Daily Archives: October 7, 2009

Bishop Ray to Serve Again in Northern Michigan

The Episcopal Diocese of Northern Michigan’s standing committee has asked the Rt. Rev. Thomas K. Ray, bishop of the diocese from 1982 to 1999, to serve as an assisting bishop. The diocese announced this decision in the October issue of its newspaper, The Church in Hiawathaland.

The diocese has been without a bishop since the Rt. Rev. James A. Kelsey died in a traffic collision in June 2007. He had served as the tenth bishop of the diocese since 1999.

The diocese elected the Rev. Kevin Thew Forrester, rector of St. Paul’s Church, Marquette, in 2008. He did not achieve sufficient consents among bishops and standing committees to be consecrated.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops

For Gun-Shy Consumers, Debit Is Replacing Credit

The recession has cooled the American ardor for living on credit. After years of saying “Charge it,” consumers are more often paying with their debit cards instead.

Worry about jobs, fear of fluctuating interest rates on credit cards and wariness about spending too much are contributing to the change.

“People are managing their money in a different way,” said David Robertson, publisher of the Nilson Report, which tracks the credit card industry. “You clearly have a situation where those people who have jobs are exhibiting recession anxiety and they are making more debit transactions.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, Personal Finance, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Obama Rules Out Large Reduction in Afghan Force

President Obama told Congressional leaders on Tuesday that he would not substantially reduce American forces in Afghanistan or shift the mission to just hunting terrorists there, but he indicated that he remained undecided about the major troop buildup proposed by his commanding general.

Meeting with leaders from both parties at the White House, Mr. Obama seemed to be searching for some sort of middle ground, saying he wanted to “dispense with the straw man argument that this is about either doubling down or leaving Afghanistan,” as White House officials later described his remarks.

But as the war approached its eight-year anniversary on Wednesday, the session underscored the perilous crosscurrents awaiting Mr. Obama. While some Democrats said they would support whatever he decided, others challenged him about sending more troops. And Republicans pressed him to order the escalation without delay, leading to a pointed exchange between the president and Senator John McCain of Arizona, his Republican opponent from last year’s election.

Mr. McCain told the president that “time is not on our side.” He added, “This should not be a leisurely process,” according to several people in the room.

Read it all.

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

Support Builds for Tax Credit to Help Hiring

The idea of a tax credit for companies that create new jobs, something the federal government has not tried since the 1970s, is gaining support among economists and Washington officials grappling with the highest unemployment in a generation.

The proposal has some bipartisan appeal among politicians eager both to help their unemployed constituents and to encourage small-business development. Legislators on Capitol Hill and President Obama’s economic team have been quietly researching the policy for several weeks.

“There is a lot of traction for this kind of idea,” said Representative Eric Cantor of Virginia, the Republican whip. “If the White House will take the lead on this, I’m fairly positive it would be welcomed in a bipartisan fashion.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Notable and Quotable (II)

In blogs, journal essays, and books, there has been quite a lot written recently about what “the gospel” is….

For the moment… I’d like to underscore…[a] distinction that is still worth making [on the subject of the meaning of “the gospel”]. It was understood better in the past than it is today. It is this: one must distinguish between, on the one hand, the gospel as what God has done and what is the message to be announced and, on the other, what is demanded by God or effected by the gospel in assorted human responses. If the gospel is the (good) news about what God has done in Christ Jesus, there is ample place for including under “the gospel” the ways in which the kingdom has dawned and is coming, for tying this kingdom to Jesus’ death and resurrection, for demonstrating that the purpose of what God has done is to reconcile sinners to himself and finally to bring under one head a renovated and transformed new heaven and new earth, for talking about God’s gift of the Holy Spirit, consequent upon Christ’s resurrection and ascension to the right hand of the Majesty on high, and above all for focusing attention on what Paul (and others””though the language I’m using here reflects Paul) sees as the matter “of first importance”: Christ crucified. All of this is what God has done; it is what we proclaim; it is the news, the great news, the good news.

By contrast, the first two greatest commands””to love God with heart and soul and mind and strength, and our neighbor as ourselves””do not constitute the gospel, or any part of it. We may well argue that when the gospel is faithfully declared and rightly received, it will result in human beings more closely aligned to these two commands. But they are not the gospel. Similarly, the gospel is not receiving Christ or believing in him, or being converted, or joining a church; it is not the practice of discipleship. Once again, the gospel faithfully declared and rightly received will result in people receiving Christ, believing in Christ, being converted, and joining a local church; but such steps are not the gospel. The Bible can exhort those who trust the living God to be concerned with issues of social justice (Isa 2; Amos); it can tell new covenant believers to do good to all human beings, especially to those of the household of faith (Gal 6); it exhorts us to remember the poor and to ask, not “Who is my neighbor?” but “Whom am I serving as neighbor?” We may even argue that some such list of moral commitments is a necessary consequence of the gospel. But it is not the gospel. We may preach through the list, reminding people that the Bible is concerned to tell us not only what to believe but how to live. But we may not preach through that list and claim it encapsulates the gospel. The gospel is what God has done, supremely in Christ, and especially focused on his cross and resurrection.

–D. A. Carson [Research Professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School], Themelios 34, 1 (April 2009)

Posted in Soteriology, Theology

Kendall Harmon: Blog Open Thread on the Parables of Jesus

We happen to be beginning an adult education class at the parish where I serve on the parables of Jesus (the previous quote was part of my teaching of the first class). This prompts some questions from me:

(1) Have you ever had an adult education class on the parables? If so how long did it last, and what major impression has the class left on you?

(2) Have you personally ever read a book on the Parables of Jesus? If so, which book or books?

(3) Do you consider yourself someone who has wrestled with the parables of Jesus, and, if yes, how have you done so?

(4) Do you have a favorite parable of Jesus, and, if so, which one and why is it your favorite?

Thanks in advance for any answers–KSH.

Posted in Christology, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Notable and Quotable (I)

The parables of other teachers and moralists can to some extent be separated from the teachers themselves. But Jesus and his parables are inseparable. To fail to understand Him is to fail to understand his parables.

–R.V.G. Tasker [at the time Professor of New Testament Exegesis in the University of London], The New Bible Dictionary (Eerdmans, 1962), p. 934

Posted in Christology, Theology, Theology: Scripture

College technology 'catching up' with students

Abilene Christian University freshmen receive more than the usual campus map and lists of required books when they enter the Texas university.

For the past two years, they’ve also received an iPhone or iPod Touch from the university before they begin classes.

At Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, a select group of freshmen received Kindles, an online book reader, instead of the textbooks.

And at Central Michigan University in Mt. Pleasant, a new $50 million education building has 75 miles of Internet networking cable and 11 miles of phone cable, allowing out-of-town students to link with the classroom.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Blogging & the Internet, Education, Science & Technology

NPR: High Court Weighs Legality Of Memorial Cross

A white cross erected on a rock outcropping on federal land in California’s Mojave Desert is at the heart of a Supreme Court case about the government’s display of religious symbols.

Critics say the cross violates the Constitution’s ban on government establishment of religion. The case will be argued Wednesday.

The Veterans of Foreign Wars’ Death Valley post first built the cross at Sunrise Rock in 1934 to honor Americans who died in combat in World War I. The most recent version of the cross was erected 11 years ago by a man named Henry Sandoz.

Neither the VFW nor Sandoz ever owned the land where the cross is located ”” nor did they have permission to build on the land.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Church/State Matters, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture

Four writers on their Eureka moment with science

Jeanette Winterson says in part:

When I found that space is curved I found science. Curved space as a metaphor is not new; Jakob Boehme, Teresa of Ávila, St John of the Cross, are only three of the religious mystics who expressed an ecstatic unprovable intuition of curved space ”” God himself curving through it. Contrary to the rigorous doctrinal dualism of opposites ”” good/bad, black/white, straight/curved ”” here was a Creator who was bending it. Later, the sense of God lodged in Man looks much more beautiful as double-helix DNA. The elegant curving movements of micro-man and the macro-universe carry a deep satisfaction.

I love the idea of curved space. I do not like straight lines. Every so often we have a mania for Roman roads, or terraced houses, or the verticals of tall buildings or the grid of a planned city. We like straightening things out. But the curve creeps back in. Even the fashion industry can’t get rid of it.

Read the rest and read them all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology

U2: faith in the ear of the hearer

American religion has adopted the rock band U2.

Its lyrics can be heard coming from pulpits. Its music ringing out in sanctuaries. Its videos show up in Sunday school classes.

Rabbi Steve Lebow of Kol Emeth in Marietta, said, “I taught a class on rock and roll and spirituality. When you do a search of which band has the most biblical allusions and spiritual themes, U2 comes up as number one.”

Jake Hill started teaching a class at Atlanta’s Saint James United Methodist Church in September called the theology of U2. It attracts about 15 people on Wednesday nights.

“Most of their songs have a message of unity, we are all in this together to make this work,” Hill said.

Read the whole thing.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Music, Religion & Culture

Post-Gazette: Southern Cone Affiliated diocese told to surrender its assets

Archbishop Robert Duncan, of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh (Anglican), said he had not seen the ruling and that members of the diocese would be disappointed if the court had awarded the assets to the Episcopal Diocese. But regardless, members of the seceding diocese are confident about their new life together, he said.

“We have managed the last year without any income from our assets,” he said. “We are doing well.”

Rich Creehan, communications director for the Episcopal Diocese, said after the assets are transferred, the diocese will begin working on how to transfer buildings and land to the seceding parishes that want them.

“Anyone who wants to come back to the Episcopal Church is welcome, and we hope to find a way to proceed with those who don’t [want to return] in a spirit of reconciliation,” he said.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Cono Sur [formerly Southern Cone], Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Pittsburgh

Threat of next world war may be in cyberspace: UN

The next world war could take place in cyberspace, the UN telecommunications agency chief warned Tuesday as experts called for action to stamp out cyber attacks.

“The next world war could happen in cyberspace and that would be a catastrophe. We have to make sure that all countries understand that in that war, there is no such thing as a superpower,” Hamadoun Toure said.

“Loss of vital networks would quickly cripple any nation, and none is immune to cyberattack,” added the secretary-general of the International Telecommunications Union during the ITU’s Telecom World 2009 fair in Geneva.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Blogging & the Internet, Defense, National Security, Military, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Military / Armed Forces

Minnesota Twins flying high after tense, taut thriller

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire had a panicked question for bench coach Steve Liddle in the 12th inning Tuesday night, as he watched Alexi Casilla stroll to home plate against Tigers closer Fernando Rodney.

“He’s got numbers off this guy, right?” Gardenhire barked.

“Yes,” Liddle assured him, “He’s 3-for-5.”

Never mind Casilla’s .202 season batting average. It had been that kind of night. Decisions made on the fly. Little ones, big ones, with nothing but the entire season on the line.

Simply an amazing game. Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Sports

What does it mean to be Anglican?

See what you make of the answer presented here.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Identity