Daily Archives: January 29, 2009

Stephen Noll: The Future of the Anglican Covenant in the light of the GAFCON

The call for an Anglican Communion Covenant resulted directly from the Windsor Report (sec. 113-120), and the Windsor Report itself was a crisis response document. It is therefore not possible or desirable to evaluate any document that emerges from a drafting process without asking the question: “Will it address the crisis facing the Communion?”

That said, the crisis has also raised issues of the identity and governance of the Anglican Communion that have lain dormant for many decades. From time to time, the Lambeth Conference began to address these issues, but more often than not it punted them further down the field. Now many of us feel that the conflicts and contradictions of Anglican identity and governance must be squarely faced. A covenant could be just the sort of document to do this. Or not.

It is my contention in this essay that the official Anglican Covenant process under the direction of Abp. Drexel Gomez will not be able to produce an adequate document to meet the requirements of the hour. In the two years since the formation of the Covenant Drafting Group in September 2006, a new team has taken the field, the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans. Meeting in Jerusalem in June 2008, the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) published a statement of identity ”“ “The Jerusalem Declaration” ”“ and formed a Primates’ Council claiming extraordinary authority to separate from a heterodox Province or to recognize an orthodox Province. It seems likely that this Council will soon recognize a North American Province separate from The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Commentary, Anglican Covenant, Anglican Identity, GAFCON I 2008, Global South Churches & Primates

Lorrie Moore: The Complete Updike

IT has been a hard year or so for writers. The world seems to grow emptier and emptier, depletion without replenishment, and now with the passing of John Updike at the age of 76, death has taken perhaps its biggest prize.

Literature, of course, is not a contest. Still, that Stockholm did not ultimately embrace Mr. Updike ”” a Nobel, why not? ”” seems too bad, as it probably would have meant a lot to him, and to us as well to have his erudition and hard work and enthusiastic witnessing of postwar America honored on such a stage. The news that he died in a hospice not far from his house, and the new ordinariness of this current manner of death, made me wonder what he would have noticed and written about it ””“I’m sure it will be discovered he was taking notes,” a friend said, hopefully ”” for he was gifted at describing everything.

Mr. Updike’s novels wove an explicit and teeming tapestry of male and female appetites. He noticed astutely, precisely, unnervingly. His stories, some of the best ever written by anyone, were jewels of existential comedy, domestic anguish and restraint.

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

Gaza Violence Complicates Mitchell Mission

A day after President Obama’s special Middle East envoy called for a consolidation of the fragile Gaza cease-fire, the truce came under new strain Thursday when the Israeli military said Palestinians fired a rocket into Israel at dawn and Israel launched an air attack into southern Gaza.

On his first visit to the region in his new role, the envoy, George J. Mitchell, traveled to the West Bank to meet with Palestinian leaders on Thursday after discussions with Israel’s prime minister, Ehud Olmert on Wednesday. In those talks, Mr. Mitchell said, he spoke of “the critical importance” of consolidating the cease-fire that ended Israel’s three-week offensive against Hamas.

As Mr. Mitchell prepared to travel to Ramallah, Israel said it launched an air attack in the southern Gaza town of Khan Younis against a “known terrorist” accused by an Israeli military spokesman of being part of a squad responsible for a roadside bombing on Tuesday that killed an Israeli soldier on the Israeli side of the border.

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Posted in * International News & Commentary, Middle East, The Palestinian/Israeli Struggle, War in Gaza December 2008--

Obama’s Open Records Pledge Tested Over Citigroup Guarantees

U.S. government guarantees on securities totaling $419 billion for bank bailouts provide an early test of President Barack Obama’s pledge to be open with taxpayers about what they have at risk in the credit crisis.

Bloomberg News asked the Treasury Department Jan. 26 to disclose what securities it backed over the past two months in a second round of actions to prop up Bank of America Corp. and Citigroup Inc. Department spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter said Jan. 27 she would seek an answer. None had been provided by the close of business yesterday.

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

Massinformation with more Information on the Telegraph Report–I am skeptical

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Update: There is more here also.

Posted in Uncategorized

Damian Thompson: Traditional Anglicans 'to be offered personal prelature by Pope'

The Pope is preparing to offer the Traditonal Anglican Communion, a group of half a million dissident Anglicans, its own personal prelature by Rome, according to reports this morning.

“History may be in the making”, reports The Record. “It appears Rome is on the brink of welcoming close to half a million members of the Traditional Anglican Communion into membership of the Roman Catholic Church. Such a move would be the most historic development in Anglican-Catholic relations in the last 500 years. But it may also be a prelude to a much greater influx of Anglicans waiting on the sidelines, pushed too far by the controversy surrounding the consecration of practising homosexual bishops, women clergy and a host of other issues.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, - Anglican: Latest News, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

Scottish church leaders call for investment in affordable housing

At the opening of Poverty and Homelessness Action Week, leaders of Christian churches in Scotland are calling for intensive investment in affordable housing.

The Rt Rev David Lunan, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, together with twelve other church leaders, today endorsed a call from Scottish Churches Housing Action for a return to post-war levels of affordable house-building as a way of avoiding the worst effects of the recession.

The call comes in a paper sent by Scottish Churches Housing Action to First Minister Alex Salmond MSP, Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling MP and other political leaders.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market

Pew Poll: Almost half of Americans want to live somewhere else

Living in Las Vegas appeals more to men than women. Affluent adults are twice as likely as poorer folks to want to live in Boston. Young people like big cities such as New York and Los Angeles. More Americans would rather live in a place with more McDonald’s than one with more Starbucks.

Those are some of the findings of a Pew Research Center survey out today on where Americans would most like to live. Whether they favor cities, suburbs or the countryside, almost half wish they lived somewhere else, the report found. City dwellers are more likely to dream of living somewhere else, and men in rural areas are far happier living there than women.

“There are some more fundamental differences between men and women,” says Rich Morin, senior editor of the Pew Research Center survey. “Different cities seem to appeal to different partisan ideological groups. ”¦ People who are drawn to cities are typically younger people.”

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

House OKs $819B stimulus bill in win for Obama

In a swift victory for President Barack Obama, the Democratic-controlled House approved a historically huge $819 billion stimulus bill Wednesday night, filled with new spending and tax cuts at the core of the young adminstration’s revival plan for the desperately ailing economy. The vote was 244-188.

“We don’t have a moment to spare,” Obama declared at the White House as congressional allies hastened to do his bidding in the face of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.

The vote sent the bill to the Senate, where debate is expected to begin as early as this week on a companion measure already taking shape. Democratic leaders have pledged to have legislation ready for Obama’s signature by mid-February.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, The Fiscal Stimulus Package of 2009

Guardian: The letter the Obama team Hopes will heal Iran rift

Officials of Barack Obama’s administration have drafted a letter to Iran from the president aimed at unfreezing US-Iranian relations and opening the way for face-to-face talks, the Guardian has learned.

The US state department has been working on drafts of the letter since Obama was elected on 4 November last year. It is in reply to a lengthy letter of congratulations sent by the Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, on 6 November.

Diplomats said Obama’s letter would be a symbolic gesture to mark a change in tone from the hostile one adopted by the Bush administration, which portrayed Iran as part of an “axis of evil”.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Foreign Relations, Iran, Middle East, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama

Workplace Religious discrimination claims on the rise

Complaints of religious discrimination in the workplace are on the rise, but civil rights advocates say that may not be such a bad thing.

That’s because a likely reason for a steady rise in reported incidents has nothing to do with intolerant corporate cultures but rather religious minorities who are more aware of their rights and more willing to exercise them.

“Before, somebody might have prayed kind of quietly at work and hoped nobody would stop them and didn’t really want to ask permission,” says Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). “Now they state openly: `Yes, I’d like permission. Is there an open room where I could pray?”‘

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture

Postmaster Proposes a Cutback in Mail Delivery

Saying the U.S. Postal Service “is in a severe financial crisis,” Postmaster General John E. Potter is asking Congress to allow him to cut mail delivery from six days to five days a week.

In testimony prepared for a Senate hearing this afternoon, Potter said he needs “flexibility in the number of days we deliver mail.”

“The ability to suspend delivery on the lightest delivery days, for example, could save dollars in both our delivery and our processing and distribution networks, he said. “I do not make this request lightly, but I am forced to consider every option given the severity of our challenge.”

Ugh. Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy

Gore warns of damage from climate change

Suggesting that the planet will soon reach an irreversible “tipping point” of damage to the climate, former Vice President Al Gore told members of Congress on Wednesday that the United States needs to join international talks on a treaty.

“This treaty must be negotiated this year,” Gore told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

During questioning, he acknowledged that any treaty must include mechanisms to ensure compliance with prospective limits on carbon dioxide emissions, which come primarily from burning fossil fuels for energy.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Climate Change, Weather, Energy, Natural Resources

Israel's chief rabbinate severs Vatican ties

Israel’s chief rabbinate severed ties with the Vatican on Wednesday to protest a papal decision to reinstate a bishop who publicly denied 6 million Jews were killed during the Holocaust.

The Jewish state’s highest religious authority sent a letter to the Holy See expressing “sorrow and pain” at the papal decision. “It will be very difficult for the chief rabbinate of Israel to continue its dialogue with the Vatican as before,” the letter said. Chief rabbis of both the Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jews were parties to the letter.

The rabbinate, which faxed a copy of the letter to The Associated Press, also canceled a meeting with the Vatican set for March. The rabbinate and the state of Israel have separate ties with the Vatican, and Wednesday’s move does not affect state relations.

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Posted in * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Inter-Faith Relations, Israel, Judaism, Middle East, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Roman Catholic