Daily Archives: June 27, 2009

Notable and Quotable (I)

The human mind is not only, as Calvin has said, a permanent factory of idols, it is also a permanent factory of fears the first in order to escape God, the second in order to escape anxiety; and there is a relation between the two. For facing the God who is really God means facing also the absolute threat of nonbeing. The “naked absolute” (to use a phrase of Luther’s) produces “naked anxiety”; for it is the extinction of every finite self-affirmation, and not a possible object of fear and courage….But ultimately the attempts to transform anxiety into fear are vain. The basic anxiety, the anxiety of a finite being about the threat of nonbeing, cannot be eliminated. It belongs to existence itself.

–Paul Tillich, The Courage to Be (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1st edition 1952, 2nd edition 2000), p.39

Posted in Anthropology, Theology

Tony Clavier: TEC and ACNA

Three main problems face the newly formed ACNA, and they are all formidable. All of them in a sense limit the ability of ACNA to break free of its emotional and psychological attachment to that which has brought them to this point. The first revolves around property disputes. I wrote to bishops and deputies to General Convention today suggesting that a trust or trusts be formed to administer disputed property and to enter into temporary agreements in cases in which a vast majority of parishioners in such properties wish no longer to be in TEC, negotiating leases, shared arrangements and creative solutions to take these disputes out of the secular courts. I was not encouraged by the responses I received, most of which accused those leaving us off stealing property or of being so bigoted against gay and lesbians that in justice they should be shunned. Justice, I am told, trumps charity.

The second problem revolves around the language used to depose bishops and other clergy who have joined ACNA which, if language means anything at all, purports to laicise such clergy rather than merely to desprive them of the right to exercise ministry in Provinces in which they have no desire to exercise ministry.

The third is the problematic relationship between ACNA and the Instruments of Unity of the Anglican Communion which has exported American problems worldwide and threatens to destroy the unity of the entire Communion. If indeed the Communion comes apart because of what has happened here, ACNA will, whether it deserves to be blamed or not, bear a good deal of responsibility for a tragic schism, a responsibility in which it will ironically, be accused of sharing responsibility with the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada, to what extent perhaps is a judgment differently assessed by people on differing sides of this tragedy.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, ACNA Inaugural Assembly June 2009, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Episcopal Church (TEC), Instruments of Unity, Law & Legal Issues, TEC Conflicts

Edwin Crozier: The Fields are Whiter than Ever

Sadly, many people are going to hear this [news of a recent survey showing many religious groups losing ground] and bemoan the losing of a Christian America. Regrettably, too many people are going to be so caught up in their political agendas that they miss what this means for real Christianity. Unfortunately, so many people are going to view this as Christians losing the fight for a Christian nation that they will forget God never asked us to produce a Christian nation. He asked us to get the message of forgiveness and freedom to one more person.

With that in mind, this doesn’t mean we’re losing the battle. Rather, it means the fields are more white than they’ve been in a long time. There are more people who aren’t religious. That means there are more people who are going to be recognizing something is missing, even if they aren’t going to be completely up front about it.

I remember the story of two shoe salesmen who were sent into a tribal country to try to expand sales. The first called home and said, “I’ve got bad news. We’ve made a big mistake. Nobody here wears shoes. I’m coming home.” The second one called back and said, “I’ve got great news. Nobody here wears shoes. Everyone is a potential customer. Send more shoes.”

Which salesman are you?

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Children, Evangelism and Church Growth, Marriage & Family, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

Anglican Music on the ACNA Assembly: Bedford is no St. Louis

If Dan Quayle was no Jack Kennedy, then Bedford is no Congress of St. Louis.

The 1977 gathering and its Affirmation were about sharply defining doctrine, with continuity both back to the origins of the Church of England, and setting a precedent for decades if not centuries to come. This week’s gathering was about fuzzing theological differences between Evangelicals and Anglo-Catholics, while reassuring both parties that the ACNA is no TEC.

It’s possible that more truth, clarity and courage will be forthcoming, but right now I don’t have reason to be optimistic. If he wants to connect to those American Christians who believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church, Metropolitan Jonah still has a few dozen Schism I bishops yet to meet. Perhaps it’s time for the Congress of St. Louis/Schism I crowd to convene their own media event. If the Metropolitan isn’t available, they could invite Cardinal Kasper.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, ACNA Inaugural Assembly June 2009, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Anglican Continuum, Other Churches

The Sault Star: Anglican bishop of Algome to be consecrated Monday

Dr. Stephen Gregory Weed Andrews will be consecreated as the 10th bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Algoma on Monday.

The Consecration Service will take place at St. Luke’s Cathedral in Sault Ste. Marie beginning at 1 p. m.

Bishops from across Canada, as well as lay and clergy representatives from the Diocese of Algoma will attend.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces

David Hepworth on Michael Jackson: The tragic trajectory of a star who fell to earth

The fact that Jackson managed to fritter away the majority of the money he earned beggars belief. He could never make up what he had lost through a new record deal, not with the music business in such reduced circumstances and his value to sponsors diminished by his court appearances. Therefore the only route open to him was the hardest one, the concert stage.

Just as his hits were the biggest ones, his disasters weren’t modest either. He never had the strong management figure that stars depend on to tell them something approaching the truth. There was something heavy-handed and needy about his demands, like his latter-day refusal to do anything unless he could be billed as “King of Pop”, a title surely cooked up in a marketing meeting. Having his giant effigy towed down the Thames on a barge in 1995 was the kind of thing a smart handler would have vetoed.

Everything he did had to be the most extreme, the most expensive and the most likely to expose him to ridicule if it went wrong. A strong manager would have suggested that there were better ways to feel your way back into live work than a 50-night residency at a London venue. There was smart money on saying that the ridiculously ambitious run of physically demanding shows was never going to happen, that the postponement was going to turn into a cancellation, probably pursued by lawyers. It didn’t turn out that way.

Read the whole article.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Death / Burial / Funerals, Music, Parish Ministry

House Narrowly passes climate-change bill

Democrats narrowly passed historic climate and energy legislation Friday evening that would transform the country’s economy and industrial landscape.

But the all-hands-on-deck effort to protect politically vulnerable Democrats by corralling the minimum number of votes to pass the bill, 219-212, proves that there are limits to President Barack Obama’s ability to use his popularity to push through his legislative agenda. Forty-four Democrats voted against the bill, while just eight Republicans crossed the aisle to back it.

Despite the tough path to passage, the legislation is a significant win for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Ca.) and the bill’s two main sponsors ”“ House Energy and Commerce committee chairman Henry Waxman (D-Ca.) and Massachusetts Rep. Edward Markey (D) ”“ who modified the bill again and again to get skeptical members from the Rust Belt, the oil-producing southeast and rural Midwest to back the legislation.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Energy, Natural Resources, House of Representatives, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General

Anglican Journal: Anglican Church in North America wraps up inaugural assembly

Describing the assembly, Bishop Donald Harvey, moderator of the Anglican Network in Canada (ANiC), said “There was a marvelous mood of co-operation and hope there. We had allowed three sessions for the adoption of the constitution and the canons and it was done in less than two. Everything passed unanimously all the time.”

He was quick to add, however, that he was “not naïve enough to think that in future synods there won’t be discontents of some sort arising,” noting that ACNA is a coming together of a number of different groups. Along with ANiC, which says it represents about 4,000 Anglicans in 30 congregations across Canada, ACNA includes dioceses and parishes that have left The Episcopal Church, the Anglican Mission in the Americas; the Convocation of Anglicans in North America; the Anglican Coalition in Canada; the Reformed Episcopal Church; and the missionary initiatives of Kenya, Uganda, and South America’s Southern Cone. Additionally, the American Anglican Council and Forward in Faith North America are founding organizations. ACNA says it represents approximately 100,000 Anglicans in 700 parishes.

Bishop Harvey noted that some of the groups that have united have been out of the mainline of Anglicanism for a long time, in the case of the Reformed Episcopal Church, for more than 100 years.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, ACNA Inaugural Assembly June 2009, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA)

Reuters: First ACNA Archbishop strikes evangelical tone

[Robert Duncan’s] take on Islam echoed the more strident tone of conservative U.S. evangelicals and not those who have called for “inter-faith dialogue” with Muslims.

“We’ve got to be about the business of engaging Islam ”¦ secularism, and materialism, but especially Islam. Because there is only one way to the Father, it’s the only way. It’s a matter of life and death,” he said to warm applause.

On another note, he evoked the Church of England’s founding father Henry VIII ”” crowned King of England 500 years ago ”“ and held him up as an example of ”a ruler in the end gone astray, confiscating the property of a church in an almost contemporary way.”

This comparison of the legal battles between dissident dioceses and the Episcopal Church over property to Henry VIII’s dissolution of the monasteries was probably meant in a light-hearted way. But it could also be taken as a jab from a new alliance that wants to come out swinging.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, ACNA Inaugural Assembly June 2009, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA)

Schuller daughter aims to heal Crystal Cathedral

Starting at age 4, Sheila Schuller Coleman has held just about every job at her father’s Crystal Cathedral, from copying Sunday programs at the kitchen table to launching a private high school on the church grounds.

Now, five decades after the Rev. Robert H. Schuller Sr. first planted the church, his daughter is facing her most challenging job there yet: taking over her father’s megachurch and its famous “Hour of Power” television ministry at a time of both financial and family crisis.

The church and its internationally known telecast have been bleeding dollars and members for years – a trend that accelerated last fall when the cathedral’s heir apparent, the Rev. Robert A. Schuller Jr., suddenly left in a bitter family feud.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Children, Evangelicals, Marriage & Family, Other Churches

A (London) Times Editorial on Iran: Death in the Afternoon

The steel doors are closing. Embattled, uncompromising, Iran’s rulers are returning the country to a state of siege, locking out freedom and preparing to extinguish the remaining flickers of resistance. Yesterday one hardline cleric called for the execution of “rioters”, demanding punishment “without showing any mercy to teach them a lesson”. The Guardian Council, the supreme legislative body asked to look at possible instances of electoral fraud, found no major violation, declaring the vote the “healthiest” since the 1979 revolution. Armed police patrolled Tehran, prepared to fire on anyone daring to protest.

Yet one image has defied all attempts to expunge democracy and crush the hopes for change: the image of Neda Soltan, the 26-year-old music student who bled wordlessly to death in a Tehran side street after being shot by a government militiaman. Her tragic death, poignantly captured on grainy mobile telephone footage, has flashed around the world. It has appalled foreign ministers of the G8, prompting even the Russians to deplore the post-election violence. It has galvanised Mir Hossein Mousavi’s supporters, reinforcing their determination to surrender neither their principles nor their voice. And it laid bare the cynicism, ruthlessness and brutality of a self-appointed clique determined to remain in power at whatever cost.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Iran, Middle East, Violence

A Joint Statement by the Dioceses of Eau Claire and Fond du Lac

In January 2008 representatives of the Dioceses of Eau Claire and Fond du Lac met to discuss common mission opportunities because of similar ministry challenges, comparable demographics and shared heritage of the dioceses. The idea of possible juncture came up during this meeting, with an understanding that such a possibility should only be pursued if there were clear mission benefits.

In the fall of 2008, each diocese’s convention passed resolutions seeking consent to begin the juncture process from General Convention. Passage of these resolutions was made with an understanding that consent of General Convention was the necessary first step in the process of discernment.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention

Jenny Sanford's Full Statement

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Politics in General, State Government, Theology

AP: South Carolina's First Lady told him to end it

South Carolina first lady Jenny Sanford sat in her oceanfront living room Friday, recalling how her husband repeatedly asked permission to visit his lover in the months after she discovered his affair.

“I said absolutely not. It’s one thing to forgive adultery; it’s another thing to condone it,” Jenny Sanford told The Associated Press during a 20-minute interview at the coastal home where she sought refuge with their four sons. They were her first extended comments on the affair.

She said that when her husband, Gov. Mark Sanford, inexplicably disappeared last week, she hoped he was hiking on the Appalachian Trail, as his staff told those who inquired about his absence. That he had dared to go to Argentina to see the other woman left her stunned.

“He was told in no uncertain terms not to see her,” she said in a strong, steady voice….

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Politics in General, State Government, Theology

Texting While Driving Worse than DUI?

Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

I caught this in the morning this week by accident–it is important. Watch it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Blogging & the Internet, Science & Technology, Teens / Youth, Young Adults