Daily Archives: August 24, 2009

Michael Yon in Afghanistan: Bad Medicine

The pictures alone are worth the trip–read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, War in Afghanistan

Interactive display at Library of Congress makes Bible come alive

The interactive equipment available in the Library of Congress is making the Scriptures accessible to a high-tech generation, said Robert M. Sokol, project manager for the “New Visitors Experience” program at the largest library in the world.

The most celebrated Bibles in the collection are the Gutenberg Bible and the Giant Bible of Mainz — proudly featured in the library’s Great Hall.

The Giant Bible of Mainz is one of the last great handwritten Bibles of Europe and it represents hundreds of years of work disseminating the word of God, according to the library’s Web site.

The Gutenberg Bible is the first great book printed in Western Europe from movable metal type and it marks a turning point in the art of bookmaking and consequently in the transition from the Middle Ages to the modern world, the Web site reads.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Theology, Theology: Scripture

David Keller from Upper South Carolina Reflects on recent Episcopal Church Developments

Today, we have just cut our diocesan budget, which was already cut to the quick, another 15% and are charging priests for their health insurance. The Cursillo budget was reduced to zero, four years ago. We eliminated the Hispanic Missioner three years ago. The National Church budget is in disarray. The budget of the National Church’s Office of Evangelism and Congregational Development, the agency I was most closely associated with, was slashed by GC and the head of that office was terminated, along with most of the employees. That money is now part of a $3M litigation budget. Diocesan Conventions are no longer celebrations. This year we are affecting a celebration because our bishop, who led us where we are today, is retiring. But the reality is very different. We have ceased Evangelism and church planting altogether. We have gone from a diocese of abundance to a diocese of paucity in only 8 years, and the vocal orthodox have long ago been silenced, or have left this part of the body, altogether.

Sadly, the church of John Barr, Gethhin Hughes and Keith Ackerman is dead and will never be revived. But I can say with certainty, that church was better than what we have been left with. I was told in 2004, when I was not re-elected to the 2006 convention, that I did not deserve to be a Deputy because I had “refused to put a happy face on Minneapolis”. In retrospect, we all know what has happened to the Episcopal Church since Minneapolis hasn’t been happy; it has been most disquieting for anyone who is tuned in. I am sad it has turned out this way, but I have decided to wear my exile from that prior part of my life as a badge of honor.

And the worst part is, I have no idea what to do about it in my personal life.

Read it all.

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

Independent Online: Church of South Africa makes key decision on gay couples

On Sunday, Archbishop Thabo Makgoba said the synod’s resolution might be seen as tame, but he saw it as “an important first step to saying: ‘Lord, how do we do ministry in this context?'”
“I’m a developmental person. I don’t believe in big bangs. If you throw a little pebble into water, it sends out concentric circles and hopefully that way change comes from that,” he said.

He said the issue of same-sex partnerships has led to a schism in the Anglican Church in the United States. He wanted to avoid the issue becoming a source of division in the Anglican Church in southern Africa.

“In South Africa we have laws that approve a civil union in this context, but not in the other countries within our province. In central Africa and north Africa, both the Anglican Church and the state say ‘no’.

Read the whole article.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Southern Africa, Anglican Provinces, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

Time: Could the Pope Aid an Anglican Split?

Terry Mattingly, for years an acute observer of the Anglican scene as founder of the popular religion blog Getreligion.org, and a religion columnist for Scripps Howard says, “I expect some of the old-school Anglo-Catholics to pack up and go to Rome, period.” But if Benedict were to sweeten the pot by allowing an Anglican Rite Church in England, “that’s gotta be huge.” And when Mattingly says “huge,” he doesn’t just mean for the Anglo-Catholics. Rather, he believes that an exodus of that size could affect the worldwide Communion after all, by giving other dissidents, with entirely different grievances, a model with which to unravel the fabric of Anglicanism.

Mattingly points out that more so than in other religious groupings, one of the things that holds the Anglican Communion together is the simple belief that the Anglican Communion must hold together. The case can be made that a dutiful sense of global unity, represented by four “instruments” ”” including the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams ”” is stronger than any Anglican doctrinal agreement. Mattingly suggests that the departure of 1,300 priests and bishops from the English mother church could act as a kind of spell-breaking moment, the first time during the Communion’s current round of troubles when a significant number of Anglicans “are saying, ‘I’m no longer in communion with Canterbury.'”

Such a defection, as it played out in terms of theology, finances and British law, would be a kind of seminar for all possible schismatics on how to break with the Communion, without the world ending. Other dissidents might then feel freer to go their own way.

And it could happen a good deal sooner than almost any other version of schism, primarily because it would take the key decision out of the hands of the Anglicans, who, as Mattingly puts it, “have a special knack for not making decisions.” Rome, he notes, “doesn’t usually act fast, either. But Rome ”” and especially, it seems to me, Benedict ”” has a knack for acting with clarity more than Anglicanism.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ecumenical Relations, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

U.S. Military Says Its Force in Afghanistan Is Insufficient

American military commanders with the NATO mission in Afghanistan told President Obama’s chief envoy to the region this weekend that they did not have enough troops to do their job, pushed past their limit by Taliban rebels who operate across borders.

The commanders emphasized problems in southern Afghanistan, where Taliban insurgents continue to bombard towns and villages with rockets despite a new influx of American troops, and in eastern Afghanistan, where the father-and-son-led Haqqani network of militants has become the main source of attacks against American troops and their Afghan allies.

The possibility that more troops will be needed in Afghanistan presents the Obama administration with another problem in dealing with a nearly eight-year war that has lost popularity at home, compounded by new questions over the credibility of the Afghan government, which has just held an as-yet inconclusive presidential election beset by complaints of fraud.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, War in Afghanistan

Resolution of the Diocese of Cape Town on Ministry to Gays and Lesbians in Covenanted Partnerships

In a meeting earlier this year, the Anglican Consultative Council, which represents Anglican churches around the world, reaffirmed a moratorium on what it called “authorization of public rites of blessing for same-sex unions.”

The original text of the synod resolution included language which some members of the Synod said would lead to the blessings of same-sex unions. This, said the Revd Dr James Harris, “will bring us into conflict with the wider Anglican Communion.” The language was later dropped.

The Revd Sarah Rowland Jones successfully proposed an amendment to the resolution which provided that the pastoral guidelines which the Synod requested should take “due regard of the mind of the Anglican Communion.”

Speaking after the Synod ended, the Archbishop of Cape Town, the Most Revd Thabo Makgoba said:

“In Bible studies and discernment sessions during the Synod, I felt the people of the Diocese were committed really to wrestling with the Scriptures and with what they meant in our context.

“I was very encouraged by the way in which the Synod was sensitive both to the pastoral needs of gay and lesbian couples and at the same time affirmed the stance of the wider Anglican Communion, not charging ahead and doing our own thing but rather committing ourselves to a process of listening and dialogue on how to move forward.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Southern Africa, Anglican Provinces, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

Chris Chivers Reflects on the Mess in Zimbabwe

Above all, the crisis in church and state has invited everyone to deepen their faith and to rediscover the prophetic symbolism of the broken bread and wine at the heart of the Christian shared meal, in the presence of the one whose sacrifice enacts and enables real justice to be both seen and done. That may sound like pious old hat in a west so over-secularised it can’t see the cross for the trees. But in Zimbabwe, the shared reality of Jesus Christ is helping a whole nation to transcend tyranny. I found myself using as a prayer this short hymn, which a distinguished friend of mine, David Isitt, a former chaplain of King’s College, Cambridge, and canon of Bristol, wrote to help people grasp this hope of transformation.

Lord, we receive /Your body and your blood /And claim communion /in one bond of love. In faith and hope /For all your world we plead, /Where hungry children /Cry for want of bread. Take in your hands /Once more, O Lord of Life, /This broken bread, /this cup of sacrifice. So shall the world /In mercy find relief; /Your children make their /Eucharist in peace.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, - Anglican: Commentary, Africa, Zimbabwe

The Phillies Astounding Unassisted Triple Play from Yesterday

I think I saw it about 12 times on SportsCenter during the morning run–it never got old. Wow–KSH.

Watch it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Sports

The Economist Cover Editorial: Losing Afghanistan?

The West is spending a fortune in aid to Afghanistan. As the new head of Britain’s army recently pointed out, it is likely to have to go on supporting the country for decades. Yet the roads that are foreign development’s proudest boasts also serve to meet the insurgents’ and drug-dealers’ logistical needs.

That is inevitable: infrastructure serves the wicked as well as the righteous. But the West has not spent its money as well as it could have. By giving too many contracts to foreigners, it has created grudges instead of buying goodwill. To most Afghan eyes, watching heavily guarded foreign aid-workers glide by in their Landcruisers, it is obvious that much of the money is going straight back out of the country. To a degree, this is forgivable: in such a poor country it is difficult to build the capacity to manage huge volumes of aid, and channelling more of the cash through the government may mean that more of it gets stolen. But that is a risk that needs to be taken to build support for the West and the government.

Taking even the rosiest view, the war in Afghanistan is likely to get more expensive, and worse, before it gets better. The mini-surge this year to enable the election to take place in most of the country will probably be followed by another to try to contain the growing insurgency. For the moment, Mr Obama is better off than George Bush was when Iraq went bad, because he enjoys broad political and popular support for this commitment. But as casualties mount, political pressure in America to announce a timetable for military withdrawal will intensify. To resist it, Mr Obama will need more men, a better strategy and a great deal of luck.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Defense, National Security, Military, Foreign Relations, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, War in Afghanistan

Religion and Ethics Newsweekly on the Lutheran Meeting

SCHMELING: Well, my dream for the ELCA would be that we could be a community that really celebrates gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender leaders in the church””not just tolerate our presence, but genuinely celebrate the gifts that people bring to the church.

LAWTON: Traditionalists argued that the measure violated biblical teachings.

REV. CORI JOHNSON (Northern Great Lakes Synod delegate): We have a clear witness in Scripture about homosexuality. Every time homosexuality is mentioned in Scripture, it’s mentioned in a negative light. We don’t have any positive references to homosexuality in Scripture.

LAWTON: Many said the same standards should apply to all pastors.

REV. MARK CHAVEZ (Lutheran Coalition for Reform): And the proposals are just a flat-out rejection of what the Christian church for 2000 years, and most Christian churches today, and most believers today, still hear and believe: Don’t have sex outside of marriage. Period.

LAWTON: But supporters argued for a different interpretation of Scripture.

REV. GLADYS MOORE (New England Synod delegate): I think there are some who want to see the Word as a static book that we are to read literally, and others of us see it as a living, breathing, dynamic Word that continues to be revealed to us.

Read or watch it all.

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

Eunice Shriver driven by her faith

There is nothing particularly newsworthy about a coalition of abortion protesters releasing a public manifesto that criticizes politicos who support abortion rights.

Nevertheless, a full-page advertisement in The New York Times during the 1992 Democratic National Convention raised eyebrows because a few prominent Democrats endorsed “A New American Compact: Caring About Women, Caring for the Unborn.”

One name in particular jumped out in this list: Kennedy.

“The advocates of abortion on demand falsely assume two things: that women must suffer if the lives of unborn children are legally protected; and that women can only attain equality by having the legal option of destroying their innocent offspring in the womb,” proclaimed the ad’s lengthy and detailed text.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Life Ethics, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

From the local paper: The art of education

Changing the identity of a school doesn’t happen in a day or a week, but downtown Sanders-Clyde Elementary School plans to do as much as possible this year to begin transforming into an arts-infused school.

The genesis of the idea to take the highest poverty school in Charleston County and give it an arts makeover dates back about three years to the tenure of former Superintendent Maria Goodloe-Johnson and a partnership she developed with nationally known artist Jonathan Green.

They hatched the idea to give Sanders-Clyde a new arts-related focus that would coincide with the opening of its new building, slated for January 2010.

“I do see this as an opportunity to be at the forefront when people are talking about arts infusion,” school Principal Melvin Middleton said. “I think we’re really on the cusp of greatness.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Education

Post-Gazette Editorial–Unheroic release: The Lockerbie bomber should have stayed in prison

In 2003, 15 years after the Dec. 21, 1988, tragedy, it seemed that the government of Moammar Gadhafi finally had taken responsibility, agreeing to pay $1.5 billion to compensate the victims’ families. That long-overdue acknowledgement was rendered moot on Thursday, when Mr. Gadhafi’s son accompanied the released prisoner on a private flight back to Tripoli, where hundreds of young Libyans who had been bused to the military airport greeted him with waving Libyan and Scottish flags.

The American system of justice is built on the twin rails of punishment and rehabilitation. It holds that punishment must fit the crime, a premise that concludes that taking a life is so egregious an act that it often warrants taking away a killer’s freedom for life. In Mr. Megrahi’s case, he committed murder 270 times over.

To have him released to a hero’s welcome was salt in a newly fresh wound of hundreds of American families. It was neither just nor merciful.

Read it all.

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

Rod Dreher Chimes in on the Monogamy issue

These are important questions. It is often argued by those who favor same-sex marriage that the institution of marriage will transform same-sex relationships, and make them more committed and monogamous. But what if same-sex relationships, if they are guided by this corrupt definition of monogamy, serve actually to undermine the church’s traditional understanding of monogamy? That’s one reason why the answer to this question is so important.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Ethics / Moral Theology, Lutheran, Marriage & Family, Other Churches, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Sexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths), Theology