Daily Archives: May 16, 2010

Episcopal Holy War highlighted at one church in Southeast Florida

The theological differences that precipitated the exodus of Sellers’ congregation and others from the Episcopal Church are the root of the latest strife to affect the denomination. This new conflict, though, which has managed to unite groups that abandoned the denomination as far back as 1873, could mean serious trouble for the Episcopal Church, said Bill Leonard, dean and professor of church history at Wake Forest University Divinity School.

“It is very fascinating historically that the Anglican Communion in this country has decided to split over issues of sexuality, when they resisted schism over slavery, temperance, and fundamentalism and liberalism in the 1920s, those controversies that divided so many Protestant groups in North America,” he said.

“It took a long time, but now that it has started, it is moving along with a vengeance.”

In Pinellas, the squabble between the two churches continues over matters such as ownership of an early learning center and a bingo license. The Episcopal congregation wants its website and phone number back.

“It’s like a family breaking up,” said Jim DeLa, spokesman for the Episcopal Diocese.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Episcopal Church (TEC), Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Conflicts, TEC Departing Parishes, TEC Parishes

Tube Catches ”˜Some’ Oil From Leak in the Gulf

An experimental attempt to stop an oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico experienced some limited success over the weekend, BP announced Sunday afternoon.

Engineers successfully inserted a tube into the damaged riser pipe from which some of the oil is spewing, capturing “some amounts of oil and gas” before the tube was dislodged, the announcement said. The tube was inspected and reinserted, BP said.

“While not collecting all of the leaking oil, this tool is an important step in reducing the amount of oil being released into Gulf waters,” the announcement said. It did not say why the tube had come dislodged or how much oil and gas were taken aboard the Discover Enterprise, the drill ship waiting to separate the oil, gas and water as it is siphoned off. The gas that reached the ship was burned using a flare system on board.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, Science & Technology

Oregonian–The Episcopal example: Courage, cohesion and church schisms

Recently, however, the effects of an evolving U.S. Episcopal Church played out very differently at an east Portland Episcopal parish. On May 3, The Oregonian featured the story of St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church, where nearly 100 members left to form St. Matthew’s Anglican Church. Representatives of St. Matthew’s Anglican Church say they no longer feel “respected” by the U.S. Episcopal Church and are not comfortable with its modern interpretations of Scripture.

These arguments are not new: They are the same ones that have been used by breakaway priests and parishioners for 150 years as the Episcopal Church has evolved through slavery, women’s suffrage, civil rights, women’s rights and now the LGBT debate.

The members of the new St. Matthew’s are in a statistical minority; from 2003-08, the Oregon Episcopal diocese lost 2 percent of its baptized members, and the national Episcopal Church lost 9 percent. Researchers say pinning these declines purely on the church’s affirming of LGBT rights is difficult; they say the influence of a growing secular society cannot be ignored.

The St. Matthew’s schism is exactly what [Ted] Berktold worked hard to prevent at St. Mary’s. What follows are excerpts from a May 1 conversation with Berktold and [Bingham] Powell in Eugene.

Read it all.

Posted in Uncategorized

Found: Genes that let you live to 100

Scientists have discovered the “Methuselah” genes whose lucky carriers have a much improved chance of living to 100 even if they indulge in an unhealthy lifestyle.

The genes appear to protect people against the effects of smoking and bad diet and can also delay the onset of age-related illnesses such as cancer and heart disease by up to three decades.

No single gene is a guaranteed fountain of youth. Instead, the secret of longevity probably lies in having the right “suite” of genes, according to new studies of centenarians and their families. Such combinations are extremely rare ”” only one person in 10,000 reaches the age of 100.

Read the whole article.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Aging / the Elderly, Health & Medicine, Science & Technology

Sunday (London) Times–”˜Mummy’ Merkel battered as Germans lose faith in EU

Gisela and Susi, thirtysomething civil service secretaries, were shivering over their sausages in what the tabloids labelled the “most miserable May of the millennium” and planning their summer holidays. “I know where I’m not going,” one of them said. “The hotels, service and food aren’t as good as Turkey but the prices are as high as Italy!”

As Berliners bravely sat on the banks of the River Spree in unseasonably cold weather for the Ascension Day holiday that traditionally marks the start of summer, they had no doubt that the cold wind was blowing from the sunny south: Greece in particular.

The multi-billion-euro payout for Greece, followed by an even more expensive rescue package for the threatened single currency, has created the greatest political climate change in a generation.

Suddenly Germans are asking questions about the European project that has been the bedrock of their politics for 60 years, leaving Angela Merkel, the chancellor, under fire from the electorate, the opposition and her own party….

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Economy, Europe, Germany, Politics in General

Las Vegas–Building Is Booming in a City of Empty Houses

In a plastic tent under a glorious desert sky, Richard Lee preached the gospel of the second chance.

The chance to make money on the next housing boom “is like it’s never been,” Mr. Lee, a real estate promoter, assured a crowd of agents, investors and bankers. “We’re going to come back like you’ve never seen us before.”

Home prices in Las Vegas are down by 60 percent from 2006 in one of the steepest descents in modern times. There are 9,517 spanking new houses sitting empty. An additional 5,600 homes were repossessed by lenders in the first three months of this year and could soon be for sale.

Yet builders here are putting up 1,100 homes, and they are frantically buying lots for even more.

Las Vegas is trying to recover by building what it does not need. It is an unlikely pattern being repeated in many of the areas where the housing crash was most severe.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Notable and quotable

When her older sister, Emily, died in a rock climbing accident in 2006, Lauren tended to her grieving parents, Kay and Frank. Later, Lauren demanded answers from the Rev. Broderick, asking her about Jesus.

“I need to know the real thing, not the stupid stuff!” Lauren told the minister. “The stuff you study. I need to see you every day. For an hour!”

–From a New Jersey article describing the funeral of Lauren Failla, age 25, who died on April 28 in a crocodile attack while she was snorkeling in India’s Andaman Islands.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Death / Burial / Funerals, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Theology

LA Times–Elena Kagan's abortion stance has both sides guessing

In college Elena Kagan wrote an essay lamenting Republican gains in the 1980 election and referring to candidates backed by the Moral Majority as “avengers of ‘innocent life’ and the B-1 bomber.”

Now that Kagan stands as a nominee to join the Supreme Court, some conservatives believe the 30-year-old remark may reveal a personal animosity toward their side of the abortion rights cause.

But liberal activists also wonder about Kagan’s position. They point to memos she wrote as a policy staffer in the Clinton White House urging President Clinton to take a compromise position on some late-term abortions.

President Obama’s advisors say he has no doubt that Kagan is a legal progressive who will maintain the current balance of the court if confirmed to replace the retiring liberal John Paul Stevens. But with the constitutional right to an abortion apparently hanging by just one vote on the court, Kagan’s record is giving pause to both sides.

Read it all.

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

Statement from Anglican Mainstream following the consecration of Mary Glasspool as Suffragan Bishop

In her letter to the Primates, the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church (TEC) Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, confirmed that the consecration of the openly gay Mary Glasspool is not a random event but comes from the settled mind of her church. Sadly, this shows that TEC has now explicitly decided to walk apart from most of the rest of the Communion.

Since that decision by TEC has to be respected, it should result in three consequences. First, TEC withdrawing, or being excluded from the Anglican Communion’s representative bodies. Second, a way must be found to enable those orthodox Anglicans who remain within TEC to continue in fellowship with the Churches of the worldwide Communion. Third, the Anglican Church of North America (ACNA) should now be recognized an authentic Anglican Church within the Communion.

Dr Philip Giddings, Convenor,

Canon Dr Chris Sugden Executive Secretary, Anglican Mainstream

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Los Angeles

Integrity Celebrates Historic Los Angeles Ordination

Integrity celebrates with the Diocese of Los Angeles and the whole church today at the ordinations of Bishop Diane Jardine Bruce and Bishop Mary Douglas Glasspool. This history making day is another important step forward toward the full inclusion of all the baptized in the work and witness of the Episcopal Church, and Integrity is honored to have been part of it.

“As we celebrate these ordinations today, we also celebrate the hard work and persistent activism of Integrity over the last 35 years,” said President David Norgard. “Here in Long Beach today we are not only reaping the fruit of the work of those who have gone before us–we are planting the seeds for fuller inclusion throughout the whole church.”

Also present at the festive ordination service were past-presidents of Integrity, including Bruce Garner (Atlanta), Kim Byham (Newark), and Susan Russell (Los Angeles). “As a daughter of this diocese [I] could not be more proud that Los Angeles has responded to the call to be a headlight instead of taillight on full inclusion,” said Russell. “Today the first woman Presiding Bishop in the history of the Anglican Communion ordained the first two women bishops in the history of the Diocese of Los Angeles…and the fact that one of them is a lesbian is not an ‘issue’ but an opportunity for us to better incarnate the wholeness of God’s abundant and inclusive love.”

Today is a day for celebration. And tomorrow Integrity will get back to work toward the day when the gender, orientation, identity or race of a bishop for the Church of God is no longer an “issue.” For anybody. And for the time when all the sacraments will be fully available to all the baptized. For everybody

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

Edmund Conway–US faces one of biggest budget crunches in world ”“ IMF

Earlier this week, the Bank of England Governor, Mervyn King, irked US authorities by pointing out that even the world’s economic superpower has a major fiscal problem -“even the United States, the world’s largest economy, has a very large fiscal deficit” were his words. They were rather vague, but by happy coincidence the International Monetary Fund has chosen to flesh out the issue today. Unfortunately this is a rather long post with a few chunky tables, but it is worth spending a bit of time with ”“ the IMF analysis is fascinating.

Its cross-country Fiscal Monitor is not easy reading and is a VERY big pdf (17mb), so I’ve collected a few of the key points. The idea behind the document is to set out how much different countries around the world need to cut their deficits by in the next few years, and the bottom line is it’s going to be big and hard (ie 8.7pc of GDP in deficit cuts around the world, which works out at, gulp, about $4 trillion).

But the really interesting stuff is the detail, and what leaps out again and again is how much of a hill the US has to climb. Exhibit a is the fact that under the Obama administration’s current fiscal plans, the national debt in the US (on a gross basis) will climb to above 100pc of GDP by 2015 ”“ a far steeper increase than almost any other country.

Read it all and look carefully at the graphs.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Budget, Credit Markets, Economy, Politics in General, Taxes, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government, The United States Currency (Dollar etc)

Trichet Pegs Euro's Future to Tighter Fiscal Management

Amid concern in financial markets that the debt crisis could break apart the euro zone, European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet warned of contagion dangers and called for more action by euro-zone governments to pool fiscal governance.

“We are now experiencing extreme tensions,” Mr. Trichet said in an interview with Germany’s Der Spiegel magazine. The ECB provided a transcript Saturday.

“In the market, there is always a danger of contagion””like the contagion we saw among the private institutions in 2008.” Mr. Trichet said. Contagion can flare up quickly, he said, even in “half a day.”

What’s needed now, Mr. Trichet said, is “a quantum leap” in how Europe manages its fiscal economy, which he says in the most difficult situation since World War II.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Economy, Europe, Globalization