Daily Archives: March 26, 2010

Naomi Schaefer Riley: The Merits of a Kosher-for-Passover Vacation

Diane Medved, a clinical psychologist and the wife of radio host Michael Medved, says that the time before Passover “used to be a black month” for her. There was so much work to be done””cleaning the house from top to bottom, getting rid of any “leavened food,” switching to a new set of dishes, cooking for a large extended family””that she began to dread the whole experience. But then, like her ancestors in Egypt who labored under the pharaoh, Ms. Medved jokes, she was “released from bondage.” Twenty-one years ago, Ms. Medved and her family started going to resorts for the entire eight days of Passover, and she has never looked back.

Kosher-for-Passover vacations have been around for more than a quarter-century, but in recent years they have become more popular and more elaborate. Raphi Bloom, the sales and marketing director of Totally Jewish Travel, a Web site advertising getaways for observant Jews, says that he has 120 hotels on five continents promoting vacations for the holiday this year, which runs for eight days starting at sundown on Monday. From cruises to South America to resorts in Hawaii to luxury hotels in Europe, these vacations can run more than $10,000 for a family of four (not including airfare).

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Judaism, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Travel

At South Carolina Diocesan Convention

I am having terrible connectivity issues. Robert Munday preached a lovely sermon at the Morning Eucharist. Bishop Lawrence is in the process of giving his address.

Update: The bishop is finished with his address which was quite comprehensive and full of quiet resolve. We are now voting.

Another Update: The convention will not adjourn but will recess until a time certain.

Posted in Uncategorized

Pope Was Told Pedophile Priest Would Get Transfer

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Children, Europe, Law & Legal Issues, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pope Benedict XVI, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

BBC–Vatican attacks media on 'Pope role' in sex abuse cases

The Vatican has attacked the media over charges that the Pope failed to act against a US priest accused of abusing up to 200 deaf boys two decades ago.

A Vatican newspaper editorial said the claims were an “ignoble” attack on the Pope and that there was no “cover-up”.

Archbishops had complained about Fr Lawrence Murphy in 1996 to a Vatican office led by the future pope, but apparently received no response.

Read it all–this story was the top one on BBC World news this morning at 6:00 EST.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, Media, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pope Benedict XVI, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Sexuality, Theology

The Punch: New Nigerian Anglican primate restates ban on same-sex marriage

New Primate of the Anglican Church, Archbishop Nicholas Okoh, has restated the position of the Anglican Communion in Nigeria against the practice of gay marriage in the church.

This followed a call by Acting President Goodluck Jonathan on religious leaders in the country to collaborate with the Federal Government in transforming the country.

Jonathan was the special guest at the formal handing over of the reign of office to Archbishop Okoh by outgoing Archbishop Peter Akinola, on Thursday at the Cathedral of the Advent Church in Abuja.

In his short speech, the Acting President called on the church to shun corruption and discourage social vices.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of Nigeria, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

Deirdre Good on the House of Bishops Theology Comm. Draft report

The document “Same-Sex Relationships in the Life of the Church” is now posted here. As the preface notes, “this project was commissioned in the spring of 2008 by the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church, to be overseen by the Theology Committee.” The postscript to the document written by the Theology Committee of the House of Bishops expresses gratitude for the work of the report, noting however that “their work is for study and reflection and does not constitute a position paper of the Theology Committee” (p.86).

The document contains statements by two parties or affinity groups offering two different interpretations of creedal faithfulness as the editor’s foreward notes (iv): the traditionalists write on Same-Sex Marriage and Anglican Theology while the liberals write on a Theology of Marriage Including Same-Sex Couples. Each affinity group then responds to the work of the other group and the editor offers an epilogue.

I rejoice that our work is now available for all to read.

When the document was presented to the House of Bishops on March 20, 2010, Willis Jenkins gave this introduction (posted here with his permission). Grant LeMarquand also gave an introduction. Willis Jenkins’ introduction helps to counter two blogosphere misperceptions to our work so far: nothing new and no points of agreement.

Read it all.

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

Douglas Hollis: The Church (of England) is declining, but Fresh Expressions is not radical enough

I have three comments. First, the concern about the plight of the Church which Canon Bird expressed during the Synod debate in February was fully justified. On 29 January the Church Times reported a further decline of two per cent in 2008 in average Sunday attendance. The average age of church members is 65.

Government forecasts are that people of 65 have an expectation of life of about 20 years, so that by 2030 roughly half of present church members will have died. Given an attendance of about one million a week, the target for recruitment, whether by Fresh Expressions or other means, must therefore be 25,000 new members a year for 20 years, just to stay where we are now.

Decline has been the unremitting state of the Church for 100 years; such a rate of recruitment therefore seems highly optimistic.

Second, outreach and mission are not the same thing. Outreach does what it says on the tin. Outreach feeds itself; it is like an octopus reaching out within the limited range of its tentacles to draw food into its mouth. Such is the nature of Fresh Expressions, whether by planting new churches or more innovative means.

Read it call from last week’s Church Times.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Evangelism and Church Growth, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

NZ Anglican Church's Social Justice Commission Concerned about Govt Benefit Changes

“Benefits provide security to our society’s most vulnerable people, and people who claim them are a part of our society ‘whanau’. Also, this government is working to overcome family violence, so the idea that John Key should want to give some of the most vulnerable in society a kick in the pants is both offensive and absurd. Kicking someone in the pants always does more harm than good,” says Dr Anthony Dancer, the Anglican Church’s Social Justice Commissioner.

“We need to be clear that with the number of redundancies and rise in unemployment, particularly prominent among Maori and Polynesian people, even the most highly qualified are finding it hard to find good jobs. Just because a solo parent’s kids go to school, it doesn’t necessarily mean a good job can simply be found at the drop of a hat. Or are beneficiaries supposed to do any work that is going? The kind of work the rest of society doesn’t want to do?”

It is unclear if the Government thinks it will be easier for beneficiaries to find work because they should take whatever work they are offered, while the middle classes continue to make more discerning choices.

Read the whole thing.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, Anglican Provinces, Australia / NZ, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Politics in General, Theology

LA Times–UC Irvine's Francisco Ayala wins Templeton Prize

As a young doctoral student in the 1960s, Francisco Ayala was surprised to learn that Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution appeared to be less widely accepted in the United States than in his native Spain, then a profoundly conservative and religious country.

Ayala brought a unique sensibility to the topic, because he had been ordained as a Catholic priest before undertaking graduate studies in evolution and genetics. What he believed then, and has spent his career espousing, is that evolution is consistent with the Christian faith.

On Thursday, Ayala, an acclaimed researcher at UC Irvine, won the 2010 Templeton Prize, awarded annually in recognition of achievements in affirming spirituality. The prize is worth $1.6 million, which Ayala said he would give to charity.

In announcing the award, Dr. John M. Templeton Jr., president of the John Templeton Foundation, praised Ayala’s research, which has focused on evolutionary genetics, as well as his inquiries into fundamental questions of life. “Ayala’s clear voice in matters of science and faith echoes the foundation’s belief that evolution of the mind and truly open-minded inquiry can lead to real spiritual progress in the world,” Templeton said.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology

Barry Ritholtz Talks Common Sense and says we Need: More Foreclosures, Please . . .

The net results of the credit bubble are as follows:

1) An enormous number of families living in homes they cannot afford.

2) Bank balance sheets laden with current bad loans and lots of potential future defaulting loans.

3) Real Estate Sales, despite being propped up with historic low mortgage rates and tax purchase credits, are continuing to slide.

4) A weak overall economy with a very slow, soft recovery.

Whether a function of populist politics or bad economics, the proposals so far appear to address items one and three. But upon closer examination, they do nothing of the kind. In fact, they are actually gaming the system to help issue two ”” the bad loans the banks are carrying.

Even worse, they are making issue #4 ”” the economy ”” increasingly problematic.

We should allow the real estate market to experience a healthy price normalization process. Even though home prices have fallen dramatically, they have yet to reach their historical means relative to income or the cost of renting. This is to say nothing of the usual careening past the median towards under-valuation that typically follows a massive mis-allocation of capital.

Read it carefully and read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market, Office of the President, Personal Finance, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Stock Market, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The U.S. Government

BBC–Pressure grows on Pope over handling of abuse cases

Allegations have surfaced in the US that Pope Benedict failed to take action before his election as pontiff in yet another serious case of clerical paedophilia which has just come to light, this time at a school for deaf children in the state of Wisconsin.

The case has been confirmed by the Vatican. The Pope’s spokesman, however, defended the pontiff’s silence on the grounds that the Vatican department responsible for disciplining errant priests, formerly headed by the then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, had not been informed until 1996 – 20 years after the priest’s victims first informed the police.

Hardly a day goes by without new cases of sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests somewhere in the world being reported in the media.

Read it all.

Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

A NY Times Editorial: The Pope and the Pedophilia Scandal

ope Benedict XVI’s latest apology for the emerging global scandal of child abuse by predatory priests ”” an issue that the Roman Catholic Church should have engaged years ago ”” is strong on forgiveness but far short of the full accountability that Catholics need for repairing their damaged church.

With the scandal spreading across Europe, Benedict apologized to Irish Catholics last week for the “sinful and criminal” sexual abuse of thousands of children across decades. But he made no mention of the need to discipline diocesan leaders most responsible for shielding hundreds of priests from criminal penalties by moving them from parish to parish to continue their crimes.

The pope’s apology fell short not only for Catholics in Ireland, but for those in Germany, Austria and the Netherlands, where hundreds of new allegations are emerging to be investigated by a Vatican office that has but 10 workers to do the job.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pope Benedict XVI, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Sexuality, Theology

Raleigh News and Observer: Finding 'joy' in a rootless society by digging in at home

As a published author even before he graduated from Duke Divinity School in 2006, many might have expected Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove to move to a bigger city with brighter job prospects.

But instead, Wilson-Hartgrove and his wife, Leah, have dug their heels into the floorboards of a sagging 11/2-story bungalow in the Walltown neighborhood of Durham, where they have lived for the past seven years. The Wilson-Hartgroves have no plans to move, either.

In his new book, “The Wisdom of Stability: Rooting Faith in a Mobile Culture” (Paraclete Press), he explains why.

“We felt that by moving again and again we could get to a place where you dig 10 wells 3 feet deep and never strike water,” said Wilson-Hartgrove, 29.

The Wilson-Hartgroves see stability as a virtue. The couple consider themselves modern-day monks, devoted to a religious community of like-minded people who practice prayer, contemplation and works of justice.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Stewardship

From the Morning Bible Readings

Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart. We have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways; we refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.

–2 Corinthians 4:1-2

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Another Prayer for Lent

O Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, who art thyself the bread of life, and hast promised that he who comes to thee shall never hunger: Grant us faith truly to partake of thee through Word and Sacrament, that we may find refreshment of spirit and be strengthened for thy service; who livest and reignest with the Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Lent, Spirituality/Prayer