t afford to attend the Democratic National Convention, she knew that historic times called for creative measures.

Getting convention credentials for her blog, a news site for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community, was the easy part. As air fare, lodging and incidentals began piling up, paying for the trip to Denver became the bigger obstacle.

For Ms. Spaulding, 45, who works full time as an IT manager at Duke University Press in Durham, N.C., blogging is her passion, an unpaid hobby she pursues at nights and on weekends. So she called on her 5,500 daily readers to help raise funds: “Send the Blend to Denver” reads the ChipIn widget on her blog’s home page that tracks donations from readers; so far they have pledged more than $5,000 to transport Ms. Spaulding and three other bloggers to the convention.

Beginning Monday, hundreds of bloggers will descend on Denver to see Barack Obama accept his party’s nomination. Next week, hundreds more will travel to St. Paul to witness John McCain’s acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention. But now these online partisans, many of whom are self-financed, must contend with all the logistical and financial hurdles just to get there ”” not to mention the party politics happening behind the scenes.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Blogging & the Internet, Politics in General, US Presidential Election 2008

Tithing picks up among Christian business owners

Contractor Tom Barry stopped at the Cup of Joy Cafe in Wasco on his way to a job site on a rainy Thursday afternoon and bought a small latte.

Barry chatted with owner Chris Fisher for a few minutes, then stepped to a set of boxes mounted on a wall and stuffed his receipt into a box that benefits King’s Garden Orphanage in Haiti. The orphanage got a 21-cent donation, and Fisher got a warm glow in his heart that he says comes from tithing the gross sales of his cafe to an array of faith-based and secular charities.

“Tithing feels good,” said the Wasco entrepreneur, who tithes the personal income he gets from his newsletter publishing business to his church and doesn’t depend on the cafe’s profits to support himself.

“It really feels nice to do something for someone besides myself,” Fisher said. “I can’t tell you the peace it gives me to know what matters in life.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Stewardship

Samantha Bennett–Northern exposure: Canada to unveil a porn channel

Got two words for you this week: Canadian porn.

I don’t think I need to write anything else. I’ll just let you think about that, and I can log off and head home early. Sometimes the universe hands you a lovely gift with a big bow on it, which makes a nice change from all the days the universe jumps out from behind something and stabs you in the head with a railroad spike.

OK, OK, I realize I can’t dangle a non sequitur like “Canadian porn” in front of you and then walk away from it. Send the kids out for ice cream and draw the curtains.

We all know that a lot of Canadian actors have come to New York or Hollywood to realize their dreams. I have no clue how many have come down here to the States to make it big in the porn biz, but if all goes according to plan, they won’t have to. They will soon have their own channel, specializing in skin flicks with no tan lines.

The Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission has granted Alberta-based Real Productions approval for a digital pornography channel. It’s to be called Northern Peaks.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Canada, Pornography

Windsor Group Won’t Meet Before Diocesan Withdrawal Votes

The task force established to implement recommendations of the Windsor Report is unlikely to complete its work in time to have any affect on plans by the dioceses of Fort Worth, Pittsburgh and Quincy to hold second and decisive votes to withdraw from The Episcopal Church this fall.

Despite the Windsor Continuation Group’s call for swift implementation of its proposed moratoria, Archbishop Clive Handford, retired primate of The Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East and chairman of the Windsor Continuation Group, said he did not anticipate the group’s work having any sort of official status within the Communion until after the Anglican Consultative Council meeting in May 2009””six months after the last of the three dioceses, Fort Worth, has held its annual convention.

The six-member Windsor Continuation Group was established by Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams in February 2008. He had proposed formation of the group in his Advent letter to the primates last year.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Lambeth 2008, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Fort Worth, TEC Conflicts: Pittsburgh, Windsor Report / Process

A Model of China's Olympic Village Built out of Playing Cards

Posted in * General Interest

Churches to screen biopic

On Sept. 2, as many as 750 pastors and church workers are expected to crowd into the sanctuary at Calvary Church in south Charlotte, some of them driving in from as far as 60 miles away.

They’re coming not to sing, pray or hear sermons, but to watch a movie.

“Billy: The Early Years,” the new feature film about Charlotte-born Billy Graham, won’t hit theaters until Oct. 10. But the movie’s producers, based in California and England, are hoping to build some buzz in the coming weeks by holding more than 50 such sneak peeks for evangelical “opinion makers” across the Bible Belt.

In South Carolina, advance screenings are scheduled for Columbia, Conway, Greenville and Spartanburg, according to the movie Web site www.advancefilmscreenings.com. The site states that Charleston is one of five South Carolina “opening cities” in which the movie will be shown beginning Oct. 10; the others are Greenville, Columbia, Myrtle Beach and Florence. Specific theaters are not listed.

Good reviews from critics are nice, but the thumbs-up producers of Christian films want most these days are from pastors urging their flocks to head for the theater.

Read it all.

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