Daily Archives: November 16, 2010

Frederick Quinn on the Bible and Other Faiths

The New Testament Reign of God welcomes non-Christians as common seekers after a truth fully revealed in Jesus Christ but experienced in different historical settings by other religions as well. The Kingdom was consistently made available to outsiders. Jesus said to a Roman centurion, “Truly I tell you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith.” (Mat.: 8:10) To a Canaanite woman he declared in healing her daughter, “Woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.” (Mat. 15:21-28). Jesus conversed with a foreigner, a Samaritan woman, (Jn. 4:7-15) who sought “living water” and elsewhere cited the example of the “good Samaritan” who had pity on a wounded robbery victim (Lk. 10: 29-37). Pagans, outsiders, or foreigners were consistently welcomed by Jesus, and at the final Passover dinner he told his followers he would not eat the Passover again “until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” (Lk 22: 16).

This, in broad outline, is a reading of what the Reign of God means. Many world theologians of recent decades understand the kingdom to be freely offered to both believers and members of other religions. If their lives and beliefs reflect what Jesus preached, they too are witnesses to the Kingdom in global settings. This moves considerably beyond Rahner’s “anonymous Christians” and the classic confines of Exclusivists and Inclusivists, and affirms that God’s loving reach extends to other religions, most of which the earthly Jesus would not have encountered in the Middle East of his time.

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Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Christology, Inter-Faith Relations, Soteriology, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Alyson Barnett-Cowan asks for a Fair Reading of the Anglican Covenant

Many things have already been said in the public arena about the proposed Anglican Communion Covenant. As Provinces around the world continue to discuss this important document I think it worth clarifying some points about it. I am not arguing here for or against the Covenant, merely pointing out that it should be debated fairly, with an accurate reading of the text….

The point of the processes outlined in the Covenant is precisely to encourage one part of the Communion, when seeking to respond responsibly in its own context in mission, to consider how that will affect other parts of the Communion It is not that one Province would exercise a veto over another, but that there would be collaborative discernment. In a globalised world, it is no longer possible (if it ever was) for one church to act entirely for itself; decisions have ramifications, and the intention is for these to be explored together.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Covenant, Anglican Provinces, Ecclesiology, Theology

Austria Threatens to Halt Greek Aid Transfer on Deficit Concern

Austria threatened to block its share of the next transfer of aid funds to Greece unless the government meets deficit-cutting goals agreed upon six months ago with the European Union and International Monetary Fund.

Austrian Finance Minister Josef Proell said in Vienna that he lacked assurances from Greece to commit to the payment. He toned down his remarks later, telling journalists in Brussels that Austria was prepared to meet its pledge to Greece and that Greece was “on a good path.”

“We are getting indications that the Greeks can’t stick to their plan in a sufficient manner, in particular on the revenue side,” Proell said according to a government e-mail that confirmed remarks made after a Cabinet meeting today. “The data we have at the moment doesn’t give any reason to approve the December tranche from the Austrian point of view.”

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

Google’s new Android phone aims to replace credit cards

Eric Schmidt, Google’s chief executive, showed off the company’s next Android-powered phone, which will contain a chip that will allow people to make payments via their handsets.

Opening this year’s Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco, Schmidt showed off the new phone, which had the manufacturer’s label deliberately covered up, but is assumed to be the next Nexus device, following the Nexus One, and will contain a Near Field Communication chip, that will allow people to use their phones like credit cards.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Science & Technology

(National Post) Dissident Anglicans can’t keep churches, B.C. court rules

Even though the B.C. Appeal court ruled in favour of the Anglican Church of Canada, the judges hinted that pursuing an action that would further alienate parishioners was not without consequence.

“[The] Bishop and the Diocesan Synod of New Westminster have chosen to pursue the matter to the extent they have ”” despite the opposition of many of their parishioners,” the judges wrote. “Presumably [they] have chosen to take the risk that the policy allowing same-sex blessings will indeed prove to be ”˜schismatic’; or that clergy in the Diocese will for the foreseeable future find themselves ministering to vastly reduced or non-existent congregations. That, however, is their decision to make.”

Lawyer Cheryl Chang, the special counsel to the Anglican Network in Canada, the umbrella group for conservative Anglican parishes, said there has been no decision yet on whether there will be an appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada.

“I am disappointed that the court concluded Anglican ministry is ”˜as defined by the ACC,’ despite the evidence demonstrating the ACC, in the view of the majority of the world’s Anglicans, have erred in their definition of Anglican doctrine, and in our view, breached their own Solemn Declaration or constitution in the process,” Ms. Chang said.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Theology

The Episcopal Bishop of New York's Diocesan Convention Address

Though we may not spend much time consciously thinking about that war, I have no doubt that it has found its way into the America psyche. How could it not but foster a deep seated anxiety. It so easily gives rise to xenophobia. It probably plays into our irrational response to immigrants across our borders, and it contributes to an irrational fear of Islam.

Nothing could symbolize that irrational fear more than the choreographed uproar that was generated around the proposed Islamic Center at Park 51. I found it fascinating that among the most outspoken critics, few were actually New Yorkers. Though we New Yorkers are rarely of one mind on anything, the view is pretty widely held that it is the pluralism of New York that make it the great state and city that it is. It was in that spirit that I was asked to represent the Diocese of New York, and indeed the Episcopal Church, as a part of an interfaith consultation that met in Washington, D.C., in early September.

In that spirit of dialogue and inquiry I have asked Imam Mohamad Bashar Arafat to address us later in the day in order to help us understand more clearly some of the insights and values that Islam and Christianity hold in common.

All in all this has been an eventful year. One important but unanticipated outcome of the financial crisis has struck especially close to home. The General Theological Seminary, one of the most venerable Episcopal Church institutions in this Diocese, an institution of broad importance to the entire Episcopal Church, has come perilously close to bankruptcy. A new interim President and an interim Dean have been recruited to address crucially important and nearly over-whelming financial challenges. As a part of that general turn-around effort I was asked to serve as Chairman of the Board. Though that is not something I ever anticipated, never-the-less I felt I could not ignore such a request at a pivotal moment in the life of seminary to which I personally, and so many others, owe so very much.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops

(Living Church) Gene Robinson: Election Enabled Thoughts of Retiring

The Rev. Rev. Gene Robinson says his decision to retire in January 2013 as Bishop of New Hampshire was easier to imagine after the election of the Rt. Rev. Mary D. Glasspool.

Both bishops discussed their sexuality openly before they were elected ”” Robinson in 2003 and Glasspool in 2009.

“I had never really considered retiring until Mary’s election,” Robinson told The Living Church in a telephone interview. “That really gave me permission to consider that possibility.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Los Angeles, Theology

WSJ: Fan and Fred's New Boss

Given previous comments by Mr. Smith, taxpayers may soon be longing for the return of acting FHFA director Edward DeMarco. The Journal reports that, at a 2007 Senate hearing, Mr. [Joseph] Smith blamed predatory lenders and a lack of federal regulation for the housing crisis. Blaming the bankers and calling for more bureaucracy will earn Mr. Smith plenty of new Beltway friends, but if he remains unaware of the myriad steps regulators took to inflate the credit bubble and misallocate capital into housing, then no one should expect him to drive reform.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The U.S. Government

(Litchfield County Times) Roxbury, Connecticut Episcopal Priest Really Rocks

The Rev. Robert Clements, the newest rector of Christ Church in Roxbury, is a real holy roller. Better yet, he’s a real holy rocker.

The pastor is a sincerely devout man, one who serves as the chaplain at Rumsey Hall School, and for his parish is the kind of guiding figure that will readily spend his Sundays, after church of course, visiting hospitals and rehabilitation centers. As is his calling, Dr. Clements is a caring minister who thoughtfully tends to his and other flocks, more than happy to raise money for earthquake-ravaged Haiti or any other worthy cause.

Yet there is another side to the 25-year Episcopal priest, a seemingly clean-cut and well-spoken husband and father of one adult son. The rector, who has been in Roxbury for a little more than a year, harbors a defiant quality with a slew of hobbies that don’t match the conventional standards of the cloth, hobbies more applicable to standards of a rebellious teenager.

It’s a streak of youthful vigor, his love of rock music and the bass guitar. And he’s parlayed his passion into a positive force for those in need, people like the Nashville musicians whose instruments and livelihoods this year were devastated by flooding waters.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ministry of the Ordained, Music, Parish Ministry

A New book from Australian Anglicans on The Thirty-Nine Articles

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Provinces, Books, Church History, Church of England (CoE), Theology

Local Paper: South Carolina faces funding crisis in health care for poor

If left unchecked, government-run health insurance for the poor in the state will start draining the cash South Carolina has to pay for its other top priorities, including public schools and law enforcement.

The state’s Medicaid program is projected to cost $228 million more than lawmakers budgeted to spend on it this fiscal year. And the shortfall at the state Department of Health and Human Services is just a preview of the budget crisis awaiting the state in July. That is when the $1 billion in federal stimulus cash that’s propping up this year’s $5 billion spending plan runs out.

So what happens next? Lawmakers said they will have to find some way to balance the books after they return to session in January, cutting unnamed programs and services to keep the Department of Health and Human Services afloat.

Senate President Pro Tem Glenn McConnell said the Medicaid program will overrun the budget without some cost-controls put in place at the Health and Human Services Department.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Health & Medicine, Politics in General, Poverty, State Government, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

The Latest Edition of the Diocese of South Carolina Enewsletter

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Episcopal Church (TEC), Media

The Rev. Richard Dority RIP

Richard lived his life with unbridled passion in all things. The joy of the Lord Jesus was his strength. Characterized by boundless energy and a teachable spirit, he taught himself to do just about everything from carpentry to oil painting but he relied on “my coach, the Holy Spirit” for his inspiration and direction. An untold number of people were touched by Richard’s life, fulfilling what he wrote when asked why he wanted to go to seminary, “I love God and I love people and I just want to bring them together.” Dority served as a priest in the Episcopal Church from 1958-1987 in Summerton, Pinewood, Manning, Columbia, Darlington, St. James on James Island and St. John’s (Oakland) in Charleston. He founded James Island Christian Church to emphasize biblical principles without denominational traditions and to yield to the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit in our day.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * South Carolina, Death / Burial / Funerals, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry

(Christianity Today) Matthew Lee Anderson reviews the new Book "America's Four Gods"

The American religious landscape is admittedly as varied and complex as the geographical landscape. This makes any taxonomy of religious beliefs necessarily artificial, as the authors note. So they start with what American religious believers have in common: namely, the notion that God is loving. This is something some 85 percent of Americans affirm.

Beneath that superficial similarity, though, is a range of conceptions about God’s character. Those conceptions dramatically alter our understanding of the shape his love takes in our world. Froese and Bader examine two questions whose answers, they contend, determine more about a person’s cultural and political worldview than any other sociological factor. First, to what extent does God interact with the world? Second, to what extent does God judge the world? As the authors put it, “The answers to these questions predict the substance of our worldviews much better than the color of our skin, the size of our bank account, the political party we belong to, or whether we wear a white Stetson or faded Birkenstocks.”

Respondents’ answers lead the authors to identify four conceptions of God among the American religious public: (1) the authoritative God, who both judges and is closely engaged in the world; (2) the benevolent God, who is “engaged but nonjudgmental”; (3) the critical God, who happens to be judgmental but disengaged; and (4) the distant God, who is neither engaged nor judgmental, and could care less about how humans muck about.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Books, History, Religion & Culture, Theology

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Margaret of Scotland

O God, who didst call thy servant Margaret to an earthly throne that she might advance thy heavenly kingdom, and didst give her zeal for thy church and love for thy people: Mercifully grant that we who commemorate her this day may be fruitful in good works, and attain to the glorious crown of thy saints; though Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Church History, England / UK, Scotland, Spirituality/Prayer, Women