Daily Archives: August 28, 2009

Bill would give president emergency control of Internet

Internet companies and civil liberties groups were alarmed this spring when a U.S. Senate bill proposed handing the White House the power to disconnect private-sector computers from the Internet.

They’re not much happier about a revised version that aides to Sen. Jay Rockefeller, a West Virginia Democrat, have spent months drafting behind closed doors. CNET News has obtained a copy of the 55-page draft of S.773 (excerpt), which still appears to permit the president to seize temporary control of private-sector networks during a so-called cybersecurity emergency.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Blogging & the Internet, Law & Legal Issues, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama

Elizabeth Bernstein: How Facebook Ruins Friendships

All this online social networking was supposed to make us closer. And in some ways it has. Thanks to the Internet, many of us have gotten back in touch with friends from high school and college, shared old and new photos, and become better acquainted with some people we might never have grown close to offline.

Last year, when a friend of mine was hit by a car and went into a coma, his friends and family were able to easily and instantly share news of his medical progress””and send well wishes and support””thanks to a Web page his mom created for him.

But there’s a danger here, too. If we’re not careful, our online interactions can hurt our real-life relationships.

Like many people, I’m experiencing Facebook Fatigue. I’m tired of loved ones””you know who you are””who claim they are too busy to pick up the phone, or even write a decent email, yet spend hours on social-media sites, uploading photos of their children or parties, forwarding inane quizzes, posting quirky, sometimes nonsensical one-liners or tweeting their latest whereabouts. (“Anyone know a good restaurant in Berlin?”)

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Blogging & the Internet, Pastoral Theology, Theology

Church Times: Scottish clerics see victory for mercy in Megrahi release

LEADERS in the Church of Scotland and the Scottish Episcopal Church have backed the Scottish govern­ment’s decision to release the Locker­bie bomber, Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi, from prison last week on the grounds of ill health. He has advanced prostate cancer.

In the United States, anger was expressed at the decision taken by the Scottish Justice Minister, Kenny MacAskill. The US President, Barack Obama, called the release a “mistake”. The director of the FBI, Robert Mueller, said that it gave “comfort to terrorists”.

But the Primus of the Scottish Epis­copal Church, the Most Revd David Chillingworth, said that the decision sent the world “an important and positive message about our values”, and was “a brave political choice taken in the face of strong pressure from outside Scotland.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anglican Provinces, Law & Legal Issues, Scottish Episcopal Church, Terrorism

The Call to Marriage is Woven Deeply into the Human Spirit: A Message on Marriage from NJ Bishops

A recent study issued by the National Marriage Project at Rutgers University identifies a broad cultural shift away from religion and social traditionalism and toward a belief in personal independence and tolerance for diverse life styles – otherwise known as “secular individualism.” The same report also indicates that “more children each year are not living in families that include their married, biological parents, which by all available empirical evidence is the gold standard for insuring optimal outcomes in a child’s development.”

One expression of this cultural shift toward “secular individualism” is the recent authorization of “marriage” between individuals of the same sex in a few states and the call for passage of a same sex “marriage” law in New Jersey.

As Catholics, we must not stand by in silence in the face of the many challenges that threaten marriage and, in turn, children and the public good. We must not shirk from our responsibility.

We must protect and promote marriage. We must not abandon the teaching of the Catholic Church on marriage and the complementarity of the sexes – a truth that is evident to right reason and recognized as such by the major cultures of the world. We must pledge our support to all family members, including those who choose to remain single. We must help those entering marriage to prepare for the challenges, sacrifices and joys to come. We must reach out with the special compassion of Christ to those married couples and families experiencing difficulties, anxiety, and illness.

In these troubled times, we, the Catholic Bishops of New Jersey, offer here some basic truths to assist people in understanding Catholic teaching about marriage and to enable them to promote and support marriage and families.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Sexuality

New Jersey bishops encourage Catholics to protect marriage against redefinition

The Catholic bishops of New Jersey have distributed a letter explaining Church teaching on marriage and refuting the errors of same-sex “marriage” proponents. Urging the faithful to “protect and promote” marriage, they discussed the God-given natural complementarity of the union of man and woman.

“As Catholics, we must not stand by in silence in the face of the many challenges that threaten marriage and, in turn, children and the public good. We must not shirk from our responsibility,” the bishops’ message begins.

New Jersey state legislators may vote on recognizing same-sex “marriage” sometime after the November election. Parish priests throughout the state were directed to distribute the bishops’ letter, titled “The Call to Marriage is Woven Deeply into the Human Spirit,” in parish bulletins last Sunday, The Newark Star-Ledger reported.

Read the whole article.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Sexuality

Bishop Iker calls the Fort Worth Diocese to prayer and fasting

This memo is to announce a new development in the litigation brought against our diocese and to call all of you to a time of prayer and fasting in this matter.

On Wednesday, September 9, 2009, at 8:30 a.m., two motions filed by the Diocese and the Trustees of the Diocesan Corporation will be heard by the 141st District Court in Tarrant County. The first motion challenges the authority of the attorneys who have brought suit against the Diocese and the Trustees of the Diocesan Corporation to prove that they were hired by individuals who had the authority to hire them. The second motion is one brought by die Diocese asking the court for permission to bring into the suit those individuals who hired the attorneys who have brought the suit against us and our trustees. Those individuals claim to hold offices in the Diocese to which they have never been legally elected.

Read it all and follow the links to the key legal documents at the bottom.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, Spirituality/Prayer, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Fort Worth

A Columbus Dispatch on the Same Sex Union Struggle in American Churches

Of mainline Protestants surveyed by the Pew Forum for its U.S. Religious Landscape Survey, 56 percent said homosexuality should be accepted by society. Thirty-four percent of those Protestants said it should be discouraged. In all, the Pew Forum surveyed more than 35,000 adults of all faiths.

Others say the growing acceptance of homosexuality in churches is unique to North American liberal Protestantism.

Christianity is growing fastest in Africa, Asia, and Central and South America, and those believers are much more conservative on sexuality, said Bishop Callon W. Holloway Jr. of the Southern Ohio Synod of the ELCA. He opposed the changes at last week’s Churchwide Assembly in Minneapolis.

Now, Holloway is trying to hold his synod together. He’s heard from between 200 and 300 people who say they intend to leave the denomination, he said.

Such departures could have devastating consequences for congregations that rely on members financially, he said.

The Rev. Paul Ulring, pastor of the 5,000-member Upper Arlington Lutheran Church, said his congregation is likely to leave the ELCA.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Episcopal Church (TEC), Lutheran, Methodist, Other Churches, Presbyterian, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Sexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths), United Church of Christ

State of Pennsylvania probes Gregory Malia, the partying Episcopal priest

State insurance fraud agents Tuesday raided the health care business of an Episcopal priest under investigation by the Bethlehem diocese because of his reportedly extravagant Manhattan clubbing activities.

Agents removed filing cabinets and other records from the private business of the Rev. Gregory Malia — NewLife Home Care Inc. in Pittston, Luzerne County.

The agents were with the attorney general’s Insurance Fraud Division, spokesman Kevin Harley said Wednesday. Harley would not provide specifics about the raid or the investigation into Malia’s business activities. Harley said sealed search warrants were executed as part of an ongoing investigation and no arrests have been made.

Read it all.

I will take comments on this submitted by email only to at KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry

”˜Diocesan institute’ to be formed for Episcopal nuns joining Catholic Church

When 10 Episcopal nuns in Catonsville join the Roman Catholic Church in September, they hope to form the first “diocesan institute” in the Archdiocese of Baltimore.

“A diocesan institute is an institute of religious men or women who take vows and live in community and they are overseen directly by the diocesan bishop,” said Dr. Diane Barr, chancellor for the Archdiocese of Baltimore. “They have a special relationship with the bishop.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Ecumenical Relations, Episcopal Church (TEC), Other Churches, Roman Catholic

10 Episcopal nuns in Archdiocese of Baltimore to join Catholic Church

After seven years of prayer and discernment, a community of Episcopal nuns and their chaplain will be received into the Roman Catholic Church during a Sept. 3 Mass celebrated by Archbishop Edwin F. O’Brien.

The archbishop will welcome 10 sisters from the Society of All Saints’ Sisters of the Poor when he administers the sacrament of confirmation and the sisters renew their vows of poverty, chastity and obedience in the chapel of their Catonsville convent.

Episcopal Father Warren Tanghe will also be received into the church and is discerning the possibility of becoming a Catholic priest.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Ecumenical Relations, Episcopal Church (TEC), Other Churches, Roman Catholic

BBC: Church festival draws criticism

Traditional Anglicans have criticised the UK’s major Christian arts festival for inviting a gay American Bishop to speak.

Among those addressing the Greenbelt festival this year is the Bishop of New Hampshire, Gene Robinson, a gay man whose ordination by the Episcopalian Church was greeted with both outrage and celebration in various parts of the worldwide Anglican Communion.

Many people did not welcome his elevation, and the issue of gay clergy has become so contentious that it threatens to divide global Anglicans – some say it has already begun.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Art, England / UK, Episcopal Church (TEC), Religion & Culture, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Conflicts

In Colorado St. George's will dissolve, the latest in the Episcopal exodus

After a farewell service on Sunday, St. George’s Episcopal Church will close its doors just short of its 100th anniversary ”” the latest parish to disintegrate in part because of the ordination of gay and lesbian priests.

The Episcopal Diocese of Colorado will officially deconsecrate the Englewood church, more recently called Holy Apostles, after its short-lived merger with another struggling congregation failed to save it.

“St. George’s has been a church in turmoil for decades,” said Rosamond Long, a 35-year member of the church. “We managed to get it back on its feet every time. This time, we’re not going to be able to do it.”

The remaining 30 or so congregants will scatter among other churches.

Even though these traditional, loyal and older Episcopalians did not object to the church’s growing acceptance of openly gay clergy, they say, their former priest did.

Read it all.

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

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori–Salvation's goal: returning all to right relationship

In my opening address at General Convention, I spoke about the “great Western heresy” of individualism (see the full text here). There have been varied reactions from people who weren’t there, who heard or read an isolated comment without the context. Apparently I wasn’t clear!

Individualism (the understanding that the interests and independence of the individual necessarily trump the interests of others as well as principles of interdependence) is basically unbiblical and unchristian.

The spiritual journey, at least in the Judeo-Christian tradition, is about holy living in community. When Jesus was asked to summarize the Torah, he said, “love God and love your neighbor as yourself.” That means our task is to be in relationship with God and with our neighbors. If salvation is understood only as “getting right with God” without considering “getting right with (all) our neighbors,” then we’ve got a heresy (an unorthodox belief) on our hands.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Presiding Bishop, Theology

Po Bronson, Author of Nurture Shock, Interviewed on NPR

Author Po Bronson believes that kids today hear too much praise ”” much of it unearned. A couple of years ago, he wrote an article for New York Magazine on the subject, detailing how praise does not, in fact, lead to self-esteem and achievement as many parents seem to believe.

“Children today hear so much praise that they have decoded its real meaning,” he explains to Robert Siegel. “When kids fail and all we do is praise them, there’s a lot of duplicity in that, and kids begin to hear ‘Nothing matters to my parents more than me doing great or me being smart,’ and failure becomes almost a taboo subject.”

Bronson expands on the subject of praise ”” and other child-rearing issues ”” in his new book NurtureShock, which he co-authored with Ashley Merryman.

I caught this one last night coming home from a doctor’s appointment–listen to it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Children, Marriage & Family

LA Times–Even higher taxes coming for Californians

While Californians are still feeling the sting of income and sales tax hikes signed into law earlier this year, now comes news that state tax authorities plan to take a little more from their pockets.

For only the second time in 30 years, the tax board is lowering the point where each tax bracket begins, bumping many people into a higher category. At the same time, officials are cutting back some deductions. Everyone will pay more, even people whose bracket or income doesn’t change.

The extra sums will total as much as $140 per family, on top of the increases previously enacted.

Read or listen to it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Politics in General, State Government, Taxes, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--