Daily Archives: April 25, 2009

The Soloist

We went last evening. It is really worth seeing. Terrific performances by the two leads.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Movies & Television

Tony Clavier on the ACI Bishops Statement

My main quarrel with the Bishop’s Statement is not that it is defective in its assessment of what was envisioned when PECUSA was established but rather its silence about what has evolved subsequently. Like it or not, the powers of the diocese in the matter of church property and the election of rectors has evolved, most particularly in the past 35 years. In part it is framed in the Dennis Canon which seems to claim ownership of church property by the diocese rather than the parish and by the national church over the diocese. It is also suggested by the creation of local diocesan laws which have largely taken away the rights of parishes to call rectors. A miriad of diocesan regulations have emerged, ironically on the grounds that dioceses have the right to establish methods of rectorial election, unsupported by national Canons. In short both the National Church and the dioceses, and diocesan bishops now claim authority far from that claimed by the founders of PECUSA. In some areas this has established laws far beyond those our founders granted to the National Church, and dioceses have established regulations which have limited parochial rights as established by the Canons. In short both the National Church and the Diocese assume to theirselves authority far beyond the intentions of the founders or the text of the Constitution and Canons.

Our founders were persons who believed that rational people could compact a union which permitted each level of organization to function at that level with little coercion. People of good will might be trusted to act as rational human beings. It was perhaps a Utopian ideal but one which inspired the creators of the United States. Subsequently a more cynical/practical view emerged, reacting to what was perceived to be abuse of power at differing levels. Thus, at least to my mind, it is not sufficient to evaluate TEC solely in the light of “original intent.” Yet I would suggest that a contemporary evaluation cannot lose sight of original intent and in this context the statement of the Communion Partners Bishops is a valuable recall to that intent.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Covenant, Anglican Identity, Episcopal Church (TEC), History, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts

Spanish unemployment jumps to record high of 17.4%

More than four million Spanish people are out of work. According to the country’s National Statistics Institute a record high figure of 17.4 per cent were unemployed in the first quarter of the year.

Unemployment leapt from 13.9 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2008, the biggest quarterly jump since 1976. Joblessness in Spain has almost doubled in a year.

The Bank of Spain had previously forecast that unemployment would not surpass 17.1 per cent for the year. Alarmingly, 1,068,400 families have every member out of work.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Economy, Europe, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Spain, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Notable and Quotable

What unites the church is a common faith in Christ and a common share in the Spirit. Apart from this essential, Christians may have nothing at all in common. We differ from one another in temperament, personality, education, colour, culture, citizenship, language and in a host of other ways. Thank God we do. The church is a wonderfully inclusive fellowship, in which ‘there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female’ (Gal. 3:28). In other words, in Christ we have equality.

–John R.W. Stott, Christ the Controversialist (London: Tyndale Press, 1970), p. 183.

Posted in Ecclesiology, Theology

The Chicago Consultation Responds to the ACI Bishops Statement

“Our Anglican tradition is blessed by the ability to share common prayer and sacraments while holding different interpretations of scripture and different opinions and practices. Our diversity reflects God’s creation and allows us to proclaim the Gospel in many forms to people in many settings.

“We are especially dismayed that this attempt to undermine the Church’s governance involves leaders who have held positions on the Communion-wide body that produced the proposed Anglican Covenant. The various drafts of the Covenant have each created impediments to the full inclusion of all baptized Christians in the Communion and thereby undermine God’s gift of unity. Regrettably, we must now question the full intent of these documents.

“We pray that our brothers and sisters in the Anglican Communion Institute will return to embrace our common tradition and polity and recognize the reconciling power of the Spirit to make all things new.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Covenant, Anglican Identity, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts

George Carey at Rugby School: is there a God?

In the brief reading we had Jesus asked a question: ”˜what is the kingdom of God like?’ He gives two suggestions by way of an answer. He said ”˜It is like a tiny seed that a man sowed and in time it became a huge tree’. Then he said again: ”˜The Kingdom of heaven is like a woman who takes flour and yeast and from the leavening of the two an invisible, chemical change creates something wholly new’. In both parables Jesus is saying something like this: ”˜from the tiniest of events the most staggering mysteries can appear’.

Of course, human beings quite rightly do not like mysteries. We want to get to the bottom of things and we ask questions of mysteries.

This year our country is celebrating the achievements of one of the greatest scientists of all time; Charles Darwin. Born two hundred years ago he was from childhood a person with a profound sense of curiosity. He was an inveterate collector. His father wanted him to follow him into the medical profession- but he knew he wasn’t cut out for that. He went to university thinking that he ought to be ordained ”“ but, deep down, he knew that wasn’t his destiny.
Almost by accident he heard about the voyage of a ship, the Beagle, which needed a naturalist. He got the job and the five years he spent on the ship was to change him and change the world. Above all, he got people thinking and arguing about God. And Darwin himself was shaken by what he discovered. In 1859, 150 years ago, his magnum opus, On the Origin of Species, was published. He showed that the earth was in constant flux and that every species was interdependent; human beings too were part of creation and linked to other creatures. There is an astonishing diagram in one of his notebooks sketching the tree of life with the two words above the diagram ”˜I think’. He argued in his book that a process he called natural selection was at work in all life with survival dependent upon adaptability to change . Called ”˜the survival of the fittest’ Darwin challenged religious and philosophical thinking of his day.

I can only give you my personal take on this. If you believe that the opening chapters of Genesis are literally true, then Darwin’s colossal achievement will contradict you. If you believe, as I do, that the opening chapters of Genesis are allegories, pictures stories that belong to ancient peoples’ attempts to understand creation, then there is no difficulty for Christians seeing Darwin’s discoveries as enlarging their understanding of the universe.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Apologetics, Church of England (CoE), Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Theology

Mourning, tears mix with hope amid ashes

Bob and Joanne Portteus numbered among the first dozen people to launch Barefoot Church on Main Street, Hempsey and Banister said. Just a few years later, the congregation now includes 1,200 members on any given weekend.

The church’s theory is that so many people strong can make a difference.

In documenting the plight of one of their own for this weekend’s services, Banister said, “This may be something that goes bigger. We want to send a message of hope.”

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina

South Carolina wildfire blamed on blaze some thought was out

Firefighters responded twice to a weekend yard fire that South Carolina officials believe rekindled four days later, igniting a massive wildfire that has destroyed 70 homes and continued to char 31 square miles near Myrtle Beach on Friday.

Officials said homes were still being threatened by the flames but late-day winds had yet to cause it to spread farther. No injuries have been reported but damage estimates rose to $16 million for the three-day blaze and were expected to increase.

Read it all

Posted in * South Carolina

Swine Flu Could Cause Pandemic, WHO Says

The swine flu virus that is responsible for an outbreak in Mexico and has been detected in the southwestern United States has the potential to cause a pandemic, a top international health official said today.

“It has pandemic potential,” Margaret Chan, the director-general of the World Health Organization, told reporters during a telephone briefing. “It is infecting people.”

Chan held the briefing after cutting short a trip to the United States so she could rush back to the WHO’s headquarters in Geneva to convene an emergency meeting of the organization’s experts to decide what steps should be taken to contain the virus.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Health & Medicine

Mark McCall: Statement in Response to Father Mark Harris

I am sure Fr. [Mark] Harris is well aware that the articulation of TEC’s polity in the Bishops’ Statement is hardly novel, but has long been the standard understanding of our governance. See, for example, the widely-used series on “The Church’s Teaching” by Dr. Powel Dawley of GTS, the work by Dr. Daniel Stevick of EDS on Canon Law and the article by Dr. Robert Prichard of VTS, one of TEC’s leading historians, in the current issue of “Anglican and Episcopal History,” who reviews this history and my paper and concludes that my work is “cogent and based on good historical argument.”

Finally and most importantly, none of this should deflect attention from the Bishops’ Statement itself. It is what it is says it is: a statement by fifteen bishops of this Church, including a candidate for Presiding Bishop in 1985 (Bishop Frey), a candidate for Presiding Bishop in 1997 and one of the three Senior Bishops of the Church who exercise canonical responsibilities under Title IV (Bishop Wimberly) and the immediate past president of the Presiding Bishop’s Council of Advice (Bishop MacPherson). I urge Fr. Harris and others to focus on this Statement by fifteen distinguished Bishops rather than discuss obviously confidential emails that should never have been made public in the first place.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Covenant, Anglican Identity, Blogging & the Internet, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts

Bryan Owen: "Buddhist" Bishop-Elect Revises Liturgy for Baptism

[Thew] Forrester’s writings and sermons are sufficiently distressing to call into question his fitness, not only to be a bishop, but to even be a priest. Add to that the fact that Forrester adds stuff to the liturgy like a reading from the Qur’an in place of the appointed lesson from the apostle Paul, while also taking away from the liturgy the renunciations, and also so thoroughly revising the theological grounding of the act of adherence that it bears little resemblance to anything specifically Christian.

Given what we know from his sermons and liturgical experimentation/revision, I think there is little basis for believing that Mr. Forrester, if consecrated as a bishop, will heed the call “to guard the faith, unity, and discipline of the Church” (The Book of Common Prayer, p. 517). It’s much more reasonable to expect that he would continue doing what he’s already been doing: departing from the core tenets of the Christian faith and revising the liturgical practices of the Episcopal Church accordingly.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Baptism, Episcopal Church (TEC), Liturgy, Music, Worship, Sacramental Theology, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Northern Michigan, Theology

Evangelical appointed Bishop of Sherborne

A leader of a prominent evangelical grouping in the Anglican war over gays has been appointed bishop to one of the oldest historic Episcopal seats in the country.

Although Sherborne, founded in 705, is no longer a see in its own right but an area in the Salisbury diocese covering Dorset, the appointment Dr Graham Kings as its bishop is one of the strongest signs yet that the Archbishop of Canterbury is winning the battle for Anglican unity.

Dr Kings is founder of the increasingly influential group Fulcrum, which publishes the writings of conservative evangelical Bishop of Durham, Dr Tom Wright.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Evangelicals, Other Churches

Get Religion responds to a Dallas Morning News story: Warping the Anglican wars

The case has been settled by the progressive U.S. leadership and, apparently, that settles it for the News. There is no attempt to use language that describes the two clashing camps and their claims. There is no attempt to note the previous legal precedents ”” backing centuries of church tradition ”” that actually support the diocese.

What language could the newspaper have used if it wanted to be accurate, yet fair to the beliefs and traditions on both sides? That would have taken another paragraph or so, me thinks. But if you want to know how NOT to frame this local, regional, national and global issue ”” look no further. You have your template.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Media, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Fort Worth

A Toddler, An Open Window And An Amazing Catch

Sal Mauriello, a barber, was coming home early from work that day. He heard a woman scream and saw her point up to the window. Mauriello took off his coat and used it as a net to catch [Marvin] Goldstein in his arms.

Holy cow. Read or listen to it all.

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

Yes, It’s Beautiful, the Italians All Say, but Is It a Michelangelo?

Is it or isn’t it a Michelangelo? That is the question being pondered by art experts after the Italian state spent 3.3 million euros, or $4.2 million, last year to buy a small wooden crucifix attributed to that Renaissance genius.

Works by Michelangelo don’t come up for sale often, but the occasional drawing has nabbed as much as $20 million at auction. By comparison, the linden wood crucifix, which was sold by the Turin antiques dealer Giancarlo Gallino, is a bargain.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Art, Europe, Italy