Daily Archives: August 20, 2010

ACI–The New ACC Articles: Procedural Issues

Although we have written before of our concerns over the substance of the new Articles of Association of the Anglican Consultative Council, until now we have said little about our concerns over the procedures followed by the Anglican Communion Office in managing the development of these Articles. Others voiced complaints and we remained hopeful that the ACO would respond to these complaints with transparency and by providing satisfactory answers. This has not happened.

We are dismayed that the Communion Office is either unable or unwilling to provide even the most basic information to those who have raised serious concerns: what information was provided to the provinces; when was it provided; and what was their response. An amendment of the constitution is a significant action by an organization, especially one subject to legal duties. Maintaining this information is the most basic level of diligence required of an organization’s secretariat. The lack of transparency and public accountability throughout this process is one of the most regrettable episodes of Communion life in recent years.

Our concerns are only heightened by information suggesting that the ACO may not have followed advice given to it on the necessary procedures for adopting the new Articles. In November 2008 Robert Fordham of Australia, then a member of the ACC standing committee and the “convenor” of its “sub-committee on Constitutional Issues,” addressed the Joint Standing Committee on the status of the new constitution and “what steps have to be taken at this stage.” He advised that the revised draft of the Articles needed to be submitted to the provinces for ratification at that time. He noted that after ACC-13 had approved a draft of the new Articles in 2005 the ACC’s legal advisor, Canon John Rees, had held “extensive discussions” with the UK charity commission and had engaged in “considerable work” to produce a new draft for the February 2008 JSC. At that meeting in February 2008, the JSC then amended the draft further before approving it. Mr. Fordham then states:

The next and final step is to circulate the Constitution in this new format to each of the Member Provinces of the Communion to seek their ratification. For the new Constitution to come into effect support will be required from two-thirds of the 39 Provinces.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Consultative Council

A Thousand Miles in the Footsteps of Martin Luther

Lutherans world-wide are already buzzing about 2017, the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s 95 Theses, commonly regarded as the starting point of the Reformation. But no one’s quite sure about the right way to observe the occasion.

Should Lutherans celebrate the profound insights of a brilliant theologian into the gospel? Or should they lament the splintering of the Western church and the physical and spiritual intra-Christian wars that followed? Should Lutherans lord it over Catholics or should they apologize? Will Catholics ignore the anniversary and its significance altogether, or condemn it; or will they find a way to celebrate it too?

On top of all this, many believe, Christians are and remain in the grip of an “ecumenical winter.” Despite the high hopes for church reconciliation and even reunion through most of the 20th century, the past 25 years have seen waning interest in ecumenism on the popular level, and scandal and schism consuming the churches’ attention at the institutional level.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Church History, Ecumenical Relations, Europe, Germany, Lutheran, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

Greek crisis refuses to go away

While some withdrawals point to capital flight by wealthy Greeks, it is clear that households and companies are running down savings to make ends meet. The Athens Chamber of Commerce warned yesterday that its members are in “dire straits”, with a majority facing a liquidity threat.

Simon Ward from Henderson Global Investors said Greek lenders are covering their funding gap through loans from the European Central Bank (ECB), which reached a record €96bn in July. “The question is how much eligible collateral they have left to take to the ECB. It must be nearing the limits,” he said.

“What is worrying is that this is not just Greeks. Portuguese banks borrowed €50bn in July compared to €41.5bn in June. Together with Ireland and Spain they have borrowed €387bn from the ECB,” he said.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Economy, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Greece, Politics in General

The Bishop of Stockport: Old Age and Contentment

I’ve been ordained for over 30 years now, and during that time it’s been my privilege to be with a number of people as they died. Some were frightened not of annihilation, but of absurdity. Death sealed for them the emptiness of a life not fully lived. Death came too soon, before they could make sense of their life, before they could make one last attempt to give it meaning. They became vulnerable to attacks of despair in which their sense of the value of all that had gone before them drained away. The sting of death was not the loss of life, but the loss of meaning.

I face my mortality in the conviction that death is the gateway to the fulfilment of human life, not its extinction. I believe life is a pilgrimage of which the destination is God. The fears that assail me are more about the process of dying rather than the event itself. It’s not the dying that’s the issue: it’s living until I die. Jesus said that he had come that ”˜we might have life, and have it abundantly.’ Abundant living is both his promise and his gift, and I pray for grace to be open to it.

Sadly, we all know of individuals where in old age disease and chemical changes to the brain have effected irreversible changes in their personality, but I have also seen how a person’s true character can emerge in old age.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Pastoral Theology, Theology

Church Times: Sydney thwarted on lay presidency

The decision of the Appellate Tri­bunal rejecting lay and diaconal presidency at the eucharist is the latest setback for the diocese of Sydney in its quest to find a means of allowing lay people and deacons to fulfil this function.

Since the 1990s, numerous at­tempts have failed, but this decision is the most serious, because the dio­cese’s current ordination policy is based on the premise that deacons can (in Sydney’s preferred termin­ology) administer the Lord’s Supper.

Under the policy that has been introduced in recent years, ordination as priests (or presbyters, as Sydney calls them) is restricted only to rec­tors of parishes. At least one newly appointed rector has been ordained priest in the same service in which he was inducted into his first parish.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Provinces, Eucharist, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Sacramental Theology, Theology

How Would You Simplify the Financial-Reform Bill? Freakonomics gets Four Answers from Authorities

Justin Wolfers, a Professor of Business and Public Policy at the University of Pennsylvania has these as his first two:

1. If it walks like a bank and quacks like a bank, it’s a bank. Bring all banks out of the shadows and into the glare of the regulatory sunlight.
2. Too often financial information is written with two pens. The small font sizes provide enough cover for a lawyer to sign off, but in larger type, they tell a story that is misleading enough to encourage a steady stream of suckers. That doesn’t seem fair. Here’s a different approach. If your firm’s marketing materials lead a random sample of 100 Americans to believe that the mortgage, or credit card, or other financial product is less onerous or risky than it actually is, then your marketing materials are misleading, and your firm is liable for damages.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, House of Representatives, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Senate, Stock Market, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Fidelity: 401(k) hardship withdrawals, loans up

Fidelity administers 17,000 plans, which represents 11 million participants. In the second quarter, some 62,000 workers initiated a hardship withdrawal. That’s compared with 45,000 in the same period a year ago.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Pensions, Personal Finance, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Terrific Story about Helping the Homeless in Miami

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Charities/Non-Profit Organizations, City Government, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Politics in General, Poverty

USA Today Letters on the War in Afghanstan

Here is one:

We have nothing to gain by continuing to wage war in Afghanistan. We are keeping that poor country in turmoil, killing innocent people and spending money that could be used to create jobs. We have had no success in nine years, and we can expect no success in nine more. We are wasting soldiers’ lives. We should bring our troops home now.

Joel Welty

Blanchard, Mich.

Read them all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Afghanistan, Asia, Defense, National Security, Military, Foreign Relations, House of Representatives, Office of the President, Pakistan, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Senate, War in Afghanistan

Notable and Quotable

Prudence means practical common sense, taking the trouble to think out what you are doing and what is likely to come of it. Nowadays most people hardly think of Prudence as one of the “virtues.” In fact, because Christ said we could only get into His world by being like children, many Christians have the idea that, provided you are “good,” it does not matter being a fool. But that is a misunderstanding. In the first place, most children show plenty of “prudence” about doing the things they are really interested in, and think them out quite sensibly. In the second place, as St. Paul points out, Christ never meant that we were to remain children in intelligence: on the contrary, He told us to be not only “as harmless as doves,” but also “as wise as serpents.” He wants a child’s heart, but a grown-up’s head. He wants us to be simple, single-minded, affectionate, and teachable, as good children are; but He also wants every bit of intelligence we have to be alert at its job, and in first-class fighting trim. The fact that you are giving money to a charity does not mean that you need not try to find out whether that charity is a fraud or not. The fact that what you are thinking about is God Himself (for example, when you are praying) does not mean that you can be content with the same babyish ideas which you had when you were a five-year-old. It is, of course, quite true that God will not love you any the less, or have less use for you, if you happen to have been born with a very second-rate brain. He has room for people with very little sense, but He wants every one to use what sense they have. The proper motto is not “Be good, sweet maid, and let who can be clever,” but “Be good, sweet maid, and don’t forget that this involves being as clever as you can.” God is no fonder of intellectual slackers than of any other slackers. If you are thinking of becoming a Christian, I warn you you are embarking on something which is going to take the whole of you, brains and all. But, fortunately, it works the other way round. Anyone who is honestly trying to be a Christian will soon find his intelligence being sharpened: one of the reasons why it needs no special education to be a Christian is that Christianity is an education itself. That is why an uneducated believer like Bunyan was able to write a book that has astonished the whole world.

–C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Church History, Church of England (CoE), Ethics / Moral Theology, Theology

Local Paper front page: South Carolina jobs expected to remain elusive.

Working harder than ever these days? Get used to it.

The state’s chief economic forecaster John Rainey said Thursday that South Carolinians who have jobs are working harder than ever before and that record high productivity combined with new technological advances will keep unemployment higher for longer.

In other words, if companies can get by getting more out of less — they will.

“I think high unemployment, unfortunately, is here to stay,” Rainey said after analyzing state unemployment data and revenue collections at the Board of Economic Advisors meeting.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Politics in General, State Government

NY Times Magazine: What Is It About 20-Somethings?

This question pops up everywhere, underlying concerns about “failure to launch” and “boomerang kids.” Two new sitcoms feature grown children moving back in with their parents ”” “$#*! My Dad Says,” starring William Shatner as a divorced curmudgeon whose 20-something son can’t make it on his own as a blogger, and “Big Lake,” in which a financial whiz kid loses his Wall Street job and moves back home to rural Pennsylvania. A cover of The New Yorker last spring picked up on the zeitgeist: a young man hangs up his new Ph.D. in his boyhood bedroom, the cardboard box at his feet signaling his plans to move back home now that he’s officially overqualified for a job. In the doorway stand his parents, their expressions a mix of resignation, worry, annoyance and perplexity: how exactly did this happen?

It’s happening all over, in all sorts of families, not just young people moving back home but also young people taking longer to reach adulthood overall. It’s a development that predates the current economic doldrums, and no one knows yet what the impact will be ”” on the prospects of the young men and women; on the parents on whom so many of them depend; on society, built on the expectation of an orderly progression in which kids finish school, grow up, start careers, make a family and eventually retire to live on pensions supported by the next crop of kids who finish school, grow up, start careers, make a family and on and on. The traditional cycle seems to have gone off course, as young people remain un­tethered to romantic partners or to permanent homes, going back to school for lack of better options, traveling, avoiding commitments, competing ferociously for unpaid internships or temporary (and often grueling) Teach for America jobs, forestalling the beginning of adult life.

The 20s are a black box, and there is a lot of churning in there….

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Young Adults

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Bernard of Clairvaux

O God, by whose grace thy servant Bernard of Clairvaux, enkindled with the fire of thy love, became a burning and a shining light in thy Church: Grant that we also may be aflame with the spirit of love and discipline, and may ever walk before thee as children of light; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, liveth and reigneth, one God, now and for ever.

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

A Prayer to begin the Day

Holy, Blessed and Glorious Trinity, I adore thee.
In thy perfect Beauty, I adore thee.
In thy boundless Power, I adore thee.
With the Holy Mother, I adore thee.
With the Holy Angels, I adore thee.
With the Blessed Saints, I adore thee.
In union with every Mass which is offered today, I adore thee.

Praise and Thanksgiving for protection during the past night, I offer to thee.
Praise and Thanksgiving for all thy mercies and blessings, I offer to thee.
My daily work, I offer to thee.
All my thoughts, I offer to thee.
All my words, I offer to thee.
All my deeds, I offer to thee.
My joys and my consolations, I offer to thee.
My sorrows and my troubles, I offer to thee.
My difficulties, my doubts and anxieties, I offer to thee.

–St. Augustine’s Prayer Book

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them to present himself before the LORD. And the LORD said to Satan, “Whence have you come?” Satan answered the LORD, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it.” And the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil? He still holds fast his integrity, although you moved me against him, to destroy him without cause.”

–Job 2:1-3

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture