Daily Archives: October 21, 2008

Evangelicals say they're not represented in newsrooms

One way to change this perception, some church leaders, social commentators and journalists say, is for mainstream news organizations to employ ”” and keep ”” more evangelicals in their newsrooms.

“Journalism has become more of a white-collar field that draws from elite colleges,” said Terry Mattingly, director of the Washington Journalism Center for the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities and a religion columnist for Scripps Howard News Service. “While there’s been heavy gender and racial diversity … there’s a lack of cultural diversity in journalism,” including religion.

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

Suicide on the rise for middle-aged whites

Suicide rates in the USA are up after more than a decade of dropping, and middle-aged whites primarily account for the increase, a report says.

The rate for whites 40 to 64 years old jumped 19% for women and 16% for men from 1999 to 2005, say researchers from the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University. Their analysis was published online in the AmericanJournal of Preventive Medicine.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Middle Age, Psychology

C of I Gazette: Inquiry established into Lambeth Conference finances

Following reports of a £1.2m shortfall in the funding of this year’s Lambeth Conference, the Church of England’s Archbishops’ Council and Church Commissioners have set up a review, under the independent chairmanship of John Ormerod, a former senior partner of Deloitte, to examine the financial management of the Lambeth Conference.

The team has also been asked to make recommendations regarding the future involvement of the Council and the Board of the Church Commissioners in assisting the financing of meetings of the Lambeth Conference. A spokesman for the Church of England told the Gazette: “The inquiry is due to report back to the Council and the Board early in 2009 with a preliminary report on the financial difficulties and how these arose. A final report, examining the way forward, will be produced in summer 2009. The Council and Board have indicated that the inquiry’s report should be published.” The membership of the inquiry will be: John Ormerod; the Rt Revd Tim Stevens, Bishop of Leicester, and Christina Baxter (both Archbishops’ Council); and Timothy Walker, Third Church Estates Commissioner.

Last August, the Board and the Council met to discuss an approach from the Lambeth Conference Company – the body with responsibility for the finances and administration of the Lambeth Conference 2008 – for financial help.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Lambeth 2008, Parish Ministry, Stewardship

A Discussion of the Possibility of a New Fiscal Stimulus Package

MARTIN BAILY, Brookings Institution: Well, I was very pleased that Bernanke supported that. The economy is looking pretty ugly at the moment. I would expect that we’re going to report a negative third quarter. The fourth quarter looks like it could be substantially down. And then probably a continuing recession into the first half of 2009.

So we need to try to sort of reverse that. Initially, the financial crisis didn’t seem to be having that much ill effect on the overall economy, jobs and production, but now it is. And we need to do something to reverse that. And I think a stimulus package is definitely needed.

JEFFREY BROWN: Do you agree with that as a starting point?

WILLIAM BEACH, Heritage Foundation: I think the problems of the financial sector are beginning to spread throughout the economy. We’ve had such a long period of time when credit was tightening. Every day, we would get more news of tighter credit.

And ultimately that affects people where they work, their payrolls, vendors in businesses, and then it goes out into the consuming public, because they can’t get the credit necessary.

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Posted in Uncategorized

Civil trial opens for embattled Pennsylvania Episcopal bishop

The unusual trial could establish a precedent for clergy in hierarchical religious institutions to turn to civil courts to challenge their superiors over personnel matters.

In his opening statement at the Montgomery County Courthouse, lawyer John Lewis portrayed his client, the Rev. David Moyer, as the target of a cynical plot by Bennison to “fraudulently” remove him from the priesthood.

Head of the five-county Diocese of Pennsylvania for 10 years, Bennison deposed Moyer in 2002 as a priest and rector of the Church of the Good Shepherd in Rosemont. Moyer, a conservative, had publicly clashed with the more liberal Bennison over the ordination of women and the acceptance of homosexuality and had repeatedly accused him of dishonesty.

Moyer, 57, is suing for unspecified damages on the ground that his removal not only was improper under Episcopal church law but also caused him suffering, isolation and loss of income.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Pennsylvania

An LA Times Editorial: A Christian exodus

Even Americans unschooled in the history of the Middle East know that Iraq comprises Sunni, Shia and Kurdish Muslims, thanks to the Bush administration’s much-publicized effort to promote reconciliation among those groups. Often overlooked is the fact that Iraq has an ancient Christian population that has suffered grievously from the instability that followed the U.S. invasion.

More than 1,300 Christians recently fled the city of Mosul after 14 were killed — perhaps by Al Qaeda in Iraq — following a protest about an election law that didn’t provide Christians with fair representation on provincial councils. But that is only the latest exodus of Christians from Mosul, which served as a refuge for those driven out of Baghdad, and from Iraq as a whole. A Chaldean Catholic archbishop has warned that Christians in his country face “liquidation.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Islam, Middle East, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

Florida Church Burns X-Rated Film Reels

The 300-member congregation recently bought the former Playtime Drive-In movie theater to develop as their meeting place, and it held a bit of a surprise for staff members when they closed on the sale: cases and cases of pornography from the 1970s and 1980s.

“Obviously, we knew the right thing to do would be to destroy it, and not let it ever be out on the market, so to speak,” senior pastor Mark Eldredge tells NPR’s Melissa Block.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Church of Uganda, Parish Ministry, Pornography

William Kristol: Here the People Rule

In the 1930s, the American people didn’t fall ”” unlike so many of their supposed intellectual betters ”” for either fascism or Communism. Since World War II, the American people have resisted the temptations of isolationism and protectionism, and have turned their backs on a history of bigotry.

Now, the Pew poll I cited earlier also showed Barack Obama holding a 50 percent to 40 percent lead over John McCain in the race for the White House. You might think this data point poses a challenge to my encomium to the good sense of the American people.

It does. But it’s hard to blame the public for preferring Obama at this stage ”” given the understandable desire to kick the Republicans out of the White House, and given the failure of the McCain campaign to make its case effectively. And some number of the public may change their minds in the final two weeks of the campaign, and may decide McCain-Palin offers a better kind of change ”” perhaps enough to give McCain-Palin a victory.

The media elites really hate that idea. Not just because so many of them prefer Obama. But because they like telling us what’s going to happen. They’re always annoyed when the people cross them up. Pundits spent all spring telling Hillary Clinton to give up in her contest against Obama ”” and the public kept on ignoring them and keeping her hopes alive.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Media, Politics in General, US Presidential Election 2008

Liturgy and Music Commission Proposes New, Revised Books

The Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music is seeking General Convention approval for a replacement it has prepared to the Book of Lesser Feasts and Fasts, authorization to begin work on a new edition of the Book of Occasional Services, and approval of a new collection of prayers and liturgies addressing reproductive loss and grief.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Episcopal Church (TEC), Liturgy, Music, Worship

Storytelling transforms Europe's Episcopalians; new convention model hailed a success

(ENS) In addition to telling their stories, all nine parishes and six missions of the convocation displayed photos around the church, portraying aspects of ministry in their varying contexts.

“The experience of being the convocation, with dozens of nationalities represented and several languages spoken, has some lessons to offer other Anglicans, beginning with Episcopalians in the United States, even as we ourselves have so much more to learn,” said Whalon in his pastoral letter, which included reflections on this summer’s 2008 Lambeth Conference of bishops and an overview of the life and mission of the group of churches he leads in Europe.

“What we have learned in the convocation’s life is that not participating in a larger common life of churches leads only to isolation and a false sense of being the only ‘real’ Episcopalians,” he said. “Alternatively, as we have wrestled with the need to harmonize the policies and procedures of our common life, we have seen the need to take time to fully understand the circumstances of each congregation, in their differing contexts, before setting forth common rules of life.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, Episcopal Church (TEC), Europe

Canon Robin Ward: Gates of Heaven

One of the goods things which have emerged recently from the travails of Anglo-Catholicism in a riven Anglican Communion is a more profound reflection on what constitutes our patrimony: what makes Anglo-Catholicism actually distinctive, and justifies the anxiety which unites us to find a future for what we have received. After all, the great majority of Catholic Christians manage quite well without adding a national qualifier to the third mark of the Church adumbrated by the Creed. But those of us who live within our embattled, contrary tradition know that there is a tone, a way of doing things, a pastoral and liturgical ethos which is both absolutely distinctive and yet also prophetic in pointing beyond itself towards a greater unity ”“ those of us who went recently with the Archbishop of Canterbury to Lourdes will understand what I mean. When we look at the lives of the saints we see that in their diversity of character and spirituality they point us towards the truth of Revelation in different ways: for S. Thomas Aquinas, the overarching principle which organizes his understanding of reality is truth, for S. Francis of Assisi it is goodness, for S. Augustine it is beauty. Our tradition, rather at odds actually with the puritan mentality of the first Tractarians, values beauty: the beauty of holiness in Christian living, the beauty of holiness in Christian worship, the beauty of holiness in the magnanimous expenditure of human wealth on the splendour of Christian cult.It is important to recognise that this is not just an aesthetic preference (although there is nothing wrong with that). Attentiveness to beauty in religion is not like an enthusiasm for Bellini or Bonsai, it is to recognise a fundamental characteristic of the nature of truth as indeed beautiful because divine: as Augustine cried, Late have I loved you, O beauty ever ancient, ever new. To prefer the trite, the banal, the makeshift to the artful, the well-crafted and the beautiful is to make a theological mistake about God. The present Pope is very anxious to rescue the ideal of liturgical beauty from the charge of aestheticism and is determined to put this right in a way which should rejoice all Anglican Catholics who have from the beginning been attentive to this core aspect of evangelisation. It was both moving and significant that on the feast day of Ss. Peter and Paul this year he invited the Ecumenical Patriarch to inaugurate with him the year of Paul in a liturgical celebration which reflected a new commitment to beauty in music and vesture which many of us thought was lost in the 1960s. But the great eastern fathers of the Church were not simply interested in aesthetics, not simply Christians of good taste. They understood beauty to be a morally valuable quality, human creativeness which exemplified our creation in the image of God himself, and our transformation into the divine likeness by the work of grace.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Seminary / Theological Education, Theology

Vinay Samuel: Where is Anglicanism heading?

I was General Secretary of the Evangelical Fellowship in the Anglican Communion in the eighties. I saw this development before my eyes. While EFAC groups grew in England and North America and Australia, in Africa there seemed no need for them: for the Church of Kenya was evangelical; the Church of Uganda and Rwanda, fresh from the inspiration of the East African Revival was charismatic and evangelical. The Church of Tanzania had both evangelical and orthodox Anglo-Catholic roots. Where there was biblical evangelical and orthodox faithfulness, the churches grew. Where these elements were not present, the Anglican church stagnated as in Japan.

The result today is that two-thirds of the non-western Anglican Churches are biblically faithful Anglicans of the evangelical variety.This is the fruit of the identity and space forged for evangelical Anglicans in the Communion by the Keele Congress. Keele and its products validated the possibility of there being evangelical Anglicans in a liturgical Church that was seen as Catholic . As a result the Church of Nigeria for example could grow as an evangelical Anglican church.

The first time this reality came to global prominence was the 1988 Lambeth Conference. It was there that the African Bishops in particular were able to make a united stand for calling for a decade of evangelism. That was their idea. Then in 1998 they made a stand for orthodoxy in the communion’s teaching on sexuality. Then in 2008 they [chose for reasons of conscience no to attend]… the Lambeth Conference and held GAFCON.

It is not possible to understand these developments without understanding the emergence of Global non-western Anglicanism that is fundamentally orthodox. Since 1988 they have been slowly taking responsibility for the whole Anglican Communion.

This responsibility has been exercised carefully in the years since Lambeth 1998. There the non-western orthodox Anglicans took responsibility to safeguard the orthodox teaching of the communion on marriage. When this was challenged in the years after 1998, again and again the orthodox primates ensured that the primates meetings and the ACC repeatedly stood by Lambeth 1.10 and called for order and discipline.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Analysis, Episcopal Church (TEC), Global South Churches & Primates, Instruments of Unity, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Conflicts

Denver Archbishop criticizes Obama, Catholic allies

Denver Roman Catholic Archbishop Charles Chaput labeled Barack Obama the “most committed” abortion-rights candidate from a major party in 35 years while accusing a Catholic Obama ally and other Democratic-friendly Catholic groups of doing a “disservice to the church.”

Chaput, one of the nation’s most politically outspoken Catholic prelates, delivered the remarks Friday night at a dinner of a Catholic women’s group.

His comments were among the sharpest in a debate over abortion and Catholic political responsibility in a campaign in which Catholics represent a key swing vote.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Life Ethics, Other Churches, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, US Presidential Election 2008

George Packer in the New Yorker: The disaffection of Ohio’s working class

In Eau Claire, Tom Giffey, the editorial-page editor at the Leader-Telegram, described the profusion of cut-and-paste e-mails that his page has received during the campaign. “In the old days, there were Republican or Democratic newspapers, but there was more of a level playing field and both sides had to argue from the same facts,” Giffey said. “Now we’re in an age when you can simply reinforce your own viewpoints. And it’s hard to have a discussion of the facts when you’re dealing with two separate sets of facts””two sets of talking points that came down from on high. With the Internet, all of us were going to be content producers, but it’s become an echo chamber.”

As Dave Herbert, the building contractor at Bonnie’s Home Cooking, put it, “Partisanship has crept into every crease in this country.” In 2008, a customer at a breakfast spot in Appalachia, or a worker at a union office in Columbus, is able to repeat the latest dubious campaign sound bites within days, if not hours. Everyone hates the media, and everyone sounds like a talking head.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Economy, Politics in General, US Presidential Election 2008

Canadian bishop attempts to prevent Anglican Network in Canada priests from ministering

The Bishop of Brandon in the Anglican Church of Canada, the Right Reverend Jim Njegovan, sent letters on 16 October 2008 to the Rev Paul Crossland and the Rev Ann Crossland, rector and honourary assistant rector of the Anglican Network in Canada (ANiC) parishes of Church of the Resurrection (Brandon) and Church of the Redeemer (Dauphin), purporting to “inhibit” them (prevent them from ministering as priests). Bishop Njegovan implies in his letters that, since he was not informed that Paul and Ann had relinquished their Anglican Church of Canada licences, they had no right to minister “within the bounds of this Diocese” ”“ that is western Manitoba.

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