Daily Archives: September 24, 2009

AP: Bank robber finds 'Redemption'

A slug from a .357-caliber Magnum ended Ken Cooper’s 13-year career as a bank robber and started him on the path toward redemption and a network of five prison ministries.

Carter describes the moment when he encountered a sheriff’s deputy as he walked out of his last score in 1982.

“As if in slow motion, fire flashed from the shooter’s pistol. The plate glass exploded into fragments, coming at me like glistening darts. A slug slammed into my chest, knocking me backward. Shards of glass pierced and sliced my skin. Fire burned in my chest. Someone screamed, the sound bouncing around my mind like an echo. Everything faded to black,” Cooper wrote in his book, Held Hostage: A Serial Bank Robber’s Road to Redemption.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Evangelicals, Other Churches, Prison/Prison Ministry

Steve Clark: The Reluctant Evangelist

Verses 2 and 4 present another important point about being successful evangelizers: we need to tell the truth about the glory of God in Christ. Verse 2 says that we refuse to do anything underhanded but “by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God.”

St. Paul is warning us against the wrong sort of success orientation. We can want so much to succeed at evangelism that we will try anything that works ”“ like dressing up a story to make things sound better than they are, or relying on dazzling evangelistic presentations to bring people to conversion. This verse does not rule out a concern for the methods we use to present the gospel, but it does make us consider how we are stating the truth.

Even more crucial is verse 4: “What we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.”

We are not winning people to ourselves. We are not trying to convince them to accept us as their lord. We have something people need. They would want it if they realized what it would do for them. We are like waiters bringing food to hungry people or nurses administering medicine to patients who are in danger of death.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Evangelism and Church Growth, Parish Ministry

Why not measure economic activity from outer space?

Check it out.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Science & Technology

Religious leaders told their input is valued at G20

Standing in the lobby of a Downtown hotel, a key adviser to the U.S. delegation to the G-20 Summit promised an array of religious leaders that he would carry their concern for the poor into the economic conclave.

“We value your input and we know you hold us accountable,” said Michael Froman, dubbed the “sherpa,” after Himalayan mountain guides, because he leads the way to the summit. He is a deputy national security adviser specializing in global economics. “I appreciate your prayers. We will need them. This summit is about fixing financial systems … but also about addressing the needs of the most vulnerable.”

He cautioned the 30 religious leaders against expecting major new initiatives. He expects to focus on fixing “gaps in the infrastructure of how nations deal with crises,” he said. “I hope you will see that this is a meeting that advances the agenda we jointly care about. But it is one step in an ongoing crisis.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, G20, Globalization, Pittsburgh Summit September 2009, Religion & Culture

Will the Third Rome unite with the First Rome?

Sometimes there are no fireworks. Turning points can pass in silence, almost unobserved.

It may be that way with the “Great Schism,” the most serious division in the history of the Church. The end of the schism may come more quickly and more unexpectedly than most imagine.

On Sept. 18, inside Castel Gandolfo, the Pope’s summer palace about 30 miles outside Rome, a Russian Orthodox Archbishop named Hilarion Alfeyev, 43 (a scholar, theologian, expert on the liturgy, composer and lover of music), met with Benedict XVI, 82 (also a scholar, theologian, expert on the liturgy and lover of music), for almost two hours, according to informed sources. (There are as yet no “official” sources about this meeting — the Holy See has still not released an official communiqué about the meeting.)

The silence suggests that what transpired was important — perhaps so important that the Holy See thinks it isn’t yet prudent to reveal publicly what was discussed.

Read it all.

Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Ecumenical Relations, Orthodox Church, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

A.S. Haley–Time for Logic in Fort Worth

And this is the fatal flaw that lies at the heart of ECUSA’s “winner-take-all” strategy. It tries to argue that a Diocese may never vote to leave, and that the only result of such a vote is that people leave, but the structure remains intact. But the people in question do not conveniently resign their positions, because in their view, they are leaving and taking the entire diocesan legal structure with them. So in their view, they are keeping their positions. Thus ECUSA has to come up with a way of claiming that those positions are in fact vacant. It goes through the charade of “deposing” the Bishop with far less than the required number of votes, but that does not solve the problem. The clergy deputies who voted for the amendment cannot be summarily removed without deposing them as well — a process that takes six months. And there is no mechanism whatsoever for summarily “deposing” or “removing” a lay deputy from office.

Without such resignations, and without any mechanism for removing lay Convention deputies, the very next “special meeting” of the Diocese which is called is null and void itself. For the duly elected deputies from the last Convention are the ones who should be seated, but they are barred from attending by the unconstitutional device of imposing a “loyalty oath”. And there cannot be a legal (one-third) quorum of loyalist clergy, because nearly nine-tenths of them went with Bishop Iker.

The problem of ECUSA and its remnant “Diocese” is that they just will not follow their own procedures to organize and become legitimate in the eyes of the law. Mr. Nelson, Bishop Gulick’s attorney, even (unwittingly) described his own clients to the court and spelled out what they ought to have done (id. at 57):

MR. NELSON: What I’m saying is that the body gets together, and then it must be approved by the general convention in order to be a valid diocese. It can get together and call itself a diocese, but until it’s approved and until that diocese agrees to accede to the constitution and canons of the Episcopal Church, it is not a diocese and cannot be a diocese.

Read it carefully and read it all.

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

Sydney Covered in Orange Dust

Quite something–watch it all.

Posted in * General Interest, * International News & Commentary, Australia / NZ, Weather

Fort Worth Diocese files Motion for reconsideraton of Court’s Sept. 16 decision

As we reported last Wednesday, at the conclusion of its hearing the 141st Court granted partial relief in response to our Rule 12 Motion by amending the text of the motion.

In a Motion for Reconsideration (below), filed yesterday, the Diocese is asking the Court to grant full relief by declaring that, as a matter of law, there is only one Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth and one Corporation of the diocese. This would not prevent attorneys Jonathan Nelson and Kathleen Wells from representing the individuals who hired them, but they would not represent them as duly-elected officers of the Diocese or Corporation.

Read it all and carefully follow the links.

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

G-20 leaders look to shake off lingering economic woes

When world leaders gathered in April to coordinate action on the international economy, it was in shambles. Billions of dollars in government spending and financial bailouts later, it’s on the road to recovery.

The challenge facing leaders gathering here today for the third summit in less than a year is to stay the course rather than declare victory and reverse it, U.S. officials and outside experts say.

“Pittsburgh is not intended to be a victory lap,” says Michael Froman, deputy national security adviser for international economic affairs. “We may have come back from the brink, but I don’t think people are at all complacent about where we are.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, G20, Globalization, Pittsburgh Summit September 2009, Politics in General

Rupert Cornwell: Has America reached the turning point in Afghanistan?

Six months after proclaiming a new commitment to the war in Afghanistan, President Barack Obama is under growing pressure to make what would amount to a U-turn in US policy and scale back America’s commitment to a conflict that many experts ”“ and a majority of the public ”“ now fear may be unwinnable.

The debate, which divides Mr Obama’s most senior advisers, was thrown into stark relief by the leaked report of General Stanley McChrystal, the commander of US and allied forces in Afghanistan, warning that the war might be lost within a year without a further boost in troop strength and a major change in strategy to combat the spreading Taliban insurgency.

General McChrystal’s bleak assessment coupled with Washington’s frustration with the Afghan leader Hamid Karzai and the fraud-ridden election over which he presided, has reignited a rift between Vice-President Joseph Biden and Hillary Clinton, the Secretary of State, over how the war should be waged. It has also left Mr Obama facing a fateful choice: whether to go along with his generals and send yet more troops, or stand current policy on its head.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Defense, National Security, Military, Foreign Relations, Military / Armed Forces, War in Afghanistan

U.S. issues $7 trillion debt, supply to stabilize

The U.S. government will have issued $7 trillion in bonds by the time the current fiscal year ends next week, but it expects the debt deluge to stabilize by mid 2010, a Treasury official said on Wednesday.

Though markets and the economy are improving, efforts to provide a firm foundation for recovery will require increases to the U.S. Treasury’s conventional bonds going forward, as well as debt securities that are indexed to inflation.

However, this expansion may take place in an environment where investors consider leaving the safe-haven Treasury market for riskier assets, and debt issuance is likely to level off mid next year, said Treasury Acting Assistant Secretary for Financial Markets Karthik Ramanathan.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Credit Markets, Economy, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government

How many people have you slept with? 2.8 million?

The average British man or woman has slept with 2.8 million people — albeit indirectly, according to figures released on Wednesday to promote awareness of sexual health.

A British pharmacy chain has launched an online calculator which helps you work out how many partners you have had, in the sense of exposure to risk of sexually transmitted diseases (STIs).

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Sexuality, Theology

150,000 Same Sex couples report they're married

Nearly 150,000 same-sex couples reported being in marriage relationships last year, many more than the number of actual weddings and civil unions, according to the first U.S. census figures released on same-sex marriages.

About 27 percent of the estimated 564,743 total gay couples in the United States said they were in a relationship akin to “husband” and “wife,” according to the Census Bureau tally provided to The Associated Press. That’s compared with 91 percent of the 61.3 million total opposite-sex couples who reported being married.

A consultant to the Census Bureau estimated there were roughly 100,000 official same-sex weddings, civil unions and domestic partnerships in 2008.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, America/U.S.A., Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Sexuality

BBC on a Blackburn Cathedral decision: Changing loyalties

A year ago, the cathedral began providing communion bread blessed by a male priest for use when a woman was taking a service.

The concession was introduced after a female canon was appointed to the cathedral staff.

Now the cathedral has apologised for any hurt caused by that decision, but it has also acknowledged that the ordination of women priests still caused “sorrow and pain” to some Anglicans, and said it would continue to provide Sunday services taken by a male priest.

As many churches creak under the pressure to reform in line with contemporary life, modernisers and traditionalists in many of them are increasingly feeling that they have more in common with like-minded people in other denominations.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry

Statement from the Church of the Province of Central Africa

(ACNS) At a lawfully constituted Elective Assembly of the Anglican Church of the Province of Central Africa (CPCA) in August 2009, at which the majority of electors present were from the Diocese of Lake Malawi, over two thirds of the voters were in favour of the Revd Francis Kaulanda being appointed bishop of that Diocese.

The ecclesiastical laws insist that despite a vote in favour of the appointment of a person as bishop notice of the recommendation has to be affixed to the Cathedral door and other churches and proclaimed during two consecutive Sundays to give everyone in the parishes the opportunity to lodge any objections. The grounds of the objections are specified in the church laws. No objections were forthcoming.
To ensure transparency and give a final chance to come forward with specified objections, a Court of Confirmation is convened consisting of the bishops of the CPCA (Botswana, Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe) or their commissaries. It is an Open Court to determine the eligibility of the recommended bishop. Anyone can appear to oppose the confirmation of the election of such person as a bishop of the Anglican Communion Worldwide. The confirmation can be held at any convenient place in any of the four countries mentioned above.

The Dean of the CPCA chose Lilongwe for the venue and gave notice accordingly. The court was lawfully convened on the 22nd September 2009. Various written objections had been lodged. The court called for the opposers to present themselves to give evidence.

The first witness was Mr Charles Wemba of Lingadzi Parish. Instead of giving evidence as he was entitled to he presented the court with an injunction order given in the High Court, Lilongwe, on 22nd September ”“ the date of the sitting of the confirmation Court. The order refers to an affidavit which was not served on the Defendant named as The Registered Trustees of the Church of the Province of Central Africa. The plaintiff is named as Charles Wemba and 149 others. It will be interesting to learn how the registrar/judge of the High Court came to be satisfied that there were 149 other plaintiffs and that they were all represented by Wemba. Giving false evidence to a court is a serious offence.

On being questioned Wemba stated he and his legal counsel were very familiar with the Canons (laws) of the Diocese. He explained the High Court action was brought against the CPCA trustees as they are responsible for the convening of the Court. It was pointed out they are not and not one trustee of the CPCA attends a Court of Confirmation. Wemba said he had not received an invitation to be present as an objector. It was pointed out the Canons do not provide invitations but allow objectors to appear before its Court of Confirmation. Wemba accepted that this was an Open Court and that he could in fact have presented his objections without the need for an injunction.

The injunction orders that the trustees of the CPCA and “others whatsoever” be restrained from confirming Bishop-Elect Francis Kaulanda “until the objections raised by the plaintiffs (Wemba and the 149 people he alleges he represents) are sufficiently disposed of in Open Court. As no objections are contained in the order the Court of Confirmation assumed they were the same as those contained in a letter of 17th August 2009 which cites Wemba as one of the objectors giving notice in terms of Canon 7.4 which sets the grounds available for objection. Wemba stated that the assumption was correct and he was aware of the letter written over a month prior to the present hearing.

The Court of Confirmation suggested that as Wemba was prepared to give evidence he should obtain a letter from his lawyer agreeing that the injunction be removed; that the Court of Confirmation is an “Open Court” which conforms with the wording of the injunction order; that Wemba and his witnesses could give evidence in respect of the written objections already with the Court of Confirmation; and that adopting this procedure would not be construed as contempt of court.

Wemba and one other left the venue to speak to their lawyer. They soon returned to state that no letter would be forthcoming and to ignore the injunction was contempt of court. He and his witnesses would therefore not give evidence and were then asked to leave.

At this point several persons came forward. They said they believed their names were put forward as supporting the objections whereas they did not and they requested their names to be removed from the list of plaintiffs. They were in favour of the election of Kaulanda as bishop. They submitted written statements to the Court of Confirmation.

The Court considered the situation and the objections in the letter of the 17th August. It also considered the considerable expense of convening the court. It took cognisance of the fact that Wemba and his witnesses had refused to give evidence before the Open Court as required by the High Court.

Furthermore it commented that strictly speaking the civil court had no jurisdiction over a pastoral ecumenical, ecclesiastical matter and had he wished to do so the Dean of the CPCA could have held the Court of Confirmation for instance in Botswana or Zambia because the CPCA is multi-national and the election of or the prevention of the election of an Anglican bishop is not within the domain of the civil court. The election, wherever it takes place, is the elevation of a priest to the World Wide Communion of bishops and is not the concern of only one diocese.

The Court of Confirmation resolved that:

1. If on the facts stated above the High Court of Malawi accepts that Wemba and company failed to take the opportunity to give evidence in an Open Court and that nevertheless the written objections were placed before the Court of Confirmation and sufficiently disposed of, then this Court confirms the election of Francis Kaulanda as the duly elected Bishop of Lake Malawi; but
2. If the High Court of Malawi disagrees with 1 above the Court of Confirmation hereby postpones the matter indefinitely while reserving its rights in every respect relating to this matter.

Diocese of Northern Malawi

In same Court, the issue related to the confirmation of the bishop-elect of Northern Malawi was deferred to a later date because the opposers were unable to appear before the Court.

Bishop Albert Chama Dean of the Province
Bishop William Mchombo Acting Provincial Secretary

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of Central Africa