Daily Archives: August 17, 2010

USA Today Letters–Existence of a 'good religion' is questionable

Here is one:

Oliver Thomas naively states that lives must have “meaning.” Does meaning have to come through mythology taught as fact as in the major religions?

Life is, and always has been, the adaptation to the changes and mutations of the universe. Religion is, and always has been, a culturally devised defense mechanism. Each life’s meaning is individual. It seems that with religion, the meaning involves war and terrorism. This I can do without.

R. Sloan Wilson

Read them all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Religion & Culture

Mark McCall– Resisting the ACC’s Growing Power

The new ACC constitution also attempts to impose diversity criteria on the primates in selecting the primates’ standing committee. They are to “have regard to” diversity between regions and sexes in appointing their members. The new constitution also infringes on the traditional prerogative of the Archbishop of Canterbury to appoint members of Anglican commissions by giving the ACC authority to establish these commissions. It is significant that at last December’s meeting of the ACC’s standing committee it considered measures to regulate the governance of the Lambeth Conference and the frequency of Primates’ Meetings.

The fourth concern is that the new constitution reduces the role of the member churches in the ACC. In addition to redefining the ACC for legal purposes so that the members appointed directly by the member churches are no longer part of the legal entity, the new constitution also eliminates the requirement that amendments to the constitution be ratified by the member churches.

The last concern raised by ACI is that the new constitution appears not to be consistent in important respects with the new Anglican Communion Covenant, completed only last December. The Covenant not only reflects the traditional understanding of the ACC as the body composed of the members directly appointed by member churches; it also defines a Communion that recognizes “the central role of bishops as guardians and teachers of faith,” that has four coequal instruments retaining their historic independence and control of their own memberships, and that is not subject to a central executive authority like that into which the ACC standing committee is evolving.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Consultative Council

Notable and Quotable

“We focused on allowing people to talk of their local frustrations, but tried to show that only by working together with all Kenyans can peace live in our country. No community can be an island. An island cannot grow, you must interact with others to learn, to educate your children, to make things better.”

–The Rev. Maritim arap Rirei, an Anglican church official, as quoted in the CSM

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anglican Church of Kenya, Anglican Provinces, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

Mallory McDuff–Eat, pray, love: A new green gospel

This summer I’ve been waiting for the opening of the movie Eat, Pray, Love with an anticipation that is a bit different from my hope that Congress would find effective strategies to address climate change. The difference? I don’t think I’ll be disappointed with the movie’s ending.

I’m a Christian, an environmentalist, an academic and a pop-culture junkie. And I think the three verbs in the movie’s title ”” eat, pray, love ”” might provide direction for the thousands of believers from diverse faith traditions who advocated for a religious response to global warming in three stories that unfolded this summer.

Despite sincere prayer and informed lobbying, people of faith have watched: (1) the Senate’s inability to tackle the real problem of climate change, (2) the lack of progress at the United Nations Climate Change Conference and (3) the failure of the oil spill along the Gulf Coast to create a national demand for alternative energy sources.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Energy, Natural Resources, Movies & Television, Religion & Culture

Parishioners, priest from closed St. Peter Catholic Church defy bishop, celebrate Mass in new home

Defying the authority of their bishop, parishioners and their priest from the closed St. Peter Catholic Church in downtown Cleveland celebrated Mass Sunday in leased commercial space they transformed into a church independent of the Cleveland Catholic Diocese.

The move by the new Community of St. Peter puts members in danger of excommunication because they had been warned by Bishop Richard Lennon, who shuttered St. Peter’s in April, not to hold worship services in places without his approval.

Still, about 350 people, joined by their spiritual leader, the Rev. Robert Marrone, gathered for their first Mass and communion in their new home — a newly renovated, century-old building on Euclid Avenue and East 71st Street.

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

Kendall Harmon on the NY Mosque "Controversy"

What a lot of disappointing commentary.

You have to distinguish between issues of law/rights and issues of prudence. What do the families of the victims think, what do those in New York think should be crucial questions to be answered if they choose that site to build a Mosque on at this particular time. In theology, there is a principle of subsidiarity–those closest to a problem issue are often best equipped to handle the decision about it and the responsibility for it–KSH.

Posted in * By Kendall

Buffalo News: Four priests in the running to become next Episcopal bishop of Western NY

An Amherst rector and three other Episcopal priests from out of state have been nominated to become the 11th bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Buffalo, diocesan officials announced Monday.

The Rev. Canon Barbara J. Price, rector of St. Peter’s Church on Longmeadow Road in Amherst since 2000, is among the nominees to succeed Bishop J. Michael Garrison, who is set to retire in 2011.

The other nominees are: the Rev. Michael N. Ambler Jr., rector of Grace Episcopal Church in Bath, Maine; the Rev. Canon Michael A. Bamberger, rector of Episcopal Church of the Ascension in Sierra Madre, Calif.; and the Rev. R. William Franklin, senior associate priest at St. Mark’s Church in Philadelphia.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops, TEC Diocesan Conventions/Diocesan Councils

Clark Pinnock RIP

Thomas Jay Oord has a nice post up about him which includes the following:

3. Clark was humble. Although he surely had convictions about how we should think theologically, he never presented himself as having all things figured out. When he and I disagreed about some issues, he was always ready to hear me out and learn from me. This made me more open to learning from him.

4. Clark was creative up to the end. His scholarly and devotional output was amazing! Although Alzheimer’s disease eventually took over his life, he participated in several projects with me in his final years. In fact, two of his last essays are printed in books I edited: “Evangelical Theology after Darwin,” in Creation Made Free, and “A Cosmology of Love,” in Love Among Us.

Read it all.

Update: There is a nice picture of him here.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Death / Burial / Funerals, Evangelicals, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Theology

NPR–Experiencing Teen Drama Overload? Blame Biology

In one incident, [Taryn] Cregon [a mother] was getting ready for work and Zoe [her daughter] was getting ready for camp when, suddenly, Cregon heard hair-spraying in the living room. She’d recently bought a new couch and feared Zoe had spritzed it with hair chemicals. An argument ensued, and Cregon was left dumbfounded, wondering how her daughter could be so irresponsible and thoughtless ”” and then argue when called on it.

The dilemma is pretty typical, according to psychologist Laura Kastner, who along with Jennifer Wyatt wrote a recent book, Getting to Calm: Cool-headed Strategies for Parenting Tweens and Teens. For more than 30 years, Kastner has helped parents and children work toward greater calm in the home. In the hair-spray incident, both mother and daughter got tangled up in what Kastner describes as emotional flooding.

“When we flood, we are having neurons fire in this emotional part of the brain,” says Kastner.

Read or listen to it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Children, Marriage & Family, Psychology, Science & Technology, Teens / Youth

RNS: Fight over N.Y. mosque becomes a partisan wedge issue

What started as a local zoning debate about an Islamic center near Ground Zero, and then morphed into a fight over religious expression, has now turned into an election-year political brawl.

Caught in the middle of the rancorous partisan fight are American Muslims, whose own voices have been drowned out by politicians on both the left and the right.

“In a fundamental sense, this is not a conversation about Muslims,”said Omid Safi, professor of Islamic studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. “This is a conversation in which the Muslims are being used as the football with which to play the game of competing visions of America.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, City Government, House of Representatives, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Office of the President, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Senate

Yid with Lid: Harvard Did NOT divest Israel Holdings

Israel had been “Promoted” in may and is no longer considered an emerging economy. This was simply a technical adjustment by Harvard Asset Management – to adjust for the fact that Israel was no longer classified by MSCI as a developing economy.( index maker MSCI moved Israel from emerging country to developed country back in May). The sell-off was just part of a re-balancing between their emerging economy to their developing economy accounts.

John Longbrake, Sr. Communications manager at the Harvard Management Company emailed the following confirming that it was not a divestment.

the Management Company’s most recent S.E.C. filing details changes in holdings, as is routine, but no change in policy. The University has not divested from Israel. Israel was moved from the MSCI, our benchmark in emerging markets, to the EAFE index in May due to its successful growth. Our emerging markets holdings were rebalanced accordingly. We have holdings in developed markets, including Israel, through outside managers in commingled accounts and indexes, which are not reported in the filing in question”.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Economy, Israel, Middle East, Stock Market

Richard Cohen–Obama muddles his mosque message

Last Friday, at the start of Ramadan, President Obama presided over the White House’s annual iftar dinner and made some rather bland remarks about religious freedom. The context, of course, was the controversy over the proposed mosque in Lower Manhattan, which is not, as Obama insisted, about freedom of religion but about religious tolerance. And then, having once again gotten high praise for so very little, he went to bed a panicked man and reached, trembling, some hours later, for a political morning-after pill to take back some of what he had said. Whew, for a moment there he was pregnant with principle.

No more. “I was not commenting, and I will not comment, on the wisdom of making the decision to put a mosque there,” Obama said in revising and extending and eviscerating his remarks of the previous night. He had merely been commenting on freedom of religion. Turns out he’s for it.

The president muddled his message. Does he not grasp that questioning the “wisdom” of the mosque’s placement is predicated on thinking that 9/11 was a Muslim crime? Does he not understand that the issue here is religious prejudice, not zoning? The answer, of course, is that he does. But unlike Henry Clay, he would rather be president than right.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., City Government, History, House of Representatives, Islam, Office of the President, Other Faiths, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Religion & Culture, Senate

A Prayer to begin the Day

O Lord, who hast brought us through the darkness of night to the light of the morning, and who by thy Holy Spirit dost illumine the darkness of ignorance and sin: We beseech thee, of thy loving-kindness, to pour thy holy light into our souls; that we may ever be devoted to thee, by whose wisdom we were created, by whose mercy we were redeemed, and by whose providence we are governed; to the honour and glory of thy great name.

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

I lift up my eyes to the hills. From whence does my help come? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.

–Psalm 121:1

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Gallup–In U.S., Confidence in Newspapers, TV News Remains a Rarity

Americans continue to express near-record-low confidence in newspapers and television news — with no more than 25% of Americans saying they have a “great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in either. These views have hardly budged since falling more than 10 percentage points from 2003-2007.

The findings are from Gallup’s annual Confidence in Institutions survey, which found the military faring best and Congress faring worst of 16 institutions tested. Americans’ confidence in newspapers and television news is on par with Americans’ lackluster confidence in banks and slightly better than their dismal rating of Health Management Organizations and big business.

The decline in trust since 2003 is also evident in a 2009 Gallup poll that asked about confidence and trust in the “mass media” more broadly. While perceptions of media bias present a viable hypothesis, Americans have not over the same period grown any more likely to say the news media are too conservative or too liberal.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Media