Daily Archives: March 7, 2008

A Wonderful Musical Interlude

Check it out.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Music

Peter Duffy: A Chaplain's Chaplain

As a young chaplain candidate in the U.S. Navy in the late 1980s, the Rev. Daniel L. Mode became captivated by the story of a Roman Catholic priest who was killed at age 38 while ministering to U.S. Marines in 1967. Over the next several years, Father Mode immersed himself in the life of the Rev. Vincent R. Capodanno, a Maryknoll missionary from Staten Island, N.Y., who spent 16 months traveling from battlefield to battlefield in Vietnam. What began as Father Mode’s master’s thesis at Mount Saint Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Md., turned into a book called “The Grunt Padre,” published in 2000.

Working with an organization called Catholics in the Military, Father Mode used the research in his book to initiate a “cause for canonization” application to Rome. In 2006, Father Capodanno was declared a “Servant of God,” the first step in the journey to sainthood. The Vatican named Father Mode as “postulator,” or promoter of the cause, and a tribunal was established to interview witnesses to Father Capodanno’s life. One authenticated miracle will qualify the Vietnam War chaplain for beatification; a second for sainthood.

Father Mode, who is 42, does not advocate for his hero’s holiness from behind a desk in a diocesan headquarters somewhere. Rather, he is following Father Capodanno’s example, serving as a Navy chaplain in a war zone. He has been on active duty for three years now, including 20 months in Afghanistan.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Military / Armed Forces, Religion & Culture

U.S. Payrolls Unexpectedly Fall for A Second Straight Month

U.S. employers cut payrolls for a second straight month during February, slashing 63,000 jobs for the biggest monthly job decline in nearly five years as the labor market weakened steadily, a government report on Friday showed.

The Labor Department said last month’s cut in jobs followed an upwardly revised loss of 22,000 jobs in January instead of 17,000 reported a month ago. In addition, it said that only 41,000 jobs were created in December, half the 82,000 originally reported.

The back-to-back January and February job losses were the first consecutive monthly declines since May and June of 2003.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy

Church Times: Border-crossing is out, say Windsor bishops of US plan

The Bishop of Central Florida, the Rt Revd John Howe, said that the group aimed to “provide a visible link for those concerned in the Anglican Communion”. It would exist to “provide fellowship, support and a forum for mutual concerns between bishops”, and “a partnership to work towards the Anglican Covenant”.

Relationships would be “governed by mutual respect and proceed by invitation and co-operation”. Bishop Howe wrote: “Our purpose in meeting with Bishop Schori [on 21 February] was to apprise her of this plan, seek her counsel, and assure her that we remain committed to working within the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church, and that the Primates involved in this discussion are NOT involved in ”˜border-crossing’, nor would we be. We will visit no congregation without the diocesan bishop’s invitation and permission.”

Critics fear that the group would give the appearance of speaking for the Episcopal Church as a whole in the Communion, and sense an attempt to drive forward a Covenant about which, even as redrafted, many have principled objections or deep reservations.

Dr Jefferts Schori has not yet given her approval of the extended scheme, though she has offered a “nihil obstat” ”” no objection. Lambeth Palace would not respond to reports that Dr Williams, who met the bishops’ group on 31 January, had backed the scheme. “We’re not commenting at all,” said a spokeswoman this week.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, Windsor Report / Process

The Last Living American WWI veteran visits the West Wing

I found this very moving.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Military / Armed Forces

Church Times has started a Blog

Good for them–check it out.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Blogging & the Internet, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Religion & Culture

Americans Using Less Gasoline

For the first time in years, people are buying a little less gasoline in America. Analysts say it may be a sign that high prices and a slowing economy are beginning to change people’s driving habits.

Since the beginning of this year, gasoline consumption has fallen about half a percent, according to the Department of Energy.

The last time gas use fell ”” other than after Hurricane Katrina ”” was more than a decade ago. That it’s falling again now suggests that high prices are finally influencing behavior. Since November, prices have averaged $3 a gallon or more. That’s the longest they’ve ever stayed that high.

Doug MacIntyre, who has studied gas consumption at the Department of Energy since the 1980s, says he thinks people may be responding by cutting down on trips or using public transit more.

Read it all from NPR.

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

Episcopal Church Split Leaves Many in South Valley Feeling Left Out

“Enter with thanksgiving.” That’s what is written on the doors of St. John’s Church in Tulare

But some like Diane Friend said they won’t be entering anymore. “It was a choice about are you going to follow Jesus Christ or are you going to follow a leadership that decides to rewrite the word of God,” said Friend.

Friend and her husband have been members of St. John’s Church for fourteen years. They have three children, and Friend said her children are main reasons why she decided her family had to leave. “For us, what became a priority was our family, the values we try to each our children and how we’re going to serve God as a Christian,” said Friend.

But that doesn’t mean it’s easy for her. “In a small church everyone is family, you almost feel like you’re divorcing yourself from a part of your family,” said Friend.

She is one of twenty people at St. John’s that voted for their church to leave the national Episcopal one. They lost, so she and her family left.

“We’re without a church but not without a faith,” said Friend.

According to the Episcopal church’s website, St. John’s is one of five churches out of the 47 in the San Joaquin diocese that decided to stay with the national Episcopal church.

Read it all.

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

From Der Spiegel: The American GI from Berlin

When Bashir Jamaleldine arrived in Germany, he was a British subject. He had fled from the unrest in Sierra Leone, which eventually escalated into a protracted civil war. His life has taught him that war only generates more war, but never peace….

The events of Sep. 11, 2001 happened far away from his home, and yet they were very close to his life. Zuhaira, who grew up in the New York borough of Brooklyn, was working as a flight attendant on the day of the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.

At the time, Jamaleldine didn’t feel the sense of outrage and personal assault that he would later experience. Like the rest of the world, Jamaleldine was horrified by the terrorist attacks and felt shock as he watched the images of the collapsing Twin Towers. But he managed to keep 9/11 separate from his own life — a life of selling cars, waiting tables and helping to support a family.

But then terror struck again in April 2002, in Djerba, Tunisia. And in October of the same year, bombs ripped apart tourists on the Indonesian island of Bali. Attacks in Casablanca, Riyadh and Istanbul followed in 2003. And then, says Jamaleldine, came March 11, 2004, when 10 bombs blew up commuter trains in Madrid. In elections three days later, on March 14, the Spanish government was voted out of office, as if voters had allowed terror to control their decisions. That, at least, was the way Jamaleldine perceived it. “After all,” he says, “it was Spain, not Togo or some other small country.” That was the day his life took a new, dramatic turn.

He seems calm and extremely convincing when he tells his story. It’s obvious that he means it when he says: “We can’t let these people ruin our lives.” More than just believing it, Jamaleldine made it his mission, a mission he never doubted then and still believes in today.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Europe, Military / Armed Forces, Terrorism

School loan seekers feel the squeeze

Watch it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Education

Dealing with the Public on Jay Leno

My wife caught this on Wednesday night and showed it to me–hilarious.

Posted in * General Interest

Mercaz Harav hit by capital's worst terror attack since April '06

A Palestinian terrorist opened fire at a central Jerusalem yeshiva late Thursday night, killing eight students and wounding 11 others, police and rescue officials said.

The 8:45 p.m. shooting at Mercaz Harav Yeshiva in the Kiryat Moshe neighborhood broke a two-year lull in terror in the capital and sent students scurrying for cover from a hail of gunfire – a reported 500-600 bullets – that lasted for several minutes.

“There were horrendous screams of ‘Help us! Help us!'” recounted Avrahami Sheinberger of the ZAKA emergency rescue service, one of the first to respond to the scene. “There were bodies strewn all over the floor, at the entrance to the yeshiva, in various rooms and in the library.”

Makes the heart sick–read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Israel, Judaism, Middle East, Other Faiths, Seminary / Theological Education, Terrorism, Theology

Churches go 'green' for Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday is going “green.”

This year, more than 2,130 congregations across the USA, including Catholics, Episcopalians, Lutherans, Methodists and Presbyterians, will use “eco-palms” that are harvested in a more environmentally friendly way, says Dean Current, program director at the Center for Integrated Natural Resources and Agricultural Management at the University of Minnesota.

The number of churches using eco-palms on Palm Sunday ”” which, in the Christian faith, marks Jesus’ triumphant return to Jerusalem before his death and resurrection ”” has grown from a pilot program of 5,000 in 2005 to the 600,000 eco-palms ordered for this year’s March 16 celebration, Current says. He estimates that is about 1.5% of the 35 million to 40 million palms sold annually for Palm Sunday services in the USA but says he expects the growth to continue.

What makes the eco-palms different is the way that they are harvested, says RaeLynn Jones Loss, a research specialist at the University of Minnesota.

More than 50% of the palms are wasted by traditional methods, Jones Loss says. Harvesters in the eco-palm program are trained to be more selective. They cut only the best fronds, which results in only 5% to 10% waste.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Economics, Politics, Energy, Natural Resources, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry

The Bishop of San Joaquin Responds to Charges of Abandonment

Feast of St. David, Bishop of Wales
March 1, 2008

The Most Rev. Katherine Jefferts Schori, and
Members of the House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church
815 Second Avenue
New York, N. Y. 10017

Dear Bishop Schori and Members of the House of Bishops,

Greetings in the name of our Lord and only Savior Jesus Christ! Please accept this letter as my formal response to the charge of abandonment of the communion that has been lodged against me.

On December 8, 2007, the Diocese of San Joaquin was forced to make the painful decision to leave The Episcopal Church. This action enabled the diocese to participate in the provision of the Province of the Southern Cone of South America to become a member diocese on an emergency, temporary and pastoral basis. This drastic action was necessary because The Episcopal Church failed to heed years of warnings from all quarters of Christendom to turn back from false teaching and to accept Holy Scripture as the supreme authority for life. On September 25, 2007, The Episcopal Church and, specifically its House of Bishops, vetoed a plan created by the Anglican Communion Primates, and previously agreed to by Presiding Bishop Schori while in Dar-es-Salaam, that would have offered a spiritual safe harbor to the Diocese of San Joaquin and other orthodox dioceses. This defiance of the collective will of the Anglican Communion clearly demonstrated that The Episcopal Church fully intends to remain on a path that is irreconcilable with God’s word and the Anglican Faith.

The evidence in the public record reveals that the Diocese of San Joaquin was left with no choice but to separate from The Episcopal Church to preserve Biblical truth and the historic Anglican Faith and Order. It is important to note that this is separation and not schism. Separation, by definition, is the Biblical answer to unrepentant and public false teaching and immorality. The Diocese of San Joaquin consequently made the appropriate and courageous decision at its Annual Convention by an overwhelming vote in both clergy and lay orders (Pro 173 to Con 22) to realign itself with an orthodox province of the Anglican Communion made possible through the heroic action of both Archbishop Gregory Venables and the Provincial Synod of the Southern Cone of South America meeting in Valparaiso, Chile November 8, 2007.

Immediately after the Diocese of San Joaquin voted to accept the invitation of the Southern Cone, the Annual Convention was greeted by these words of Archbishop Venables: “Welcome home. And welcome back into full fellowship in the Anglican Communion.” It is my hope and prayer that one day The Episcopal Church will hear these same words. After the Diocese of San Joaquin had voted to become a member diocese of the Southern Cone, I was received into membership of the House of Bishops of the Southern Cone as the Bishop of San Joaquin. At this moment, therefore, I am a bishop in the House of Bishops of the Southern Cone, and I am the Bishop of the Diocese of San Joaquin. The Episcopal Church has no jurisdiction or authority to affect my status in any of these capacities. This leaves only my status as a member of the House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church to be determined. Rather than force the House of Bishops to a vote, I herewith tender my resignation as a member of the
House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church effective midnight EST, March 7, 2008.

The Episcopal Church and Bishop Schori will remain in my prayers and the prayers of all parishes and missions in the Diocese of San Joaquin. The door of reconciliation will always be open.

May God bless you and keep you.

Sincerely, in Christ,

The Rt. Rev. John-David M. Schofield

Bishop of San Joaquin

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

Business Week: Homeowner equity is lowest since 1945

Americans’ percentage of equity in their homes fell below 50% for the first time on record since 1945, the Federal Reserve said. Homeowners’ portion of equity slipped to downwardly revised 49.6% in the second quarter of 2007, the central bank reported in its quarterly U.S. Flow of Funds Accounts, and declined further to 47.9% in the fourth quarter — the third straight quarter it was under 50%. That marks the first time homeowners’ debt on their houses exceeds their equity since the Fed started tracking the data in 1945. The total value of equity also fell for the third straight quarter to $9.65 trillion from a downwardly revised $9.93 trillion in the third quarter. Home equity, which is equal to the percentage of a home’s market value minus mortgage-related debt, has steadily decreased even as home prices jumped earlier this decade due to a surge in cash-out refinances, home equity loans and lines of credit and an increase in 100% or more home financing. Economists expect this figure to drop even further as declining home prices eat into the value of most Americans’ single largest asset. Moody’s Economy.com estimates that 8.8 mln homeowners, or about 10.3% of homes, will have zero or negative equity by the end of the month. Even more disturbing, about 13.8 mln households, or 15.9%, will be “upside down” if prices fall 20% from their peak… Experts expect foreclosures to rise as more homeowners struggle with adjusting rates on their mortgages, making their monthly payments unaffordable. Problems in the credit markets and eroding home values are making it harder to refinance out of unmanageable loans. The threat of so-called “mortgage walkers,” or homeowners who can afford their payments but decide not to pay, also increases as home values depreciate and equity diminishes. Banks and credit-rating agencies already are seeing early evidence of this.

You can read more about this here.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market

Notable and Quotable (II)

That, in the opinion of this Conference, unity in faith and discipline will be best maintained among the several branches of the Anglican Communion by due and canonical subordination of the synods of the several branches to the higher authority of a synod or synods above them.

–Resolution IV of the 1867 Lambeth Conference

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, - Anglican: Primary Source, Church History

Notable and Quotable (I)

We, Bishops of Christ’s Holy Catholic Church, in visible Communion with the United Church of England and Ireland, professing the faith delivered to us in Holy Scripture, maintained by the primitive Church and by the Fathers of the English Reformation, now assembled by the good providence of GOD, at the Archiepiscopal Palace of Lambeth, under the presidency of the Primate of all England, desire, first, to give hearty thanks to Almighty GOD for having thus brought us together for common counsels and worship ; secondly, we desire to express the deep sorrow with which we view the divided condition of the flock of Christ throughout the world, ardently longing for the fulfillment of the prayer of our Lord: ”˜ That all may be one, as Thou, Father, art in me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in us, that the world may believe that Thou hast sent me’; and, lastly, we do here solemnly record our conviction that unity will be most effectually promoted, by maintaining the faith in its purity and integrity, as taught in the Holy Scriptures, held by the primitive Church, summed up in the Creeds, and affirmed by the undisputed General Councils, and by drawing each of us closer to our common Lord, by giving ourselves to much prayer and intercession, by the cultivation of a spirit of charity, and a love of the Lord’s appearing.

–Lambeth 1867

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, - Anglican: Primary Source, Church History

Forgive each other, clerics urge Kenyans

Kenyans have been asked to forgive one another and reconcile as the country heals from the effects of post-election violence.

Religious leaders also thanked God for saving Kenya from the brink of collapse.

Praying in Parliament, retired Anglican Bishop Peter Njenga said: “You saved us from hatred, danger and ethnic violence that had threatened to tear our country apart. We, therefore, ask you to help us remain united and set aside our differences for the benefit of the country.”

Kakamega Catholic diocese Bishop Philip Sulumeti recognised the heavy burden the more than 200 MPs had on their shoulders in ensuring that the country remained united.

Bishop Sulumeti said Kenyans had experienced difficult moments due to the election violence and regretted the loss of lives and destruction of property.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Anglican Church of Kenya, Anglican Provinces, Kenya, Violence

John Stackhouse: Perspectives on the Anglican Church upheaval

I normally stay away from commenting on the convulsions of the Anglican Communion ”“ whether here in the Diocese of New Westminster, whose bishop is a heretic and schismatic (by the standard definitions of those terms); or in the Anglican Church of Canada, which tolerates such behaviour; or in the Anglican Communion worldwide, which is wracked by controversy over the legitimacy of homosexuality (ostensibly) and a lot of other things, such as heresy, schism, power politics, racism and more (fundamentally).

Read it all.

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

Stations of the Cross ”” Without the Cross

In this season of Lent, many Christians in liturgical traditions have been meditating on the Stations of the Cross, a series of events ”” biblical and traditional ”” depicting the story of Jesus’ death.

This year, however, the Episcopal Church is promoting new devotional material for Lent: the Stations of the Millennium Development Goals. The church’s Episcopal Relief and Development office created a liturgy based on the United Nations plan to eliminate extreme poverty and other global ills, and sent e-mail to church leaders encouraging its use “in lieu of the traditional Stations of the Cross service.”

Mike Angell of the denomination’s Office of Young Adult and Higher Education Ministries designed the stations for a September 2007 young adult conference. While the traditional Stations of the Cross meditation has 14 stations (though this has varied through church history), the Episcopalian Stations of the Millennium Development Goals liturgy has only eight stations, one for each goal.

Station four, on reducing child mortality, reads:

Every three seconds a child under the age of five dies. A disproportionate number of these children live in developing countries, without access to clean water or basic medical care.For personal reflection and prayer: Lord, help us to love and care for little children””the least of these who are of your family. Protect and heal them with your divine power.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Christology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Liturgy, Music, Worship, Theology

From Do Not Take Yourself Too Seriously Department

A Tom Toles cartoon.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, US Presidential Election 2008

Mortgage Defaults Reach a New High

Defaults on home mortgages touched another all-time high at the end of the last year as foreclosures surged on adjustable-rate mortgages, an industry group reported on Thursday.

The latest data is expected to put further pressure on policy makers and the mortgage industry to move faster to contain losses and help more homeowners. In recent days, regulators and lawmakers have begun suggesting that the federal government might need to take a more interventionist role in the mortgage business.

The Mortgage Bankers Association reported Thursday that the number of loans past due or in foreclosure jumped to 7.9 percent, from 7.3 percent at the end of September and 6.1 percent in December 2006. Before the third quarter, the rate had never risen past 7 percent since the survey began in 1979.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market