Daily Archives: October 23, 2008

The Bishop of Tasmania on the 2008 Lambeth Conference

One of the saddest moments of the Conference for me personally occurred in our Indaba when a bishop spoke earnestly of his views on same sex issues with a brief and solemn conclusion. Some minutes after I saw him surreptitiously pass a sheaf of the TEC briefing notes to the TEC bishop seated in front of him. He had parroted one of the ’sample narratives’. I wanted to shout and to cry. Any idea of transparency and trust through Indaba had been tragically thrown in our face. Set piece parroting surreptitiously orchestrated was poisoning our communion. God have mercy on us! Although I spoke to our Indaba facilitator of this privately we, as an Indaba group and Conference, had neither the wit nor the will to address our hiddenness.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Provinces, Lambeth 2008

From the Do Not Take Yourself too Seriously Department

When my back seized up, I called my doctor’s office, explaining that I was a minister and was in too much pain to deliver my sermon. Could they help?

The woman on the other end asked me to hold. The next thing I heard was a loud voice announcing, “I have a minister on the phone who can’t stand to preach!”

–Gilbert Vieira in the November 2008 Reader’s Digest, page 43

Posted in * General Interest, Humor / Trivia

John Piper on Christians and Voting

Voting is like marrying and crying and laughing and buying. We should do it, but only as if we were not doing it. That’s because “the present form of this world is passing away” and, in God’s eyes, “the time has grown very short.” Here’s the way Paul puts it:

The appointed time has grown very short. From now on, let those who have wives live as though they had none, and those who mourn as though they were not mourning, and those who rejoice as though they were not rejoicing, and those who buy as though they had no goods, and those who deal with the world as though they had no dealings with it. For the present form of this world is passing away. (1 Corinthians 7:29-31)

Let’s take these one at a time and compare them to voting.

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

California Home Sales Revive, But Not Without Intense Pain

Following years of big profits for bankers and home builders in this state, one-fifth of all outstanding U.S. mortgages by dollar value — and a higher percentage of risky loans — are written on homes here. Of the 25 metropolitan areas with the largest home-price declines in the past 12 months, 16 are in the state, according to Zillow.com, a real-estate research Web site.

Those woes weigh on the financial system. Though California represents about 12% of the nation’s population, its homes account for 34% of the loans in a typical mortgage-backed security, according to Fitch Ratings. “California doesn’t have a Wall Street problem. Wall Street has a California problem,” says Christopher Thornberg, principal at Los-Angeles based Beacon Economics and member of the California Controller’s Council of Economic Advisors.

This is a really important article from the front page of yesterday’s Wall Street Journal–read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Thomas Friedman: Bailout (and Buildup)

This moment feels to me like a bad B-movie rerun of the 1980s. And I know how this movie ends ”” with our re-addiction to oil and OPEC, as well as corrosive uncertainty for our economy, trade balance, security and environment.

“Is the economic crisis going to be the end of green?” asks David Rothkopf, energy consultant and author of “Superclass.” “Or, could green be the way to end the economic crisis?”

It has to be the latter. We can’t afford a financial bailout that also isn’t a green buildup ”” a buildup of a new clean energy industry that strengthens America and helps the planet.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, Politics in General, Science & Technology, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

David Steinmetz: The Superiority of Pre-Critical Exegesis

The defenders of the single meaning theory usually concede that the medieval approach to the Bible met the religious needs of the Christian community, but that it did so at the unacceptable price of doing violence to the biblical text. The fact that the historical-critical method after two hundred years is still struggling for more than a precarious foothold in that same religious community is generally blamed on the ignorance and conservatism of the Christian laity and the sloth or moral cowardice of its pastors.

I should like to suggest an alternative hypothesis. The medieval theory of levels of meaning in the biblical text, with all its undoubted defects, flourished because it is true, while the modern theory of a single meaning, with all its demonstrable virtues, is false. Until the historical-critical method becomes critical of its own theoretical foundations and develops a hermeneutical theory adequate to the nature of the text which it is interpreting, it will remain restricted-as it deserves to be-to the guild and the academy, where the question of truth can endlessly be deferred.

Read it carefully and read it all.

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Black church, researchers join up to fend off cognitive decline

In the same way the wrinkles and stoop of an old gentleman can sometimes mask a feisty personality, the faded sign out front of the First Baptist Church here and its weathered exterior belie the vibrant doings within.

Pop your head inside the church’s foyer on any given day and you’ll hear 72-year-old trumpeter Frank Hart improvising Wilson Pickett’s In the Midnight Hour with a crew of other elderly musicians. Or swing around back and you’ll likely find the church’s head pastor, the Rev. James Brown, picking grapes in the organic orchard, laughing and talking with some of his congregants, in his deep, gravelly voice, about the importance of eating fresh foods to keep the mind and body strong. The church’s freshwater fish farm ”” teeming with tilapia ”” bubbles nearby. Later, some will be cooked up in a cornmeal batter for church suppers.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Aging / the Elderly, Health & Medicine, Other Churches, Religion & Culture

Executive Council hears that 2009 budget could run a deficit

(ENS) The Episcopal Church’s Executive Council heard October 22 that the church’s 2009 budget, if council members approve it, will have a $2.5 million deficit.

However, Treasurer Kurt Barnes told council members that the entire 2007-2009 triennial budget will be balanced, as required by the Episcopal Church’s Constitution and Canons. There were surpluses of $1.2 million in 2007 and $2 million in 2008, Barnes said.

Projections for the 2009 budget anticipate $54.6 million in revenues compared to $57.1 million in expenses. Barnes said that, given the triennial nature of the budget and the previous surpluses, the 2009 budget “could suffer a deficit of $2.8 million” and still be balanced.

Read the whole article.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, Stewardship

Bishop Herbert A. Donovan named to new post for Anglican Communion relations

(ENS) The Rt. Rev. Herbert A. Donovan, Jr., who currently serves as an assisting bishop in the Diocese of New York, has been named as deputy to the Presiding Bishop for Anglican Communion Relations.

In this newly developed position, Donovan will serve as the liaison for the Episcopal Church to the other 37 provinces in the Anglican Communion, as well as to international groups, organizations and partners, said an October 20 press release from the Episcopal Church’s Office of Public Affairs.

“I am honored to be asked by our Presiding Bishop to assist in the work of the church within the Anglican Communion at this important time in our life together,” said Donovan, who serves as vice chair of the Association of Episcopal Colleges and Universities.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Latest News, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops

In Canada Central Interior assembly says ”˜yes’ to same sex blessings

The assembly of the Anglican Parishes of the Central Interior (APCI) has requested its bishop, Gordon Light, to allow clergy whose conscience permits to bless civilly-married gay couples where at least one party is baptized. The assembly passed the motion when it met Oct. 17 to 19.

A notice of a similar motion was filed at the synod of the diocese of Ontario but was declared out of order by the diocesan bishop, George Bruce, who acted on the advice of the diocesan chancellor (legal advisor). The ruling was appealed at the synod held Oct. 16 to 18 but was upheld by a majority vote of delegates.

At the APCI assembly, Bishop Light gave concurrence to the motion but suspended any action pending consultations with the Canadian house of bishops, which meets Oct. 27 to 31 to discuss, among others, how best to respond to renewed proposals for moratoria on the blessing of same-sex unions, the ordination of persons living in same-sex unions to the episcopate, and cross-border interventions.

Read it all.

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

Melanie McDonagh: Minister, leave the Church of England alone

You have to hand it to Phil Woolas, the Immigration Minister: he’s good value for money. He doesn’t realise that there are some subjects that ministers should leave well alone. There’s a reason why he’s not on Question Time tonight. Immediately after being appointed, he opened up the Pandora’s box that is the Government’s immigration policy.

In the same interview with The Times he declared that the Church of England would end up being disestablished: “Disestablishment – I think it will happen… once you open debate about the House of Lords you open up debate about the make-up… It will probably take 50 years but a modern society is multifaith.” Hang on, Mr W. The assumption that a multifaith society can’t accommodate a privileged position for one religion, Anglicanism, can’t be taken as given.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Religion & Culture

U.K. Lawmakers back animal-human embryo research

The lower house of parliament approved legislation Wednesday allowing scientists to create animal-human embryos for medical research, in the biggest shake-up of embryology laws in two decades.

Despite opposition from religious and pro-life groups, MPs in the House of Commons backed the Human Embryology and Fertilisation Bill by 355 votes to 129. It will now go to a vote in the House of Lords, and could be law by November.

The wide-ranging bill, which has been debated for months, would also allow “saviour siblings” — children created as a close genetic match for a sick brother or sister so their genetic material can help treat them.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Life Ethics, Science & Technology

Economic Woes Hit Nation's Food Pantries Hard

The troubled U.S. economy is forcing tens of thousands of people to visit food pantries for the first time. But as the demand rises, donations to those pantries are drying up and some places have run out of food entirely, even in the nation’s breadbasket.

Although Kansas’ Johnson County is one of the richer counties in the United States, a food pantry there run by the local Catholic Diocese had to close last week.

Ellen Jones, director of Catholic Community Services, says she was stunned.

Read or listen to it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Economy, Poverty, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

A bad investment ripples through Main Street

Main Street USA in Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom seems far, far away from the meltdown on Wall Street.

Children hug Winnie the Pooh. At Town Hall, the mayor sings, Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. Yet Wall Street’s financial mess has touched even this idyllic world.

A very good piece from the front page of today’s USA Today on the collateral damage of this economic crisis–read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Robert Duncan Meets Rowan Williams at Lambeth palace

(ENS) Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams and deposed Diocese of Pittsburgh Bishop Bob Duncan met privately in London last week.

The Lambeth Palace press office confirmed that the meeting took place on October 15, but would not disclose details of the conversation between Williams and Duncan, saying it was “one of many private meetings” the archbishop hosts at his London residence.

Read the whole thing.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Archbishop of Canterbury, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Pittsburgh