Daily Archives: April 7, 2010

Saint Andrew's Rector Writes the Local Charleston S.C. Newspaper

The clergy and lay leadership of St. Andrew’s Church have worked hard to maintain a good relationship with Bishop Lawrence and the Diocese of South Carolina throughout our discernment process. It would sadden me for our community to believe that there exists between us a tension and animosity that does not in fact exist. We have only affection for the members of the Diocese of South Carolina and gratitude for our life in the Diocese. As was evident in Bishop Lawrence’s gracious statement regarding our departure, there remains a mutual desire and commitment to cooperate in gospel mission and ministry that honors Jesus Christ and His Kingdom.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, TEC Departing Parishes

BBC–Lichfield diocese burial rule change after grave mix-up

Burial rules in a West Midlands diocese have been changed after a mix-up with grave plots which led to a court ordering an exhumation.

Daniel Hastelow, 26, was murdered in Majorca and buried in 2009 in St John’s churchyard, Walsall Wood, in a plot reserved for a widow, Jean Best.

Mrs Best requested an exhumation so that she could be buried beside her late husband Michael.

The church upheld her request and said it would mark reserved plots in future.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Death / Burial / Funerals, Parish Ministry

The Presiding Bishop's March Letter to Fellow Anglican Provincial Leaders Re: L.A. Bishop Choice

My dear brothers in Christ:

I write you because of developments in The Episcopal Church, about which you will soon hear and read. As you all know, the Diocese of Los Angeles elected two suffragan bishops in December, and the consent process for those bishops has been ongoing since then. One of those bishops-elect is a woman in a partnered same-sex relationship.

At this point, she has received consent from a majority of the bishops with jurisdiction, and a majority of the standing committees of this Church. According to our canons, I must now take order for her consecration. I will do so, and anticipate that both bishops-elect will be consecrated at the same service on 15 May. It has been my practice, since I took office, to preside at the consecration of new bishops, and I intend to do so in this case as well.
It may help you to know that our House of Bishops will continue to discuss these issues at our meeting later this month. The papers we discuss will be available publicly following that meeting, and we will endeavor to see that you receive copies. I would encourage you to engage in conversation any bishops whom you know in this Church, particularly those you came to know at Lambeth, whether in Bible study or Indaba groups.

Know that this is not the decision of one person, or a small group of people. It represents the mind of a majority of elected leaders in The Episcopal Church, lay, clergy, and bishops, who have carefully considered the opinions and feelings of other members of the Anglican Communion as well as the decades-long conversations within this Church. It represents a prayerful and thoughtful decision, made in good faith that this Church is ”˜working out its salvation in fear and trembling, believing that God is at work in us’ (Philippians 2:12-13).

I ask your prayers for this Church, for the Diocese of Los Angeles, and for the members of the Anglican Communion. This part of the Body of Christ has abundant work to do, and God’s mission needs us all.

If you have questions about this decision or process, I would encourage you to contact me. I would be glad to talk with you.

I pray that your ministry may continue to be a transformative blessing to many. I remain

Your servant in Christ,

–(The Rt. Rev.) Katharine Jefferts Schori is Presiding Bishop of TEC

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Primates, Episcopal Church (TEC), Presiding Bishop, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Los Angeles

Paul Volcker: Taxes likely to rise eventually to tame deficit

The United States should consider raising taxes to help bring deficits under control and may need to consider a European-style value-added tax, White House adviser Paul Volcker said on Tuesday.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Budget, Economy, Taxes, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government

Julian Baggini on a new film about Lourdes that he sees as realistic about religion

This has at least three implications for how the current debate about religion is deficient. First, to those who say the importance of belief is overstated, the reality of Lourdes proves otherwise. All sorts of literal beliefs are held about the occurrence of miracles, the holiness of the water, the reality of Bernadette’s visions and so on. When atheists reject all these as superstitions, they are not attacking a straw man.

Nevertheless, the assorted fictional pilgrims in Lourdes truthfully reflect the extent to which different beliefs carry more or less weight for different people. Some may not hold any at all, but more common, I think, is for people to hold them with varying degrees of strength and seriousness. Many characters in Lourdes don’t seem to have strong views on what they do or don’t believe. The way they relate to doctrine is just not primarily a matter of acceptance or rejection. Belief is therefore less a question of which are true and more one of which matter and why. So, for instance, many pilgrims are sceptical about whether miracles have actually occurred in Lourdes, but what matters to them is that they nonetheless believe God’s grace is somehow at work there. Others are indifferent to most, if not all, of the specifics of Christian belief, but embrace the compassion and support they feel at the shrine.

In many ways the film shows this better than I can tell it. It certainly sounds horribly vague when turned into prose. But I think the film makes a convincing case that there is a real phenomenon worth our consideration here. Difficult though it is to understand, unless we do so, arguments for or against belief are going to miss a lot of the point.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Europe, Movies & Television, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

Anglican Journal–Anglican churches urged by APJN to set aside differences

Anglican churches should set aside their internal divisions and be sensitive to the needs and struggles of people in societies worldwide, an international body representing various provinces of the Anglican Communion has urged.

The call was made by delegates to the triennial meeting of the Anglican Peace and Justice Network (APJN), which met March 14 to 20 in Geneva. The APJN also urged member provinces of the Communion to “incorporate issues of justice into missional work and into theological education at every level.”

A network of the Communion, the APJN is the vehicle by which Anglicans around the world collectively advocate for global peace and justice issues. Now in its 25th year, the APJN is composed of representatives from about 24 active provinces of the Communion.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, - Anglican: Primary Source, -- Reports & Communiques, Globalization

In the South Carolina Lowcountry the Outlook for schools is seen as dire

Schools will close, sports and arts programs will be dropped and class size will increase “astronomically” as student numbers increase while fewer teachers can be paid.

That’s the dire scenario Lowcountry public schools face by 2013 if the state sees the billion-dollar revenue shortfalls that are expected and continues cutting funds for education, the chairman of the Berkeley County School Board said.

“We’re essentially out of business,” Doug Cooper told members of the Greater Summerville-Dorchester County Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday. A whole generation of students could be lost and need remedial education as adults, he said.

“We’re going to have more and more students and less and less money. We just can’t ride this out. Education in this state is not a line item in the budget. It is our state,” Cooper said.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Education, Politics in General, State Government, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

A.S. Haley–Arguing the Virginia Cases in the Episcopal-Anglican Dispute

The Virginia Supreme Court has set oral arguments in the appeals brought by ECUSA and the Diocese of Virginia in the cases involving eleven ACNA parishes in the Anglican District of Virginia. I have previously discussed what took place at the hearings below in this post, and in this one; they may serve as background to understanding the issues involved. In this post, I would like to sketch out the issues as ECUSA and the Diocese have presented them in their briefs. In a subsequent post, I will go over the arguments of the ACNA parishes in opposition.

There is no way, of course, to predict what the Virginia Supreme Court will find significant in the briefs and arguments presented to it. Moreover, I am not licensed to practice in Virginia; someone who is may pick up on points of Virginia law and procedure that I have missed. Thus do not use these posts as a basis to expect any particular outcome. Instead, to the extent they assist you in making your way through the forest of contentions and counter-contentions, and in evaluating their relative strengths and weaknesses, they will have served their purpose.

At issue in these appeals is the interpretation and application of this Virginia statute, first adopted in 1867…

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Church/State Matters, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Virginia, TEC Departing Parishes

Shannon Gilreath–Not a Moral Issue: Same-Sex Marriage and Religious Liberty

Please note that this is a book review of Same-Sex Marriage and Religious Liberty: Emerging Conflicts, edited by Douglas Laycock, Anthony R. Picarello, Jr. and Robin Fretwell Wilson (Rowman & Littlefield, 2008)–KSH.

Having said all of this, I should say that I am not a supporter of marriage as a liberation strategy. Frankly, I really cannot see why, given all the ugliness about it that feminists have exposed over the last four decades””despite the legal incentives””Gay people would want it. Personally, I am not interested in redecorating the burning house. Of course, I am aware that despite the many principled reasons I see for resisting marriage, none of the marriage opponents on traditionalist grounds are making any of them. Their arguments are arguments for subordination. I also understand that, for Gays, having marriage, the ultimate straight measure, is a powerful teaching tool.93 But in the wake of Lawrence v. Texas, Katherine Franke, rightly I think, warned us about the “domestication” of Gay rights. The Gay movement’s headlong rush to marriage is a move that has been largely without critical analysis from the inside. Maybe it is time we start asking ourselves: Are we being led””to borrow a phrase from Alice Walker””“to sleep if not to the slaughter”?

Read it carefully and read it all (20 page pdf).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, America/U.S.A., Books, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture, Sexuality

RNS–Muslims, Sikhs Welcome Change in Airport Security Screenings

Muslim and Sikh groups praised the Transportation Security Administration for rolling back screening rules on passengers arriving from 14 primarily Islamic countries, even as some worry that profiling will continue.

The new rules had been enacted after a Nigerian Muslim man tried and failed to explode a bomb onboard a Northwest Airlines jet bound for Detroit on Christmas Day. Civil liberty groups said the rules amounted to ethnic and religious profiling.

The suspect in that case, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, had not been subjected to extra screening despite being listed in a government database of suspected or known terrorists.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Defense, National Security, Military, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

A Fruitful Exhortation to the Reading and Knowledge of Holy Scripture (1571)

Unto a Christian man there can be nothing either more necessary or profitable than the knowledge of holy Scripture; forasmuch as in it is contained God’s true word setting forth his glory and also man’s duty. And there is no truth nor doctrine necessary for our justification and everlasting salvation, but that is or may be drawn out of that fountain and well of truth. Therefore as many as be desirous to enter into the right and perfect way unto God must apply their minds to know holy Scripture; without the which they can neither sufficiently know God and his will, neither their office and duty. And, as drink is pleasant to them that be dry, and meat to them that be hungry, so is the reading, hearing, searching, and studying of holy Scripture to them that be desirous to know God or themselves, and to do his will.

Take the time today to read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Church History, Church of England (CoE), Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Mike Masnick: Court Tells FCC It Has No Mandate To Enforce Net Neutrality

This is the right decision. The FCC was clearly going beyond its mandate, as it has no mandate to regulate the internet in this manner. In fact, what amazed us throughout this whole discussion was that it was the same groups that insisted the FCC had no mandate over the broadcast flag, that suddenly insisted it did have a mandate over net neutrality. You can’t have it both ways (nor should you want to). Even if you believe net neutrality is important, allowing the FCC to overstep its defined boundaries is not the best way to deal with it.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Blogging & the Internet, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Law & Legal Issues, The U.S. Government

Seeking Emotional Clues Without Facial Cues

How does the brain interpret others’ expressions so quickly and accurately? The answer is likely to be enormously important, experts say, both for understanding how social interactions can go smoothly and how they can go off track.

Studies so far point to what psychologists call facial mimicry. During a social exchange, people subconsciously mirror each other’s surprise, disgust or delight ”” and, in effect, interpret the emotion by sensing what’s embodied on their own face. Interfere with the ability to mimic, these studies suggest, and people are less adept at reading others’ expressions.

But what if a person cannot mimic any expressions, at all?

In a new study, the largest to date of Moebius syndrome, Ms. Bogart and David Matsumoto, a psychologist at San Francisco State, found that people with the disorder, whatever their social struggles, had no trouble at all recognizing others’ expressions. They do just as well as anyone else in identifying emotions in photographed faces, despite having no way to mimic.

The findings strongly suggest that the brain has other systems to recognize facial expressions, and that people with facial paralysis learn to take advantage of those….

Read the whole article from yesterday’s Science Times.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Psychology

Reality check: abandon false praise, principals say

Public schools will continue to avoid labelling children failures in school reports which grade students A to E, but principals believe it is time to abandon false praise and give students a more realistic impression of their abilities.

Jim McAlpine, president of the NSW Secondary Principals Council, said schools should praise students who ”achieve great things”.

”If they don’t achieve as much as they should, there is no point giving them false praise,” he said. ”They need to know they have to achieve to get the rewards.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Australia / NZ, Children, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Psychology, Theology

Case Will Test N.F.L. Teams’ Liability in Dementia

The five paper-clipped sheets that were slipped into a wire basket at the Van Nuys State Office Building looked no different from the other workers’ compensation claims filed by welders and cashiers. But this packet was different: it will almost certainly become a test case in considering National Football League teams’ liability for the dementia experienced by retired players.

The claim was filed by Dr. Eleanor Perfetto on behalf of her husband, Ralph Wenzel, contending that his dementia at 67 is related to his career as an N.F.L. lineman from 1966 to 1973.

California’s workers’ compensation system provides a unique, and relatively unknown, haven for retired professional athletes among the 50 states, allowing hundreds of long-retired veterans each year to file claims for injuries sustained decades before. Players need not have played for California teams or be residents of the state; they had to participate in just one game in the state to be eligible to receive lifetime medical care for their injuries from the teams and their insurance carriers.

About 700 former N.F.L. players are pursuing cases in California, according to state records, with most of them in line to receive routine lump-sum settlements of about $100,000 to $200,000. This virtual assembly line has until now focused on orthopedic injuries, with torn shoulders and ravaged knees obvious casualties of the players’ former workplace.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Sports, Theology