Daily Archives: February 15, 2010

Robert W. Prichard–The Making and Re-Making of Episcopal Canon Law

The creation of …[the Anglican Consultative Council] required no canonical change in the Episcopal Church’s Constitution and Canons, but it did have implications nonetheless, for someone needed to appoint the three representatives to the ACC, and someone needed to respond to the request for approval of the ACC’s constitution. The special session of the General Convention in 1969 “acceded and subscribed to the Proposed Constitution of the said Anglican Consultative Council,” and took responsibility for election of representatives to that body.34 Subsequent General Conventions approved later changes in the ACC constitution.35 The convention’s Joint Committee on Nominations initially proposed names of ACC representatives for election by convention, but in 1982 the Executive Council (the name adopted in 1967 for what had been called the National Council since 1922) took over the responsibility for selection of ACC representatives.

An additional development in the Anglican Communion had taken place in 1960, which would also bring the Episcopal Church into closer relationship with the Anglican Communion. In that year Stephen Bayne, former Bishop of Olympia in the U.S., had accepted a position as the first Executive Officer or the Anglican Communion, a position later renamed as “Secretary General.” Bayne served until 1964. The fourth person to hold the position (Samuel Van Culin, Secretary General,1983-94), was also an American.

The General Conventions of 1964 and 1967 responded to the call of the Anglican Congress in Toronto that it was time for “the rebirth of the Anglican Communion, which means the death of many old things but””infinitely more””the birth of entirely new relationships.” The Presiding Bishop set up a Committee on Mutual Responsibility, which reported to both conventions. The 1964 Convention adopted a resolution proposed by the committee that resolved

That this Church, speaking through its episcopate and its duly elected representative in the lay and clerical orders in General Convention assembled, accept the message of the Primates and Metropolitans of the Anglican Communion entitled, “Mutual Responsibility and Interdependence in the Body of Christ”, as a declaration of God’s judgment upon our insularity, complacency, and defective obedience to Mission; and be it further

Resolved, the House of Deputies concurring, That this Church undertake without delay that evaluation and reformation of our corporate life, our priorities, and our response to Mission, which is called for by the leaders of the Anglican Communion”¦.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Identity, Church History, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Instruments of Unity, TEC Polity & Canons, Theology

Melanie McDonagh–Gerry Adams and Jesus cause a stir

Gerry Adams’s appearance on Channel 4, in a programme following the footsteps of Jesus in the Holy Land, won’t be screened for a week but it’s already caused a stir. Victor Barker, who lost his son in the Omagh bombing, is aggrieved, on the grounds that it makes the Sinn Fein leader seem like a “genuine, peaceful person”. That’s understandable. Yet there will be lots more people with no connection to the Troubles who simply don’t like the idea of someone with IRA connections talking about Christ at all.

You have to wonder whether they’ve ever come across that remark by the Man Himself, to the effect that he came for sinners, not the righteous.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Christology, England / UK, Ireland, Movies & Television, Religion & Culture, Soteriology, Theology, Violence

Madsen Pirie–Robin Hood Tax: why 350 economists are utterly wrong

Capital will be made more expensive if this tax ever comes about, hitting the ability of poorer countries to raise investment funds. Fortunately the tax is not likely to come about, since it would require the agreement of every tax jurisdiction to make it work, and the record of international consent, as illustrated by the stalled World Trade talks, is minimal. Without that consent, traders would simply move to where it was not levied.

The “Robin Hood Tax” might look superficially attractive, but it would do profound damage to the world economy and, far from hitting “the rich”, it would be the world’s poor who suffered most. This could be one reason why Bank of England Governor Mervyn King described it as “bottom of the list” of options.

If campaigners want to spend charitable funds on these campaigns, they would be more effective in calling not for higher taxes, but for the end of the protectionist tariffs that prevent poorer countries from selling their goods.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Economy, England / UK, Europe, Globalization, Stock Market, Taxes

CSM–Presidents Day 2010: facts about a holiday with an identity crisis

Yes, Virginia, there really is a Washington’s Birthday.

Shh! Don’t tell any auto dealers, school boards, or mattress salesmen, but today isn’t officially Presidents’ Day across the United States. The more accurate term would be “Washington’s Birthday,” according to the federal statute designating the third Monday in February in honor of the father of our country, who was born on Feb. 22, 1732. So, why the confusion?

In 1968, an attempt to officially change the day to Presidents’ Day, to celebrate both Abraham Lincoln (who was born Feb. 12, 1809) and Washington on the same day, died in a congressional committee. (Lincoln’s birthday is observed, but it’s never been designated an official federal holiday.) Since that failed effort, 12 states have designated an official Presidents Day.

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

Christopher Howse–Our Sound Is Our Wound by Lucy Winkett: Hearing alarms, listening for angels

What we can hear, or choose to hear, or prefer not to hear, form a theme in the book from which the quotation about Adam comes. It is Our Sound Is Our Wound: Contemplative Listening in a Noisy World by Lucy Winkett (Continuum, £9.99). The Archbishop of Canterbury has named it as his Lent book. Lent starts on Wednesday and many Christians like to use a book to focus their thoughts in the six weeks before Easter.

Lucy Winkett, a singer by training, is Precentor of St Paul’s Cathedral, responsible for its music and liturgy. She also, she tells us, has tinnitus, which means for her that she hears a high-pitched whistle.

The sounds of the modern city match, she thinks, the dominant modern feelings of anxiety and fear ”“ principally fear of death. In opposition, she presents the liberating forces of justice and beauty. Beauty, she believes, leads to justice, partly by bringing us out of ourselves.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Lent, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Music, Parish Ministry

Diocesan statistics for the Episcopal Diocese of Nebraska

According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s figures, Nebraska has grown in population from 1,711,263 in 2000 to 1,796,619 in 2009. This represents a population growth of approximately 4.75%.

According to Episcopal Church statistics, the Diocese of Nebraska went from Average Sunday Attendance (or ASA) of 4,078 in 1998 to 3,153 in 2008. This represents an ASA decline of about 23% over this ten year period.

A pictorial chart of some Nebraska diocesan statistics may be found here.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, TEC Bishops, TEC Data, TEC Parishes

Niall Ferguson in the FT–A Greek crisis is coming to America

What we in the western world are about to learn is that there is no such thing as a Keynesian free lunch. Deficits did not “save” us half so much as monetary policy ”“ zero interest rates plus quantitative easing ”“ did. First, the impact of government spending (the hallowed “multiplier”) has been much less than the proponents of stimulus hoped. Second, there is a good deal of “leakage” from open economies in a globalised world. Last, crucially, explosions of public debt incur bills that fall due much sooner than we expect

For the world’s biggest economy, the US, the day of reckoning still seems reassuringly remote. The worse things get in the eurozone, the more the US dollar rallies as nervous investors park their cash in the “safe haven” of American government debt. This effect may persist for some months, just as the dollar and Treasuries rallied in the depths of the banking panic in late 2008.

Yet even a casual look at the fiscal position of the federal government (not to mention the states) makes a nonsense of the phrase “safe haven”. US government debt is a safe haven the way Pearl Harbor was a safe haven in 1941.

Even according to the White House’s new budget projections, the gross federal debt will exceed 100 per cent of GDP in just two years’ time. This year, like last year, the federal deficit will be around 10 per cent of GDP. The long-run projections of the Congressional Budget Office suggest that the US will never again run a balanced budget. That’s right, never.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Budget, Economy, Europe, Globalization, Greece, House of Representatives, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Senate, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government

Lessons to learn from Jane Jacobs' 1961 'The Death and Life of Great American Cities.' for Today

Q: Your book implies that authenticity is what cities should strive for, yet it also seems a somewhat elusive concept. For instance, is a Starbucks in a renovated building authentic? Aren’t cities always evolving in authentic ways ”” it’s just that some find certain forms of authenticity more marketable or desirable than others?

A: ‘Absolutely, and this is the tragic part of authenticity. It’s a very uncertain idea, and authenticity can mean different things to different people. ”¦ What I’m arguing for is that we think about authenticity in terms of social diversity, ethnic diversity, and cultural diversity. It may be in a neighborhood that has been in a sorry state, Starbucks is a sign of renewal but in another neighborhood, Starbucks might be a sign of cursed homogenization.’

Q: What would you hope mayors and City Council members take away from the book? What encourages you about what you’ve seen from municipal government?

A: ‘What’s positive is any kind of law that encourages residents to hold onto their homes, that encourages new people to set up small businesses in places where they already have been trying to put down roots. I want local officials to take away the idea that we have to protect the cities that we have with the people that we have and the buildings that we have for the most part rather than to run after the goal of constant growth and constant tearing down and rebuilding.’

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Books, City Government, Politics in General

Thomas Friedman: 1977 vs. 1979

Following the defeat of Egypt and other Arab armies by Israel in the 1967 war, Nasserism, a k a Arab nationalism, the abiding ideology of the day, was demolished. In its wake came two broad alternatives: The first, manifested by President Anwar Sadat of Egypt in his 1977 trip to Israel, was a bid to cast the Arab world’s future with the West, economic liberalization, modernization and acceptance of Israel. The weakness of “Sadatism,” though, was that it was an elite ideology with no cultural roots. The Egyptian state made peace with Israel, but Arab societies never followed.

The second Arab-Muslim response emerged in 1979. To start, there was the takeover that year of the Grand Mosque in Mecca by Islamist extremists who challenged the religious credentials of the Saudi ruling family. The Saudi rulers responded by forging a new bargain with their Islamists: Let us stay in power and we will give you a free hand in setting social norms, relations between the sexes and religious education inside Saudi Arabia ”” and abundant resources to spread Sunni Wahabi fundamentalism abroad.

The Saudi lurch backward coincided with Iran’s revolution in 1979, which brought Ayatollah Khomeini to power. That revolution set up a competition between Shiite Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia for who was the real leader of the Muslim world, and it triggered a surge in oil prices that gave both fundamentalist regimes the resources to export their brands of puritanical Islam, through mosques and schools, farther than ever.

“Islam lost its brakes in 1979,” said Mamoun Fandy, a Middle East expert at the International Institute of Strategic Studies in London. And there was no moderate countertrend.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Terrorism, Yemen

NPR–Vatican Summit Addresses Irish Sex Abuse Cases

Pope Benedict XVI has summoned more than two dozen Irish bishops to the Vatican for meetings to discuss Ireland’s massive clerical sex abuse scandal. The meetings, Monday and Tuesday, could lead to a major shake-up in the Irish Church hierarchy.

Two months ago, an investigation known as the Murphy Commission Report into the Dublin diocese revealed that the Irish Church had been covering up crimes by dozens of pedophile priests against hundreds of young people for decades.

The report came just seven months after another investigation revealed chronic beatings, rapes, near-starvation and humiliation of 30,000 children in state-run schools and orphanages all run by the Catholic Church.

Bishop Joseph Duffy, a spokesman for the Irish Bishops Conference, acknowledges that the meetings with the pope will have to lead to major changes in the Irish Church.

Read or listen to it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Children, England / UK, Ireland, Law & Legal Issues, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

From the Morning Scripture Readings

O my God, in thee I trust, let me not be put to shame; let not my enemies exult over me. Yea, let none that wait for thee be put to shame; let them be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous. Make me to know thy ways, O LORD; teach me thy paths. Lead me in thy truth, and teach me, for thou art the God of my salvation; for thee I wait all the day long.

–Psalm 25:2-5

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Hillary Clinton Fears Iran Is Headed for Military Dictatorship

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said on Monday that the United States feared Iran was drifting toward a military dictatorship, with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps seizing control of large swaths of Iran’s political, military, and economic establishment.

“That is how we see it,” Mrs. Clinton said in a televised town hall meeting of students at the Doha campus of Carnegie Mellon University. “We see that the government in Iran, the supreme leader, the president, the Parliament, is being supplanted and that Iran is moving towards a military dictatorship.”

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

Snow in Summerville, South Carolina

There are a lot of fun pictures here.

Posted in * General Interest, * South Carolina, Weather

Peggy Noonan–The Off-Center President

This touches on the still-essential question that historians will write books about: How did the president lose the room? How did he lose popularity?

The leftward edge of the left says he did it by being too accommodating, by trying for a bipartisanship that doesn’t exist. The rightward edge of the right says he did it by revealing his essentially socialistic agenda. The center has said, in polls and at the polls, that it didn’t like his administration’s first-year obsession with a health-care bill that was huge, costly and impenetrably complicated, and would be run by those people who gave you the DMV and the post office.

The political class this week blamed it on the Chicago Mafia, the longtime Obama friends and associates who surround him in the Oval Office. But even that doesn’t explain it. What did they do wrong? And why do people think Mr. Obama’s advisers are different from Mr. Obama?

Washington’s pundits have begun announcing that the White House is better at campaigning than at governing, but that was obvious last summer. The president and his advisers understand one thing really well, and that is Democratic primaries and Democratic politics. This is the area in which they made their careers. It’s how they defeated Hillary Clinton””by knowing how Democrats think. In the 2008 general election, appealing for the first time to all of America and not only to Democrats, they had one great gift on their side, the man who both made Mr. Obama and did in John McCain, and that was George W. Bush.

But now it is 2010, and Mr. Bush is gone. Mr. Obama is left with America, and he does not, really, understand it. That is why he thinks moving to the center would be political death, when moving to the center and triangulating, as Bill Clinton did, might give him a new lease on life.

Read it all from yesterday’s Wall Street Journal.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Economy, House of Representatives, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, President George Bush, Senate, The U.S. Government

Religion and Ethics Newsweekly–Reiki and the Roman Catholic Church

KIM LAWTON:…At the CORE/El Centro natural healing center in Milwaukee, Sister Madeline Gianforte is using Reiki on one of her clients. In this Eastern healing technique, practitioners place their hands on or above someone in an effort to enhance the body’s flow of energy. They say that can lead to physical and spiritual healing.

SISTER MADELINE GIANFORTE (CORE/El Centro): As a practitioner, I’m just facilitating that energy. But you are doing your own healing in the sense of connecting to the divine and the healing that happens within.

LAWTON: Gianforte is a nun with the Sisters of Saint Agnes. She’s also a trained Reiki master. She says Reiki fits well with her faith.

GIANFORTE: It’s an incredibly spiritual, prayerful experience for me. It calms the inner part of my being so much that I can tap that deepest place, the core place of who I am.

LAWTON: But the US Catholic bishops say Reiki is superstition, and they’ve urged Catholics not to provide or support it….

Read or watch it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Health & Medicine, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Roman Catholic, Spirituality/Prayer, Theology