Daily Archives: February 21, 2008

David Brooks: When the Magic Fades

At first it seemed like a few random cases of lassitude among Mary Chapin Carpenter devotees in Berkeley, Cambridge and Chapel Hill. But then psychotherapists began to realize patients across the country were complaining of the same distress. They were experiencing the first hints of what’s bound to be a national phenomenon: Obama Comedown Syndrome.

The afflicted had already been through the phases of Obama-mania ”” fainting at rallies, weeping over their touch screens while watching Obama videos, spending hours making folk crafts featuring Michelle Obama’s face. These patients had experienced intense surges of hope-amine, the brain chemical that fuels euphoric sensations of historic change and personal salvation.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, US Presidential Election 2008

Navy Scores Direct Hit on Spy Satellite

A U.S. Navy cruiser blasted a disabled spy satellite with a pinpoint missile strike that achieved the main mission of exploding a tank of toxic fuel 130 miles above the Pacific Ocean, defense officials said.

Destroying the satellite’s onboard tank of about 1,000 pounds of hydrazine fuel was the primary goal, and a senior defense official close to the mission said Thursday that it appears the tank was destroyed, and the strike with a specially designed missile was a complete success.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates ordered the shootdown, which came late Wednesday as he began an eight-day, around-the-world trip on which he likely will face questions about the mission.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Military / Armed Forces

Auction-Rate Debt Succumbs to Bid-Rig Taint as Citigroup Flees

The collapse of the auction-rate bond market, where state and local governments go to raise cash, demonstrates that regulators are no match for Wall Street.

Hundreds of auctions have failed this month, sending borrowing costs as high as 20 percent because dealers from Goldman Sachs Group Inc. to Citigroup Inc., UBS AG and Merrill Lynch & Co. stopped using their own capital to support the sales. Regulators, who allowed the manipulation of bids and lack of information to persist even after two probes in the past 15 years, are now watching a $342 billion market evaporate at the expense of taxpayers.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy

Bishop Terry Kelshaw joins the Church of Uganda

“I wanted to leave the Episcopal Church five or more years ago but believed then that having a Diocese to care for it would be harmful to them,” Bishop Kelshaw told The Church of England Newspaper.

“Frankly I have not taken Holy Communion in the House of Bishops in about thirteen of the fifteen years I was in there because I did not consider myself in fellowship due to the pronouncements they were making concerning themselves and the church,” he said.

Bishop Kelshaw stated that he will become “Bishop in Resident” at St. James, Newport Beach, California. St. James quit the diocese of Los Angeles in 2004 to join the Church of Uganda and is currently involved in litigation with the diocese. Being an “Episcopal” bishop while serving the Church of Uganda congregation in California “would create difficulties” in the litigation he noted.

“My ministry will be here in the US,” he said, and “hopefully [be] away from the present punitive, tyrannical, oversight” of the Episcopal Church.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of Uganda, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Rio Grande

Andrew Cameron responds to Paul Sheehan: There are riches in Renewal

Since I work for the Anglican Church, sexual and social politics also dictates that I can be relied upon to reinforce religious fear and guilt to “constrain the sexuality and sexual freedom of women”. Sheehan does not offer any support for these deeply held beliefs, and perhaps I can’t dislodge them. I wish I had his faith. But for what it is worth, the biblical authors consistently and resolutely expect men to take responsibility for their own sexual thoughts and feelings.

In an argument throughout the Gospels, Jesus attacks his contemporaries for their divorces of convenience to remarry young things, and “everyone who looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew chapter 5, verse 28). The point is not to amplify male guilt. He wants men to direct their sexual energy toward their wives, as in the ancient proverb “Take pleasure in the wife of your youth ”¦ be lost in her love forever.”

Here is a profound point about our quest for true intimacy. Nothing replaces the time invested in a marriage, a time long enough to grow the intimacy we all crave.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Provinces, Australia / NZ, Marriage & Family

Boston Globe: Colleges scramble to offer curriculum on Mormon religion

Harvard Divinity School has long prided itself on the diversity of its curriculum – it currently features classes in American Buddhism, Jewish Apocalypticism, and Classical Sufism – but it took until this semester for the venerable school to offer a course on one of the fastest-growing faiths in the world: Mormonism.

The decision by Harvard to add “Mormonism and the American Experience” reflects what appears to be an uptick of interest in Mormonism in higher education nationally.

Two non-Mormon universities, Claremont Graduate University in California and Utah State University, have established the first endowed chairs in Mormon studies, and the University of Wyoming is considering taking a similar step. The American Academy of Religion, which is the largest association of religion scholars worldwide, has established a new group for specialists in Mormon studies.

There are more presses publishing academic works about Mormonism, more academic conferences on the religion, and more non-Mormon scholars studying the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as Mormonism is formally known.

“The interest is growing in Mormon studies generally, and it’s becoming something that other religious studies scholars have to take account of and pay greater attention to,” said Melissa Proctor, a visiting lecturer teaching the new class at Harvard.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Education, Mormons, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

Bishop Schofield of San Joaquin Responds to to the Interim Pastoral Presence

From here:

Response to the Interim Pastoral Presence

The following are identical letters to Canon Cox and Canon Moore.

February 15, 2008

It is my understanding that you have been hired by the Presiding Bishop’s Office to be a part of an interim pastoral presence with oversight in the Diocese of San Joaquin. This fact indicates one of the two things: 1) You do not believe that the Diocese was capable of removing itself from TEC in December 2007, and therefore you are intruding into the internal affairs of a recognized TEC diocese; or, 2) You do believe this diocese left TEC in 2007 and you are entering into the internal affairs of a diocese of another province.

In either case, at present, The Episcopal Church has begun attacking both me and this diocese. Your coming here is unconscionable in that you are meddling in the affairs of San Joaquin with neither the courtesy of requesting my permission as bishop nor even troubling to inform me of your plans. Such actions are hardly those of men with honorable intentions.

Even though you have already taken it upon yourself to be in contact with clergy and parishes, under no circumstances are you welcome to hold meetings in this diocese or to ask permission of clergy or other leaders to do so.

If indeed your proposal is to seek reconciliation with the goal to reduce the “threat of law suits” you are approaching the wrong persons. Why do you not come directly to me with your concerns and offers, for such lawsuits ”“ presumably ”“ would be lodged against me?

Should you choose to deal directly with me concerning the above mentioned proposals I would be willing to set aside time to meet with you in my office in Fresno. Apart from this, I ask you to desist from entering this diocese.

I remain, In earnest,
+John-David Schofield

Cc: The Most Reverend Katherine Jefferts-Schori
The Most Reverend Gregory Venables

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: San Joaquin

Paul Sheehan: In praise of desire and infidelity

If you are a woman in her 40s or 50s, living in an arid marriage or partnership, and are not having an affair or contemplating one, you are behaving unnaturally.

More and more women are allowing themselves to behave like my friend “A”, who, as soon as her children finished high school last year, walked away from her battle-scarred marriage, moved into her own place, commenced no-fault divorce proceedings, and joined the RSVP online dating service.

I didn’t see her for months, and when I did she looked trim and buoyant. She had a new boyfriend. “I’m behaving like an 18-year-old,” she said. She did look as if she was getting a lot of exercise. She met the new man on RSVP. She also had war stories about RSVP. One of her friends, a 60-year-old architect, received about 100 responses from women on the site.

This, by the way, is not a clarion call to infidelity. The key qualifying word in the opening paragraph is “arid”. Rather, it is a consideration of the way society treats and portrays the sensuality of older women, and why so many allow themselves to disappear into a great compromise built on habit, stability, security and obligation rather than how they really feel.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Australia / NZ, Marriage & Family, Middle Age, Sexuality

The Bishop of Fort Worth Announces Plans to Attend the GAFCOn Conference

The Rt. Rev. Jack Leo Iker, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth, announced today that he plans to participate in the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON), to be held in Jerusalem, June 22”“29, 2008. Described as “a full week of planning and pilgrimage,” the event is being organized by the leading orthodox Primates of the Anglican Communion, and participation in the conference is by invitation only.

“I want to demonstrate my solidarity with the Bishops of the Global South,” Bishop Iker said, “and to stand with them as we seek a positive way forward for the mission of the Anglican Communion during this time of dissension. I expect it to be a time of spiritual renewal and refreshment.”The conference program will focus on worship, prayer, discussion, and Bible study, shaped by the context of the Holy Land.

Bishop Iker said that he “remains in consultation” with several other bishops regarding attendance at the upcoming Lambeth Conference of Bishops, which is to be held at the University of Kent in Canterbury from July 16 to August 3. He also will be seeking the advice of his own clergy about participating in this gathering of Anglican bishops from around the world that meets once every ten years. Bishop Iker was among those in attendance at the last Lambeth Conference, which was held in 1998.

Both GAFCON and Lambeth are international conferences that will occur during the time the Bishop will be away from the diocese on a three-month sabbatical, beginning in early May.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, Episcopal Church (TEC), Global South Churches & Primates, Middle East, TEC Bishops

Hillary Clinton targets pledged delegates

Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign intends to go after delegates whom Barack Obama has already won in the caucuses and primaries if she needs them to win the nomination.

This strategy was confirmed to me by a high-ranking Clinton official on Monday. And I am not talking about superdelegates, those 795 party big shots who are not pledged to anybody. I am talking about getting pledged delegates to switch sides.

What? Isn’t that impossible? A pledged delegate is pledged to a particular candidate and cannot switch, right?


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Posted in * Economics, Politics, US Presidential Election 2008

AN NBC Video Report: Reconciliation in Rwanda

This is a terrific piece, and do watch it all but be forewarned the content involves quite upsetting material.

Posted in * International News & Commentary, Africa, Rwanda

Susan Martinuk: It’s time to return to the fold

Nationally, most Churches that leave the ACC will align themselves with a just-created parallel governing structure called the Anglican Network in Canada (ANIC). Globally, they will position themselves under the leadership of more traditional Anglican leaders from other continents. But they remain members of the world-wide Anglican Communion and, in fact, are only strengthening that tie by leaving a national Church that is operating outside of Anglican authority.

There is clearly a deep doctrinal and theological split in the Anglican Church. Open debates always have a place, but something is seriously wrong when Church leaders have no qualms about defying Church doctrine (the central tenets and core beliefs of the faith), yet declare a schism and cry “disobedience” when the man-created lines of Church leadership are threatened.

The real story here isn’t that a schism is now occurring in one of Canada’s most prominent Churches. What should be of most concern to those who sit in the pews is that the leadership of the Anglican Church in Canada has abandoned its traditional roles of defending the faith and the authority of Scriptures. It has refused to act even as its own leaders repeatedly defied Church doctrine and authority. Perhaps that’s why membership in Canada’s Anglican Church has declined 30% over the past 40 years, while membership at conservative Churches like St. John’s is thriving.

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

Father John Flynn: Muslim Laws and Western Society and Rowan Williams recent Lecture

The question, [Archbishop Rowan Williams]…said, is “whether certain additional choices could and should be made available under the law of the United Kingdom for resolving disputes and regulating transactions.” The Anglican leader also added that before the introduction of any such possibility much careful work and discussion would be needed.

“I wanted simply to offer a bit more of a framework for thinking about this controversy,” the archbishop declared in concluding his remarks on the subject.

The Telegraph newspaper editorial of Feb. 12 was, nevertheless, not mollified. It declared concern that the head of a national institution would call into question a fundamental principle of justice: a single system of law equally applied to all. The editorial also questioned the weakening of British culture at a time when it is under threat from aggressive Islam.

The Guardian editorial of the same day also rapped the archbishop over the knuckles, saying that he should speak “more clearly and better in future.”

It wasn’t just the media that was critical of Archbishop Williams. On Feb. 10 the Sunday Telegraph published comments by Williams’ predecessor, Lord Carey, and Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor.

“I don’t believe in a multicultural society,” remarked the archbishop of Westminster. “When people come into this country they have to obey the laws of the land,” the Catholic leader insisted.

Lord Carey, archbishop of Canterbury from 1991 to 2002, expressed concern that separate systems could lead to the creation of Muslim ghettos. He also noted that many Muslims prefer, in fact, “to embrace the West and adapt their faith and customs to Britain.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Archbishop of Canterbury

First Time That Gen. Petraeus Is Cautiously Optimistic About Iraq

If you’re looking for one measure of the impact of last year’s troop surge in Iraq, look at Gen. David Petraeus as he walks through a Baghdad neighborhood, with no body armor, and no helmet.

It’s been one year since the beginning of what’s known here as Operation Fardh Al Qadnoon. According to the U.S. military, violence is down 60 percent. One key to the success is reconciliation.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Iraq War