Daily Archives: February 12, 2010

David Gibson–Roman Catholic Colleges and Tests of Faith

A new study on the faith of Catholic college students produced a Rorschach moment in today’s church that was neatly typified by contrasting headlines in the Catholic media:

“Catholic colleges weakening students’ faith, new study finds,” declared the conservative-leaning Catholic World News.

“Study: Catholics at Catholic colleges less likely to stray from church,” went the headline from Catholic News Service, the media outlet of the American bishops.

So which is it? Are Catholic colleges undermining the faith? Or are they an effective if leaky levee against the growing tide of secularism? The study, “Catholicism on Campus,” was released on Jan. 31 by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA), at Georgetown University, which compiled the data from national surveys of more than 14,000 students at nearly 150 U.S. colleges and universities. Students were surveyed as freshmen in 2004 and then in 2007 as juniors.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Education, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

How Much Will Google’s Fiber Network Cost?

The idea behind the network: provide bandwidth and see if it fosters new user behavior and thus innovations. I admire Google for creating a real-life laboratory that will provide intelligence to predict not only the future of the web, but also help it develop new products to stay relevant. By announcing this network, Google also showed why it’s quite distinct from its onetime peers such as Yahoo and AOL.

When I said that Google’s plan was audacious, I said so because of the cost. For starters, Google wants to offer 1 gigabit-per-second speeds to some 50,000 to 500,000 people. At 2.6 people per household, that roughly translates to between 20,000 and 200,000 homes. Our friend Ben Schachter, Internet analyst with Broadpoint AmTech, estimates that it will cost Google between $3,000 and $8,000 per home, or roughly $60 million to $1.6 billion, depending upon the final size and footprint of the network. If Google reaches, say, 100,000 homes, it would cost the company about half a billion dollars.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Blogging & the Internet, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Science & Technology

USA Today Faith and Reason Blog–Christian churches in Canada fading out: USA next?

Olympics fans heading to Vancouver might want to visit a vanishing cultural treasure while they’re in Canada — local churches.

Canada has become a “post-Christian society” where once-dominant Anglicanism has “moved to the margins of public life,” according to a bleak study reported by Michael Valpy at the Globe and Mail.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Canada, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

Church Times on General Synod–Put down your megaphones, Rowan Williams pleads

Christian relationships must not be further reduced to “vicious polemic and stony-faced litigation”, the Archbishop of Canterbury urged in a powerful presidential address in which he took both sides of the Communion debate to task. “Trust one another for your own good.”

Ways had to be found to decide contested issues which did not “simply write off the others in the debate as negligible, spiritually un­seri­ous or without moral claims”. Questions about the balance of liber­ties in society were “not best ad­dressed in the megaphone tones we are all too used to hearing”.

Dr Williams drew parallels with national and international de­bates on the Equality Bill and the ques­tion of assisted dying. The basic con­flict in the former was “not be­tween a systematic assault on Chris­tian values by a godless government on the one side and a demand for licensed bigotry on the other”.

Read it all.

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

A Comment from Dr Noll on the Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion

From here
I do not want to set this thread off on a rabbit trail, but I would like to draw attention to one of the Curmudgeon’s comments regarding whether Mr. Tisdale was authorized to act on behalf of TEC, which goes back to the question of whether David Booth Beers is authorized to act as “Chancellor of TEC.”

[blockquote]No members of the Church, either acting on their own, or acting collectively through their triennial assembly called “General Convention”, have ever hired David Booth Beers to represent the whole Church, or to hire others to do so. Not only that, but there is no official [i]position[/i] that has ever been created and called “Chancellor of the Episcopal Church (USA)”. Thus, by definition, there cannot lawfully be any person who is entitled to claim that he is “South Carolina counsel for The Episcopal Church.” At best, Mr. Tisdale is acting as South Carolina counsel for the [i]Presiding Bishop’s personal chancellor[/i].[/blockquote]

There seems to me to be a common thread between this assumption of power by DBB and that of the Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion.

Recently, Bp. Mouneer Anis resigned from “The Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion.” It is clear that Bp. Mouneer is not making up this title and its acronym (SCAC) but is reflecting the view of that group from which he resigned. This is confirmed by the (unpublished) Minutes of that group immediately before and after ACC-14 in Jamaica. Meeting on 29 April-1 May, 2009, the minutes speak of “The Joint Standing Committee of The Primates & The Anglican Consultative Council”; meeting after ACC-14 on 12 May, the minutes refer to “The Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion.”

This change of terminology is obliquely justified in ACC Resolutaion 14.39a, which states that “the former Joint Standing Committee” is named as the “Standing Committee” under the new constitution.” Interestingly, the new [unpublished] ACC constitution does not directly name its Standing Committee as “The Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion,” although it does refer to the “Secretary General of the Anglican Communion,” rather than the Secretary General of the ACC.

My question, following the lines of Mr. Haley’s argument, is this: can anyone produce documentation that the Lambeth Conference or the Primates’ Meeting or even the ACC (apart from the oblique reference in 14.39 above) has ever established the position of “The Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion” ”“ or for that matter, the Joint Standing Committee that preceded it ”“ much less given its terms of reference?

For instance, we know that the ACC admits five Primates to its new Standing Committee, but by what resolution of the Primates’ Meeting was the number five chosen, and was that number chosen intentionally to give the Primates a minority voice when compared to the nine members of the ACC Standing Committee. And how was it decided that these five should represent five particular regions, quite unequal in numbers?

The relevance is this: under the “final” Covenant, the Provinces are being asked to hand over primary oversight of the Covenant to a body that has no constitutional foundation and whose composition is unclear, apart perhaps from the (as yet unpublished) Constitution of one of the Instruments of Communion.

Back to the Curmudgeon and South Carolina. I think the assumption of power in TEC and the assumption of power in the Anglican Communion are similar. This is not strange, considering it is people with the same mindset pulling the strings in the national and the Communion bureaucracies.

Posted in Uncategorized

Ephraim Radner reviews Tobias Haller recent book "Reasonable and Holy: Engaging Same-Sexuality"

It’s a bit of a mishmash in terms of sequence, but the arguments themselves are clear enough (if sometimes over-intricate on linguistic matters). They are not particularly novel to those familiar with the debate: Haller points out inconsistencies of practice in the tradition, fastens on the logical conundra over the use of categories like “nature,” limits the meaning of biblical texts to realities that purportedly have nothing to do with modern homosexual partnerships and understandings (e.g. to cultic prostitution and idolatry), points out how Christian understandings and practice with respect to the law have changed in various ways (eating blood, slavery, etc.), and argues for a central gospel message that should control all Christian scriptural interpretation (the Golden Rule).

The book is a disappointment, however, on the level of a studied consideration of the topic in terms of Scripture and tradition. There are a number of reasons for this, some simply related to the genre of blogging from which these essays derive, others related to the form of argument Haller uses, and others related to the presuppositions applied to the arguments themselves….

Most readers who are not specialists will skim these long passages, perhaps assuming that the arguments must make sense because they are detailed and intricate. But they are not actually responsible arguments on these terms.

Read it all (emphasis in the original).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anthropology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

RNS–No Consensus for Obama Advisers on Tricky Church-State Issues

The 25-member council advising the White House on faith-based issues has voted on two contentious issues for religious charities that receive government funds.

By a vote of 13-12, the council members said the government should require houses of worship to form separate corporations in order to receive direct federal funding for social services.

Separately, when asked whether the government should permit charities to offer social services in rooms containing religious art, symbols, messages or scripture, 16 said yes, two said no, and seven said they should be permitted if no other space is available.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Church/State Matters, Law & Legal Issues, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Religion & Culture

AP–Nebraska's Governor signs off on lethal injection

Gov. Dave Heineman approved a lethal-injection protocol for Nebraska on Wednesday, ending the death penalty’s monthslong limbo in the state and opening the gate to a new round of lawsuits.

There never was any doubt Heineman, a death-penalty supporter, would sign off on the protocol that replaces electrocution and he did so without publicizing his approval.

Last year, he supported Nebraska lawmakers when they directed the state Department of Correctional Services to craft a lethal-injection protocol to replace electrocution.

The direction from lawmakers followed a 2008 ruling from the state Supreme Court that said the chair amounted to unconstitutional cruel and unusual punishment. Nebraska had been the only state with electrocution as its sole means of execution and, since the ruling, has technically been without a means of executing prisoners.

Read it all.

Posted in Uncategorized

Report Faults Binghamton’s Leaders in Basketball Scandal

Among the many findings:

¶Coach Kevin Broadus successfully lobbied for a player’s grade to be changed.

¶Independent study classes were created exclusively for basketball players.

¶An assistant coach and a player openly discussed cash payments and academic cheating.

¶Coaches tried to keep arrests of players quiet, and gave players advice on what to tell the police while being questioned.

Binghamton is not alone in encountering problems with men’s basketball, as the report noted; if anything, its troubles reflect the struggles that many universities face in balancing academics and athletics.

Read the whole thing (my emphasis)

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Sports, Theology

Independent–The Big Question: Is the BBC failing in its duty to provide religious broadcasting?

But has there been a reduction in religious broadcasting?

According to Nigel Holmes, a former BBC senior local radio producer and lay member of the Synod, who put down the motion, the BBC has cut its religious television output over the past 20 years from 177 hours to 155 hours a year.

Is that such a big cut?

Holmes makes the point that the broadcasting environment has changed out of all recognition over those two decades and the BBC, with its large family of channels, has doubled its general programming in the same period. For its part the BBC argues that its charter only requires it to make 110 hours of religious programming and the intention this year is to broadcast 164 hours, including Oxford history professor Diarmaid MacCulloch’s ambitious six-part series for BBC4, A History of Christianity. Even Holmes accepts that BBC radio controllers “have been very supportive of religion”.

Read the whole thing.

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

Nicholas Kristof: The Grotesque Vocabulary in Congo

I’ve learned some new words.

One is “autocannibalism,” coined in French but equally appropriate in English. It describes what happens when a militia here in eastern Congo’s endless war cuts flesh from living victims and forces them to eat it.

Another is “re-rape.” The need for that term arose because doctors were seeing women and girls raped, re-raped and re-raped again, here in the world capital of murder, rape, mutilation.

This grotesque vocabulary helps answer a question that I’ve had from readers: Why Congo?

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Republic of Congo, Violence

EU ready to help Greece over debts

EU leaders say they are ready to act to shore up Greece’s finances and ensure stability in the eurozone – but they have made no specific promise of aid.

Greece must take further measures to tackle its huge debts and cut its budget deficit by 4% this year, the EU leaders said after a Brussels summit.

The statement did not spell out what was meant by “determined and co-ordinated action, if needed”.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Credit Markets, Economy, Europe, Greece, Stock Market

Texas Episcopal Church diocesan conference coming to Killeen

Starting Friday, the largest convention to ever come to Killeen will fill the Killeen Civic and Conference Center with more than 1,000 attendees, 70 vendors and the goal of a clear direction for Episcopalian churches across Texas.

The Episcopal Church Diocesan Conference annually brings together delegates from across the state to discuss problems that arise during the year, find solutions to those problems and consider ways to implement those solutions.

The group alternates the location of the conference between its “headquarters” in Houston and other cities. St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church of Killeen is hosting the event this year.

The first-time hosts have worked for about two years to bring the conference to Killeen, said Connie Kuehl, director of the Killeen Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Diocesan Conventions/Diocesan Councils

C of E General Synod – Summary of Business Conducted on Thursday 11th February 2010 PM

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE)

Iran crushes opposition protests with violence

Iran’s regime thwarted the opposition’s hopes of turning the 31st anniversary celebrations of the Islamic revolution into another massive protest today.

It out-manoeuvred the so-called Green movement by swamping the official proceedings with huge numbers of its own supporters, preventing the media from covering anything else and blanketing the rest of the capital with security forces who forcefully suppressed the opposition’s relatively muted demonstrations.

President Ahmadinejad also sought to grab the headlines and divert attention from the protests by announcing that Iran had produced its first stock of 20 per cent-enriched uranium. He declared that Iran was now a “nuclear state”.

Read it all.

Posted in * International News & Commentary, Iran, Middle East