Daily Archives: November 17, 2009

WSJ Editorial: A Dollar Warning From Asia

Americans may be tempted to take John Connally’s view that none of this is our problem, especially when U.S. stocks are rising and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke says there’s nothing to worry about.

But that’s a mistake. Asset bubbles that build and burst in Asia will eventually cause trouble here, much as they did in the Asian monetary crisis of 1997. And if Chinese leaders conclude the U.S. is deliberately squeezing their currency as a way to devalue away America’s rising debt burden, they will find ways to return the offense””perhaps on Iran, or North Korea.

The larger mistake is to believe that any nation can devalue its way to prosperity. As other currencies rise in value and force productivity gains, the U.S. economy will become relatively less efficient. American living standards will decline, as those in Asia rise. This is the real lesson of the Connally-Nixon devaluations of the 1970s and the inflation that followed.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Budget, China, Economy, Federal Reserve, Globalization, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government, The United States Currency (Dollar etc)

An Interesting Thread on the Upper Diocese in South Carolina and their Bishop Election

What I can point to are the trends confronting our diocese.

1) In the past decade, our diocese has experienced not one, or two, but three tsunamis — General Conventions 2003, 2006, and 2009.

2) I can also say that there is a deep theological and practical divide between our clergy and laity, such that the conflict brought on by those every-three-year General Conventions is intensified and heightened.

3) The effect of those two things gives way to something that I have noticed not only in parish life, but also in individual lives and that is, simply, that we as Episcopalians have no further slack in the system. In the old days, parishes could go through the normal vicissitudes of parish life — a troubled rector, a search process gone wrong, a bad economy, some challenging diocesan issues, a layperson “in the news” for the wrong reasons — and recover from those issues, even thrive, fairly easily. But unfortunately, with the every-three-year tsunami, parishes simply have not recovered fully when met with everyday standard crises.

The effect is a rolling tide of cumulative loss and stress and conflict. Barely has one caught one’s breath from the latest General Convention than a local crisis hits. Barely has one recovered from — or just salvaged something — after the local crisis, then we have another General Convention. The diocese is in — and is likely to remain in — a constant state of stress. This is the “new normal” for TEC parishes, and it’s not something that we are prepared for at all.

Check it out.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, TEC Bishops, TEC Diocesan Conventions/Diocesan Councils

From Fort Worth: Appellate court issues stay in response to Mandamus filing

The Fort Worth Court of Appeals has ordered the suspension of further proceedings in a suit brought against the diocese last April. The stay was issued late on Monday, Nov. 16, in response to a Petition for Writ of Mandamus filed by the diocese on Friday, Nov. 13. The suit is pending before the 141st District Court. The Hon. John P. Chupp is the trial judge.

Monday’s order, issued by the Court of Appeals for the Second District of Texas, says, “The court has considered relators’ [the diocese’s] petition for writ of madamus and motion for stay and is of the tentative opinion that relators are entitled to relief or that a serious question concerning the relief requires further consideration.” The order sets a deadline of 5 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 30, for any response to be filed by parties of interest, who could include Judge Chupp and attorneys Jonathan Nelson and Kathleen Wells. The stay is in effect until the Court of Appeals issues a decision.

Read it all.

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

Notable and Quotable

What, I wonder, does this say about blogging? For many writers, exploring the genre for the first time, it’s the anonymity of the blogosphere that’s both thrilling and unnerving. Free content and anonymous self-expression is liberating but intrinsically irresponsible. Writers who grew up in the more constrained world of print can find the adaptation difficult, even antipathetic to the nature of their art.

Robert McCrum

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Blogging & the Internet

David Brooks on America and the Hope for the future

The U.S. now has an economy shifted too much toward consumption, debt and imports and too little toward production, innovation and exports. It now has a mounting federal debt that creates present indulgence and future hardship.

Americans could once be confident that their country would grow more productive because each generation was more skilled than the last. That’s no longer true. The political system now groans to pass anything easy ”” tax cuts and expanding health care coverage ”” and is incapable of passing anything hard ”” spending restraint, health care cost control.

The standard thing these days is for Americans to scold each other for our profligacy, to urge fiscal Puritanism. But it’s not clear Americans have ever really been self-disciplined. Instead, Americans probably postponed gratification because they thought the future was a big rock-candy mountain, and if they were stealing from that, they were robbing themselves of something stupendous.

It would be nice if some leader could induce the country to salivate for the future again. That would mean connecting discrete policies ”” education, technological innovation, funding for basic research ”” into a single long-term narrative.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Economy, Eschatology, History, Theology

David Walker's presentation at the FICPA 2009 Accounting Conference on America's Financial Future

Worth the time when you get a chance.

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

The Presiding Bishop has a Q and A in the Diocese of Bethlehem

During the forum after the service, Jefferts Schori discussed the Vatican’s recent decision to establish a formal structure for disaffected Anglicans. The move makes it easier for traditionalist Anglicans unhappy with the church’s embrace of gay and female clergy to enter communion with Rome while retaining certain liturgical traditions.

It’s a bigger issue in England than the United States, where traditional Episcopalians have already formed conservative structures and are thus unlikely to seek communion with Rome. And, Jefferts Schori said, provisions allowing Anglicans to join the Roman Catholic Church already existed, with four ”Anglican Use” congregations operating in the United States.

The two churches have a long history of losing members to each other, she added: ”The road between Rome and Canterbury is pretty well-traveled.”

Jefferts Schori said the Episcopal Church also continues its decades-long debate on homosexuality. As Bishop of Nevada, she supported the Diocese of New Hampshire when it elected Gene Robinson — a gay man in a long-term relationship — as bishop.

Robertson ”is not the only gay-partnered bishop,” she said. ”He’s the only one who’s open about it.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Presiding Bishop

The Episcopal Bishop of Washington–A Christian case for same-sex marriage

In the 19th and 20th centuries, however, the relationship of the spouses assumed new importance, as the church came to understand that marriage was a profoundly spiritual relationship in which partners experienced, through mutual affection and self-sacrifice, the unconditional love of God.

The Episcopal Church’s 1979 Book of Common Prayer puts it this way: “We believe that the union of husband and wife, in heart, body and mind, is intended by God for their mutual joy; for the help and comfort given one another in prosperity and adversity; and, when it is God’s will, for the procreation of children and their nurture in the knowledge and love of the Lord.”

Our evolving understanding of what marriage is leads, of necessity, to a re-examination of who it is for. Most Christian denominations no longer teach that all sex acts must be open to the possibility of procreation, and therefore contraception is permitted. Nor do they hold that infertility precludes marriage. The church has deepened its understanding of the way in which faithful couples experience and embody the love of the creator for creation. In so doing, it has put itself in a position to consider whether same-sex couples should be allowed to marry.

Theologically, therefore, Christian support for same-sex marriage is not a dramatic break with tradition, but a recognition that the church’s understanding of marriage has changed dramatically over 2,000 years.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anthropology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Pastoral Theology, Sacramental Theology, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops, Theology

An ABC Nightline piece on what a Foreclosure Looks like for one Family

Watch it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Health & Medicine, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Marriage & Family

FT: Bernanke reassures markets on dollar

For the Fed chairman to comment on currencies at all is highly unusual. By convention, the US Treasury Secretary is the sole US official who talks about the dollar.

Mr Bernanke’s comments came amid growing international unease about the weakness in the dollar, the global reserve currency, which forms a backdrop to President Barack Obama’s tour of Asia.

Liu Mingkang, China’s banking regulator, criticised the Fed at the weekend for fuelling the dollar carry trade in which investors borrow dollars at ultra-low interest rates and invest in higher-yielding assets abroad, creating the risk of new asset price bubbles.

The Fed chairman also indicated that the US central bank would not ignore the impact of rising commodity prices when evaluating the outlook for inflation. He said he would not rule out using interest rates to combat new asset price bubbles, even though he did not see obvious mispricing in the US at this stage.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Federal Reserve, Globalization, The U.S. Government, The United States Currency (Dollar etc)

New York Governor Criticizes Choice to Put Alleged 9/11Planners on Trial in new York

Gov. David Paterson openly criticized the White House on Monday, saying he thought it was a terrible idea to move alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other suspected terrorists to New York for trial.

“This is not a decision that I would have made. I think terrorism isn’t just attack, it’s anxiety and I think you feel the anxiety and frustration of New Yorkers who took the bullet for the rest of the country,” he said.

Paterson’s comments break with Democrats, who generally support the President’s decision.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Law & Legal Issues, Terrorism

Pope Benedict XVI's Address to the World Food Summit

Hunger is the most cruel and concrete sign of poverty. Opulence and waste are no longer acceptable when the tragedy of hunger is assuming ever greater proportions. Mr President, Ladies and Gentlemen, the Catholic Church will always be concerned for efforts to defeat hunger; the Church is committed to support, by word and deed, the action taken in solidarity ”“ planned, responsible and regulated ”“ to which all members of the international community are called to contribute. The Church does not wish to interfere in political decisions: she respects the knowledge gained through scientific study, and decisions arrived at through reason responsibly enlightened by authentically human values, and she supports the effort to eliminate hunger. This is the most immediate and concrete sign of solidarity inspired by charity, and it brooks neither delay nor compromise. Such solidarity relies on technology, laws and institutions to meet the aspirations of individuals, communities and entire peoples, yet it must not exclude the religious dimension, with all the spiritual energy that it brings, and its promotion of the human person. Acknowledgment of the transcendental worth of every man and every woman is still the first step towards the conversion of heart that underpins the commitment to eradicate deprivation, hunger and poverty in all their forms.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Globalization, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Poverty, Roman Catholic

National Catholic Register: Cardinal Kasper on 'Anglicanorum Coetibus'

He added: The Church must examine “case by case” who these people are. “You cannot only be a Catholic because you are in disagreement with the choices of your own confession; how it’s not sufficient to just sign the Catechism of the Catholic Church, even if it is a meaningful choice. That’s why I want to reiterate: You must look at this on a case-by-case basis and not generalize.”

The cardinal predicted it will not be an easy decision for Anglican bishops and pastors to make also from the standpoint of social position. Among the practical issues to be addressed, Cardinal Kasper pointed to “concern among some Anglican bishops and pastors about sharing their dioceses: one part that enters into the Catholic Church and another that remains Anglican. How to manage a separation like that? And then church buildings: Who do they belong to? Who determines if a building is owned by the state or municipality or the community, if it’s Catholic or Anglican?”

Concerning the Traditional Anglican Communion, Cardinal Kasper said: “Nearly two years ago, their representatives asked to be incorporated into the Catholic Church. But they have not taken part in the talks. Now, however, they’re getting on board a train that is already in progress. Okay, if they are sincere, then the doors are open. But we do not close our eyes to the fact that since 1992 they have not been in communion with Canterbury. “ He added: “We must respect conscience and freedom of conscience. Conversion, then, is a personal matter: There is the freedom of grace, the freedom of human decision.”

On the sensitive issue of priestly celibacy, for Cardinal Kasper, there are no points to be clarified, as there is no change in the discipline of the Church.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

CNS: Cardinal Kasper says provision for Anglicans is not anti-ecumenical

The establishment of special structures for Anglicans who want to enter into full communion with the Roman Catholic Church absolutely is not a signal of the end of ecumenical dialogue with the Anglican Communion, said the Vatican’s chief ecumenist.

Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, said the visit Nov. 19-22 of Archbishop Rowan Williams of Canterbury, primate of the Anglican Communion, to the Vatican “demonstrates that there has been no rupture and reaffirms our common desire to talk to one another at a historically important moment.”

Archbishop Williams was scheduled to speak at a conference sponsored by Cardinal Kasper’s office and to meet privately Nov. 21 with Pope Benedict.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Ecumenical Relations, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

Michael Brown: No room for compromise in the Anglicans' divided flock

THE Church of England was born in compromise. Or so it says in the preface to the 1662 Book of Common Prayer. Its ability to compromise is its “wisdom”, say the preface’s compilers.
But where is that wisdom now? Has it fled through the stained glass windows?

It emerged this weekend that the Church of England’s traditionalist clergy and lay people have been snubbed after a compromise ”“ that word again ”“ deal over women bishops was jettisoned.

Anglo-Catholics and evangelicals had hoped and earnestly prayed that the Church would agree to appoint male bishops to oversee them. But it has now become sadly, possibly even tragically, clear that a body looking at the females in mitres proposals ”“ the Revision Committee of the General Synod, the Church’s parliament ”“ has failed to back the idea.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Women