Daily Archives: May 26, 2007

All Good Gifts

We plow the fields and scatter the good seed on the land..
But it is fed and watered by God’s almighty hand..
He sends us snow in winter, the warmth to swell the grain…
The breezes and the sunshine, and soft refreshing rain…

All good gifts around us
Are sent from Heaven above
Then thank the Lord, thank the Lord for all his love…

We thank thee then, O Father, for all things bright and good,
The seedtime and the harvest, our life our health our food,
No gifts have we to offer for all thy love imparts
But that which thou desirest, our humble thankful hearts!

All good gifts around us
Are sent from Heaven above..
Then thank the Lord, thank the Lord for all his love..

I really wanna thank you Lord!
All good gifts around us
Are sent from Heaven above..
Then thank the Lord, oh thank the Lord for all his love..

Saw Godspell for the first time in a long time last night and was struck by the loveliness of this song–KSH

Posted in * By Kendall

Lorrie Goldensohn: Homage and Commemoration

In A FAREWELL TO ARMS, Ernest Hemingway famously wrote about the dim possibility of adequate commemoration for those lost in the slaughter of World War I:

“I had seen nothing sacred, and the things that were glorious had no glory and the sacrifices were like the stockyards at Chicago if nothing was done with the meat except to bury it. There were many words that you could not stand to hear and finally only the names of places had dignity. Certain numbers were the same way and certain dates and these with the names of places were all you could say and have them mean anything. Abstract words such as glory, honor, courage or hallow were obscene beside the concrete names of villages, the number of roads, the names of rivers, the numbers of regiments and the dates.”

When Hemingway wrote, war poetry was still poised between the old and durable need to honor the dead and acknowledge with both regret and proper gratitude the dire nature of their civic contribution, and the second and more unsettling need to voice the sometimes dishonored and dishonoring terms of that sacrifice — the anguished appearance of war guilt for crimes perpetrated during the course of war by some of these sacrificial victims, the soldiers.

By the second half of the last century, war poetry came to embody an antiwar ideology. Judgments about politics and history have thoroughly rearranged the conventions of the war poem and have changed the way we look at courage and honor, as well as sacrifice. Part of what has happened is also an awareness of the bastardizing of public language, although I shrink from any judgment that things are any worse now for words than they ever were.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, Military / Armed Forces

A Church Times Editorial: Who can come to the party

THE AMERICANS are coming. Invitations to the 2008 Lambeth Conference went out to 800 bishops on Tuesday, scotching rumours that those in the Episcopal Church in the United States and the Church of Canada would not be welcomed without further concessions over Gene Robinson (and no further initiatives on gay partnerships).

The September deadline set by the Primates for the US bishops to agree an alternative structure for their conservatives still stands, but attendance at the Lambeth Conference will not hang on it. Threats might still be made, and attempts to persuade Dr Williams to invoke his right (which his letter carefully reserves) to withhold or withdraw invitations.

But Dr Williams is unlikely to act so unwisely. For all their talk of alternative gatherings, the conservatives will not want to walk away when they feel in possession of the centre ground, especially given their numerical confidence.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Commentary, Lambeth 2008

Episcopal Church faces ”˜significant pruning’ over doctrine, Bishop Duncan says

Our Sunday Visitor: Would you describe the movement to realign the Episcopal Church with the traditional doctrines of Christianity?

Bishop Robert Duncan: The movement that I lead has been called the Anglican Communion Network. The Episcopal Church, during the last four decades, has been headed on a path of innovation. As these years have passed it’s become clearer and clearer that the Episcopal Church, if it hadn’t previously stepped outside the boundaries, it would at one point do that clearly enough for all to recognize.

That point of great clarity came in August 2003, when the Episcopal Church agreed to a bishop who had been married, divorced and was in a long-term same-sex relationship. The movement that I lead is a movement that’s attempting to hold to the truth that the church has received and has always taught, as opposed to the innovations that are being held up now.

We’re in the midst of a reformation of our tradition, and, in fact, we think we’re actually in the midst of a major Christian reformation. Pope Benedict XVI wrote, when he was Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, that the Western church will not be fruitful again until it was severely pruned ”“ referencing John 15. We’re in the midst of a significant pruning, and not only of the Anglicans but also of the whole of the Western Christian church.

That’s what we’re in the midst of. And again, it’s affecting all of the churches in the West, it must do so because God always reforms his church, and in the words of our lady, in her song, which we sing daily at vespers, he’s always casting the mighty from their thrones and lifting up the lowly, because the mighty think somehow they’re God, and so God always realigns his church.

Our Sunday Visitor: You are considered by many to be a leader of a “conservative” faction of the Episcopal Church. Is what you stand for a “conservative” viewpoint, or do you see it in a different light?

Bishop Robert Duncan: My understanding is that it’s simply what the gospel says, and that it is what the mainstream of Christianity has always held. All of the great Christian traditions, all of the major streams of Christianity would teach precisely what we teach on these issues. And again, it’s what the ages have always taught as well.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Commentary, - Anglican: Primary Source, -- Statements & Letters: Bishops, Anglican Communion Network, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops

The Big Day

Our oldest, Abigail (center of photo), graduates from The Hill School today. Elizabeth and I feel as though we are 103 years old. The graduation speaker is Charles Frank–KSH.

Posted in * By Kendall

A market edge for Muslims

The strategy is almost heresy on Wall Street: Find a top-performing investment by seeking out a mutual fund with some of the industry’s strictest ethical screening requirements.

Yet that approach, if adopted, would work in at least one case. The Amana Income Fund, which avoids not only alcohol, tobacco, and gambling stocks but also pork producers and lenders who charge interest, received a Lipper award earlier this year for outperforming 180 equity income funds ”“ screened and unscreened ”“ over the past three years.

Amana Funds dominate the relatively small niche of socially responsible investing (SRI) that aims to reflect Islamic law, or sharia. The idea is for an entire portfolio to reflect moral values from the Koran, which deems pork products unclean and regards the charging and paying of interest as immoral endeavors that foster exploitative relationships.

“If Islam forbids it, then we’re not going to buy it,” says Monem Salam, deputy portfolio manager at Amana Funds. That principle generally “keeps us out of trouble,” he says, by requiring the funds to avoid such ticking time bombs as Enron and WorldCom, which imploded in accounting scandals a few years back. Both were too heavily leveraged to pass muster at Amana.

In theory, Islamic funds face an uphill battle since about half of the stock market universe ”“ including most financial services companies ”“ is off limits to them. But in practice, Islamic funds fulfill their moral ideals in considerable measure by mimicking some revered habits of billionaire investor Warren Buffett.

For instance, because excessive stock trading amounts to gambling in the eyes of Islamic authorities, Islamic funds practice a buy-and-hold strategy that helps keep trading costs down. Also, concern about the ethics of borrowing and lending leads Islamic fund managers to avoid deeply indebted companies, such as several big-name airlines, which tend to stumble in recessions and in times of slow economic growth. Both practices are quintessential Buffett, the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, based in Omaha, Neb.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Islam, Other Faiths, Personal Finance & Investing

Transgender minister is reappointed

A year ago, the Rev. Ann Gordon received her routine reappointment as minister of a Charles Village Methodist congregation.

Yesterday – after undergoing a sex-change operation and taking on a new symbolic name – the Rev. Drew Phoenix received another one-year contract to head St. John’s United Methodist Church.

“This is about more than me,” Phoenix said after the decision by the bishop of the Baltimore-Washington Conference of the United Methodist Church. “This is about people who come after me, about young people in particular who are struggling with their gender identity. I’m doing this for them.”

The decision came after a 2 1/2 -hour closed meeting with Methodist clergy, as well an emotional open session with about 1,600 clergy and laypeople gathered in Washington. While Methodists do not permit non-celibate gay clergy, no rules deal with transgendered ministers.

“I am here to say today that as of July 1 Reverend Phoenix will be reappointed to the St. John’s congregation,” Bishop John R. Schol told the conference, which represents nearly 700 churches in Washington, central and eastern Maryland, and parts of West Virginia.

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Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Methodist, Other Churches, Sexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths)

Atul Gawande: Rethinking Old Age

At some point in life, you can’t live on your own anymore. We don’t like thinking about it, but after retirement age, about half of us eventually move into a nursing home, usually around age 80. It remains your most likely final address outside of a hospital.

To the extent that there is much public discussion about this phase of life, it’s about getting more control over our deaths (with living wills and the like). But we don’t much talk about getting more control over our lives in such places. It’s as if we’ve given up on the idea. And that’s a problem.

This week, I visited a woman who just moved into a nursing home. She is 89 years old with congestive heart failure, disabling arthritis, and after a series of falls, little choice but to leave her condominium. Usually, it’s the children who push for a change, but in this case, she was the one who did. “I fell twice in one week, and I told my daughter I don’t belong at home anymore,” she said.

She moved in a month ago. She picked the facility herself. It has excellent ratings, friendly staff, and her daughter lives nearby. She’s glad to be in a safe place ”” if there’s anything a decent nursing home is built for, it is safety. But she is struggling.

The trouble is ”” and it’s a possibility we’ve mostly ignored for the very old ”” she expects more from life than safety. “I know I can’t do what I used to,” she said, “but this feels like a hospital, not a home.” And that is in fact the near-universal reality.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Aging / the Elderly