Daily Archives: January 9, 2008

Peter Toon: The Windsor Process and the Lambeth Conference 2008

Thirdly, The Attenders. There will not be a common mind amongst those bishops who do attend Lambeth 08. At one end will be the group of Americans, who took part in or attended the consecration of Gene Robinson, and at the other will be those of The Global South, who believe that The Episcopal Church has failed to meet the requirements of “The Windsor Report” and ought to be disciplined in some way or another. In between them will be a wide spectrum of opinion reflecting the generally confused state of the Anglican Family in 2008.

Fourthly, Reflections. If the bishops of such large and important Provinces as Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda do not attend””and right now it seems as if they will not do so”” and go to Israel instead, then there is no hope at all that the Lambeth Conference will take strong, traditional, orthodox positions on anything of substance. Further, if they do not attend, and put all their energy into making the Israel Conference into a success, then one may draw the conclusion that the Global Anglican Communion does not exist any longer in its 2007 form, for it has lost a third or so of its membership. Also, if they do not attend, then one may draw the conclusion that the See of Canterbury is no longer the symbolic center for them, and that, henceforth, they will create their own form of a worldwide Communion and Fellowship, into which only “the orthodox” will be admitted.

In fact, if they do not attend, it would seem that the Global Anglican Communion as we have known it is finished and its resulting parts will form alliances over the next few years.

For devoted Anglicans in the West these are difficult times to live through.

Read the whole piece.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Analysis, Lambeth 2008, Windsor Report / Process

The Bishop of Iowa: Let's convene yearlong dialogue about energy, climate change

As people of faith we are called to care for God’s sacred creation and everything therein, which the Lord has described as “good.” We are charged with caring for the poor and vulnerable around the world through alleviation of global poverty. We are faced with a formidable challenge on both fronts – the effects of global warming.

As the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, noted in a recent statement, “The biggest challenge that faces us in terms of global policy at the moment is how we are to find ways of reducing and controlling climate change without eating into the economic aspirations, the proper aspirations of our poorest societies towards prosperity, respect and dignity.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Energy, Natural Resources, Episcopal Church (TEC), Religion & Culture, TEC Bishops

Goldman Chief Economist gives CNBC phone interview discussing Goldman's call for Recession

Goldman’s economist says the data over the last few weeks pushed them over the edge, noting the unemployment rate is the one data point he’d pick out. Notes unemployment rate has risen more than 1/3 of a percentage point on a 3-month average basis from the bottom, which has historically been associated with a recession (he said its 10 out of 10). Says we’re likely already in a recession or will be there shortly. He observes things are deteriorating pretty rapidly, and they think others will be taking similar views. Thinks the Fed cuts 50 basis points at the January meeting, and then a further 125 basis points after that.

Update: More from the FT here, including this:

Goldman Sachs said on Wednesday it now expected a recession in 2008 as its economists forecast gross domestic product to fall in the second and third quarters.

“The recent data suggest that the US economy is falling into recession. We expect economic activity to contract modestly through late 2008, followed by a gradual recovery in the course of 2009,” Jan Hatzius, chief US economist, said.

“Fed officials are likely to respond by cutting the funds rate target to 2½% by late 2008.”

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy

Albany church panel: Is gay marriage different?

The Rev. Ellen Tatreau belongs to a denomination that considers homosexuality “un-Christian.”

But as pastor of Albany’s Emmanuel Baptist Church, Tatreau welcomes homosexuals.

The pastor took her support a step further six months ago when, for the first time, she performed a marriagelike “service of commitment” for a lesbian couple. Eight people attended.

“The first time was really a profound experience,” Tatreau said. “Because I knew that the families of this couple were really struggling with this and did not see it as anything that should be sanctioned by the church.”

The pastor shared the story Tuesday following a forum billed around this theme: “The Spirituality of Marriage: Is Gay Marriage Different?”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Other Churches, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali stands by his views

The Bishop of Rochester, the Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali, faced calls for his resignation after his article in The Sunday Telegraph….

He said he was echoing concerns voiced by Trevor Phillips, chairman of the Equality Commission, and those in the 2001 Cantle Report on the race riots in Bradford, Oldham and Burnley.

“I deeply regret any hurt and do not wish to cause offence to anyone, let alone my Muslim friends, but unless we diagnose the malaise from which we all suffer we shall not be able to discover the remedy,” he said.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Islam, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

Economist fears 'nasty' recession headed our way this year

Today, NBER President Feldstein says there are three main factors that are likely dragging the economy into a recession: the slump in housing construction, turmoil in financial markets and a drop in home values, which makes people more nervous and less apt to spend.

He argues that the Federal Reserve needs to aggressively cut interest rates, and Congress should enact some form of fiscal stimulus, such as one-time tax rebates for consumers to ease the pain.

“If we don’t have some offsetting policy, and we move into a recession, then I’m afraid the fact that we’ve got all these things hitting at the same time could make it pretty nasty,” [Martin] Feldstein says.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Economy

John McCain's Victory Speech

“When the pundits declared us finished, I told them, ‘I’m going to New Hampshire, where the voters don’t let you make their decision for them,'” McCain continued after a “Mac is Back” chant. “And when they asked, ‘How are you going to do it? You’re down in the polls. You don’t have the money.’ I answered, ‘I’m going to New Hampshire, and I’m going to tell people the truth.'”

Before McCain approached the podium to speak, his campaign played “Hail to the Chief,” although he entered to the theme from “Rocky.” After basking in the glow of the his win, McCain got down to business — telling voters exactly how he would act as their President.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, US Presidential Election 2008

Recordings Show Iran-US Clash in Gulf

Video and audio recordings clearly show Iranian boats confronting U.S. Navy ships in the Persian Gulf, and a voice speaking in heavily-accented English can be heard threatening that the American vessels were going to explode, military officials said Tuesday.

The incident, which President Bush denounced Tuesday as a “provocative act,” was videotaped by a crew member on the bridge of the destroyer USS Hopper, one of the three ships that faced down five Iranian boats in a flare-up early Sunday.

The recordings were described by several military officials who viewed them. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the recordings were still being reviewed and had not been released to the public.

“It is a dangerous situation,” Bush said during a White House news conference. “They should not have done it, pure and simple. … I don’t know what their thinking was, but I’m telling you what my thinking was. I think it was a provocative act.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Iran, Middle East, Military / Armed Forces

Notable and Quotable

I think Obama won Iowa because voters resented Hillary’s coronation.

I think Hillary won New Hampshire because voters resented Obama’s coronation.

A Reader of Andrew Sullivan’s blog

Posted in * Economics, Politics, US Presidential Election 2008

Hillary Clinton Escapes to Fight Another Day

Hillary Rodham Clinton is back.

With solid support from registered Democrats and the backing of women, who deserted her in Iowa, Senator Clinton beat Senator Barack Obama of Illinois with a margin that ”” if not particularly wide ”” was enough for her campaign to claim a resounding victory.

The political intensity of her victory was magnified by a weekend of polls and rapturous packed rallies for Mr. Obama that suggested Mrs. Clinton was in dire shape, particularly after Mr. Obama’s drubbing of her in Iowa.

Mrs. Clinton won in a state that has always had a warm spot for the Clinton family. There was no end to the comparisons to how New Hampshire saved Bill Clinton’s campaign in 1992, when he too seemed on the verge of defeat. (In that case, though, Mr. Clinton declared victory after coming in second with 25 percent after being as low as 19 percent in polls.)

Political theatrics aside, there were lessons from her victory on Tuesday that could prove instructive as Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama head into this new phase of the campaign, with 25 states voting in the next four weeks. “So we’re going to take what we’ve learned here in New Hampshire and we’re going to rally on and make our case,” Mrs. Clinton said.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, US Presidential Election 2008

It Appears Hillary Clinton is Going to Win New Hampshire

This means a log hard slog through the trenches ahead.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, US Presidential Election 2008

A description of Bill Gates' CES Keynote Address

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Science & Technology

From IBD: OPEC Sees A Payday

Having long experience in oil markets, Saudi Arabia is a rational player. So when OPEC’s new president, Chakib Khelil of Algeria, signaled no interest in hiking production to cut prices because $100 crude “is not necessarily very high,” big producers were effectively saying there’s nothing out on the horizon that could stop them.

As high as oil prices are, they must be thinking, the U.S. is obviously willing to pay them. How else to explain the unwillingness of its politicians and public to increase domestic production, one slam-dunk move that would bring prices down.

OPEC, and Saudi Arabia, which can produce oil very cheaply no matter what the world price, will lower prices if they can raise the comparative costs of offshore drilling to preserve its monopoly. But right now they have no reason to do it.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Energy, Natural Resources

Also from the WSJ: Denomination's Support for Gay Marriage Leads to Denial of Property Coverage

A small Protestant church in Adrian, Mich., has weathered controversies surrounding abolition, the Civil War, desegregation and Vietnam since it was established in 1836. Now, because its denomination supports gay rights, the church has been deemed too risky for property insurance.

Brotherhood Mutual Insurance Co. of Fort Wayne, Ind., turned down the West Adrian United Church of Christ, citing its national governing body’s approval of gay marriage and the ordination of homosexuals.

“Based on national media reports, controversial stances such as those indicated in your application responses have resulted in property damage and the potential for increased litigation among churches that have chosen to publicly endorse these positions,” Marci J. Fretz, a regional underwriter for Brotherhood Mutual — one of the nation’s largest insurers of religious institutions — wrote in a letter to the church last summer.

For years, same-sex marriage and gay rights have been among the nation’s most divisive social issues in both religion and politics. Several Episcopal churches have voted to leave the global Anglican Communion because its American branch supports gay rights and ordained an openly gay bishop in 2003.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Law & Legal Issues, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

From the Wall Street Journal: Teaching the Gospel of Management

The reputations of many Roman Catholic parishes have been tarnished in recent years, both by the priest sex-abuse scandals and a growing number of embezzlement cases. That has prompted a burgeoning movement to improve the management and leadership skills of church officials through new programs being offered primarily at Catholic universities. M.B.A. Track columnist Ron Alsop talked recently with Charles Zech, director of the Center for the Study of Church Management and a professor of economics at Villanova University’s School of Business in Villanova, Pa., about the launch of its master’s degree in church management in May and the need for more sophisticated and more transparent business practices in parishes and religious organizations.

WSJ: Why did Villanova decide to create a master’s degree in church management?

Dr. Zech: We find that business managers at both the parish and diocesan level often have social work, theology or education backgrounds and lack management skills. While pastors aren’t expected to know all the nitty-gritty of running a small business, they at least need enough training in administration to supervise their business managers. Before starting the degree, we ran some seminars in 2006 and 2007 as a trial balloon to see if folks were interested enough to pay for management education. The seminars proved to be quite popular, drawing people from all over the country, including high-level officials from both Catholic dioceses and religious orders.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Parish Ministry, Seminary / Theological Education, Theology

RNS: C of E Bishop Under Fire for Muslim 'No-Go' Area Comments

One of Britain’s top Anglican bishops has infuriated Muslim leaders by claiming that Islamic extremism has turned parts of the nation into “no-go” areas for non-Muslims.

Writing in London’s Sunday Telegraph newspaper, the Pakistani-born bishop of Rochester, Michael Nazir-Ali, also warned of growing efforts to “impose an Islamic character” in some communities, including broadcasting the five-times-a-day call to prayer from mosques.

Islamic leaders have reacted angrily, including Ibrahim Mogra, of the Muslim Council of Britain’s inter-faith relations committee, who denounced the bishop’s remarks as “simple scaremongering.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Islam, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture