Daily Archives: September 2, 2007

Movie Recommendation: The Page Turner

(Originally La Tourneuse De Pages, therefore in French with subtitles) If you get a chance, try it on DVD– well crafted and acted, we thought–KSH.

Posted in Uncategorized

A New Ken Burns Series Coming Soon

This is definitely something to program the VCR or DVR for.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Movies & Television

Reuters: Uganda consecrates U.S. conservative as bishop

Orombi spokeswoman Alison Barfoot said the archbishop had called Guernsey to lead 33 congregations in the United States that will recognise the Church of Uganda’s authority.

“He’s an ecclesiastical refugee,” she told Reuters by telephone from the ceremony, referring to Guernsey.

“We thought the crisis in the Anglican Church would be resolved by now. We expected the Episcopal Church to repent … but they have prolonged the crisis.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of Uganda

After Legalizing Same-Sex ”˜Marriage,’ More Canadians Want to Redefine Marriage

British Columbians, arguably Canada’s most morally permissive population, are discovering that tolerance has its limits.

At issue is the polygamous behavior of the breakaway Mormons of Bountiful, a community of about 700, tucked away in the mountainous southeast corner of the province close to the American border.

British Columbia Attorney General Wally Oppal repeatedly has stated his desire to prosecute the handful of middle-aged men with multiple partners like Bountiful’s unofficial leader, Winston Blackmore, who has reportedly fathered 100 children by 20 wives.

But Oppal’s own legal advisers have warned him that Canada’s century-old anti-polygamy law would probably be overturned by the protection of religious freedom enshrined in the 1982 Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

And the legal fate of the obscure border community could have international ramifications: According to some observers, other countries that follow Canada’s lead and legalize same-sex “marriage” may be forced to sanction polygamous unions, as well.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Canada, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Sexuality

The show may go on for canceled Central Florida student play

Two Orlando theaters Saturday offered stages for a prep-school production of La Cage aux Folles that was halted after an Episcopal bishop complained about the show’s themes.

Both the Orlando Shakespeare Theater and the Orlando Repertory Theatre — a group for youngsters — offered Saturday to provide a venue next weekend for Trinity Preparatory School’s performances.

“We do it with enthusiasm,” said Jim Helsinger, artistic director of the Orlando Shakespeare Theater.

Trinity Prep’s fine-arts director, Janine Papin, who directs the show, said Saturday that she would keep her promise to let the school’s board of directors decide this week whether to let students resume performances at the school’s auditorium.

“I do believe things will turn out well,” she said. “I am an optimist, and I believe there is a learning lesson in all of this for us.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Religion & Culture, TEC Bishops, Theatre/Drama/Plays

The Economist: Did America Change for the better after the “Summer of Love”?

It is not hard to see why the Summer of Love has been romanticised in popular culture. It was when the young “seemed to be deserting their scripts”, according to Todd Gitlin’s sweeping history of the 1960s. That summer represented the high point of the decade. The Beatles sang a tune about love that was beamed across the world in an experiment for satellite television. A growing sense of optimism that the world could be changed with the application of a little love hit its peak before it all started to go wrong in 1968. More than two-thirds of respondents to a PBS online poll earlier this year said they would liked to have gone to San Francisco in that carefree summer of 1967.

The decade still reverberates in the American psyche. The reaction to George Bush’s recent comparison of the Iraq conflict to the Vietnam war is just the latest example. Some are quick to point to the similarities between then and now: a Texan in the White House, an unpopular war, an actor in charge of California. But the differences are just as stark.

In 1967, segregationist governors were still in power in the South. Race riots convulsed America, killing dozens in Detroit and Newark. The federal budget deficit, at the high point of big-government liberalism, accounted for a smaller percentage of GDP than the rough estimate of $200 billion for 2007. America’s involvement in Iraq is more unpopular now than the Vietnam war was in 1967. In early August, 57% of Americans said that sending troops to Iraq was a mistake, compared with 41% who thought in July 1967 that it was a mistake to send troops to Vietnam.

Attitudes have certainly changed.

Read it all. I found this article surprisingly unbalanced from the Economist. There is no question there have been changes for the better, but unfortunately there were other changes as well–and these are not mentioned. Sexual freedom led to, alas, sexual promiscuity, and a raft of unwanted pregnancies and the issue of abortion, for example, or the War on Poverty led, alas, to a subculture of dependency with all sorts of sad implications, and one could go on and on. The legacy is much more mixed than the picture painted here–KSH.

Posted in Uncategorized

What is Your Real Age?

Answer the questions and see.

Posted in * General Interest

Bishop James Jones: Learning from the Slaves

One of the miracles to emerge from the history of slavery was evident on the banks of the River during that service of Holy Communion. There, hundreds of years later, drinking from the same cup of blood-red-wine were both white and black. The fact that the slaves came to share the Christian faith of those who’d enslaved them is extraordinary. That borrowed faith sustained them as they laboured in the cotton fields singing their spirituals, longing for freedom.

Somehow the slaves were able to see through the hypocrisy of the white religion that oppressed them, to see that the God of the whites didn’t thirst for their tears, but shed his own at their misery. Somehow they came to find in Jesus a kindred spirit, one who himself had been ‘sold down the river’.

Standing on the banks of the James River I began to see an unnoticed fact of history. I see it here in Liverpool whenever black and white gather together to worship God. It was the Christian faith of black slaves that rescued and redeemed the Christian religion.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Church History, Church of England (CoE)

From the Jamaica Gleaner: Behind the Anglican Same Sex Union Controversy

The Lambeth Commission, included bishops from all provinces of the global church, speaking about the Windsor Report in an interview with this reporter published June 4, 2005, the Anglican Archbishop of the West Indies, the Most Rev. Drexel Gomez, a member of the Lambeth Commission, said

“We concluded on the basis of who we are and on the basis of our own Anglican self-understanding that the actions of the Church in the United States and the Church in Canada have departed from the Anglican way of doing church. We said it (homosexual behaviour) is not only un-Anglican but contrary to Scripture. In that context, we called on the churches involved to express ‘regret’. The language was chosen deliberately. Some of us wanted to put ‘repent.’ But we felt, let us put it in the language that is the lowest common denominator to get a response. To express regret and say you won’t do it again is very close to what the New Testament calls repentance. We felt that if we went that way, we had a far better chance of evoking a response as opposed to just coming up to them and saying repent. We asked them to have a moratorium – not to do it again. And to explain the theological reasons why they acted that way.”

The 2.3-million member Episcopal Church in the United States, which is led by Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, convened the general convention in June of 2006 but did not fulfil the wishes of the Windsor Report.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Windsor Report / Process

From the Western Mail: Archbishop to fly to US to avert church split

THE Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams will fly to the United States later this month, where the row over gay bishops is once again threatening to split the worldwide Anglican Church.

The global Anglican movement moved towards the brink of schism when the Episcopal Church ”“ its American arm ”“ consecrated its first openly gay bishop, Gene Robinson, in New Hampshire in 2003.

Most of the church’s members are based in the developing world, where homosexuality is often strongly discouraged and sometimes illegal.

And to fan the flames of the controversy, this week it emerged an openly lesbian Episcopalian priest could become the Bishop of Chicago. The Rev Tracy Lind is among the five nominees for bishop of the Chicago diocese.

Also this week, protests from Africa about gay priests reached a head when two American bishops were appointed to serve conservative US Anglicans ”“ but under the jurisdiction of Kenya.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Archbishop of Canterbury, Episcopal Church (TEC), Global South Churches & Primates, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Conflicts

BBC: Uganda church to anoint US bishop

The BBC’s Christopher Landau says the consecration of a new local bishop in south-western Uganda would normally pass without comment.

But the church is also appointing a white American priest, John Guernsey, to lead a new branch of the Ugandan Church in the US, serving parishes in the state of Virginia that no longer feel able to tolerate the American Church’s liberal stance on homosexuality.

The ceremony will take place in the open air because the local cathedral is not large enough to accommodate the thousands due to attend.

It follows the consecration of two US bishops in Kenya on Thursday.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of Uganda

From Augusta, Georgia–Profiles in Faith: The Episcopal Church

Lynn Smith takes comfort in being Episcopalian.

“I think what draws me to the Episcopal faith is the fact that they have a very moderate approach; they’re accepting of people’s differences,” said Mrs. Smith, 42. “We don’t presume to know everything to know about God and his purposes, but we can stay focused on the central mission, which is to bring people into a loving relationship with Christ and with each other. We’re able to disagree, yet stay central to that purpose.”

Mrs. Smith, a lifelong Episcopalian, said she, her husband, Craig, and their three children have been members of Church of the Good Shepherd on Walton Way for about five years. She said she feels as though she’s part of a community of caring people who will always stand by them.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC)

History's Worst (and Best) Jobs

Next time you’re whining at the water cooler, remember that you might have wound up as Lenin’s corpse keeper. On the other hand, you could have been born in the 19th century and served as a Supreme Court justice, working just eight weeks a year. Esquire magazine editor and self-described know-it-all A.J. Jacobs talks about the best and worst jobs in history with Scott Simon.

Listen to it all.

Posted in Uncategorized

Can the Mortgage Crisis Swallow a Town?

It is a scene being repeated in cities and towns across America as loans that were made to borrowers with little or no credit history, many of whom could not even afford a down payment, fail in ever-growing numbers. It is also a story of how local economic trends are intersecting with national politics, with local foreclosures drawing the attention of Democratic presidential candidates, including John Edwards and Representative Dennis J. Kucinich of Ohio.

On the Republican side, President Bush announced on Friday several steps aimed at alleviating the impact of the subprime crisis on homeowners. In a Rose Garden appearance, he ruled out a federal bailout, citing both “excesses in the lending industry” and unduly optimistic homeowners who took out “loans larger than they could afford,” as reasons for the mortgage woes.

Indeed, what was once a problem confined mostly to economically struggling areas is quickly becoming a national phenomenon. Last year, there were 1.2 million foreclosure filings in the United States, up 42 percent from 2005, according to RealtyTrac, a firm that analyzes such data. At current rates so far this year, RealtyTrac expects foreclosure filings to hit two million in 2007, or roughly one per 62 American households ”” a rate approaching heights not seen since the Great Depression.

Analysts also say that the fallout from mortgages gone bad is spreading well beyond borrowers now in default. It has begun to engulf middle-class communities like Maple Heights, where nearly 10 percent of the houses ”” or 910 properties ”” have been seized by banks in the last two years. And it foreshadows what could lie in store if mortgage holders default on what the Federal Reserve conservatively estimates to be $100 billion in risky subprime loans. Many of these loans were made in 2005 and early 2006, when standards were at their most lax and cities like this were blanketed with aggressive pitches from mortgage providers.

“I don’t think we’ve hit bottom,” says Michael G. Ciaravino, the mayor of Maple Heights. “My fear is that foreclosure rates could go to double where they are today.”

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy

For Iran’s Shiites, a Celebration of Faith and Waiting

Qum is not usually thought of as a fun place. It is a gray, sun-baked city that serves as the center of learning for Shiite Islam. Its personality is solemn, its shops tend to be old, low-rise and rundown, and it is full of clergy members and police officers.

But on Tuesday, Qum felt festive ”” for Qum, at least. Bright lights and flags decorated the city. It was the start of celebrations surrounding the birthday of Imam Mahdi, the savior of the Shiite faith. The birthday offers Shiites a chance to welcome a birth, rather than to mourn a death, which tends to be the focus of holy days here.

Shiites believe that Imam Mahdi, the 12th imam in a direct bloodline from the Prophet Muhammad, is alive but has remained invisible since the late ninth century, and that he will reappear only when corruption and injustice reach their zenith. This year, in keeping with the government effort to promote and enforce religious values under President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the celebration is receiving plenty of attention from the state, even to the point of being extended an extra day.

In any society, religion and culture are essential components of national identity, each contributing to the society’s bedrock principles. Throughout Iranian history, Islamic faith and Persian culture have been intimately merged. Yet, successive leaders have tried to promote one or the other in a constant competition for the national soul, usually with the goal of buttressing their own authority. Each effort, however, has ultimately fallen short.

Under the Pahlavis, the goal was to elevate Iranian nationalism over Islamic identity. Today, the opposite is true, especially since the election of Mr. Ahmadinejad, who campaigned on a platform of returning Iran to its Shiite revolutionary values.

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Posted in * International News & Commentary, Iran, Middle East

New York Times Letters on Mother Teresa’s Struggle With Faith and Doubt

Here is one:

To the Editor:

I am not religious, but I must agree with James Martin when he points out that “gleeful detractors” might use the recent revelations about Mother Teresa’s religious crisis as an example of the “hypocrisy of organized religion.”

I can only say that people who take Mother Teresa’s doubts as a smoking gun are not only being disingenuous, but also ignoring Catholic doctrine. One key concept of the church is that salvation and true faith are a lifelong journey, not an instant entitlement. One can assume that Mother Teresa’s wrenching letters and journal entries are proof of such a journey, not her lack of faith.

When politicians throw around the word “compassionate” with such ease and cynicism, Mother Teresa’s selfless work can only be a testament to the depth and strength of her beliefs, and provides inspiration for everyone, even the nonreligious.

Roberto Mendoza

Read them all.

Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Other Churches, Roman Catholic

AP: Billy Graham returns home after nearly 2-week hospital stay for intestinal bleeding

Evangelist Billy Graham was released from a hospital Thursday, nearly two weeks after he was admitted for intestinal bleeding, officials said.

Doctors identified the source of Graham’s bleeding during a colonoscopy last week, said Merrill Gregory, a spokeswoman for Mission Health & Hospitals in Asheville. Physicians were able to treat the condition.

”˜”˜We have been pleased that he has been able to come back from this incident as well as he has,’’ said Dr. Lucian Rice, Graham’s personal physician. ”˜”˜He will continue to have therapy at home, and I feel that he can have a very good recovery.’’

Rice said he expects the 88-year-old evangelist will continue to regain his strength.

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

The Religion Report: Confronting Power and Sex in the Roman Catholic Church

Today, an explosive book about the Catholic church, written by a retired Australian bishop that’s already making international headlines. The Age newspaper has compared him with Martin Luther; he says he’s calling for the most radical changes since Luther started the Protestant Reformation.

Retired Bishop, Geoffrey Robinson was Auxiliary Bishop of Sydney until his retirement three years ago, and he’s one of the most intellectual and capable of all the Australian bishops. He lectured in canon law for many years; I’m told he’s a fine classicist; he sat on the Marriage Tribunal of the Archdiocese of Sydney, which is one of those positions where you’d learn a lot about the real world; and he was regarded by many people as the logical successor to Cardinal Ted Clancy as Archbishop of Sydney.

In the 1990s he was given the terrible task of co-ordinating the church’s national response to the clerical sexual abuse crisis, and he earned the deep respect of Australian Catholics for his integrity.

His new book, ‘Confronting Sex and Power in the Catholic Church’ says such a massive scandal demanded a serious response, but the leadership of the church has not been serious enough, choosing to manage the scandal in the hope it will go away, rather than confronting its deepest causes. That failure eventually caused Bishop Robinson to resign his post. ‘I eventually came to the point’, he says, ‘where I felt that with the thoughts that were running through my head, I could not continue to be a bishop of a church about which I had such profound reservations.’ He also tells us the scandal caused him for the first time in his life, to deal with sexual abuse he had suffered as a boy.

But the real power of this book lies in the way it raises so many fundamental issues for discussion. A bit like Martin Luther in the 95 Thesis. He says the Pope has too much power, in fact he wants a constitutional papacy with lots of checks and balances and even a regular performance appraisal. He says all the church’s teachings on sex need to be revisited. He questions the Doctrine of Papal Infallibility and asks whether it was prudent of Pope Pius XII to formally declare, as a matter of faith in 1950 that the Virgin Mary was assumed bodily into heaven when she died. He even suggests a few phrases of the Nicene Creed might need to be reviewed.

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Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Other Churches, Roman Catholic

Dale Vree: Is the Roman Catholic Church Going the Way of the Episcopal Church?

Read it all (subscription required).

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