Daily Archives: November 28, 2009

N.J. Catholic bishops instructing priests to read, distribute letter denouncing same-sex marriage

Catholic bishops in the state are instructing priests to read or distribute a letter this weekend asking Catholics to pray that lawmakers in New Jersey not allow same-sex marriage in New Jersey.

It remains unclear whether legislators will vote on the issue during the current lame-duck session. Gov. John Corzine favors same-sex marriage, but Gov.-elect Chris Christie opposes it, and supporters realize that unless it passes before Christie assumes office, prospects of passage in the foreseeable future would be bleak.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Sexuality

A Las Vegas Review-Journal Editorial: Tax, tax, tax some more

Reps. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., and Ed Perlmutter, D-Colo., are drafting a bill that would slap a 0.25 percent tax on the sale and purchase of financial instruments such as stocks and securities. They estimate it would add about $150 billion a year to the Treasury. They call this crazy idea the “Let Wall Street Pay for the Restoration of Main Street Act of 2009.”

In the Democrats’ world, Wall Street financiers exist in a bubble, where their considerable assets never escape to circulate in the broader economy. In reality, Wall Street props up Main Street every day by allowing investors to back promising ventures and well-run companies — voluntarily.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Stock Market, Taxes

CEN: Anglican Church of Uganda mulls new law

The Church of Uganda has come under fire from gay activists in the UK for failing to speak out against a proposed law that would toughen the East African nation’s sodomy laws.

However the furore in church circles over the “Anti-Homosexuality Bill” speaks more to the rift between the African and Western Anglicans than to the politics of the proposed legislation. The campaign mounted in the West to defeat the bill will likely change few minds in Uganda, while the Church of Uganda’s response will likely been seen in Britain as moral cowardice in the face of injustice.

One senior Ugandan cleric told The Church of England Newspaper, “The Church of Uganda is not passive about current issues, but we have chosen not to be publicly confrontational. People will work behind the scenes to influence current events and discuss issues with the players rather than go to the newspapers. For example, you will never know when the Archbishop meets with the President. This is the way we Ugandans do things, which is different from the West.”

Read it carefully and read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Church of Uganda, England / UK, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture

Serenity Prayer Skeptic Now Credits Niebuhr

A Yale librarian who cast doubt last year on the origins of the Serenity Prayer, adopted by Alcoholics Anonymous and reprinted on countless knickknacks, says new evidence has persuaded him to retain the famed Protestant theologian Reinhold Niebuhr as the author in the next edition of The Yale Book of Quotations.

The provenance of the prayer, which begins, “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,” became a subject of controversy last year with the publication of an article by the librarian, Fred R. Shapiro, who is also the editor of the book of quotations. Mr. Shapiro had found archival materials that led him to express doubt that Niebuhr was the author.

But now another researcher trawling the Internet has discovered evidence that attributes the prayer to Niebuhr. The researcher, Stephen Goranson, works in the circulation department at the Duke University library, has a doctorate from Duke in the history of religion and, as a sideline, searches for the origins of words and sayings and publishes his findings in etymology journals. This month he found a Christian student newsletter written in 1937 that cites Niebuhr as the prayer’s author.

The prayer in the newsletter is slightly different from the contemporary one often printed on mugs and wall plaques. It reads, “Father, give us courage to change what must be altered, serenity to accept what cannot be helped, and the insight to know the one from the other.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Blogging & the Internet, Church History, Education, Spirituality/Prayer

Ephraim Radner responds to Bishop John Chane: Misreading History

Given the high profile of the [Washington] Post, and Bishop [of Washington John] Chane’s standing as a bishop of a prominent (if recently beleaguered) Christian body, one should probably take his remarks seriously. Alas, as a short history his remarks cannot be taken seriously at all, but amount to a tissue of popular myths, used to promote a tired and unfounded historical perspective whose application now has a track record of political intolerance.

Bishop Chane first argues that traditionalists are inconsistent ”” maybe even hypocritical? ”” because Jesus was against divorce and traditionalists are not “demanding that the city council make divorce illegal.” Of course, Jesus did not proclaim all divorce wrong (cf. Matt. 9:9).More important, by begging his own question here ”” just what is the status of divorce, then? ”” Bishop Chane undercuts his case: the state’s accommodation of divorce has indeed encouraged and even created turmoil in social relations. If anything the failures of church and wider culture in this area are actually a good argument for restraint on further social confusion.

Second, Bishop Chane says that traditionalists are inconsistent in their defense of the centrality of heterosexual marriage because, after all, Paul thought marriage inferior to the celibate life. But, of course, the apostle Paul’s teaching does not claim that marriage is an inferior state, but rather that it is often an impractical one in comparison with celibacy. Bishop Chane’s disingenuous assumption that traditionalists ought to apply Paul’s teaching to all of human life was certainly not shared by other writers in the New Testament (or by Jesus), and such an attitude made only partial inroads into the Church’s practical life some centuries later. Most Christians, including Christian priests even in the Middle Ages, understood Paul’s teaching within a larger theological reading of the Scriptures that included a created sexual difference, the blessing of procreation, and the social responsibilities of church and state to nurture families. Within this reading, celibacy is a great gift, and an evangelical vocation for some, and it remains so.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Church History, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, Theology

J. Todd Billings: The Problem with Mere Christianity-Jettisoning 'nonessential' theology is bad

The phrase mere Christianity can be misleading, suggesting we can act independently of traditions that guide our interpretations of the Bible. It’s quite American to position ourselves above tradition, Sometimes even denominational churches do this by hiding their theological distinctives, thinking they will narrow the pool of potential parishioners. If you take Presbyterian out of the church name and avoid teaching about predestination and the sacraments, more people will come, right?

A friend of mine has a daughter-in-law who attends a large nondenominational church. My friend sent her the Heidelberg Catechism to introduce her to his Reformed theological tradition. Her response surprised him. She wrote back saying that her nondenominational church uses the Heidelberg Catechism all the time. It is one of her church’s key resources for educating people in the faith. Consider the irony: While many Reformed churches push their own catechism to the side, this large nondenominational church discovers the same catechism to be a profound tool for teaching the Christian faith. Still, both churches illustrate problems with mere Christianity.

One church claims to be nondenominational instead of naming its tradition. The other fails to uphold its explicitly named tradition.

Read the whole article.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Theology

The Anglican Church of Kenya faults the Government over Mau evictions

The Anglican Church has faulted the government’s Mau Forest Eviction programme saying so far it has been inhumane.

ACK Archbishop Eliud Wabukala said the government had a duty to ensure that the evictees’ basic rights were not abused in the process of restoring the water tower.

“We recognize that the government has duty to protect the environment. To this end the intention to reverse the destruction of Mau complex is noble. However it is grossly inhuman that people removed from the water tower are left to live on road sides. Such people should be given alternative settlements as soon as possible to reduce their suffering,” he observed.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anglican Church of Kenya, Anglican Provinces, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Theology

Bari Weiss: Discovering Jewish Music

So how does this religious nonbeliever practice his Judaism? By highlighting an overlooked aspect of Jewish culture. Together with his wife, Robyn, Mr. [Charles] Krauthammer runs Pro Musica Hebraica, a concert series they launched last year to change the common view that “Jewish music” is hava nagila, liturgical music, klezmer and not much else. Earlier this month, Pro Musica Hebraica presented its fourth concert at the Kennedy Center in Washington.

There is a rich tradition of Jewish classical music, though it is largely unknown even within the Jewish community. For Pro Musica Hebraica, such music is not defined strictly by the composer’s ethnicity. It must simply be “self-consciously Jewish”””by drawing on Jewish folk music, Hebrew texts or Jewish themes. Pro Musica Hebraica is an attempt to recover a tradition, Mr. Krauthammer says, and to encourage audiences to judge whether it might be worthy of “a place in the Western canon.”

Last year, the series focused on 20th-century Russian music, specifically on the St. Petersburg School, the Jewish students of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (1844-1908). As nationalism rose across Europe, Rimsky-Korsakov challenged his Jewish students to create a Jewish national music of their own. They responded, Mr. Krauthammer notes, by sending “ethnographic expeditions to shtetls, where they wrote down and recorded””their wax recordings still exist in the St. Petersburg library””synagogue and folk music of the time.”

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Canada, Judaism, Music, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

(London) Times: Church of England set to lose a tenth of its clergy in five years

The Church of England is facing the loss of as many as one in ten paid clergy in the next five years and internal documents seen by The Times admit that the traditional model of a vicar in every parish is over.

The credit crunch and a pension funding crisis have left dioceses facing massive restructuring programmes. Church statistics show that between 2000 and 2013 stipendiary or paid clergy numbers will have fallen by nearly a quarter.

According to figures on the Church of England website, there will be an 8.3 per cent decrease in paid clergy in the next four years, from 8,400 this year to 7,700 in to 2013. This represents a 22.5 per cent decrease since 2000.

Read it all.

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

ENS: Executive Council members call for special meeting on Uganda legislation

Read it all.

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

Surgery for Mental Ills Offers Both Hope and Risk

Caught this one through the paper edition that I get through the mail–a long searching piece which is a good illustration of the sheer agony of sustained mental illness. Money line (for me):

Leonard is still struggling, for reasons no one understands. He keeps odd hours, working through most nights and sleeping much of the day. He is not unhappy, he said, but he has the same aversion to washing and still lives like a hermit.

“I still don’t know why I’m like this, and I would still try anything that could help,” he said. “But at this point, obviously, I’m skeptical of the efficacy of surgery, at least for me.”

Read it all–KSH.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Health & Medicine, Mental Illness, Psychology

How to Try the New Google Search

Check it out.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Blogging & the Internet

Canadian House of Bishops issues statement on one of Uganda's proposed bills

(ACC News) The Anglican Church of Canada’s House of Bishops has issued this statement regarding the proposed Private Member’s Bill in Uganda called “The Anti-Homosexuality Bill”:

The House of Bishops of the Anglican Church of Canada, along with the Conference of Bishops of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, express our dismay and concern over the draft proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill currently before the Parliament of Uganda.

The proposed Bill would severely restrict the human rights of Ugandan citizens both at home and abroad by infringing freedom of speech, peaceful assembly, freedom of organization, and legitimate advocacy of civil rights. It would impose excessive and cruel penalties on persons who experience same-sex attraction as well as those who counsel, support, and advise them, including family members and clergy.

We, the House of Bishops of the Anglican Church of Canada, affirm that our baptismal covenant requires us to “respect the dignity of every human being” and to “seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving our neighbour as ourselves.” We further note that 1998 Lambeth Conference Resolution 1:10 called upon all bishops to reject the irrational fear of homosexual persons and to create opportunities to listen to the voice and experience of homosexual Christians. We recall that the Primates Meeting in Dromantine, Ireland 2005 condemned all persecution and violence towards homosexual persons. Clearly, the proposed Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Bill fails to meet these standards.

We therefore call upon our colleagues in the House of Bishops of the Province of Uganda to oppose this Private Member’s Bill. Together with our colleagues in the Conference of Bishops of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, we call upon our own Government of Canada, through the Minister of Foreign Affairs, to convey to the Government of Uganda a deep sense of alarm about this fundamental violation of human rights and, through diplomatic channels, to press for its withdrawal.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Church of Uganda, Law & Legal Issues

Catholic Herald: Bishops prepare to receive Anglicans

The bishops of England and Wales have set up a commission to prepare the ground for an exodus of possibly thousands of disaffected Anglicans into the Catholic Church.

The move was announced in London as Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, protested in person to the Pope over the way the Vatican announced plans to receive Anglican converts en masse.

Read it all.

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

Tiger Woods Injured In Crash Outside Home

I was very sorry to read this upon returning from an afternoon run.

Update: a little more there.

Another update: “The agent for Tiger Woods has told USA TODAY that the golf superstar is fine after crashing his vehicle near outside his Florida home early Friday.”

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Sports