Daily Archives: August 4, 2009

Ruth Gledhill: New push for same-sex marriage, gay ordination in Church of England

The liberal fightback against Anglican conservatives and the Archbishop of Canterbury has begun. Open warfare is now declared.

Pro-gays in the Church of England are planning a survey of all LGBT clergy, in and out of the closet, in London, Southwark and throughout the Church. In the capital, they reckon, it is as many as 20 per cent. They are also intending to survey precisely how many gay blessings have been and are being done. Again, estimates put the number in the hundreds.

After that, bearing in mind the General Synod elections next year, they will make a push for the Church of England to approve gay blessings and gay ordinations to the priesthood and episcopate, as The Episcopal Church has done.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Episcopal Church (TEC), Marriage & Family, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

From the Email/IM bag

i was on your site just a while ago reading your roots of the roots piece, how do you know your father if your not taught by him, his word. I agree with basic, but once you know basic you really want to increase that. Interesting piece got me thinking a lot….

i am actually surpised you don’t write more, your style of writing seems to promote good and deep thought, I would enjoy reading more of your pieces, I am sure many more would agree

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Blogging & the Internet

David Quick on the National Health Care crisis

Health care in America seems more appropriately like “sick care,” and we need to make sure health, of the proactive variety, is more a part of the equation.

The recent debate raging over what happens, who pays and who’s covered comes at the same time of shocking evidence that we, as a nation, continue to ignore these five simple rules of wellness.

1. Don’t smoke.

2. Exercise almost every day.

3. Eat well (five to nine veggies and fruits a day, smaller portions, few to no soft drinks).

4. Maintain a healthy weight.

5. Drink alcohol in moderation.

Only 8 percent of us adhere to those rules, according to a study in the June issue of the American Journal of Medicine.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Health & Medicine

With Demise of Jewish Burial Societies, Resting Places Are in Turmoil

Someone was buried in Florence Marmor’s grave, and it was not Florence Marmor.

When Mrs. Marmor visited her deceased husband’s cemetery plot in Flushing, Queens, one afternoon, she found that someone had been freshly buried in the spot next to his, where she had planned to rest someday. No one could tell her why.

Strange and wrenching discoveries like that have sprung up repeatedly in Jewish communities over the past few decades as families have discovered that the cemetery properties where they expected to be buried among spouses, children and parents are caught in a legal knot that no one can untangle.

The reason: the Jewish burial societies that sold the gravesites no longer have administrators. Founded by the immigrant ancestors of the people caught in this bind, the societies, in effect, have died.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Death / Burial / Funerals, Judaism, Other Faiths, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

A Portrait of one Fighting unit in Afghanistan

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

Unbelievable heat, nasty wasps, hardly anyone around. May their heroic work not be forgotten–watch it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Defense, National Security, Military, Military / Armed Forces, War in Afghanistan

One Fifth of South Carolina Residents lack health insurance

Walter Jones, a professor of health policy and health economics at the Medical University of South Carolina, said there are a number of reasons South Carolina is on the high end of the wrong list:

”¢ A number of people are employed by small businesses that can’t afford to provide insurance.
Ӣ Many people work in the tourism industry, which tends to pay less and not offer health insurance benefits.
”¢ The state’s requirements to qualify for Medicaid are overly strict.

Read it all from the front page of the local paper.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Health & Medicine

The Bishop of Nevada on General Convention 2009

The second resolution on same sex relationships also says two things: The first part is purely pastoral. Every resolution of the Episcopal Church mentioning homosexual persons since the early 1980’s has called upon the clergy to offer them pastoral care. The duty to afford pastoral care to gay and lesbian persons has been affirmed by the Lambeth Conference, the Windsor Report, and the Primates of the 39 Anglican Provinces. Every one of our clergy has taken vows to extend such care to “all” our people. So the principle is well established.

This Resolution notes that there has been a recent wave of law making and law changing concerning these relationships ”“some laws allowing gay marriage, some laws allowing civil unions, and other laws banning such unions. This new legal situation presents new pastoral challenges to which we must respond. The resolution says bishops “may” ”“ not “must” but “may” ”“ offer a “pastorally generous response.” What that means depends on the situation, the context, and the judgment of the bishop. The New York Times says it means blessing civil unions. But I never heard any bishop, liberal or conservative, define it that way. It could mean a special ritual or a prayer or a phone call. It’s up to the bishop. Pastoral generosity is not defined.

The second part of the resolution deals with developing theological and liturgical resources for same sex unions. There was no decision to authorize gay marriage or bless same sex unions. We worked with the language of the Resolution the best we could to make it clear that there is not a decision on that hard question. This Resolution requests the Liturgy and Music Commission to compile and develop theological and liturgical resources so that if and when we consider that issue in the future, we will have some examples to look at.

In 2006, we passed a resolution calling for restraint in “authorizing the blessing of same sex unions” until there has been time for an international conversation on the issue. We have exercised restraint for three years and will continue to exercise restraint while that conversation continues. That does not mean no one anywhere will ever bless a same sex union. The Primates have recognized some leeway for conscience in these matters. Well before General Convention, I assured our clergy that no one in Nevada would be disciplined for following their conscience on this question. That is still the case. The new resolution calls for pastoral generosity on the part of bishops. I hope I was already pastorally generous to all of our people and will try to always be so.

Read it all.

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

Brother Stephen Cist on General Convention 2009

Anaheim does not mean that the Episcopal Church is now a unified whole. There will be those who will want to boldly press forward and those who believe that now that things are settled it is time to rest for a bit. New fractures and caucuses will develop along a political continuum of those who remain. There will be fights over gender and power language in the development of new liturgies. Heated discussions will arise over the permanence and the number of partners to a marriage. (No, I’m not trying to say something flippant or sensational. It’s a discussion that’s already happening and, I think, a quite logical one if you accept some of the basic premises I’ve tried to sketch out above.) Contextual theologians and their more traditional counterparts will continue to wrestle over the boundaries of interfaith dialogue.

As the Episcopal Church lives more fully into its search for radical inclusion and deep engagement with the multiple cultures from which it draws its members it is highly unlikely that TEC will be a dull place. Those who previously thought of themselves as holding the middle ground will find themselves to be the new right of the church. Many who prided themselves on being progressive will suddenly find themselves to be the new voices of moderation.

I expect that for the next year or more the action will move to the international stage where the global Anglican Communion will wring its hands over what to do about the Episcopal Church. Don’t expect much of consequence. While the majority of the Anglican provinces in the developing world are opposed to TEC’s stands on a variety of issues, TEC has its supporters in Canada, South Africa, New Zeeland, Japan, Brazil, Scotland, Wales, and large sections of the churches in England and Australia. There may never again be a Lambeth Conference where everyone gathers together at one altar, but TEC will remain an important part of a truly global fellowship of one sort or another.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Church History, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention, Other Churches, Roman Catholic

Mississippi Methodists Debate Non-celibate Same Sex Unions

The division in this state’s United Methodist Church has come to the surface since the testimony of a same-sex couple at the denomination’s June 12 statewide meeting in Jackson. The Mississippi Annual Conference was attended by about 2,000 people.

A debate followed over whether that testimony should have been given during the conference’s worship service and without a rebuttal of the homosexual lifestyle.

Since that service, the ranks of a group of Methodist evangelicals in Mississippi have grown, said the Rev. Ginger Holland, leader of the Mississippi Fellowship of United Methodist Evangelicals.

“We had about 1,800 members when the conference started. We have well more than 2,000 now,” she said.

Two Methodist ministers, the Rev. Jeff Switzer of Senatobia and the Rev. James Twiner of Pascagoula, started MSFUME in 2002, she said.

“It began over multiple issues, but in particular over the attempt of gay and lesbian caucuses trying to change our church’s stance on homosexuality,” Holland said.

Read it all.

Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Methodist, Other Churches, Sexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths)

RNS: Same-sex nuptials get nod of Episcopal bishops

Conservatives, however, have accused Episcopalians, in the words of one activist here, of “having an adulterous relationship with the spirit of the age.” Bishop Peter Beckwith of Springfield, Ill., said, “We are allowing our church to be shaped by the culture rather than pursuing our God-given mission of shaping the secular culture.” Beckwith compared homosexuality to gambling, which is legal in several states, but which many Christians oppose on moral grounds.

Even liberals here have said the church should not depend on the state to make decisions for it. Former New Hampshire Bishop Douglas Theuner, who retains a vote in the House of Bishops, argues that all bishops – not just those in states where same-gender partnerships are legal – should be allowed to adapt rites of blessings for gay couples.

“If we say we’ll only do what the state allows us to do, then in effect we’re saying that the state effects our theological decisions, and that shouldn’t be,” Theuner said.

Episcopalians have taken cues from the culture on marriage mores before, particularly in the 1970s when it voted to allow divorced people to remarry in the church, said Bishop Stacy Sauls of Lexington, Ky.

“We need to respond to the realities our people face and the culture in which they live,” said Sauls. “That doesn’t mean we cave to expectations and give up our standards, but it does mean we have to be culturally sensitive.”

Read it all.

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

RNS: Episcopal Church Nominates Non-Celibate Gay Priests to be Bishops, Tests Anglicans

Two Episcopal dioceses have nominated gay and lesbian priests in same-sex relationships to become bishops, testing a weeks-old policy and the Episcopal Church’s place within the global Anglican Communion.

The Diocese of Minnesota nominated three candidates for bishop on Saturday (Aug. 1), including the Rev. Bonnie Perry, a Chicago priest who has been in a same-gender relationship with another Episcopal priest for more than 20 years.

Read it all.

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

First Hispanic female Episcopal bishop retiring

The first Hispanic woman to serve as a bishop in the Episcopal Church is retiring from the Seattle-based Diocese of Olympia, talking of how she has “loved” being here but hinting at difficulties with the man who beat her in an election for diocesan bishop.

The Rt. Rev. Nedi Rivera, the suffragan (assisting) bishop, said that she and Diocesan Bishop Greg Rickel share the same goals, but are going down “different roads.” In recent months, Rivera has spent one-third of her time doing double duty as interim Bishop of Eastern Oregon.

“I feel for the first time in my life that I am behind the times, slow on the uptake and out of synch with the future: I think I am part of the old order here,” Rivera said in a letter released on the diocesan website.

Read it all.

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

Philip Turner: More On Communion And Hierarchy

[Mark Harris] asks why those that want TEC to sign the Covenant do not wait for the next General Convention and there cast 51% of the votes for ratification. If this time were taken before a final judgment, there might, he says, be some possibility of a provincial decision by “the so called ”˜local’ Church.”

It is of course the case that if no provision is made before that time for dioceses to ratify the Covenant, then dioceses would not have to hold off casting their votes. They would have no vote to cast. The question would be moot. However, if provision is made for diocesan ratification dioceses that want to ratify the Covenant would simply be foolish not to do so. First The Episcopal Church has already taken steps that both effectively repudiate the approved portion of the Covenant and make ratification of a Covenant that limits its autonomy impossible to imagine. Second, a provincial decision that is the result of consensus building among those who support the decisions of the General Convention and those who do not now sadly lies beyond reach and has, in any case, been contradicted by a majoritarian system of decision-making. Pronouncements of victory have been heard resounding from the halls of our deliberations. “It’s time to move on” is the mantra that focused the attention of the vast majority of all three orders and both houses. How then can there be consensus building that includes those who have a problem with the majority if they have no way to contribute to building such a consensus. According to the reports we have received, a declaration of consensus by majority vote has already been made.

In such a context “minority influence” must be exercised in new ways. Thus, in taking the step of direct ratification the minority would, as previously noted, be saying no to a Christian identity defined first all by boundaries of a nation state and the confines of a denomination that locates itself first of all within those boundaries. Again, as previously noted, the primary objection we lodged against Fr. Harris’ first two articles on these subjects is that they locate the identity of The Episcopal Church first within the boundaries of a nation state. His further explication of his views makes doubly clear that this is indeed his position. And having stated it in this way, it becomes increasingly clear that Fr. Harris not only believes this innovative understanding of our polity is true, but also that it must be enforced as true by making all dioceses and members suffer whatever fate is in store for a province that does not intend to sign any covenant restricting a course of action undertaken, for example, like that of the last General Convention. All must go where the church of the nation goes, whether they want to or not, even if to do so calls into question their belonging to the Anglican Communion.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Covenant, Anglican Identity, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Polity & Canons, Theology

Robert George: Gay Marriage, Democracy, and the Courts

We are in the midst of a showdown over the legal definition of marriage….

…as a comprehensive sharing of life””an emotional and biological union””marriage has value in itself and not merely as a means to procreation. This explains why our law has historically permitted annulment of marriage for non-consummation, but not for infertility; and why acts of sodomy, even between legally wed spouses, have never been recognized as consummating marriages.

Only this understanding makes sense of all the norms””annulability for non-consummation, the pledge of permanence, monogamy, sexual exclusivity””that shape marriage as we know it and that our law reflects. And only this view can explain why the state should regulate marriage (as opposed to ordinary friendships) at all””to make it more likely that, wherever possible, children are reared in the context of the bond between the parents whose sexual union gave them life.

If marriage is redefined, its connection to organic bodily union””and thus to procreation””will be undermined. It will increasingly be understood as an emotional union for the sake of adult satisfaction that is served by mutually agreeable sexual play. But there is no reason that primarily emotional unions like friendships should be permanent, exclusive, limited to two, or legally regulated at all. Thus, there will remain no principled basis for upholding marital norms like monogamy.

A veneer of sentiment may prevent these norms from collapsing””but only temporarily. The marriage culture, already wounded by widespread divorce, nonmarital cohabitation and out-of-wedlock childbearing will fare no better than it has in those European societies that were in the vanguard of sexual “enlightenment.” And the primary victims of a weakened marriage culture are always children and those in the poorest, most vulnerable sectors of society.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, America/U.S.A., Europe, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture, Sexuality

NPR: Public Baffled By Health Care Arguments

No matter which side of the issue members come down on, they will find that the people who put them in office remain deeply confused about what the still-being-written overhaul might bring.

And most Americans are equally suspicious of ”” and confused by ”” claims being made by both supporters and opponents of President Obama’s most ambitious domestic initiative.

With Congress still struggling to fashion legislation and Obama letting the details take shape on Capitol Hill while he sells its broader parameters during appearances that include town hall meetings, most outside Washington have no idea what the overhaul will look like, what it will cost and how it could affect them personally, says Mark Blumenthal of Pollster.com.

“Much of this story has been a big, inside-Washington debate about cost and bending the cost curve,” he says. “It’s a remote, technical discussion.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Health & Medicine, House of Representatives, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Senate