Daily Archives: April 23, 2010

Evan Goldstein: Not Everybody Is Ready for an Orthodox Rabba

Enthusiastic applause greeted Sara Hurwitz when she stepped to the podium last month to address a gathering of the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance in New York. Two months earlier, Ms. Hurwitz’s mentor, Rabbi Avi Weiss of the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale, had given her the title of “rabba,” or female rabbi, making her the most visible woman to join the Orthodox clergy. “The community is inspired, electrified and supportive of women functioning in rabbinic roles,” Rabba Hurwitz told the audience. That support, however, is far from universal.

In February the Agudath Israel of America, an ultra-Orthodox organization, blasted Rabba Hurwitz’s title as a “radical and dangerous departure from Jewish tradition” that “must be condemned in the strongest terms.” Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz warned, “We cannot allow someone whose guide is 20th century feminism . . . to hijack and attempt to redefine Orthodoxy.”

Rabbi Moshe Kletenik, president of the Rabbinical Council of America (RCA), a centrist group of Orthodox rabbis, told me, “A woman cannot be ordained as a rabbi or serve in the role of a rabbi based on our tradition.” Rabbi Steven Pruzansky, a vice president of the RCA, went further, likening the idea of female clergy to “pagan ideologies.”

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

The North American Delegation's Address to GSE4 in Singapore

There are two short talks one by Robert Duncan and the second by John Howe.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops

Church Times–Global South counselled to gain financial self-sufficiency

The Churches of the Global South are not beggars, cannot be bought, and do not want any patronising handouts from the West, the Arch­bishop of Nigeria, the Most Revd Nicholas Okoh, told 150 delegates to the Fourth Global Anglican South to South Encounter (GSE4) in Singapore on Monday.

In the opening address, the Arch­bishop emphasised the “absolute necessity for economic empower­ment in the Global South”, and warned against “the treachery of another gospel which is afraid of and denies the deity of Christ”.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Global South Churches & Primates, Global South to South Encounter 4 in Singapore April 2010

Christian Post–John Chew Appointed Head of Anglican Global South

Archbishop John Chew Hiang Chea has been elected head of the majority Global South Anglican bloc.

The announcement was made yesterday by outgoing Vice-Chairman Archbishop Emmanuel Kolini of Rwanda.

Archbishop Chew, who heads the 100,000-member Province of South East Asia, will succeed retired Archbishop Peter Jasper Akinola of Nigeria.

Previously Honorary General Secretary of the Anglican Global South, he was elected at the Primates’ Meeting on Wednesday night. His new official title is: Chairman of the Global South Primates Steering Committee (GSPSC).

“We covet your prayers together as a team,” said the Singaporean archbishop.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Global South Churches & Primates, Global South to South Encounter 4 in Singapore April 2010, The Anglican Church in South East Asia

Father agonizes, after son transforms into terrorist

Every other Saturday, Melvin Bledsoe makes a two-hour drive from Memphis to visit the son he still calls by his given name.

For an hour at the Pulaski County Detention Facility in Arkansas, Bledsoe speaks through a vent in the glass that separates him from his youngest child. He reminisces about high school graduation, their father-son trip to South Beach, Tenn.

“Remember that?” his father coaxes.

Bledsoe studies the face of this dark-haired, brown-eyed 24-year-old in blue prison scrubs and sometimes catches a glimpse of the happy-go-lucky Carlos he raised. Other times, it’s Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad, the Muslim convert charged in a shooting at a Little Rock Army recruiting center last summer that killed one soldier and injured another.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Children, Marriage & Family, Terrorism

Friday Mental Health Break–Terrific New Pedigree Dog Commercial

“Shelter dogs aren’t broken. They’ve simply experienced more life. If they were human, we would call them wise. They would be the ones with tales to tell and stories to write. The ones dealt a bad hand and responded with courage. Do not pity a shelter dog. Adopt one.”

Elizabeth and I caught this one by accident on a TIVOed show–what a fantastic ad–KSH.

Posted in * General Interest, Animals

Terry Mattingly: 'God beat’ not covered in major newsrooms

At the moment, the state of religion coverage is somewhere between “evolving” and “on life support.” Cutbacks in top-40 newsrooms — organizations that once had the resources to support a variety of specialty reporters — have sent many veteran scribes into early retirement.

More than a dozen print newsrooms have reduced or eliminated their religion-news jobs in the past three years. However, the amount of religion news remained surprisingly steady in 2009, at 0.8 percent, compared with 1.0 percent in 2008, according to a study by the Pew Project for Excellence in Journalism and the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Media, Religion & Culture

U.K. General Election 2010: A Roman Catholic bishop fears loss of faith schools

The Catholic bishops have refused on principle to be drawn into party politics during the general election campaign.

But the Rt Rev Malcolm McMahon, the Bishop of Nottingham, broke ranks to accuse the Lib Dems of seeking to destroy the partnership between the state and the churches in the provision of education.

“Catholics should give it very serious consideration before they vote Liberal Democrat,” said Bishop McMahon, the chairman of the Department for Education of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Education, England / UK, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

Virginia Postrel reviews Sheena Iyengar’s book The Art of Choosing

“The study hardly seems mine anymore, now that it has received so much attention and been described in so many different ways,” Iyengar, a professor at Columbia Business School, writes in “The Art of Choosing.” “From the various versions people have heard and passed on,” she adds, “a refrain has emerged: More is less. That is, more choice leads to less satisfaction or fulfillment or happiness….”

A congenial writer, Iyengar is less hard-edged and ideological than Schwartz and less glib than Malcolm Gladwell, who she says encouraged her to write this book. “The Art of Choosing” should appeal to fans of both writers. It’s full of the experimental results that make for good cocktail party chatter, but it offers fewer explicit lessons. Iyengar favors exploration over conclusions. “Isn’t this interesting?” she asks, rather than “Isn’t this awful?” or “Isn’t this useful?”

Take a mundane question: Do you choose to brush your teeth in the morning? Or do you just do it? Can a habit or custom be a choice? When Iyengar asked Japanese and American college students in Kyoto to record all the choices they made in a day, the Americans included things like brushing their teeth and hitting the snooze button. The Japanese didn’t consider those actions to be choices. The two groups lived similar lives. But they defined them differently.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Books, Psychology

CEN–Muted response to Archbishop Rowan Williams’s call for caution at GSE4

The Archbishop of Canterbury has urged patience and forbearance upon Church leaders attending the Fourth Global South to South Encounter in Singapore, asking them not to take any hasty decisions over the future of the Anglican Communion.

However, the reception accorded to Dr Rowan Williams’ pleas for restraint from the leaders of the evangelical wing of the Communion was muted, with no applause or outward show of appreciation from the delegates at the close of his address. For most of those present, his words were too little, too late.

Delegates tell The Church of England Newspaper that Dr Williams has exhausted his political and personal capital with the overseas Church in the wake of successive disappointments in his leadership over the past few years. While the Global South continues to honour the office, Dr Williams’ stock has reached a nadir with many of those present.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Archbishop of Canterbury, Global South Churches & Primates, Global South to South Encounter 4 in Singapore April 2010

Independent–Sarkozy launches new law to ban the burka

The French government will defy official advice and put forward a draft law next month to ban the burka, or full-body veil, from all public places.

Despite warnings that such a law would be open to constitutional challenge, President Nicolas Sarkozy insisted yesterday that a ban on the burka, and its Arab equivalent the niqab, was needed to protect the “dignity of women”.

The debate on the law, to be completed by July, will scramble the normal political boundaries between right and left. It will also divide France’s 4,000,000 to 5,000,000-strong muslim community.

Although the full-length veil is worn by only 2,000 women in France, its gradually increasing presence is seen by politicians on both the right and left as an affront to the official republican values of liberty and equality. Other politicians, on both right and left, say that a law is unnecessary, probably unconstitutional and likely to embitter race relations.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Europe, France, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

Communique from the Fourth Trumpet from the Fourth Anglican Global South to South Encounter

During our plenary sessions, bible studies and small group discussions we were called back to a fresh vision of God, of the Church and of Christian leadership. We saw God in His stunning holiness and absolute sovereignty through Isaiah’s vision (Is 6: 1-13), and correspondingly saw our own ingrained sinfulness and utter foolishness in trusting man rather than God alone. We caught a “ big” vision of the Church from her role as ”˜servant of the Lord’ (Is 42: 1-9) to bring God’s justice or ”˜right order of living’ to the nations of the world. This established the absolute necessity and priority for the Church to disciple her members under the authority of the inspired Scriptures so that they may transform their societies and reach the nations with the Gospel. The fresh call upon the Church’s leadership, from the Servant of the Lord’s costly obedience (Is 50: 4-9), is to be courageous and fully confident of the Lord’s sustaining grace and final vindication….

…we continue to grieve over the life of The Episcopal Church USA (TEC) and the Anglican Church of Canada and all those churches that have rejected the Way of the Lord as expressed in Holy Scripture. The recent action of TEC in the election and intended consecration of Mary Glasspool, a partnered lesbian, as a bishop in Los Angeles, has demonstrated, yet again, a total disregard for the mind of the Communion. These churches continue in their defiance as they set themselves on a course that contradicts the plain teaching of the Holy Scriptures on matters so fundamental that they affect the very salvation of those involved. Such actions violate the integrity of the Gospel, the Communion and our Christian witness to the rest of the world. In the face of this we dare not remain silent and must respond with appropriate action.

For many generations Anglicans have lived together with a shared understanding of our common faith; indeed among our great gifts has been the Book of Common Prayer that has provided a foundation for our common life. In recent years the peace of our Communion has been deeply wounded by those who continue to claim the name Anglican but who pursue an agenda of their own desire in opposition to historic norms of faith, teaching and practice. This has led to a number of developments including the GAFCON meeting that took place in Jerusalem in June 2008….

Global South leaders have been in the forefront of the development of the ”˜Anglican Covenant’ that seeks to articulate the essential elements of our faith together with means by which we might exercise meaningful and loving discipline for those who depart from the ”˜faith once for all delivered to the saints.’ We are currently reviewing the proposed Covenant to find ways to strengthen it in order for it to fulfill its purpose. For example, we believe that all those who adopt the Covenant must be in compliance with Lambeth 1.10. Meanwhile we recognize that the Primates Meeting, being responsible for Faith and Order, should be the body to oversee the Covenant in its implementation, not the Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Global South Churches & Primates, Global South to South Encounter 4 in Singapore April 2010

From the Morning Scripture Readings

O give thanks to the LORD, call on his name, make known his deeds among the peoples! Sing to him, sing praises to him, tell of all his wonderful works! Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice! Seek the LORD and his strength, seek his presence continually!

–Psalm 105:1-4

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Another Prayer for the Easter Season

O Blessed Lord, who didst promise thy disciples that through thy Easter victory their sorrow should be turned to joy, and their joy no man should take from them: Grant us, we pray thee, so to know thee in the power of thy resurrection, that we may be partakers of that joy which is unspeakable and full of glory; for thy holy name’s sake.

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

RNS–Legal skirmish colors National Day of Prayer

As Rep. Randy Forbes sees it, the decision by a Wisconsin federal judge that the law creating a National Day of Prayer is unconstitutional is little more than one person’s opinion.

Millions of Americans, Forbes said, think otherwise.

“That’s not what the Constitution says,” the Virginia Republican declared Wednesday (April 21), surrounded by other members of the Congressional Prayer Caucus. “That’s what one unelected judge says the Constitution says.”

On Thursday (April 22), the Justice Department said it would appeal the decision, capping a week of political uproar from conservatives after Judge Barbara Crabb of Madison, Wis., issued her April 15 ruling.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Law & Legal Issues, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Religion & Culture, Spirituality/Prayer