Daily Archives: November 26, 2012

(Post-Gazette) The Rector of Calvary Episcopal Church in Pittsburgh retires

When the Rev. Harold T. Lewis became rector of the mostly white and wealthy Calvary Episcopal Church in Shadyside in 1996, the city was reeling from racial turmoil, and Father Lewis, who is African-American, was expected to be a leader in addressing social injustice.
But circumstances have led him to retire as a renowned advocate for Episcopal canon law.
Five years before the 2008 schism in the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh, he filed a lawsuit to stop anyone from taking property out of the Episcopal Church.
“If you had asked me when I was ordained … if I would ever sue my bishop, I would have said you were crazy,” said Father Lewis, 65, who retired Sunday.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Pittsburgh, TEC Parishes

Robert Barnett isn't pleased with Bishop Mark Lawrence

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * South Carolina, Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: South Carolina, TEC Diocesan Conventions/Diocesan Councils

Kendall Harmon's Sermon from Sunday–Saint Paul's Message, Method and Motive (from Acts)

Listen to it all if you so desire.

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

John Calvin on Saint Paul

God’s grace is seen not only in such a cruel wolf being turned into a sheep, but also in his assuming the character of a shepherd

–John Calvin, quoted by yours truly in yesterday morning’s sermon at the early service

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Wash. Post) ”˜Fiscal cliff’: Consensus on increasing tax revenue, a wide gulf on how to do it

For the first time in decades, a bipartisan consensus has emerged in Washington to raise taxes. But negotiators working to avert the year-end “fiscal cliff” remain far apart on crucial details, including how taxes should go up and who should pay more.

Neither side gave ground in an opening round of staff-level talks last week at the Capitol. As President Obama and congressional leaders prepare for a second face-to-face meeting as soon as this week, the divide over taxes presents the biggest obstacle to replacing the heap of abrupt tax hikes and spending cuts, set to hit in January, with a less-traumatic debt-reduction plan.

People in both parties are exploring ideas for bridging the gap. Without a deal on taxes, there is not much hope for agreement on a broader strategy for restraining the national debt that also tackles the skyrocketing cost of federal retirement programs such as Social Security and Medicare.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Budget, Economy, House of Representatives, Medicare, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Senate, Social Security, Taxes, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government

(FT) Church of England faces a huge pension deficit

Justin Welby, a former oil executive, may have hoped to have left the problems of Mammon behind on his appointment as Archbishop of Canterbury, but he could be plunged into an immediate cash crisis.

The Church of England’s pension deficit could reach £500m by the end of this year, putting a huge financial burden on congregations, an independent pensions consultant has warned.

John Ralfe said congregations, who already pay £68m annually to support the Clergy Pensions Scheme’s 24,000 members, will have to find £108m a year if an existing plan to eliminate the deficit over 12 years is not extended.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Economics, Politics, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Parish Ministry, Pensions, Personal Finance, Stewardship, Stock Market

(RNS) What’s a ”˜Faitheist’? Chris Stedman explains

As the assistant humanist chaplain at Harvard University, Chris Stedman coordinates its “Values in Action” program. In his recent book, “Faitheist: How an Atheist Found Common Ground with the Religious,” he tells how he went from a closeted gay evangelical Christian to an “out” atheist, and, eventually, a Humanist.

On the blog NonProphet Status, and now in the book, Stedman calls for atheists and the religious to come together around interfaith work. It is a position that has earned him both strident — even violent — condemnation and high praise. Stedman talked with RNS about how and why the religious and atheists should work together.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Atheism, Inter-Faith Relations, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Secularism

(BBC Magazine) Hemp: Could the US rekindle its love affair?

Hemp, once a major US crop, has been banned for years because of its close association with cannabis. But several states now want to resume hemp farming, and two states voted this month in favour of legalisation of cannabis. Could change be in the air?

There’s an all-American plant that weaves its way throughout the nation’s history.

The sails of Columbus’ ships were made from it. So was the first US flag. It was used in the paper on which the Declaration of Independence was printed.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, History

Orthodox-Catholic Dialogue Issues Statement On The Importance Of Sunday In The Lives Of Christians

Recovering the theological significance of Sunday is fundamental to rebalancing our lives. As Orthodox and Catholics, we share a theological view of Sunday and so our purpose in this statement is four-fold: to offer a caring response to what is not just a human, but also a theological question; to add a little more volume to the growing chorus of Christian voices trying to be heard in the din of our non-stop worklife; to offer brief reflections in hopes of drawing attention to the fuller expositions elsewhere; and to reinforce the ecumenical consensus by speaking as Orthodox and Catholics with one voice.

For Christians, Sunday, the Lord’s Day, is a special day consecrated to the service and worship of God. It is a unique Christian festival. It is “the day the Lord has made” (Ps. 117 (118):24). Its nature is holy and joyful. Sunday is the day on which we believe God acted decisively to liberate the world from the tyranny of sin, death, and corruption through the Holy Resurrection of Jesus.

The primacy of Sunday is affirmed by the liturgical practice of the early church. St. Justin the Martyr writing around 150 AD notes that “it is on Sunday that we assemble because Sunday is the first day, the day on which God transformed darkness and matter and created the world and the day that Jesus Christ rose from the dead (First Apology, 67).”

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Anthropology, Inter-Faith Relations, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Orthodox Church, Other Churches, Roman Catholic, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Sunday Telegraph) Justin Welby: Secret life of my 'alcohol-dependent' father

The next Archbishop of Canterbury has described his shock at discovering the truth about his father’s secret life.

In his first interview since becoming the incoming leader of the Anglican Church, Bishop Justin Welby revealed the struggles he had faced as a teenager at Eton, nursing his alcohol-dependant father whose behaviour had become increasingly erratic.

Since the age of three, Justin had been brought up alone by his businessman father, Gavin Welby, a divorcee. But he had no idea of his father’s remarkable life story, which The Sunday Telegraph has pieced together for the first time.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Alcohol/Drinking, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Children, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Marriage & Family

([London] Times) Secret church memo on women bishops demands U-turn

The Church of England is facing a “major constitutional crisis” as a result of the fiasco last week over women bishops, according to an internal document written for the archbishops by one of their most senior staff.
The Established Church must take steps in July next year to consecrate women bishops and vote them through by 2015, otherwise it risks the matter being taken out of its hands by Parliament, the secret memo says. It is to be debated behind closed doors this week by the Archbishops’ Council.
The memo, a hard copy of which has been handed to The Times, is intended for the Archbishops of Canterbury and York and the council members.

Read it all (requires subscription).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Women

A Prayer for the (Provisional) Feast Day of Isaac Watts

God of truth and grace, who didst give Isaac Watts singular gifts to present thy praise in verse, that he might write psalms, hymns and spiritual songs for thy Church: Give us grace joyfully to sing thy praises now and in the life to come; through Jesus Christ our Savior, who livest and reignest with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Liturgy, Music, Worship

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Almighty God, who hast given to thy people the true Bread from heaven, even thy Son Jesus Christ: Grant that our souls may be so fed by him who giveth life unto the world, that we may be made strong for thy service, and share with others that which we have so richly received; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

Do not be deceived; God is not mocked, for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption; but he who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary in well-doing, for in due season we shall reap, if we do not lose heart. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all men, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.

–Galatians 6:6-10

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(The Economist) Egypt–Going up in flames

Critics have labeled it a Reichstag fire moment, a reference to when Hitler consolidated power in Germany. Admirers describe it as a brave and necessary, albeit temporary, move to prevent a drift towards chaos. In either case Muhammad Morsi, Egypt’s recently elected president, has pitched his country into a crisis as dire as any since the uprising in January 2011 that ended six decades of military-backed dictatorship. Seeking to break a deadlock with secular opponents, he issued a shock decree on November 22nd granting himself sweeping new powers. The move has left Egypt starkly and dangerously polarised. Whether Mr Morsi succeeds, and whether this turns out well or disastrously for Egypt, remains to be seen.

Mr Morsi has had a rough ride since his wafer-thin election victory last June. The president’s Freedom and Justice Party, a snazzier-clothed clone of the dowdy Muslim Brotherhood to which he owes his real allegiance, had pumped his candidacy with promises of sweeping improvements to government services during his first hundred days. This was to be followed by the launch of a so-called Renaissance Project, touted as a grand design formulated by Brotherhood experts to yank Egypt into prosperity.

Yet it took the gruff, folksy Mr Morsi six weeks just to name a cabinet, which has since been widely dismissed as lame, bland and ineffective. Not only has there been no discernible uplift to living standards. Mr Morsi’s brief administration has been plagued by reminders of creaking government such as power cuts, worse-than-ever traffic jams, accumulating piles of rubbish, and public sector strikes including one by doctors protesting appalling hospital conditions.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Egypt, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, History, Law & Legal Issues, Middle East, Politics in General, Theology