Daily Archives: January 7, 2010

Ruth Gledhill: Confidence in the Covenant?

In spite of all that I have written, it seems to me that schism in the Anglican Communion is not a fact. I would argue that it has not actually taken place. The Anglican Communion is still ”˜teetering on the brink’, still ”˜looking over the precipice’, but it hasn’t jumped. I base this conclusion – journalists are trained from the cradle to start not end stories with their conclusions – on all there is to base it on, the ”˜instruments’ of the Communion.

We are used to hearing about the ”˜music of the spheres’ but now there is a stranger song, the ”˜music of the schism’.

In spite of the boycott of one instrument of communion, the Lambeth Conference, by some provinces in 2008, the last two Primates’ meetings have been fully attended apart from absentees explicable for reasons other than those at the root of the present debate. The next meeting will be in 2011, so perhaps we won’t have formal schism until then. But even that might not count. The ultimate arbiter might have to be the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, himself one of the four instruments of unity.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Covenant, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Instruments of Unity

Neal Michell: Is the Anglican Covenant Non-Anglican?

On December 18, 2009, the long-awaited Anglican Covenant was sent to the Anglican Communion’s 38 provinces for formal consideration. The Joint Standing Committee of the Primates and the Anglican Consultative Council””now self-denominated as the “Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion” has now approved a revised Section Four.

The question on many people’s minds is, “Do we need a covenant?

Some have said that we do not. They complain, “It’s not Anglican!” What they mean, I believe, is that the whole notion of a covenant uniting and binding the whole Communion is contrary to classical Anglican ecclesiology. The argument goes something like this: the provinces of the Anglican Communion have always been independent and self-governing. Any attempt to impose a covenant that would aim to limit that independence and autonomy is simply contrary to the expansiveness and freedom of self-governance that has traditionally been characteristic of Anglicanism.

Ah, but is that a fair reading of our history? I believe not.

In this paper I will summarize the arguments in favor of calling the churches of the Anglican Communion to adopt a Covenant. Then I will address the argument that requiring the churches in the Communion to sign on to the Covenant is not in keeping with our tradition of how we order our common life as Anglicans. A fair reading of the history of the Anglican Communion will show that the aims of the proposed Covenant are in keeping with how the Communion has historically dealt with major disagreements.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, - Anglican: Commentary, Anglican Covenant, Church History, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Theology

BB from New Zealand Chimes in on the Covenant

(Please note that this response refers to the thread below on the blog on which there are currently over 50 comments. If you have not read that thread I would encourage you to do so–KSH)

This thread must be one of the best T19 has witnessed, IMHO. Thank you to the many participants: I have benefited greatly from the discussion – not least the rigour and candour of much of it. Even if I disagree with those who do not favour the Covenant Process …!

In my present little part of the Lord’s vineyard, we have a really intriguing situation developing. For New Zealand is not generally known for its conservative style Anglican ethos (ven if it does have a strong CMS history)!. Yet, as we face the run up to its General Synod in May this year, some lines are starting to be drawn which will determine our long term future, for better or ill.

The Anglican Church of Aotearoa New Zealand and Polynesia runs a quarterly national magazine called [i]Taonga[/i]. The name is Maori for “prized treasure”, a reference to the Gospel of the Kingdom of God in Christ Jesus. The latest Advent edition ran two articles on the Anglican Communion Covenant, one pro and one against. As with this Church’s official response to the RCD, it mostly wants a ‘bob-each-way’ – even as it tries to be fair in its debates! See http://www.anglicantaonga.org.nz/ and the third set of links beginning with “Dr Williams hails latest Covenant”.

I refer the T19 readership to these links especially since the article in favour reaffirms some of the stronger points made in this thread, while the one against – by a retired bishop please note – shows very starkly why the AC seriously needs such a mechanism as the Covenant, to arrest the dribbling into the sands of endless ideological pluralism. And it is clear to me at least the GS leadership has grasped this western ideological nettle very firmly, to refute it, as it seeks to bolster the Covenant Process to achieve an AC that still might be a vessel of worth in the Lord’s hands for the global mission of the Church in the 21st C. Enjoy!

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, Anglican Covenant, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Instruments of Unity, Windsor Report / Process

One Middle Class Neighborhood: Optimism Is Fresh Arrival in California Cul-de-Sac

Beginning last January, The New York Times made regular visits to Beth Court, about 60 miles east of downtown Los Angeles, to chronicle how the foreclosure crisis had reshaped a middle-class neighborhood. Four of the eight houses went through foreclosure, and the others barely escaped the same fate. Beth Court was a microcosm of a nation in deep recession, a block of neighbors whose bad choices ”” often with the complicity of lending agencies ”” came crashing into a global economic downturn.

Now, a year later, California’s unemployment rate continues to grow, its housing market remains depressed and the state’s fiscal situation is dire. But the economic and policy shifts that are slowly changing parts of the country are also making a mark here.

Mr. Winkler, a factory worker, was hired at the end of September by Kimberly-Clark at the company’s mill in Fullerton, about 50 miles from here. He had gone more than year without a job….

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Children, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Marriage & Family, Personal Finance, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Benedict XVI on the Feast of the Epiphany 2010

….the Magi listened to the prophecies and welcomed them and, no sooner were they on the way to Bethlehem, than they again saw the star, almost as a confirmation of the perfect harmony between human seeking and divine Truth, a harmony that filled the hearts of these genuine wise men with joy (cf. Matthew 2:10). The culmination of their search was when they found themselves before “the Child with Mary, his Mother” (Matthew 2:11).

The Gospel says that “prostrating themselves, they adored him.” They could have remained disappointed, even scandalized. Instead, as true wise men, they were open to the mystery manifested in a surprising way, and with their symbolic gifts, demonstrated that they recognized in Jesus the King and Son of God. Precisely in that gesture were fulfilled the messianic prophecies that proclaimed the homage of nations to the God of Israel.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Epiphany, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

U.S. Saw a Path to Qaeda Chiefs Before Bombing

Before detonating a suicide bomb in Afghanistan last week, a Jordanian militant was considered by American spy agencies to be the most promising informant in years about the whereabouts of Al Qaeda’s top leaders, including Ayman al-Zawahri, the terrorist group’s second-ranking operative.

American intelligence officials said Tuesday they had been so hopeful about what the Jordanian might deliver during a meeting with C.I.A. officials last Wednesday at a remote base in Khost that top officials at the agency and the White House had been informed that the gathering would take place.

Instead, the discovery that the man, Humam Khalil Abu-Mulal al-Balawi, also known as Humam Khalil Mohammed, was a double agent and the killing of seven C.I.A. operatives in the blast were major setbacks to a spy agency that has struggled to gather even the most ephemeral intelligence about the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden and Mr. Zawahri.

New details about the Khost attack emerged Tuesday as the Obama administration took steps to strengthen security measures after failing to detect a Christmas Day airline bombing plot. The two episodes illuminate the problems the United States still faces in understanding the intentions of Al Qaeda and its affiliates.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Globalization, Terrorism

Bishop Charles Jenkins retires after 12 years of leading Louisiana's (Eastern) Episcopalians

Locally and nationally, [Bishop Charles] Jenkins has described how the post-Katrina suffering of poor New Orleanians transformed his ministry and awakened him to the broad social and economic inequalities of life in New Orleans. But he has said the aftermath also left him medicated, prone to depression and frequently unable to focus on administration.

In the short term, Jenkins said in an interview this week, retirement will mean rest and diversion – building a new life with his wife, Louise, in rural St. Francisville, 100 miles north of New Orleans. Still a product of small-town north Louisiana, Jenkins has a new truck to enjoy. A new tractor is on order. He hopes to plant some trees and a garden.

And having rebuilt the Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana after Katrina to reflect his own radical conversion to social justice and racial reconciliation, illness or not, he said he hopes to stay involved in the work of Episcopal Community Services, the new social-justice arm of the diocese, “as much as is appropriate.”

But having said that, he also expressed a temporary desire to “recede into the mist; deep into the mist.”

If that sounds contradictory, so be it, Jenkins said. If Episcopalians traditionally value the “middle way,” Jenkins has raised it to an art. “I’m good at living in tension,” he said.

Read the whole article.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Hurricane Katrina, TEC Bishops

U.S. Postal Service to Honor Mother Teresa with 2010 Stamp

The U.S. Postal Service plans to honor Mother Teresa with a stamp this year in recognition of her humanitarian work.

The Nobel Peace Prize-winning nun who died in 1997 will join the late actress Katharine Hepburn, athletes of Negro Leagues Baseball and stars of cowboy movies as celebrities featured on stamps in 2010.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Economy, History, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, The U.S. Government

Telegraph: In England Snowed-in spouses 'turning to adultery'

Spouses forced to work from home in swathes of the country where snow has brought transport to a standstill are flocking online to search for new romances, according to [a] website …

The site, which provides a forum for married people looking to start affairs, says it has gained more than 2,500 new members over the past six days, the majority of whom are registering from the areas worst-hit by the extreme weather.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Blogging & the Internet, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Sexuality, Theology

Lord Carey calls for 'reasonable limit' on migration

Lord Carey of Clifton has called for a “reasonable limit” to be imposed on the number of migrants entering Britain.

The former Archbishop of Canterbury said he was not calling for a ban on non-Christian immigrants settling in Britain, but he warned that if concerns about immigration were not addressed it could play into the hands of the British National Party.

“What I think we must call for is an understanding on the part of those who come into our country that they are coming into one which values parliamentary democracy, which is built upon our Christian heritage. They have got to understand our commitment to the English language and espouse it, and they must understand our history,” he said in an interview with the Today programme on BBC Radio 4.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture

The Latest Issue of the Diocese of South Carolina's Newspaper is Available

Check it out.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Episcopal Church (TEC), Media

Mortgage foreclosures still swamping federal efforts to help

Banks and other lenders are still foreclosing on Americans’ homes at a rate that’s outpacing the Obama administration’s main effort to stem the crisis.

In fact, while the Treasury Department’s Home Affordable Modification Program, or HAMP, has started the mortgage modification process on almost 760,000 homeowners who are at risk of losing their homes, less than 5 percent of those workouts have become permanent, government data show.

“HAMP has made only limited progress for nine months now, and the residential foreclosure crisis continues to mount,” said Richard Neiman, the superintendent of banks in New York state and a member of the Congressional Oversight Panel that was formed to monitor the Treasury bank bailout funds that support the mortgage program. He was appointed to the post by the Democratic leadership in the House of Representatives.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market, The 2009 Obama Administration Housing Amelioration Plan, The U.S. Government

Mark Noll reviews Gordon Wood's Empire of Liberty

In… [Woods’ ]interpretation, developments in other spheres were, of course, not unimportant””economy, demography, gender, religion, disease, commerce, learning””but none of them are allowed to crowd out republican political ideology as the driving force. The problem with this unilinear rendering is not its presentation of political ideology but rather the all-encompassing role given to the extrapolation of political ideology for explaining social change. As one of the most important spheres to highlight strengths and weaknesses of this general interpretation, religion serves unusually well.[2]

At several places in Empire of Liberty, Wood describes religion in this period as being defined, driven, or caused by the expanding logic of Revolutionary liberty. Thus, “As American society became more democratic ”¦, middling people rose to dominance and brought their religiosity with them.” Or, in the baldest expression, “The Revolution released torrents of popular religiosity and passion into American life.”

Such statements are subtly misleading. As Daniel Walker Howe once pointed out, there was indeed a great surge of evangelical religion in the post-Revolutionary period, and that surge certainly did relate to Revolutionary events. But taken no further, the story is incomplete. The religious surge in the early republic, suggests Howe, resulted from a number of factors, not all of them political and not all of them rooted in the Revolution: “the Puritan/evangelical tradition did not simply adapt to, or borrow from, modernity and democracy; it actively helped form them. Individualism, voluntarism, and contractualism were features of the Puritan/evangelical religious tradition before they were taken over by the secular political philosophers of possessive individualism.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., History, Religion & Culture

From the Morning Scripture Readings

For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us. As a father pities his children, so the LORD pities those who fear him. For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust.

–Psalm 103:11-14

Posted in Uncategorized

Another Prayer for Epiphany

O God, who by a star didst guide the wise men to the worship of thy Son: Lead, we pray thee, to thyself the wise and the great in every land, that unto thee every knee may bow, and every thought be brought into captivity; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Epiphany, Spirituality/Prayer