Daily Archives: December 8, 2008

Mark I. Pinsky: Faithful comedians can teach followers a thing or two.

Disarming and self-deprecating humor could also account for the rise of younger, suburban, megachurch pastors such as California’s Rick Warren and Florida’s Joel Hunter.Both are Bible-believing evangelicals who are known for being able to laugh about themselves.

“The more seriously we take God, the less seriously we need to take ourselves,” says Hunter, of Northland Church in suburban Orlando. “Self-deprecating humor not only reduces the intimidation factor, it personifies the possibility of success of people with flaws. Pastors who can joke about their own shortcomings are paradoxically making the ideals of religion seem more possible by putting them in a common human experience.”

Humor is the final frontier of broad cultural acceptability and, yes, integration. When an imam and an evangelical preacher walk into a bar with the classic setup’s more familiar trio of a priest, a minister and a rabbi, it won’t matter that the newcomers don’t order drinks. The important thing will be that they are in on the joke.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Religion & Culture

An Important Statement of the CEEC Council

–We recognize that evangelical Anglicans will pursue a variety of strategies for dealing with the current crisis in the Communion, and we support those who are seeking to work through the existing Anglican Communion structures, those who are working within the framework set out in the GAFCON Statement, and those supporting both.
–We call on the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Primates to recognize the urgency of the situation as it affects parishes and clergy, particularly in the USA, Canada and Brazil, and to give immediate and serious consideration to granting recognition to the new Province in the USA.”

Go here to read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, --Proposed Formation of a new North American Province, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Common Cause Partnership, Evangelicals, Other Churches

Savannah Morning News: Christ Church aligns with new Anglican group

Eight members of Christ Church in Savannah attended an event in Chicago last week unveiling the constitution and laws of a proposed new North American arm of the Anglican Communion.

Christ Church spokeswoman Stephanie Lynch said the group signed a symbolic statement marking the congregation’s intention to join the new organization once membership details have been worked out.

“It’s really more of a symbolic gesture. Nothing is binding,” Lynch said. “At some point we’ll be released from (the Anglican province of) Uganda and transferred to this new North American province.”

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

LA Times: Episcopal Diocese of L.A. officially condones the blessing of gay unions

The Rt. Rev. J. Jon Bruno, whose diocese encompasses Los Angeles County and five other Southern California counties, made the announcement Friday during a diocesan convention in Riverside.

Bruno acted just days after hundreds of conservative Episcopal congregations in North America formed a breakaway church amid a rift that began with the ordination of a gay bishop in New Hampshire five years ago.

Bruno’s declaration is not expected to have a major effect on Episcopal churches in Southern California. Many have been blessing gay unions for years. But he has now made it official.

“The practice has not changed. The policy has. . . . It’s sort of like ‘coming out,’ ” said the Rev. Susan Russell, a lesbian priest at All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena. Russell also is president of Integrity USA, a group representing the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community in the Episcopal Church.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops, TEC Diocesan Conventions/Diocesan Councils

Scranton (Pennsylvania) Times-Tribune: Episcopal Church split has effect on local members

When conservative members of the Episcopal Church announced plans to found a new denomination this week, the fissure had a direct impact on one local church and appeared uncomfortably familiar to members of another.

No churches in the local Episcopal diocese planned to join the new denomination, called the Anglican Church in North America. But a Scranton parish was among the small denominations that had previously left the Episcopal Church that formed a coalition to develop the new province.

Grace Reformed Episcopal Church, on Laurel Drive, is a part of the Reformed Episcopal Church, which broke away from the mother Episcopal Church in 1873 for broadly evangelical reasons. The pastor of the local church, the Rev. Paul Howden, said the presiding bishop of his denomination helped lead the way in forming the coalition of conservative denominations and Episcopal dioceses that on Wednesday joined to make the new province.

For the small denomination ”” there are about 10,000 members of the Reformed Episcopal Church ”” the new province signals a much bigger alliance than it has had in its history as a breakaway group.

“Instead of feeling lonely and isolated with so few churches throughout the country, we go from 10,000 to 100,000 members,” he said, referring to the estimated number of adherents in the new province.

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

Daytona Beach News-Journal: Area Episcopal leaders: no plans to join split

The church started ordaining women in 1976, according to Phyllis Bartle, Rector of St. Jude’s Episcopal Church in Orange City. She counts herself as religiously conservative. She expressed empathy for the breakaway group, but said her church won’t join it.

“I actually understand where they’re coming from, but I’m not called there, yet,” Bartle said.

Colbert Norville, rector of Daytona Beach’s St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church, also sympathized with the seceding conservatives. However, he, too, is staying put.

“I believe in the Episcopal church as it stands now,” said Norville. “I think a lot of people have forgotten their ordination vows.”

Nevertheless, he was critical of a growing movement in his denomination to accept…[same sex practice].

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

Bishop Duncan preaches at Anglican Church In North Carolina

Speaking to a group of parishioners before Sunday’s service, Duncan likened the split to the Reformation, when Protestant churches split from a wealthy and powerful Catholic church that had “lost its way.”

“We’re in the midst of another Reformation,” Duncan said. “Protestantism has gotten off track, and God is doing what he always does, and that is to reform it.”

Without mentioning gay priests, Duncan said the established church has strayed from its adherence to Scripture. As an example, Duncan cited the refusal of a head bishop to say that the Christian faith is the only path to salvation in the afterlife.

In an interview after his sermon, Duncan called it “unfortunate” that the consecration of a gay bishop prompted the split. He said church members were already alienated by a church that diluted biblical teachings, but they were forced to leave because the consecration directly contradicted scripture.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, --Proposed Formation of a new North American Province, Common Cause Partnership, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics

Episcopal Church Average Sunday Attendance by Province & Diocese 1997-2007

Take the time to look through it carefully.

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

Hartford Courant–Episcopal Schism: Both Sides' Leaders Unsure Of Next Step

Connecticut Episcopal Bishop Andrew Smith, who has struggled with defections of individual churches within his diocese in recent years, said he cannot yet gauge the significance of this development in the ongoing struggle for the soul of the Episcopal Church.

“It’s immensely sad. It really is,” Smith said. “It’s also unprecedented. I think what would give any persons or churches pause [before leaving the Episcopal Church] is the reality that although they are calling this a new province, it is not in communion with the [Anglican Communion].”

That may be wishful thinking on Smith’s part.

The bishop has watched as several of his churches, which were part of a group called the “Connecticut Six,” left the diocese and affiliated with more conservative bishops. The diocese is still embroiled in a lawsuit with one of the churches ”” Bishop Seabury Church in Groton ”” over who owns the church property. The diocese recently defrocked Bishop Seabury’s priest, the Rev. Ronald Gauss.

Both Gauss and the Rev. Donald Helmandollar ”” whose Bristol congregation also left the Episcopal Church but chose to give up its property to avoid a legal battle ”” believe the creation of a new province will give other conservative churches the push they needed to leave.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, --Proposed Formation of a new North American Province, Common Cause Partnership, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Connecticut

Barack Obama on Meet the Press

MR. BROKAW: On this program about a year ago, you said that being a president is 90 percent circumstances and about 10 percent agenda. The circumstances now are, as you say, very unpopular in terms of the decisions that have to be made. Which are the most unpopular ones that the country’s going to have to deal with?

PRES.-ELECT OBAMA: Well, fortunately, as tough as times are right now–and things are going to get worse before they get better–there is a convergence between circumstances and agenda. The key for us is making sure that we jump-start that economy in a way that doesn’t just deal with the short term, doesn’t just create jobs immediately, but also puts us on a glide path for long-term, sustainable economic growth. And that’s why I spoke in my radio address on Saturday about the importance of investing in the largest infrastructure program–in roads and bridges and, and other traditional infrastructure–since the building of the federal highway system in the 1950s; rebuilding our schools and making sure that they’re energy efficient; making sure that we’re investing in electronic medical records and other technologies that can drive down health care costs. All those things are not only immediate–part of an immediate stimulus package to the economy, but they’re also down payments on the kind of long-term, sustainable growth that we need.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, US Presidential Election 2008

Archbishop John Sentamu: It's time to topple the tyrant Mugabe

Mugabe and his corrupt regime must go. Lord Acton said: ‘Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.’ How can anyone share power in a thoroughly corrupt regime?

The sterility of the power-sharing agreement can be seen through this broken land where its people die from eating anthrax-infected cattle or from starvation. Where sewers are open and there is no running water in towns hospitals any longer. A place where there is no electricity to operate the most basic services. A land where cholera is claiming more lives by the day.

The time has come for the international community to recognise that the power-sharing deal signed in September is dead. The impasse within the South African-sponsored negotiations between the MDC and Zanu PF has been sustained by a Mugabe regime which is unwilling to give up power and refuses to recognise the rule of law.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Zimbabwe

Time Magazine: Is This Detroit's Last Winter?

The most important issue is cutting Detroit’s output to an appropriate level. “What we would tell a client who went from 30% to 20% [share] and they say, ‘We’re modeling now at 20%,’ I’d say, ‘Let’s model it at 16%,'” says Conway. Scaling below capacity doesn’t mean you give up on 20% or even 22% share ”” you can add shifts, for instance, to boost output.

Reducing capacity could also go a long way toward solving Detroit’s revenue problem. Between Detroit and the transplants, there are around 17 million units of manufacturing capacity in the U.S. In 2007 vehicle sales hit 16 million, but about 2 million of those were driven by the combination of easy credit and discount pricing. In a normal economy, the true size of the business may be closer to 15 million units. The Detroit Three simply have to generate more revenue per car and, not incidentally, a profit. Right now, the revenue gap per car is $4,000 vs. Toyota.

The competition hasn’t stood still, of course. Japanese and German makers continue to improve their products, and the U.S. customers they have won over will be hard for the home team to get back. Even as the Big Three have closed the distance over manufacturing, drivetrain and other engineering issues, another has opened up. The transplants have moved on to the sensual: the quality of materials, the look and touch of dashboard knobs, the sound a door makes, the feel of seats. Craftsmanship is the new point of difference. “The Japanese have figured out, How do we reduce friction?” notes Gidwani. “Now they are going to have to catch them in a new area.”

The real catch, though, is whether American taxpayers are willing to give the Big Three the chance.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, The Possibility of a Bailout for the U.S. Auto Industry

Investor fear drives US Treasury yields to near zero

The panic in global financial markets has sparked an unprecedented rush into safe US Treasury securities, driving yields on short-term government notes down to almost zero.

Due to stampeding demand for safe short-term investments, the US Treasury’s four-week and three-month bills on Friday yielded an effective rate of 0.01 percent — down sharply from 1.515 percent and 1.785 percent, respectively, in early September.

Other Treasuries are also showing record low yields. The 10-year bond yield fell as low as 2.505 percent and the 30-year bond yield slid to 3.005 percent at one point on Friday. The six-month bond yielded a mere 0.20 percent.

The low yields reflect a surge in demand for these instruments, seen as the safest in the world during times of turmoil.

“Investors seem to be content to sell stocks and park into the bonds for now,” said Greg Michalowski of the financial website FXDD.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Credit Markets, Economy

David Anderson on the formation of the Anglican Church in North America

There is very positive news coming out of Chicago this week: the launch of the new Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) as an outgrowth of the Common Cause Partnership, which will keep everyone watching for further developments. Numerous planned meetings of Primates in smaller and larger groups, sometimes with the Archbishop of Canterbury and sometimes not, and together with laity in Jamaica as the Anglican Consultative Council, will be occurring over the next six months, guaranteeing that the issues brought forward by GAFCON, the formation of the GAFCON Primates’ Council, and now ACNA, will stay in the center of attention for some time to come.

The launch of the new Anglican Church in North America, an outgrowth of the Common Cause Partners Federation, has been positioned such that there is reasonable hope that Primates of the Anglican Communion, perhaps beginning with the GAFCON Primates’ Council, might begin to recognize the entity as a province in the Anglican Communion. The Jerusalem gathering of GAFCON gave a call for such a new province to be formed, and the approval of a provisional Constitution and Canons of the ACNA is seen as the beginning of this process.

The formation of ACNA, which is a coming together of Anglican judicatories under an Archbishop, leaves two of its sponsoring organizations in a here-and-there position. Both Forward In Faith-North America (FIFNA) and the American Anglican Council (AAC) are advocacy and affinity organizations that overlay actual ecclesial judicatories, and although both are presently headed by bishops, the bishops and the members are all embedded in separate actual church structures.

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Posted in Uncategorized

Check out Rob Sturdy's Blog

My list of blogs you should check out keeps getting longer and longer, and I rarely get to it these days. But tonight I do want to draw your attention to the blog of Rob Sturdy. Rob is the rector of Trinty, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and he is energetic, passionate and inspiring. Give it a look when you get a chance–KSH.

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