Daily Archives: October 17, 2009

Telegraph: Rethinking Thought for the Day

The “God slot” can count the Prince of Wales among its fans but, despite having supporters in the highest of places, the clamour has grown in recent months for it to change its policy of exclusivity ”“ or be dropped altogether.

And with a decision expected within the next few weeks, the behind-the-scenes battle between secularists and believers has intensified.

Senior Church of England bishops have privately lobbied the trust over the importance of maintaining the status quo. Meanwhile, The Sunday Telegraph has learnt that secularists have warned the corporation it would be in breach of equality laws if it refuses to make the slot more inclusive. Lawyers have been asked by senior management at the BBC to investigate the claim so that they can advise the trust on whether they would be at risk of facing the fight going to court. This legal challenge is a new twist in a battle between secularists and believers – and neither side is prepared to lose.

Thought for the Day may be a mere three-minute slot, but it has become a totemic issue in the social struggle over the role of religion in public life.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Media, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Secularism

An ecumenical conference between scholars of the Anglican and Eastern Orthodox traditions

This is a great set of presentations to go through and enjoy.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Orthodox Church, Other Churches

Theology From Classroom to Jailhouse

Weak from a respiratory infection and solitary confinement, Luis Barrios was waiting in line to see the doctor at a federal prison in Lower Manhattan one day last spring when a reminder of his outside life appeared. It was a group of graduate students in criminal justice, taking a tour of the Metropolitan Correctional Facility.

Priest, professor and provocateur, the Rev. Dr. Luis Barrios had landed inside the jail with a two-month sentence for trespassing onto a military base in Georgia in a protest against a training facility there for soldiers from Central and South America. From the barricades to the bastille, Professor Barrios was traveling territory familiar from what he estimates are about 65 arrests for various forms of civil disobedience.

The graduate students hailed from Professor Barrios’s academic home, John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Professor Barrios recognized one who had been part of his study-abroad program in the Dominican Republic. Later in his sentence, he met a correctional officer who had taken one of his courses.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Education, Law & Legal Issues, Prison/Prison Ministry, Religion & Culture

Robert Munday on the Presiding Bishop's Actions Regarding Bishop Keith Ackerman

I know from speaking with Bishop Ackerman that he sent the Presiding Bishop a handwritten letter merely asking to have his credentials transferred to the Diocese of Bolivia. He said that he had no intention of renouncing his orders and that, while he intends to assist Bishop Lyons in work in Bolivia, he also wished to remain available to assist bishops in the United States, as requested.

The Presiding Bishop says that “…there is no provision for transferring a bishop to another province.” But that is not true.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Presiding Bishop, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Polity & Canons

An ENS Article on the Presiding Bishops Actions Against Keith Ackerman

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori notified Keith Ackerman by mail and email October 16 that she has accepted the former Bishop of Quincy’s voluntary renunciation of ordained ministry in the Episcopal Church.

In a statement released by the Presiding Bishop’s office October 16, JeffertsSchori cited Title III, Section 7 of the Canons: “I have accepted the renunciation of the Ordained Ministry of this Church, made in writing to me in July 2009 by the Rt. Rev. Keith L. Ackerman, Bishop of Quincy, Resigned who is, therefore, removed from the Ordained Ministry of this Church and released from the obligations of all Ministerial offices, and is deprived of the right to exercise the gifts and spiritual authority as a Minister of God’s Word and Sacraments conferred on him in Ordinations.”

According to the statement, Jefferts Schori had thanked Ackerman in an October 7 letter “for your follow up note regarding your plans to function as a bishop in the Diocese of Bolivia in the Province of the Southern Cone. As you know, there is no provision for transferring a bishop to another Province. I am therefore releasing you from the obligations of ordained ministry in this Church.”

Read it all.

Posted in Uncategorized

Shelley Ewing on Mary Anning: Digging and the Divine

Yet there was a woman, also raised religious, who blazed the trail for Darwin””an often forgotten and dismissed fossil hunter who, too, was surely tortured by her own bizarre discoveries. Born in 1799, Mary Anning, the dirt-poor woman said to have inspired the tongue-twister “She Sells Sea Shells by the Seashore,” would spend her entire life uncovering and piecing together the fossils of one never-before-seen monsters””monsters that had been hidden away for nearly 200 million years in the cliffs up and down England’s southern coastline.

After her father died in 1810, a young Anning, in order to put food on her table, was forced to run the shore’s gantlet of high tides and landslides, dressed in tattered skirts, as she hunted for curiosities she could sell to seafaring tourists, mostly from London. By birthright, Anning never should have grown up to be an influential fossil hunter and geologist. She was marginalized not only by her family’s poverty but by her sex, her regional dialect and her nearly complete lack of schooling. But she enjoyed one natural advantage: the very good fortune of having been born in exactly the right place at the right time, alongside some of the most geologically unstable coastline in the world; it was””and still is””a place permeated with fossils.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Church History, Science & Technology

WSJ Front Page: Six Charged in Vast Insider-Trading Ring

In a case echoing the scandals of the 1980s, federal authorities exposed what they claim is the biggest insider-trading ring in a generation — a conspiracy in which a hedge-fund kingpin and executives at blue-chip firms including IBM and Intel allegedly connived to profit on Google and other big-name stocks.

At the center was Raj Rajaratnam, founder of Galleon Group, a New York-based fund firm that manages $3.7 billion. A native of Sri Lanka, he spent years carving a reputation as a meticulous investor in technology stocks, building a fortune estimated at $1.5 billion.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Stock Market, Theology

A Mother, a Sick Son and His Father, the Priest

With three small children and her marriage in trouble, Pat Bond attended a spirituality retreat for Roman Catholic women in Illinois 26 years ago in hopes of finding support and comfort.

What Ms. Bond found was a priest ”” a dynamic, handsome Franciscan friar in a brown robe ”” who was serving as the spiritual director for the retreat and agreed to begin counseling her on her marriage. One day, she said, as she was leaving the priest’s parlor, he pulled her aside for a passionate kiss.

Ms. Bond separated from her husband, and for the next five years she and the priest, the Rev. Henry Willenborg, carried on an intimate relationship, according to interviews and court documents. In public, they were both leaders in their Catholic community in Quincy, Ill. In private they functioned like a married couple, sharing a bed, meals, movie nights and vacations with the children.

Eventually they had a son, setting off a series of legal battles as Ms. Bond repeatedly petitioned the church for child support. The Franciscans acquiesced, with the stipulation that she sign a confidentiality agreement. It is now an agreement she is willing to break as both she and her child, Nathan Halbach, 22, are battling cancer.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

Reunion unlikely for Episcopal dioceses in Erie, Pittsburgh

A proposal for the Pittsburgh diocese’s convention, which takes place today and Saturday, had called for formation of a task force to study the possibility of a reunion between the two dioceses. They had once been one.

But that resolution will be replaced, according to a statement from the Pittsburgh diocese. The new resolution will call for “discussions with a number of neighboring dioceses to explore collaborative partnerships to enhance the ministries of our dioceses and to improve the efficiency of diocesan operations,” the statement said.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Diocesan Conventions/Diocesan Councils

Notable and Quotable

…they never tell you how to save your money. No one tells you. We’ve been trained to spend money since we were born with all these commercials with toys and G.I. Joes and Transformers. But there’s so many things in the supermarket, there’s so many things on television that automatically when you turn it on are saying “Buy! Buy! Buy! Buy! Buy! Buy! Buy!” And no one’s ever saying, “Save! Save! Save! Save! Save! Save! Save! Save!”

–Donald Faison on MarketPlace Money last night

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Movies & Television, Personal Finance

One Woman's Tough Choices in Health Care

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

What would you choose given her options? Watch it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --The 2009 American Health Care Reform Debate, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family

The Archbishop of Canterbury's lecture at Southwark Cathedral

How then do we live as humans in a way that honours rather than endangers the life of our planet? Or, to put it slightly differently, ‘How do we live in a way that shows an understanding that we genuinely live in a shared world, not one that simply belongs to us?’ This would be a good question even if we were not faced with the threats associated with global warming, with the reduction of biodiversity, with desertification and deforestation, with fuel and food shortages. We should be asking the question whether or not it happens to be urgent, just because it is a question about how we live humanly, how we live in such a way as to show that we understand and respect that we are only one species within creation. The nature of our crisis is such that we can easily fall back on a position that says it isn’t worth trying to change our patterns of behaviour, notably our patterns of consumption, because it’s already too late to arrest the pace of global warming. But the question of exactly how late it is isn’t the only one, and concentrating only on this can blind us to a more basic point. If we are locked into a way of life that does not honour who and what we are because it does not honour life itself and our calling to nourish it, we are not even going to know where to start in addressing the environmental challenge.

Alastair McIntosh in his splendid book, Hell and High Water. Climate Change, Hope and the Human Condition, speaks of what he calls our current ‘ecocidal’ patterns of consumption as addictive and self-destructive. Living like this is living at a less than properly human level: McIntosh suggests we may need therapy, what he describes as a ‘cultural psychotherapy’ (chapter 9) to liberate us. That liberation may or may not be enough to avert disaster. We simply don’t know, though it would be a very foolish person who took that to mean that it might be all right after all. What we do know ”“ or should know ”“ is that we are living inhumanly.

Start from here and the significance of small changes is obvious. If I ask what’s the point of my undertaking a modest amount of recycling my rubbish or scaling down my air travel, the answer is not that this will unquestionably save the world within six months, but in the first place that it’s a step towards liberation from a cycle of behaviour that is keeping me, indeed most of us, in a dangerous state ”“ dangerous, that is, to our human dignity and self-respect.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Economics, Politics, Archbishop of Canterbury, Energy, Natural Resources

Pakistan 'starts Taliban assault'

Fierce fighting has broken out as the Pakistan army battles Taliban militants in their remote strongholds in the South Waziristan province.

Local officials said 30,000 troops, backed by artillery, had moved into the region where Pakistan Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud is based.

Officials said the Taliban were resisting as troops mobilised from the north, east, and west.

A curfew was imposed in the region before the offensive began.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Defense, National Security, Military, Pakistan, Terrorism

Jeanette Winterson: Autumn is a season for senses and the soul

In the autumn time feels short, but that there is enough of it, which is paradoxical. Time being a tricky thing to think about is best done alongside Nature, where it seems to make more sense than it does by clock or by calendar. And the memory place that autumn is uses time itself as a container for the things that we keep returning to and trying to understand.

The reflective melancholy of autumn helps me to cope with change and loss, and to find both beauty and necessity in things passing. Ageing has a splendour to it.

Our culture cannot accept that. I think of those lines of Donne: “Nor spring or summer beauty hath such grace/ As I have seen in one autumnal face.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, * International News & Commentary, England / UK, Religion & Culture, Spirituality/Prayer, Weather

Finalists Announced for Episcopal Bishop of Upper South Carolina

The Very Reverend John B. Burwell
Rector, Church of the Holy Cross
Sullivan’s Island, Daniel Island

The Reverend Canon Dr. Neal O. Michell
Canon to the Ordinary,
Episcopal Diocese of Dallas

The Reverend David F. O. Thompson
Rector, St. Bartholomew’s Church
North Augusta, South Carolina

The Reverend W. Andrew Waldo
Rector, Trinity Episcopal Church
Excelsior, Minnesota

The Reverend Jerre Stockton Williams, Jr.
St. Peter’s Episcopal Church
Kerrville, Texas

Check them out.

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