Daily Archives: September 22, 2010

David Brooks–The ”˜Freedom’ Agenda

Very few novels make clear and provocative arguments about American life anymore, but Jonathan Franzen’s important new book, “Freedom,” makes at least two. First, he argues that American culture is overobsessed with personal freedom. Second, he portrays an America where people are unhappy and spiritually stunted.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Books, Religion & Culture, Spirituality/Prayer

Tensions Linger Between Pope and Anglicans

The pope and the archbishop prayed together last weekend, a rare event at Westminster Abbey meant to show the fundamental closeness of Catholics and Anglicans, their churches separated in doctrine by few degrees and each battered by secularism and division. The signal sent was that, someday, a more formal union would strengthen both.

But beyond the smiles, the prayers and the self-conscious focus on the things the two spiritual leaders share, Benedict XVI’s four-day visit to Britain was more than a moment of reconciliation, underscoring that the two churches that split during the Reformation over issues of papal authority are as divided as ever.

Everyone was polite, including the archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev. Rowan Williams, not allowing the dissent to show much publicly. Still, it did not go unnoticed that Benedict broke his own rules and personally presided on Sunday over the beatification Mass of Cardinal John Henry Newman, a 19th-century thinker and writer who left the Church of England to convert to Catholicism. He had said earlier in his papacy that he would celebrate Mass only for canonization, the final step of sainthood.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

ENS–House of Bishops issues 'theological resource,' pastoral letter on immigration

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Immigration, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture, TEC Bishops, Theology

Episcopal Church in Fishkill, New York, served as an 18th century Military hospital

The town [of Fishkill, New York] boasts an impressive involvement in the Revolutionary War, with several of its buildings having been used for various military purposes at the time. Among those sites, Trinity Episcopal Church on Route 52, just east of Route 9, served as a hospital for Gen. George Washington’s troops.

A formal plan to form the Fishkill church began in 1756, following a missionary visit to the village by the Rev. Samuel Seabury, which was sponsored by the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel. Seabury convinced the society there was adequate support for an English church in the region.

Because the new church was required to provide a priest’s salary and a glebe (a farm to house clergy), Trinity Church and Christ Church in the City of Poughkeepsie agreed to share a priest, who was housed in today’s historic Glebe House along Main Street in the city.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Church History, Episcopal Church (TEC), History, Military / Armed Forces, TEC Parishes

([London] Times) Intelligent couples put extra pain into divorce, says judge

Well-educated parents who wage legal war over their children after separation have been condemned by England’s most senior family court judge.

Separating parents “rarely behave reasonably” and have no idea how much damage they inflict on their children with protracted custody battles and personal attacks on one another, Sir Nicholas Wall said.

Children were routinely used as “the battlefield and ammunition” for parents to hammer out their own personal disputes.

Read it all (requires subscription).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Children, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Psychology, Theology

Carrie Sheffield (USA Today)–Why the GOP needs non-believers

On paper, I should be a progressive voter. I am an agnostic. I am a woman in my 20s with an Ivy League graduate degree and liberal arts background.

But I’m a conservative. I vote for Republicans because I believe they have the best strategies for where the country should be headed fiscally, militarily and culturally.

Secular conservatives like me are in a bind. We want to work with religious conservatives because we agree with them on most issues. We respect the ethical contributions from many faith traditions, which inspire millions to seek the public good. But we’re troubled by the religious right’s dominance over the conservative movement, a trend that repels rational, independent-minded folks who see religious zealotry as anathema to the Founding Fathers’ pluralistic vision.

Read it all.

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

NPR–The Fading Art Of The Physical Exam

For centuries, doctors diagnosed illness using their own senses, by poking, prodding, looking, listening. From these observations, a skilled doctor can make amazingly accurate inferences about what ails the patient.

Technology has changed that. “We’re now often doing expensive tests, where in the past a physical exam would have given you the same information,” says Jason Wasfy, a cardiologist-in-training at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

As a result, many doctors are abbreviating the time-honored physical exam ”” or even skipping it altogether….

Read or better yet listen to it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Health & Medicine, Psychology, Science & Technology

(Zenit) US Roman Catholic Bishops: Pregnancy Isn't a Disease

In a letter dated Sept. 17 to the department [of Health and Human Services], the bishops’ conference general counsel, Anthony Picarello, and associate general counsel, Michael Moses, expressed the “particular concern” of the prelates regarding the proposed mandate of contraceptives and sterilization as preventive services.

“To prevent pregnancy is not to prevent a disease,” it stated. “Indeed, contraception and sterilization pose their own unique and serious health risks to the patient.”

The letter pointed out that these “services” are also “morally problematic for many stakeholders, including religiously-affiliated health care providers and insurers.”

“In our view,” it affirmed, “prescription contraception as well as chemical and surgical sterilization are particularly inappropriate candidates for inclusion under mandated ‘preventive services’ for all health plans.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Health & Medicine, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

An Address by the Archbishop of Canterbury to the General Convention of the Episcopal Church

You have to guess the year before you click the link–KSH

I need not, I think, expound to you what I mean by the Anglican Tradition: for it is what you mean by it also. It has its strong Catholic element–which emphasizes the historic continuity and organized life of the Church as the appointed channel of the Divine grace through creed, ministry, and sacraments. It has its strong Evangelical element, which emphasizes Gospel before Church, personal conversion before corporate expression of it, spiritual immediacy, the direct response to the Holy Spirit wherever He may breathe. It has its third strong element, not easy to give a name to, which acts as a watchdog of both the other elements, and brings into our tradition a special element of intellectual integrity, of sobriety and moderation of judgment, of moral earnestness–an element which is as aware of what we do not know as of what we do, which does not wish to go beyond the evidence but to judge all things with a large and reasonable charity.

No Anglican should be without something of these elements. But difference of emphasis does often lead to widely different results in the presentation and practice of our common faith. Therein is an apparent weakness. I would say that it is the real strength and glory and special responsibility of the Anglican Churches that they hold together these three elements in one fellowship without resort either to schism or suppression. For all these elements are essential parts of the Christian Faith already visible in the New Testament; they need each other for their own correction. While the frailty of man makes them centrifugal, the truth of Christ should hold them together in Him as their center. An Anglican, as it seems to me, is one who above all does not desire or wish that any one element shall part company with the others; that any one shall prevail over or suppress the others. He cannot be a partisan, in the sense of thinking he is right and the others are wrong. Rather it is part of his special profession a part which requires of him humility, patience, and a real cost in spiritual effort and discipline, to think of, to value, and to learn from the others, and never to push his own emphasis or preferences to a point which could unchurch his partners. I do not know whether the term “Central Churchman” is here a term of praise or abuse. Sometimes in England it is used to mean a person who believes and who does nothing very much. I would say that he is a man who is to be highly regarded. There is a center, in the Anglican tradition, where the various tensions within the thought and life of the Church come nearest to being harmonized in a full energy of utterance and witness to the truth of Christ and His Church. Because it exists, it is possible for varying emphases to coexist without breaking the fellowship but rather enriching it.

It is because we are by the grace of God what we are in the Anglican Communion that we have so important a part to play, as I think, in the difficult field of reunion. I read in a book on religion in America that America thinks of the problem as one not so much of “reunion” as of “union.” In this country, it was said there never has been a Church visibly one; so the question is seen as one of creating what has never been rather than of recreating what has been lost. But in the Episcopal Church the historic sense is, I am sure, strong enough to make the term “reunion” right. For we have in our bones the memory of the Church which preceded all the divisions of it, the Church as it sprang from Christ on the foundation of the Apostles and prophets. It is that unity we desire, not to be made by us, but to be recovered from Christ Who made it first and wills it still.

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

David Mills–Flattening Episcopal Statements

“The search for consensus can result in a flattened document ”” or, as one bishop put it, documents that have found their least common denominator,” noted Bishop Robert Vasa, speaking on “The Bishop and the Conference” at the InsideCatholic Partnership Award Dinner. It is an excellent talk, not only for Catholics frustrated by the apparent deadening effect of the national conference on episcopal clarity and courage, but for any religious believer who has seen what happens when pastors combine in some way at the national level.

Read it all and follow the link to the talk itself.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Ethics / Moral Theology, Other Churches, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Theology

(Metro Spirit) Episcopal convent

Augusta [Georgia] is host to the nation’s only Episcopal Order of St. Helena convent. I discovered this recently, and I knew I had to visit.

Without knowing a thing about Episcopal monasticism, I decided to visit the 10-acre property last week. I went with my mother, who was also curious about how they are different from their more familiar Catholic counterparts. Located just off Lumpkin Road, the property is exactly what the nuns intend it to be ”” a secluded retreat….

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Episcopal Church (TEC), Spirituality/Prayer

(Wash. Post) Heavenly body: Donna Richardson makes every healthy move a leap of faith

As arduous as exercise can be, and as ardently as yoga class namastes stress the body-spirit connection, and as often as one wishes to take the Lord’s name in vain during the third set of squat-thrusts, it was only a matter of time before someone put it all together: Enter “Body Gospel.”

“Can you feel His presence?” asks the chipper fitness instructor on the new workout DVD, available for $79.90 (“Give Praise. Get Results”). Right now, she is demonstrating Hallelujah Hands — a move that combines a side squat with an arm scoop — which are not to be confused with Praise Arms, Praise Lunges or the Praise Run. “It’s all about combining God’s love . . . and fitness!”

Behind her, in a fitness studio designed to look like a church — soaring ceilings, stained glass — are a half-dozen or so spandex-clad fitness types.

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

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Philander Chase

Almighty God, whose Son Jesus Christ is the pioneer and perfecter of our faith We give thee heartfelt thanks for the pioneering spirit of thy servant Philander Chase, and for his zeal in opening new frontiers for the ministry of thy Church. Grant us grace to minister in Christ’s name in every place, led by bold witnesses to the Gospel of the Prince of Peace, even Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Episcopal Church (TEC), Spirituality/Prayer, TEC Bishops

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Grant, Oh Lord! that what out of Thine infinite bounty Thou hast vouchsafed to lavish upon us, into whosoever hands it may devolve, may always be improved to thy glory. Amen.

–John Donne

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan, and was led by the Spirit for forty days in the wilderness, tempted by the devil. And he ate nothing in those days; and when they were ended, he was hungry. The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” And Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone.'”

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture