Daily Archives: October 4, 2009

Plattsburgh: Episcopal Church split, mostly over [noncelibate] gay clergy

Clair “Toby” Touby and others are concerned that Bishop William Love is trying to lead the Diocese of Albany out of the Episcopal Church altogether.

“He says he is not going to leave, but actions speak louder than words,” Touby said.

Touby, who lives in Saranac Lake, is the president of Albany Via Media, a group of moderate to liberal Episcopalians. He has been urging parishioners to attend a series of meetings Love has held throughout the diocese in the past few weeks.

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

A Living Church Editorial: Toward a Better Way

We do not believe a property lawsuit is the best response to a congregation’s departure from the Episcopal Church. The number and intensity of lawsuits involving the Episcopal Church should be a source of shame for anyone who takes seriously these words of St. Paul: “The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated? Instead, you yourselves cheat and do wrong, and you do this to your brothers” (1 Cor. 6:7-8).

In too many cases, the Episcopal Church and departing congregations have convinced themselves that crushing their opposition is a matter of Christian stewardship. Both sides depict themselves as victims who have been forced into lawsuits by malevolent forces. Both sides sink millions of dollars into legal fees, even while loudly proclaiming how much they would rather spend these funds on Christian mission.

Amid this chaos, the Dennis Canon becomes the usual standard for sorting out who has a legitimate claim to property. It is good to have a standard for resolving property disputes, but the Dennis Canon too often could be judged by what our Lord had to say about another law: “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning” (Matt. 19:8).

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

Ten US soldiers killed in Afghanistan

Ten American troops were killed at the weekend in two surprise attacks that caused alarm in Nato’s US-led coalition.

In one, hundreds of insurgents attacked a pair of isolated outposts in eastern Afghanistan, killing eight US soldiers and several Afghan policemen in the deadliest battle in 15 months. Scores more Afghan policemen were reportedly captured by the Taleban.

In the other an Afghan policeman opened fire on the American soldiers with whom he was working in central Wardak province, killing two and injuring three.

It was unclear whether the policeman was working for the Taleban or simply ran amok but the attack fuelled the distrust that many Nato soldiers already feel for the Afghan security forces that they are supposed to be working with and training as part of the coalition’s eventual exit strategy.

Read the whole thing.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Military / Armed Forces, War in Afghanistan

ACNS: Tsunami tears heart of Pasefika

In terms of numbers, the Anglican Church isn’t a very big player in Samoa.

But the scale of the tsunami disaster is such that no-one with any Pacific connections has been left untouched by it ”“ including some leading figures in the Diocese of Polynesia.

Take Taimalelagi Fagamalama Tuatagaloa-Leota, for example.

Archdeacon Tai, as she’s known to hundreds in this church is a Samoan living in Auckland. She has served as the Anglican Observer at the United Nations, on the Anglican Consultative Council, as a Diocese of Polynesia representative to the General Synod, and earlier this year she was priested.

For her, the impact of the tsunami is profound.

One of her adult sons was in a van that was swept out to sea by the tsunami. He finished up half under the van, impaled by roofing iron. He’s critically injured, and is in Apia hospital.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * General Interest, * International News & Commentary, - Anglican: Latest News, Asia, Weather

Time Cover Story: A Window On the War in Afghanistan

The war in Afghanistan is at a crossroads. President Obama will soon decide whether to commit more U.S. troops to a conflict that’s already on the verge of becoming the longest military action in American history–or perhaps begin to dial back our commitment there. It’s been more than eight years since the war began, and for much of that time, it was a conflict that took place at the margins of our awareness. First the quick fall of the Taliban regime made Afghanistan seem like a problem largely solved. Then the extended agony of the Iraq war drew all eyes in that direction. But the problem wasn’t solved, the Taliban insurgency sprang back to life, and now Afghanistan is a military and political conundrum: Is it in our national interest to double down, or is the conflict an impossible one that will only come to grief?

In August, photojournalist Adam Ferguson, who has visited Afghanistan repeatedly to document the lives of U.S. infantrymen, landed there again, this time on assignment for TIME. His mission was to join Apache company, a detachment of 102 soldiers who had arrived a month earlier to establish a combat-operations post in the Tangi Valley, not far from Kabul. An incongruous strip of greenery between two bone-dry mountain ranges, the valley has become a flash point for the Afghan insurgency. By the time Ferguson got there, 26 men of Apache company had been wounded in the seven weeks since their arrival, and one had been killed in action–all from improvised explosive devices (IEDs), the deadly little bombs that lurk anywhere.

To convey the truth of a soldier’s life in a place like that, your pictures have to delineate a wide range of experience, from pain and grief and anxiety to loneliness, mischievousness and sheer boredom. The images have to find an equilibrium between the war zone as a place of jangling danger and abrupt violence and the war zone as the temporary quarters of young men far from home who are simply trying to get through the day with some semblance of normality. There will be blood, but there will also be mealtimes, horseplay and video games. Recall the old dictum by the great photojournalist Robert Capa: “If your pictures aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough.” What our photographer has attempted here is to get close enough.

Read it all and check out all the photographs.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, War in Afghanistan

Local Paper Faith and Values section: South Carolina Diocese to vote on split

Important note: this article is inaccurate and it is possible that there will be a correction coming in which case I will seek to post it–KSH.

The Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina has for years objected loudly to what it considers liberalizing trends in the Episcopal Church, and now has proposed to begin the process of breaking away from the national church body. It is doing so not only because the Episcopal Church ordained in 2003 an openly gay bishop, the Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, but for a variety of reasons, most of which are theological in nature, many diocese officials repeatedly have said.

In mid-September, the diocese’s standing committee and deans, under the leadership of Bishop Mark Lawrence, published five resolutions to be voted on at a special diocesan convention scheduled for Oct. 24 at Christ Church in Mount Pleasant. The meeting was called in response to the Episcopal Church’s General Convention in Anaheim, Calif., in July, during which bishops and delegates decided overwhelmingly that gays and lesbians in committed relationships were eligible for “any ordained ministry” and that gay unions were not inconsistent with the principles of the church.

Since “the governing bodies of The Episcopal Church have failed to operate within the boundaries of its canons and continued participation in such behavior would make the Diocese of South Carolina complicit in this dysfunction, be it resolved that this Diocese authorize the Bishop and Standing Committee to begin withdrawing from all bodies of The Episcopal Church that have assented to actions contrary to Holy Scripture, the doctrine, discipline and worship of Christ as this Church has received them,” the diocese’s Resolution No. 2 states.

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

Living Church: California Parishes Await High Court Announcement

The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to announce as early as Monday whether it will hear a property-rights case between the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles and St. James Anglican Church in Newport Beach.

The court’s decision on whether it will hear the case could affect another parish formerly associated with the Episcopal Church: St. Luke’s Anglican Church in La Crescenta.

On Sept. 30, Judge John Shepard Wiley, Jr., of the Los Angeles Superior Court, Fourth Appellate District, ordered St. Luke’s to surrender the church property to the diocese by Oct. 12. The diocese plans to re-establish St. Luke’s-of-the-Mountains Episcopal Church. The Rt. Rev. J. Jon Bruno, Bishop of Los Angeles, will preside at a service of reconciliation at 2 p.m. Oct. 18, the feast day of St. Luke.

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

Kathleen Parker: Defining Deviancy Down

In a 24-7 media world, one would have expected the story of Roman Polanski to last, oh, about 9 1/2 minutes. He raped a girl, admitted it, fled the country before sentencing, was caught again and now faces justice.

On what planet is this controversial?

We might shrug and say, “Only in France,” where the culture minister called the arrest evidence of “a scary America that has just shown its face.” Or, perhaps, we say, “Only in Hollywood,” where more than 100 filmmakers and actors have petitioned for Polanski’s release.

What’s more likely is that we have reached the point, identified by the late senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, at which deviancy has been defined down to such an extent that we no longer recognize it. If it isn’t deviant for a 43-year-old man to stalk, drug, rape and sodomize a 13-year-old girl, what is?

Yet, during the past several days, Polanski has become a true cause celebre, point man in an international incident that has individuals and nations weighing in and staking out positions.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Ethics / Moral Theology, Movies & Television, Theology

Health Overhaul Is Drawing Close to Floor Debate

With the Senate Finance Committee set to approve its health care bill this week, Democrats are tantalizingly close to bringing legislation that would make sweeping changes in the nation’s health care system to the floor of both houses of Congress.

Party leaders still face immense political and policy challenges as they combine rival proposals ”” two bills in the Senate and three in the House. But the broad contours of the legislation are in place: millions of uninsured Americans would get subsidized health benefits, and the government would move to slow the growth of health spending.

Senior Democrats said they were increasingly confident that a bill would pass this year. “I am Scandinavian, and we don’t like to overstate anything,” said Senator Kent Conrad, Democrat of North Dakota and an architect of the Finance Committee bill. “But I have a solid feeling about the direction of events.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --The 2009 American Health Care Reform Debate, Health & Medicine, House of Representatives, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Senate

Unfinished business: unaddressed General Convention resolutions head for the next step

After all the dedicated work of the bishops and deputies at General Convention, Straub reports that only 19 resolutions were not acted upon at the General Convention 2009.

Of the 19, Straub said, most were duplications of those that had been submitted and parts had been incorporated into resolutions that were considered. “Legislative Committees routinely ask to be discharged from considering further this kind of resolution, but by the end of Convention, committees are meeting only to vote on resolutions that have been amended by the other house,” he explained. “These were left behind.”

He added, “Five resolutions were incomplete: that is, they were perfected by a legislative committee, debated and voted on in one house of convention, but for one reason or another (usually time), the matter never came to the second house.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention

A Chart of Hours Worked Per Week

Check out the second chart–it is very sobering.

Update:In a time of globalization, this chart is fascinating also (make sure to click to enlarge).

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market

Charles Freeman: A Bishop who aimed to heal bodies and save souls

We know of the works of the Cappadocian Fathers as they developed a terminology in support of the Trinity and have been honoured for this in the Orthodox Christian tradition. However, there are other, now mostly forgotten, intellectuals who argued with as much intensity on the other side of the question. Eunomius, another Cappadocian, but of more humble background, made himself the target of the Fathers by the relentless way in which he used logic to clarify theological issues, arguing that it was the distinction between Father and Son that mattered, not the “one in substance” of the Trinitarians. He was taunted for having the philosopher Aristotle as his bishop and inspired a rush of responses “contra Eunomium” ”” against Eunomius.

This fertile tradition of debate was infused by the richness of pagan thought but not diminished by it. It faded at the end of the century, largely through the legislation of the emperor Theodosius I (379-95). The Eunomians and those who believed Jesus had seen himself as subordinate to the Father were declared heretical by law and pagans were silenced. A great deal was lost.

I am not a theologian but I do try to read some theology to understand the issues in contemporary debate. All too often I get stuck on sentences that mean nothing even on the third or fourth reading. As a historian I am often frustrated to be told that there is only one historical explanation for a supernatural event when the evidence is insufficient to support any at all. I have seen theologians taken to task for a wholly inappropriate use of logic. Very often theologians seem unaware of how weak their arguments are to anyone with a philosophical background. It is then that I think of the wisdom and confidence of Basil of Caesarea. His broad training in “profane” subjects served only to enrich his theology and strengthen his arguments and did nothing to diminish his Christian compassion.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Church History, Orthodox Church, Other Churches, The Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Theology

Religious Intelligence: Apologies over Chelmsford bishop selection

Apologies have been extended to people in the Anglican Diocese of Chelmsford in England who felt they were not consulted in process to choose the next bishop.

The acting diocesan bishop, the Bishop of Bradwell, Dr Laurie Green, sent out a letter saying: “We are really sorry that some people feel they have not had sufficient and time and warning to offer their submissions in the Vacancy in Sea process within our Diocese.”

The Rev John Richardson hosted a discussion on his blog about who the diocese should look for to follow the Rt Rev John Gladwin who retired at the end of August, after he became aware of a groundswell of dissatisfaction amongst members of the diocese who felt left consultation process.

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

In Chicago some Churches taking steps to accept same-sex unions

Earlier in the summer, the Episcopal Church decided to take steps toward creating a service for gay unions. The move, while controversial, continues the Episcopal Church’s branching from its Anglican roots. In 2003, the Episcopal Church consecrated its first openly gay clergy member.

Few religious leaders contacted by the Sun-Times News Group about either the ELCA or Episcopal changes wanted to speak on the issue. Most of those who did declined to be identified. Their reasons for not wanting to speak varied, and perhaps could be an indicator of the divisive nature of the progressive movements of church leadership.

One local Episcopal clergy member spoke at length about his reluctance to potentially adopt any sort of rites for gay unions and cited a rule that would give discretion to individual churches over such matters.

That same member of the clergy requested that the Chicago diocese be contacted for further comments. Calls placed to the general number of the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago went unanswered.

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