Daily Archives: August 12, 2009

Details of the Memorial Service for Alex Heidengren RIP

Memorial Service:

Monday Aug. 17 at 11am, with visitation beginning at 10am
Chippewa Evangelical Free Church
239 Braun Rd., Chippewa Twp. Beaver Falls, PA 15010

Memorial Donations:
In lieu of flowers, the Heidengren family requests donations to any of the following ministries of your choice:

HoneyRock Camp of Wheaton College
Scholarship Fund in Memory of Alex Heidengren
8660 HoneyRock Road, Three Lakes, WI 54562
In memory of Alex Heidengren on memo field of checks

Beaver County Christian School
Scholarship Fund in Memory of Alex Heidengren
510 37th Street, Beaver Falls, PA 15010
In memory of Alex Heidengren on memo field of checks

Prince of Peace Church
Alex Heidengren Memorial Fund
111 Cherryton Street, Aliquippa, PA 15001
Alex Heidengren Memorial Fund

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

Survey Finds High Fees Common in Medical Care

A patient in Illinois was charged $12,712 for cataract surgery. Medicare pays $675 for the same procedure. In California, a patient was charged $20,120 for a knee operation that Medicare pays $584 for. And a New Jersey patient was charged $72,000 for a spinal fusion procedure that Medicare covers for $1,629.

The charges came out of a survey sponsored by America’s Health Insurance Plans in which insurers were asked for some of the highest bills submitted to them in 2008.

The group, which represents 1,300 health insurance companies, said it had no data on the frequency of such high fees, saying that to its knowledge no one had studied that. But it said it did the survey in part to defend against efforts by the Obama administration to portray certain industry practices as a major part of the nation’s health care problems.

The health insurers, saying they felt unfairly vilified, gave the report to The New York Times before posting it online on Tuesday, explaining that they wanted to show that doctors’ fees are part of the health care problem.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Health & Medicine

Praying for the Diocese of South Carolina

Our thanks to Lent and Beyond.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Episcopal Church (TEC)

An Evangelical Articulation of the Unity of the Church in Preparation for S.C. Diocesan Clegy Day

by the Revs Iain Boyd and Robert Sturdy

Over the past few months, because of various events (Gafcon, ACNA, GenCon 09’) the issue of the unity of the church viewed through the lens of an Anglican context has come up with increasing regularity. In the conversations we have had with fellow priests and even in statements from men and women serving at a very high level of leadership in the diocese we have noted two things. The first thing we would note is that while the individuals themselves are, for the most part trained theologians and men and women of great theological depth and Biblical faithfulness they have failed to publicly reflect with any great depth on the situations we are now presented with. The second thing we have noticed about the discussion of the unity of the church in an Anglican context is that the evangelical understanding of the unity of the church is poorly represented amongst the highest levels of leadership in the Diocese of S.C.

Our desire in presenting this is to facilitate a discussion on some very difficult matters. We also wish to form the discussion along certain lines that we do not believe have played a significant enough role in the corporate discernment of the Diocese. We wish to form this discussion first and foremost not in terms of any one theological tradition, but rather we wish to center this discussion within the confines of the Biblical witness of the church in the New Testament. We understand that our theological tradition will no doubt inform our reading of the New Testament, nevertheless we seek first and foremost to honor God by submitting to his Word as best as we are able before entering into any discussion based on Anglican tradition. This leads to our next point. We wish to demonstrate the understanding of Christian unity in early Anglicanism as it applied to the multiple expressions of Christian churches in England during the period of the Reformation. As it will be seen, we do not present an understanding of Christian unity in early Anglicanism that is at odds with the Biblical witness, but rather one that fits quite comfortably within it.

It is our honest intention to honor Christ by humbly submitting this reflection. We wish to contribute to the current discernment that up until now has only been done by a select few. The format of this paper will be an overview of both parts followed by an extended discussion on both Christian unity in the N.T. as well as how it was understood in early Anglicanism.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, Theology, Theology: Scripture

In Britain, the Recession starts to threaten home life

Britain faces a surge in drug addiction, alcoholism and domestic violence as the second wave of the recession and rising unemployment take a grip, the leading public sector watchdog warns today.

Councils are not doing enough to prepare their communities for the fallout as the impact of more business failures, bankruptcies and the soaring jobless toll leads to deepening social and human problems, the Audit Commission reports. The watchdog, which monitors the performance of local councils and services, says that most authorities already face extra demands for benefits, welfare and debt counselling. One in three has extra pressure on social and mental health services, and on state school places from parents who can no longer afford to educate their children privately.

Official figures today are expected to show unemployment among young people breaking the million mark. Some 30 per cent of 16 and 17-year-old school-leavers are unemployed, the highest level since records began in 1992. Overall unemployment is expected to have hit a 14-year high of 2.5 million in the three months to June.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Children, Drugs/Drug Addiction, Economy, England / UK, Marriage & Family, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

David L. Ulin: The lost art of reading

This is where real reading comes in — because it demands that space, because by drawing us back from the present, it restores time to us in a fundamental way. There is the present-tense experience of reading, but also the chronology of the narrative, as well as of the characters and author, all of whom bear their own relationships to time. There is the fixity of the text, which doesn’t change whether written yesterday or a thousand years ago. St. Augustine composed his “Confessions” in AD 397, but when he details his spiritual upheaval, his attempts to find meaning in the face of transient existence, the immediacy of his longing obliterates the temporal divide. “I cannot seem to feel alive unless I am alert,” Charles Bowden writes in his recent book, “Some of the Dead Are Still Breathing” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: 244 pp., $24), “and I cannot feel alert unless I push past the point where I have control.” That is what reading has to offer: a way to eclipse the boundaries, which is a form of giving up control.

Here we have the paradox, since in giving up control we somehow gain it, by being brought in contact with ourselves. “My experience,” William James once observed, “is what I agree to attend to” — a line Winifred Gallagher uses as the epigraph of “Rapt: Attention and the Focused Life” (Penguin Press: 244 pp., $25.95). In Gallagher’s analysis, attention is a lens through which to consider not just identity but desire. Who do we want to be, she asks, and how do we go about that process of becoming in a world of endless options, distractions, possibilities?

These are elementary questions, and for me, they cycle back to reading, to the focus it requires. When I was a kid, maybe 12 or 13, my grandmother used to get mad at me for attending family functions with a book. Back then, if I’d had the language for it, I might have argued that the world within the pages was more compelling than the world without; I was reading both to escape and to be engaged. All these years later, I find myself in a not-dissimilar position, in which reading has become an act of meditation, with all of meditation’s attendant difficulty and grace. I sit down. I try to make a place for silence. It’s harder than it used to be, but still, I read.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Books

A Letter from Bonnie Anderson concerning the Draft of the Anglican Covenant

Read it all.

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

The Diocese of Upper South Carolina Newspaper Analyzed on GC2009

Check it out carefully–make sure to read the original Crosswalk article in its entirety.

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

Philip Turner:“Staying On” ”“ Thoughts of a Life Long Episcopalian Who Intends to Die So

Am I tired of this struggle? Yes I am! Am I discouraged? I am far less so now than I was a couple of months ago. The recent actions of our General Convention have made it clear to the Anglican Communion that The Episcopal Church has gone off course and is unlikely by its own choosing to right itself. It is likely that those dioceses and parishes that refuse to take the direction set by the General Convention will receive support from the Anglican Communion not given to those who do follow that direction. I believe in fact that “the worm has turned.” I believe that those who throw their lot with the Anglican Covenant will increase and that those who do not will decrease.

I have reason to hope, but I am not staying because things look a little brighter now than they did a short time ago. I am staying on because I believe it is the calling of a Christian to contend for the fidelity of the church and to do so from within the messy confines of its interior life. We are a mixed body and it will ever be thus!

And indeed, though things look brighter for those within TEC who supporter the covenant, there are even greater struggles on the horizon”“struggles of far greater significance than the current battle over sexual ethics. I speak of a concerted effort to diminish or be rid of the revealed form of Trinitarian language that gives basic shape to our liturgies, and the increasingly popular practice of offering the elements to people who have not been baptized. The first move replaces the form of Christian prayer and belief with a simulacrum and the second misrepresents both the person and work of Christ.

The waters we are entering are far choppier than the ones in which we now sail. Of that we can be sure. But does the degree of difficulty nullify the task presented by the calling to which I have been called? I do not believe so. I in fact said yes to two vows at my ordination. One was to give my faithful diligence always to minister the Doctrine and Sacraments, and Discipline of Christ and the other was with faithful diligence to banish and drive away from the church all erroneous and strange doctrines. I cannot see that the present defection of The Episcopal Church in the matter of sexual ethics breaks the bonds of those vows. I cannot see that the severity of future struggles does either. These eventualities only make their fulfillment more difficult and more costly.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Commentary, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Conflicts, Theology

Pamela Dolan: What’s happening in the Episcopal Church?

Meanwhile, most of the media reports are about two resolutions that were passed: one that resolved to gather resources toward developing liturgies for same-gender blessings, and the other, D025 as it’s known in official parlance, that is commonly being described as a resolution to “end the ban on gay bishops.” It is actually about quite a bit more than gay bishops, as its title, “Commitment and Witness to Anglican Communion” indicates. Anyway, this Episcopal Life online piece is a pretty good place to start if you want a basic sense of what’s been going on without all the hysteria and hyperbole that is generally clouding the discussion on the internet.

The most interesting aspect of this story for me is that beneath D025 is a very specific theological framework, one that depends on an understanding of baptism as full and complete membership in the church. If the question of the place of gay and lesbian people is framed as an issue of “rights,” it can easily be trumped by other critical concerns, such as the importance of our place within the Anglican Communion or the competing claims of certain Scripture passages and the various ways we read them. However, once the framing of the argument moved from “equal rights” to “full inclusion in the body of Christ” it seems to me it was inevitable that General Convention would take the position it did.

My own sense is that nobody has a “right” to become a deacon or priest, let alone a bishop, but anyone can enter into a conversation with the church about exploring a sense of vocation, or of being called by God into a particular office. Our baptism is what empowers us to have this conversation, and it can only be an authentic one if the outcome is truly not known by either side before it begins. There are no levels to church membership once a person is baptized, so there should be no office from which a baptized person is automatically excluded, at least not by virtue of gender, race, sexual orientation, or the like.

Read it all.

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

NHPR: Church Schism Unaided by Archbishop's Plan

The Reverend Jason Wells is the rector of Grace Episcopal in East Concord.
He’s a calm man, but when talking about the Archbishop’s proposal, he’s also blunt.

“I think that that will work as well for the Anglican Communion as the doctrine of separate but equal served our school boards.”

Kathy Lewis attends St. Michael’s.
Her church formed after its members left the Episcopal Diocese following Robinson’s consecration.
She’s also got strong views on the Archbishop’s plan, and believes they’re widely shared.

“He’s gonna have some pressure put on him to actually excommunicate the Episcopal Church from the greater Anglican body worldwide. When that will exactly happen, I don’t know, but I feel strongly that it will.”

Read it all.

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

Joel Stein in Time–Cheating: It's All-American ”” And It's Great!

We need to stop pretending we are honest and instead be honest about cheating. The ethical battle of our time is about the fairness of medical technology: genetic engineering, cloning, steroids, plastic surgery. We are O.K. with Viagra, LASIK and Paxil because they restore basic human functions, but we get really uncomfortable when people improve themselves by buying their pert breasts or giant pecs. It’s no different from the original objections to wearing makeup, dyeing one’s hair, and oiling up before an ancient Greek wrestling match ”” which would not have been necessary if ancient Greek men had had makeup and hair dye.

Our moral superiority about our naturally thin lips or un-home-runny arms is nothing more than a silly, momentary discomfort with technology improving our bodies, which will go away when these procedures are cheaper and safer. I for one will proudly take steroids when they finally make ones that don’t ruin your health, necessitate a shot, or require you to keep going to the gym after taking them. I pretty much stopped caring what I looked like once I got married.

I have long been an advocate of cheating. It started when my dad fooled an IRS auditor by comparing different vintages of phone book, finding an out-of-business furrier and getting me to use my Apple IIe to create a fake receipt to prove a false fur-coat donation. I’m a big fan of the statute of limitations. While some would call that tax fraud, I thought of it as preventing animal cruelty.

Read it all.

Posted in * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Ethics / Moral Theology, Theology

SF Chronicle: Non-celibate Gay bishops may further divide Episcopal Church

Roughly six years after the consecration of a gay bishop triggered divisions in the Episcopal Church, clergy and lay leaders have recently voted to accept other gay or lesbian bishops and also to develop rites for same-sex marriages.

The landmark decisions have, in part, led to Oakland’s Rev. John Kirkley – a gay, married priest who leads a Mission District parish – being named a finalist to be a bishop in Los Angeles.

“We’re in a state of jubilation over this,” said Thomas Jackson, an Alameda resident who is president of Oasis California, an LGBT ministry sponsored by the Bay Area-based Episcopal Diocese of California. “This madness of having a time of restraining and sacrificing gay and lesbian people has passed.”

Yet the moves also threaten to further cleave a denomination at the center of global debates about sexuality and religion. Conservatives, who have a growing dominance in the global church, say they are increasingly alienated in the U.S. church and that biblical sanctity is at stake.

Read it all.

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

Albert Mohler–Polyamory — The Perfectly Plural Postmodern Condition

In one sense, the polyamorous defy easy categorization. The movement includes couples who openly and with full knowledge of each other engage in sexual relationships with others. Some are involved in group sex and others experiment with bisexuality. The Newsweek article introduces readers to a new vocabulary. The most revealing word is “polyfidelitous” — which means that the multiple partners keep sexual activity within their own self-identified cluster.

Interestingly, Bennett observes that the movement “has a decidedly feminist bent.” If men can have multiple wives or female partners, then, the logic goes, women must have the same in order to achieve “gender equality.” Bennett quotes Allena Gabosch, director of an organization known as the “Center for Sex Positive Culture,” suggesting that polyamory sounds scary to people because “it shakes up their worldview.” But, she insists, polyamory might well be “more natural than we think.”

Perhaps the best way to understand this new movement is to understand it as a natural consequence of subverting marriage. We have largely normalized adultery, serialized marriage, separated marriage from reproduction and childbearing, and accepted divorce as a mechanism for liberation. Once this happens, boundary after boundary falls as sexual regulation virtually disappears among those defined as “consenting adults.”

Read it all.

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

College student from Beaver County Alex Heidengren dies in Wisconsin Lake

Doug Carson, the teen’s high school principal at Beaver County Christian, said Mr. Heidengren’s parents had been visiting on Saturday with him and his older brother, Jonathan, who is to be a senior this fall at Wheaton.

The parents were on their way home when camp officials notified them that their son was missing.

Mr. Carson said the family, as well as the high school community, all have reacted as they believe Alex would have. At an impromptu prayer service Sunday at the high school, about 70 students, staff and friends prayed with the Heidengren family.

“More than one student testified that God is sovereign and in control, and that things that are unclear or inexplicable are in God’s hands. That was Alex’s hope. His hope was in Jesus Christ. There’s no question about that,” Mr. Carson said today.

Read it all.

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