Daily Archives: December 1, 2009

Bishop MacDonald: ”˜Catholicity Is At Stake’

The Rt. Rev. Mark MacDonald has questioned Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori’s assertion that he must renounce his orders as a bishop of the Episcopal Church because of his ministry in Canada.

The former Bishop of Alaska and Assistant Bishop of Navajoland now serves as the Anglican Church of Canada’s National Indigenous Bishop.

Bishop MacDonald told The Living Church he was “shocked and surprised” by the Presiding Bishop’s remarks on his ministry, adding that he has “written to her asking for clarification.”

“I am on loan to the Anglican Church of Canada under the PB’s supervision. I have an unofficial position, with no set authority or jurisdiction,” he said.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Presiding Bishop, TEC Bishops, TEC Polity & Canons, Theology

David Brooks: Clear, Hold and Duct Tape

In late 2006, Gen. David Petraeus and Gen. James F. Amos released a brilliant book with a thrilling title. It was called the “Army/Marine Corps Field Manual 3-24.” In its quiet way, this book helped overturn conventional wisdom on modern warfare and gave leaders a new way to see the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq.

It’s a mistake to think you can succeed in conflicts like these by defeating the enemy in battle, the manual said. Instead, these wars are better seen as political arguments for the loyalty of the population. Get villagers to work with you by offering them security. Provide services by building courts and schools and police. Over the long term, transfer authority to legitimate local governments.

This approach, called COIN, has reshaped military thinking, starting with the junior officers who developed it and then spreading simultaneously up and down the chain of command….

The administration seems to have spent the past few months trying to pare back the COIN strategy and adjust it to real world constraints….

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

The Archbishop of Canterbury's World AIDS Day Message 2009 "A space for hope"

You may also read more here.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Archbishop of Canterbury, Globalization, Health & Medicine

Diocese of Quebec on the brink, bishop warns

The Anglican diocese of Quebec is “teetering on the verge of extinction” as parish finances continue to collapse and the number of parishioners dwindles.

This doom-and-gloom message was delivered to the recent Canadian House of Bishops meeting here by Bishop Dennis Drainville, who declared that he could possibly be “the last bishop of Quebec.”

Bishop Drainville urged the House of Bishops to have a “new vision” and to look at how “old relationships and structures” can be changed to respond to the needs of the times….

Quebec will not be the only diocese to falter, he warned. “There will be many other dioceses that will fail.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces

Zenit–Anglican-Catholic Commission Enters New Phase

The third phase of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission will begin with the new year.

The decision to move into this new phase in 2010 follows the Nov. 21 meeting between Benedict XVI and the Anglican archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, a Vatican communiqué reported Saturday.

During that meeting, the religious leaders “reaffirmed their desire to strengthen ecumenical relations between Anglicans and Roman Catholics.”

On Nov. 23, there was a meeting of the committee responsible for preparing the third phase of this commission.

The communiqué explained that “this third phase will deal with fundamental questions regarding the Church as Communion Local and Universal, and how in communion the local and universal Church comes to discern right ethical teaching.”

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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

Richard Cohen on Same Sex marriage: A right to say 'I do'

No. 2 — the longest section of the [Manhattan] declaration — applies to same-sex marriage. It amounts to a confession of confusion, a cry by the perplexed who have come to think that same-sex marriage is at the core — the rotten core — of much that ails our society. Everything from divorce to promiscuity is addressed in this section without any acknowledgement that same-sex marriage, like all marriage, is a way of containing promiscuity (or at least of inducing guilt) and that not having it would not reduce promiscuity in the least. This I state as a fact.

The declaration calls the out-of-wedlock birth rate the “most telling and alarming indicator” of a collapse of the “marriage culture.” Yes. But that collapse occurred long before same-sex marriage became an issue, not to mention a reality, and so one has nothing to do with the other.

It remains true that the family is the single best place to raise children. That being the case, same-sex marriage would serve the same purpose. I know of children raised by same-sex partners and they seem no worse for the experience, although — O’Reilly beware — they lack a certain knee-jerk antipathy to gays, lesbians, transsexuals and similar people of dissimilar sexuality.

Some of the declaration is couched in religious terms, and with that I cannot argue. But it is its appeal to common sense that I find so appalling.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology

Robert Kalumba–Uganda: Is the Pope Treading On Thin Ice?

But what is the Pope offering disenchanted Anglican flock? Is it that “enticing”? The invitation to Catholicism for the Anglicans hasn’t yet been structured but there may be separate services held in Catholic churches. There may also be special prayer books and training centres but the chain of command will still lead to the Pope.

The migrant Anglicans may also have to accept all Roman Catholic doctrine and teachings and could use elements of Anglican tradition. However, this is the jewel in the Nile for most; married Anglican clergy can still be ordained as Roman Catholic Priests with a view to eventually providing pastoral care for other former Anglicans.

This is where the olive branch offered by the Pope becomes somewhat tainted. Celibacy is a requirement to join the Catholic priesthood and if so, won’t the ordainment of married Anglican clergy as Roman priests smack of opportunism by the Pope? Why tear up the rulebook to accommodate married Anglicans? Does that mean celibacy will in the future be a non entity for those wishing to be Roman priests? Are all Catholics happy with this cross fertilisation?

Read the whole article.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Anglican Provinces, Church of Uganda, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic, Uganda

Washington Post: Afghanistan Plan A test for the blocks needed to rebuild a nation

The revised strategy for Afghanistan that President Obama will announce Tuesday is expected to focus new resources on training Afghan security forces and shoring up the central government, an approach certain to revive a debate about the possibilities and the limits of nation-building.

From Somalia, Cambodia, East Timor and the Balkans in the 1990s to Iraq today, world powers have at best a mixed record when it comes to establishing functional, stable governments in countries devastated by war. The efforts have been long and costly, tangible results often hard to measure, and support for a prolonged involvement difficult to maintain.

Congressional leaders have already voiced deep skepticism about pouring billions more dollars into an American-led war that so far has shown little progress toward making Afghanistan self-sustaining.

“You can’t be half in and half out,” said Jonathan T. Howe, a retired Navy admiral who led an ill-fated U.N. reconstruction effort in Somalia in 1993.

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

Major cities at risk from rising sea level threat

Sea levels will rise by twice as much as previously predicted as a result of global warming, an important international study has concluded.

The Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) calculated that if temperatures continued to increase at the present rate, by 2100 the sea level would rise by up to 1.4 metres ”” twice that predicted two years ago.

Such a rise in sea levels would engulf island nations such as the Maldives in the Indian Ocean and Tuvalu in the Pacific, devastate coastal cities such as Calcutta and Dhaka and force London, New York and Shanghai to spend billions on flood defences.

Read the whole article.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Energy, Natural Resources, Science & Technology

House of Deputies president condemns proposed Uganda legislation

The pending Ugandan legislation that would imprison for life or execute people who violate that country’s anti-homosexuality laws would be a “terrible violation of the human rights of an already persecuted minority,” Episcopal Church House of Deputies President Bonnie Anderson has said.

Anderson was responding to a Nov. 16 request that Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, Archbishop Henri Orombi of Uganda and she speak out against the legislation. Anderson is the first to issue a statement.

Homosexuality in Uganda currently carries a penalty of up to 14 years imprisonment. If passed, the bill would extend prison sentences for homosexuals up to and including life imprisonment and introduce the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality,” which includes assault against people under the age of 18 and those with disabilities.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Anglican Provinces, Church of Uganda, Episcopal Church (TEC), House of Deputies President, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture, Uganda

Mark Simpson on Horace Boyer–Remembering A Gospel Singer And Scholar

Horace Clarence Boyer had a profound impact on gospel music over the past 50 years. He rose to fame in the late 1950s as one half of the Boyer Brothers. He later embarked on an equally important career in music education, becoming one of the first scholars to formally study African-American sacred music.

Boyer died in July at age 74. This month, teachers, students and fans honored him at a memorial service in Central Florida.

The Boyer Brothers hit the road before they were even teenagers. But James Boyer says that their father, a pastor, set some ground rules.

“As little brothers will do, you fight. And my father didn’t want us to fight each other,” James Boyer says. “So he gave us an ultimatum when we were 10 and 11. He said, ‘You cannot go anywhere to sing until you stop fighting a year.’ That was the longest year of my life, and after that, I never hit him again.”

Read the whole thing or listen to it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Liturgy, Music, Worship, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture

CSM: Swiss minaret ban reflects European fear of Islam

The Swiss vote…[recently] to ban the construction of minarets in their alpine country is rippling across Europe. The vote reflects a fear that some of the oldest Christian societies are becoming Islamicized, but is at odds with efforts to integrate the continent’s roughly 20 million Muslims.

Churches and mainstream political parties urged the Swiss to turn down the proposal, brought by the rightist Swiss People’s Party (SVP). But 57 percent of voters in Sunday’s referendum defied expectations that they would allow a new kind of religious symbol ”“ the tall, slender tower attached to a mosque ”“ to increasingly punctuate Europe’s skyline where steeples once reigned.

For those voters, says religion researcher Jean-François Mayer, minarets are a symbol of Islam and its potential rise in influence ”“ an issue around which many different concerns can crystallize, not just in Switzerland but across Europe. Using a tool not available in other countries, the referendum, Swiss voters sent a clear message.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Europe, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Switzerland

Washington Post–A muscular, die-hard spirituality

For years, Ken Uptegrove thought that another Great Depression was at hand.

Uptegrove, a computer professional in Springdale, Ark., started a garden and researched ways to live more simply. He studied the lives of early Christians, and he launched a ministry and a Web site, which he and his wife use to share their beliefs with about 100 visitors a day.

Ideally, one day they’ll move with other self-sufficient Christians — the Uptegroves do not call themselves survivalists — to a remote area where they can raise their own food and be ready should things get any worse.

Inherent in this way of life is the Christian ideal of neighborliness, Uptegrove said. Surviving is not about saving yourself alone, but about coming through disaster with enough strength to help your neighbors, too.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Religion & Culture, Spirituality/Prayer

Politico: Some Democrats sour on stock transaction tax

Three House Democrats are ripping a proposed tax on stock transactions, even as the idea gains traction among Democrats desperate to fund jobs creation….

“Proponents of a transaction tax argue that a small 0.25 percent tax on stocks would be paid for by the highly paid financial traders and would not affect most Americans. This is simply not true. A tax on stock transactions would affect every single person who owns and invests in stocks from small business owners to senior citizens,” the letter said.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, House of Representatives, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Politics in General, Senate, Stock Market, Taxes, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Thomas Friedman–America vs. The Narrative

What is scary [about the story of Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan] is that even though he was born, raised and educated in America, The Narrative still got to him.

The Narrative is the cocktail of half-truths, propaganda and outright lies about America that have taken hold in the Arab-Muslim world since 9/11. Propagated by jihadist Web sites, mosque preachers, Arab intellectuals, satellite news stations and books ”” and tacitly endorsed by some Arab regimes ”” this narrative posits that America has declared war on Islam, as part of a grand “American-Crusader-Zionist conspiracy” to keep Muslims down.

Yes, after two decades in which U.S. foreign policy has been largely dedicated to rescuing Muslims or trying to help free them from tyranny ”” in Bosnia, Darfur, Kuwait, Somalia, Lebanon, Kurdistan, post-earthquake Pakistan, post-tsunami Indonesia, Iraq and Afghanistan ”” a narrative that says America is dedicated to keeping Muslims down is thriving.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Defense, National Security, Military, Foreign Relations, Islam, Middle East, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Terrorism