Daily Archives: August 7, 2007

Why People are Worried About the Subprime Mortgage Sector

Last week:

Luminent Mortgage reaffirms Q2 dividend of $0.32 (8.07)
The company announced that its Q2 dividend of $0.32 payable on 8-Aug is secure and will not be canceled.

This morning:

LUM Luminent Mortgage suspends payment of Q2 cash dividend of $0.32….

Houston, we have a problem.

Update: More here.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy

An interesting website

Sad but understandable to see it.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy

Darryl's Blog: The limits of church growth

It is time to acknowledge the limits of the church growth model for churches in post-Christendom Canada. Acknowledging these limits will prompt us to explore other avenues. Theologians can help us relearn the Gospel and recapture a biblical theology of the church. Sociologists can help us learn from the explosive growth of the church within its first three centuries, and the growth of the church this century in Africa, Latin America, and Asia. Missiologists can help us learn how to reach the majority of the population that are not being reached by contemporary methods.

Albert Einstein said, “The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.” The church growth model will not solve the problems of the church in post-Christendom Canada. It’s time to look elsewhere.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Evangelism and Church Growth, Parish Ministry

The Anglican Church gets a Second Life

Online virtual world Second Life has a new player – the Anglican Church.

A medieval Anglican cathedral was built in the popular role-playing site five weeks ago and the church started holding services last month.

The idea is the brainchild of Bible Society NZ chief executive Mark Brown. Brown said Second Life had news channels and universities operating within it, but no church. He saw the venture as an opportunity to reach the virtual world’s 8million strong population.

The church has over 150 members and holds Sunday services three times during the day to accommodate different time zones.

“Just a few months ago we had five members and it was just a vision, but it seems to have captured people’s imagination,” he said.

“People are coming to try it out and we are getting some slow building, within 4 to 6 weeks we will have to turn people away.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Blogging & the Internet

From today's NY Times front page: When Horror Came to a Connecticut Family

Interviews with law enforcement officials and lawyers for the men, and friends, co-workers and relatives of all involved, along with a study of court records, paint a picture of what happened that morning and show that there were missed opportunities on both sides of the law leading up to the deaths.

The criminal justice system failed to treat Mr. Hayes and Mr. Komisarjevsky as serious offenders despite long histories of recidivism, repeatedly setting them free on parole. The suspects never capitalized on those chances to turn their lives around, instead apparently forming a new criminal alliance after meeting at a drug treatment center in Hartford.

“There’s no question about it: The system didn’t work,” Dr. Petit’s father, William A. Petit Sr., 73, said last weekend outside his home in Plainville, 12 miles north, where the family has long formed a pillar of civic life. He paused, then added: “It’s too late now.”

It started out like any summer Sunday.

Read it all but be aware that the content is deeply disturbing..

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Law & Legal Issues

Jacqueline Jenkins Keenan: Why Theology Should Precede Change

Before any further discussion of the issues with TEC’s theological document take place, it is important to present the research that TEC missed. Since many churches are struggling with the issue of homosexuality, the information is beneficial to most denominations. It seems quite probable that many churches are not up to date, because they use theological journals to present rigorous science. Although the Anglican Theological Review was interested in the information in this article, for instance, it would not have printed it before the summer of 2009, because of the lag time to publication at theological journals. By then the information would be out of date, and TEC’s error of using old science illustrates the tendency to canonize bibliographies that take a long time to be produced.

One clear area in which recent research has challenged earlier assessments is the genetic causality of homosexual attraction. In 1991 Bailey and Pillard (“A Genetic Study of Male Sexual Orientation,” Archives of General Psychiatry 48) published results of a study in men that suggested a genetic cause of same-sex attraction. It was largely on the basis of that report that To Set Our Hope on Christ concluded that homosexual attractions were based on genetic causes. But a 1994 article called “Homosexuality: The Behavioral Sciences and the Church” by Jones and Workman had already pointed out severe sample bias in that study. Further, a later study co-authored by Bailey did not support the 1991 results.

The 1991 Bailey and Pillard twin study on men looked at identical twins, fraternal twins, siblings that were not twins, and adopted siblings. Seeing traits significantly more often in pairs of identical twins than in the general population suggests heritability of the trait. The authors found that 52% of homosexual identical twins had a homosexual co- twin. Since that was much higher than the 2% rate of homosexuality in the general population at that time, such a large increase would indicate that genetic factors were highly likely. However, the subjects for this study were individuals recruited through gay publications. Besides the obvious problem of who would be likely to respond to such a solicitation, the data itself showed that even the adopted children in the study had five times the normal rate of homosexuality. A high rate in unrelated children indicates that the families of respondents were not typical of the general population. It is clear that the Bailey and Pillard study was subject to sampling bias.

In 1992 King and McDonald (“Homosexuals who are twins: A study of 46 Probands,” British Journal of Psychiatry 160) did a twin study using an unbiased sample. It showed only about 25% of homosexual identical twins had a co-twin who was homosexual. This is still higher than the general population so it could indicate some heritability, but King and McDonald also did something else that any good researcher would do. They looked into the possibility that there might be environmental factors causing even this relatively low rate of concordance. They found that “genetic factors are insufficient explanation of the development of sexual orientation” because of social factors, including “a relatively high likelihood of sexual relations occurring with same sex co-twins at some time, particularly in monozygotic [identical] pairs.” The identical twins were having a strong influence on each other.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Health & Medicine, Science & Technology, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

Our Town: A NY Times Magazine Article on the Immigration Issue

It’s in places like Carpentersville where we may be witnessing the opening of a deep and profound fissure in the American landscape. Over the past two years, more than 40 local and state governments have passed ordinances and legislation aimed at making life miserable for illegal immigrants in the hope that they’ll have no choice but to return to their countries of origin. Deportation by attrition, some call it. One of the first ordinances was passed in Hazleton, Pa., and was meant to bar illegal immigrants from living and working there. It served as a model for many local officials across the country, including Sigwalt and Humpfer. On July 26, a federal judge struck down Hazleton’s ordinance, but the town’s mayor, Lou Barletta, plans to appeal the decision. “This battle is far from over,” he declared the day of the ruling. States and towns have looked for other ways to crack down on illegal immigrants. Last month, Prince William County in northern Virginia passed a resolution trying to curb illegal immigrants’ access to public services. Waukegan, another Illinois town, has voted to apply for a federal program that would allow its police to begin deportation charges against those who are here illegally. A week after the Senate failed to pass comprehensive immigration reform, Arizona’s governor, Janet Napolitano, signed into law an act penalizing businesses that knowingly hire undocumented immigrants. “One of the practical effects of this failure” to enact national immigration reform, Napolitano wrote to the Congressional leadership, “is that Arizona, and states across the nation, must now continue to address this escalating problem on their own.” Admittedly, the constitutionality of many of these new laws is still in question, and some of the state bills and local ordinances simply duplicate what’s already in force nationally. But with Congress’s inability to reach an agreement on an immigration bill, the debate will continue among local officials like those in Carpentersville, where the wrangling often seems less about illegal immigration than it does about whether new immigrants are assimilating quickly enough, if at all. In Carpentersville, the rancor has turned neighbor against neighbor. Once you scrape away the acid rhetoric, though, there’s much people actually agree on ”” but given the ugliness of the taunts and assertions, it’s unlikely that will ever emerge.

It is a long article but worth the time.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Law & Legal Issues

Bishop Pope goes Back to the Roman Catholic Church for the second time

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Episcopal Church (TEC), Other Churches, Roman Catholic, TEC Bishops

Episcopal Church dispute heads to state Supreme Court

Three churches that split from the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles in a dispute over a gay bishop are asking the state Supreme Court to weigh in on who controls the parishes’ buildings.
The petition comes a little more than a month after an appeals court ruled the buildings should be placed under control of the diocese, reversing lower court rulings in favor of the parishes.

St. James Church in Newport Beach, All Saints Church in Long Beach and St. David’s Church in North Hollywood pulled out of the six-county Los Angeles Diocese in 2004, following the ordination of a gay bishop in the Diocese of New Hampshire.

They announced they were placing themselves under the jurisdiction of the Anglican Church in Uganda.

The Los Angeles Diocese sued the parishes to gain control of the properties, arguing the parishes held their church buildings in trust for the diocese and the national Episcopal Church, and were not entitled to them.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Los Angeles, TEC Polity & Canons

Rejected S.C. Bishop Candidate Re-Elected to Head Episcopal Diocese

In a letter last December, Lawrence said he had no plans to take the local diocese out of The Episcopal Church. On March 8, Lawrence reiterated his position to the Standing Committees of the Episcopal Church to assure the diocese’s continued membership in The Episcopal Church.

“I will heartily make the vows conforming ‘…to the doctrine, discipline, and worship’ of the Episcopal Church, as well as the trustworthiness of the Holy Scriptures. So to put it as clearly as I can, my intention is to remain in The Episcopal Church,” he wrote in the March letter.

The Very Rev. William McKeachie, dean of South Carolina, had called the decision to invalidate Lawrence’s election “the latest outrage from the national church.”

Read it all.

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

The latest in the theological debate: Philip Turner answers Stephen Noll's response to him

This elf is thinking we might need a scorecard soon to keep track of who has written what to whom… 😉 But all kidding aside, ACI has posted Dr. Turner’s rebuttal to Dr. Noll’s letter to him.

Written by Rev. Dr. Philip Turner
Monday, 06 August 2007

Dear Stephen,

Thank you for your gracious reply to my response to your open letter calling for a “full and final separation” between those whom you term a “faithful remnant” and The Episcopal Church (TEC). Knowing you as I do I was certain there would be a reply, but I nonetheless hoped against hope that none would be forthcoming. I say this not because I am not open to theological exchange, but because the medium (blogs) now used for such exchanges encourages hasty and ill tempered response and counter response. I have no desire to be involved in such a back and forth and I presume you do not either.

It is this observation that leads to my first response to your response. You and others have questioned my reluctance to use the word “heretic” to refer to those we jointly oppose. I have no desire to enter into an argument about the correct use of the terms “apostate” (which you did not use) and “heretic”(which you do). I believe that my observation that these terms are not being accurately applied is correct. However, my major concern was and is not their correct meaning. Rather, my concern is the way in which they are being used in our present conflict. Both terms are used (more often than not) in anger simply to dismiss those with whom one disagrees. My point concerns a culture of anger, condemnation, and dismissal that makes it unnecessary to address one’s opponent as a brother or sister who has gone astray or as a false teacher who needs correction. Rather, the terms are used to reduce one’s adversaries to a category-one that places them among “outsiders” about whom one’s spirit need not be in agony until Christ be adequately formed in them. So my first hope remains that you might join me in cautioning those who share our view of the sad state of TEC that we, the critics of TEC, stand in grave danger of misreading our circumstances because so many of us have been taken over by one of the seven deadly sins. We cannot possibly hope that God’s agents for reform and renewal will be those who themselves suffer from such a serious spiritual disease.

The full text is here.

Here are the background links:
Noll’s response to Turner (posted Aug 3)
Turner’s response to Noll’s open letter (posted Aug 2)
Noll’s Open Letter to Network bishops (posted Jul 29)

Fr. Matt Kennedy has weighed in to specifically address Turner’s comments about the use of the word “heretic” with his feature at Stand Firm: A Brief Note on the Use of the Word “Heretic”

Also related to this debate, over at Stand Firm, Dr. Noll posted a response to Sarah Hey’s recent essay (which Kendall linked here).

And just so the links are handy, the long thread (270 comments) on Dr. Radner’s resignation from the Network is here. (Stand Firm posted Dr. Radner’s T19 comment on the ensuing discussion as a separate thread here. Note also Stand Firm’s post of Dean Munday’s response to Radner, which I don’t believe Kendall posted here.)

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Analysis, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, Theology

From the NY Times: In Silicon Valley, Millionaires Who Don’t Feel Rich

By almost any definition ”” except his own and perhaps those of his neighbors here in Silicon Valley ”” Hal Steger has made it.

Mr. Steger, 51, a self-described geek, has banked more than $2 million. The $1.3 million house he and his wife own on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean is paid off. The couple’s net worth of roughly $3.5 million places them in the top 2 percent of families in the United States.

Yet each day Mr. Steger continues to toil in what a colleague calls “the Silicon Valley salt mines,” working as a marketing executive for a technology start-up company, still striving for his big strike. Most mornings, he can be found at his desk by 7. He typically works 12 hours a day and logs an extra 10 hours over the weekend.

“I know people looking in from the outside will ask why someone like me keeps working so hard,” Mr. Steger says. “But a few million doesn’t go as far as it used to. Maybe in the ’70s, a few million bucks meant ”˜Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous,’ or Richie Rich living in a big house with a butler. But not anymore.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy

No Surprises, Much Rejoicing in South Carolina

When Jesus said to Simon, “Put out into the deep,” he was simply reminding him to go where the opportunities were. Too often, Fr. Wood reminded us, Christians are caught in the paralyzing trap of fear and a critical spirit, and we miss opportunities. Even with all the distractions in the church and in the world, Jesus still calls, stills sends, and still blesses with bountiful results.

After the Eucharist, the delegates reconvened for the business of the day. The credentials committee announced that 82 clergy members and 201 lay members were present and eligible to vote. Bishop Salmon declared a quorum and opened the convention with prayer. The Rev. Haden McCormick, president of the standing committee, rose to place in nomination the name of Mark Joseph Lawrence. A spontaneous and enthusiastic standing ovation followed.

Read it all.

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

Communiqué of House of Bishops of Church of the Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East

We are committed to pray and support Archbishop Rowan Williams in keeping the unity of the Communion at this difficult time. We recognize the importance of maintaining our faith and the unity of the Church of Christ especially in this region where we face many challenges.

We accept and affirm the recommendation made by the Primates in their last meeting in Dar-es-Salaam and we fully endorse their communiqué.

We greet all the churches in the Anglican Communion in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, and in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit to the glory of God the Father.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, Middle East

Lutherans to Open Sexuality Debate–Again

The nation’s largest Lutheran denomination will again face the divisive issue of sexuality when it considers resolutions on gay clergy and same-sex blessings at its biennial assembly in Chicago this week.

After the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) voted at its last Churchwide Assembly in 2005 to maintain church rules that ban noncelibate gay and lesbian ministers, many thought the issue would be tabled until a comprehensive study on sexuality was completed in 2009.

But 22 of the ELCA’s 65 regional synods have asked the church to again address standards for gay clergy this year, pushing for change within the 5 million-member denomination.

About half of the 125 proposed resolutions to be debated at the assembly address sexuality, standards and discipline for sexual conduct of clergy and same-sex blessings. “The battle lines are being drawn,” said one advocate, while ELCA leaders are pleading for comity amid the contentious debate.

Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson, who is expected to be be re-elected for a second six-year term in Chicago, is among those who say the church should wait for the 2009 study on sexuality, called a “social statement,” before taking action.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Lutheran, Other Churches, Sexuality

From NPR: Young Imam Serves as Islam's Face to Community

The day is sunny and hot, the hamburgers are on the grill, the kids are jumping on the moon bounce and about 400 people are milling around the brand new Dar Al Noor mosque in Manassas, Va.

Neighbors and members of the congregation are here ”” even Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine is coming. James Dade, a non-Muslim who lives nearby, is manning the grill. As he hands a burger to a Muslim friend, he turns and gives this assessment of his new neighbors.

“They’re very friendly, very helpful, very community-oriented,” he says, noting that his best friend attends Dar Al Noor. “If there were more Christians like my friend, we wouldn’t have any problems in this world.”

Listen to it all.

Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Islam, Other Faiths

Assisted suicide attacked from an unlikely front

Five times in the last dozen years, bills on medically assisted suicide have risen in the California Assembly, and five times they have failed.

In every instance, a great deal of the credit for their demise goes to a constituency associated with advancing personal choice and civil rights ”” namely, the disability rights movement.

The latest attempt, Assembly Bill 374, which its backers called the California Compassionate Choices Act, failed to make it out of committee in June. Modeled on a statute passed by Oregon voters in 1997, it would have allowed mentally competent patients, whom doctors found had less than six months to live, to legally acquire lethal prescription drugs for self-administration.

Many disability rights activists contend that the increasingly cost-conscious healthcare system, especially health maintenance organizations, inevitably would respond to legalized suicide by withholding expensive care from the disabled and terminally ill until they chose to end their lives.

“HMOs are denying access to healthcare and hastening people’s deaths already,” said Paul Longmore, a history professor at San Francisco State and a pioneer in the historical study of disability. “Our concern is not just how this will affect us. Given the way the U.S. healthcare system is getting increasingly unjust and even savage, I don’t think this system could be trusted to implement such a system equitably, or confine it to people who are immediately terminally ill.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Life Ethics, Theology

Mark I. Pinsky: Who speaks for America's evangelicals?

On Sunday mornings, it’s now commonplace to see presidential candidates in church pulpits or pews, proclaiming their faith and ”” not coincidentally ”” jockeying furiously (but piously) for crucial “values voters.”

So, with so much at stake, now might be a good time to ask, “Who speaks for America’s evangelicals?”

Will it continue to be bombastic, GOP-leaning, Southern preachers, such as the late Jerry Falwell, and strident, hard-line broadcasters such as Pat Robertson and Focus on the Family’s James Dobson? I don’t think so. From my neighborhood in the suburban Sunbelt, it is clear that a subtle, incremental but nonetheless tectonic shift is underway. And this is more than what Freud called “the narcissism of small differences.”

The emerging face and voice of American evangelicalism is that of a pragmatic, politically sophisticated, pastor of a middle class megachurch. A younger generation of ministers such as Rick Warren, author of The Purpose-Driven Life; Bill Hybels, of the pioneering Willow Creek Community Church outside Chicago; T.D. Jakes, the African-American pastor of The Potter’s House in Dallas, as well as a music and movie producer; and Frank Page, the re-elected president of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Or, this younger generation might be personified by someone like Joel Hunter, of Northland Church, just outside Orlando. The amiable Midwesterner, who opposes the death penalty, looks like Johnny Carson and sounds like Gene Hackman. He’s a regular reader of such periodicals as The Economist, Foreign Affairs and Harvard Business Review.

Read it all.

Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Evangelicals, Other Churches