Daily Archives: July 19, 2010

National same sex union debate prompts breakup at flagship Episcopal church in San Antonio

In its storied 99-year history, Christ Episcopal Church has fashioned itself into a pillar of orthodox beliefs, Anglican heritage and charismatic fervor for spreading Christian salvation worldwide.

But in recent years, a gut-wrenching question has tested the bonds of this spiritual family.

Should it leave its parent organization, the Episcopal Church, for making unwelcome liberal changes by accepting openly gay and lesbian clergy and modernizing time-honored theology?

One group had enough.

Read it all.

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

Bloomberg: Cameron Raids Dormant U.K. Accounts as Minister Attacks Banks

U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron announced plans to use “hundreds of millions of pounds” from dormant bank accounts to fund community projects, while Business Secretary Vince Cable said lenders “ripped off” customers.

Cameron said he will press ahead with a proposal set out in the coalition government’s program to establish a “Big Society Bank” to finance moves by charitable groups and not-for-profit companies to take over jobs currently done by the government.

“These unclaimed assets, alongside the private-sector investment that we will leverage, will mean that the Big Society Bank will over time make available hundreds of millions of pounds of new finance to some of the most dynamic social organizations in our country,” Cameron said in a speech in Liverpool, northwest England, today.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Economy, England / UK, The Banking System/Sector

Roger Altman: Obama’s Business Plan

…there is skepticism over the president’s commitment to reducing the huge and dangerous budget deficits which America now faces. A strong step toward deficit reduction next year ”” like undertaking the difficult task of trying to fix Social Security ”” would earn deeper credibility with business and with all Americans.

Another problem is that the administration’s rhetoric ”” which too often employs inflammatory words like “reckless” ”” has the effect of tarring all of business with the same brush. The White House might better distinguish between Wall Street, Big Oil and health insurers, which have all incurred public wrath, and the majority of businesses, which haven’t.

The tension between President Obama and the business community is hurting both sides and may hamper economic recovery. Closing that divide requires the business community to mute its criticism, and the administration to make personnel and policy adjustments. Neither should be hard.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Federal Reserve, House of Representatives, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Senate, The U.S. Government, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner

Politico–Reality gap: U.S. struggles, D.C. booms

America is struggling with a sputtering economy and high unemployment ”” but times are booming for Washington’s governing class.

The massive expansion of government under President Barack Obama has basically guaranteed a robust job market for policy professionals, regulators and contractors for years to come. The housing market, boosted by the large number of high-income earners in the area, many working in politics and government, is easily outpacing the markets in most of the country. And there are few signs of economic distress in hotels, restaurants or stores in the D.C. metro area.

As a result, there is a yawning gap between the American people and D.C.’s powerful when it comes to their economic reality ”” and their economic perceptions.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, House of Representatives, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Senate, The U.S. Government

Eimhin Walsh in the Church of Ireland Gazette: The Inter-Anglican situation

While we can profoundly disagree with one another on matters of ecclesiastical polity and biblical interpretation, as long as we can jointly profess the faith of the ecumenical Creeds, there ought to be no justification for our breaking of our communion. We may find the unilateral Decisions of TEC problematic, but threatening to remove TEC from ecumenical dialogues is a puerile response that flies in the face of the hard struggles of the ecumenical movement to value both unity and difference.

Communion is a gift of the spirit which is best understood through deep reflection. Br Roger testified to this and his testimony was accepted by Christian leaders and Christian institutions from all denominations.

Perhaps what is needed at this time is a deeper, personal and mystical understanding of communion and a less rigorously denominational and institutional understanding of communions. In so doing, it may be possible to reconcile our differences ”˜without ever breaking fellowship with anyone’.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Commentary, Ecclesiology, Theology

AP–Vatican: Churches can be shut for good of a diocese

The Vatican’s highest court has ruled a diocese can close a parish, regardless of that parish’s health, if it decides the good of the church’s religious mission is at stake.

Ten churches that appealed their closings by the Boston Archdiocese learned their appeals had been denied in May, but written rulings by the Collegium of the Apostolic Signatura were not released until Saturday.

The rulings were in Latin. On Thursday, a lay group that advocated for several of the closed churches released a translated version of one of the rulings, and said they all have “substantially identical” reasoning.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

Elaine Howard Ecklund: Myths widen the science-religion divide

Is a dialogue between science and religion possible ”” or even necessary?

The American Association for the Advancement of Science recently welcomed NASA astrophysicist Jennifer Wiseman as the new director of its Dialogue on Science, Ethics and Religion. The task ahead: encourage communication between scientific and religious communities. What could be wrong with that?

On the face of it, such an effort seems sensible and admirable. Who doesn’t want civil dialogue rather than hot-headed diatribe?

Yet some critics argue that these kinds of efforts run the risk of co-mingling science and religion which, in the most benign sense, are two very different ways of looking at the world. In the most dangerous sense, scientists getting involved in “dialogue” with religious people, they say, could bias and taint scientific work.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology

Keith Ward: The parts science cannot reach

If you ask me to explain how it is that the existence of evil is compatible with the existence of a good God, I can offer various explanations, by exploring the entailments of particular concepts of a creator God, and by entertaining various hypotheses which provide possible reasons (not physical causes according to general laws) for the existence of suffering in the universe. I will not appeal to experiments or provide any new predictions, but I may succeed in explaining the problems involved, and in showing that they can, or that they cannot, be resolved. I can distinguish between sophisticated and silly explanations, and between plausible and implausible explanations. But I will not expect to produce universal agreement. That is part of the nature of explanation in religion, in philosophy, in morality, in aesthetics, and in the understanding of language generally.

My conclusion is that we should not expect one key to open every lock. We should not expect any specific type of scientific explanation to explain everything. So to say that “science explains everything” is just the hypostatisation of an abstraction. It is not so much that it is false as that it lacks meaning.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology

Christopher Howse–Religious pilgrimages: The hard slog that refreshes the soul

“I just saw Martin Sheen!” exclaimed a blogger on a site devoted to the pilgrim road to Santiago de Compostela. Indeed, the fictional President of the United States has been spotted, like some greying yeti, at locations all along the 500-mile route from Roncesvalles in the Pyrenees to the very threshold of the Galician pilgrim destination.

Sheen and his son Emilio Estevez have been making a film to be called The Way, about an American who carries his son’s ashes on the Camino to the Spanish pilgrimage city. “Great, all we need now is Madonna or Bono,” reacted another pilgrim-blogger, “no doubt with a lackey carrying the bags, and that will be it, the world’s largest theme park.”

There’s something in that worry, for 250,000 pilgrims are expected this year. As July 25, the feast of St James, falls on a Sunday, 2010 is counted as a Holy Year, swelling the numbers. Pilgrims may not believe that the Apostle James arrived in Spain in a boat of stone, but plenty still want to visit his reputed remains in the stunning Romanesque and baroque cathedral in north-west Spain.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

Off to the Movies to See Inception

I am fried from preaching and teaching this morning and Nathaniel, Elizabeth and I are off to see Inception. You can find the official trailer here–KSH.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Movies & Television

WSJ: As a Money Saving Measure, Some Towns Rip Up the Pavement

Paved roads, historical emblems of American achievement, are being torn up across rural America and replaced with gravel or other rough surfaces as counties struggle with tight budgets and dwindling state and federal revenue. State money for local roads was cut in many places amid budget shortfalls.

In Michigan, at least 38 of the 83 counties have converted some asphalt roads to gravel in recent years. Last year, South Dakota turned at least 100 miles of asphalt road surfaces to gravel. Counties in Alabama and Pennsylvania have begun downgrading asphalt roads to cheaper chip-and-seal road, also known as “poor man’s pavement.” Some counties in Ohio are simply letting roads erode to gravel.

The moves have angered some residents because of the choking dust and windshield-cracking stones that gravel roads can kick up, not to mention the jarring “washboard” effect of driving on rutted gravel.

Read it all.

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

Michael Nazir-Ali: Burkas should not be worn where it compromises safety

It is clear that the fundamental principle of freedom of belief and of the right to manifest one’s own belief must continue to be upheld in a free society, whether for Christians, Muslims or anyone else.

Such a principle does not, however, exist in isolation and has to be balanced against other considerations of the common good and of public order.

As far as the wearing of the Burka is concerned, there are, first of all, questions of safety.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

Modesto Bee (II): Land disputes still raging on

What’s happened since the San Joaquin Diocese, under the leadership of Bishop John-David Schofield, became the first diocese in the country to leave the Episcopal Church in December 2007?

Four dioceses and more than 600 individual congregations in the United States have left the church over the interpretation of Scripture, including whether Jesus is the only way to salvation and the ordination of gay clergy.

The Episcopal Church has filed lawsuits against all parishes that left, claiming that the properties were set up as Episcopal and therefore belong to that denomination. The departing parishes and dioceses say they are still part of the international church — the worldwide Anglican Communion, of which the Episcopal Church is a part — and, as such, should be able to retain their property.

The conflict has escalated internationally.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Archbishop of Canterbury, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, TEC Conflicts, TEC Departing Parishes

Modesto Bee (I): Anglican and Episcopal Churches keeping the faith a year into their divide

It’s been a year since more than 90 percent of St. Paul’s congregation walked away from its $2.3 million property in northeast Modesto to begin Wellspring Anglican Church downtown. The move forestalled a lawsuit by Episcopal Bishop Jerry Lamb to claim the property in the ongoing national dispute between the theologically liberal Episcopal Church and the conservative Anglicans.

Members and leaders of each congregation said they are happy — Wellspring with its stable congregation and ministries, despite not owning a physical structure, and the small but slowly growing congregation at St. Paul’s.

Recent visits to both churches found the congregations using the identical liturgy, from prayers to reponses, and even the same order of worship.

The differences are in the numbers — about 30 adults attended the main service at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, while nearly five times that number gathered at Wellsping — and in the Scriptural passages and sermons.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: San Joaquin

Kimberly Ginfrida reflects on a sermon from Retired South Carolina Bishop FitzSimons Allison

Bishop Allison is a mesmerizing speaker. To add emphasis to his sermon at Trinity 28 years ago, he utilized the distant roll of thunder, which gradually got louder as he eased into the Sermon on the Mount.
I listened intently, especially to his interpretation of the part that says “Anyone who even looks at a woman with lust in his eye has already committed adultery with her in his heart. So if your eye ”” even if it is your best eye ”” causes you to lust, gouge it out and throw it away. Better for part of you to be destroyed than for all of you to be cast into hell”¦”
The bishop in essence said that most men who had ever been to the beach in the summer would probably going around without eyes if the law was strictly obeyed.
He said we shouldn’t give the Pharisees such a hard time because it’s virtually impossible to obey the spirit of the law. He noted this was the gist of what Jesus was trying to say.

Read the whole thing.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * South Carolina, Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, TEC Bishops