Daily Archives: December 16, 2008
New leadership, both lay and ordained, a new episcopal presence and a new priest highlighted the Diocese of Pittsburgh’s special convention December 12.
Meeting at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Mount Lebanon, Pennsylvania, the special convention was called to reorganize the diocese and fill a number of leadership positions vacated by those who left the Episcopal Church following the diocese’s 143rd annual convention on October 4.
The people who departed, led by deposed Bishop Robert Duncan, now say they will be a part of the Argentina-based Anglican Province of the Southern Cone while they attempt to form a parallel Anglican province in North America that would be recognized by the large Anglican Communion.
Members of 28 congregations took part in the December 12 convention, representing 40% of both the number of parishes and total membership — as measured by the benchmark average Sunday attendance — in the Pittsburgh diocese prior to October, according to a diocesan news release. Members of 18 congregations had declared their plans to remain with the diocese in the days just after the October convention.
Since its founding more than two centuries ago, the Episcopal Church has often struggled to keep disparate factions unified under its diverse umbrella.
Repeated controversies — over slavery, the ordination of women and even the role of children in church life — have threatened to tear at its religious fabric.
Sorry to say that I regard this article as an embarassment in lopsided reporting. First, the history itself is flawed, since Anglicanism itself came as a result of a break in the 16th century, and there is also no mention of Methodism, or more of the details of the near split of TEC during the civl war, or the Reformed Episcopal Church split in 1873. Also, could we at least have quotes from people on both sides of an argument. Why could not even one reasserter be quoted in this piece? In any event, read it all.
When Archbishop Mark Shirilau founded the Ecumenical Catholic Church in 1987, he did so to provide a religious home for gays and lesbians.
Now, with the Episcopal Church ordaining gay priests and the United Church of Christ performing same-sex weddings, the Riverside-based denomination is losing members.
As more mainstream churches reach out toward gays and lesbians, many gays are leaving churches like Shirilau’s. The largest gay Catholic group, Dignity, lost nearly half its active members in the past decade.
Don and Gladys Miller worshipped weekly for 53 years in the sanctuary at 1064 Brighton Road.
But Sunday, the Millers walked away from the Town of Tonawanda church building they’ve known as their spiritual home since 1955.
“We’ve been here a long time, and it’s hard to leave,” said Don Miller, dabbing at tears. “We decided a long time ago that we would move with the church.”
The council of the Modern Churchpeople’s Union (MCU) met November 6 in London’s Docklands to develop a strategy for the defense of liberal theology.
Firmly opposed to the proposed Anglican covenant, the group plans to extend its network beyond England, improving links with the Episcopal Church, building branches in Ireland, Scotland and Wales, recruiting a range of ages and denominations, and increasing support among bishops and academic theologians.
The council members, many of them Church of England clergy, agreed that the organization will be re-branded, re-named, and re-constituted to reflect more fully its openness and diversity. Furthermore, the group decided that an administrator should be appointed and a system of working groups set up.
Just as we hunker down to survive the worldwide economic collapse, we are confronted daily with news of fellow Americans who already have lost their homes, jobs and life savings.
In one important respect, Americans today are at a greater disadvantage than those who faced the Great Depression some 70 years ago. In 1930, the vast majority of the nation’s households consisted of families led by married couples. Today, many more households consist of adult Americans who face life alone.
They include solitary men and women, single parents, the divorced, widowed and unwed partners.
One of the reasons the debate over network neutrality is so confusing is that the term itself is so slippery. It has an engineering meaning to engineers and an ideological meaning to ideologues while to businesses, it seems to mean””not surprisingly””whatever best serves their interests.
The extent of the confusion became clear today with a story in the Wall Street Journal saying that Google, a leader of the net neutrality charge, “has approached major cable and phone companies that carry Internet traffic with a proposal to create a fast lane for its own content.” What Google hopes to do, as explained in a blog post by the company’s Washington telecom counsel, Richard Whitt, is to speed the delivery of its content by “co-locating” servers within the networks of Internet service providers, such as Verizon or Comcast, a privilege for which it would, of course, have to pay. “Despite the hyperbolic tone and confused claims in Monday’s Journal story, I want to be perfectly clear about one thing: Google remains strongly committed to the principle of net neutrality, and we will continue to work with policymakers in the years ahead to keep the Internet free and open,” he writes.
Does this violate the principles of net neutrality? It depends on whom you ask.
The team President-elect Barack Obama introduced on Monday to carry out his energy and environmental policies faces a host of political, economic, diplomatic and scientific challenges that could impede his plans to address global warming and America’s growing dependence on dirty and uncertain sources of energy.
Acknowledging that a succession of presidents and Congresses had failed to make much progress on the issues, Obama vowed to press ahead despite the faltering economy and suggested that he would invest his political capital in trying to break logjams.
“This time must be different,” Obama said at a news conference in Chicago. “This will be a leading priority of my presidency and a defining test of our time. We cannot accept complacency, nor accept any more broken promises.”
At first glance, 2008 appears to have been a good year for speaking truth to power, with politicians, the news media and the man in the street gleefully savaging Wall Street tycoons, Washington lobbyists, auto company chieftains, predatory lenders, AIG executives, do-nothing congressmen and, of course, President Bush.
Only one powerful group ”” arguably the most powerful in an election year ”” has escaped this orgy of truth-telling: the American people themselves.
Then, regarding the third theme “sense and method of theology” that has been the special object of study in this quinquennial, I am keen to underline its relevance and actuality. In a “planetary society” as that which is being formed today, theologians are asked by the public opinion above all to promote dialogue between religions and cultures, to contribute to the development of an ethic that has as its own base network peace, justice and the defence of the natural environment. And this truly concerns fundamental goods. But a theology limited to these noble objectives would lose not only its own identity, but the very foundation of these goods. The first priority of theology, as already indicated in its name, is to speak of God, to think of God. And theology speaks of God not as a hypothesis of our thought. It speaks of God because God himself speaks with us. The real work of the theologian is to enter into the Word of God, to seek to understand it for what is possible, and to make it understood to our world, and thus to find the responses to our important questions. In this work it also appears that faith is not only not contrary to reason, but it opens the eyes of reason, it expands our horizons and it permits us to find the responses necessary to the challenges of the various times.
A number of archbishops and bishops, most recently Wallace Benn, have reflected on the credit crunch and the present economic crisis, for such it most certainly is. Apart from the inability of the press to report points clearly, what also emerges is the backlash from the liberal economic establishment at interference in their domain.
Wallace Benn questions whether it is their domain. He quotes a reliable source who says you cannot serve God and Mammon. Of course, Christ’s words cut through our whole culture at many different levels, but they are intensely relevant to what is now going on. These commentators need to be held to account for their pathetic response and their failure to address the Christian point of these remarks.
The Adam Smith Institute comments: “Many people who have not worshipped materialism have seen their lives made poorer”. Precisely. Since the Bible points out a hundred times or more that the innocent suffer from evil, that point is hardly news from the Adam Smith Institute or the Daily Mail. What they fail to add is that the present suffering of those who have lost jobs or savings is not caused by the messenger, in this case Wallace Benn, but by the financial sector running on the principles of the Adam Smith Institute.
“We need a Czar Czar, to crack the whip on all the czars. ”¦ P.S.: Also a federal czar policy. Right now, czar decisions are made on an ad hoc, case-by-case basis, with no attempt at czar harmonization.”
LOPEZ: What’s your best assessment of “Bush’s legacy” vis-Ã -vis Afghanistan?
YON: That Afghanistan is more akin to Jurassic Park than a modern country is not the fault of President Bush. I sounded the alarm from Afghanistan in 2006 that we were starting to lose the war, but at the time, Iraq was going so poorly that we did not seem to have the assets or attention span for the growing problems in Afghanistan. I would have blamed President Bush if we failed in Iraq, but we are succeeding. Afghanistan will be up to our new president ”” which is fitting enough, since Obama has expressed his opinion that that war is the one we should be fighting. Obama will have the troops at his disposal, and he’s already made a wise decision by asking Secretary Gates to stay on. So we’ll see. But Afghanistan will be Obama’s baby.
LOPEZ: What ought to be Barack Obama’s first priority there?
YON: Firstly, listen very closely to his military advisers, including Generals McKiernan and Petraeus. They don’t put lipstick on the pig, as it were. I see General McKiernan as a realistic commander and a truth-teller. Secretary Gates will tell you that we need more trainers to train the Afghan army and police, and our commanders on the ground will say the same. We need more money for infrastructure and development. We need roads, roads, roads. And more roads. We need to more vigorously address the poppy economy and find alternative livelihoods for the Afghan people. We need to work to not alienate the Afghan people because if we lose the wide approval that we still have, we likely will lose the war.