Daily Archives: August 10, 2009

Honor Flight: South Carolina effort for veterans soars

The Honor Flight program in South Carolina ”” which flies World War II veterans to Washington, D.C., for free to see their national memorial ”” is taking off.

Four chapters have been formed statewide. They have scheduled five flights for the fall that will take 500 veterans to see the National World War II Memorial and other monuments in the nation’s capital.

The Honor Flight chapters have spread from Simpsonville to Columbia to Charleston ”” called Honor Flight Upstate, Honor Flight South Carolina and Honor Flight Lowcountry, respectively.

Makes the heart glad.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Military / Armed Forces

Death in the Recession: More Bodies Left Unburied

Have economic times gotten so bad that some of the dead are going unburied? Several large counties across the country are experiencing unprecedented increases in the number of unclaimed deceased ”” not only the dead people who could not be identified, were indigent or were estranged from their family, but also apparently the growing number whose loved ones simply cannot afford to bury or cremate them. The phenomenon has increased costs for local governments, which have to dispose of the bodies.

“People were picking the bodies up last year,” says Albert Samuels, chief investigator at the medical examiner’s office in Wayne County, Mich., which includes Detroit. “Across the board, I’m finding the numbers are on the rise of either families who are not coming forward to claim bodies or they’re signing releases saying they can’t afford to bury someone, which taxes the county resources because then the county is responsible for burying these people.”

The Los Angeles County coroner’s office has seen a surge in the number of bodies not claimed by families for cremation or burial because of economic hardship, according to the Los Angeles Times. At the county coroner’s office ”” which handles homicides and other suspicious deaths ”” 36% more cremations were done at taxpayers’ expense in the past fiscal year compared with the previous year, 712 vs. 525, the paper reported.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Economics, Politics, Death / Burial / Funerals, Economy, Parish Ministry, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Verlyn Klinkerborg: I’ve Got Mail

I wish my memory worked differently. I’d like to be able to conjure up an accurate image of my consciousness from, say, 25 years ago. You know what 25 years means: No cellphones, no e-mail, no Internet, no social networking (except with an actual drink in hand), and only the most primitive of personal computers. What I want to answer is a single question: Was I as addicted to the future then as I seem to be now?

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Blogging & the Internet, Science & Technology

Local LA area priest candidate for high-profile position

About 10 years ago, Ricardo Reznichek headed south on a mission for his Hermosa Beach church: The goal was to find a village in Latin America that needed financial help.

A priest driving a beat-up old car picked him up at a hotel in Belize, and the two men drove for miles toward the rural fields of the impoverished country. The Rev. Irineo Martir Vasquez, known as Father Martir, introduced his American companion to a group of farmers who gathered for Sunday services outside in the fields.

They had no money for a church building but, with Vasquez’s help, they had a church.

“He would drive out all this way to minister to these people,” Reznichek said. “I saw in him then just an extraordinary person who had that ability to help people and make things happen. He is a person who really wants to make progress in the world.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, TEC Bishops, TEC Parishes

Simon Sarmiento: The English care about their clergy

But, if there is a threat against LGBT clergy here, the English can be expected to react strongly.

First though, there’s a specific reason why a dispute about same-sex blessings in the US or Canada is a very poor argument for having a schism in the Church of England now.

Few know this, but the Church of England has, as a matter of plain fact, remained in communion with the Lutheran Church of Sweden, and also with some Old Catholic dioceses in continental Europe, throughout the past decade, in full knowledge that each of these bodies had given official approval for same-sex blessings at various times during the 1990s. So breaking communion with North Americans on this issue now makes no logical sense.

The Church of Sweden recently made its position on same-sex blessings very clear in a letter to its ecumenical partners. This letter was mainly concerned with a new proposal under consideration, to develop a gender-neutral marriage rite, because Swedish civil marriage law has been revisised to eliminate civil partnerships, and treat all couples identically.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Ecumenical Relations, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

A State of Belief Program on the Episcopal Church with Gene Robinson and Jane Dixon

From here:

The leadership of the Episcopal church recently voted to resume ordaining gay clergy and to begin blessing same-gender unions. Join host Welton Gaddy for a very special look inside the controversy surrounding homosexuality, equal rights and this historic denomination.

Welton speaks with two pioneers in the Episcopal Church. Bishop Gene Robinson was the first openly gay man to be named bishop. He has served as the ninth bishop of the Diocese of New Hampshire since 2004. Bishop Jane Holmes Dixon was the second woman to become a bishop. She served as Bishop of Washington pro tempore from 2001 to June 2002 in the Episcopal Diocese of Washington.

Tune in for a passionate conversation about changes in the Episcopal Church and what these changes say about American society as a whole.

Listen to it all (around 54 minutes total).

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

Alex Heidengren RIP

Sitting in my inbox this morning, the terrible news that a seminary friend and his wife lost their young son:

With deep sadness I must share with you that we received word this morning of Alex Heidengren’s death. Alex, the 2nd oldest of John and Blanche’s children, was working as a counselor at a Christian Camp. He was a young man of great faith and a passion for Christ, a gift for worshipping God through music, who loved his family and friends well. He will be greatly missed.

Please keep John and Blanche and children Jonathan, Katie, Nate and Nick in your prayers before our Father God.

A picture of Alex is here.

John Heidengren, Alex’s father, serves in this parish in the Pittsburgh area.

I would be very grateful if you could lift up this family in prayer today–KSH.

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

Sam Well's reviews Rupert Shortt's Biography of Rowan Williams

But here we have the story of a man who deeply believes in Jesus and deeply believes in the church. The Lambeth Conference of 2008””largely devoid of divisive resolutions and designed instead to be a genuine meeting of souls, minds and hearts””is the prime exhibit of his political philosophy. It is all about the exercise of authority. Williams exercises authority by speaking to God on behalf of the Anglican Communion and, as best he understands it (which is better than almost anyone else), speaking to the communion and the listening world on behalf of God. Prayer is the center of his politics. His roles in guiding his flock are to seek the common mind of his people and to model a form of attentive but courageous dialogue with the issues and people in whom Christ is made flesh and the Spirit is speaking today.

What Williams stubbornly, persistently and relentlessly refuses to do is to become an executive leader who charges forward fueled by nothing but the strength of his own intuition and armed only with his own self-righteousness. The result is, from those who seek such leadership, scorn and misunderstanding. But having read this book””a detailed and sympathetic review of an extended experiment in theologically considered authority””I cannot think of another figure, in church or world, who ever embarked on such an extraordinary program of servant leadership.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Archbishop of Canterbury, Books

A.S. Haley: The Presiding Bishop Defies General Convention

General Convention 2009, in adopting Resolution D035, proclaimed the doctrine outmoded in this day and age, even though there has been no example of its application in recent times. The Resolution calls for the governing bodies of ECUSA to write a letter to the Queen of England, Elizabeth II:

Resolved, that The Episcopal Church . . . directs the appropriate representatives of the House of Bishops and House of Deputies . . . to write to Queen Elizabeth II, the Supreme Governor of the Church of England, requesting that her Majesty disavow, and repudiate publicly, the claimed validity of the Christian Doctrine of Discovery . . .

It is, as already noted, unclear how or why the Queen should repudiate a doctrine which she herself has not personally espoused. Moreover, the Presiding Bishop has recently declared a new Episcopalian form of the Doctrine in a letter to the House of Bishops not yet published on the official ENS site, but released elsewhere. In her letter, she declares it her policy not to allow any Episcopalian Diocese or bishop to sell any of their parish property without a clause that would exclude the setting foot on it by any bishop or other clergy of another church in competition with ECUSA for a period of at least five years from the date of sale:

I will continue to uphold two basic principles in the work some of us face in dealing with former Episcopalians who claim rights to church property or assets. Our participation in God’s mission as leaders and stewards of The Episcopal Church means that we expect a reasonable and fair financial arrangement in any property settlement, and that we do not make settlements that encourage religious bodies who seek to replace The Episcopal Church.

Pragmatically, the latter means property settlements need to include a clause that forbids, for a period of at least five years, the presence of bishops on the property who are not members of this House, unless they are invited by the diocesan bishop for purposes which do not subvert mission and ministry in the name of this Church.

It is worthy to note how the Presiding Bishop simply assumes, without any discussion, that she has the authority to impose these requirements on the bishops responsible for the lawsuits brought….

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention, Law & Legal Issues, Presiding Bishop, TEC Conflicts

FT–Economic outlook: Oil prices cloud recovery hopes

The nascent recovery in global economic activity could yet be derailed by rising oil prices, with Brent crude hitting $76 a barrel last week, its highest levels of the year to date.

In a blunt warning last week, Goldman Sachs called for a co-ordinated policy response to resolve the problems of commodity shortages, noting: “Although the financial crisis had been addressed, the commodity crisis has not.”

Francisco Blanch, commodity strategist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, says that just as the rise in oil prices last year was an under-appreciated cause of the recession, this year’s collapse for crude prices has been an under-appreciated source of stimulus.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, Globalization, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Daniel E. Ritchie: Winning the War on The War on Terror

Does it matter that the Obama administration is now involved in “overseas contingency operations” rather than “fighting terror”? Is it important that our Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, refers to man-caused disasters rather than terrorism? And how about the news made by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, when she was asked about the elimination of the phrase war on terror: “The administration has stopped using the phrase and I think that speaks for itself,” Clinton said. “It was controversial here [in Europe].”

The New York Times often used quotation marks around the war on terror during the Bush administration. National Public Radio commentators sometimes referred to “the so-called war on terror.”

The rhetorical struggle isn’t just about the war on terror, of course. It’s about the very notion of terrorism. To modify Burleigh Taylor Wilkins’ excellent definition, terrorism is violence against the property or lives of noncombatant civilians, whose purpose is to promote the terrorist’s cause by preventing moderate solutions or provoking extreme countermeasures. But when someone commits such an act, he usually graduates to militant status within a couple of days, if not immediately. Several months ago Judea Pearl, the father of murdered Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, asked the question this way: “When will our luminaries stop making excuses for terror?”

It appears that those luminaries have won the war on the war on terror. Scores of innocents will continue to be killed by terrorists but their lives will no longer be part of a narrative that we understand as the fight against terrorism.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Terrorism

A.S. Haley: Pittsburgh Exhibits Afford Window into ECUSA Tactics

So exactly how could any Deputy challenge President Anderson’s “joyful” ruling in favor of seating the deputation from Pittsburgh, “immediately after [the] decision [is made]”, when that ruling was made in January and the Convention would not open until July?

And there you have it — a little window into how the insiders at ECUSA get things done.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Pittsburgh

Time: Adultery 2.0

Two-timing politicians, take note: cheating has never been easier. AshleyMadison.com, a personals site designed to facilitate extramarital affairs, now boasts slick iPhone and Blackberry versions that help married horndogs find like-minded cheaters within minutes. The new tools are aimed at tech-savvy adulterers wary of leaving tracks on work or home computers. Because the apps are loaded up from phones’ browsers, they leave no electronic trail that suspicious spouses can trace.

Even as public outrage boils up over the infidelity of South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford and Nevada Senator John Ensign, millions of Americans are sneaking online to do some surreptitious cheating of their own.

Unlike Craigslist’s plain-Jane listings, AshleyMadison lets cheaters customize profiles, chat anonymously and trade messages about adulterous preferences ”” all in an effort to make cheating as simple as using Match.com.

The formula is working. AshleyMadison’s membership has doubled over the past year to 4 million.

Two weeks ago I preached on David and Bethsheba and this morning a parishioner handed this to me. Ugh. Read it all. (Hat tip: BR)

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Theology

Professor sheds light on social networking norms

There are rules of etiquette on the social web, too – rules derived from developing social and cultural norms that businesses likely should be aware of before taking the plunge.

Scott Monty, the head of social media at Ford Motor Co., explained it this way: “It’s just like offline social networking.”

“You wouldn’t show up at a cocktail party, burst through the door, hand your business card to everyone and leave,” he said. “You see what the atmosphere is, do a lot of listening, work your way into conversations, and understand how you can provide value.”

Mihaela Vorvoreanu, a former Clemson University professor soon to be teaching at Purdue, recently authored a paper on social norms she observed and studied among a select group of college students.

“Just from what I read and hear about among public relations circles, it seems that everybody wants to get on Facebook, and that Facebook is trying to build all these features so corporations can get on – but nobody quite understands what to do there,” Vorvoreanu said. “It’s uncharted territory.”

Read the whole article.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Blogging & the Internet

The Isle of Man Bishop's vision for the future

Bishop Robert has published a total of 78 recommendations for change in the way the Anglican Church operates in the Isle of Man.

They come under 17 numbered sections, and include the establishment of four Mission Partnerships across the Island, to replace the existing Rural Deaneries.

Another suggestion is the setting up of on-Island training courses for all levels of church leadership, including lay people.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Latest News