Daily Archives: September 19, 2009

Tom Friedman–Going solar: China gets it

Applied Materials is one of the most important U.S. companies you’ve probably never heard of. It makes the machines that make the microchips that go inside your computer. The chip business, though, is volatile, so in 2004 Mike Splinter, Applied Materials’ CEO, decided to add a new business line to take advantage of the company’s nanotechnology capabilities ”” making the machines that make solar panels. The other day, Splinter gave me a tour of the company’s Silicon Valley facility, culminating with a visit to its “war room,” where Applied maintains a real-time global interaction with all 14 solar panel factories it’s built around the world in the past two years. I could only laugh because crying would have been too embarrassing.

Not a single one is in America.

Let’s see: Five are in Germany, four are in China, one is in Spain, one is in India, one is in Italy, one is in Taiwan, and one is even in Abu Dhabi. I suggested a new company motto for Applied Materials’ solar business: “Invented here, sold there.”

The reason that all these other countries are building solar-panel industries today is because most of their governments have put in place the three perquisites for growing a renewable energy industry: 1) Any business or homeowner can generate solar energy; 2) if they decide to do so, the power utility has to connect them to the grid; and 3) the utility has to buy the power for a predictable period at a price that is a no-brainer good deal for the family or business putting the solar panels on their rooftop.

Read the whole piece.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Asia, China, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, Globalization, Science & Technology

AP: Jewish leaders calling for ethical renewal

Jewish leaders are calling on U.S. rabbis to emphasize the faith’s ethical requirements in their sermons during Rosh Hashana in response to recent financial scandals involving its members, including Bernard Madoff.

Jews have been embarrassed the past year by the arrest of former Wall Street tycoon Madoff, who is serving a 150-year prison sentence for defrauding investors out of billions of dollars, and several rabbis who were arrested in July on money laundering charges, said Richard Joel, president of Yeshiva University in New York.

Widely distributed images showed them being led into the FBI building in Newark in rabbinical garb and handcuffs didn’t help.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Ethics / Moral Theology, Judaism, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Theology

Africa calling: The G-20 will get a special plea from the continent

Three ugly developments in Africa have weakened its case on the eve of a G-20 summit at which the continent will seek attention from the world’s economic and financial leaders.

What Africa will want is financial help to soften the blow from the recession. Africa is perhaps the part of the world least able to sustain the setback. Its countries are feeling the effects of the downturn and their governments have few, if any, resources to put into economic stimulus packages.

Their case will be appealing but Africa is hard to help, to some extent because of what it does to itself or, more precisely, what its leaders do. Three recent cases are examples….

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Economy, Globalization

Standing Room Only at Community Colleges These Days

Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

They play an important role–watch it all.

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

Catherine Pepinster on the flesh and blood nature of Christianity

To many people Christianity seems to be a religion that fears the body, containing it and its appetites. From teaching on sexual continence to the exhortations to the faithful on fasting and abstinence, Christianity is connected in the sceptic’s mind with denial.

Yet Christianity is a very “fleshy” religion. At its heart is not just God or the supernatural but the body, with all its bones, blood and skin. The Incarnation ”” the miracle that means that God became man ”” is so familiar to Christians that it is easy to overlook what this means. But there it is in the first chapter of St John’s Gospel ”” “the word became flesh, and dwelt among us”.

Read it all.

Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Other Churches, Roman Catholic, Theology

NewsOK: Anglican archbishop visits Oklahoma City

The leader of a newly formed Anglican denomination said mainline Protestant churches are failing because they have gotten off track from the Gospel.

The Most Rev. Robert Duncan, archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America, said his new denomination won’t join those who have faltered.

During a Sept. 13 visit to Oklahoma City, Duncan said he and other leaders are aiming to plant 1,000 churches in the U.S. and Canada.

Duncan, 61, presided over services at St. James Anglican Church, 204 SW 104. He was elected leader at the denomination’s inaugural assembly in June at Bedford, Texas.

Read it all.

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

Marketplace talks to Gretchen Morgenson and recent Financial Events and History

Ryssdal: You have taken centuries of human economic interaction and boiled it down to 250, 300 pages but let me ask you to take it a step further. And give me the 30-second version of what the layman, the person who functions in a capitalist economy really needs to know about capitalism and how it works?

MORGENSON: Capitalism is a system that can benefit the greatest array of people, but it is a system that requires an ethical backdrop, a moral compass. And so I think what we’re seeing now is that that ethical drive really took a backseat during the credit boom and the mortgage mania that we witnessed during the early part of the century. And so what people have to understand is why that happened. And also capitalism has these kinds of booms and bust cycles. And while this one was tremendously perilous, I do believe that if you look back in time you will see and conclude that capitalism can survive this if certain changes are made.

Ryssdal: Why do you think that happened, that ethics became so much of an issue?

MORGENSON: I think we had a two-pronged failure. First was the failure of people in positions of power to remember that they have a social contract. As you rise in an organization, you have a greater responsibility to do the right thing, to rein in practices, identify practices that are imperiling others. That almost got lost. But the other prong of this failure was the failure of the regulators. These entities, institutions from the highest level down to the very lowest really failed dismally at their jobs. And so you had a combination of failures here that really contributed to this disaster.

Read or listen to it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The U.S. Government, Theology

A Living Church Editorial–Commitment to Covenant

This is important, first, because it marks the public rolling out of an agenda by the Communion Partner bishops, hopefully with the Archbishop of Canterbury’s full and forthcoming public support, aimed at preserving some remnant of constituent membership in the Communion for covenanting Episcopalians.

Second, and more profoundly, this step effectively serves as a petition to God for the preservation of Anglicanism, to a larger end of reconciliation and communion. “The divisions before us,” after all, have to do with much more than “differences of opinion on matters of human sexuality,” as the bishops note. They finally touch upon ecclesiology ”” the nature of the Church, as a global communion, committed to “discerning the mind of Christ together.” And this point, like the text of the Anglican covenant itself, drops us into a rich field of ecumenical discernment and decision, since communion in Christ is always larger than the particularities of any one divided church or family of churches….

For this reason especially: that the Catholic Church precedes and follows, comprehends and judges, our feints at autonomy, independence, and party spirit, as well as our flirtations with one or another false unity, we applaud the movement forward to covenant by the Communion Partner bishops, and pledge our support.

Read the whole thing.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Commentary, Anglican Covenant, Anglican Identity, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, Theology

Anne Hendershott: Health-Care Reform and the President's Faithful Helpers

Claiming that the opposition is “bearing false witness” by spreading misinformation about his health-care plan, President Barack Obama has asked religious leaders to become the latest conscripts in the battle over health-care reform. And although each version of the proposed health-care bill so far has explicitly authorized the government plan to cover the cost of abortion, many Catholic leaders and organizations have joined up, pledging their support.

For faithful Catholics, it is discouraging to see that Catholic Charities USA and the Catholic Health Association have both embraced the plan. And it is even more discouraging to learn that some parish priests and bishops are leading the fight for it. While Cardinal Justin Rigali, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee for Pro-Life Activities, has urged lawmakers to block the current House legislation unless it can be amended to prohibit public financing for abortion, his is a lonely voice. In a commentary posted on the Web site of the San Bernardino Diocese in California, Bishop Gerald Barnes denigrated those who have participated in what he called the “anger-fueled conduct” at town meetings and directed followers to the Bishops’ Web site to learn about Catholics’ moral obligation to help others gain access to quality health care.

The Web site advises Catholics to “join the efforts of local groups funded by the Catholic Campaign for Human Development.” As it happens, the Catholic Campaign has been involved in funding left-leaning organizations and activities from its earliest years….

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, --The 2009 American Health Care Reform Debate, Health & Medicine, Office of the President, Other Churches, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

A.S. Haley on the S.C. Supreme Court Decision: Dennis Canon Loses in South Carolina

The Supreme Court of South Carolina has just delivered a unanimous decision in the oldest still-pending court dispute involving the application of ECUSA’s Dennis Canon to a parish’s property: All Saints Parish Church Waccamaw v. the Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of South Carolina (No. 29724, September 18, 2009). (For some background on the origins of the case, see the discussion toward the bottom of this post.) The opinion presents a clear and thoroughly common-sense refutation of ECUSA’s outlandish claims: that as a hierarchical Church, it has the power (1) to decide which congregation/vestry is the “true” congregation/vestry in a given parish; and (2) to override State law by imposing a trust on all parish property everywhere in its Dioceses without its being the owner of any of that property.

The opinion is so clear and well-written, in fact, that there is scarcely any need to translate the greater part of it for a lay person. So I shall present here, for the edification and benefit of those visitors to this blog who have been following with me the vicissitudes of ECUSA’s Dennis Canon in the various State courts, a lightly annotated version.

Please be sure to read it all and do follow the link to his post on the background to the current case.

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

David Bauman–Diverse and Inclusive, or Catholic and Evangelical?

This parish is NOT going into schism, and we have consistently rejected that course of action, and repeatedly explained why. Further””along with most of the Anglican Communion””this parish has vociferously and publicly rejected the escalating and continuing apostasies of the Episcopal Church. We will not accept them and we will continue to protest them, though it is evident that the leadership of the Episcopal Church is swelled up with monstrous arrogance and determined to keep the pedal to the metal as the institutional juggernaut (not the same thing as the Church) hurtles along the downward slope toward unrecognizablity. A report on the state of the Church prepared for the General Convention provides a number of telling points: 1) The Episcopal Church is rapidly losing members; 2) The Episcopal Church has to cut back its budget severely because of diminished income; 3) the biggest reason for this is conflict in The Episcopal Church over its revisionist policies and practices; 4) full speed ahead!

The writer mentioned “freedom to dissent” and “tolerance of dissent” as a strength of Anglicanism. “Tolerance of dissent” can mean a number of things. When it means living charitably with anomaly as things settle out, it is a vital Christian virtue well described in theory and practice in the New Testament. If it means letting people hold beliefs and maintain practices inconsistent with the faith of the Body, then it is abdication of leadership, which is powerfully condemned in both Old and New Testaments. Genuine leadership must show both clarity and mercy. This is notably different from espousing “inclusivity”.

Read it all.

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

The Archbishop of Canterbury sends greetings for the start of the Jewish New Year

To Jewish friends and fellow workers on the occasion of Rosh Hashanah 2009

It gives me great pleasure once again to be able to offer my warmest greetings and good wishes on the occasion of Rosh Hashanah to all in the Jewish communities in this country and abroad. The turning of the year offers once again the opportunity both to reflect on events past and to look forward with hope at the possibilities which lie ahead for us to renew the already deep bonds of solidarity and friendship in faith that bind us together.

Looking back on the past year, I recall with vivid intensity the visit to Auschwitz with the Chief Rabbi and Rabbi Dr Tony Bayfield and other religious leaders of this country, arranged through the Holocaust Educational Trust. It was a remarkable day for all of us whether in the traveling to and from Auschwitz; in the experiences of solidarity in faith; or in the sheer intensity of the horror that remains present at Auschwitz and Birkenau. To have encountered this together, side by side, in a moment of the most profound recollection, was a salutary reminder to us that we must continue to struggle together against the selfsame tendencies that remain present today.

For this reason I was glad to be able to host the London Conference on Combating Antisemitism here at Lambeth in February, and to make clear once again the Church’s unshakeable commitment to opposing the forces in our society that nurture a new anti Semitism as well as other forms of racism and dehumanization.

The resurgence of violence in southern Israel and Gaza was the occasion of a deep testing of our relationship of trust and friendship. I dare to believe that in maintaining the bonds of relationship between Christian, Jewish and Muslim friends here in the United Kingdom, we set an example to the wider world and made a small but, I hope significant, contribution to the long term peace and reconciliation in the Middle East for which we all long. Our combined appeal from all three communities for humanitarian aid was a symbol of our determination not to follow the paths of separation and antagonism. We must pray that the current renewed efforts towards reconciliation and a lasting peace will bear fruit.

Looking to the year ahead, there is much to celebrate and to hope and to work for. We shall be glad to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, which has made such continuous contributions to our society and will continue to do so under its new leadership. I welcome wholeheartedly the future presence of the Chief Rabbi in the House of Lords where he will continue to offer profoundly important reflections on the moral issues of our times. I look forward to visiting the Middle East again and to my next meeting with the Chief Rabbinate of Israel with the opportunity to renew the commitments on which our dialogue is founded. I have been encouraged by the continued strengthening of the work of the Council of Christians and Jews and especially the broadening of its Presidency and I hope for an extension and deepening of the ways in which church and synagogue encounter each other in faith.

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us in the year ahead.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Archbishop of Canterbury, Judaism, Other Faiths

Samuel Keyes–Anglicans and Councils

Where does all this leave us as Anglicans? Our problem, as has been made painfully clear in the current crisis, is that we do not really know who we are. It will not do to defer to scripture as if scripture stands outside the catholic and ecumenical tradition, for this attitude easily suggests, however unintentionally, that we read the scriptures alone, and that we alone mediate their interpretation.

Instead, let us follow the vision of Lambeth 1920, at which the bishops urged “every branch of the Anglican Communion” to “prepare its members for taking their part in the universal fellowship of the reunited Church, by setting before them the loyalty which they owe to the universal Church, and the charity and understanding which are required of the members of so inclusive a society” (Resolution 15).

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Identity, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Instruments of Unity, TEC Conflicts, Theology

New primate, same steadiness in the Anglican Church of Nigeria

From March next year when he will lead the over 18 million Nigerian Anglicans, Archbishop Nicholas Okoh will bring strict conservatism of his military background and years of close collaboration with out-going Primate Peter Akinola to bear on the Church, write Hendrix Oliomogbe (Asaba), Lawrence Njoku (Enugu) and Wole Oyebade (Lagos)

GENERALLY, Christianity is founded on strict conservatism. The heads of nearly all the old Christian groups are known for their conservatism. The heads practically take to heart the Biblical saying: As it was in the beginning, so it is now, and so shall it be, a world without end!

The world should not expect any thing less from the in-coming head of the Anglican Communion in Nigeria, Archbishop Nicholas Dikeriehi Orogodo Okoh who will assume office in March next year. Primate-elect Okoh will be an iron-cast conservative, given the constituency he is coming from: The military.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of Nigeria