Daily Archives: March 27, 2010

NPR–Jesus, Reconsidered: Book Sparks Evangelical Debate

Who is Brian McLaren, and what has he done to make these people so angry?

It turns out that McLaren is considered one of the country’s most influential evangelicals, and his new book, A New Kind of Christianity, takes aim at some core doctrinal beliefs. McLaren is rethinking Jesus’ mission on Earth, and even the purpose of the crucifixion.

“The view of the cross that I was given growing up, in a sense, has a God who needs blood in order to be appeased,” McLaren says. “If this God doesn’t see blood, God can’t forgive.”

McLaren believes that version of God is a misreading of the Bible.

“God revealed in Christ crucified shows us a vision of God that identifies with the victim rather than the perpetrator, identifies with the one suffering rather than the one inflicting suffering,” he says.

Read or listen to it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Books, Christology, Evangelicals, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Theology

Willis Jenkins: Summary Statement of the Reappraiser Position on Non-celibate Same Sex Unions

Read it carefully and read it all also.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Same-sex blessings, Seminary / Theological Education, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Grant LeMarquand: Summary Statement of the Reasserter Position on Non-celibate Same Sex Unions

Read it carefully and read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Same-sex blessings, Seminary / Theological Education, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops, Theology

Grant LeMarquand Speaks at TEC House of Bishops

Two years ago The Episcopal Church House of Bishops asked a panel of eight theologians, four “conservative” and four “liberal,” to produce a study document addressing the issue of same-sex marriage. The Rev. Dr. Grant LeMarquand, Trinity’s Academic Dean, was one of the theologians on that committee. Their work is now done.

Along with Dr. Willis Jenkins of Yale, Grant went to the Spring 2010 meeting of the House of Bishops to present the work of the panel. Both Willis and Grant gave ten minute presentations summarizing the two positions, for and against same-sex marriage. The bishops then discussed among themselves in table groups following which there was an hour for the bishops to ask questions. Perhaps the most interesting thing which happened during that question period was a short speech by Gene Robinson, Bishop of New Hampshire, who expressed dissatisfaction with both papers and stated that it was time to move beyond speaking simply of “GLBT” (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgendered) orientations: “there are so many other letters in the alphabet,” he said; “there are so many other sexualities to be explored.” He did not elaborate as to what those other sexualities and other letters of the alphabet might be.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Same-sex blessings, Seminary / Theological Education, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops, Theology

NY Times Issues Correction on Thursday story on the Pope and the Irish Church

From here:

An article on Thursday about the fallout from the Roman Catholic sexual abuse scandal in Europe misstated the estimated number of children in Ireland who were victims, according to two government reports last year. The report said the children numbered in the tens of thousands, not the “hundreds of thousands.”

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

NY Archdiocese Calls for Retraction from the NY Times

From here:

The editorial in the New York Times of March 25, 2010, regarding Edward Cardinal Egan needs to be corrected immediately. In his twenty-one years as Bishop of Bridgeport and Archbishop of New York, there was no known incident of the abuse of minors by priests in the Cardinal’s care. The case that is described in the report to which the Times editorial refers has to do with events before the Cardinal’s tenure and was correctly handled by the Cardinal and his collaborators. During the Cardinal’s tenure in Bridgeport, despite careful questioning by diocesan staff and counsel and by professionals in the most highly-esteemed psychiatric institution in the nation, it was never proved that the priest in question had abused minors. Nonetheless, the Cardinal withdrew the priest’s authorization to exercise his priesthood and directed him to reside in a former seminary. When after four years the former seminary residence was no longer available, the priest was re-directed to live in a convent of religious women while acting as assistant-chaplain in a nursing-home. It is reported that some years after the Cardinal left Bridgeport, new information about the priest’s conduct emerged, and he was dismissed from the priesthood. During Cardinal Egan’s tenure, however, the case was handled both carefully and appropriately.

In December 2009 the Cardinal’s proper handling of alleged incidents of the abuse of minors by priests was detailed in the two attached statements of the Diocese of Bridgeport and the Archdiocese of New York released to the media and published in the December 3, 2009 edition of Catholic New York.

Posted in Uncategorized

NCR Editorial–Credibility gap: the Pope needs to answer questions

The Holy Father needs to directly answer questions, in a credible forum, about his role — as archbishop of Munich (1977-82), as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (1982-2005), and as pope (2005-present) — in the mismanagement of the clergy sex abuse crisis.

We urge this not primarily as journalists seeking a story, but as Catholics who appreciate that extraordinary circumstances require an extraordinary response. Nothing less than a full, personal and public accounting will begin to address the crisis that is engulfing the worldwide church. It is that serious.

To date, as revelations about administrative actions resulting in the shifting of clergy abusers from parish to parish emerge throughout Europe, Pope Benedict XVI’s personal response has been limited to a letter to the Irish church. Such epistles are customary and necessary, but insufficient.

Read it all.

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

John L Allen (NCR): Keeping the record straight on Benedict and the crisis

Intense scrutiny is being devoted these days to Pope Benedict XVI’s history on the sex abuse crisis. Revelations from Germany have put his five years as a diocesan bishop under a spotlight, and a piece on Thursday in The New York Times, on the case of Fr. Lawrence Murphy of Milwaukee, also called into question his Vatican years as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Despite complaints in some quarters that all this is about wounding the pope and/or the church, raising these questions is entirely legitimate. Anyone involved in church leadership at the most senior levels for as long as Benedict XVI inevitably bears some responsibility for the present mess. My newspaper, the National Catholic Reporter, today called editorially for full disclosure [1] about the pope’s record, and it now seems abundantly clear that only such transparency can resolve the hard questions facing Benedict.

Yet as always, the first casualty of any crisis is perspective. There are at least three aspects of Benedict’s record on the sexual abuse crisis which are being misconstrued, or at least sloppily characterized, in today’s discussion. Bringing clarity to these points is not a matter of excusing the pope, but rather of trying to understand accurately how we got where we are.

The following, therefore, are three footnotes to understanding Benedict’s record on the sexual abuse crisis….

Read it all.

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

Top Episcopal bishop praises agencies' work in Nebraska visit

During her visit to Grand Island on Friday morning, Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori spoke to church leaders and parishioners about the Episcopal calling to serve a hurting world.

But before she spoke, she also got to witness an ideal example of that type of service in Grand Island’s own St. Stephen’s Community Center.

After her tour, Jefferts Schori said she was wowed by the partnerships she found among the numerous community groups that use the community center, which is connected to St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, Pastoral Care, Presiding Bishop

John L Allen (NCR): Will Ratzinger's past trump Benedict's present?

In a papacy sometimes marred by scandal and internal confusion, Benedict’s handling of the sexual abuse crisis has often been touted as a bright spot — one case, at least, in which the expectations of the cardinals who elected him for a firmer hand on the rudder seem to have been fulfilled.

That background makes the scandals now engulfing the church in Europe especially explosive, because by putting the pope’s all but forgotten tenure as the Archbishop of Munich from May 1977 to February 1982 under a microscope, they threaten to once again make Benedict seem more like part of the problem than the solution.

Read it all–a little dated now but helpful.

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

From Emilio, W. Texas Internet developer: Sexuality and the Episcopal Church

Unfortunately, there are not only diocese[s] leaving TEC, but a clear plan of response from the PB on how to deal with these departures. The PB is essentially defrocking these diocesan bishops as they leave or seek to leave (this only has some effect in TEC as other provinces continue to recognize the bishops). Exacerbating this situation further, she is also seeking to replace the bishops with those loyal to her. The last part of the plan is to then sue the former diocesan bishop (who, in almost all cases, has not physically left their diocese but rather transferred association to another province) and diocesan officers in order to acquire all former “TEC property” that has now been transferred to another province.

It is because of this policy and the negative will it has created around TEC that I was pleased to read about the resolution of the South Carolina case. Does it bode well for current and future cases? I don’t know. I hope it does, but it appears as though the current policy will remain in place. The South Carolina bishop has a convention to lead this weekend and his comments on this issue will interest me. Also fervently hope and pray Christian love and Paul’s teaching about communal living will be at the heart of any discussion prior to another diocese leaving. I can’t in good conscience make someone stay in TEC, but I also don’t have to be mean when they decide to leave. Especially when they are only responding to the issue of homosexuality in the same manner as many provinces outside of TEC.

Wish us peace and luck as we endeavor to continue serving him and anyone who wants to worship alongside us.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, Presiding Bishop, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts

The Amended Finally Approved Text of Resolution 2 From Yesterday

Resolution R-2 2010 Convention

Offered by: The Standing Committee

Subject: Response to Ecclesiastical Intrusions by the Presiding Bishop

RESOLVED, That this 219th Convention of the Diocese of South Carolina affirms its legal and ecclesiastical authority as a sovereign diocese within the Episcopal Church, and be it further

RESOLVED, That this Convention declares the Presiding Bishop has no authority to retain attorneys in this Diocese that present themselves as the legal counsel for the Episcopal Church in South Carolina, and be it finally

RESOLVED, That the Diocese of South Carolina demands that the Presiding Bishop withdraw and terminate the engagement of all such legal counsel in South Carolina as has been obtained contrary to the express will of this Diocese, which is The Episcopal Church within its borders.

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

ENS: South Carolina Convention passes resolutions on diocesan identity, authority

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Episcopal Church (TEC), Presiding Bishop, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, Theology

One South Carolina Rector Offers some Thoughts About Yesterday's Diocesan Convention

I’m “pondering on the fly” this afternoon. By that I mean that thoughts are flying around in my head like beads yet to be strung. You see, I’ve just returned (it’s 5:10pm as I’m starting to write this) from the 219th Diocesan Convention of the Diocese of South Carolina hosted by St. Paul’s, Episcopal Church in Summerville, SC; and while my body is weary after a total of four hours traveling and seven hours of convention activity, colliding beads of thought promise that truly restful sleep is still many hours away.

The day had many blessings, not the least of which were the joyful embraces and conversations shared with friends that I see far too infrequently; but my thoughts are not really about those pleasantries – instead they’re flowing from two sources: Bishop Lawrence’s address to the convention (click here to read it) and the sermon given by the Very Rev. Dr. Robert Munday, Dean of Nashotah House Seminary in Nashotah, Wisconsin, during the opening Eucharist (…[now] posted on the diocesan website www.dioceseofsc.org).

With respect to Bishop Lawrence’s address, for now let it suffice for me to say that it is becoming clearer by the day that the Diocese of South Carolina and The Episcopal Church are on opposite sides of a battle that will soon be engaged on multiple fronts, theology and polity being the most obvious at the moment (go to www.dioceseofsc.org to read the resolutions and canonical changes adopted during today’s convention). Bishop Lawrence and the Standing Committee are carrying the banner for us at present; but the time will come when we here at The Church of the Cross will be challenged to step boldly into the fray in the name of Christ. We are ready, of that I’m sure; but it’s not yet our time.

That brings me to the other source of the thought – beads I’m pondering: two statements made by Dean Munday. First, the average age of folks sitting in Episcopal pews is 57; and, according to actuarial tables, that means that in the next 18 years half of the denomination’s members will have died. That’s a sobering thought! I take some comfort from the fact that the average age of our congregation is 41; but I’m still thinking that during the next 18 years many of us will be passing on to glory and that we need to be concerned, not just about our mortality, but about raising up the next generation of those who will bear the truth of the Gospel. We’re a great and growing congregation (adding an average of two families per week to our number thus far in 2010); but our growth reflects the accuracy of another statistic given by Dean Munday: 59% of our growth is coming from transfers from other dominations and congregations. My friends, we live in an area where almost two-thirds of the people do not have a church home and the majority of them do not have a relationship with Jesus Christ. We are fishing for men and women and catching quite a few but it occurs to me that many of them look a lot like us. We need to put more lines in the water and many of those lines need to be dropped into new fishing holes, using new tackle and techniques. What will that look like? I’m not sure yet but I’m pondering it . . . I’m stringing the beads!

–The Rev. Chuck Owens is rector, Church of the Cross, Bluffton, S.C.

Posted in Uncategorized

Local Paper: South Carolina Episcopal Convention takes issue with National leader

At Friday’s convention, officials passed five resolutions quickly and overwhelmingly. Four pertained directly or indirectly to the current crisis.

Barbara Mann, president of the Episcopal Forum of South Carolina, a group of about 500 who advocate loyalty to the Episcopal Church, said she was saddened by the antagonistic tone of the convention.

“I think what disturbed me most was the battle language,” she said. “They have separated themselves even more from the Episcopal Church.”

Mostly, the resolutions were restatements of existing positions or angry expressions of concern, Mann said. But she interpreted the call for “a generous pastoral response to parishes in conflict” with the church to signify a willingness on the part of the bishop to permit dissenting parishes to leave the church.

Jim Lewis, the diocese’s canon to the ordinary, said the language simply means that the bishop has discretion to exercise his authority over these parishes as he sees fit.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Episcopal Church (TEC), Instruments of Unity, Law & Legal Issues, Presiding Bishop, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts