Daily Archives: June 2, 2009

Some Conservative Anglicans will gather in key organizational Meeting in Texas Later in June

Leaders of a conservative group of Anglicans in the United States will hold an organizational meeting later this month.

The inaugural assembly of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) will take place at the end of June in Bedford, Texas, a suburb of Dallas. The meeting will bring together more than 700 congregations into a growing North American province in the worldwide Anglican Communion.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, --Proposed Formation of a new North American Province, ACNA Inaugural Assembly June 2009, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Common Cause Partnership

The North Dakota Standing Committee Votes No on Northern Michigan

Frank Lockwood has the goods

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

David Brooks: The Quagmire Ahead on GM

On Jan. 21, 1988, a General Motors executive named Elmer Johnson wrote a brave and prophetic memo. Its main point was contained in this sentence: “We have vastly underestimated how deeply ingrained are the organizational and cultural rigidities that hamper our ability to execute.”

On Jan. 26, 2009, Rob Kleinbaum, a former G.M. employee and consultant, wrote his own memo. Kleinbaum’s argument was eerily similar: “It is apparent that unless G.M.’s culture is fundamentally changed, especially in North America, its true heart, G.M. will likely be back at the public trough again and again.”

These two memos, written by men devoted to the company, get to the heart of G.M.’s problems. Bureaucratic restructuring won’t fix the company. Clever financing schemes won’t fix the company. G.M.’s core problem is its corporate and workplace culture ”” the unquantifiable but essential attitudes, mind-sets and relationship patterns that are passed down, year after year.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The Possibility of a Bailout for the U.S. Auto Industry, The U.S. Government

Archbishop Peter Jensen: Why do we avoid the joy of prayer?

I am writing this in the midst of a great prayer meeting. The Chapter House is crowded with people calling on the Lord for our city and our nation. We are not so much praying for our churches, but for the mission field by which we are surrounded.

I can’t tell you how much joy there is in the room, for that is the strange fact ”“ we find every excuse possible not to pray and not to meet for prayer, but when we do, the Lord’s presence is manifest and the Lord’s people build each other up. More importantly, we have the Lord’s specific promise to hear and respond to our prayers in his name.

Next time we have this opportunity to join together in prayer ”“ say ”˜No’ to the evil one who always wishes to frustrate our prayers, and readily join together to call on the name of our great Lord!

Read it all–a great reminder.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Provinces, Australia / NZ, Pastoral Theology, Spirituality/Prayer, Theology

A NY Times Editorial–Foreclosures: No End in Sight

There will be no recovery until there is a halt in the relentless rise in foreclosures. Foreclosures threaten millions of families with financial ruin. By driving prices down, they sap the wealth of all homeowners. They exacerbate bank losses, putting pressure on the still fragile financial system. Lower monthly payments are a balm, but they are no substitute for home equity. And until more Americans can find a good job and a steady paycheck, the number of foreclosures will continue to rise.

Read the whole thing.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market, Personal Finance, The 2009 Obama Administration Housing Amelioration Plan, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Sotomayor Would Be Sixth Catholic Justice, but the Pigeonholing Ends There

There are indications that Judge Sotomayor is more like the majority of American Catholics: those who were raised in the faith and shaped by its values, but who do not attend Mass regularly and are not particularly active in religious life. Like many Americans, Judge Sotomayor may be what religion scholars call a “cultural Catholic” ”” a category that could say something about her political and social attitudes.

Interviews with more than a dozen of Judge Sotomayor’s friends from high school, college, law school and professional life said they had never heard her talk about her faith, and had no recollection of her ever going to Mass or belonging to a parish. Her family did not return phone calls for comment.

A White House spokesman, speaking on background, put it this way: “She currently does not belong to a particular parish or church, but she attends church with family and friends for important occasions.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture

Meet the Scripps Spelling Bee champ: Focused, disciplined

Kavya Shivasankar doesn’t want a cell phone, and she doesn’t like the makeup applied for television appearances that began early Friday, the morning after she spelled “Laodicean” to win the 2009 Scripps National Spelling Bee.

The 13-year-old from Olathe, Kans., likes her violin, Indian dancing, swimming, biking, playing with her little sister Vanya and spelling, of course.

“I’m going to really miss spelling this next year because it’s such a big part of my life,” Kavya said Friday.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Teens / Youth

In California Parishioners knit a bond together

Members of the congregation of St. Francis Episcopal Church are making knitted hats as part of a ministry. Parishioner Ellie Mahouski said church members have created “hundred of hats” to send to victims of Hurricane Katrina and others needing warmth.

”When an announcement was made at church that a Prayer Shawl Ministry was beginning, one envisioned a caring outreach to those in need in faraway places,” Mahouski said.

I really like the picture. Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, TEC Parishes

Another Global Financial Crisis ”˜Inevitable’ Unless U.S. Starts Saving, Yu Says

Another global financial crisis triggered by a loss of confidence in the dollar may be inevitable unless the U.S. saves more, said Yu Yongding, a former Chinese central bank adviser.

It’s “very natural” for the world to be concerned about the U.S. government’s spending and planned record fiscal deficit, Yu said in e-mailed comments yesterday relating to a visit to Beijing by U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.

The Obama administration aims to reduce the fiscal deficit to “roughly” 3 percent of gross domestic product from a projected 12.9 percent this year, Geithner reaffirmed today. The treasury secretary added that China’s investments in U.S. financial assets are very safe, and that the Obama administration is committed to a strong dollar.

It may be helpful if “Geithner can show us some arithmetic,” said Yu. “We need to know how the U.S. government can achieve this objective.”

Read it carefully and read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Budget, China, Economy, Globalization, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government, The United States Currency (Dollar etc), Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner

Notable and Quotable

In today’s Episcopalianism, he writes, “there is a seemingly unstoppable momentum to ratify the culture’s choices — the whole range of them, centered on the plenary power of humans to ordain and dispense and control and rearrange.”

In the abstract, this may leave open the possibility of an ecclesiastical endorsement of a libertarian utopia — but in practice it robs the culture of an important witness to the deeper truth about man: that he is broken and fallible, and in need of God’s grace as much as of political liberty.

–Michael Potemra in a review of Mortal Follies: Episcopalians and the Crisis of Mainline Christianity, by William Murchison, in the latest National Review

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Books, Episcopal Church (TEC)

David Gibson: What kind of Catholics are we?

All you need to know to diagnose the state of the Catholic Church in America today is that Pope Benedict XVI — who has a knack for ticking off both Muslims and Jews — spent a recent week wandering the Middle East, yet Catholics here barely noticed. They were too busy fighting over Barack Obama’s appearance as commencement speaker at Notre Dame or arguing about the fate of a popular Miami priest known as “Father Oprah,” who was caught on camera sharing a seaside embrace with his girlfriend.

Is this what Catholicism in America has come to? Bickering about whether Notre Dame is really Catholic, or whether a priest can make out on the beach with his gal pal? Well, yes. And that should come as no surprise.

Since the emergence of Catholicism in the 19th century as a counterweight to the United States’ reigning Protestant culture, American Catholics have struggled to balance their desire to assimilate into society with the fear of losing their faith in the nation’s melting pot. These new controversies show that, in the Catholic saga, assimilation is winning.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

The science of putting motherhood on hold

Regina Hill is single and has just turned 38 – the age when her fertility is about to go into steep decline. Single motherhood does not appeal to her. And if she does find a partner in the next year or so, she does not want to rush headlong into parenthood.

But the business consultant wants to keep the option of motherhood open. So, like increasing numbers of thirtysomethings in Australia and around the world, she has opted for a treatment originally designed as insurance for women facing fertility-damaging cancer therapy.

She is about to pay almost $12,000 to have unfertilised eggs extracted from her ovaries and then frozen and stored until she has a partner and is ready for parenthood.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Australia / NZ, Children, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Science & Technology, Women

Michael Jensen: On a Christian Response to the Pressure for Being Sexually Active outside marriage

…times have indeed changed: in a former time, social pressure and shame would have pushed most people in the direction of pre-marital abstinence. People would have lived out a Christianised ethic in their sex lives, but on the basis of conformity to social norms. And the dangers, especially for girls, of misbehaviour were very severe. Without reliable contraception or easy access to abortion, self-control was a necessary weapon against the terrible stigma of teen pregnancy or worse. Religious teaching of course played a part, but in a negative sense: reminding people of the terrible eternal consequences of misbehaviour rather than the possibility for grace and forgiveness.

Now social pressure runs the other way. 75% of people think pre-marital sex is fine. Religious groups are in decline. The public square is saturated with sexual images. It is thought normal and healthy to experiment with sex outside marriage, so long as you don’t hurt anyone. It is ”˜part of a life’ – felt to be part of really living. Girls and boys are taught that to be a full person you need to express your sexual self, not exercise restraint.

This is where a theological account of human nature needs to come in. Whereas before, conformity to social norms made celibacy humanly possible, the new context makes it (for many people) humanly impossible. And this is where just telling people to try harder, or getting them to make pledges, or take cold showers, is bound to fail. Or it gives them false hope in their ability to master themselves. It trusts too much in the flesh over which we have in the end so little power – without the Spirit of God. If you are a youth leader wondering how on earth you can tell your young people to keep their hands off each other, well let us acknowledge the reality of the situation: it is impossible. It is impossible because of social convention, because consequentialist arguments don’t convince, and because human flesh is weak.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Provinces, Australia / NZ, Ethics / Moral Theology, Pastoral Theology, Sexuality, Theology

Jonathan Sacks: How Jacob conquered the defining crisis of his life

It is the third point, though, that has made all the difference to me. Jacob says to the stranger/angel/God, “I will not let you go until you bless me.”

Somehow, within every crisis lies the glorious possibility of rebirth. I have found, and so surely have many others, that the events that at the time were the most painful, were also those that in retrospect most caused us to grow. They helped us to make difficult but necessary decisions. They forced us to ask: “Who am I and what really matters to me?” They moved us from the surface to the depths, where we discovered strengths we did not know we had, and a clarity of purpose we had hitherto lacked. I have learnt to say to every crisis: “I will not let you go until you bless me.”
The struggle is not easy. Though Jacob was undefeated, after it he “limped”. Battles leave scars. Yet God is with us even when he seems to be against us. For if we refuse to let go of him, He refuses to let go of us, giving us the strength to survive and emerge stronger, wiser, blessed. It is the third point, though, that has made all the difference to me. Jacob says to the stranger/angel/God, “I will not let you go until you bless me.”

Somehow, within every crisis lies the glorious possibility of rebirth. I have found, and so surely have many others, that the events that at the time were the most painful, were also those that in retrospect most caused us to grow. They helped us to make difficult but necessary decisions. They forced us to ask: “Who am I and what really matters to me?” They moved us from the surface to the depths, where we discovered strengths we did not know we had, and a clarity of purpose we had hitherto lacked. I have learnt to say to every crisis: “I will not let you go until you bless me.”

The struggle is not easy. Though Jacob was undefeated, after it he “limped”. Battles leave scars. Yet God is with us even when he seems to be against us. For if we refuse to let go of him, He refuses to let go of us, giving us the strength to survive and emerge stronger, wiser, blessed.

Read it all.

Posted in * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, England / UK, Judaism, Other Faiths, Pastoral Theology, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Scientists hail the first effective treatment for skin cancer victims

Scientists have developed the first “personalised” drug shown to be effective against advanced melanoma, the deadliest type of skin cancer which is on the rise in Britain.

Warnings about the risks of melanoma were heightened this weekend as the fine weather drew thousands to sunbathe outdoors, putting them at increased risk. “Binge tanning”, where sunbathers allow their skin to burn in their eagerness to get a tan, is a key cause of the cancer.

Read the whole article.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Health & Medicine