Daily Archives: June 15, 2015

Churches in Diocese of South Carolina rejects Episcopal Church’s ”˜Spurious’ Offer to Settle

After careful consideration of this proposal it was quite clear that it was not a legitimate offer of good faith negotiation and never was intended to be. Thus, the proposal has been unanimously rejected by all parties to the litigation for the Diocese of South Carolina.
Reasons:

1. First, if it had been legitimate, it would have come from someone with authority to bind all the parties on the Episcopal Church side. The Presiding Bishop, though referenced in the letter, does not have that authority for TEC. It would – at minimum – require an action by TEC’s Executive Council, if not General Convention. Tisdale’s letter doesn’t even have the signature of legal counsel for TEC. Counsel for TEC was contacted to request that they provide the necessary proof of authority, along with THEIR signature on this offer. There has been no response.

2. Equally important, a valid proposal should have come to the Diocese’s lead counsel for this litigation, not to a parish representative. After nearly two weeks from the time of the original “offer” that contact has still not been made. A good faith offer has still not been properly presented .

3. Along these same lines, it should have been done entirely in confidence, and not presented as a kind of mass public statement. On Friday (6/12) it was publicly announced by a TECinSC blogger that Bishop vonRosenberg had sent a written notice to all his parishes, informing them this offer had been made. Both communications represent a serious breach of confidentiality. Today’s announcement from them further emphasizes this dynamic. If some kind (any kind) of good faith negotiation is what they were really interestd in, this certainly was not the way to conduct it.

Particularly to the point, the letters from Mr. Tisdale should not have been presented in the midst of the appellate briefs being filed. It must be noted that the expiration date of this offer was the same day our reply brief was due to be filed with the State Supreme Court. That is obviously no accident.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Pastoral Theology, Theology

Historic sandstone Episcopal Church in Clydebank, Scotland, falling into ruin

Congregations vacated St Columba’s Episcopal Church on Glasgow Road in 1996 ”” and since, it has been slowly crumbling away.

But after a photo of the church was posted on social media there have been calls for action to be taken to stop the rot at the town church.

Clydebank photographer Owen McGuigan, who ignited a debate about the church after uploading the snap to Facebook, said: “I just don’t like seeing old buildings, especially churches, which, back in the day were substantially built to last a long time, being left to fall down with neglect.

“In the last 40 years in Clydebank we have lost several churches, all knocked down before their time, some to make way for the Clyde Shopping Centre.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Economy, England / UK, Housing/Real Estate Market, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Scotland, Scottish Episcopal Church, Stewardship

(FS) Naomi Schaefer Riley–Is Our ”˜Appetite for Unfaithfulness’ Growing?

The infidelity business is booming. In a recent interview, Noel Biderman, the CEO of Ashley Madison, a website for people seeking extramarital affairs, observed, “I don’t see an appetite for unfaithfulness waning around the world.” Indeed, the company has 36 million members in 46 countries and is hoping to launch an IPO in London in the not too distant future.

To what does Biderman attribute the company’s success? “Female equality,” he explained to Business Insider recently. “Women are getting greater equality and are generally getting married later than those in two or three generations ago. They are now more willing to put their marriage at risk. That’s only going to increase because economic conditions for women are better and it gives them more choice.”

If an evangelical pastor had said that, he would have been denounced as a retrograde hick trying to keep women barefoot and pregnant by suggesting that women’s liberation would destroy the traditional family. But Biderman can not only point to his company’s bottom line but also decades of social science research to confirm his suspicions.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Sexuality, Theology

(Economist) Only a matter of time before the next recession strikes+the rich world is not ready

Inevitably fragilities remain. Europe is deep in debt and dependent on exports. Japan cannot get inflation to take hold. Wage growth could quickly dent corporate earnings and valuations in America. Emerging economies, which accounted for the bulk of growth in the post-crisis years, have seen better days. The economies of both Brazil and Russia are expected to shrink this year. Poor trade data suggest that Chinese growth may be slowing faster than the government wishes.

If any of these worries causes a downturn the world will be in a rotten position to do much about it. Rarely have so many large economies been so ill-equipped to manage a recession, whatever its provenance, as our “wriggle-room” ranking makes clear…. Rich countries’ average debt-to-GDP ratio has risen by about 50% since 2007. In Britain and Spain debt has more than doubled. Nobody knows where the ceiling is, but governments that want to splurge will have to win over jumpy electorates as well as nervous creditors. Countries with only tenuous access to bond markets, as in the euro zone’s periphery, may be unable to launch a big fiscal stimulus.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, European Central Bank, Federal Reserve, Foreign Relations, G20, Globalization, History, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Personal Finance, Politics in General, The Banking System/Sector, The U.S. Government, Theology

PBS' Religion and Ethics Newsweekly–Rancher Nuns

LUCKY SEVERSON, correspondent: Near the Colorado-Wyoming border, beneath the snow covered Mummy Mountains, amongst the grassy meadows, the soothing sounds of psalms being sung by Benedictine nuns, praying for themselves and for the world. Altogether they pray over three-and-a-half hours a day.

And then in between prayers, rushing out to the corral to rein in the cattle, and the cattle don’t always cooperate. This is the Abbey of St. Walburga. It’s a working ranch, and the nuns are the ranch hands when they’re not praying. And they pray together seven times a day, always in their habits.

(speaking to Abbess): You change your clothes a lot, don’t you?

MOTHER MARIA MICHAEL: We do.

SEVERSON: Seven times a day?

MOTHER MARIA MICHAEL: Seven time a day, uh huh.

Read or watch it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * General Interest, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Animals, Economy, Religion & Culture, Spirituality/Prayer, Theology, Violence

(Ekklesia) Scottish Episcopal Church moves towards marrying same-sex couples

The Scottish Episcopal Church has taken a major step towards letting same-sex couples marry in church. However the process of change will take at least two years. If and when final approval is given, priests will be allowed ”“ but not required ”“ to celebrate weddings between same-sex partners.

The General Synod voted to ask the Faith and Order Board to look at revising the church’s rules on marriage. An overwhelming majority backed the resolution.

“That would also allow our clergy to enter into same-sex marriages,” said David Chillingworth, the Bishop of St Andrews, Dunkeld and Dunblane, and Primus (chief bishop) of the Scottish Episcopal Church.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Children, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Scotland, Scottish Episcopal Church, Sexuality, Theology, Theology: Scripture

The Archbishop of Canterbury marks 800th anniversary of Magna Carta

“Archbishop Stephen Langton was mediator between the King and his barons, counsellor to both, and an advocate of civil harmony, cohesion and goodwill. His great legacy was this remarkable document, the spring from which so much of the human quest for political liberty has drawn, here and abroad, especially in the United States of America.

“The vision of the dignity of the human being, however limited that vision is, in Magna Carta sets a standard for our consideration of all human beings ”“ however important or unimportant, near or far, they may seem to be.

“Langton was not alone. His was an age of giants at Canterbury. Alphege whose love for his people led him to give his life to save them from paying a crippling ransom. Anselm, the wise scholar and yet brave counsellor, whose advice cost him years of exile.

In such self-giving and courage Magna Carta found fertile soil to grow. It sets the bar high for all of us today….”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, England / UK, History, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General

(Her.meneutics) Amy Becker–Why Bloggers Are Calling It Quits

I never ascended the blogging ranks like Sullivan or Armstrong, and yet I too recently decided to complete my time as a regular blogger here at Christianity Today to pursue writing of a different sort. Like Sullivan, I yearn to slow down. Instead of creating post after post, I want to focus on writing that allows me more time and thought. Blogging itself””its immediacy, its informality, its conversational tone””is fleeting. There’s always an occasion for another update, another issue to comment on.

With such a transient, “what next?” mindset, bloggers and tweeters may experience what media theorist Douglas Rushkoff calls “present shock.” In his book of the same name, Rushkoff explains, “Our society has reoriented itself to the present moment. Everything is live, real time, and always-on. It’s not a mere speeding up”¦ It’s more of a diminishment of anything that isn’t happening right now””and the onslaught of everything that supposedly is.” Our focus upon the present leads to “narrative collapse,” the end of storytelling, the end of understanding our place in the world as something with a beginning, a middle, and an end.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, --Social Networking, Anthropology, Blogging & the Internet, Ethics / Moral Theology, Media, Pastoral Theology, Theology

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Evelyn Underhill

O God, Origin, Sustainer, and End of all creatures: Grant that thy Church, taught by thy servant Evelyn Underhill, guarded evermore by thy power, and guided by thy Spirit into the light of truth, may continually offer to thee all glory and thanksgiving, and attain with thy saints to the blessed hope of everlasting life, which thou hast promised us by our Savior Jesus Christ; who with thee and the same Holy Spirit liveth and reigneth, one God, now and for ever.

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day from George Appleton

O Lord, who hast promised a blessing for all who suffer for righteousness’ sake: Grant to all our brethren persecuted for the truth that they may rejoice in being counted worthy to suffer dishonour for thy name. Strengthen their faith and renew their love, that in their patience they may possess their souls and win their persecutors to penitence and new brotherhood in thee; for the sake of him who suffered shame and reproach and remained invincible in his love, even thy redeeming Son, Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, thou who leadest Joseph like a flock! Thou who art enthroned upon the cherubim, shine forth before E’phraim and Benjamin and Manas’seh! Stir up thy might, and come to save us!

–Psalm 80:1-2

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

([London] Times) Critics dismiss plan to reduce hours of Ramadan fast

A scholar has sparked controversy by telling British Muslims that they can cut their Ramadan fast because of the long summer days.

The holy month begins on Thursday, and believers will by tradition stop eating and drinking from dawn until dusk.

However, Usama Hasan has issued a fatwa saying that Muslims can fast for shorter periods in 2015 because Ramadan falls during summer.

The Islamic calendar uses lunar months, so the fast occurs at different times on the western calendar each year. In the Middle East, where Islam originated, the days are shorter. In Mecca the fast lasts between 12 and 15 hours. Fasting is one of the five pillars of the Islamic faith.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, England / UK, Islam, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

(First Things) Patrick Deneen-America’s Power Elite+their imposed Age of Libertarian Indifference

The decision by Apple, Walmart, Eli Lilly, Angie’s List, and so on was a business decision””even more, a marketing decision. Coming out in opposition to the Indiana RFRA law was one of the shrewdest marketing coups since E.T. followed a trail of Reese’s Pieces. The decision to #BoycottIndiana was not made because it was the politically courageous thing to do; it was made because it was the profitable thing to do. The establishment could express support for a fashionable social norm while exerting very little effort, incurring no actual cost, and making no sacrifice to secure the goal. It had the further advantage of distracting most people from the fact that corporations like Apple have no compunction doing business in places with outright oppression of gays, women, and Christians. Those real forms of repression and discrimination didn’t matter; Indiana’s purported oppression of gays did.

The public statements, often hyperbolic propaganda about the dire consequences of the Indiana law, were cost-free because gay rights activists have successfully argued that opposition to gay marriage is tantamount to racism. Through a powerful and concerted effort, gay activists have succeeded in convincing the establishment that gays are the equivalent of blacks in Selma, and that their opponents””particularly their Christian opponents””are Bull Connors. There can simply be no brooking bigotry! Democrats like Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton conveniently forget their previous support for conjugal marriage, and none of their supporters seek to hold them to account. All that matters is that one now deny that there can be reasonable opposition to gay marriage, and affirm that those who maintain that view are rank bigots. Companies like Apple and Walmart eagerly joined the bandwagon once it was clear that the tactic had worked.

There is a deeper reason for corporate support, however. ­Today’s corporate ideology has a strong affinity with the lifestyles of those who are defined by mobility, ethical flexibility, liberalism (whether economic or social), a consumerist mentality in which choice is paramount, and a “progressive” outlook in which rapid change and “creative destruction” are the only certainties. The response to Indiana’s RFRA law shows very clearly that corporations have joined forces with Republicans on economic matters and Democrats on social ones. Corporate America is aligned with the ascendant ­libertarian portion of each party, ensuring a win for the political, economic, and ­social preferences of libertarianism. In effect, there is only one functional party in America today, seemingly parceled between the two notional parties but in reality unifying them in its backing by financial and cultural elites.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Marriage & Family, Media, Politics in General, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, State Government, Theology

(Bloomberg) ISIS' 'toxic recipe' gives strength year after caliphate

When Islamic State seized Iraq’s largest northern city of Mosul almost a year ago, tribal leader Hekmat Suleiman was sure the extremist militants wouldn’t expand further into his hometown.

“We bet Islamic State won’t have what it takes to last,” Suleiman said in October during a visit to the Iraqi Kurdish city of Erbil, smoke rising from his shisha water pipe. “We’ve reached the beginning of the end of extremism.”

He was wrong. His hometown of Ramadi fell last month, three days before Islamic State captured Palmyra, a 2,000-year-old UNESCO world heritage city on the Syrian side of its territory.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Egypt, Ethics / Moral Theology, Iran, Iraq, Islam, Jordan, Lebanon, Middle East, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Syria, Terrorism, Theology, Violence

(BBC) US hacking: Military and intelligence data 'accessed'

Hackers with suspected links to China appear to have accessed sensitive data on US intelligence and military personnel, American officials say.

Details of a major hack emerged last week, but officials have now given details of a potential second breach.

It is feared that the attack could leave US security personnel or their families open to blackmail.

The agency involved, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), is yet to comment on the reports.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Blogging & the Internet, Defense, National Security, Military, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Military / Armed Forces, Science & Technology, The U.S. Government, Theology