Daily Archives: June 19, 2009

Archbishop Greg Venables writes the Bishop and Clergy of The Diocese of San Joaquin Southern Cone

To The Bishop and Clergy of The Diocese of San Joaquin
Iglesia Anglicana del Cono Sur de America

Dear Brothers,

Greetings in the wonderful name of the Lord Jesus Christ. I am writing to you on the eve of the launch of the new Anglican Church in North America. You are to be congratulated for your faithfulness in the Gospel and in your cooperation with the organization of the new Province. It is likely that it will take some time before the institutional structures catch up to the realities of the present day situation in the Communion. Until that time, you can be sure of your dual status with us in the Southern Cone. This is true not only for Bishop John-David, but also all of the priests and deacons who received licenses under my authority when your diocese came to us.

You may have heard negative things about your ministries and orders from some quarters, but I can assure you of your good standing and favour with me nd this Province under me as Primate.

Last year, even Archbishop Rowan Williams himself assured me of Bishop John-David’s status as a bishop of the Anglican Communion. Any other assertions are, in our view, completely unfounded. What is important is that people are brought to saving faith in Christ and to maturity in Him. We need your full energy to be devoted to that task. The harvest is indeed plentiful, and the workers few! Thank you for your faithfulness.

Yours sincerely,

–(The Most Rev.) Gregory J. Venables is Presiding Bishop of the Southern Cone of South America

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Cono Sur [formerly Southern Cone], Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: San Joaquin

New Bishop of Horsham announced

An opera-loving Yorkshireman with significant experience in the field of vocations and ministry has been named as the next Bishop of Horsham.

The appointment of the Revd Mark Sowerby, currently Team Rector at St Wilfrid’s, Harrogate, was announced by Downing Street at 11am this morning (Friday, June 19th).

Fr Mark read theology at King’s College, London before training at The College of the Resurrection, Mirfield. He was ordained deacon in 1987 and then priest in 1988 in Ripon Cathedral where he had also been baptised.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops

David Lapp–For Better or for Worse: When Marriage Vows Get Creative

It’s the end of spring, and that means engaged couples are putting the last touches on their summer wedding celebrations. Should the cake have three tiers or four? Do the chairs for guests need bows? And, finally, what will they say in their vows?

This wasn’t always a problem, of course. Until recently, everyone just used the words provided by his or her church or synagogue. In recent years, however, more and more couples have decided to write their own vows. This departure from tradition has become so common that some couples now choose to buy the words that will bind them together for a lifetime — online.

In the world-wide Web of wedding options, instantvows.com offers a competitive “Instant Vows Wedding Package” ($17, limited time offer). Ghostwriters Central promises vows “that capture your personal voice while encompassing the appropriate etiquette and emotion” — with “the added advantage” of being written by professionals. You send the site a brief description and some memories of you and your beloved and it will send you the vows (for $125).

Instavows–what a lot that says about where American culture is at the moment. Read it all –KSH.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Marriage & Family

David Brooks on Iran: Fragile at the Core

Most of the time, foreign relations are kind of boring ”” negotiations, communiqués, soporific speeches. But then there are moments of radical discontinuity””1789, 1917, 1989””when the very logic of history flips.

At these moments ”” like the one in Iran right now ”” change is not generated incrementally from the top. Instead, power is radically dispersed. The real action is out on the streets. The future course of events is maximally uncertain.

The fate of nations is determined by glances and chance encounters: by the looks policemen give one another as a protesting crowd approaches down a boulevard; by the presence of a spontaneous leader who sets off a chant or a song and with it an emotional contagion; by a captain who either decides to kill his countrymen or not; by a shy woman who emerges from a throng to throw herself on the thugs who are pummeling a kid prone on the sidewalk.

Read it all.

Posted in * International News & Commentary, Iran, Middle East

The Bishop of Manchester calls for better children’s programming

Bishop [Nigel] McCulloch said in a House of Lords debate on public service broadcasting: “The BBC insists that its plans for moving departments are on course, and that includes children’s programmes, but what children’s programmes?

“Many of us are dismayed about the diminution of quantity and quality in children’s television provision.”

He pointed to the quality in previous times of Blue Peter, Crackerjack and The Railway Children.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Children, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Movies & Television

Wall Street Journal–Twin Threat: Jobless Rate, Deficit

President Barack Obama faces a dilemma as he fights the recession: The public identifies both rising unemployment and soaring budget deficits as its top policy concerns — but fixing one could worsen the other.

Mr. Obama can ill afford to lose public support on the cusp of the biggest political fights of his presidency, over health care, energy and financial reregulation. Three separate polls this week, including one from the Wall Street Journal/NBC News, have raised red flags at the White House that the president, though still personally popular, is losing some ground with the public on his economic policies.

Officials concede there is little the president can do to please everyone, given the economic Catch-22. If he heeds concerns on the deficit and pulls back on economic stimulus, he risks choking off the “green shoots” of what may be a fledgling recovery.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government

(London) Times: How hedge fund wives are learning to cope

Life for New York’s hedge fund wives has changed dramatically. Almost half the city’s 1,000 hedge funds have disappeared. Globally, 10,000 hedge fund workers lost their jobs last year, and a further 20,000 are expected to be out of work this year. An industry that was once worth about $1.9 trillion is now worth half that.

“We’ve been seeing a lot of résumés, a lot of networking ”” and these are not newcomers,” says Neil Morris of Kinetic Partners, a hedge fund consultancy. They are people, he explains, who have been in the industry for years and are now looking desperately for a new home.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Stock Market, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Newsday: Long Island Episcopal Diocese head to take leave, then retire

An internal battle in the Episcopal Diocese of Long Island apparently has ended with Bishop Orris Walker Jr. taking a leave of absence and setting a retirement date of Nov. 14.

The Rev. Richard Brewer, head of the diocese’s Standing Committee, would not say what happened, but he said that Walker had stated at public events that he had been urged to resign earlier this year but had refused.

But now Walker, 66, has taken a leave of absence, and will permanently leave his post in November, according to a diocesan announcement. His leave went into effect June 1.

Walker did not respond to telephone messages and a visit to his house seeking comment. “He’s chosen not to offer any of his own comments at this time,” said diocesan spokesman Canon Kris Lee.

Read it all.

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

Supreme Leader Calls Iran Election Fair

In his first public response to days of protests, Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, sternly warned opponents Friday to stay off the streets and denied opposition claims that last week’s disputed election was rigged, praising the ballot as an “epic moment that became a historic moment.”

In a somber and lengthy sermon at Friday prayers in Tehran, he called directly for an end to the protests by hundreds of thousands of Iranians demanding for a new election.

“Street challenge is not acceptable,” Ayatollah Khamenei said. “This is challenging democracy after the elections.” He said opposition leaders would be “held responsible for chaos” if they did not end the protests.

His remarks seemed to deepen the confrontation between Iran’s rulers and supporters of the main opposition candidate, Mir Hussein Moussavi, who have accused the authorities of rigging the vote.

Read the whole thing.

Posted in * International News & Commentary, Iran, Middle East

A good claret, Bishop, is a menace to no one

So on the relative risks to our God-given bodies, Bishop Gladwin is just plain wrong. He could reasonably retort that what we must now call units of alcohol are as damaging to our organs wherever they are consumed.

That may be strictly true and I’m no physician but I’m guessing that an honest doctor would say that a bellyful of first-growth claret and a decent cognac is going to be less harmful than the equivalent in lager, rum-and-cokes and half-a-dozen alcopops as a digestif.

The middle classes have been the alcoholic villains of late, but I simply don’t buy the case against us. Per capita alcohol consumption in Britain has only recently returned to the levels that we were drinking in 1912, and our diets have improved immeasurably since then.

Read the whole article.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Alcoholism, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Religion & Culture

Sunday Telegraph: Middle-class drinkers in their homes are as bad as riotous youths, says bishop

The Rt Rev John Gladwin, the Bishop of Chelmsford, criticised the double-standards he claims exist in the attitudes of more affluent sections of society towards Britain’s “binge-drinking” culture.

He argued that they could not condemn teenagers’ behaviour if they are getting drunk themselves, and claimed that they are ultimately responsible for the rise in alcoholism.

His comments follow the release of official figures that show one in four adults are putting their health at risk by drinking too much and that 360,000 11 to 15 year-olds get drunk every week.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Alcoholism, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops

Ephraim Radner–Blessing: A Scriptural and Theological Reflection

To reiterate my on view of the nature of the church’s blessing, there is a kind of “test” that needs to be m[ad]e, which resolves around answering positively the following kinds of questions:

* Does God “do it”, and does it accord with God’s being and character and will?
* Is it in conformance with creative life?
* Is it obedient according to the common Christian understanding of divine command?

The human blessing of a marriage, understood traditionally, according to this scheme is rather obviously not only congruent but almost necessary. If we take the very language of blessing in the OT as we saw it, the notion of divine blessing is in fact essentially bound to the act of God’s creating human beings as male and female and ordering their existence procreatively within the earth. “And God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.” (Gen 1:28). And when, subsequently, we are given the shape of this creative ordering, we are told: “Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh” (Gen. 2:24). The fact that someone ”“ a priest, the church ”“ “blesses” this reality is but the human reflection of something truly already present. “All your works praise you, O Lord”: one could look at a marriage service as this kind of inevitable praise, “ascribing” to the Lord the honor due to His own work.

The contested issue with same-sex coupling is: is this in fact the “work” of the Lord? If our blessing of something “displays” what God has already more fundamentally enacted in His creative purposes, how would one know, thereby to “bless” it? The question, obviously, has got to get way beyond the silly claims that “the Church blesses all kinds of things ”“ fox hunts and submarines ”“ why not this?” Because, as we have seen, the Church ought not to bless all things, if in fact some things are not aspects of the creative purposes of God’s life-giving and life-extending character and will and do not accord with God’s “command”. If the Church does this, she becomes like the false prophets, trading in lies and ultimately engaging the deep “rebellion” against God: divine blessing and curse are humanly and woefully reversed.

And in this light, I believe that the issue of blessing same-sex unions cannot be construed in terms of whether this is a moral or a doctrinal issue. The distinction between the two, while it may have some canonical bearings within the Church’s decision-making process, has no theological rationale: there is no clear difference, Scripturally speaking, between “moral” and “doctrinal” reality, whether in the OT or NT as a whole.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Sacramental Theology, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

Pauline Chen: Taking Time for the Self on the Path to Becoming a Doctor

Over the next two weeks in hospitals and medical centers across the country, new medical school graduates will begin their internship. Among their many worries ”” moving to a new city, meeting new colleagues, adjusting to medical training ”” is a more profound, existential concern that had once plagued me.

Do I have to lose my self in order to become the doctor I want to be?

I learned the answer to that question partway through my internship. Not in the hospital but in the checkout line of a local grocery store…

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Health & Medicine

Major Military Academies Report Significant Rise in Applicants

The nation’s three major military academies said Wednesday that applications for the incoming Class of 2013 were up significantly from previous years, citing aggressive marketing, declining casualties in Iraq and the economic downturn as factors.

The rise in applications was most notable at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., where applications reached their highest level since 1988, 15,342, up 40 percent from the class of 2012. About 1,240 are expected to enroll.

Applications were also up at the Military Academy at West Point, where 11,106 people applied for about 1,320 places in the incoming class, an increase of 9.6 percent. And at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, 9,890 people applied for about 1,350 places, an increase of just under 10 percent.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Education, Military / Armed Forces

To draw in faithful, religious congregations cast Net

Eyes roll when Rabbi Hayim Herring tells his fellow clergy that they should spend an hour a day on Facebook, MySpace and Twitter.

Listeners at his seminars smirk when he says blogging should be considered mandatory or that they should post short video clips from their sermons on YouTube.

It’s a lot better than the reaction he used to get.

“They used to look at me as if I’d just said a four-letter word,” said Herring, the former senior rabbi at Beth El Synagogue in the Minneapolis suburb of St. Louis Park. Now he’s executive director of STAR (Synagogues: Transformation and Renewal). In its seven years, the organization has seen more converts to what many call one of the dirtiest words in religion: marketing.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Blogging & the Internet, Media, Religion & Culture