Daily Archives: February 8, 2010

Lake Lambert III: God goes to the office

Jesus instructed his followers not to serve both God and mammon. Buddha taught his followers to abandon all earthly attachments. But in the past few years, a new workplace spirituality movement has proclaimed the exact opposite and seeks to transform capitalism away from narrow materialism. Many wonder whether it will work, but the better question is whether we want our work to be holistic and all-consuming.

According to the workplace spirituality movement, creativity at work is a spiritual process that involves the whole person and not just the intellect or manual skill, and the new class of knowledge workers is devoting more of their time to work because they find deep meaning and a sense of purpose on the job. Today, clergy from various traditions serve as corporate chaplains, and the new faces of spiritual leadership are organizational development consultants who lead employees through creativity-enhancing spiritual practices. Overall, the contemporary workplace is regarded as a community, open to spirituality in the same way that it is hospitable to friendship and love.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Religion & Culture

Crew of 9 at Episcopal Church Center abruptly fired; now they need a miracle

They worked for years cleaning and maintaining the Episcopal Church Center in midtown Manhattan. But after they were fired on Dec. 30, nine hard-working people are in desperate need of divine intervention.

“We came to work on Dec. 30 as every day, hoping to leave a little earlier to celebrate the new year,” said Bronx native Héctor Miranda, a father of three. “But when we got to the building we were told that we no longer worked there. Just like that. They picked the date well to fire us.”

Now, without the means to support his family, Miranda has no idea how he will pay the rent.

“Even worse,” he said, “without health coverage I don’t know how I am going to pay for my wife’s treatment. She is a diabetic, you know.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Pastoral Theology, Theology

Church of England disinvests from Vedanta Resources plc

The Church Commissioners and the Church of England Pensions Board have sold their shares in Vedanta Resources plc on the advice of the Church’s Ethical Investment Advisory Group (EIAG). As a result, none of the three national investing bodies of the Church of England hold shares in the company.

The EIAG advised disinvestment because its engagement with the company had produced no substantive results and the EIAG believed that it would be inconsistent with the Church investing bodies’ joint ethical investment policy to remain invested given the EIAG’s concerns about the company’s approach to relations with the communities where it operates.

Allegations about Vedanta’s alumina refinery in Lanjigarh, Orissa, and planned bauxite mine in the nearby Niyamgiri hills came to the EIAG’s attention in June 2009. The EIAG has been examining the issues carefully since and has discussed them in a process of engagement with the company. The EIAG Secretary paid a visit to India in November 2009 to see the refinery and mine site at first hand.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Asia, Church of England (CoE), Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, India, Stock Market, Theology

Times Picayune–The New Orleans Saints win the Super Bowl

Saints quarterback Drew Brees was 32-of-39 for 288 yards and two touchdowns.

But it was the big 75-yard interception return for a touchdown by cornerback Tracy Porter that sealed the deal.

“I studied and knew their tendencies,” Porter said. “I just jumped around and the ball went right into my hands.”

Porter’s teammate Darren Sharper, who was on the Green Bay Packers as a rookie when they lost to Denver, said this was a game that nobody had faith in the team except for the team.

“Man this is unbelievable,” Sharper said. “I don’t know of anyone who gave us a chance, but when you get here, anyone can win.”

How great for the city and the team. Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Sports

Harriet Baber: My experience with the episcopal church shows Church democracy inadequate

Here in the US, the Episcopal Church (ECUSA) is run on strictly democratic lines. Each parish is a private corporation with a vestry, consisting of lay members of the congregation, as its board of directors. The governing body of the national church is General Convention, which includes House of Bishops and House of Deputies consisting of elected lay and clergy representatives from each diocese.

Of course it makes not one whit of difference. Priests run their churches as they please and the national church’s policies are set by the überpriests, cardinal rectors and bishops who’ve managed to shinny up the greasy pole of ecclesiastical office politics. Church politics in ECUSA mimics secular US politics at its dirtiest, in a virulent, concentrated form. There is lobbying and logrolling, clergy are bullied, laypeople are manipulated and in the end the policy-makers, iron fist in velvet glove, get their way.

Episcopalians watched this political process play out for over 20 years as the church’s organisational elite campaigned to win support for the blessing of same-sex unions and the ordination of openly non-celibate homosexuals….

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Episcopal Church (TEC), Politics in General, Religion & Culture

The Archbishop of York Delivers the City of Peace Lecture

We give people private space but do not encourage public discussion and debate on key areas which are seen as ‘difficult’ such as religion, immigration, the optimum funding for public services. In consequence, these areas of difference are thrust into the margins where they do not go away but instead, tend to fester.

A similar trend can be seen in France in relation to the use of the word ‘tolerance’. There too it has become understood, at least in part, in the sense of something you put up with rather than as a positive virtue. An amusing example of this is the description of French brothels as ‘maisons de tolérance’! Houses of tolerance!

I therefore believe that for all our judicial tolerance, Britain has become in many ways, a less tolerant society today.

One of the main areas in which we see this is in the government’s treatment of Religion which they now prefer to call ‘faith communities’. The Equality Bill which is going through the House of Lords, had contained a ‘Genuine Occupation Clause’ which would have made it very difficult for a religious group to employ someone of that religion for a position within their organisation, except in the very restricted role of leading worship, explaining or proclaiming doctrines.

Read it all.

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

BBC Northern Ireland's Sunday Sequence–Anglicans going to Rome are not "proper Catholics"

Archbishop Sentamu: “If people genuinely realise that they want to be Roman Catholic, they should convert properly, and go through catechesis and be made proper Catholics. This kind of creation [the Apostolic Constitution] — well, all I can say is, we wish them every blessing and may the Lord encourage them. But as far as I am concerned, if I was really, genuinely wanting to convert, I wouldn’t go into an Ordinariate. I would actually go into catechesis and become a truly converted Roman Catholic and be accepted.”

William Crawley: “So those Anglicans who take advantage of the Apostolic Constitution, you’re saying, would not be ‘proper Catholics’?”

Archbishop Sentamu: “Well, I mean, I’d be very surprised –”

William Crawley: “What would they be if they are not ‘proper Catholics’?”

Archbishop Sentamu: “They would be what they are: an Ordinariate of the Vatican.”

I highly recommend you follow the audio link and listen to the whole interview.

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

USA Today–Rash of retirements push Social Security to brink

Social Security’s annual surplus nearly evaporated in 2009 for the first time in 25 years as the recession led hundreds of thousands of workers to retire or claim disability.

The impact of the recession is likely to hit the giant retirement system even harder this year and next. The Congressional Budget Office had projected it would operate in the red in 2010 and 2011, but a deeper economic slump could make those losses larger than anticipated.

“Things are a little bit worse than had been expected,” says Stephen Goss, chief actuary for the Social Security Administration. “Clearly, we’re going to be negative for a year or two.”

Read it all

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Aging / the Elderly, Budget, Economy, Personal Finance, The U.S. Government

Bill Emmott–Why China is stoking war of words with the US

What is unusual about China’s reaction to these two traditional issues is the volume of its response and that it is threatening sanctions against American firms. It has just imposed penalties on American chicken imports, in retaliation for US protectionism against Chinese car tyres. The Chinese Government has been very truculent over the alleged hacking of Google and 30 other foreign companies by Chinese cyber-warriors, refusing to investigate ”” which bolsters the belief that the hackers work for the Government.

Nor is America the only Chinese target. The hackers also attacked departments of the Indian Government, including the Prime Minister’s office. In Indian eyes China has become increasingly provocative over the two countries’ long-running territorial disputes in the Himalayas, over which a short border war was fought in 1962. China has been building up its troop numbers along those disputed borders. And to this list you can also add the obstreperous stance China took in the Copenhagen climate change conference last December.

So what explains this apparent rise in Chinese belligerence?…

Read the whole thing.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Asia, China, Foreign Relations

John Shepherd–We all have faith, whether or not we recognise it

We know how important faith is, because we’ve known what it’s like for people to have faith in us. And we all have this faith, consciously or unconsciously. We’ve all given it, and we’ve all received it. We know what it is and how it works. Having faith in others, and others having faith in us, isn’t a sign of weakness or mental deficiency. It’s reasonable and logical.

And it’s also reasonable and logical for us to have faith in the promise of a person in whom is found all that there is to be found of God.

And this promise is that, amid the darkness of our lives, there will always be that critical pinprick of light that will take away our fear.

We’ll still have disappointment, and rejection. We’ll still have to face failure, possibly tragedy. Let’s hope not, but the darkness will still be there.

Faith in God won’t take away the darkness. But what faith in God will do is to free us from the fear that the darkness will destroy the value and meaning of our lives.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Provinces, Australia / NZ, Religion & Culture

Terry Mattingly on some Findings of the National Fatherhood Initiative

Here’s a rather predictable news flash: American mothers want the fathers of their children to stick around, help with the kids and go to church.

There’s something else that united the participants in “Mama Says,” a recent survey from the National Fatherhood Initiative: 93 percent of them believe America is suffering from what the researchers called a “father-absence crisis.” An earlier survey by the same nonpartisan group found that 91 percent of American fathers affirmed that stark judgment.

The survey didn’t include many religious questions, but the role of faith in American homes and marriages kept rising to the surface.

“What the religious questions revealed to us is that the mothers who were the most religious were consistently the mothers who were the most satisfied with the jobs that their men were doing as fathers,” said Vincent DiCaro of the National Fatherhood Initiative, which is based in the Maryland suburbs of Washington.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Children, Marriage & Family, Men, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Women

John Yates' recent Sermon at Saint Andrew's, Mount Pleasant

Listen to it all–very encouraging.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Christology, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Preaching / Homiletics, Soteriology, Theology

John Allen in NCR: A 'Dallas experiment' in orthodoxy and openness

In Georges Bernanos’ Diary of a Country Priest, the elderly Curé de Torcy gives his young priest friend a bit of advice about proclaiming the Gospel: “The Word of God is a red-hot iron,” he says. “Truth is meant to save you first, and the comfort comes later.”

One could probably craft a meditation on the state of the Catholic soul today in terms of the tension between those two values — truth and comfort. We want the church to offer comfort, which among other things implies that Catholics shouldn’t brutalize one another in internal tribal warfare. Yet we also want the church to be bold in proclaiming the truth that saves, which inevitably means that sometimes lines have to be drawn and feelings may be bruised.

The $64,000 question is, can we do both? Can the Catholic church be both the “sacrament of the unity of the human race” and a fearless evangelical force?

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Adult Education, Evangelism and Church Growth, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Roman Catholic

NPR–Hidden In Old Home Deeds, A Segregationist Past

Myers Park, a historic neighborhood in Charlotte, N.C., has wide, tree-lined streets, sweeping lawns and historic mansions worth millions. It’s the kind of neighborhood where people take pride in the pedigree of their homes.

But Myers Park is also struggling with a racial legacy that plagues many communities across the country: discriminatory language written into original home deeds. The restrictions are no longer enforceable, but the words are a painful reminder of history.

The deed on homeowner John Williford’s 75-year-old Myers Park house includes restrictions written by the original developers geared to preserve the parklike feel of the neighborhood. The deeds also include racial restrictions: “This lot shall be owned and occupied by people of the Caucasian race only.”

Read or listen to it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Economy, History, Housing/Real Estate Market, Race/Race Relations

John Barr's Waylaid By Light Devotional Receives Rave Reviews

Check it out.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * South Carolina, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Theology, Theology: Scripture