Daily Archives: December 2, 2008

RNS: Religion shaped 2008 in big, dramatic ways

“It’s very tempting but a bit dangerous to over-interpret what happened,” said Luis Lugo, executive director of the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life. “Clearly Obama improved across all religious groups, but the economy just overwhelmed every other issue.”

Still, the 2008 campaign was remarkable for the ways religion — or religious figures — played such a prominent role. Obama was forced to sever ties with his fiery pastor of 20 years, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright of Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ, for sermons that were deemed racist, anti-American and at times downright bizarre. McCain, in turn, was forced to return the endorsements of Texas megachurch pastor John Hagee and Ohio’s Rod Parsley.

Focus on the Family founder James Dobson tried to play kingmaker by first saying he would not vote for McCain “under any circumstances” and later calling the Palin pick “God’s answer” to prayer. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, the candidate who proved most popular among religious conservatives and who won the Iowa Republican caucuses in January, failed to gain traction despite ads that dubbed him a “Christian leader.”

Obama and Biden both faced strong opposition from Catholic leaders over their support of abortion rights. One American cardinal, James Stafford, called Obama’s election “apocalyptic” and a South Carolina Catholic priest told Obama supporters to head to confession before receiving Communion.

All of that, Lugo said, shows that voters want their politicians to be at least somewhat religious — but prefer to make up their own minds, without the interference of politically outspoken clergy.

Read it all

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Religion & Culture

From the Do Not Take Yourself Too Seriously Department

An Anglican Chant Weather report?

Posted in * General Interest, Humor / Trivia

Report of the Committee on Resolutions for the Diocese of Los Angeles Convention

Read it carefully and read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Diocesan Conventions/Diocesan Councils

Facebook Aims to Extend Its Reach Across the Web

Facebook, the Internet’s largest social network, wants to let you take your friends with you as you travel the Web. But having been burned by privacy concerns in the last year, it plans to keep close tabs on those outings.

Facebook Connect, as the company’s new feature is called, allows its members to log onto other Web sites using their Facebook identification and see their friends’ activities on those sites. Like Beacon, the controversial advertising program that Facebook introduced and then withdrew last year after it raised a hullabaloo over privacy, Connect also gives members the opportunity to broadcast their actions on those sites to their friends on Facebook.

In the next few weeks, a number of prominent Web sites will weave this service into their pages, including those of the Discovery Channel and The San Francisco Chronicle, the social news site Digg, the genealogy network Geni and the online video hub Hulu.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Blogging & the Internet, Science & Technology

George Clifford: An "alternative" province? Why not?

Until two weeks ago, I strongly advocated the Anglican Communion refusing to establish a new province in North America and mandating that provinces cease violating provincial boundaries by conducting ministries or establishing congregations within the Episcopal Church’s jurisdiction.

Then I read that the Episcopal Church had spent in excess of $1.9 million in 2008 on lawsuits connected to the departure of parishes and dioceses from this Church. Daily I read about critical needs for healthcare, food, sanitation, and shelter in the United States and abroad. I see the spiritual illness and death that afflict so many. I remember that Anglicans have wisely never claimed to be the only branch of the Christian Church.

I started to wonder, Was I wrong? Why not another North American province?

Interesting to see this perspective from a reappraiser–check it out.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, --Proposed Formation of a new North American Province, Common Cause Partnership

ENS: Presiding Bishop issues letter for World AIDS Day 2008

In the United States, this year’s commemoration comes in a moment of transition for American democracy. A new President and new Congress will shape this nation’s response to HIV/AIDS at home and around the world. Many significant challenges face America’s leaders in the coming years.

We must find ways to build on successes in fighting HIV and AIDS in the developing world. American leadership since 2003 has brought life-saving treatment to more than 1.7 million people in sub-Saharan Africa (in contrast to 50,000 in 2002), while supporting more than 33 million counseling and testing sessions and providing prevention services for nearly 13 million pregnant women. Still, more than 6,000 people continue to die each day as a result of the pandemic, and infection rates in some of the hardest-hit places continue to grow. Earlier this year, Congress and the President pledged significantly increased funding, and renewed strategies, for the global fight against AIDS. It will be up to the new Congress and Administration to keep the promises that have been made by their predecessors.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Health & Medicine, Presiding Bishop

In fight to avert deflation, Fed could learn from Japan

As the United States and other major countries prepare to combat the threat of deflation and recession with interest rates fast approaching zero, a five-year policy experiment in Japan shows how important it is to act quickly and boldly.

Japan fought its way out of deflation after a property and stock bubble burst in the 1990s with quantitative easing, a policy measure that involved flooding banks with far more cash than was needed to keep short-term rates at zero.

It was a groundbreaking experiment and took a long time to work because the Bank of Japan was slow to employ the entire gamut of policy options and spell out its goals in credible fashion.

These lessons are now acquiring a special relevance to the U.S. Federal Reserve, facing the risk of a Japan-style deflationary spiral after a mortgage market meltdown that battered the banking system and resulted in the worst bear market for stocks since the Great Depression.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Asia, Economy, Japan

Rick Warren takes on World AIDS Day — again

Warren, prompted by his wife, Kay, has made AIDS a major focus of his international efforts. They are pouring the energy and profits born of his world-wide best selling Bible handbook, The Purpose-Driven Life, into health, social, economic and religious efforts carried out by local churches in African villages.

He’s held major AIDS events at his Saddleback Community Church in southern California for three years now with Hillary Clinton and Obama among hundreds of high-profile political, religious and medical speakers.

Read it all.

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

LA Times: Consensus emerging on universal healthcare

After decades of failed efforts to reshape the nation’s healthcare system, a consensus appears to be emerging in Washington about how to achieve the elusive goal of providing medical insurance to all Americans.

The answer, say leading groups of businesses, hospitals, doctors, labor unions and insurance companies — as well as senior lawmakers on Capitol Hill and members of the new Obama administration — is unprecedented government intervention to create a system of universal protection.

At the same time, those groups, which span the ideological and political spectrum, largely have agreed to preserve the employer-based system through which most Americans get their health insurance.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Health & Medicine

The Amazing Jean Vanier: Loving the outcasts

Vanier was in Durham partly to promote his new book, Living Gently in a Violent World, co-authored with Duke Divinity professor of theological ethics Stanley Hauerwas.

Much of Vanier’s message makes the connection between loving the people whom society has cast aside as unlovable and the struggle to create a more peaceful world.

“The fundamental principle of peace is a belief that each person is important,” Vanier writes in Living Gently.

“People with disabilities remain the most oppressed people of this world,” said Vanier, a tall man with a voice so soft it is often hard to hear. “Many feel that they are not entirely human.”

Read it all.

Posted in Pastoral Theology, Theology

John Richardson's Notes on a Talk by Christina Baxter on the Anglican Communion and its future

Because of weaknesses of ACC, Donald Coggan called first meeting of Primates. This has been crucial in helping people understand one another and work on issues facing Anglican Communion. It has no legislative power ”” it is a consultation.

Anglican Communion is facing many things, many challenges, growing in some places, declining in others, making decisions which offend some parts of Anglican Communion and lacking opportunities to dialogue.

Who is an Anglican? Answer, “Does the ABC recognize you?” He only recognizes bishops, by inviting them to Lambeth. Problem for ABC, if he doesn’t invite a bishop, what does it say about the people in that diocese?

ABC has lots of influence, but no power. If a Bishop is behaving notoriously, he cannot remove that person. He can only talk with ABp or Primate of that area and plead with them.

ACC is in same situation. It has influence but no power.

Lambeth Conference is the same. It has influence, but it has no power.

The Primates’ Meeting is in the same situation.

Read it carefully. A couple of comments. First, I prefer very much the category of authority rather than power. Second, it is NOT true to say that the Lambeth Conference, for example, has no authority, it does have authority, the question is what kind of authority does it have. Again, my preference is to talk in terms of personal and moral authority rather than legislative authority. But this is all a matter for further prayerful reflection–KSH.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Instruments of Unity, Lambeth 2008, Windsor Report / Process

Living Church: Pastoral Assistant will Guide Reorganizing Dioceses

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has named the Ven. Richard I. Cluett as pastoral assistant to reorganizing dioceses. In this capacity, Archdeacon Cluett will report to Bishop Clay Matthews in the Presiding Bishop’s Office of Pastoral Development.

Read it all.

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

Der Spiegel: As Financial Crisis Grows, EU Emerges Stronger

Back in June, the people of Ireland stunned the world by voting down the Treaty of Lisbon, bringing the project of ever-closer European integration to a screeching halt. The failure of the Irish vote — the only popular referendum on the treaty anywhere in Europe — seemed to ratify the verdict delivered by French and Dutch voters in 2005 as they torpedoed the European Constitution: no more power for Brussels….

These days, though, such bickering seems like ancient history. Between summer’s turbulence and today’s reality, the New York investment bank Lehman Brothers failed in mid-September, sending the world into a financial tailspin from which it might take years to recover. But instead of sounding the death knell for what was an already flailing EU, the financial crisis has had the effect of breathing new life into a bloc that just a couple months ago looked deflated and defeated.

Now, from Iceland to the Czech Republic, previously wary populations are warming to the EU, heaping praise on the very Brussels-based behemoth they had spent so many years deriding.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Economy, Europe, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Mary Ailes: Historic week for Anglican Communion: From Chicago to London to Canterbury

Read it carefully and read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Latest News

Doris Dungey, Prescient Finance Blogger, Dies at 47

I was very sorry to read this, and I post it for three reasons. First, she was one of my favorite writers on one of my favorite financial blogs. Second, she is an interesting example of why anonymity is sometimes (note, in unusual circumstances) necessary for a blogger, and, thrid, she is but one more example of the further work that needs to be done on ovarian cancer (blog readers may remember my mother died of ovarian cancer in 2007). Read it all–KSH.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Blogging & the Internet, Death / Burial / Funerals, Economy, Parish Ministry