Daily Archives: June 6, 2009

Spiritual Journey Leads to a Historic First

Forty-five years ago, Alyssa Stanton was born into an African-American, Pentecostal family in Cleveland. On Saturday, Ms. Stanton is to become a rabbi ”” the first African-American woman to be ordained as a rabbi by a mainstream Jewish seminary, said Jonathan D. Sarna, professor of American Jewish history at Brandeis University.

Ms. Stanton is scheduled to assume the leadership of an overwhelmingly white synagogue in Greenville, N.C., in August. In interviews, many observers drew parallels between her joining the rabbinate and November’s presidential result.

“It is of incredible importance to note that her ordination coincides with the election of Barack Obama,” said Rabbi David Ellenson, president of Hebrew Union College, who will ordain Ms. Stanton at the college’s Cincinnati campus on Saturday. “It offers a ray of hope that the world can become a better place.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Judaism, Other Faiths, Seminary / Theological Education, Theology, Women

More Marketplace: Scraping by while unemployed

Deidre Murphy: I’m Deidre Murphy. I live in Blythewood, S.C. and I’m 47. I was in marketing. I was making, gosh with benefits and everything and with bonus, about $95,000. I got $326 a week, which is the absolute maximum in South Carolina. If I cobbled all four of those checks together, I could pay my mortgage. I have zero savings left. I did everything I could to pay my mortgage, to protect my credit and now that I’ve been unemployed for so long, I’m not eligible for any of these wonderful mortgage programs. So yeah, I’m a little angry, to be perfectly honest.

You know, I didn’t feel like it was my fault that I got laid off at all. It had nothing to do with my job performance. My ego started taking a hit, when I started getting rejected everywhere I was looking for a job. I would either hear nothing or I’d get an actually rejection. Then you start hearing every week the numbers of who was getting laid off and then, I’m talking to all these people, everybody I know knows somebody who’s been laid off.

Clorene Jones: I’m Clorene Jones, Greensboro, S.C. I worked in a weave mill for 46 years. Last March of 2008, the place that I worked closed down. Hadn’t worked too long. I hadn’t been back to work, but not quite a year, but I did get some unemployment, $193 a week. And then I’ve drawn up Social Security too, that helps.

Well I had a job to go to another plant, but when I went, because I didn’t have a GED or a diploma, they wouldn’t hire me. I finished the 10th grade when I was going to school. Well some of it I find hard, especially the algebra part of it. I wasn’t too good in school, it’s real hard.

Read or listen to it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Zenit: Roman Catholics comprise 22% of U.S. population

There are one million more Catholics in the United States than the previous year, the 2009 Official Catholic Directory statistics indicate.

A press release from the U.S. Catholic bishops’ conference affirmed Wednesday that the total number of Catholics in the country equals 68,115,001, or 22% of the population.

Read it all.

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

Marketplace: Dave Ramsey on our love of debt

Tess Vigeland:….Today we’re starting with the question of why and how we became this nation of borrowers and exactly when debt lost its social stigma.

Dave Ramsey: It’s roots are in the 70s, when debt became a product that was marketed by some of the most masterful marketing minds that the planet has ever known. The selling of debt as an absolute necessity to live, is really one of the most masterful marketing jobs in the history of the world. We live in the most marketed culture in the world and the most money and the most sophistication used to sell any product, is used by the banking industry.

The credit card people have done a phenomenal job of integrating their product line into our psyche to where we truly believe that we can’t live without it. That’s amazing marketing. THat began in the 70s. It took deep roots in the 80s and by the 90s we were seeing five and six billion credit card offers a year going out to where, dead people and dogs were issued on a regular basis.

Read or listen to it all. Where, oh where, was the church in all this I want to know? The Scriptures and the Christian tradition have a lot to say about stewardship and indebtedness–KSH.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Economy, History, Personal Finance, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Knowing Darkness: Reflections on Skepticism, Melancholy, Friendship, and God

A book for which to be on the lookout this summer.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Books, Theology

Some History: Episcopal bishops have have been denied consent or who have declined

I thought I would remind people of this material, in which I am sure additions and/or corrections would be welcomed.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops, TEC Polity & Canons

A Too Little Noticed Exchange between Jim Stockton and Jeremy Bonner

I debated posting an excerpt, but there is simply too much there and I do not want to lead you in any direction. You just need to read it–and, yes, all of it–very carefully. It has so much to say about the current situation in the Episcopal Church–KSH.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, --Proposed Formation of a new North American Province, Common Cause Partnership, Episcopal Church (TEC), Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Conflicts

An ABC Nightline Video report on Faith Based Movies

This is a very interesting report, featuring especially the recent film “Fireproof.” Note especially the budget numbers involved. Watch it all (just under 9 minutes)–KSH.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Evangelicals, Movies & Television, Other Churches, Religion & Culture

Frank Lockwood: Facing criticism the Episcopal Church removes ”˜transparent’ governance pledge

Facing criticism for withholding information from its 2.3 million members, the Episcopal Church has quietly removed from its new IAmEpiscopalian.org website assurances that the church is committed to openness and transparency in government.

For months, the site had proclaimed on its home page: “Our controversies and conversations have been public. Our governance is tranparent. You are free to see our imperfections”¦”

Read it all and follow the links.

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

Gene Robinson: No Clergy Permission to Perform Same-Sex Weddings

Contrary to a published report, the Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson, Bishop of New Hampshire, has not given permission for diocesan clergy to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies. New Hampshire Governor John Lynch signed legislation June 4 that made the state the sixth to legalize same-sex marriage.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts

5 South Carolina schools close permanently, making Friday an emotional day for many

Five schools ”” Brentwood Middle, Charlestowne Academy, Fraser Elementary, McClellanville Middle and Schroder Middle ”” closed their doors for good Friday, and five school communities grieved the loss.

It was a difficult and emotional day for students and staff alike. Some were optimistic about the future while others were anxious and fearful. And while some students looked forward to their summer break, many others felt the pain of more permanent goodbyes.

The school board made the decision in January to shutter the schools to save money and to give kids better opportunities elsewhere. At the time the district faced a projected $28 million deficit, and these five schools were among the lowest achieving in the district.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Education

RNS: Northern Michigan Episcopal bishop appears headed for defeat

On Friday (June 5), the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, which has kept an unofficial running tally of the voting, reported that 56 standing committees””a majority””have voted to withhold their “consents.”

The official tally will not be known until at least late July, when all of the ballots are due.

Linda Piper, president of the Diocese of Northern Michigan’s standing committee, which keeps the official tally, would not confirm the report. But, she said, “Do I think this is probably the way it’s going to go? Unfortunately, I would not be surprised.”

Piper acknowledged it would be an “uphill climb,” for Thew Forrester to get the consents he needs.

Read it all.

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

ENS: Northern Michigan diocese, bishop-elect will 'respect' consent process

The Rev. Canon Charles Robertson, canon to the Presiding Bishop, told ENS that the consent process for a bishop-elect lasts the full 120 days as prescribed by the canons of the church, unless that person receives the required majority of consents before the period is over, at which time an announcement can be made. Until the required number of consents is received, or the 120 day period ends, bishops and standing committees are able to change their vote, he said….

Thew Forrester told ENS that his theology is “steeped in the orthodox tradition and deeply rooted particularly in the desert wisdom of Christianity and in the fathers and mothers of the early church as well as the medieval mystics” and is “thoroughly grounded in the tradition.” He added that the diocese’s experiments with liturgies are a “recovery of some of our earliest Christian roots” while upholding the tradition of the Book of Common Prayer and “recognizing that it is a dynamic and evolving tradition, which is why it continues to thrive.”

“We uphold the prayer book and continue to explore, and we’ve done so — and I’ve done so — as openly and responsibly as possible out of love for the tradition and out of commitment to the tradition and wanting to be in dialogue with the tradition and wanting to engage in dialogue with the 21st century,” he said.

Thew Forrester acknowledged that people may hear “echoes of other traditions whether it be Buddhism or another faith tradition, but those are only echoes,” but he said that the source has been the traditions of the early Christian church.

I note there is no mention of the only diocese (of which I am aware) which spoke directly to the Northern Michigan situation at a Diocesan Convention, South Carolina. In any event, read it all–KSH.

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

Paul Richardson–Analysis: The British MPs' expenses scandal

None of this should cause surprise in a culture where the individual will is sovereign and the question people usually ask about a course of action is ”˜What’s in it for me?’ It was this moral climate that helped to cause the banking crisis. It is also a major factor behind the disillusion with politics that had already assumed alarming proportions before the row over expenses. Politicians of a past generation advocated policies they believed were right because they were rooted in a vision of what they thought was best for society. This was obviously true of such people on the left as R.H Tawney, but it was also true of a figure on the right like Margaret Thatcher who passionately believed in ”˜Victorian values’ and the virtues of self help. It was once said that the Labour Party was a moral crusade or nothing. In an age of spin and triangulation, when policies are chosen after listening to focus groups and after a good deal of political calculation, it is hard to see any party as a moral crusade.

Churches have difficulty in addressing this situation because of their own problems. The Catholic Church has been badly damaged by the abuse scandal while the Church of England appears to the population in general hopelessly divided over sexuality. Secularist propaganda has led many to believe that religion is a more a source of bigotry and conflict than of profound moral guidance.

But in its hey day Christianity in Britain inspired all the major parties. Methodism had more influence on the Labour Party than Marxism, non-conformity and the Liberal Party were closely linked, and the ”˜one nation’ conservatism of Harold Macmillan and Rab Butler was shaped by their Anglican faith. Macmillan remained a practising Anglo-Catholic to the end of his life.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology

Interest rates soar on jobs data, putting housing at risk

The Treasury bond market is in cardiac arrest today over the May employment report: Yields are soaring, dealing another blow to investors who’ve been hiding out in government bonds — and threatening another big jump in mortgage rates.

If rising home loan rates price more buyers out of the market, sellers will have to respond by cutting asking prices. Anyone have a better idea?

the trend is not good.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Credit Markets, Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--