Daily Archives: November 10, 2008
The greening of religion, although long overdue, is really a quite natural phenomenon. The texts of many faiths, indeed most, at some point reference the stewardship of this earth. More surprising is that today, secular environmental groups are seizing the opportunity to reach out to faith communities.
A Sierra Club report highlights faith-based environmental initiatives in all 50 states “spiritually motivated grassroots efforts to protect the planet.” One line leaps off the page: “Lasting social change rarely takes place without the active engagement of communities of faith.” Indeed. Think of the U.S. civil rights movement, Solidarity in Poland and the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa. Social change does not stick without the glue of religion.
But as these two movements one based on the love of God, the other on the love of the earth intersect, we should celebrate the initiative while remaining aware of the challenges and inevitable spats that await this quite remarkable marriage.
Never has a financial crisis focused so starkly on moral, ethical and even spiritual issues. The words used by commentators have run the gamut of emotions: greed, dishonesty and fear, panic replacing confidence, risk and hubris versus prudence, and faith in the banking system or lack of it. Never have the virtues of trust and integrity been more needed in the global economy.
The whole edifice was built on maximising profit, and a dishonest assessment of individual borrowers’ creditworthiness. It was bound to end in tears, and now millions pay the price in increased taxes and unemployment. Despite the pain, it may all be healthy in the long run. The crisis is a chance to re-examine fundamental motives; and to ask how capitalism at its best is supposed to work. Where is our faith place? In markets and profit? Or in something deeper?
OSAMA bin Laden is planning an attack against the United States that will “outdo by far” September 11, an Arab newspaper in London has reported.
And according to a former senior Yemeni al-Qaeda operative, the terrorist organisation has entered a “positive phase”, reinforcing specific training camps around the world that will lead the next “wave of action” against the West.
The warning, on the front page of an Arabic newspaper published in London, Al-Quds Al-Arabi – and widely reported in the major Italian papers – quotes a person described as being “very close to al-Qaeda” in Yemen.
The Anglican Church of Canada, looking for a new way to reach the faithful, has launched its own official page on the popular social networking site Facebook.
“It’s an exciting new step for us,” Brian Bukowski, Web manager for the church, told the Anglican Journal.
“We’ve been waiting for the right time to step into social networking, and Facebook is so well established at this point. We know our page can be effective there.”
[The Rev. John] Spencer said the church recognizes the decision was not unanimous. By a separate action, the synod made provisions for a nine-month grace period during which members can withdraw from the diocese in order to stay in the national Episcopal Church.
“It is a matter of allowing everyone to follow their consciences in these very difficult times, without recrimination,” Spencer said.
The Rev. John Throop, a local Episcopalian minister, said he anticipated the breakaway and transferred to the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago last year for that reason. Throop does not consider himself an extreme liberal, but he said his new diocese is more accepting of his point of view.
“I’m grieved that it has come to this, but I knew it was coming, and there was nothing I could do to persuade leaders to think otherwise,” Throop said. “I pray for God’s grace to be with them.”
Emily Becker wanted to be married by age 30. In June, at age 28, she and Joe Becker, 29, were married. They were the last of their group to tie the knot.
Even though they began dating in 2003 ”” around the same time as most of their friends ”” “it took us almost twice as long to get married,” she says. “We both knew we wanted to marry each other. We just kept having to put it off.”
he reason? Careers. Both are doctors. They spent four years in medical school. Three years of residency were in different cities. They got engaged in October of last year and now live in San Francisco.
“If we had been together in the same city, I think maybe we would have married sooner,” he says.
Just over a year ago, in that Consecration service, I stood at the chancel steps of this Cathedral and answered the questions posed to me by our Metropolitan, Caleb Lawrence. I had no idea then, just how two of those promises would need to be held in such a state of tension in this early stage of my episcopacy: “Will you boldly proclaim and interpret the gospel of Christ, enlightening the minds and stirring up the conscience of your people?” and “Will you share with your fellow bishops in the government of the whole church ”¦?”
Over the past several months, I have endeavoured to prayerfully and faithfully wrestle with these two critical duties of a bishop in the Church and at times dealing with the issue of the blessing of same sex unions has felt like a monumental task and a heavy burden to bear. How do I keep in balance the responsibility I feel toward those who have elected me as their bishop, while at the same time remaining faithful and loyal to the members of our National Church and the Anglican Communion? So many times I have prayed for the wisdom of Solomon around this issue and I continue to wait upon God for a more complete answer.
However my faithful attempt to respond to this responsibility and challenge has now been made public, on Monday in the form of my response to the Statement of the House of Bishops and my more detailed release yesterday that outlines our next steps as we move forward. I am fully aware that some on both sides of the issue will see this as a lack of wise leadership on my part and I accept that. Having consulted as widely as possible, across our own diocese, across our country, at the House of Bishops (including many discussions with our Primate), and of course at Lambeth, I believe that I have come to a better understanding of what is at stake and what the implications are of the decisions we make at this critical period in the history of our Church. There is time set aside on tomorrow’s agenda for me to hear directly from members of synod in response to these announcements.
This was a decisive but not an overwhelming victory for Barack Obama and the Democrats. As I put it in the lead of my U.S. News column for next week, it was a victory that was overdetermined and underdelivered.
Uh oh. We all know where this leads. American myths are seductively powerful: You really want to believe them. Yes, it’s an incontestably wonderful thing that the U.S. public, saddled for two centuries with an appalling history of slavery and its legacy, has voted a biracial man into the most powerful office in the country.
But if racism was America’s original sin, arrogance runs a close second. Some time next year, the United States is going to wake up and realize much of the world already hated it way before George W. Bush took office, and hates it still. (Anyone who has backpacked around Europe with a Canadian flag realizes this.) And with these sorts of prideful comments, the U.S. is in danger of becoming the reformed smoker of race relations, lecturing every other country about civil rights.
While the pride is understandable, it’s a tad misplaced. Black men were granted suffrage in 1870. It took another 50 years for women to receive the vote, and the U.S. has yet to elect a woman to the highest office, while dozens of countries including India, Israel, Britain, New Zealand and Germany have all been governed by women who were democratically elected. (Kim Campbell sort of counts, too.) Hell, even Ukraine’s prime minister is a woman.
As is the case with our brother and sister Anglicans in the Dioceses of Montreal and Ottawa, I believe we are among those who have been called by God to speak with a prophetic voice on this subject. I, therefore, intend to ask for a rite to be developed for the blessing of same sex couples who have been civilly married, along with a process to enable these blessings to take place that will at the same time honour the diversity of tradition and theology that exists across Niagara.
It is my hope that this process would move ahead as expeditiously as possible and that I will be in a position to report back to the Diocese within the next few months.
I want to assure you and be absolutely clear, that all clergy and all parishes will be fully free to follow their own conscience in this matter, as and when we are able to move forward.
The United States military since 2004 has used broad, secret authority to carry out nearly a dozen previously undisclosed attacks against Al Qaeda and other militants in Syria, Pakistan and elsewhere, according to senior American officials.
These military raids, typically carried out by Special Operations forces, were authorized by a classified order that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld signed in the spring of 2004 with the approval of President George W. Bush, the officials said. The secret order gave the military new authority to attack the Qaeda terrorist network anywhere in the world, and a more sweeping mandate to conduct operations in countries not at war with the United States.
In 2006, for example, a Navy Seal team raided a suspected militants’ compound in the Bajaur region of Pakistan, according to a former top official of the Central Intelligence Agency. Officials watched the entire mission ”” captured by the video camera of a remotely piloted Predator aircraft ”” in real time in the CIA’s Counterterrorist Center at the agency’s headquarters in Virginia 7,000 miles away.
U.K. Prime Minister Gordon Brown will call on governments around the world to coordinate tax and spending policies to shore up a slowing world economy.
“We must use the power of multilateralism to establish a global consensus on a new, decisive and systemic approach to strengthening the global economy,” Brown will say today, according to a text released by his office. After committing more than $3 trillion to bail out the banking system, governments must now turn to “international co-ordination of fiscal and monetary policy,” he will say.
Brown’s comments, to be made in a speech to London’s banking community, set out the U.K.’s position going into a meeting of world leaders in Washington Nov. 15. A coordinated program to trim taxes and boost spending would give Brown political cover to allow Britain’s budget deficit to swell when the Treasury announces its plans in coming weeks.
Israeli police rushed into one of Christianity’s holiest churches Sunday and arrested two clergyman after an argument between monks erupted into a brawl next to the site of Jesus’ tomb.
The clash between Armenian and Greek Orthodox monks broke out in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, revered as the site of Jesus’ crucifixion, burial and resurrection.
The following is the originally proposed Resolution of Policy on Same-Gender Blessings:
RESOLVED, That the Diocese of Oregon supports the full and equal participation of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered persons in all rites and rituals of the Episcopal Church and the blessing of same-gender unions by the clergy who wish to provide such blessings. Clergy deciding as a matter of conviction not to perform same-gender blessings are asked to refer couples seeking such blessings to clergy who choose to provide this pastoral ministry.
By adopting this resolution the Diocese:
”¢ Takes action consistent with The Episcopal Church’s position “that homosexual persons are children of God who have a full and equal claim with other persons upon the love, acceptance and pastoral concern and care of the Church.” (General Convention 1976-A069)
”¢ Encourages full and equal pastoral response to all couples (whether of the same or opposite genders) as a matter of conscience and integrity, including appropriate preparation and education about the responsibilities of entering into a life-long, intentional, Christian relationship, mindful of the teaching that “such relationships be characterized by fidelity, monogamy, mutual affection and respect, careful, honest communication and the holy love which enables those in such relations to see in each other the image of God.” (General Convention 2000-D039).
”¢ Affirms the Christian community’s participation in supporting couples as they live out their holy commitments to each other.
Adopting this resolution has no impact on expenditures by the Diocese.
””Respectfully submitted by the dean and vestry of Trinity Episcopal Cathedral to the Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Oregon.
Resolutions Committee Statement
The committee decision was to adhere to General Convention moratorium on public rite of blessing of same-gender unions. To be incongruent with that position will cause divisiveness at a time when unity and cohesiveness is most desirable in the Diocese. The Committee therefore recommends a “do not pass.”
(Please note that the resolutions committee recommended against the motion in its originally proposed form; this and one other proposed resolution and a canon change submission may be found here–KSH).
According to an email received the following is the resolution that actually passed:
Resolution of Policy on Same-Gender Blessings
RESOLVE[D], that the Diocese of Oregon meeting in November 2008 in its 120th Convention recognizes in accordance with General Convention Resolution C051 (2003), that local faith communities are operating within the bounds of our common life when they explore and experience liturgies celebrating and blessing same-gender unions, and
RESOLVE[D], that the Diocese direct the Convocations under the guidance of the Standing Committee to provide opportunities for full dialogue regarding access to, and equal participation of all God’s people who are members of our Church, including those who are gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered, in all the rites and sacraments of the Episcopal Church, to include access to blessings of relationships and unions that are based on mutual love and respect, fidelity, monogamy, and a mutual life-long commitment, and
RESOLVE[D], that the Convocation Presidents and Deans work together cooperatively to assure that these issues are discussed fully at specially called or regularly scheduled Convocation meetings that take place beginning with the conclusion of Convention 2008 and before the commencement of Convention 2009, and
RESOLVE[D], that the Presidents and Deans of the Convocations of the Diocese will work together to develop a report on the results of the Convocation dialogues, and based on this report will develop recommendations to Standing Committee and Convention on how the Diocese of Oregon might proceed to support the clergy as they strive to respond pastorally to the needs of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people, as children of God.