Daily Archives: May 18, 2010

Women in the episcopate – C of E House of Bishops’ statement

The July Synod has the potential to be one of the most demanding meetings of the Synod for many years. It will, in the view of the House, be an occasion when all concerned will need to listen with particular care to those with views that differ from their own and to acknowledge the passion and sincerity with which those views are held.

The House is aware that there are those who believe that the present legislative process does not have the potential to lead to a satisfactory conclusion and that a better outcome is more likely to be achieved in some years’ time. Most members of the House consider, however, that it is crucial to keep faith with the present process. They see no grounds for believing that the issues with which the Church is grappling will become significantly easier to resolve with the passage of time.

The July debates will provide the chance for the full Synod to decide whether it wishes to make significant changes to the draft legislation, including whether to retain an approach based on a statutory code of practice or to support amendments giving effect to some other approach. What happens thereafter will depend on what Synod decides. On any basis it will be at least another two years before the mind of the Church of England can be determined at the final approval stage.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Women

NPR–Mexico's Drug War: A Rigged Fight?

The U.S. is giving $1.3 billion in military and judicial aid to Mexico to help Calderon’s battle against the drug mafias. Mexico’s drug cartels are the major foreign supplier of marijuana and methamphetamines to the United States, and Mexico is a main conduit for cocaine coming mainly from Colombia.

An NPR News investigation in Ciudad Juarez ”” ground zero of Calderon’s cartel war ”” finds strong evidence that Mexico’s drug fight is rigged, according to court testimony, current and former law enforcement officials, and an NPR analysis of cartel arrests.

In that border city, federal forces appear to be favoring one cartel, the Sinaloa (named after the coastal state in northwestern Mexico), which the U.S. Justice Department calls one of the largest organized crime syndicates in the world.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Defense, National Security, Military, Drugs/Drug Addiction, Mexico

Michael Thompson (Anglican Journal)–Punishment without the requisite crime

In the work that bears his name, Gilbert and Sullivan’s wonderfully imagined Mikado purports “To let the punishment fit the crime, the punishment fit the crime.” In their guest opinion column in the Anglican Journal (May 2010, p. 5), Catherine Sider-Hamilton and Dean Mercer have, on the other hand, already decided the punishment”“ “a second-tier status in the larger Anglican Communion.” It remains only to conjure up the requisite crime….

…the writers imply that the current conflict pits those who love and faithfully receive scripture against those who despise it, who find its teaching “oppressive and outdated.” But we know that those who support the blessing of committed monogamous same-sex relationships include many who know and love the Bible as living witness to the living God. And we know that as we receive and interpret scripture, the truth that emerges is often contested truth”“as for example, we come to divergent conclusions about the response that the God revealed in scripture invites to a question of sexual ethics and Kingdom ethos in the 21st century. Conflict and contested truth are not unfamiliar to Jesus’ disciples, and need not tear apart the foundational covenant of our common baptism into one body. We could renew a healthier and more faithful discourse by acknowledging contested truth and engaging in honest and charitable conversation about the practices, values and contextual realities that shape our reception and interpretation of scripture.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Instruments of Unity, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Windsor Report / Process

Local paper Front Page–School officials warn of deep cuts

Dorchester District 2’s well-regarded schools are in danger in the wake of severe budget cuts, school leaders and residents told County Council at a public hearing Monday night.

Allyson Duke, district chief financial officer, made a presentation to council’s Finance Committee on the 2010-2011 schools budget. She said the district faces a multimillion-dollar budget shortfall next year.

Her presentation was followed by a public hearing, which drew a standing-room-only crowd. At the hearing, district leaders and residents voiced their concerns about the impact of budget cuts on the schools.

Superintendent Joe Pye said, “the biggest issue is class size.” There will be more children, on average, in classrooms next year, which will impact students, he said.

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

Luke Coppen: John Henry Newman's universal message

Cynics might argue that the hymn’s words are little more than Hallmark card banalities. Newman himself worried that his fellow Victorians sentimentalised them and he strongly discouraged their use at funerals. But if the hymn was simply a bromide how did it nourish Gandhi as he suffered imprisonment, assault and near-death fasts? The Indian leader thought the phrase “one step enough for me” contained an entire political philosophy. It reminded him, as he faced one crisis after another, to act in the present and not to worry about the future.

Gandhi’s interpretation of the hymn might have surprised Newman, but it wouldn’t have scandalised him. Although he is portrayed as a ghostly intellectual Newman had a strong social conscience. As a cardinal he was entitled to live in Rome but he insisted on remaining a parish priest in blighted Birmingham.

When Benedict XVI beatifies Newman on 19 September he is not simply proclaiming that the cardinal was a holy man. He is saying that Newman’s life and teaching are of universal significance. Gandhi’s love of “Lead, kindly Light” proves that Newman is not just for Catholics. With its primordial imagery of dark and light the hymn speaks to anyone who is struggling, amid the gloom, to take the next step towards truth.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Liturgy, Music, Worship

Yukon Anglicans elect new bishop

Anglicans in the Yukon have elected the Right Rev. Larry Robertson as their new bishop over the weekend.

Robertson, who is currently an assistant bishop of the Anglican Diocese of the Arctic in Yellowknife, was chosen over three other candidates at the Yukon diocese’s synod Saturday in Whitehorse.

“Somebody came and asked me if I would run, and we prayed about it for a long time,” Robertson told CBC News after his election.

“I have a lot of connections with the diocese already, and so we felt it was good to let our names stand.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces

Kabul suicide car bombing 'kills at least 19'

A suicide car bomb that targeted a Nato convoy in the Afghan capital, Kabul, has killed at least 19 people, including six foreign troops.

The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the rush hour attack in the west of the city, where parliament and other government buildings are located.

More than 50 people – mostly Afghan civilians – were hurt in the explosion.

It is the deadliest attack on foreign forces in the heavily-guarded capital since a Taliban assault last September.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Afghanistan, Asia, War in Afghanistan

RNS: Arizona Clergy Press Immigration Reform on Capitol Hill

Religious leaders from Arizona took their cause to Capitol Hill on Thursday (May 13), saying they can no longer ignore the “human cost” of illegal immigration in their state.

“I’m here representing evangelicals,” said Gary Kinnaman, an evangelical pastor from Phoenix after a morning meeting with Sen. John McCain. R-Ariz. “We are increasingly concerned.”

The interfaith group of Jewish, Methodist, evangelical, Catholic and Episcopal leaders said they oppose their state’s new law that allows police to question Arizonans about their legal immigration status. The group said the federal government, not the state, should take the lead on immigration reform.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Law & Legal Issues, Other Churches, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, State Government

Cardinal Sen Brady statement "The Catholic church in Ireland has come a long way…

I hope today’s report will help to reassure everyone that while important challenges remain, the Catholic Church in Ireland has come a long way in addressing the failings of the past. I welcome in particular the report’s two clear conclusions: “Firstly, that children should be safer today within the church than they once were. Secondly, those that seek to harm children should feel much less secure.”

I also welcome the news that 2,356 individuals have been trained and are now acting as child safeguarding representatives in parishes across the country, with coverage of all parishes to be achieved in the coming months. This represents an extraordinary achievement by any standard and is a remarkable example of lay participation in the life and ministry of the church. I want to thank all those who give of their time, talent and expertise in safeguarding children. Building whole communities that actively keep children safe, together with effective structures of accountability and transparency, is the key to the future of child safeguarding within the church and, indeed, within society as a whole. Each one of us has to take responsibility for keeping children safe and for addressing the attitudes and practices which had such tragic consequences for so many children in the past.

There is no room for complacency. The tragic experience of the past reminds us that constant vigilance is needed as well as full adherence to robust, comprehensive and ongoing systems of accountability. As Pope Benedict XVI said to the bishops in his pastoral letter to the Catholics of Ireland: “Only decisive action carried out with complete honesty and transparency will restore the respect and goodwill of the Irish people towards the church to which we have consecrated our lives. This must arise, first and foremost, from your own self-examination, inner purification and spiritual renewal.”

Read the whole thing.

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

White House notes Iran nuclear deal skeptically

The White House on Monday showed deep skepticism about Iran’s new deal to ship low-enriched uranium off its soil, saying it has the chance to be “positive step” but warning that the deal still allows Iran to keep enriching uranium toward the pursuit of a nuclear weapon.

“Given Iran’s repeated failure to live up to its own commitments, and the need to address fundamental issues related to Iran’s nuclear program, the United States and international community continue to have serious concerns,” White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said in a written statement to the media.

In a deal struck with Turkey and Brazil, Iran said it would export much of its low-enriched uranium to Turkey. In return, Iran would get fuel rods of medium-enriched uranium to use in a Tehran medical research reactor. The move was seen as an attempt by Iran to prevent a looming round of United Nations sanctions.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Defense, National Security, Military, Foreign Relations, Iran, Middle East, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama

Thomas L. Friedman on Charlie Rose Speaking about Last week's Events in Europe

You know, Charlie, for 60 years you could really say being in politics, being a political leader, was, on balance, about giving things away to people. That’s what you did most of your time.

I think we’re entering an era — how long it will last, I dare not predict — where being in politics is going to be more than anything else about taking things away from people. And that shift from leaders giving things away to leaders taking things away, I don’t think we know what that looks like over time. It’s going to be very, very interesting.

Read or watch it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Credit Markets, Defense, National Security, Military, Economy, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Greece, Politics in General, The Banking System/Sector, War in Afghanistan

John A. Buehrens–A Liberal religious renaissance?

The new Arizona law prompted a memory. My wife and I once lived in a town in Texas. It was common practice for the police there to pull over people passing through — often just for “driving while being Hispanic.” We are both ministers. We asked, “Is that how we would want to be treated, if we were Hispanic?” We protested then against racial profiling. We do so now.

My wife was the first woman ordained an Episcopal priest in Texas. I’m a Unitarian. Despite some people considering us to be “the odd couple” among clergy, we have been married since 1972. We apply the same Golden Rule logic to the issue of marriage equality for loving couples of the same gender. In my present Massachusetts congregation I have five such couples, all raising children together. They can marry in this state but still cannot file their federal income taxes as married couples. So we also protest the federal “Defense of Marriage” Act. It doesn’t help to defend our marriage, or any marriage. It gets in the way of applying the Golden Rule.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

Captain Timothy Hsia: Personal Identity in a War Zone

Of more than 900 men in my battalion, I was one of only two Jewish soldiers. While serving in this predominately Muslim country, Lieutenant Schwartz had opted to translate his last name from the German and go instead by Lieutenant Black. My last name, Brewster, did not pose the same problem, but I had my own difficult choice to make.

My father is a fourth-generation Episcopal minister from a blue-blooded New England family who fell in love with a Jewish girl. Rather than prescribing a religion to any of their children, my parents raised my brother, sister and me in both religions and allowed us to decide for ourselves. While not rejecting my Christian heritage, I have considered myself Jewish since shortly after my bar mitzvah.

For safety’s sake, I ordered two sets of dog tags before my deployment, one that identified me as Jewish, the other as Episcopalian. In my first three months in Iraq, while I worked in intelligence ”” mostly relegated to a windowless office ”” I wore the dog tags that said Jewish. My switch to platoon leader meant leaving the base daily and facing increased danger. The night before my new duties, I sat for close to an hour staring at each set of dog tags. I thought of the Maccabees ”” choosing death at the hand of the Assyrians rather than renouncing their faith. I also recalled Daniel Pearl ”” the Wall Street Journal reporter who had been beheaded in Pakistan, in part for being Jewish. I knew the chance of my capture was relatively low and that my dog tags would probably remain hidden under my uniform. But the idea of hiding my religious identity weighed on me heavily.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Children, Defense, National Security, Military, Episcopal Church (TEC), Iraq War, Judaism, Marriage & Family, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

David Bentley Hart Interviews

In this six-part interview Hart talks about the impact of Christianity on the West, some questionable interpretations of history, suffering and the problem of evil and why he remains a believer.

The topics are:

The violence of Christian history

The new atheists and an ugly God

Ethics and the good life

Nostalgia for a pagan past

Gnosticism and alternative gospels

Suffering and the problem of evil

Check them out.

Posted in Apologetics, Theodicy, Theology

Living Church–Lambeth Silent after Glasspool Consecration

The Archbishop of Canterbury has been slower to respond to the consecration of the Rt. Rev. Mary Douglas Glasspool as a bishop suffragan than he was after her Dec. 5, 2009, election.

When the Diocese of Los Angeles elected Glasspool the Archbishop of Canterbury responded the next day.

“The election of Mary Glasspool by the Diocese of Los Angeles as suffragan bishop elect raises very serious questions not just for the Episcopal Church and its place in the Anglican Communion, but for the Communion as a whole,” Archbishop Rowan Williams said then.

Read the whole article.

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