Daily Archives: July 3, 2009

Religious Intelligence: Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans gets mixed reception

Celebration and skepticism is greeting the launch of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (FCA) in London on July 6.

Five Church of England bishops will take part in the day at Westminster Central Hall, alongside bishops from Nigeria, Uganda, America, and Australia. Yet the organizers are being challenged with questions about the fellowship’s credibility and true purpose, as critics claim the FCA will undermine the Church.

Organizers of the launch have been adamant that it does not represent a new Church. The Vicar of St Mark’s, Battersea, the Rev Paul Perkin, is coordinating the event. He said: “Some are staying in the Church, but failing to stand for Christian truth and practice; others are standing firm for Christian truth and practice, but are not staying. We are standing, and we are staying.”

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

Gordon Chang: The Coming Trade War With China

This Monday, the U.S. International Trade Commission, in a 4-2 vote, recommended the imposition of punitive duties on Chinese-made tires. This “Section 421” case now goes to the desk of President Obama. If he gives his OK and the special duties go into effect, some foresee a trade war with China. One analyst, Daniel Ikenson of the Cato Institute in Washington, called the case “High Noon for U.S. Trade Policy.”

Perhaps the confrontation will not be that dramatic–the free-trade community often employs dramatic images in its warnings–but the decision will be consequential nonetheless. For one thing, President Bush turned down all four Section 421 cases sent to him by the Commission. Obama’s acceptance of the panel’s decision, therefore, would mark a change in American trade policy toward Beijing.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Asia, China, Economy, Foreign Relations, Globalization

Congratulations to Roger Federer

Roger Federer was all class as he made history by becoming the first man to reach seven consecutive Wimbledon finals.

The five-times champion produced some immaculate tennis against a brave but outclassed Tommy Haas to win 7-6 (7/3) 7-5 6-3 and maintain his 100% record in Wimbledon semi-finals.

I got a chance to watch this morning while hacking away at some projects–Federer just played superbly. Read it all–KSH.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Sports

Iranian cleric says British Embassy employees will be tried

A senior Iranian cleric said today that several employees of the British Embassy in Tehran arrested in recent days would be put on trial for unspecified charges of acting against Iran’s national security, potentially escalating a confrontation with the West over last month’s disputed presidential election.

Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, head of the conservative Guardian Council, said in a Friday prayer sermon that the employees, all of them Iranian nationals, “will definitely be tried” for taking part or promoting weeks of unrest surrounding the June 12 election, which was marred by opposition allegations of massive vote-rigging.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, England / UK, Foreign Relations, Iran, Middle East

Available Light: Some Reflections of a New Zealand Anglican on a Global Pilgrimmage

Unsurprisingly, it is where there is a continuing practice of spirituality that the church has flourished. Where there has been prayer, fasting, pilgrimage, meditation, social responsibility and almsgiving the Church of England has thrived. It has also thrived where there has been disciplined, holy, fearless leadership. To see the marks of the Church’s history and to hear the stories has been to encounter this deep vein of spirituality and to feel again the influence of her sainted leaders. Where this rich seam is refound, as on Iona and in Mother Julian’s cell, the 21st Century church has risen, seemingly invincible, from the ashes. It is this, the great treasure of our church, that I have glimpsed, and which I know to be the only hope of my own diocese and of the Anglican Church of Aotearoa/New Zealand.

I was raised a Methodist and chose to be an Anglican. After this month in England, I choose still to be an Anglican, but I know that much of what occupies our church and seems so important in our councils is froth and bubble: the detritus rising to the surface from the ongoing struggle with our wider culture. I choose to be an Anglican, but know that the only way for my own faith and my own parish to be viable is if I try to dive deeper and find the cool streams beneath. This seeking the depths must be what forms my ministry in this, the last decade of my life as a stipended Anglican priest. Which brings me to reflect on the third thread of my own journey: that inward one of my own soul.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Parish Ministry, Spirituality/Prayer

Bill Gertz: U.S. 'ready' for N. Korean missile

U.S. missile defenses are prepared to try to knock down the last stage of a Taepodong-2 missile that North Korea is expected soon to launch if sensors detect the weapon threatens U.S. territory, the commander of the U.S. Northern Command told The Washington Times.

“The nation has a very, very credible ballistic-missile defense capability. Our ground-based interceptors in Alaska and California, I’m very comfortable, give me a capability that if we really are threatened by a long-range ICBM that I’ve got high confidence that I could interdict that flight before it caused huge damage to any U.S. territory,” said Air Force Gen. Victor E. “Gene” Renuart, Northcom commander.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Defense, National Security, Military, North Korea

Rising Job Losses Damp Hopes of Recovery

Job losses accelerated more quickly than expected last month and the unemployment rate rose to 9.5%, casting doubt on prospects for the U.S. economy to soon rebound.

U.S. employment fell by a seasonally adjusted 467,000 jobs in June, after declining by 322,000 the month before, the Labor Department said Thursday. The report is at odds with such signs of recent economic improvement as growing home sales and increased business investment.

“I think we’re past the period of free fall in the economy but it would be premature to say that we’ve reached the bottom, or might, within the next couple of months,” said Jeffrey Frankel, an economics professor at Harvard University. “I’m expecting the recovery to be a slow one.”

This one is splashed across the front page of this morning’s Wall Street Journal. Read it all.

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

Ari Goldman–Riverside Church Divided — A Pastor Loses His Flock

The small group of dissidents called a congregational meeting. They went to court to try to stop the installation of Mr. Braxton in April. The truth is that they did not get much traction until they mentioned to the Daily News the $600,000 compensation package — which included salary, a housing allowance, retirement benefits and tuition for Mr. Braxton’s 4-year-old daughter. It became front-page news with Mr. Braxton identified as the “600K Pastor.”

From then on, there was no putting the wafer back in the sacristy. Everyone picked up the story. Anonymous emails circulated around the congregation attacking the pastor and his style. Mr. Braxton told me that he realized he had become the embodiment of a conflict within the church and had to leave so that healing could take place.

Jean Schmidt, the chairwoman of the church council and a supporter of Mr. Braxton, expressed the hope that Riverside will learn a lesson from this period of adversity. This is a time, she said, for “deep soul-searching” that will ultimately “allow us to move forward as a stronger and more unified congregation.”

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry

Jennifer Graham: Newspapers are Telling us More than We Need to Know

Later that day, in a glorious stroke of irony, the newspaper engaged in a little peeping and trespassing of its own, splaying the South Carolina governor’s personal emails across the Internet, and, in the process, making perpetrators out of us all.

We spied on Mr. Sanford (a public figure) and his paramour (not), just as we peered in the ambulance as Michael Jackson died, just as we thumbed through his autopsy records, just as we look up our neighbors’ home prices on Zillow.

Forget swine flu; we have a Peeping Tom pandemic.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Media, Sexuality

Kay Hymowitz: Losing Confidence in Marriage

In any crisis, people tend to panic and forget basic facts. This meltdown is no exception. First and foremost, marital breakdown is not rampant across the land. It is concentrated among low-income and black couples. Americans seem to have a lot of trouble grasping this fact, probably because so much public space is taken up by politicians, celebrities and journalists with marriages on the skids. But in actuality, the divorce rate for college-educated women has been declining since 1980. Out-of-wedlock childbearing among the educated class remains rare. The bottom line is that higher-income, college-educated couples are far more likely to get married and stay married than their less-educated and lower-income peers. We shouldn’t go so far as to call Ms. Loh and Mr. Sanford, if he decides to return to the heart he left in Buenos Aires, outliers. But they do nothing to clarify a key problem facing the country, which remains the apartheid state of marriage.

The seemingly reasonable notion that marriage is crashing because we’re likely to live till 80 also doesn’t hold up. The typical divorce is not of a midlife couple bored with finishing each other’s sentences; it’s of a twosome who have just written the last thank-you note for wedding gifts. More than one-fifth of marriages break up within five years. The median age at first divorce is 30.5 for males and 29 for females. The risk of break-up goes up after one year of marriage and peaks at 4½ years. That’s right. A lot of Americans barely wait till the paint is dry in the new family room before setting out for more promising territory.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Marriage & Family

Executive Council asks for comment on current Anglican covenant draft

The Episcopal Church’s Executive Council has asked General Convention deputations and their bishops to study and comment on the latest draft of a proposed Anglican covenant.

In May, the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) postponed an expected request that the Anglican Communion’s 38 provinces consider adopting the Ridley Cambridge draft. The council said instead that it wanted the draft’s Section 4, which contains a dispute-resolution process, to get more scrutiny and possibly be revised.

The Archbishop of Canterbury appointed a small working group to do that work. The members, all of whom served on the original Covenant Design Group, have solicited provincial responses by November 13, 2009. The working group will meet November 20-21 in London and report to the Standing Committee meeting December 15-18. The Standing Committee is a group of elected representatives of the ACC and the Primates Meeting.

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

New Inter-Anglican Standing Commission for Unity, Faith and Order Created

(ACNS) The Archbishop of Canterbury and the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion have announced the membership of an important new commission, following extensive consultation with the Provinces of the Communion around the world. The Chair is the Most Revd Bernard Ntahoturi, Primate of the Anglican Church of Burundi.

IASCUFO will oversee the ecumenical life of the Anglican Communion, and will:

* promote the deepening of Communion between the Anglican Communion and other Christian Churches and traditions;
* advise the Provinces, the Primates, the Anglican Consultative Council, and the Archbishop of Canterbury, on all questions of ecumenical engagement, as well as on questions of Anglican Faith and Order;
* review developments in the areas of Faith, Order and Unity in the Anglican Communion and among ecumenical partners, and give advice upon them to the Churches of the Anglican Communion and to the Instruments of Communion;
* assist any Province with the assessment of new proposals in the areas of Unity, Faith and Order as requested.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Primary Source, -- Reports & Communiques, Archbishop of Canterbury, Ecclesiology, Theology

Church Times: US laity fear centralisation

Lay People at the General Con­vention of the Episcopal Church in the United States will have some hard questions for the Archbishop of Canterbury when he visits, says the president of the House of Depu­ties, Bonnie Anderson.

The triennial convention meets next week in Anaheim, California. Eyes from all around the Anglican Communion will be on its business, notably whether it will vote to re­peal Resolution BO33, which in 2006 urged a halt to ordaining any more gay bishops for the time being.

To repeal it would require the consent of both the House of Bishops and the House of Deputies. Bishops have no collective authority to exercise power in the Church, where laity and clergy have an equal voice, and the former have historically exercised strong influ­ence. They elect bishops in a demo­cratic operation ”” something that is out of the experience of many pro­v-inces in the Anglican Communion, Mrs Anderson says.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention, House of Deputies President

Bishop Wallace Benn: New Anglican group forms in Britain

Over 900 Anglicans have already registered for ”˜Be Faithful’. They will consider the situation of the global Communion, and express their solidarity and support for Anglicans under pressure and persecution, both in North America and in the Sudan. They will address challenges to maintaining biblically faithful witness and ministry in the Church of England today.

The FCA is not another organization. It is not seeking to create another church. It is a spiritual movement and fellowship for renewal, reformation and mission ”“ uniquely bringing together those whose key shaping and commitment, but not exclusive identity, has been through the Anglo-Catholic, conservative evangelical, and charismatic expressions of Anglicanism.

The FCA movement can do this because it is defined by its centre in the Christian faith as currently embraced in the Jerusalem Declaration and Statement. Vinay Samuel, a speaker on July 6 writes: “Gafcon is defined by its centre and not by any boundaries. It is a fellowship of people who affirm the centre of orthodox faith as expressed in the Jerusalem Statement. Some who are uncertain whether they are in or out might be finding boundaries which were never intended by those who have taken the initiative to launch this fellowship.

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

Computer Glitch Traps United Flights At O'Hare

Just in time for the mad rush of travelers headed out for the 4th of July weekend, a computer problem made it so United Airlines flights could not leave O’Hare International Airport for much of Thursday morning.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Travel