Daily Archives: January 16, 2009

Mark Tooley: Where Will the Obamas Worship?

Mr. Obama seems to share the cool rationalism of the UCC’s liberal New England roots more than the evangelistic and emotive black church tradition. Talking to the Chicago Sun-Times about his faith in 2004, he cited his “suspicion of dogma” and “too much certainty,” and said he preferred a “dose of doubt” in religion. Somewhat deflecting questions about prayer, Jesus and the afterlife, Mr. Obama defined sin as “being out of alignment with my values.”

In 2007, Mr. Obama addressed the UCC’s governing synod. “Doing the Lord’s work is a thread that’s run through our politics since the very beginning,” he told an enthusiastic audience of 9,000. Despite Mr. Obama’s resignation from Trinity after the Wright controversy, John Thomas, president of the UCC, wrote to him after his November win, speaking of the denomination’s pride and hope in the president-elect and offering him the “hospitality” of its congregations in Washington.

All this suggests that Mr. Obama could choose one of the UCC’s seven churches in the nation’s capital, two of which are predominantly black. Or, will he gravitate instead to one of the city’s historically black denominations in a majority black city? Whatever denomination attracts him, will he choose a white or racially diverse church?

Read it all from today’s Wall Street Journal.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Religion & Culture

Bloomberg: Church of England Plans to Hire Investment Director

The Church of England plans to appoint an investment director as the credit crisis cuts the value of its 5.7 billion pounds ($8.5 billion) of assets.

“It’s not essential that the successful candidate is religious,” Louis Henderson, a spokesman for the church, said in a telephone interview today. “What would be expected, though, is they are sympathetic with the aims of the Church of England.” The Church will pay the holder of the newly created post a “six-figure” salary, he added.

The director will invest money accrued since King Henry VIII broke with the Papacy in the 16th century and seized its English assets. The Church of England uses the 305-year-old fund to pay the salaries and pensions of about 16,000 clergy and workers. The investment director will coordinate the fund’s investments in stocks, bonds, private equity, and real estate.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Economics, Politics, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Economy

Regaining a Big Vision for Britain: The Archbishop of York's Lecture to The Smith Institute

So what has gone wrong? Well, our expectations have risen exponentially as we have seen with the NHS. Also, the NHS success has meant that we are all living longer ”“ much longer in fact. As a result, we need far more medical services and pensions. We are victims of our own success!

The problem we face today is that things have become more complicated. The hydra has grown more heads; and sadly all of us unwittingly continue to feed it instead of starving it. It is becoming harder and harder both for those who govern and those who speak out on behalf of us to see the problems clearly or to identify the right solutions.

We have also become a more self-absorbed society. I believe that one of the key factors which has contributed to our loss of the big vision for our country, has been the loss of the Empire. I am aware that this is a controversial view. But whilst Britain had an Empire, a large merchant navy, a large manufacturing industry and commerce, and significant numbers engaged in armed forces, and an expatriate Civil Service in the colonies, it encouraged an outward-looking perspective.

As the vision for Britain became more introspective, I believe we became more self-absorbed. Hugh Montefiore, in his Installation Sermon as the sixth Bishop of Birmingham on 4 March 1978 said that, “No-one can lead a fully human life unless he has a worthy aim in life. I sometimes fear that the people of this great country, having shed an Empire, have also lost a noble vision for their future. How can we rediscover our self-confidence and self-esteem as a nation? What do we really want for our beloved land? Man cannot live by bread alone, nor yet by cash alone. We need a nobler aim in life than an annual increase in take-home pay. What we need are new ideals, a new sense of self-esteem, which will unite us, energize us and unleash those excellencies of character and creativity latent within us all. I believe it is the task of the Church not so much to condemn our failures as to help towards the acceptance of common goals which uplift the heart. Certainly there are no signs these may come from any other source ….

Read it all.

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

Indians adopt a vision under siege in America

It isn’t about cows or cobras, a wedding or outsourcing. It isn’t about gurus or Gandhi. “Slumdog Millionaire,” in fact, may be the first world-traveling film about India in a generation to discard the old, smudged lenses for seeing this country.

Its novelty has given it a dream run in U.S. movie theaters, and last week it won best dramatic picture at the Golden Globe Awards in Los Angeles. It now is given a good shot at the Academy Awards next month, even though much of the dialogue is in Hindi.

But the film’s freshness lies not just in how the West sees India. It lies, too, in how Indians see themselves. It portrays a changing India, with great realism, as something India long resisted being: a land of self-makers, where a scruffy son of the slums can hoist himself up, flout his origins, break with fate.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Asia, Globalization, India, Movies & Television

Vicar’s anger over TV cover-up of cross

A VICAR has complained after a TV crew covered up a cross while filming a church wedding for the Coronation Street soap opera.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Movies & Television, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

Media Advisory on the 2009 Primates Meeting

The Primates of the Anglican Communion will meet for the next of their regular meetings at the Helnan Palestine Hotel Alexandria Egypt, between 1st ”“ 5th February.

The meeting will be chaired by the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr. Rowan Williams and hosted by the President Bishop of Jerusalem & the Middle East & Bishop in Egypt with North Africa and the Horn of Africa, The Most Revd Dr Mouneer Hanna Anis. The Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, the Revd Canon Kenneth Kearon will act as the meeting’s secretary.

Primates’ Meetings are held in private session. As is customary it is expected that a communiqué will be issued at the close of the meeting.

Read the whole thing.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Primates, Egypt, Media, Middle East

Mayor Lauds Pilot, Urges Caution On Crash Cause

The pilot of US Airways Flight 1549 was being lauded as a hero Thursday night after he somehow managed to land a plane with two blown engines safely in the middle of the Hudson River. All 155 passengers and crew have been accounted for, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

There appear to be only minor injuries at this point, in addition to fears of hypothermia. Mayor Michael Bloomberg said passengers were taken to Manhattan and New Jersey on various ferries. He said there was believed to be no significant injuries. The city is trying to contact everyone who was on that plane.

CBS 2 HD has learned the crippled plane missed the George Washington Bridge by less than 900 feet.

900 feet! My goodness. Read it all

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Travel

In Ontario Anglican, Lutheran churches merge

The merger of two local churches is a sign of the times ”” and it just makes sense, say congregation heads.

St. David’s Anglican and Holy Cross Lutheran churches recently joined to become St. David’s Anglican/Lutheran Church.

“We were sharing a building and resources and decided that was working well. We thought we could go one step further and become one congregation,” said Pamela Harrington, diaconal minister.

The notion of a merger was presented to the two congregations, as well as the one at St. Athanasius’ Anglican Church. That congregation decided to remain independent.

Average attendance at Holy Cross was 30 to 35, while it’s about 50 at St. David’s.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Ecumenical Relations, Lutheran, Other Churches

Church Times: Women Bishops draft impresses supporters, but not FiF

DRAFT legislation for women bishops has drawn cautious responses since its publication last week…[earlier this month]. There is a prevailing desire not to question what the proposed Code of Practice could do before the General Synod examines it in detail in February.

The response of the traditionalist Catholic body Forward in Faith has been the most uncompromising. While it welcomed publication of the further report and associated documents, the organisation opposes in principle the Code that is at the heart of the proposals.

“We have consistently argued that a Code of Practice (with no transfer of jurisdiction) will not provide the security which tens of thousands of faithful and loyal Anglicans need in order to live with integrity in the Church of England after the ordina­tion of women to the episcopate. Nothing in these documents changes that situation,” a terse statement on its website said….

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops

Season for football and faith? Players share evangelical views

During his football career, Aeneas Williams earned a reputation as a quiet leader who professed a deep Christian faith. Behind the eight Pro Bowl appearances and a Super Bowl loss was a man often sought out in the locker room to help put things in perspective.

Now, the 40-year-old Williams leads a small start-up church that meets in rented space at a hotel in suburban St. Louis, where he weaves lessons from life and football into his sermons.

With football in its most important time ”” the college bowl season is over and the Super Bowl is looming ”” the strong evangelical faith of high-profile players and coaches has been getting attention.

Read it all.

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

Folks Are Flocking to the Library, a Cozy Place to Look for a Job

The financial crisis has caused a lot of withdrawals at the public library.

A few years ago, public libraries were being written off as goners. The Internet had made them irrelevant, the argument went. But libraries across the country are reporting jumps in attendance of as much as 65% over the past year, as newly unemployed people flock to branches to fill out résumés and scan ads for job listings.

Other recession-weary patrons are turning to libraries for cheap entertainment — killing time with the free computers, video rentals and, of course, books.

Last Friday, there was a particularly long waiting list of 157 to check out the popular vampire novel “Twilight,” by Stephenie Meyer, from a branch of the Stockton-San Joaquin County Library here in Tracy. This central California town has been ravaged by mortgage foreclosures, and area libraries report a surge of traffic. Shamika Miller huddled over a laptop at the Tracy branch. Laid off from her job as a bookkeeper at Home Depot more than a year ago, Ms. Miller, 29 years old, says she has visited the library “if not every day, every other day” since October to check job listings with her computer.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Books, Economy

The Euthanasia Debate: Baroness Mary Warnock and Dr Idris Baker disagree about "right to die"

Listen to it all from BBC Northern Ireland (just over 8 1/2 minutes)

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Death / Burial / Funerals, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Life Ethics, Parish Ministry, Theology

Obama Adviser Presents Plan to Alter Global Financial System

A top economic adviser to the incoming Obama administration unveiled a plan today to radically rethink the global financial system, including a host of measures that would dramatically expand government control over banking and investment in the United States.

The plan — which recommends limiting the size of banks, setting guidelines for executive pay and regulating hedge funds — offers the first hint of the kind of changes to the financial system President-elect Barack Obama might push for in the coming weeks and months. Obama has pledged to present a comprehensive series of changes to prevent a repeat of the current financial crisis before world leaders gather in London for a major economic summit in April.

The report today was issued by the Group of 30, an organization of international economists and policy makers. But the recommendations were immediately seen by observers as a building block to an Obama plan because the lead author is Paul Volcker, the former chairman of the Federal Reserve during the Carter and Reagan administrations who will serve as a special Obama White House adviser. Part of Volcker’s role is to help mastermind what could ultimately be the biggest overhaul of the U.S. financial system in decades.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Credit Markets, Economy, Globalization, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Stock Market

Senate votes 52-42 to release additional TARP funds to Treasury

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Politics in General, Senate, The September 2008 Proposed Henry Paulson 700 Billion Bailout Package

ENS: Primates to address international concerns at February meeting in Alexandria, Egypt

The primates and moderators of the Anglican Communion will be hosted by the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East for a February 1-5 meeting in Alexandria, Egypt, a January 15 press release from the Anglican Communion Office has confirmed.

Meeting behind closed doors at the Helnan Palestine Hotel, the primates will discuss international concerns such as the proposed Anglican covenant, the situation in Zimbabwe, global warming, and Christian responses to the global financial crisis.

The primates will also hear an update from the Windsor Continuation Group and receive a report the group is presenting to the Archbishop of Canterbury. The group, which last met in December 2008, is charged with addressing questions arising from the Windsor Report, such as recommended bans on same-gender blessings, cross-border interventions and the ordination of gay and lesbian people to the episcopate.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Primates, Egypt, Middle East