Daily Archives: October 29, 2012

Fond du Lac Episcopal Bishop announces his retirement

The Right Rev. Russell Jacobus, Seventh Bishop of Fond du Lac, announced today his intention to resign effective Oct. 31, 2013.

He made the announcement at the conclusion of the 138th Annual Convention of the Diocese of Fond du Lac meeting in Manitowoc.

He has served as Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese which covers northeast Wisconsin since his election and consecration in 1994. He will also retire from active ordained ministry at that time.

Read it all (and it is a nice picture).

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

Sarah Coakley–Love in a Time of Infidelity

Gregory also provides us with a powerful counter-argument to Peter Steinfels’s insistence that a commitment to celibacy could only now be re-invigorated within contemporary Roman Catholicism at the cost of a high theology of lay and married service. As he puts it in A People Adrift, “If the church wants to restore celibacy to [its] former status, there is really only one practical way to do it: demote marriage to the second-class standing it once had.”

I argue, in the spirit of Gregory, that marriage and celibacy ought to be re-thought alongside one another. But I have also tried to suggest that heterosexual and homosexual desire ought to be examined together and subjected to the same exacting standards of ascetic transformation through discipline and “right direction.” In this way, homoerotic desire could potentially be released from its cultural – and biblical – associations with libertinism, promiscuity and disorder. Gregory’s vision of desire as thwarted, chastened, transformed, renewed and finally intensified through its relations to God – which would then produce spiritual fruits of love and service in a range of other relationships and communal bonds – represents a way beyond and through the false modern alternatives of “repression” and “libertinism.”

The re-thinking of celibacy and faithful vowed relations (whether heterosexual or homosexual) in an age of instantly commodified desire and massive infidelity is a task of daunting proportions, of which no-one can be very confident of wide-spread success. But as Gregory himself warns, we cannot believe it unless we see it lived.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Psychology, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Sexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths), Theology, Theology: Scripture

Hurricane Sandy: Live Open Thread

Please post your experiences of Hurricane Sandy in the comments, including links to any interesting storm tracking sites, pictures, news stories, etc.

This storm has the potential to bring severe damage and disruption across much of the East Coast from Delaware to Maine in the coming days. Please be in prayer for all affected.

Posted in * Admin, * General Interest, Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc., Weather

Google's Hurricane Sandy Crisis Map

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * General Interest, Blogging & the Internet, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc.

The San Francisco Giants win the World Series, their second in the last three years

Matt Cain had one thought as he watched Marco Scutaro dig in for the at-bat of his life.

“I was just hoping he hadn’t burned up all of his big hits through the year already,” Cain said. “He’s had so many. I was hoping he had another one in there for us.”

The little Giant, the one they call “Blockbuster,” did indeed. With two outs in the 10th inning, Scutaro floated a single to short center field. Austin Jackson charged hard but finally had to concede he would lose the battle with gravity.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Men, Sports

A Part-Time Life, as Hours Shrink and Shift

Since the Fresh & Easy grocery chain was founded five years ago, it has opened 150 stores in California and positioned itself as a hip, socially responsible company.

A cross between Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s, the company brags that its house brands have no artificial colors or trans fats, that two-thirds of its produce is grown locally and that its main distribution center is powered by a $13 million solar installation.

But in one crucial respect, Fresh & Easy is just like the vast majority of large American retailers: most employees work part-time, with its stores changing many of their workers’ schedules week to week.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

The Bishop of Springfield on the Diocese of South Carolina/Mark Lawrence Developments

…we know from the experience of recent years roughly how the scenario will play out: the Presiding Bishop will convene an extraordinary “convention” of “loyal Episcopalians” from within the diocese, which will announce that it is the legitimate continuing Diocese of South Carolina, and choose a Provisional Bishop. Then that bishop and diocese, along with attorneys representing the Presiding Bishop, will spend millions of dollars suing in secular courts to recover control of church buildings and financial assets. To this point, the reorganized dioceses and the Presiding Bishop have been generally successful in their legal efforts (though important cases in Texas and California remain undecided). However, there is already a history in South Carolina that heavily favors those who will continue to actually occupy those properties.

This is a very serious, and a very disturbing, turn of events. Bishop Lawrence is a longtime personal friend, and a man whose intellect, love for our Lord, and passion for the gospel is without peer. While I am not fully on board with the some of the positions taken and decisions made by the conventions of the Diocese of South Carolina, and while I could find reasons to criticize the tone of much of the rhetoric coming from their direction, I am in essential theological sympathy with the witness made by that diocese as it has attempted to remain faithful to historic Anglican”“which is to say, historic Episcopalian”“faith and practice in a time when the majority in our church appear to be turning away from that tradition. More to the point, it strains every notion of common sense to apply the charge of “abandonment” in this case. This is a provision that is in canons to make it expeditious to deal with a priest or bishop who has openly decamped to another ecclesial body, or none; a cleric who stops showing up for meetings, stops worshiping as an Episcopalian, and disavows any association with the Episcopal Church. By contrast, since I became a bishop in March of last year, Mark Lawrence has attended every meeting of the House of Bishops except one, which a great many bishops also missed because it was held in Ecuador. He was present at General Convention. He has continued to lead a diocese that uses the Episcopal Church’s Book of Common Prayer in its worship. He has abandoned nothing, and to accuse him of doing so is ludicrous on its face.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Pastoral Theology, Presiding Bishop, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: South Carolina, TEC Polity & Canons, Theology

The Bishop of Georgia on the Diocese of South Carolina/Mark Lawrence Developments

(Via email):

Broken bottles broken plates, Broken switches broken gates
Broken dishes broken parts, Streets are filled with broken hearts
Broken words never meant to be spoken, Everything is broken – Bob Dylan

I was saddened when I heard that the Disciplinary Board for Bishops charged the Bishop of South Carolina, Mark Lawrence, with abandoning The Episcopal Church “by an open renunciation of the Discipline of the Church.” They made that determination under Canon IV.16(A). You can read the details of this on the Episcopal News Service website and read reactions from the Diocese of South Carolina on their website. I commend both websites so you may better understand what is transpiring.

Bishop Lawrence is my friend. He has been and continues to be a good colleague of mine. I respect him as a person and as a disciple of Jesus. Our relationship has always been marked by candor, mutual support, and affection. We always have great discussions, with only occasional disagreements, on the challenges facing the Church as we engage in God’s mission. Our disagreements have only been “occasional,” because we’re united in our commitment to spread God’s Kingdom on earth and make disciples for Jesus while making a difference in God’s world.
I have prayed that the ongoing tension between Bishop Lawrence (and leaders of his Diocese) and The Episcopal Church would be resolved by other means and would come from our Anglican ethos of comprehensiveness and a generosity with those with whom we disagree. I regret that the Disciplinary Board for Bishops felt they had to act in such a way at this time. I’m not judging them harshly for I don’t know all of what they know nor was I privy to their deliberations. I simply believe that the pastoral work of grace is sometimes impeded by the application of the letter of the law.

I also regret the actions that Bishop Lawrence and other leaders in the Diocese of South Carolina have taken. Their actions have been and continue to be provocative and have not been marked by self-restraint and our Anglican ethos. The escalation of this conflict mirrors other conflicts we have all seen in human history where two sides are unwilling to back down. Both are acting out of fear that the other side will get the upper hand, so they escalate their defenses, begin demonizing the other side, and the drum beat for more drastic action continues unabated. Bishop Lawrence, like some of those in disagreement with him, has in my judgment participated in this escalation.

I hope we will find a way forward together. It would be a painful loss to lose members of the Diocese of South Carolina from our Church. It is, however, way too early to make any sort of conjecture about what will or will not happen next. Pray for our sisters and brothers in South Carolina. Pray also for our Church that together we will live out God’s will on earth as it already is lived out in heaven. Dylan’s lament that “everything is broken,” however true, is never the last word for Christians. We believe everything will be mended through the merits and mediation of our Lord & Savior Jesus Christ.

–(The Rt. Rev.) Scott A. Benhase is Bishop of Georgia

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Pastoral Theology, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: South Carolina, TEC Polity & Canons, Theology

Bishop William Love of Albany–Response to the Inhibition of Bishop Mark Lawrence of South Carolina

This latest action taken against Bishop Lawrence and the Diocese of South Carolina is indicative of the brokenness and ongoing division within The Episcopal Church and wider Anglican Communion over a number of important theological, moral, and societal issues, not the least of which include: the interpretation and authority of Holy Scripture as the Word of God; the uniqueness of Jesus Christ as “the way, the truth and the life;” the responsibility and means by which a bishop is to “guard the faith, unity, and discipline of the Church;” the true purpose and nature of marriage as intended by God; as well as the never ending debate over human sexuality and sexual relations outside of marriage between one man and one woman.

Closely tied to all of this is the current debate over the true polity or structure of The Episcopal Church which directly impacts the numerous lawsuits within the Church over property and assets totaling untold millions of dollars….

Sadly, we seem to have reached a point in the life and history of the Church that any action taken by a conservative bishop or diocese to uphold their understanding of Holy Scripture and the traditional teaching, polity and Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church risks having charges brought against them if their actions are deemed to threaten or challenge the majority view, particularly in regard to polity issues and the control of Church property and assets. If the conservative voice is to have any future in The Episcopal Church, there must be a way to address controversial issues and to differentiate from that which is believed to be inappropriate or offensive.

Bishop Mark Lawrence is and continues to be a dear friend and Brother in Christ. I believe he is one of the finest and most capable bishops to serve in the House of Bishops in recent history.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: South Carolina

Another South Carolina Rector Writes his Parish About recent Developments

From here:

As you probably already know, or as you can read below, on Monday the 15th of October the storm/battle we’ve been expecting finally arrived. Late yesterday (Wed) afternoon we learned that the actions taken by the Presiding Bishop triggered automatic corporate resolutions that have now taken the Diocese out of The Episcopal Church….What this means for us down the road is not yet totally clear. What is clear is that we will continue to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ. And in partnership with our brothers and sisters in Christ throughout the Diocese we will stand for the truth of His Word.

For me personally, I find this all very, very sad. I’m what we call a “cradle” Episcopalian, i.e. [it has been true of me] all of my life. My parents, grandparents, great grandparents etc. etc. were also. My sisters both teach in Episcopal schools, My grandmother started an Episcopal pre-school. And I could go on and on. I’ve come to understand though what St. Paul wrote to the Philippians in chapter 3. After he laid out his Jewish credentials he said, “But whatever gain I had I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” I certainly am feeling a sense of loss, but I declare with Paul, I “count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.”

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Episcopal Church (TEC), Media, Presiding Bishop, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: South Carolina, TEC Polity & Canons

Kendall Harmon's Sermon from Sunday-Ananias, An unsung Hero of the Christian Church (Acts 9:1-25)

Listen to it all if you so desire.

Posted in * By Kendall, * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Preaching / Homiletics, Sermons & Teachings, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Bloomberg) Same Sex Marriage Pits Laymen and Laywomen Against Religious Hierarchy

At a Seattle synagogue, volunteers are running a phone bank urging voters to uphold Washington’s same-sex marriage law. In Maryland, Catholics are poised to preach from the pulpit opposing a similar initiative.

Voters in those states as well as Maine are less than two weeks from deciding whether to hand ballot-box victory to same- sex marriage proponents for the first time after more than a decade of defeat. Campaigns on both sides are targeting religious communities, where leaders holding on to centuries of opposition to homosexuality are often pitted against their congregants’ evolving attitudes toward gay nuptials.

“There has been some movement in recent years toward greater acceptance of same-sex marriage,” said David Masci, a researcher with the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life in Washington. “But the largest religious groups and the biggest churches remain opposed.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, State Government

(NY Times) Sharp Warnings as Hurricane Sandy Churns In

Hurricane Sandy, a menacing monster of a storm that forecasters said would bring “life-threatening” flooding, churned toward some of the nation’s most densely populated areas on Sunday, prompting widespread evacuations and the shutdown of the New York City transit system.

Officials warned that the hurricane, pushing north from the Caribbean after leaving more than 60 people dead in its wake, could disrupt life in the Northeast for days.

New York went into emergency mode, ordering the evacuations of more than 370,000 people in low-lying communities from Coney Island in Brooklyn to Battery Park City in Manhattan and giving 1.1 million schoolchildren a day off on Monday. The city opened evacuation shelters at 76 public schools.

Read it all.

Posted in * General Interest, Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc.

A Prayer for the Feast Day of St. Simon and St. Jude

O God, we thank thee for the glorious company of the apostles, and especially on this day for Simon and Jude; and we pray thee that, as they were faithful and zealous in their mission, so we may with ardent devotion make known the love and mercy of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Blessed Lord, who for our sakes wast content to bear sorrow and want and death: Grant to us such a measure of thy Spirit that we may follow thee in all self-denial and tenderness of soul. Help us by thy great love to succour the afflicted, to relieve the needy, to share the burdens of the heavy laden, and ever to see thee in all that are poor and destitute; for thy great mercy’s sake.

–B. F. Westcott (1825-1901)

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