Daily Archives: August 23, 2009

BBC: US Lutheran split over partnered gay clergy

Traditionalist US Lutherans have warned they might leave to form another denomination after their Church voted to allow gay people to act as pastors.

Delegates voted on Friday to allow people in life-long monogamous gay relationships to become ministers.

Read it all.

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

SanFrancisco Chronicle: Three Questions for Bishop Mark Andrus

Q: What’s it like for you that Episcopal bishops from other states are now playing a more high-profile role in the same-sex marriage debate at the convention since California passed Proposition 8, which banned gay marriage?

A: I feel very strongly that the trajectory toward the recognition of the full civil rights for LGBT people, including marriage equality, is plain. We will achieve that in California and across the United States – and globally, I think. Yet it is painful to know that there are people who are suffering the lack of those rights in a state as populous as California, which has a history of being on the forefront on many, many categories.

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

Colorado Springs Gazette: Ex-Episcopalians struggle with where to go from here

“There is very little chance that the Anglican Consultative Council would approve two provinces in the same geographic area, especially when the ACNA is, in fact, quite small,” said Lawrence R. Hitt III, professor of Anglican Studies at the Ilif School of Theology in Denver.

Kevin Ross, rector of the ACNA International Anglican Church in Colorado Springs, is skeptical that the organization will ever be officially recognized.

“To recognize (the ACNA) they would have to de-recognize the Episcopal Church,” Ross said. “You have a greater possibility of the worldwide Anglican Communion splitting than having the Episcopal Church de-recognized.”

The ACNA is scrambling to organize itself into a hierarchical system similar to that in Anglican Communion provinces, and it is also establishing various ecclesiastical councils.

Read it alll.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA)

Faith groups grapple with role in Health Care Reform

The Rev. John Hay Jr. reads the parable of the Good Samaritan — who bandaged the wounds of an injured stranger and paid to have him cared for — and sees a biblical basis for supporting universal health care, even if it means a greater government role.

Curt Smith reads the same passage and sees an example of someone who helped his fellow man without asking for the government’s help in doing it. “Notice in the story of the Good Samaritan,” he said, “the guy used his own money.”

As the push for health-care reform enters a critical stage, faith leaders in Indianapolis and across the country generally agree that something must be done to help those who can’t afford care. But, as in Congress, people of faith are struggling to come up with a clear way to get the job done.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Health & Medicine, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

Lockerbie bomber's release tests the "special relationship"

With President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also lining up to criticise the decision, it is now easier to count the senior American figures who have not spoken out than those who have.

In Britain questions have been raised over the evidence of a Maltese shopkeeper who identified Megrahi as having bought clothing that was found in a suitcase said to have contained the bomb and about the evidence of the managing director of a Swiss company that sold timers to the Libyans.

But the Americans believe there is sufficient evidence that Megrahi, a member of Libya’s intelligence services, was in Malta when the bomb was put on a connecting flight and that he visited Zurich where the timers were made.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., England / UK, Foreign Relations, Middle East, Terrorism

NPR: The Challenges Of A Nuclear Iran

The turmoil that erupted following Iran’s disputed presidential election in June has put the Islamic republic squarely back into the headlines. But in some ways it has obscured a bigger, on-going concern for the U.S. and the international community: the question of whether Iran’s theocratic regime is on its way to becoming a nuclear-armed state.

How will Iran’s current political situation influence its nuclear ambitions? How close could Iran be to building a nuclear bomb? What steps ”” diplomatic, economic or military ”” are available to the U.S. and the U.N. to prevent Iran from going nuclear, or to deal with Iran if it does?

Read or listen to it all.

Posted in * International News & Commentary, Iran, Middle East

A reflection from ELCA Pastor Ryan Mills on their actions this week in Minneapolis

My overall feeling, after despair and righteous anger, was that this decision exposes an eschatological flaw in the structure of our “denomination”. The Scriptures, Ecumenical Creeds, writings of the Fathers, Magisterial works of the Reformers, and our Luthearn Confessions and catechisms in the Book of Concord all bear witness to the Truth, Jesus Christ, at work at present in his Holy Word and Sacraments in the power of the Holy Spirit within the life of the Church. Supposedly this Tradition is the norm of our proclamation, teaching, faith and life. In fact, the “social statement on sexuality” that also passed in Minneapolis, (by 66.6%!) frankly recognized that any vision of sexual relations outside of celibacy in singleness and chastity within marriage would be “in contradiction” and a departure from this lode of teaching and Tradition. The “bound consciences” of congregations, synods, and bishops to disagree with the ministry policy changes, and to retain traditionalist oversight over their own clergy and pastoral practices is enshrined within these changes, but as we know from Richard John Neuhaus, where orthodoxy becomes optional, it will eventually be proscribed.

Unfortunately, as in the case of TEC, this week’s small, supposedly representative deliberative body, became captive to the political designs of postmodernists dedicated to accomodating culture, appeasing sexual minorities, advocating for a gospel of “inclusiveness”, rejecting classical understandings of Scripture and tradition, and in general played into the wiles of the devil.

These decisions, quite frankly, do not represent the heart of American Lutheranism, which is made up of many different faithful streams, the vast majority of which are Scripture-centered, mere-Christian creedal, sacramental, Eucharist-centered, evangelical/missional, with a unique piety shaped by a classical Western liturgy, strong hymnody, catechisms, devotional Bible study, confession & forgiveness, daily remembrance of Baptism, and a larger social-ministry apparatus than any other U.S. Church.

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

Episcopal priest in Dallas accused of misconduct as stockbroker

On weekdays he worked as a stockbroker.

On Sundays he served as an Episcopal priest.

But the lines got blurred, and now both of the Rev. William Warnky’s careers are in jeopardy.

Securities regulators suspended the Dallas man’s registration as a broker last week. They said he had defrauded a former client and disregarded an order to repay him $50,000.

At least one other former client has accused Warnky of financial misconduct and is also seeking a repayment order, according to Financial Industry Regulatory Authority records.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Stock Market, TEC Parishes, Theology

Reuters: Gaddafi hugs Lockerbie bomber; Britain denies deal

London and Washington have condemned the ‘hero’s welcome’ given to Abdel Basset al-Megrahi on his return to Libya after being freed from a life sentence in a Scottish jail on compassionate grounds because he is dying of cancer.

‘The idea that the British government … would sit down and somehow barter over the freedom or the life of this Libyan prisoner and make it all part of some business deal … it’s not only wrong, it’s completely implausible and actually quite offensive,’ said British Business Secretary Peter Mandelson.

In Washington, FBI director Robert Mueller released an angry letter he sent to Scottish minister Kenny MacAskill, who ordered the release, calling it inexplicable and detrimental to justice.

‘Indeed your action makes a mockery of the rule of law. Your action gives comfort to terrorists around the world,’ Mueller wrote in the letter posted on the FBI’s website.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s office issued a copy of a letter he wrote to Gaddafi on Aug. 20 expressly asking him to refrain from a ‘high-profile’ welcome for Megrahi.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., England / UK, Foreign Relations, Law & Legal Issues, Terrorism

Phil Ashey–"Do not worry" – a devotional and a testimony

Listen to what Jesus is saying here: He’s saying “Look, if you were just physical bodies, if that’s ALL your life was made of, you would have good reason to worry about what to feed your body, how to clothe it, and how to shelter it, because in 70 or 80 years, it’s gone.” But Jesus says “Look, you are far more than just bodies – the Father and I gave you a heart and a mind and a personality and feelings and a conscience and aspirations and affections and incredible creativity, and the capacity to love sacrificially. The Father and I breathed our life into you, and these days we are paying attention to what’s going on INSIDE of you.” And his reasoning goes like this: if the Father and I have gone to such enormous trouble to create, love, romance, redeem, and renew your inner person, would it make ANY SENSE at all for us to neglect the outer person-the details of food, drink, housing and clothing-the trivial stuff?

So how can you imagine a God who has poured out His life and grace for you personally, and for your church, blessing upon blessing, miracle after miracle, inside of you personally, and inside of your congregation, and imagine that he would not provide you the “clothing” – a mere building, or a Covenant connection with historical Anglicanism, or a new missional Anglican province to worship in and carry on Christ’s ministry?

Secondly, Worry doesn’t generate any constructive deliverables. “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” (Matt. 6:27 NIV) Jesus is saying to people like you and me who worry a lot, “Just tell me, give me a little feedback here. . . when you commit yourself to the ministry of ferocious anxiety and worry, does it work?… does it produce good things? Can you manipulate events, can you change stuff if you really worry hard?”

During the 14 years I lived in Northern Virginia, my commitment to a ministry of ferocious anxiety and worry had NO DISCERNIBLE IMPACT on the cars in front of me when I was stuck in gridlock on the beltway – how about you? My worry hasn’t moved one car, hasn’t hurried one traffic light, hasn’t moved one accident or breakdown off the road.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Pastoral Theology, TEC Conflicts, Theology

Terry Mattingly: What does "monogamy" mean to different voices in the Same Sex Union Debate?

[There are] …three basic approaches to the monogamy question. I cannot believe that the debates have grown simpler, rather than more complex.

First of all, there are gay theologians whose definition of this term is very traditional, arguing that gay unions are forever and that those taking vows must remain sexually faithful to one another. Twin rocking chairs forever.

Then, there are those who, in effect, say that “monogamy” essentially means serial monogamy (this, of course, is the definition used by most heterosexuals today in a culture rooted in easy divorce). In other words, things happen and relationships break up. However, partners are supposed to be sexually faithful to one another while the relationship lasts. Twin rocking chairs for right now.

Finally, some say that gay, lesbian and bisexual Christians can be “emotionally” faithful to a partner, while having sexual experiences with other people ”” secondary relationships that do not threaten the primary, “monogamous” relationship. The twin rocking chairs are symbolic.

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I kept thinking of this Andrew Sullivan statement:

Dan [Savage] and I agreed that moderate hypocrisy – especially in marriages – is often the best policy. Momogamy [sic] is very hard for men, straight or gay, and if one partner falters occasionally (and I don’t mean regularly), sometimes discretion is perfectly acceptable. You could see [Erica] Jong bridle at the thought of such dishonesty. But I think the post-seventies generation – those of us who grew up while our parents were having a sexual revolution – both appreciate the gains for sexual and emotional freedom, while being a little more aware of their potential hazards. An acceptance of mild hypocrisy as essential social and marital glue is not a revolutionary statement. It’s a post-revolutionary one. As is, I’d say, my generation as a whole.

Or this one from Sullivan’s Virtually Normal:

Same-sex unions often incorporate the virtues of friendship more effectively than traditional marriages; and, at times, among gay male relationships, the openness of the contract makes it more likely to survive than many heterosexual bonds. Some of this is unavailable to the male-female union: there is more likely to be greater understanding of the need for extramarital outlets between two men than between a man and a woman; and again, the lack of children gives gay couples greater freedom. Their failures entail fewer consequences for others.

Posted in Uncategorized

In Minnesota Local Episcopalians petition to put Waubun priest on bishop ballot

Doyle Turner of Waubun was nominated by a petition circulated by members of Trinity Church – Episcopal and Presbyterian of Park Rapids. Petitioners actually drove the papers to the diocese offices in Minneapolis Aug. 14, the last day to submit petitions.

The petitioners solicited funds to help finance the drive. Typical of his unpresuming nature, Turner thanked parishioners for their support, but told them to keep their donations modest.

“The church needs a rural voice,” he said in accepting their support.

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