Daily Archives: March 1, 2010

Oliver Thomas–Where have all the Protestants gone?

Since the first Protestants rowed to shore in Jamestown, Plymouth and Massachusetts Bay, they’ve been in charge. As recently as the 1950s, the president as well as seven of the nine members of the Supreme Court were Protestant Christians. Methodist, Presbyterian, Lutheran, Episcopal and other so-called mainline Protestant leaders called many of the shots on civil rights, school prayer, immigration, education and other key issues of the day. Then, in the late ’60s, their numbers began to dwindle.

Today, only one member of the high court is Protestant (John Paul Stevens), and President Obama appears to have stopped attending church altogether at least outside of Camp David. Instead of dominating public debate, mainline Protestants find themselves struggling to reach a quorum. Half of their churches have fewer than a hundred members, and in nearly six of 10 congregations, it’s the Church of the Blue Hair. Or No Hair. A quarter or more of their congregants are 65 or older. That’s three times the number for their more conservative Evangelical cousins.

So what happened? How did America’s most influential religious group become so marginal?

The conventional wisdom has been that the more conservative Catholic and Evangelical churches simply won over the hearts and minds of the American people. And, if there is a culture war, these more liberal Protestant groups surely must have lost.

But not so fast.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Church History, Episcopal Church (TEC), Lutheran, Methodist, Other Churches, Presbyterian, Religion & Culture

Episcopal Church Statistics–Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, Davenport, Iowa

In order to generate a pictorial chart of this parish, please go [url=http://www.episcopalchurch.org/growth_60791_ENG_HTM.htm?menupage=50929]here[/url] and enter “Iowa” in the second line down under “Diocese.” Next please wait a moment and then click on “Church” and choose “Trinity (Davenport, Iowa).” Then wait another moment and choose “View Church chart” under that line (the middle of the three choices).

You may find the parish website here.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Data, TEC Parishes

Efraim Karsh–Muslims Won’t Play Together

WE may scoff at the idea that the Olympic Games have anything to do with the “endeavor to place sport at the service of humanity and thereby to promote peace,” as the Olympic charter enshrines as its ideal. But at least nations across the world were able to put aside differences for two weeks of friendly competition in Vancouver.

A mundane achievement, perhaps, but it’s one that’s beyond the grasp of the Islamic world. The Islamic Solidarity Games, the Olympics of the Muslim world, which were to be held in Iran in April, have been called off by the Arab states because Tehran inscribed “Persian Gulf” on the tournament’s official logo and medals.

It’s a small but telling controversy. It puts the lie to the idea of the Islamic world as a bloc united by religious values that are hostile to the West. It also gives clues as to how the United States and its allies should handle two of their most urgent foreign policy matters: the Iranian nuclear program and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Foreign Relations, Iran, Islam, Middle East, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Sports, The Palestinian/Israeli Struggle

NBC's Tom Brokaw Feature on Gander, Newfoundland after 9/11/01

This is a good description of the lovely piece that aired Saturday and which I happened to catch by accident. It moved me to tears. I am stunned that NBC does not have it on their webiste. Did any other blog readers happen to catch it–KSH?

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

Anglican women gather in New York for 54th annual UNCSW

(ACNS) Thousands of women from around the world, including more than 90 representing the Anglican Communion, will gather in New York March 1-12 for the 54th session of the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women to undertake a 15-year review of the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action.

The CSW is the oldest U.N. standing commission. It meets annually to examine a different theme as it relates to gender equity — global poverty, economics, peacekeeping, human rights, etc. — from the lens of the most vulnerable and exploited communities, mostly women and children, said Alessandra Peña, a consultant for the Anglican United Nations Thematic Working Group on Women’s Right and Empowerment.

“This year is a review year ”¦ there was a five-year review in 2000 and a 10-year review in 2005,” she said. “Beijing (is important) because it is still considered the most comprehensive platform on issues of gender equity ”¦ the MDGs were informed by the Beijing platform.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, - Anglican: Latest News, Women

Scottish Episcopal Church attacks Labour 'party of faith' claims

The Right Rev David Chillingworth accused the Scottish Secretary of doing a “grave disservice” to religion by suggesting it could be “shrink-wrapped” to fit the manifesto of a political party.

His comments came after the leader of Scotland’s Roman Catholics accused Labour of an “unrelenting attack on family values” and warned the Pope could give the party “hell” on his state visit later this year.

They were both responding to a speech last week in which Mr Murphy tried to woo religious voters by promising their concerns would be reflected in Labour’s policy agenda.

The Scottish Secretary argued Labour was founded on the principles of Christian socialism and had led the trade union struggle for working class rights.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, England / UK, Other Churches, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Scotland, Scottish Episcopal Church

Oklahoma City Episcopal church glad to get room to expand

A growing Hispanic congregation in south Oklahoma City recently moved from cramped quarters to a larger church building.

Iglesia Episcopal Santa Maria Virgen, led by the Rev. Leonel Blanco Monterroso, held its first worship service in its new home Feb. 7. The building at 5500 S Western formerly housed Grace Lutheran Church.

Monterroso said the sanctuary at the church’s previous building at 2141 SW 25 could house no more than 200 people, while the new building’s worship area easily accommodates about 500.

The larger complex came at just the right time, he said.

Monterroso said the church’s first service in the new building drew about 585 people.

Read it all.

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

Richard Harries: How could I be a Catholic, stuck in the past?

There are many Catholic-minded Anglicans like me who have wondered, more than once whether we should become Roman Catholics. Rome is clearly the senior church of the Western tradition and I find so much to admire about it.

I rejoice in its internationalism, its capacity to produce saints in even the most unpropitious times and its ability to inspire poets such as Gerard Manley Hopkins, novelists such as Evelyn Waugh, and a number of distinguished modern composers.

I am deeply moved by the ministry of priests working in the shantytowns of Latin America and elsewhere. Then, of course, for those with an orderly mind, there is the ability of the Vatican to present a clear message for the outside world.

So why remain an Anglican? And why would it not be good for the country to become Roman Catholic again? For me the answer is summed up in a remark that a well-known Anglo-Catholic priest made to the mother superior of an Anglican religious order shortly before he died: “Mother, you know, the Church of England is now the only part of the Catholic Church which is open to the future.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

Women Scientists Take Role In Rebuilding Iraq

With U.S. forces scheduled to begin withdrawal from Iraq this summer, Iraq must now take the lead in rebuilding itself. Iraqi scientists and engineers will hold the key to the future, and Iraqi women hope to be a part of that. Liane Hansen speaks to Dr. Alkazragy and Dr. Mustafa, two female Iraqi scientists who are visiting scholars at American universities. The doctors have asked that their first names be withheld for security concerns.

Listen to it all (just over 8 minutes).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Iraq, Iraq War, Middle East, Science & Technology, Women

Jordan Hylden reviews a new DVD for Adult Education–Anglicanism: A Gift in Christ

The talks manage to avoid the sin of navel-gazing: rather than focusing on Anglican peculiarities, the purpose of each is to see and to show how the Anglican tradition opens up onto a world much larger than itself, making them not just a good primer on Anglicanism but on Catholic Christianity as such.

The series begins with N.T. Wright, who with characteristic clarity and depth of learning gives not only an overview of the New Testament but also of how Anglicans have classically read and been formed by the Bible in their common life. Scripture, as reformers such as Wycliffe, Tyndale, and Cranmer held, is to be placed in the hands of the people and read in common, so as to knit together a people through deep immersion in the Scriptural story. This, Bishop Wright holds, is in fact at the heart of Anglican worship and life: the simple, daily, communal reading of the Bible, through which the Spirit forms us as a church and equips us for mission in the world.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, - Anglican: Analysis, Adult Education, Ecclesiology, Parish Ministry, Seminary / Theological Education, Theology, Theology: Scripture

David Brooks on the Health Care Summit–Not as Dull as Expected!

As always with the Obama compromise offers, this offer seemed to be both sincere and insincere. Embodying the core contradiction of the Obama presidency, the president seemed both to want to craft a new package and also to defend the strictly Democratic approach. I think he’s a bipartisan man stuck in a partisan town, but maybe he’s an iron partisan fist in a velvet postpartisan glove.

Fourth, you got to see how confident Republicans are. Obama’s compromise offer is one the Republicans can happily refuse. In their eyes, he is saying: If you don’t make some concessions now, I’m going to punch myself in the face. If you don’t embrace parts of my bill, I will waste the next three months trying to push an unpopular measure through an ugly reconciliation process that will probably lead to failure anyway.

Fifth, you got to see at least one area of bipartisan agreement. Neither side was willing to be specific about how to cut costs and raise revenue. The Republicans continued to demagogue efforts to restrain Medicare spending. The Democrats (and the Republicans) conveniently neglected to mention the fact that they had just gutted the long-term revenue source for their entire package, the excise tax on high-cost insurance plans. That tax was diluted and postponed until 2018. There is no way that members of a Congress eight years from now are going to accede to a $1 trillion tax increase to pay for a measure that the 2010 Congress wasn’t brave enough to pay for itself.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --The 2009 American Health Care Reform Debate, Budget, Economy, Health & Medicine, House of Representatives, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Senate, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government

Wary Centrists Posing Challenge in Health Care Vote

The future of President Obama’s health care overhaul now rests largely with two blocs of swing Democrats in the House of Representatives ”” abortion opponents and fiscal conservatives ”” whose indecision signals the difficulties Speaker Nancy Pelosi faces in securing the votes necessary to pass the bill.

With Republicans unified in their opposition, Democrats are drafting plans to try on their own to pass a bill based on one Mr. Obama unveiled before his bipartisan health forum last week. His measure hews closely to the one passed by the Senate in December, but differs markedly from the one passed by the House.

That leaves Ms. Pelosi in the tough spot of trying to keep wavering members of her caucus on board, while persuading some who voted no to switch their votes to yes ”” all at a time when Democrats are worried about their prospects for re-election.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --The 2009 American Health Care Reform Debate, Health & Medicine, House of Representatives, Politics in General

Small businesses juggling health insurance premiums

When Sunshine Sign Co. went to renew its health insurance plan for workers this year, the small business faced a daunting figure ”” 21 percent.

That’s how much the Grafton company’s premiums for coverage under the Fallon Community Health Plan are going up, and it translates to a price hike of about $1,000 per person a year. For Sunshine Sign, which employs about 30, the result will be slimmer profit margins, according to President and Chief Executive David R. Glispin.

“You try to aggressively control what you can within your business and you try to be somewhat understanding of what you can’t,” Mr. Glispin said. “Health care has become exorbitant, but I guess we just accept it as a normal course of business.”

Many other small businesses in Massachusetts are confronting Sunshine Sign’s dilemma: The economy remains weak, but health insurance costs are going up, sometimes by 30 percent or more.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Health & Medicine

A Prayer for the Feast Day of David of Wales

Almighty God, who didst call thy servant David to be a faithful and wise steward of thy mysteries for the people of Wales: Mercifully grant that, following his purity of life and zeal for the gospel of Christ, we may with him receive the crown of everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and ever.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Bible Readings

For the kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power.

–1 Corinthians 4:20

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture