Daily Archives: November 10, 2012
Nigeria – By Will Ross in Lagos
If Bishop Welby wants a frank report card on the state of the Anglican Church he can get it from Bishop Nicholas Okoh, the Primate of the Church of Nigeria.
He described it as “grievously disunited” and said attending church meetings was like “working in a police state with agents all over the place trying to catch people with their words”.
The Anglican Church says it has some 18 million followers in Nigeria and the new Archbishop of Canterbury will have to tread very carefully on the controversial issues of homosexual priests and same-sex marriage if he wants to ensure rifts do not deepen further.
The new Archbishop of Canterbury is the epitome of what I am talking about. Dr Welby was a lay pastor at Holy Trinity, Brompton, and trained as a priest at the same time that Alpha was going global. He was what the satirists call “HTB-positive”. But neither his worldly, ecclesiastical or intellectual career has been narrow. Oilman, Francophile (he was France’s honorary consul in Liverpool when he was Dean there), peacemaker in Nigeria, admirer of the Benedictine order, he has never worn the straitjacket of a sect. When he was at Liverpool, his slogan was that the cathedral was “a safe place to do risky things in Christ’s service”. Faith as risk, rather than as bogus certainty, would seem the right idiom for the modern Church of England.
Just now, hopes are high. I have talked to Church people who actively dislike evangelicals, but even they express complete trust in Dr Welby’s openness. No one expects a war between High and Low, Anglo-Catholics and Bible-bashers. They expect an archbishop who will speak bravely to England, and the wider world, in clear English, about the claims that Jesus makes on the life of society and on each human being.
Obviously some of these hopes will be dashed. Churches are probably the most disputatious organisations in the world. The Anglican Communion, at whose head Dr Welby will find himself, is ungovernable. If he does not recognise this at once, and find a way of stepping aside from executive responsibility over it, he will be dragged down by its squabbles, just like poor Dr Rowan Williams.
He will bring a positive commitment to church growth. Welby said he is committed to the Fresh Expressions movement championed by Archbishop Williams. As Dean of Liverpool Cathedral he had kept traditional worship but alongside started a cafÃ© church. “We soon found we were struggling to find space for people, having previously struggled to get them to come along.”
He is firmly committed to women joining the episcopate. “I will be voting in favour,” he declared. He recognises the church faces “deep differences” over sexuality. “It is absolutely right for the state to define the rights and status of people cohabiting in different forms of relationships, including civil partnerships. We must have no truck with any form of homophobia, in any part of the church.”
He stated his support for the recent bishops’ statement opposing same-sex marriage but added that “I know I need to listen to the LGBT communities, and examine my own thinking prayerfully and carefully.” London newspapers such as the Telegraph took this and a rejection of “the language of exclusion” as an “olive branch” in what is a very fraught debate. He pointed out, however, that what the Church of England does “deeply affects the already greatly suffering churches in places like northern Nigeria.”
His resignation Friday as CIA director because of an acknowledged extramarital affair aborts an almost four-decade-long career in public service defined by boundless ambition, political savvy and strategic acumen. And it almost certainly tarnishes the legacy of a man seen by many as the nation’s preeminent military leader in the post-Sept. 11 world, a commander who turned around the failing Iraq war and dealt the Taliban a bloody punch in Afghanistan.
He falls from a self-built pedestal that was based on more than battlefield heroics. As a general, his principal message to the troops under his command was not just about military tactics and high-concept strategy. He preached individual leadership above all else, often telling his charges that character meant doing the right thing when nobody was watching.
Read it all (my emphasis).
If anyone in Washington could have weathered a sex scandal, Gen. David Petraeus would seem like that person.
Yet the retired general who inspired admiration bordering on reverence from so many in the capital was abruptly out Friday as Central Intelligence Agency director, just one day after President Barack Obama learned of Petraeus’s extramarital relationship.
Intelligence community insiders say Petraeus was felled by an increasing sensitivity in the Obama administration to extramarital dalliances, stemming from recent cases in which officials at various levels have seen their careers scuttled for similar personal misconduct.
Mr. Petraeus issued a statement acknowledging the affair after President Obama accepted his resignation and it was announced by the C.I.A. The disclosure ended a triumphant re-election week for the president with an unfolding scandal.
Government officials said that the F.B.I. began an investigation into a “potential criminal matter” several months ago that was not focused on Mr. Petraeus. In the course of their inquiry into whether a computer used by Mr. Petraeus had been compromised, agents discovered evidence of the relationship as well as other security concerns. About two weeks ago, F.B.I. agents met with Mr. Petraeus to discuss the investigation.
Administration and Congressional officials identified the woman as Paula Broadwell, the co-author of a biography of Mr. Petraeus. Her book, “All In: The Education of General David Petraeus,” was published this year. Ms. Broadwell could not be reached for comment.
CIA Director David H. Petraeus resigned Friday and admitted to having an extramarital affair, bringing a shocking end to his brief tenure at the spy agency and highly decorated national security career.
The affair came to light as part of an FBI investigation into a potential security breach involving Petraeus’s e-mails, according to federal law enforcement officials and a former senior intelligence official. The investigation uncovered e-mails describing an affair between Petraeus and Paula Broadwell, a former military officer and co-author of a glowing biography of Petraeus, according to two law enforcement officials who were briefed on the investigation.
O Lord our God, grant that thy Church, following the teaching of thy servant Leo of Rome, may hold fast the great mystery of our redemption, and adore the one Christ, true God and true Man, neither divided from our human nature nor separate from thy divine Being; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.
O Lord God, in whom we live and move and have our being, open our eyes that we may behold thy fatherly presence ever about us. Draw our hearts to thee by the power of thy love. Teach us to be anxious for nothing, and when we have done what thou hast given us to do, help us, O God our Saviour, to leave the issue to thy wisdom. Take from us all doubt and mistrust. Lift our thoughts up to thee in heaven; and make us to know that all things are possible to us through thy Son, our Redeemer Jesus Christ.
–B. F. Westcott (1825-1901)
Now he told a parable to those who were invited, when he marked how they chose the places of honor, saying to them, “When you are invited by any one to a marriage feast, do not sit down in a place of honor, lest a more eminent man than you be invited by him; and he who invited you both will come and say to you, ‘Give place to this man,’ and then you will begin with shame to take the lowest place. But when you are invited, go and sit in the lowest place, so that when your host comes he may say to you, ‘Friend, go up higher’; then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at table with you. For every one who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
Should lawmakers not reach agreement prior to the end of the year, the US budget deficit for 2013 would be cut almost in half, to $560 billion.
Which doesn’t sound like a bad thing. After all, the US is staggering under a monumental pile of debt and could potentially begin to face the kinds of difficulties that have plunged several euro-zone countries into crisis. It is a viewpoint shared by the ratings agencies — a year ago, Standard & Poor’s withdrew America’s top rating, justifying the measure by pointing to the unending battle over the debt ceiling. The agency noted that “the political brinksmanship of recent months highlights what we see as America’s governance and policymaking becoming less stable, less effective, and less predictable than what we previously believed.”
From afar, it is difficult to argue; the ongoing battle between Democrats and Republicans in the face of a horrendously imbalanced budget looks catastrophically absurd. As their country heads toward the edge of the abyss, lawmakers preferred to debate whether or not French fries and pizza should be considered vegetables.
President Obama vote totals shrank in all 12 of our battleground states, as they did throughout the country. What’s particularly striking, however, is that in none of the battlegrounds did he win a majority of either mainline Protestants or Catholics, with the exception of Nevada, where the heavily Latino Catholic electorate supported him by five percentage points. So in winning ten out of the dozen, the president had to depend on non-Christians.
“The Church of Uganda welcomes the news of the appointment of the Rt. Rev. Justin Welby as the new Archbishop of Canterbury. We are pleased to hear that he is an evangelical and will pray for him to lift up Jesus as “the way, the truth, and the life,” and to set the Word of God written as the authority for our common faith and morality. It is a challenging season not only in the Church of England, but also in the global Anglican Communion. The Anglican Communion remains fractured due to the inability of the Instruments of Communion to restore the Communion to Biblical faith and morality. We pledge our cooperation and prayers for him as he takes on the mantle of leadership.”