Daily Archives: November 20, 2009

Amy Henry–Idle Hands: Some Puritan Advice for the Unemployed

Reformer and forefather of much Puritan theology, Martin Luther, in his doctrine of vocation, taught that God gave each individual an occupational “calling.” Man’s vocation was not seen as impersonal and random, but as from a loving and personal God who bestowed each individual with natural talents and desires for a particular occupation. This thought further deepened the Puritan’s sense of purposefulness, fortifying him in difficult times.

Much like modern work is separated into white and blue collar, 17th-century tradition held that sacred occupations (like priest or monk) trumped secular ones (like farming or blacksmithing). The Puritans, however, rejected such a distinction. Holding to “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might” (Ecclesiastes 9:10), the Puritans sanctified the common, believing that all work, however lowly, if done for the glory of God, was good. Christ Himself “was not ashamed to labor; yea, and to use so simple an occupation,” said Puritan Hugh Latimer. The farmer’s plow became his altar, his tilling an act of service to God every bit as holy and valuable as the priest’s, reminding the unemployed that temporarily taking a step down in pay or status does not equate to failure.
Long before the days of therapists and career coaches, the Puritans learned how to cope with depression. They scorned idleness, believing it was indeed the devil’s workshop, bogging down the body in inertia, and leading to brooding. Luther had promoted the opposite, a life of diligence, saying “God . . . does not want me to sit at home, to loaf, to commit matters to God, and to wait till a fried chicken flies into my mouth.” Long before endorphins were discovered, the Puritans knew that moving and tiring the body in manual labor (even if that labor is the unpaid kind that paints the house and organizes the garage) proved a talisman against a host of mental ills.

Contrary to the misconstrued Victorian concept of ‘Puritanism,’ an idea C.S. Lewis calls “the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy,” the original Puritans, serious as they were, embraced not only hard work, but the pursuit of joy.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Economics, Politics, Church History, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Pastoral Theology, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, Theology

David Walker on CNBC this morning on the American Budget, our Government and our Future

Take the time to watch it all–he is one of the real heroes of our time.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --The 2009 American Health Care Reform Debate, Budget, Economy, Health & Medicine, House of Representatives, Politics in General, Senate, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government

RNS: Lutheran ReassertersSay New Church Body in the Works

Conservative Lutherans have been distressed since the ELCA’s Churchwide Assembly voted in August to allow gays and lesbians in committed, same-sex relationships to be ordained as clergy. The assembly also voted to allow congregations to recognize and support such relationships.

“The vote on sexuality opened the eyes of many to how far the ELCA has moved from biblical teaching,” the Rev. Paull Spring, CORE’s chair, said in a statement Wednesday.

ELCA spokesman John Brooks said CORE’s announcement was expected. “We are staying focused on our clear priorities and clear mission. More than 10,000 congregations that want to be part of that mission.”

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Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Lutheran, Other Churches, Sexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths)

Bishop of Lincoln backs move to restrict DNA database

A move to severely restrict the number of people whose details are held on the national DNA database has been supported by the Anglican Bishop of Lincoln.

Bishop John Saxbee said the move could help to end a “culture of growing mistrust”.

Tory and Liberal Democrat peers made an attempt in the House of Lords to cut down on the number of innocent people whose profiles are kept on the database. The Government is currently considering its position after the European Court of Human Rights ruled last year that keeping samples from all suspects, whether charged or not, was “blanket and indiscriminate”.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ethics / Moral Theology, Life Ethics, Science & Technology, Theology

RNS: Anglican Leader, in Rome, Optimistic on Ecumenical Strains

[Rowan] Williams downplayed the significance of the Vatican plan, which he called an “imaginative pastoral response to the needs of some” that “does not break any fresh ecclesiological ground.”

A new Catholic diocese for former Anglicans, he suggested, is more likely to resemble a mere “chaplaincy” than a full-fledged “church gathered around a bishop.”

Williams will meet with Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican on Saturday (Nov. 21), on the second-to-last day of a five-day visit to Rome, which has included meetings with various Vatican officials.

Apart from Thursday’s lecture, the archbishop’s only scheduled public appearance here will be at an interdenominational prayer service at a Rome church on Friday (Nov. 20), at which Williams will be the designated preacher.

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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

NPR–Black Males Hit Extra Hard By Unemployment

The country’s spiraling unemployment rate is taking a particular toll on men as the recession continues to roil male-dominated industries, such as manufacturing and construction.

This “he-cession,” as it’s sometimes called, has hit African-American men especially hard, increasing their unemployment rate to more than 17 percent last month.

One of those unemployed black men searching for work is Randolph Smith. When Smith, 53, is working, he manages logistics, inventory and supplies for large companies. He’s been trying to find that type of work since he was laid off a year ago ”” but so far, he’s had no success.

Read or listen to it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Men, Race/Race Relations

Last Night's NBC Evening News Leads with: Anger over the Economy

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

Watch it all–those of us in parish ministry need to be sensitive to these dynamics and to seek to allow these sentiments to be channeled in constructive and creative ways–KSH.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Economy, Psychology, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The U.S. Government, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner

National Catholic Register: Constitution for Anglican Converts Released

Speaking to the Register Nov. 10, Father Christopher Phillips, pastor of the first Pastoral Provision parish, Our Lady of the Atonement in San Antonio, said he is waiting to see what might happen when the Church establishes the first ordinariate. “It seems as though the Pastoral Provision has done its job,” he said, adding that it “wouldn’t seem logical for the Pastoral Provision to continue” within these new international structures.

He said everyone in his parish was “very excited” about the papal decree, and that they had been “working for this and waiting for this for an awfully long time.” But he stressed his parish has had a very good relationship with the diocesan bishop and that relationship will go on once his parish becomes part of an ordinariate. “We want to make sure it goes on,” he said. “It’s written into the constitution that there has to be constant cooperation.”

Our Lady of the Atonement has grown rapidly since its humble beginnings in the early 1980s. Starting with just 18 worshippers, it now has 500 families and a thriving school.

Father Phillips sees even more promise with the ordinariates because they won’t be left to the whim of a local bishop, as Anglican-use parishes are currently.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Episcopal Church (TEC), Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

The Tablet Talks with Archbishop of Westminster Vincent Nichols

According to Nichols, there was not much consultation at all by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith about its plans for the Anglicans. “It is a difficult thing to do and opening it up to public consultation would have made it public, ” he said. He and Williams had known about the initiative for a couple of weeks before the announcement in October. “He very quickly agreed that he would announce it with me. We talked about the way the announcement would be used to create divisions and so we should do it together.”

But could the Anglicans wanting to become Catholics not be received in the usual way, as individuals? Nichols is clear that they will have to be received as individuals, even if an entire church congregation crosses over to Rome together. “It’s not ”˜all put your hands up and you’re in’. Faith is both an individual experience and a corporate experience. Each individual will have to go through a process of formation and reception. People who come in are Catholics ”“ full stop.”

But it seems that the Archbishop is struggling, like so many others, with what exactly this overture means. “The Pope wants to give expression and space to the fruit and character of Anglican patrimony. It is quite difficult to know what that means, especially in this country ”“ perhaps it is clearer elsewhere. But Anglican patrimony is an historical inheritance.”

The press conference that Nichols held did not just involve the Archbishop of Canterbury in his capacity in the Church of England; Williams is also the primate of the worldwide Anglican Communion. So the situation in England and Wales is more complicated isn’t it, with Williams kept out of the loop?

“The leader of the Anglican Communion is here and that is a difficulty. While approaches had been made to the Holy See, I don’t think that had been conveyed to the Archbishop of Canterbury,” he said, intimating that it was the Anglicans interested in crossing to Rome who should have kept Canterbury informed.

Read the whole thing.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

Guardian: Rowan Williams urges Rome to rethink position on female bishops

The archbishop of Canterbury today pleaded with Roman Catholics to set aside their differences with Anglicans over the issue of female bishops, insisting there was more uniting the denominations than dividing them.

Rowan Williams was giving a lecture in Rome before Saturday’s meeting with the pope, their first encounter since the Vatican’s surprise announcement of a special institution for traditionalist Anglicans wanting to convert to Catholicism.

In his address at the Gregorian University, Williams said the Anglican communion was proof that churches could stay together in spite of their differences.

The communion has teetered on the edge of schism for nearly a decade over the issue of gay clergy but has retained a sliver of fellowship. Williams urged Roman Catholics to continue their 35-year dialogue with Anglicans in spite of theological and ideological divisions.

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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

CNS: Outreach to former Anglicans not model of ecumenism, Archbishop says

Calling Pope Benedict XVI’s arrangement for Anglicans wanting to become Roman Catholics “the elephant in the room,” the spiritual head of the Anglican Communion said the pope’s move was nothing groundbreaking from an ecumenical viewpoint.

Anglican Archbishop Rowan Williams of Canterbury spoke Nov. 19 at Rome’s Pontifical Gregorian University at a conference marking the 100th anniversary of the birth of the late Cardinal Johannes Willebrands, a pioneer in Catholic ecumenism.

While the archbishop’s address focused on efforts over the last 40 years by the Roman Catholic Church and Anglican Communion to promote full unity, he said he obviously had to mention Pope Benedict’s apostolic constitution establishing “personal ordinariates” — structures similar to dioceses — for Anglicans wanting to enter into full communion with the Roman Catholic Church.

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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

Living Church: Archbishop Presses Ecumenical Questions in Rome

The Archbishop of Canterbury asked on Thursday whether the differences between Roman Catholicism and Anglicanism are sufficient to prevent Rome’s deeper recognition of Anglican orders.

The Most Rev. Rowan Williams spoke at the Gregorian University at a conference in honor of the late ecumenical leader Johannes Cardinal Willebrands. The archbishop’s office has released a text of his remarks.

The “ecumenical glass is genuinely half-full,” the archbishop said. “For many of us who are not Roman Catholics, the question we want to put, in a grateful and fraternal spirit, is whether this unfinished business is as fundamentally church-dividing as our Roman Catholic friends generally assume and maintain.”

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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

Reuters: Anglican head challenges Vatican over women clergy

Roman Catholics should look beyond the divisive issue of ordaining women to see how much they share with the world’s Anglicans and work toward greater Christian unity, the head of the Anglican Communion said on Thursday.

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, whose own church is split over female priests and bishops, said the Vatican’s ban on ordaining women was not as solidly grounded theologically as the core Christian doctrines the two denominations agree on.

His speech at a pontifical university in Rome came a month after Pope Benedict invited alienated Anglicans to join the Catholic Church, a move some Anglicans criticized as a bid to woo away those opposed to women bishops.

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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

Cardinal Kasper Speaks to reporters after Archbishop Rowan Williams' Speech

Listen to it all (Hat tip: Ruth Gledhill).

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

In Fort Worth Parishes file Plea in Intervention

Forty seven parishes and missions of the diocese have filed a Plea in Intervention in the lawsuit against the diocese that is currently before the 141st District Court. Collectively, the 47 churches are termed the “Intervening Congregations.”

The plea asks the court to acknowledge through a declaratory judgment that, “in accordance with the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth, the title to the real property being occupied and subject to the control of Intervening Congregations is held by the Corporation of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth in trust for the use and benefit of each Intervening Congregation” and that this trust relationship is superior to any other claims.

Read it all and check the pdf linked at the bottom also.

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