Daily Archives: March 23, 2010

Trinity Professor Joins Rio Grande Slate of Possible Bishops

The Rev. Dr. Leander Harding of Trinity School for Ministry has joined the slate of nominees to become the ninth bishop of the Diocese of the Rio Grande. Harding is Trinity’s dean of church relations and seminary advancement and associate professor of pastoral theology.

The diocese, which encompasses New Mexico and the southwestern corner of Texas, announced Harding’s nomination by petition on March 20. The electing convention will convene April 24.

The diocese has also released question-and-answer essays by all six nominees. The essays reveal how the nominees envision helping the diocese heal after what the diocesan profile [PDF] describes as an extended period of turmoil in leadership.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops

Susan Ferrechio: Ten inconvenient truths about the Health Care Bill

5. Four million people will lose their employer-based plans.

The new health care law will impose a list of benefits each health care plan will have to offer if they are to remain in business. The Congressional Budget Office also estimates that about 4 million people would lose their employer-based plan and be forced to buy plans on the new government exchanges.

6. Medicare will cut services along with costs.

The bill makes $528 billion in cuts to Medicare, including a $136 billion reduction for Medicare Advantage. The Medicare Advantage cuts will force 4.8 million seniors off the popular plan by 2019. An additional $23 billion in cuts to Medicare will come from a panel charged with slashing Medicare spending.

7. The bill will not pay for itself.

The CBO found that the bill would reduce the deficit by $138 billion over 10 years, but the savings was achieved by leaving out a $208 billion provision lawmakers will have to enact later to ensure doctors are adequately paid for treating Medicare patients. When the “doc fix” is included in the bill, it runs $59 billion in the red over the next decade. And former CBO Director Douglas Holtz-Eakin said that “if you strip out all the gimmicks and budgetary games” the 10-year deficit would exceed $560 billion.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --The 2009 American Health Care Reform Debate, Health & Medicine, House of Representatives, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Senate

From Washington State: A Rain Tax

Got this (via im) yesterday from a friend who lives in Washington state:

Just got a bill Friday for a new $800 a year rain tax only they called it surface water management–to pay for all the rain that runs off my tree-covered 5 acres

.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Politics in General, State Government, Taxes

Edward Tomlinson–The ongoing saga of the Church of the Good Shepherd in Binghamton, N.Y.

Rather wonderfully the Catholic church came to the rescue offering the abandoned congregation a place in which to worship. That congregation has since doubled, a clear sign of God’s blessing, wheras the church that remained has dwindled and died. Now for the really revealing part of this very shoddy episode”¦.

”¦having claimed that those leaving were not able to uphold the desires of the church founders the Diocese of New York has spitefully sold the building, at a third of the cost the congregation were offering, to the Muslims! How truly shameful that the Episcopal authorities were so full of hatred and malice that they could stoop to such depths.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Central New York, TEC Departing Parishes, TEC Parishes

Dallas Suffragan Bishop Paul Lambert's Report from the House of Bishop’s meeting

It goes without saying that the recent Consent for the Bishop Suffragan of the Diocese of Los Angeles has been a topic of discussion among the gathered bishops and how that will impact our relationships with the larger Communion. Although we have not had a plenary discussion on this development we will no doubt do so when the subject of the Anglican Covenant later this week occurs. Of course, her presence at our meeting makes it difficult to discuss this openly and honestly, both for her and the House gathered. I bid your prayers that we may have a spirit of mutual respect and forbearance for all involved. I do believe that we will do so with sensitivity and concern for all.

Yesterday we had a discussion on “Incarnation” and “Salvation” as a part of the “Around One Table” initiative. These were refreshing conversations regarding who we are and what we are to be about. Many of you will be surprised to learn that, for the most part, the House believes we need to be more missional as a Church and begin proclaiming Jesus as the way to salvation. It remains to be seen where this will go so far as a definitive statement as to who we are as a Church but the conversation has begun.

Read the whole thing.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops

From the Do Not Take Yourself Too Seriously Department: Discernment

Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson went on a camping trip. As they lay down
for the night, Holmes said: “Watson, look up into the sky and tell me what
you see”.

Watson: “I see millions and millions of stars”.

Holmes: “And what does that tell you?”

Watson: “Astronomically, it tells me that there are millions of galaxies
and potentially billions of planets. Theologically, it tells me that God
is great and that we are small and insignificant. Meteorologically, it tells
me that we will have a beautiful day tomorrow. What does it tell you?”

Holmes: “Somebody stole our tent.”

Posted in * General Interest, Humor / Trivia

Barbara Brown Taylor: Working people

When Studs Terkel, described by Donna Seaman as “oral historian, writer of conscience and raconteur-on-a-mission,” died on Halloween in 2008, he left a tall stack of books behind him. None affected me more than one called Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do. The book led me to think not only about all the jobs I have worked in my life but also about all the people whose jobs make life in my small town work.

The day I moved to Clarkesville, I walked from the church to the post office, where I came up a quarter short on a book of stamps. “Don’t worry,” the pretty blond clerk behind the counter said. “Just bring it back before we close at five.” Her nametag said “Elaine.” When I brought the quarter back, I told her my name but she already knew it. Eighteen years later, I have learned to stand patiently in line as Elaine greets her customers by name.

Last week a white-haired woman lingered at the counter, speaking of things that had nothing to do with the U.S. Mail. There were six of us behind her, but Elaine never rushed her, never stopped smiling. When my turn finally came I raised my eyebrows as I slid my package across the counter.

“She lost someone close to her a while back,” Elaine said in a low voice so only I could hear her, “but I don’t mind. I like hearing the stories. Plus, I learned a long time ago that people aren’t going to stop talking until they have said what they want to say.”

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Parish Ministry, Psychology, Religion & Culture

Irish Times: Vatican inquiry most likely to be led by a cardinal

The Vatican inquiry into church practices in Ireland will be carried out by senior figures, most likely led by a cardinal, according to Vatican sources.

The inquiry, in the form of an Apostolic Visitation, was signposted in Pope Benedict XVI’s pastoral letter to the Catholics of Ireland at the weekend.

Although no final decisions have yet been made about the nature and the timing of the inquiry, Vatican sources yesterday confirmed that the visitation will focus primarily on the handling of sex abuse cases.

The visitation is expected to include the Archdiocese of Dublin, the Diocese of Ferns and many of those institutions which featured in last summer’s Ryan report, while it may also take in a number of, or indeed all, the other Irish dioceses.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Children, England / UK, Ireland, Law & Legal Issues, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Sexuality

Eugene Robinson (Washington Post)–The health-care bill: A glorious mess

Even when the “fixes” that have to be approved by the Senate are made, the health-care bill will still be something of a mess. But it’s a glorious mess, because it enshrines the principle that all Americans have the right to health care — an extraordinary achievement that will make this a better nation.

It may take years to get the details right. The newly minted reforms are going to need to be reformed or at least fine-tuned, and those will not be easy battles. But the social movements that allowed Obama to become president and Pelosi to become speaker proved that the arc of history bends toward fairness and inclusion.

Needed change must not be thwarted, even if some people find it hard to accept. Obama got it right in his remarks following the vote: “We did not fear our future. We shaped it.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --The 2009 American Health Care Reform Debate, Health & Medicine, House of Representatives, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Senate

Catherine Deveny in the SMH: Atheism is a broad church

The word ”militant” has become synonymous with atheist. Militant is simply a word used to describe someone showing opposition in a way the people being opposed don’t like.

And yes, atheists have killed, tortured, lied and stolen – never in the name of atheism, but because they’re bad.

Jews, Muslims, Christians and atheists are generally moral people. But that’s not because they’re Jews, Muslims, Christians or atheist. It’s because they’re people.

I do hate. I hate religion taking credit for most people’s innate goodness.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Atheism, Australia / NZ, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

Paul Sheehan in the SMH: Partisan politics and secrets in Obama's health deal

Seventy-five years ago, on August 8, 1935, the United States Congress passed the first sweeping legislation creating a welfare safety net for the American people, the Social Security Act 1935. Its champion was President Franklin D. Roosevelt….

Support in Congress was both overwhelming and bi-partisan.

Thirty years later, in July 1965, Congress passed the second major piece of the national safety net, the Medicaid and Medicare act.

It, too, passed by an overwhelming majority with bi-partisan support. That bill was championed by another Democratic President, Lyndon B. Johnson….

Now comes the third major piece in the safety net when tomorrow (local time), President Barack Obama signs the Health Care and Education Affordability Reconciliation Act of 2010, introducing almost universal health care.

The bill passed yesterday in the House by a slender and contentious majority, 219 vote to 212.

Not a single Republican voted ‘yes’.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --The 2009 American Health Care Reform Debate, Australia / NZ, Health & Medicine, House of Representatives, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Senate

Peter Carell: Discipline The Episcopal Church

One running theme in recent comments here, but also for a long time now on many blogs, is the plea to see some real discipline of TEC. Something which did not occur with any substance after 2003 (the closest was the suspension of TEC for one ACC meeting at which its suspended members were observers), and something which should now happen with the Glasspool confirmation. So the argument goes, and it is an argument with merit because the Glasspool confirmation has a deeper significance than being the confirmation of a partnered lesbian person to be a bishop. That deeper significance is this: following Gene Robinson’s consecration a series of restrained decisions on the part of TEC’s GC meant that there was plausible argument in response to calls to discipline TEC that TEC might not actually be walking apart from the Communion, the Robinson consecration being a temporary diversion from the one path of Anglican polity; now however TEC has effectively announced that no temporary diversion has taken place, it is walking apart from the Communion.

Actually I want to suggest it is walking apart from the Communion in two ways. The first is walking apart from the common direction in the Communion, that Anglican bishops who are neither single nor married are living contradictory to Scripture and tradition. The second is walking apart from an emerging direction that the Anglican Communion cannot remain as it is, essentially a meeting point of Anglicans, but must move forward to becoming a worldwide church. To me it is inescapable that a consequence of the Glasspool confirmation is confirmation that TEC under no circumstances will be beholden to any authority larger than itself and thus is deeply opposed to any movement of the Communion towards becoming a worldwide church.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, Archbishop of Canterbury, Australia / NZ, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Global South Churches & Primates, Instruments of Unity, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Los Angeles, Theology

Zenit: Cardinal Herranz speaks of the Church at a Post-Secular Crossroads (Part 1)

At present quite a few sociologists specialized in the analysis of cultural tendencies and processes — for example John Micklethwait, editor-in-chief of The Economist, and Adrian Wooldridge, author of the bestseller “God Is Back” — are not convinced that atheistic secularism or religious indifference is advancing in society; rather, the opposite is happening.

Decades ago some predicted the death of religion, above all of Christianity, but later they have had to rectify themselves and admit a return of the religious under very varied forms.

Not a few say that we are in a post-secular period, characterized by a growing interest and debate on fundamental human questions, with a patent religious dimension.

In a recent report titled “The Return of God,” a non-confessional Italian newspaper, La Repubblica, was surprised by the boom of books on faith in Italian bookstores, where sales have increased by 27% in the past year.

Concretely, it stated that the sale of books on religious topics had increased by 196% in the large centers of distribution, such as supermarkets and commercial centers.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Globalization, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Secularism

CNS–Immigration reform advocates flock to Washington, pressing for change

By bus from across the country and on foot from across town, an estimated 200,000 people flocked to the National Mall March 21 to press Congress and the president — with signs, banners, T-shirts, chants and prayers — to make good on promises to fix the immigration system.

U.S. citizens, legal immigrants and some who admitted they are in the country illegally covered a six-block stretch of the Mall to make their case for reforming a system that keeps families apart, limits students’ education prospects and causes millions of people to exist “in the shadows,” because they lack legal papers.

Before marching three miles past the Capitol to RFK Stadium, where their buses waited, the exuberant, hopeful crowd waved flags and signs as dozens of speakers took to the stage to tell their personal immigration stories. Other speakers pledged the support of their churches, unions and human rights groups.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Law & Legal Issues, Other Churches, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

Asheville Mother Grove Goddess Temple to celebrate spring equinox in N.C. Episcopal Parish

Members of Mother Grove Goddess Temple will celebrate at 7 p.m. Saturday with A Breath of Appalachian Spring: A Ritual in Celebration of the Spring Equinox, in the parish hall of the Episcopal Cathedral of All Souls in Biltmore Village.

Saturday’s event is open to all faith traditions, said Byron Ballard, wiccan priestess and a member of the temple. Mother Grove “isn’t a wiccan group, though some of us are wiccans,” she said.

“Mother Grove is an outgrowth of the work of several people in the goddess/earth religions community,” Ballard said. “Its goal is to create a permanent sanctuary, where people of all faith traditions may openly and safely celebrate the divine feminine, the goddess.”

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