Hopes were dashed again in Kenya on Tuesday as former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan suspended mediation talks between presidential rivals Mwai Kibaki and Raila Odinga. The power-sharing agreement that appeared within reach last week is proving elusive, and it’s not hard to understand why. Kenya’s elections, like those in many other developing democracies, can be an effective mechanism for imposing majority rule. But that doesn’t necessarily translate into equitable divisions of power, wealth, economic opportunity or natural resources. Elections have destabilized such countries as Ivory Coast, Pakistan and Ethiopia, and the Palestinian territories. In Kenya, they have historically been winner-seizes-all contests that have been marred by violence and have left an increasingly bitter taste in the hungry mouths of the losers.
Monthly Archives: February 2008
On a winter night in 2006, a disabled and brain damaged man named Ruben Navarro was wheeled into an operating room at a hospital here. By most accounts, Mr. Navarro, 25, was near death, and doctors hoped that he might sustain other lives by donating his kidneys and liver.
But what happened to Mr. Navarro quickly went from the potentially life-saving to what law enforcement officials say was criminal. In what transplant experts believe is the first such case in the country, prosecutors have charged the surgeon, Dr. Hootan C. Roozrokh, with prescribing excessive and improper doses of drugs, apparently in an attempt to hasten Mr. Navarro’s death to retrieve his organs sooner.
A preliminary hearing begins here on Wednesday, with Dr. Roozrokh facing three felony counts relating to Mr. Navarro’s treatment as a donor. At the heart of the case is whether Dr. Roozrokh, who studied at a transplant fellowship program at the Stanford University School of Medicine, was pursuing organs at any cost or had become entangled in a web of misunderstanding about a lesser-used harvesting technique known as “donation after cardiac death.”
Dr. Roozrokh has pleaded not guilty, and his lawyer said the charges were the result of overzealous prosecutors. But the case has sent a shudder through the tight-knit field of transplant surgeons ”” if convicted on all counts, Dr. Roozrokh could face eight years in prison ”” while also worrying donation advocacy groups that organ donors could be frightened away.
William F. Buckley Jr., who marshaled polysyllabic exuberance, famously arched eyebrows and a refined, perspicacious mind to elevate conservatism to the center of American political discourse, died Wednesday at his home in Stamford, Conn.
Mr Buckley, 82, suffered from diabetes and emphysema, his son Christopher said, although the exact cause of death was not immediately known. He was found at his desk in the study of his home, his son said. “He might have been working on a column,” Mr. Buckley said.
Mr. Buckley’s winningly capricious personality, replete with ten-dollar words and a darting tongue writers loved to compare with an anteater’s, hosted one of television’s longest-running programs, “Firing Line,” and founded and shepherded the influential conservative magazine, “National Review.”
He also found time to write 45 books, ranging from sailing odysseys to spy novels to celebrations of his own dashing daily life, and edit five more. Two more books, one a political novel, and the other a history of the magazine called “Cancel Your Own Goddam Subscription” are scheduled to be published in 2007.
The more than 4.5 million words of his 5,600 biweekly newspaper columns, “On the Right,” would fill 45 more medium-sized books.
The dogs next door get a little noisy, so one day somebody called animal control to complain. When the officers arrived, I heard my neighbors tell them, “Hey, dogs bark. It’s human nature.”
–Kent Kollmer in the December 2007 Reader’s Digest, page 190
The murky financial outlook and recession fears are factors. Another driver: fear of being out of step with a cultural mind-set that increasingly says less is more. If your best friend and next-door neighbors are cutting back on little luxuries, shouldn’t you be, too?
“For years, we had the opposite. It was all about keeping up with the Joneses. Now, the Joneses are starting to cut back,” says Ellie Kay, author of 12 personal finance books.
The cold, hard numbers on the nation’s economic mood bear out that consumers don’t feel flush.
Consumer confidence plummeted in February to its lowest since February 2003, which was just before the U.S. invaded Iraq. The Conference Board’s much-watched index of consumer confidence fell to 75 from 87.3 in January, the group reports
“There’s a sense that prices are rising ”” and will continue to rise ”” but wages will not,” says Ken Goldstein, economist at The Conference Board. “This is squeezing household budgets whether they’re $200 per week or $200,000 per year. Folks are looking closely at anything they don’t have to purchase now.”
Gasoline prices, which for months lagged the big run-up in the price of oil, are suddenly rising quickly, with some experts fearing they could hit $4 a gallon by spring. Diesel is hitting new records daily and oil closed at an all-time high on Tuesday of $100.88 a barrel.
The increases could not come at a worse time for the economy. With growth slowing, high energy prices that were once easily absorbed by consumers are now more likely to act as a drag on household budgets, leaving people with less money to spend elsewhere. These costs could exacerbate the nation’s economic woes, piling a fresh energy shock on top of the turmoil in credit and housing.
“The effect of high oil prices today could be the difference between having a recession and not having a recession,” said Kenneth Rogoff, a Harvard University economist.
The newly available English-language translation of the canons and constitution of the Anglican Church of the Southern Cone indicates several inconsistencies with moves by dioceses to switch their affiliation from The Episcopal Church to the South American-based province.
The situation seems especially complicated for the Diocese of San Joaquin which already approved the switch at its annual convention last December. Article two of the Southern Cone constitution limits membership in the province to dioceses “that exist or which may be formed in the Republics of Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay and which voluntary declare themselves as integral diocesan members of the province.” Article four of the constitution requires that amendments “be submitted to the Anglican Consultative Council for consideration and then to each diocesan synod for approval.”
In a statement given to a reporter from The Living Church, a spokesman for Presiding Bishop Gregory Venables of the Southern Cone said the provincial leadership was aware of the constitutional impediments before voting unanimously to issue its “emergency, temporary and pastoral” invitation to affiliate. “Both the House of Bishops of the Southern Cone and the General Synod decided to go ahead because of the nature of the emergency,” the spokesman said.
The Catholic Church has always believed in the idea of demonic possession — of the fight, within the individual, between good and evil, says CBS News correspondent Mark Phillips.
The ancient ritual of trying to drive evil spirits formtortured souls was dramatically portrayed by Hollywood in “The Exorcist.”
The Church, Phillips points out, would rather such graphic religious experiences took place privately.
When one Archbishop, Emanuel Malingo, began holding increasingly popular public exorcisms, the Vatican made him stop. The exorcism scenes weren’t pretty, Phillips observes.
There is evidence, though, that the practice of exorcism is experiencing a revival, according to the Washington Post.
Karen Moran has done everything a mother can do to find a good school for her 5-year-old twin daughters.
The Wicker Park mom has trolled the Chicago Public Schools Web site for test scores and class sizes. She has spent her mornings touring a half-dozen private and public schools. She has hit the playgrounds to quiz parents about the best schools. And she has had her children tested for entry into gifted programs.
“I’ve spent more time on this process than in I did trying to get into college or law school,” Moran said. “There’s so much stress and uncertainty right now, I feel sort of panicked about what’s going to happen.”
The William Tell Mom, as she is sometimes identified on YouTube, is named Anita Renfroe. She is 45 and lives in suburban Atlanta with her husband, John, a Southern Baptist minister; her daughter, Elyse, 18; and her mother, Kay Pulliam. Renfroe’s two sons, Austin and Calvin, who are in their 20s, live close by. Last Mother’s Day, at the urging of her kids, she posted on YouTube the film clip of her performance at the Dozier Center for the Performing Arts in Kennesaw, Ga., and promptly forgot about it. “I thought it would be a nice thing to do,” she says. “I thought maybe 1,000 people might see it.”
Turns out that was optimistic. Over Mother’s Day weekend, the clip got about 500 hits. But Renfroe never got around to taking the video down, and as the summer progressed, its popularity continued to grow. By Labor Day, it had passed the 800,000 hit mark. Then the blogosphere discovered it: Mommyneedscoffee.com and hotmomsclub.com thought it was hilarious. “That’s when it went bazooka,” Renfroe says.
By Oct. 1, approximately 1.5 million people had seen the video. By Oct. 19, the number had risen to 8 million; the video had gone viral. “That’s pretty impressive until you realize that the guy who eats live locusts has, like, 12 million hits,” Renfroe told me. Then a producer from “Good Morning America” called at 5:30 one morning to ask whether the show could run the clip. The song got even bigger when iTunes put the video on its lineup. After that, Renfroe was fending off offers like a Hollywood starlet.
In his first interview since his controversial comments, Dr Michael Nazir-Ali vows not to be forced into silence
His claim that Islamic extremism has turned some parts of Britain into “no-go” areas for non-Muslims led to fierce rows between political and religious leaders over the impact of multiculturalism on this country.
Those comments were followed soon after by the Archbishop of Canterbury’s suggestion that the adoption of aspects of sharia law in Britain was “unavoidable”.
The bishops’ views in The Sunday Telegraph sparked a storm of criticism and raised questions over the role of the Church in society but, most seriously for Dr Nazir-Ali, led to threats that he and his family would be harmed.
Yet, in his first interview since the sinister calls were made to his home, the Bishop of Rochester remains steadfastly defiant. He will not be silenced. “I believe people should not be prevented from speaking out,” he says. “The issue had to be raised. There are times when Christian leaders have to speak out.”
Breakaway Anglicans and the national church sit down today in a last-ditch effort to resolve a potentially ugly dispute over who gets the keys to three local churches.
The three congregations, in Oakville, Lowville and St. Catharines, all voted recently to split from the Anglican Church of Canada, which they see as having become too liberal. If no agreement is reached at the closed-door session between the churches and the Diocese of Niagara, the matter goes to court Friday.
“It’s not in anybody’s interest for this to end up in court,” said Cheryl Chang, lawyer for the breakaway churches.
Chang will argue today the disputed properties were built to uphold a historic Anglican tradition that the church itself no longer follows.
“When people gave money to build the churches, they gave it because the believed in the Anglican Church,” Chang said.
“They believed in the faith that the Anglican Church was teaching and that it is bound to.”
The Anglican Church of Canada is among the most liberal in the worldwide communion, which Chang called “a breach of trust” with past generations.
The bookkeeper for Episcopal Church of the Advent turned herself in Thursday on charges she embezzled $512,000 from the church.
Investigators with the Leon County Sheriff’s Office said Rosanne Stone, 50, took the money from three church accounts over four years. She was arrested on charges of grand theft and money laundering. She was released from the county jail on $1,000 bail.
Sgt. James McQuaig said it was possibly the biggest embezzlement case the Sheriff’s Office has ever seen. He said Stone used the money to buy antiques, jewelry, furniture, silverware, lamps and glassware on eBay.
“We counted and literally have hundreds of items seized as evidence,” McQuaig said.
[In his Advent letter Archbishop Rowan Williams] also suggests that this working group “will also have to consider whether in the present circumstances it is possible for provinces or individual bishops at odds with the expressed mind of the Communion to participate fully in representative Communion agencies, including ecumenical bodies. Its responsibility will be to weigh current developments in the light of the clear recommendations of Windsor and of the subsequent statements from the ACC (Anglican Consultative Council) and the Primates’ Meeting; itwill thus also be bound to consider the exact status of bishops ordained by one province for ministry in another. At the moment, the question of ”˜who speaks for the Communion?’ is surrounded by much unclarity and urgently needs resolution”¦Not everyone carrying the name of Anglican can claim to speak authentically for the identity we share as a global fellowship.” These are enormous challenges and I, and the committee, need your prayers in the days ahead.
Perhaps the Archbishop got to the bottom line when he illustrated the issue as being “whether or how far we can recognise the same Gospel and ministry” in one another. We’ll see if we have both the wisdom and the will to arrive together at the yet-to-be determined far shore. We’re stuck, and we need to look for ways to become un-stuck.
Baroness Caroline Cox, several times this past weekend, quoted Archbishop Ben Kwashi: “We have a message worth living for; we have a message worth dying for; don’t you [in the West] compromise the message we are dying for.”
I heard from a friend in England several weeks ago that an announcement was imminent that would be very good news for the orthodox in the U.S. I learned from others that it would involve a plan for churches to connect to the Anglican Communion apart from the Episcopal Church – this is what we have been waiting for since the vestry letter September 2006. It was reported that this would have the blessing of the Presiding Bishop and the Archbishop of Canterbury. I hoped that this would allow Christ Church and churches like ours to disassociate from the Episcopal Church with the blessing of Canterbury, yet still remain a member of the Anglican Communion.
This is the news I’ve been waiting for but, I’m sad to say that it is not good news.
It turns out that the four U.S. bishops have only resurrected an old idea that was earlier rejected as inadequate by orthodox Episcopalians, i.e. the Presiding Bishop’s plan for alternate episcopal oversight. The plan of the four Windsor bishops is unworkable on every level. It will not help orthodox churches in hostile dioceses because it depends on the good will of revisionist bishops towards their orthodox congregations. For no reason at all bishops can say “no” to episcopal visitors (Communion Partners), and can still require churches to financially support the Episcopal Church (in their lawsuits against conservative congregations!). How is this good news for traditional churches? And for churches like Christ Church, it provides no way to connect to the Anglican Communion apart from the Episcopal Church. No wonder the Presiding Bishop endorsed it; it’s her plan and she gives up nothing! The plan of these four bishops is a last gasp from a dying institution.
Not only does this plan fail to address any real issues, it threatens to change the focus of discussion in dangerous ways. Instead of calling the Episcopal Church to repentance for breaking the trust of the Anglican Communion, these four (and other Windsor bishops?) are now figuring out ways to let the Episcopal Church continue with what it is doing now and in the future. The problem for these four bishops is not the Episcopal Church, but orthodox churches and dioceses that threaten the unity because they can no longer associate with the Episcopal Church. The strategy is to blame Peter Akinola and Bob Duncan for the disunity we face, rather than the Episcopal Church who repeatedly refused to respond positively to the pleas of the Anglican Communion.
Everything in this discussion hinges on the “pendulum.” Windsor bishops are 100% invested in the idea that the Episcopal Church, that has swung wildly to the liberal side, will one day swing back to a moderate centrist theology. But there is no indication in recent history or church history in general that there will be such a swing. There is no pendulum. Instead, I believe, the Episcopal Church is set on a trajectory away from mainstream Christianity that will never again intersect with mainstream Christianity. There are simply two churches within the Episcopal Church today with two totally different theologies and agendas. My concern is that we might get 5, 10, 20 years down this road before realizing that the likes of Louie Crew, Presiding Bishop Schori and Bishop Jon Bruno (and the next generation of revisionists that will control the Episcopal Church) will never concede to anything like a more balanced view of theology and morals.
Bishop Lillibridge gave a forceful address at the Diocesan Council last Friday for the essentials of the faith (See the next blog entry–KSH. It was heartening to hear him so strongly upholding the core teachings of the faith as nonnegotiables. As he attends the meetings of the Windsor Continuation Group in the months proceeding Lambeth we need to be praying for him. I will ask him to take to their meetings our concerns (and of many in West Texas from the feedback we’ve received) that churches who cannot in conscience submit any longer to the Episcopal Church be given a way to continue being “Anglican.” Hopefully this Continuation Group will uphold some of the disciplinary portions of the Windsor Report, something that hasn’t happened to date.
I am thoroughly energized by what God is doing at Christ Church these days. Our effort at Council last week was a remarkable witness to the vitality and life we are experiencing in the Holy Spirit. Leslie Kingman and Linda Camp, and the over 200 volunteers, deserve a huge thanks for showing our bishops and diocese that we are positive about our future and that we want to help guide and influence our diocese. Caroline Cox was overwhelmed by the spirit of our worship and fellowship on Sunday. I also appreciate the work the vestry and others are doing to collect information on the areas pertaining to the realignment.
The following is offered with the unanimous support of our parish leaders (meeting at the vestry retreat a few weeks ago) to assure our congregation that we continue steadfast in our mission and core values:
As the Vestry of Christ Church
Â»We remain firmly committed to Jesus Christ and the authority of Scripture.
Â»We are prayerfully seeking God’s wisdom and direction in light of the dilemma within the national Episcopal Church.
Â»We are preparing for our future, valuing our community and our rich heritage.
–The Rev. Chuck Collins is rector, Christ Church, San Antonio, Texas
Borrowers could have only one payday loan at a time worth $500 or less under state legislation aimed at tightening restrictions on an industry some say traps clients in a cycle of debt.
The Senate sent the legislation ”” after closely defeating a proposed ban on the industry ”” to the House for consideration.
“I am not pro-payday lending or anti-payday lending,” said Rep. Wallace Scarborough, R-James Island. “I am trying to do the best for the people of South Carolina. I am trying to help reach a compromise. I think people are shortsighted if they say we need an outright payday lending ban.”
Payday loans are small, short-term, unsecured loans that borrowers promise to repay out of their next paycheck or regular income payment, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.
Scarborough, a member of the House committee that will first review the Senate bill, said the Legislature should find ways to “clean up the industry.” The lenders, he noted, serve a purpose for people who need the types of loans not available at banks.
Every major religious advocacy group has united in opposition — Catholic and Protestant, black and white, conservatives who view gambling as a destructive personal sin and liberals who see an industry that preys on the poor.
Despite religious groups’ disagreements on other issues in Frankfort, “this is the one thing that seems to galvanize everyone,” said Hershael York, a Frankfort pastor and past president of the Kentucky Baptist Convention. “That ought to say something to the political world.”
During a Jan. 31 meeting at Lambeth Palace with the Rt. Rev. James M. Stanton, Bishop of Dallas; Archbishop Drexel Gomez of the West Indies; the Rev. Christopher Seitz, and the Rev. Ephraim Radner, Archbishop Williams agreed to write and formally invite five primates to participate. Some primates have still not responded since receiving the official invitation. The five primates are: Archbishop Gomez; Presiding Bishop Mouneer Anis of Jerusalem and the Middle East; Archbishop Ian Ernest of the Indian Ocean; Archbishop Bernard Ntahoturi of Burundi; and Archbishop Donald Leo Mtetemela of Tanzania.
“The bishops who have been designated Episcopal Visitors, together with others who might well consider being included in this number, share many concerns about the Anglican Communion and its future, and we look to work together with primates and bishops from the Global South,” Bishop Howe said. “The bishops will work together according to the principles outlined in the Windsor Report and seek a comprehensive Anglican Covenant at the Lambeth Conference and beyond.”
More than a quarter of adult Americans have left the faith of their childhood to join another religion or no religion, according to a survey of religious affiliation by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.
The report, titled “U.S. Religious Landscape Survey,” depicts a highly fluid and diverse national religious life. If shifts among Protestant denominations are included, then it appears that 44 percent of Americans have switched religious affiliations.
For at least a generation, scholars have noted that more Americans are moving among faiths, as denominational loyalty erodes. But the survey, based on telephone interviews with more than 35,000 Americans, offers one of the clearest views yet of that trend, scholars said. The United States Census does not track religious affiliation.
It shows, for example, that every religion is losing and gaining members, but that the Roman Catholic Church “has experienced the greatest net losses as a result of affiliation changes.” The survey also indicates that the group that had the greatest net gain was the unaffiliated. Sixteen percent of American adults say they are not part of any organized faith, which makes the unaffiliated the country’s fourth-largest “religious group.”
In the daytime he led them with a cloud, and all the night with a fiery light.
Psalm 78: 14
Resplendent with moats, gatehouses and banqueting halls, bishops’ palaces are among some of the grandest buildings in the country.
Now, however, the historic homes, which have belonged to the Church of England for centuries, could be sold off in a bid to raise money for cash-strapped parishes.
A confidential internal review is examining whether the diocesan bishops’ houses, nine of which are palaces, are appropriate for the Church to keep. The bishops’ residences are worth about Â£120 million, but cost up to Â£9 million each year to maintain.
Today we had a pre-church meeting about last year’s deficit of $53,127.86, the previous year’s loss of $46,104.05 today’s operating funds of only $8,000, and a 2008budget that includes a $56,076.11 deficit. Where to begin? Since the sermon was shortand sweet by Mary Cat, we can spend the next week solving the financial problems of the Church.
It looks like two years of deficit spending finally generated some interest in the workings of this small corner of the Episcopal Church. The budget numbers presented were sufficient for the pewsters to formulate many theories for the causes, and a number of possible solutions.
Cutting expenses was urged by many today. Expenses in 2005 were $525,310 and had risen to $589,437.11 in 2007. In fact expenses rose $23,000 from 2006-2007 after a deficit of $46,104 in 2006. Seems like belt tightening should have started last year.
(Hat tip: Stand Firm)
Bishop George Ninan tends to divide people into two groups: those who have political freedom and economic opportunity and those who have had their God-given rights taken away.
Since he’s an Anglican bishop from South India, one might think he would see people as Christian or Hindu or Muslim. Or that he might see those from South India as being distinct from other Indians or even other Asians.
But Ninan’s world view has been shaped by speaking out on behalf of oppressed people of many faiths and cultures – and by being threatened by several governments.
“In a just society, people are not only created equal, but have equal rights to resources,” he said.
News media love conflict, and when religion and science clash in political arguments, they like to stoke the flame.
For example, in a Republican debate last year, Politico’s Jim Vandehei asked candidates who didn’t believe in evolution to raise their hands. One of the three who did, Sam Brownback of Kansas, complained later in New Hampshire, “One of the problems we have with our society today is that we put faith and science at odds with each other. They aren’t at odds with each other. If they are, check your faith or check your science.”
Brownback, a Roman Catholic, is out of the race now, but he was right in his claim. Science and religion can co-exist.
Stephen Jay Gould, a Harvard paleontologist who died in 2002, argued in Natural History magazine 11 years ago that science and religion occupy non-overlapping domains. As an agnostic, he could consider the question objectively.
My agreement with him is based on a different perspective experienced a decade earlier. I had been reporting for a journalism review on newspapers’ naive treatment of ghost stories and other unverified claims of the supernatural.
Kentucky Episcopalians heard a combination pep talk and Bible study yesterday from one of the leaders in efforts to keep the fragile Anglican Communion together despite what seem irreconcilable differences over sexuality and theology.
The Rev. Katherine Grieb told the annual meeting of the Diocese of Kentucky that divisions in the church are as old as the church itself, and Bible passages offer differing models on whether to split or stay together despite differences.
We’re having a family argument,” said Grieb, a Virginia Theological Seminary biblical scholar and a member of a team drafting a “covenant” to hold together the Anglican Communion, which consists of the Episcopal Church and other national churches descended from the Church of England.
“There never was a golden age when everybody in the church agreed about everything,” she said at the gathering at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in southwestern Jefferson County.
Update This is worth rereading also, it includes this:
It is so very sad to see a …[Church leader] once again parlaying the ECUSA hierarchy’s offical party line which is: to be Episcopal means to agree to disagree agreeably, we have been through struggles before, and this is yet another struggle through which the church will find her way.
The problem is the hidden theological assumption here that all theological differences are the same. They are NOT.