Daily Archives: February 6, 2009

Nathaniel Popper: A Quarrel Over What Is Kosher

Since it was raided by immigration agents last May, the kosher slaughterhouse in Postville, Iowa has been an endless source of national fascination and headlines. Just last week the Orthodox man who ran the Agriprocessors plant was released from jail on bail after a contentious hearing — this after being hit by child-labor and bank-fraud charges.

The raid and its aftermath were not a surprise to me. I’d visited the plant in 2006 and written an article about the immigrant workers who had been shorted pay and lost limbs in the plant. But the attention to the plant’s woes — particularly in the Jewish community — astonished even me. The Agriprocessors raid, as it became known, inspired fund-raising campaigns, sermons, front-page headlines and lots of biting debate.

What was it that so riveted our attention? It was never articulated and it took me a while to see it, but this one story had managed to distill some of the most essential questions and issues that are dividing and defining the Jewish community, and indeed religious communities of all stripes today.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Judaism, Law & Legal Issues, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

The Released Audio From the Flight That Landed in the Hudson River

Listen to Captain Sullenberger and the tower go back and forth. Totally riveting; I got goosebumps.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, Travel

Bishop Bennison Loses Appeal of Sentence

The Court for the Trial of a Bishop has denied a request for modification of his sentence of deposition by the Rt. Rev. Charles E. Bennison, Jr., Bishop of Pennsylvania. The decision was made public Feb. 2.

Bishop Bennison was accused of failing to report allegations of sexual misconduct by his brother, John, who was working as a youth minister at the California parish where Bishop Bennison was rector in the 1970s, and then attempting to cover up the scandal. John Bennison has admitted to the misconduct and was deposed from the ordained ministry of The Episcopal Church in 2006.

Read the whole article.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Pennsylvania

Telegraph: Anglican church leaders to bring in 'relationship counsellors' over sexuality dispute

A report backed by the heads of all the Anglican provinces around the world has put forward the innovative proposal as a way to settle the dispute between conservatives, who oppose the ordination of homosexual clergy and the blessing of same-sex unions, and liberals.

The external mediators will try to reconcile differences between the Common Cause Partnership, a group of orthodox Anglicans in America and Canada who want to set up a new province, and the national churches from which they have split.

At the end of a week-long gathering of the leaders of the 38 Anglican provinces in Alexandria, Egypt, known as the Primates Meeting, they said in a joint communique: “We request the Archbishop of Canterbury to initiate a professionally mediated conversation which engages all parties at the earliest opportunity. We commit ourselves to support these processes and to participate as appropriate.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Primates, Primates Meeting Alexandria Egypt, February 2009

Anglican Journal: No consensus on separate North American Anglican province

In its report to the primates, the Windsor Continuation Group said the mediated conversation aims “to find a provisional holding arrangement which will enable dialogue to take place and which will be revisited on the conclusion of the Covenant Process, or the achievement of the long term reconciliation in the commission.” They said such conversation must be on a basis of some principles: “There must be an ordered approach to the new proposal within, or part of a natural development of, current rules. It is not for individual groups to claim the terms on which they will relate to the Communion…”

The primates’ communiqué, titled Gracious Restraint, addressed global concerns such as the search for peace and stability in Gaza, Zimbabwe and the Sudan, the deepening financial crisis and global warming.

But the primates acknowledged that one of the “chief matters” that continued to preoccupy them was the “continuing deep differences and disrupted relationships in the Anglican Communion” over the issues of the election of bishops in same-gender unions, the rites of blessing for same-sex unions and on cross-border interventions.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Primates, Primates Meeting Alexandria Egypt, February 2009

One Local Michigan Tragedy as a Result of the Recession

[Martin] Schur’s death last month shocked Bay City, a town of about 37,000 on Lake Huron’s Saginaw Bay.

The World War II veteran’s frozen body was found in his home January 17, just four days after a device that regulates how much power he uses — installed because of failure to pay — shut off his power. A medical examiner said the temperature was 32 degrees in the house when Schur’s body was found.

The medical examiner told The Bay City Times that Schur died a “slow, painful death.” “It’s not easy to die from hypothermia without first realizing your fingers and toes feel like they’re burning,” Dr. Kanu Virani told the paper.
The Michigan State Police launched an investigation into Schur’s death for possible criminal violations. “We have to do everything we can to make sure this doesn’t happen again, whether it’s Bay City or in any one of the cold weather states,” Bay City Mayor Charles Brunner said last week.

The death has prompted a review of Bay City Electric Light & Power’s rules and procedures for limiting or cutting off power. It also resulted in Bay City residents protesting Monday to the city about its handling of the whole situation.

This actually made me physically sick. Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Economics, Politics, Death / Burial / Funerals, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, Parish Ministry, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Reuters: Anglicans remain split on gay issues at meeting

Liberal and conservative clergy have been brought to the brink of schism over the ordination in 2003 of Robinson in the U.S. state of New Hampshire, the first openly gay bishop in the church’s 450-year history.

The statement urged the 80 million-member global church to “directly study the scriptures and explore the subject of human sexuality together in order to help us find a common understanding.”

The final statement was written in response to a report prepared for the head of the Anglican church, Archbishop Rowan Williams, and released by him for discussion at the conference, held in the Egyptian coastal city of Alexandria this week.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Primates, Primates Meeting Alexandria Egypt, February 2009

RNS: Anglican Leaders Take Dim View of Rival U.S. Church

Leaders of the Anglican Communion said Thursday (Feb. 5) that they, not dissident conservatives, will decide what role a newly formed traditionalist North American church will have in their worldwide fellowship.

Concluding their weeklong meeting in Alexandria, Egypt, the Anglican leaders also said a new North American church should not “seek to recruit or expand their membership” by attempting to convert others.

Conservatives angered by the liberal drift of the Episcopal Church in the U.S. and the Anglican Church of Canada set up a rival church in December. The Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), led by Bishop Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh, aims to be recognized as the official Anglican franchise in North America.

But the 30-odd Anglican primates, or archbishops, meeting this week (Feb. 1-5) essentially put a damper on those plans. While acknowledging that “there is no consensus among us how this new (church) is to be regarded,” the primates unanimously agreed that “it is not for individual groups to claim the terms on which they will relate to the communion.”

This latter point is of course correct, but that is exactly what the Episcopal Church’s leadership has been doing to the communion for the past many years without consequence. Read it all–KSH.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Primates, Primates Meeting Alexandria Egypt, February 2009

Church Times–Primates agree: hold the moratoriums while we talk further

The Primates have laid down the terms under which the parallel jurisdiction of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) is to be considered by the Anglican Communion. It will be discussed as a matter of urgency in a “professionally mediated conversation” initiated by the Archbishop of Canterbury, they say in a communiqué.

The communiqué was issued at the end of the Primates’ Meeting in Alexandria on Thursday. All the Primates were there bar the Moderators of the Churches of North and South India and Pakistan, and the Presiding Bishop of the Philippines. They shared, the communiqué states, “a strong desire to see our Christian World Communion flourish and remain united”, and experienced “a discernible mood of graciousness”.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Primates, Primates Meeting Alexandria Egypt, February 2009

Conservative Bishops Laud Outcome of Meeting, Archbishop’s Leadership

High marks have been awarded to Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams and the 2009 primates’ meeting by conservative archbishops, who report that consensus was reached following four days of intense talks in Alexandria, Egypt.

“Archbishop Peter Akinola is pleased, I’m pleased, Henry [Orombi] is pleased” with the outcome of the meeting, the Presiding Bishop of the Southern Cone, the Most Rev. Gregory Venables, told The Living Church.

“Something like the freshness of the Holy Spirit” descended upon the meeting, Bishop Venables explained. There was “something different here, something special,” he said. “Without a doubt there was a lot of anger and tension,” he added, but the “orthodox had a calmness and peace” that Bishop Venables attributed to divine intervention.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Primates, Primates Meeting Alexandria Egypt, February 2009

White House Now Plans Limited Bank Aid Package

The Obama administration has decided on a new package of aid measures for the financial services industry, including a bad bank component, and is expected to announce it next Monday, according to a source familiar with the planning.

Though government sources told CNBC that nothing has been decided, Reuters, citing a Treasury Department official, reported Secretary Timothy Geithner would unveil a plan Monday.

The plan will be “smaller” than originally expected, said the industry source, and centered around government guarantees and insurance of troubled assets””what’s called a “ring fence” concept.

“Everybody seems to like that,” said the source. “There’s a lot of internal conflict about whether this [the bad bank] makes sense … they realize they have to do something with the bad bank.”

There have been so many conflicting reports about what Mr. Geithner is going to propose I am unsure what to believe, and, even when it is announced on Monday the devil will be in the details. If this is the direction, however, it sure does not look right to me. Read it all–KSH.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The Fiscal Stimulus Package of 2009

Watchdog: Treasury overpaid for bank stocks

The federal government overpaid for stocks and other assets in attempting to help financial institutions last year, a government watchdog said Thursday, taking further issue with the beleaguered $700 billion rescue program.

Elizabeth Warren, chairwoman of the Congressional Oversight Panel for the bailout funds, told the Senate Banking Committee on Thursday that Treasury in 2008 paid $254 billion and received assets worth about $176 billion.

The figures were reached by extrapolating the results of a study of 10 government transactions, comparing the price paid by Treasury and the value of the asset at the time of purchase. Warren did not present details of the transactions the panel analyzed. A full report will be released Friday.

Read it all.

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

An Anglican TV Interview with Archbishop Orombi and Archbishop Venables

video platform
video management
video solutions
free video player

Please disregard what the video says at the top, if you wait for it to load the two archbishops will appear–KSH.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Primates, Primates Meeting Alexandria Egypt, February 2009

Chuck Colson: Political Exile

So do we retreat into our sanctuaries? Political columnist Cal Thomas, among others, says we should forget the idea of changing culture through politics and just be the church: help the poor, visit those in prison, and so on. To that I say an emphatic “No!” Rather, we should learn from Scripture how God taught the Jews in Babylonian exile to behave: “Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters ”¦ multiply there, and do not decrease. But seek the welfare of the city ”¦ and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare” (Jer. 29:5-7, ESV).

That means we are to be good citizens, praying for and obeying the state. In doing so, we may impact our leaders powerfully, just as Daniel influenced King Nebuchadnezzar when he was appointed to serve him.

And as God commanded the Israelites, we must also build up and disciple our families at a time when most of the West is in a destructive demographic decline.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Evangelicals, Other Churches, Politics in General

Gavin Dunbar: Honesty

Late last summer I vexed a few people in the diocese with an essay…on what we should be looking for in the next Bishop of Georgia. (A reaction I probably compounded by criticizing the lamentably sub-credal tendencies in the Presiding Bishop’s teaching.) As usual, very little of this response reached me directly. (Clergy often find it hard to speak about their disagreements. With one exception, the amicable discussions I had with critics were all at my initiative.)

In the essay I laid out four parameters I thought necessary to the unity of the Diocese: (1) adherence to the historic Faith; (2) compliance with the Windsor Report’s recommendations; (3) respect for conscien-tious dissent in the ordination of women; and (4) respect for conscience in the use of historic Anglican liturgy. To give the Diocese credit, there seems to be little controversy about the fourth parameter. That is a very positive change from the hostility that used to be directed against the old Prayer Book, and I look forward to helping the Diocese in the rediscovery of its liturgical heritage. About the first two items, I have heard little, though I do not assume that silence necessarily means assent. It was the third parameter ”“ the question of a Bishop whose orders would be acknowledged by the whole of the Diocese and Communion ”“ that seems to have made people bristle.

The chief complaint was that I was picking a fight with the diocese. Yet my original essay was explicit that there already exists a basis upon which St. John’s has been able to remain within the diocese despite our disagreements, and I expressed the hope that we could continue on what I called this “proven basis for unity in mission”. That’s not picking a fight; it is appealing to the diocese not to cause needless division.

Far from picking a fight, I have tried to forestall one. I suggested that the Diocese might request Dr Jefferts Schori to delegate the consecration to undisputed Bishops, as she has done in other cases. I also acknowledged the possibility that the diocese might accept as Bishop someone whose liturgical ministrations St. John’s could not in conscience welcome, and I offered a solution ”“ some form of Alternative Episcopal Oversight (AEO), whereby liturgical duties could be delegated by the new Diocesan to some other Bishop. This would maintain the Diocesan’s jurisdiction and respect St. John’s conscience. To my mind this solution has obvious merit, but to others it appears to threaten the integrity of the Diocese.

I think fear for Diocesan integrity goes together with the other complaint about my essay ”“ that I was imposing St. John’s theological agenda upon the rest of the Diocese. I would argue that the situation is precisely the reverse. By electing and consecrating a person whose episcopal orders are in doubt, the Diocese would be imposing its theological agenda on St. John’s ”“ the agenda that says that General Convention is free to ignore its own constitution and remake the historic Faith and Order of the church as it suits itself, thus violating its implicit covenant with its own members, with the wider Church, and ”“ let’s not forget ”“ its Lord. It is a little late to worry about the jurisdictional integrity of the Diocese when its theological integrity has already been compromised. You cannot expect to make unilateral changes in matters of essential common concern and expect unity to continue as before.

This leads me to the solution proposed by some persons, to whom I make this belated reply (with apologies for tardiness). It is not unlikely, they point out, that the person elected will be a man; at his consecration by Dr Jefferts Schori a number of male Bishops will probably lay on hands as well; if he does not receive his orders from Dr. Jefferts Schori then he will surely do so from someone else.

Problem solved? Not quite. I understand why many Episcopalians might find this an attractive solution. But consider what it really means: that the conscientious appeal for theological clarity in a matter essential to the church’s unity is met by”¦ fudge! “Embrace the ambiguity.” What more could we ask for? Except, perhaps, honesty.

Let me be clear: I do not question the sincerity of my critics, for whose courteous responses I am grateful. But honesty requires of us much more than this solution: the honesty to acknowledge that ”“ as a result of the unilateralism of the General Convention – we do not have a commonly accepted ordained ministry; the honesty to grapple seriously with the consequences of that division, instead of looking for a quick, cheap fix; the honesty to admit that this solution papers over the cracks and cannot possibly provide long-term security for conscience (For given that the number of Bishops whose orders are questionable is steadily rising, the assurance that at least one Bishop of unquestioned orders has participated in a consecration of another Bishop must steadily erode); the honesty to admit that this solution has played a long-standing part in the process of making theological conservatives into second-class citizens. Honesty is hard work, and painful: I do not like doing it any more than the next man. But it does not get easier by being put off. And it might just lead us all into a Diocesan fellowship happier and healthier for us all.

–The Rev’d Gavin Dunbar is rector of Saint John’s, Savannah, Georgia

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Georgia, Theology