Monthly Archives: March 2008
There was a time when not having sex consumed a very small part of Janie Fredell’s life, but that, of course, was back in Colorado Springs. It seemed to Fredell that almost no one had sex in Colorado Springs. Her hometown was extremely conservative, and as a good Catholic girl, she was annoyed by all the fundamentalist Christians who would get in her face and demand, as she put it to me recently, “You have to think all of these things that we think.” They seemed not to know that she thought many of those things already. At her public high school, everyone, “literally everyone,” wore chastity rings, Fredell recalled, but she thought the practice ridiculous. Why was it necessary, she wondered, to signify you’re not doing something that nobody is doing?
And then Fredell arrived at Harvard. Sitting in a Cambridge restaurant not long ago, she told me that people back home called it “godless, liberal Harvard.” Some discouraged her from going, but Fredell went anyway, arriving in the fall of 2005. She wanted to study government, she said, maybe become a lawyer, and she knew that “people take you more seriously as a Harvard student.”
From the start, she told me, she was awed by the diversity of the place, by the intensity, by the constant buzz of ideas. There were so many different kinds of people at Harvard, most of them trying to change the world, and everyone trying to figure out what they thought of everyone else. “Harvard really puts pressure on you to define who you are,” Fredell said, and she loved everything about Harvard, except the sex.
Sex, as she put it, was not even “anything I’d ever thought about” when, as a freshman, she was educated in safe-sex practices. What she was told was the sort of thing found in a Harvard pamphlet called “Empowering You”: “put the condom on before the penis touches the vagina, mouth, or anus. . . . Use a new condom if you want to have sex again or if you want to have a different type of sex.”
Fredell began to understand she was in “a culture that says sex is totally O.K.” When a new boyfriend came to her, expressing desire, she managed to “stick to my guns,” she said, but there were “uncouth and socially inept” men, as she considered them, all around, and observing the rituals of her new classmates, Fredell couldn’t help being alarmed. “The hookup culture is so absolutely all-encompassing,” she said. “It’s shocking! It’s everywhere!”
BitTorrent, a revolutionary technology, is making file sharing over the Internet much easier and more accessible. Comcast is far from pleased, however. Digital guru Andy Carvin breaks down the new process for Andrea Seabrook.
Question 45. What does the “resurrection” of Christ profit us?
Answer: First, by his resurrection he has overcome death, that he might make us partakers of that righteousness which he had purchased for us by his death; (a) secondly, we are also by his power raised up to a new life; (b) and lastly, the resurrection of Christ is a sure pledge of our blessed resurrection. (c)
(a) 1 Cor.15:16 For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: Rom.4:25 Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification. 1 Pet.1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, (b) Rom.6:4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. Col.3:1 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Col.3:3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. Eph.2:5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) Eph.2:6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: (c) 1 Cor.15:12 Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? 1 Cor.15:20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. 1 Cor.15:21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. Rom.8:11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.
–The Heidelberg Catechism
The real story is not the Anglican schism in Canada of the parishes who have ”˜left’ the Anglican Church of Canada. The real story is how the Anglican Church of Canada is in contradiction with itself and in conflict with the Anglican Communion.
After all, notwithstanding the controversy surrounding his musings on Sharia law, the Archbishop of Canterbury has made it very clear what the mind of the Anglican Communion is in his Advent 2007 letter. “Insofar as there is currently any consensus in the Communion about this, it is not in favour of change in our discipline or our interpretation of the Bible” on these matters of moral order and teaching and, as a result, “it becomes important to clarify that the Communion as a whole is not committed to receiving the new interpretation and that there must be ways in which others can appropriately distance themselves from decisions and policies which they have not agreed.”
This is, perhaps, what some parishes, like St. John’s, Shaughnessy, in Vancouver have done. They have decided to stay with the wider communion in the face of the actions of their diocesan bishop, Michael Ingham, who, after all, has required his priests and parishes either to embrace this “new interpretation” or to allow others to enter into their parishes to bless same-sex unions. So much for toleration. Perhaps, a kind of Sharia law for traditional, orthodox Anglicans might be the counter to such bishops and their synods! And maybe that is what is happening by parishes seeking the oversight of the Primate of the Southern Cone as a way to remain faithful to the Anglican Communion. They have had to “distance themselves from decisions and policies [to] which they have not agreed.”
The Archbishop of Canterbury, of course, can no more condone the jurisdictional incursions of bishops than he can admit that there is a new understanding of Scripture that all must willy-nilly accept. But, then, what are the “ways” for parishes in these situations?
The General Synod of Canada in 2007 noted that the matter of same-sex blessings was (a) a matter of doctrine or church teaching; (b) that it was not a matter of core doctrine, in the sense of being creedal (sex, marriage, and moral matters in general are not explicitly named in the Creeds, of course); and (c) that there was to be no local option with respect to dioceses acting on their own. Some, of course, were greatly dismayed at the last motion, thinking that if it is not a creedal doctrine then they are good to go with whatever they want, (echoes of the Righter debacle in the States). Others were relieved that no action had been taken that formally affected the standing of the Anglican Church of Canada in the Anglican Communion.
Others were dismayed at marriage not being seen as a core doctrine; it is, but in the area of moral doctrine, not creedal doctrine. Theologically, of course, this begs the question about the formative nature of scripture and creeds with respect to moral teaching and pastoral practice.
To be sure, nothing was done to stop the Diocese of New Westminster from continuing to do what it has been doing on its own, hence the situation for parishes there. But the motion forbidding local diocesan option has been cavalierly ignored by three other dioceses to date, namely, Montreal, Ottawa and Niagara, who have decided to go ahead with what the General Synod proscribed. And not a whisper of regret, let alone a rebuke, from the Primate Fred Hiltz. And the press seems oblivious, too.
Leaving aside whether the General Synod has any authority to determine new doctrine of any sort, the issue here is about the integrity of the Anglican Church of Canada with respect to its own foundational principles, such as the Solemn Declaration of 1893 which commits the Church in Canada to the Communion. At issue, too, are the vows of ordination that priests have taken which commit them to the ”˜Canterbury connection’. None can be required to subscribe to this “new interpretation.”
Property issues will play out differently in different parts of Canada depending on whether parishes were the creations of diocesan synods or predate synods, and depending on the nature of their legal incorporation. Who holds title? But in the matter of ordination, clergy cannot be required to subscribe to a new interpretation that runs counter to what they signed up for and which commits them to the wider church. But if coerced, what are the options? Charter of Right’s cases or Sharia Law? Or something more mundane like ”˜constructive dismissal’?
And will ”˜progressive’ bishops in Canada, on the other hand, decide to make complaints to the Human Rights Commissions about recalcitrant priests and parishes who refuse to endorse the same-sex agenda, alleging hate crimes? The ironies are huge. Secular courts and law might be used to protect or attack traditional orthodox Anglicans because of the church’s embrace of a secular agenda that lacks the clear warrant of scripture and tradition.
–The Rev’d) David Curry serves at Christ Church, Windsor, Nova Scotia
The usual economic truism ”” as demand goes down, the prices go down”” doesn’t seem to apply in the current troubled housing market. Many homeowners prefer not to sell their home than to take a penny less than their inflated asking price.
Hersh Shefrin, professor of behavioral finance at Santa Clara University, breaks down the economic conundrum for Andrea Seabrook.
A very good piece on the psychology of selling. It all comes down he says to one word, ego. I would say sin. People don’t want to sell at a loss because the loss will hand them defeat of which they are afraid. Listen to it all.
The true call and mark of the church is faithfulness to the gospel of Christ. This is nothing but the worship of God and the preaching of the message of the cross: the proclamation of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. The call to focus on Christ and His Mission is essential, but the idea that church structure is set in stone and that bishops deserve unquestioning respect would seem to go against the very teaching and practice of our Lord Jesus. The actions of synods and bishops will always be open to question. What next? Will laypersons be accused of abandoning the Anglican Communion if we work with our Pentecostal, Baptist and Presbyterian brothers and sisters? The urgency of our common calling is relevant to those who are lost and who need to know that The Living God will one day come again to judge this world.
The only means to unity is faithful obedience to Jesus. No human may break this bond. Some in the Anglican Church of Canada would have us believe that decisions made by synods or bishops are capable of overriding the will of God Himself. It is puzzling to see my own corner of the church fragmented because Anglican leaders have failed to provide effective pastoral oversight to those of differing viewpoints. Our officials seem to have a very limited and confused ecclesiology. They think that they can pronounce whole congregations as being out of fellowship with each other, as though unity depends on ecclesiastical agreements or instruments of unity. When I join my brothers and sisters through the week I do not leave the Anglican church behind. I represent my church and bring my heritage with me to work with and draw upon as I serve the lost and encourage my co-workers. This includes all that I have learned as a Christian whether from my own tradition or that of a co-worker. Indeed whenever Christians work together, God’s Church, both visible and invisible, is truly present with all its warts and powers.
Read by George Sutton:
We greet you all in the name of Jesus Christ.
We are here at this proceeding by choice to be considered as Episcopalians and a part of this Diocese voluntarily signing our allegiance as Episcopalians.
The signing of the allegiance as Episcopalians prior to any Episcopal Convention is an unwarranted and unprecedented act especially for already certified delegates from an Episcopal Congregation or Diocese.
Nevertheless, we have come to publicly state our place in this Diocese and because we do have a place, we object and protest the canonical legality of this meeting as an official legislative convention of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin.
We will not be casting any votes for any measure or resolution presented at this meeting.
By direction of the Canons only the ecclesiastical authority of a diocese can call a special convention if there is no Bishop. That responsibility falls to the Standing Committee as per Title 3, Canon 13. The Standing Committee has not called this special convention. Therefore, it would be our understanding that any decision made today on behalf of the Diocese cannot be implemented because they are null and void.
With the weird early date of Easter this year, Saint Jospeh is transferred to today, but today is normally John Donne’s feast day and on the last day of March I always thank God for him–KSH.
Almighty God, the root and fountain of all being: Open our eyes to see, with thy servant John Donne, that whatsoever hath any being is a mirror in which we may behold thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
Batter my heart, three-person’d God ; for you
As yet but knock ; breathe, shine, and seek to mend ;
That I may rise, and stand, o’erthrow me, and bend
Your force, to break, blow, burn, and make me new.
I, like an usurp’d town, to another due,
Labour to admit you, but O, to no end.
Reason, your viceroy in me, me should defend,
But is captived, and proves weak or untrue.
Yet dearly I love you, and would be loved fain,
But am betroth’d unto your enemy ;
Divorce me, untie, or break that knot again,
Take me to you, imprison me, for I,
Except you enthrall me, never shall be free,
Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.
”“Holy Sonnet XIV (my favorite)
“when all is done the hell of hels the torment of torments is the everlasting absence of God and the everlasting impossibility
of returning to his presence”¦.what tophet is not paradise what brimstone is not amber what gnashing is not a comfort what gnawing
of the worme is not a tickling what torment is not a marriage bed to this damnation to be secluded eternally eternally eternally
from the sight of God”
”“From his sermon Preached to the Earle of Carlile, and his Company, at Sion [? 1622]
“The church is catholic, universal, so are all her actions; all that she does, belongs to all”¦.All mankind is of one author, and is one volume; when one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated into a better language; and every chapter must be so translated”¦As therefore the bell that rings to a sermon, calls not upon the preacher only, but upon the congregation to come: so this bell calls us all: but how much more me, who am brought so near the door by this sickness”¦.No man is an island. entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend’s or of thine own were; any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.
”“From his Meditation XVII
O God, who from the family of your servant David raised up Joseph to be the guardian of your incarnate Son and the spouse of his virgin mother: Give us grace to imitate his uprightness of life and his obedience to your commands; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
And the people of Israel went into the midst of the sea on dry ground, the waters being a wall to them on their right hand and on their left.
Seventy-five years ago, Nazi police chief Heinrich Himmler announced the opening of the first concentration camp for political prisoners, ushering in one of the most tragic chapters in modern history.
Dachau, located about 10 miles northwest of Munich, opened in March 1933, just weeks after Adolf Hitler came to power in Germany. In the beginning, prisoners were mostly opponents of the Nazi government, including Communists, trade unionists and Social Democrats.
But by 1938, there were around 10,000 Jewish prisoners at Dachau. The camp would eventually hold as many as 188,000 prisoners, and the Nazis used Dachau as a model and training center for its other concentration camps.
All, we’re having some blog “time stamp” issues this afternoon, and I’m trying to verify something. Please ignore this post and the one that will follow in just a few minutes. I just need to check something. Sorry to do it in public! –elfgirl
The financial market crisis could cause losses of up to $600 billion at banks and other financial institutions worldwide, a German magazine reported on Saturday, citing an internal report by German financial watchdog BaFin.
The $600 billion figure represents a worst-case scenario for losses linked to the financial turmoil sparked by the meltdown in the U.S. subprime mortgage market, Der Spiegel magazine said in a story released in advance of publication on Monday.
“Based on current knowledge and the market situation, we believe $430 billion is more likely,” the magazine quoted what it said was a 16-page report by BaFin as saying.
For the first time in decades, and probably ever, workers retiring from the US labour force will be better-educated on average (according to one measure anyway) than their much younger counterparts. Some 12 per cent of 60-64 year olds have a master’s degree or better; less than 10 per cent of 30-34 year olds do. More generally, the decades-long rise in the educational quality of the labour force is coming to an end. This is important, because that rise has been one of the principal forces driving American economic growth.
These findings are from a new study by Jacob Funk Kirkegaard of the Peterson Institute for International Economics: “The Accelerating Decline in America’s High-Skilled Workforce: Implications for Immigration Policy”. If you are interested in the prospects for American competitiveness and continued economic leadership, Jacob’s study is mandatory reading.
Marriage was one of the greatest social evils it was fashionable to denounce when, briefly, I was an idealistic left-wing student. There was little worse for society, according to radical 1968 convention, than the repressive, bourgeois, nuclear family. Marriage, like the social structures it supported, was the enemy of freedom, equality, authenticity and self-expression. It gave rise to some of the most painful of civilisation’s discontents. It was a tool of hierarchical capitalist oppression.
“Damn braces, bless relaxes,” students used to say, quoting Blake without the least idea of what he meant. It is true, however, that marriage is not always relaxing, and often all too bracing, and in that half-educated muddle there was some uncomfortable truth.
Whether anyone still thinks like that I have no idea. But marriage has never been more unpopular. Last week the Office for National Statistics announced that the proportion of adults in England and Wales who choose to marry has fallen to the lowest rate since figures were first recorded in 1862.
Just under 23 in every 1,000 unmarried men got married last year; the figure for women is fewer than 21…
Diaz replied: “If you’re willing to risk your freedom for a few dollars, then I guess you must really need the money. I mean, all I wanted to do was get dinner and if you really want to join me … hey, you’re more than welcome.
“You know, I just felt maybe he really needs help,” Diaz says.
Diaz says he and the teen went into the diner and sat in a booth.
“The manager comes by, the dishwashers come by, the waiters come by to say hi,” Diaz says. “The kid was like, ‘You know everybody here. Do you own this place?'”
“No, I just eat here a lot,” Diaz says he told the teen. “He says, ‘But you’re even nice to the dishwasher.'”
Diaz replied, “Well, haven’t you been taught you should be nice to everybody?”
“Yea, but I didn’t think people actually behaved that way,” the teen said.
Would you want other people to know, all day long, exactly where you are, right down to the street corner or restaurant?
Unsettling as that may sound to some, wireless carriers are betting that many of their customers do, and they’re rolling out services to make it possible.
Sprint Nextel Corp. has signed up hundreds of thousands of customers for a feature that shows them where their friends are with colored marks on a map viewable on their cellphone screens. Now, Verizon Wireless is gearing up to offer such a service in the next several weeks to its 65 million customers, people familiar with it say.
At the same time, those who now dissent from the Church of England’s “official” views on women, homosexuals, and some other moral issues would at least know clearly where they stood. The Church of England is currently being offered the opportunity to choose its own bishops and senior clergy. Its present discriminatory practices will probably continue, despite the law of the land.
In Britain, we now live in a society where women and homosexuals in civil partnerships are treated equally by the law, but continue to be treated unequally by the Church. Moral authority should be earned rather than given automatically to one denomination.
Changes in Church and society will happen according to the ethos of the people in different generations. A theocratic Church and other faith organisations can provide moral balance when such decisions are impending, but a parliamentary democracy needs to heed the voices of all people of faith and those of none, through its elected delegates.
Laws exist for the protection of individuals and communities, especially those who are vulnerable to oppression. This is one very good reason why in Britain there needs to be an end to parliamentary involvement by any religious denomination.
Otherwise, the Church of England may be using religious conscience to mask sexism and homophobia. It is time for the Church of England voluntarily to let go of its special relationship with the state, and to join other religious organisations on an equal footing in contributing to political, ethical, and social discussions.
Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori made it clear Friday night that she will direct The Episcopal Church to move ahead to reconstitute the Diocese of San Joaquin and to establish control over church property swiftly. In addition, she said, she intends to begin the process of revising the denomination’s canons to allow it to deal more expeditiously with breakaway bishops.
“I expect to see revisions to the canons to deal with situations like the one that you have been living with in San Joaquin for several years,” she said.
Now what is my point? Am I stating that congregations should violate the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church? No, emphatically not. While I think that the Dennis Canon is a legally enacted injustice and ought to be changed by legal or democratic means, I am not suggesting that it be violated.
But I do believe that a church that claims the freedom to change something as fundamentally Christian as the definition of marriage ought to admit that it is sailing off into a Brave New World and have the grace and humility to release amicably those congregations and dioceses that cannot, in all Christian conscience, go there. And church leaders who are so fundamentally anarchic as to throw off the contraint of historic Christian teaching ought to drop the pretense that they have an authority that is, in any sense, hierarchical.
From Episcopal Life’s coverage of today’s proceedings in San Joaquin:
Jefferts Schori had told the participants earlier that the convention had been called because Bishop John-David Schofield had been deposed or removed from his diocesan seat after having abandoned the communion of the Episcopal Church, and because the Standing Committee removed because it took actions “which violated their ability to hold office in this church.”
The first count is debatable, since the deposition of Bishop Schofield was canonically flawed–a reality clearly evident to any rational and literate person–and the second count is simply a lie. I hate to make such a bald statement, but there’s no way around it. If the Standing Committee took any such disqualifying action, no one has yet named it. Quite the contrary, they took actions which clearly demonstrated their intention to act as the Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese.
The call to elect a new Standing Committee drew protest from the Rev. Robert Eaton, rector of St. John’s Episcopal Parish in Tulare, California, and two lay delegates. Eaton, who said they wanted to protest “in as godly and Christian a manner as possible,” told the convention that he had never resigned from the Standing Committee and thus should not have his seat taken away from him.
Tulare delegate George Sutton objected to what he called the “illegality” of the special convention, claiming that only the Standing Committee can call a special convention. Gillian Busch, the other lay delegate, said that the Tulare parish had not been included in the organization of the steering committee that worked toward the convention.
The Rev. Mark Hall, convention chair, replied that “this matter has been settled.”
God speaks in the silence of the heart. Listening is the beginning of prayer.
From Plato and Aristotle to Descartes, the great thinkers have for millennia argued over what is known in philosophy as the “mind-body problem,” the relationship between spirit and flesh. Dualism tends to win the day: The mind and the body, while linked, are separate. They exist independently, perhaps mingling but not merging.
The debate lives on these days in less abstract form in the United States: How much of a difference should it make to health care ”” and health insurance ”” if a condition is physical or mental?
Decades of culture change and recent scientific studies have blurred the line between these types of disorders. Now a critical moment has been reached in a 15-year debate in statehouses and in Congress over whether treatment for problems like depression, addiction and schizophrenia should get the same coverage by insurance companies as, say, diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
This month, the House passed a bill that would require insurance companies to provide mental health insurance parity. It was the first time it has approved a proposal so substantial.
The bill would ban insurance companies from setting lower limits on treatment for mental health problems than on treatment for physical problems, including doctor visits and hospital stays. It would also disallow higher co-payments. The insurance industry is up in arms, as are others who envision sharply higher premiums and a free-for-all over claims for coverage of things like jet lag and caffeine addiction.
Islam has overtaken Roman Catholicism as the biggest single religious denomination in the world, the Vatican said on Sunday.
Monsignor Vittorio Formenti, who compiled the Vatican’s newly-released 2008 yearbook of statistics, said Muslims made up 19.2 percent of the world’s population and Catholics 17.4 percent.
“For the first time in history we are no longer at the top: the Muslims have overtaken us,” Formenti told Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano in an interview, saying the data referred to 2006.
Mary Coleman grew up in Charleston. Her father, Ed Coleman, was rector at St. Michael’s Episcopal Church for 20 years, from 1965 (the year the Voting Rights Act was passed by Congress) to 1985 (the year Ronald Reagan was sworn in for a second term as president). Today, she is a family therapist living in Los Angeles.
After hearing Barack Obama’s recent speech on race, a speech delivered in the wake of controversy over comments Obama’s now-retired pastor made several years ago, Coleman, 46, has decided to travel with a group of friends to Pennsylvania to help with the presidential candidate’s campaign.
She remembers when her father was called a “(n-word)-lover” for advocating integration.
She remembers the fights in the playground when she was a child, the kids who attacked her because her father invited blacks inside the church.
So when Obama won the Democratic primary in South Carolina, she was moved.
“I literally cried my eyes out,” she says. “A lot of people were working a long time, including my father (for this day).” And they have endured a lot of grief.
Coleman cried again when she heard the March 18 speech.
“This is really the beginning of the healing,” she says. Or the beginning of what she hopes will be an honest discussion that leads to healing. “Maybe there has got to be this fight before the healing.”
Three months ago, in the art decor aisle at the Marshalls in Mount Pleasant, the vision in Ramey Reeves’ left eye starts flickering like a bad light bulb.
Panicked and alone, Ramey, 33, leaves her shopping cart and the tin artwork she has chosen and lies down on the sidewalk in front of the store. She calls her nutritionist, the first physician in her mind because she’d visited him an hour ago.
“I don’t feel right.”
He tells her to get to Nason Medical Center so a doctor can examine her. Doctors there scan her head and find something on the rear right part of her brain. It was a small mass. That begins a series of bad news.
“It could be MS,” the doctor tells her, “or a brain tumor.”
Thousands of people each year from all walks of life learn they have a brain tumor. But Ramey is about to be diagnosed with one of the most stubborn and dangerous of all.
In the coming weeks, she will experience dizziness and despair. She will find loyalty in family and friends, yet face loneliness in her affliction. She will fear losing her eyesight and the real possibility of leaving everyone far too early. And the very thing that Ramey holds dearest in life ”” her faith that Jesus is in control ”” will be tested like never before.