We note the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Pentecost letter to the Anglican Communion, and are most interested to see how and when Section 4 will actually be implemented. We will write more about the implications of this letter after having had some time for reflection. At first reading, it appears that in an hour when the Anglican Church globally needs sound, clear and orthodox leadership at the top, the captain of the Anglican Communion seems to be below decks preoccupied with lesser things, and neither the wheel nor the reef charts are being minded.
Daily Archives: May 29, 2010
At a graduate writers’ workshop I attended in Missoula, Montana, in the 1970s, our resident fiction instructor held up a copy of Raymond Carver’s first book of short stories, Will You Please Be Quiet, Please?, and proclaimed, “This is going to knock you out.”
And so it did. Carver’s spare and powerful stories revealed in swift strokes the bruised lives, failed marriages, and assorted psychological wreckage in anonymous towns and working-class hamlets along the Pacific Coast. We were bowled over by his small, charged scenes. Innocuous incidents exposed hidden desires and muted despair, then snapped shut like nutshells. The dialogue was terse, oblique, the characters nondescript yet fully menacing. Reading Carver was like eavesdropping on trapped ghosts who don’t know they’re dead until they accidentally cross before a mirror. A Carver story was the record of what they saw. A friend described Carver characters as “those people in Edward Hopper paintings””together with their drinks but alone with their secrets.” Critics dubbed the stories “minimalist”””short, bleak, profound stabs of realism. It was not long before the terms “minimalist” and “Carveresque” were interchangeable.
In a professional career that lasted less than two decades, Raymond Carver wrote five collections of stories and several volumes of poetry. His big break came in 1971, with the publication of his story “Neighbors” in Esquire magazine. Esquire’s fiction editor, Gordon Lish, edited many of Carver’s early magazine stories as well as his first book, Will You Please Be Quiet, Please?, published in 1976….
Read it all from Books and Culture (subscription required).
For much of the rich world, however, the most important consequences of Europe’s mess will be fiscal. Governments must steer between imposing premature austerity (in a bid to avoid becoming Greece) and allowing their public finances to deteriorate for too long. In some countries with big deficits, the fear of a bond-market rout is forcing rapid action. Britain’s new government spelled out useful initial spending cuts this week. But the emergency budget promised for June 22nd will be trickier: it needs to show resolve on the deficit without sending the country back into recession.
In America, paradoxically, the Greek crisis has, if anything, removed the pressure for deficit reduction, by reducing bond yields. America’s structural budget deficit will soon be bigger than that of any other OECD member, and the country badly needs a plan to deal with it. But for now, lower bond yields and a stronger dollar are the route through which American spending will rise to counter European austerity. Thanks to its population growth and the dollar’s role as a global currency, America has more fiscal room than any other big-deficit country. It has been right to use it.
The world is nervous for good reason. Although the fundamentals are reasonably good, the judgment of politicians is often unreasonably bad. Right now that is what poses the biggest risk to the world economy.
Gasoline prices will be at the lowest level since March as U.S. drivers take to the highways this Memorial Day weekend, the traditional start of the summer driving season in the world’s largest energy-consuming country.
Pump prices have dropped for three weeks to an average $2.749 a gallon for regular gasoline, as of May 26, as crude oil prices collapsed, according to AAA, the nation’s biggest motoring organization. Consumers will be paying 12 percent more than a year ago, though prices are 30 percent less than in 2008, the year crude oil rose to a record $147 a barrel.
About 28 million people will be on road trips during the holiday, a jump of 5.8 percent from a year earlier and the first increase since 2005, according to AAA, which calculates the period over five days, from yesterday through Monday.
“We look forward to this weekend,” said Bill Compitello, senior director of petroleum supply at Wawa, Pennsylvania-based Wawa Inc., a gasoline retailer with 272 outlets in five states from New Jersey to Virginia. “The last few seasons people have been staying closer to home.”
When blogger Isaac Mao recently announced online an upcoming talk by a Beijing writer whose work is banned by the government, police showed up at his door at night to “convince” him to cancel the event, which he eventually agreed to do. But just to be sure, authorities turned off the electricity at the planned meeting space and barred the doors.
Chinese officials say such actions are aimed at creating “social harmony.” In the sarcastic lexicon of Chinese netizens, Mao was “harmonized” that April evening.
“They won’t arrest you to stop you, but they pressure you,” said Mao, whose website is blocked by the government. “They pressured the owners of this space and they threatened to close it down. Many people worry about losing their jobs. That’s why many people self-censor themselves.”
The above title is from the print edition–KSH.
When China’s land boom excited a frenzy of popular resistance late last year ”” including headline-grabbing suicides by people routed from their homes ”” Chinese policy makers finally proposed a solution: rules to protect citizens from unchecked development and to fairly compensate the evicted.
Today in Laogucheng, a dingy warren of apartments and shops slated for redevelopment on Beijing’s far west side, the fruits of that effort are on vivid display: a powerful developer is racing to demolish the neighborhood before the rules are passed. And about 700 gritty homeowners are adamantly refusing to move until they get the fair deal they hope the rules will provide.
“This is a limbo period,” one holdout, Tian Hongyan, 49, said after a stroll amid the rubble of his half-bulldozed neighborhood. “And during it, we’re seeing even more sudden and violent demolitions occur around the country.”
China is not a good setting for a Frank Capra tale, but people do have influence over their autocratic masters. Top officials are worried that the property rush ”” which has led to soaring prices for urban real estate and low prices for old homes and farmland seized for development ”” is enriching local governments and well-connected developers at the expense of ordinary people and social stability.
Mark Malsick jokes that his summer vacation plans are shot.
That’s because the severe weather liaison for the S.C. Climate Office doesn’t like how the hurricane season is shaping up.
And neither does anyone else.
El Nino has evaporated. That’s a warming trend in Pacific tropical waters which created high- altitude winds shearing hurricanes in this hemisphere the past few years. Meanwhile, the tropical Atlantic is warmer than it was in 2005, the record-breaking year with a record 27 named storms including the devastating hurricane Katrina. And hot seas make for mean storms.
BP engineers struggled Friday to plug a gushing oil well a mile under the sea, but as of late in the day they had made little headway in stemming the flow.
Amid mixed messages about problems and progress, the effort ”” called a “top kill” ”” continued for a third day, with engineers describing a painstaking process of trying to plug the hole, using different weights of mud and sizes of debris like golf balls and tires, and then watching and waiting. They cannot use brute force because they risk making the leak worse if they damage the pipes leading down to the well.
Despite an apparent lack of progress, officials said they would continue with the process for another 48 hours, into Sunday, before giving up and considering other options, including another containment dome to try to capture the oil.
I cite here the exhortation:
Dear friends, and you especially on whose souls I have cure and charge, on — – next I do intend, by God’s grace, to offer all such as shall be godly disposed the most comfortable sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ, to be taken of them in remembrance of his most fruitful and glorious passion: by the which passion we have obtained remission of our sins, and be made partakers of the kingdom of heaven; whereof we be assured and ascertained, if we come to the said sacrament with hearty repentance for our offences, stedfast faith in God’s mercy, and earnest mind to obey God’s will, and to offend no more. Wherefore our duty is to come to these holy mysteries with most hearty thanks to be given to Almighty God for his infinite mercy and benefits given and bestowed upon his unworthy servants, for whom he hath not only given his Body to death, and shed his Blood, but also doth vouchsafe, in a sacrament and mystery, to give us his said Body and Blood to feed upon spiritually. The which sacrament being so divine and holy a thing, and so comfortable to them which receive it worthily, and so dangerous to them that will presume to take the same unworthily: my duty is to exhort you, in the mean season, to consider the greatness of the thing, and to search and examine your own consciences, and that not lightly, nor after the manner of dissimulers with God, but as they which should come to a most godly and heavenly banquet; not to come but in the marriage garment required of God in the Scripture; that you may (so much as lieth in you) be found worthy to come to such a table. The ways and means thereto is, first, that you be truly repentant of your former evil life; and that you confess with an unfeigned heart to Almighty God, your sins and unkindness towards his Majesty committed, either by will, word, or deed, infirmity or ignorance; and that with inward sorrow and tears you bewail your offences, and require of Almighty God mercy and pardon, promising to him (from the bottom of your hearts) the amendment of your former life. And amongst all others, I am commanded of God especially to move and exhort you to reconcile yourselves to your neighbours, whom you have offended, or who hath offended you, putting out of your hearts all hatred and malice against them, and to be in love and charity with all the world, and to forgive others as you would that God should forgive you. And if any man hath done wrong to any other, let him make satisfaction and due restitution of all lands and goods wrongfully taken away or witholden, before he come to God’s board; or at the least be in full mind and purpose so to do, as soon as he is able; or else let him not come to this holy table, thinking to deceive God, who seeth all men’s hearts. For neither the absolution of the priest can any thing avail them, nor the receiving of this holy sacrament doth any thing but increase their damnation. And if there be any of you whose conscience is troubled and grieved in any thing, let him come to me, or to some other discreet and learned priest, taught in the law of God, and confess and open his sin and grief secretly, that he may receive such ghostly counsel, advice, and comfort, that his conscience may be relieved, and that of us (as the ministers of God and of the Church) he may receive comfort and absolution, to the satisfaction of his mind, and avoiding of all scruple and doubtfulness; requiring such as shall be satisfied with a general confession not to be offended with them that do use, to their further satisfying, the auricular and secret confession to the priest; nor those also which think needful or convenient, for the quietness of their own consciences, particularly to open their sins to the priest, to be offended with them that are satisfied with their humble confession to God, and the general confession to the Church: but in all things to follow and keep the rule of charity; and every man to be satisfied with his own conscience, not judging other men’s minds or consciences; whereas he hath no warrant of God’s Word to the same.
Almighty and everliving God, whose servant Thomas Cranmer, with others, did restore the language of the people in the prayers of thy Church: Make us always thankful for this heritage; and help us so to pray in the Spirit and with the understanding, that we may worthily magnify thy holy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
There is great gain in godliness with contentment; for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world; but if we have food and clothing, with these we shall be content.
–1 Timothy 6:6-8
i know not where the road will lead
i follow day by day,
or where it ends, i only know i walk the king’s highway!
i know not if the way is long, and no one else can say;
but rough or smooth, up hill or down, i walk the king’s
–Evelyn Atwater Cummins
O Holy Spirit of God, who didst descend upon our Lord Christ at the river Jordan, and upon the disciples at the feast of Pentecost: Have mercy upon us, we beseech thee, and by thy divine fire enlighten our minds and purify our hearts; for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord.
–Adapted from a prayer of Saint Nerses of Clajes [Fourth Century A.D.]
Investors keep pounding Europe in part because they don’t yet see the mechanisms that will enforce discipline. The European Union just established a trillion-dollar bailout fund, but what happens when it runs out? There’s a pledge to impose strict conditions on Greece, Portugal and the rest in exchange for loans, but it still isn’t clear how Brussels will make this austerity regime work.
The problem is the one Napolitano describes: Europe remains a union of convenience, which can be discarded by national governments when it suits their purpose. Northern European nations such as Germany like to chide their spendthrift southern counterparts for lack of discipline. But it was Germany and France that demonstrated the toothlessness of the eurozone’s enforcement mechanisms in 2005 by refusing to pay fines when their budget deficits exceeded the limits of the E.U. Stability and Growth Pact.
There are very useful parallels here for Anglicans for those who have eyes to see–KSH.