Daily Archives: January 17, 2009

Ronald C. White: Linked by a Bible

Barack Obama’s decision to select the same Bible for his inauguration that Abraham Lincoln used at his first inauguration in 1861 forges an intriguing connection between these two presidents. It’s the latest in a series of purposeful associations, from Obama announcing his run for the White House from the steps of the Old State Capitol in Springfield, Ill., (where Lincoln gave his “House Divided” speech), to a photo-op last week at the Lincoln Memorial.

As with all symbols, the use of the Lincoln Bible — gilt-edged, covered in burgundy-colored velvet — does much more than physically link two administrations. Lincoln made surprising and controversial use of the Bible and faith as president. Will Obama, whose religious beliefs have already played a role in American politics, do the same?

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Religion & Culture, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Religion and Ethics Weekly: Martin Luther King’s Dream and Obama

Reverend DONNA JONES (Senior Pastor, Cookman United Methodist Church): For this bi-racial guy with an immigrant father, with roots in community organizing, with an African American wife and two black kids to move into the White House ”” what kind of country we have today that that can happen is such a testament of hope and a testament to the sacrifice of Martin Luther King.

[KIM] LAWTON: Philadelphia United Methodist pastor Donna Jones says Obama’s election has ignited a new sense of optimism in her community and in communities across the country.

Rev. JONES: What this campaign has done in its entirety, and this is beyond Barack Obama, is it let us know that the process can work to effect change, but it didn’t necessarily change anything.

[KIM] LAWTON: And, indeed, amid all the talk of hope, some religious leaders are also cautioning that much work still needs to be done before King’s full social vision may be realized.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture

Israeli Cabinet Appears Ready to Declare a Gaza Cease-Fire

Israel’s security cabinet is expected to meet Saturday night to declare a cease-fire in Gaza and will keep its forces there in the short term while the next stage of an agreement with Egypt is worked out.

“It looks as if all the pieces of the puzzle are coming together,” Mark Regev, a spokesman for Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, said Friday. “There will be discussions tomorrow morning, and it looks like a cabinet meeting will take place tomorrow night. Everyone is very upbeat.”

Meanwhile, Israeli tank fire killed two boys at a United Nations-run school on Saturday in the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Lahiya, a U.N. official told Reuters. Adnan Abu Hasna, a spokesman for the U.N. Relief and Works Agency, said two brothers had been killed and 14 people had been wounded in the attack, including the boys’ mother. An Israeli army spokesman said that he was checking the report.

Read it all.

Posted in Uncategorized

A New Book out Soon to be on the Lookout For

William Murchison’s “Mortal Follies: Episcopalians and the Crisis of Mainline Christianity” (Encounter Books).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Episcopal Church (TEC), Other Churches, TEC Conflicts

Globe and Mail: Atheists hope (don't pray) to bring ads to Toronto

The atheist slogan, “There is probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life,” may soon be coming to subways and buses in Canada’s largest city.

The Toronto-based Freethought Association of Canada, inspired by a campaign that has plastered British buses with the phrase, has contacted the private firm that handles ads on the Toronto Transit Commission to see if the message would violate any rules. Organizers plan to launch a fundraising page on the website atheistbus.ca in the next few days.

The British campaign, which has inspired similar moves in Washington, Barcelona and Madrid, has sparked complaints to the country’s advertising authority and a backlash from the evangelical group Christian Voice, which has proclaimed that Britain is in “deep sin.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Atheism, Canada, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

James Kushiner on Richard John Neuhaus' Funeral

Praying together, singing hymns together, even when we cannot (yet) take Communion together, is perhaps the best form of conversation, where we listen to the Lord to whom we pray and to whom we give our hearts in worship, trying to discern what he requires of us as Christians in the time in which we live. Fr. Neuhaus was a determined and bracing leader in that Great Conversation, who will be missed.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Death / Burial / Funerals, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Roman Catholic

Jim Clyburn reflects on King's legacy in light of Obama's win

“Dr. King had come face to face with what he felt to be his eventuality. He was prepared,” [Jim] Clyburn said in remarks at a University of South Carolina breakfast commemorating King.

Clyburn, a South Carolina Democrat and the son of a minister, said the election of Barack Obama 40 years after King’s assassination is the same period of time the Bible describes between Moses’ message to the Israelites of a promised land and their arrival there.

“I don’t know, but it seems ordained to me.”

Read it all from the local paper.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, Politics in General, Race/Race Relations

Notable and Quotable

MARK SHIELDS: He speaks so well there’s a temptation always to speak long. But I hope he speaks briefly.

But I think it’s just a remarkable, remarkable time in the country. And I think it is shared across party lines. Fifty-nine percent of Republicans now like Obama. I mean, that is rather remarkable.

JIM LEHRER: Remarkable time in our country, David?

DAVID BROOKS: It is. Even as the economic mood goes down, the political mood really does go up.

From last night’s Lehrer News Hour which I happened to catch on the morning run

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama

The Al Mohler Radio programme: A Conversation with Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali

Few voices in the Church of England have stood more boldly for biblical authority than the Right Reverend Michael Nazir-Ali, Bishop of Rochester. In a special broadcast from the Mere Anglicanism Conference in Charleston (SC), Dr. Mohler welcomes Bishop Nazir-Ali to the program for a broad conversation about the most pressing issues facing the Church of England.

You can either download it as a podcast or listen to it by following the links here.

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

David Brooks: An economy of faith and trust

For years, Republicans have been trying to create a large investor class with policies like private Social Security accounts, medical savings accounts and education vouchers.

These policies were based on the belief that investors are careful, rational actors who make optimal decisions. There was little allowance made for the frailty of the decision-making process, let alone the mass delusions that led to the current crack-up.

Democrats also have an unfaced crisis. Democratic discussions of the stimulus package also rest on a mechanical, dehumanized view of the economy. You pump in a certain amount of money and “the economy” spits out a certain number of jobs. Democratic economists issue highly specific accounts of multiplier effects – whether a dollar of spending creates $1.20 or $1.40 of economic activity.

But an economy is a society of trust and faith. A recession is a mental event, and every recession has its own unique spirit. This recession was caused by deep imbalances and is propelled by a cascade of fundamental insecurities.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Politics in General, Psychology

Chesley Sullenberger: An American Hero

One just stands in awe of what this pilot was able to accomplish.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Travel

A Financial Times Editorial: Saving the banks

This week, banks ran into yet deeper crisis: the sector is in more trouble than was feared. As Ben Bernanke, chairman of the US Federal Reserve, noted in a speech in London this week, however, economic recovery will not begin until the financial sector recovers its health. Governments must act.

In October, following a British lead, governments around the world recapitalised their banks. This drastic measure saved the sector from collapse. But, as the events of this week have demonstrated, the banks are still on the ropes….

Governments must now act swiftly to move ahead of the crisis. Ad hoc nationalisation of insolvent banks and recapitalisation of impaired ones is simply not enough. Governments must act to draw out the poisonous uncertainty caused by the toxic assets held by solvent banks.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Politics in General, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The September 2008 Proposed Henry Paulson 700 Billion Bailout Package

California controller to suspend tax refunds, welfare checks

State Controller John Chiang announced today that his office would suspend tax refunds, welfare checks, student grants and other payments owed to Californians starting Feb. 1, as a result of the state’s cash crisis.

Chiang said he had no choice but to stop making some $3.7 billion in payments in the absence of action by the governor and lawmakers to close the state’s nearly $42-billion budget deficit. More than half of those payments are tax refunds.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Politics in General, State Government, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

GAFCON Primates Prepare Case for New Province

The Rt. Rev. Robert Duncan, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh (Anglican), is involved in “an unanticipated series of consultations with the primates who originated the call” for a new Anglican province in North America, participants in an Anglican theology conference have been told.

Bishop Duncan had been scheduled to address “North American Anglicanism After GAFCON and Lambeth” at the Mere Anglicanism conference in Charleston, S.C. Instead, the Very Rev. William McKeachie, dean of the Cathedral Church of St. Luke and St. Paul which is the conference location, read a letter from Bishop Duncan. He said that following consultations about the proposed new province between Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams and members of the GAFCON primates’ steering committee in London last month, Archbishop Williams had asked that a paper be prepared setting out the situation and the hopes for a new structure. The Archbishop invited the primates to forward the case to the Anglican Consultative Council along with their comments.

Read it all.

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

Ephraim Radner: An Open letter to the Covenant Design Group

[I see] particular evidences arise every day that demonstrate not only a lack of mitigation, but further retrenchment of polarization and division.

For example, yesterday my bishop in Colorado (where I remain canonically resident), the Rt. Rev. Robert O’Neill, ordained to the transitional diaconate a publicly known partnered homosexual. As we know, such an ordination in itself is no longer news in parts of North America. Why should anyone care? What made this news in Colorado (and this is where I heard about it first, in the newspaper) was that Bp. O’Neill has, since becoming bishop in 2003, made a public commitment to refuse such ordinations. He did this, not on the basis of his personal views, but ”“ frequently referring to the Archbishop of Canterbury’s own distinction between personal and episcopal teaching roles ”“ on the basis of his desire to abide by the Communion’s stated teaching and discipline for the sake of common life. He frequently emphasized his affirmation of the Windsor Report, both in its underlying theology and in upholding its specific recommendations. To be sure, he did not vow any time-frame for these commitments; but the purposes were clear enough.

Yet yesterday, he changed course. The issue here is not to lodge a complaint. Furthermore, we know there are no legally binding Communion policies that somehow limit his choices on this or any matter. Bishop O’Neill has made his decision, he has done so on the basis of convictions that were long-known, and he does so in concert with many of his American colleagues. Nonetheless, he does so in the known context of TEC’s and the Communion’s own difficult grappling with what has now turned into a horrendously destructive matter, and he does so deliberately. This is the issue worth pondering.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Covenant, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Colorado, Theology