Daily Archives: March 14, 2008

What is Going on in the Diocese of Lexington?

Read it carefully and read the report the link for which is at the bottom of the blog post.

I will consider posting comments on this article submitted first by email to Kendall’s E-mail: KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, TEC Bishops, TEC Parishes

Jordana Horn: Apocalypse Now?

On a recent Saturday night, I went to the movies. Walking past the theater showing “I Am Legend” (plague kills most of humanity), I opted to watch “Cloverfield” (inexplicably angry alien destroys Manhattan) instead. After sitting through back-to-back previews for “Hellboy II: The Golden Army” (ancient truce between Hell and Earth is revoked, resulting in mass destruction) and “Doomsday” (lethal virus ravages England, a disease-ridden cinematic cousin to “28 Days Later” and “Children of Men”), I found myself disturbed. The End of Days suddenly seemed imminent. Should I cancel my post-movie dinner reservation? What’s with all this apocalyptic entertainment, I wondered, and what does it say about those of us who are filling the theater seats?

Apocalypse-themed films proliferate, according to Msgr. Francis Maniscalco, former communications director for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, because they “reflect an idea that haunts the human imagination . . . a sense that this world is not permanent and faces some kind of comeuppance. Once it was thought that only God could bring that about. Today, we believe we can do it ourselves, due to the power placed in our hands by science or by our irresponsible behavior toward the environment.”

Rabbi Azriel Fellner, a free-lance film critic based in Livingston, N.J., agrees that the films may have more resonance because of recent advances in human capabilities, but he points to the current political environment as the source of these apocalyptic fantasies. Politicians, he notes, regularly mention the threat of nuclear war, or chemical or biological attack, and our imaginations start working overtime.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Movies & Television, Religion & Culture

Emergency Funding for Bear Stearns

Confidence in Bear Stearns collapsed on Friday after the US investment bank said it had arranged for an unspecified amount of emergency funding from JP Morgan and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York because its liquidity position had “significantly deteriorated”.

In early New York trading, Bear Stearns shares plunged as much as 50 per cent, pulling the rest of the US stock market down. The shares have been hammered by concerns about the bank’s liquidity and had fallen more than 30 per cent this week alone in highly volatile trading.

In a statement, JP Morgan Chase said that “in conjunction with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, it has agreed to provide secured funding to Bear Stearns, as necessary, for an initial period of up to 28 days.

”Through its discount window, the Fed will provide non-recourse, back-to-back financing to JPMorgan Chase. Accordingly, JPMorgan Chase does not believe this transaction exposes its shareholders to any material risk. JPMorgan Chase is working closely with Bear Stearns on securing permanent financing or other alternatives for the company.”

Read it all.

Posted in Uncategorized

No Decision on Bishop Schofield’s Lambeth Invitation

The Episcopal Church’s deposition of Bishop John-David Schofield of San Joaquin has had no immediate effect on his invitation to attend this summer’s Lambeth Conference of bishops.

A Lambeth Conference spokesperson said the House of Bishops’ March 12 actions will have an impact throughout the Anglican Communion, but “it will take some time for these [implications] to be considered properly.” The source is not authorized to speak on the subject and therefore declined to be named.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Cono Sur [formerly Southern Cone], Episcopal Church (TEC), Lambeth 2008, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: San Joaquin

Leander Harding: Godly Bishops

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Pastoral Theology, TEC Bishops, Theology

Presiding Bishop Plans to Try Bishop Duncan before the Lambeth Conference

The Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church plans to poll the House of Bishops in April 2008 for approval of a plan to move the possible deposition of Bishop Bob Duncan of Pittsburgh forward from September 2008 to May 2008.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Presiding Bishop, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Pittsburgh

House of Bishops' actions draw reactions from interest groups, ELO readers

A number of Episcopal Life Online readers responded critically to the news about Cox and Schofield.

Among them, Ian Montgomery of Neenah, Wisconsin, called the depositions “a travesty and worthy of the inquisition of old.”

Greg Shore of Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, wrote that it was “shameful” to depose bishops who leave the Episcopal Church “while refusing to depose bishops who abandon the faith which they promised to defend.”

However, the Rev. Dr. Raymond Hoche-Mong of Montara, California, wrote to say that Schofield has encouraged schism. “Schofield has insisted that he and he alone has the ability to speak for the Episcopal Church and in so doing has rejected the catholicity of the Church,” he wrote.

Katherine Clark of Racine, Wisconsin, responded with a caution and a request. She wrote “to remind our Bishops that there is one group of people who are troubled to think the Church we love may not continue to seek the mind of Christ on this issue but content itself with acting responsively to those whose position against homosexuals is so strong and unbending.”

“Those who question inclusion with charity and dignity and from their own allegiance to Scripture [are] another matter altogether,” Clarke wrote. “Their opinion will surely be important as we seek the mind of Christ (which St. Paul says is already ours). I would like to suggest that this very large (and not vocal) group of laypeople who see inclusion as a Gospel mandate might be included in any acknowledgement of ‘pain’ this division of opinion is causing.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts

NY Times: Economy Hammered by Toxic Blend of Ailments

A toxic blend of economic and financial developments is testing policy makers and lawmakers who are struggling to contain the slump brought on by the collapse of the mortgage market, a downturn that now looks sure to push the economy into a recession. Though current conditions are a far cry from the 1970s, resurgent inflation is raising the threat of stagflation ”” a condition in which unemployment and the price of goods and services both rise.

Since the credit markets began to seize up in August, the steps taken by the Federal Reserve and the rest of the federal government have often bolstered stocks briefly, but so far they have done little to stem the larger downward drift.

Many specialists say policy makers can do only so much to protect the economy and warn that the government should be careful not to exacerbate inflation and create a new bubble like the one in housing that has burst. Lower interest rates and increased federal spending may not be enough to shore up growth, and some suggest that the only remedy for the pain may be the pain itself. A Standard & Poor’s report predicted that subprime mortgage write-downs at banks were nearly done, though losses in other areas might continue.

“We have to be careful about what medicines we throw at this, whether it’s stimulus packages or a bailout,” said Liz Ann Sonders, chief investment strategist at Charles Schwab & Company. “A lot of what we are dealing with is a solvency problem. We need to let the system wash it out.”

Read it all.

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

Andrew Ferguson: Lincoln and the Will of God

“I don’t know anything about Lincoln’s religion,” a longtime friend, David Davis, remarked after Lincoln’s death, “and I don’t believe anybody knows anything about it.” Though Davis’ skepticism should give pause to more historians than it has, he overstated the case. We will never know for sure whether Lincoln held orthodox Christian beliefs, whether he believed in the Trinity, the divinity of Christ or his resurrection, the life everlasting, the forgiveness of sins, the inerrant word of God as revealed in the Old Testament or the New.

But perhaps the country has benefited from not knowing. The uncertainty has made Lincoln our common property, whoever we are, from Robert Ingersoll to Cardinal Mundelein to Nettie Maynard. It may be indeed that Lincoln’s is the only kind of religious expression that will travel in a free country like ours. His religion has lasted a century and a half and has appealed to believers of all kinds, and to skeptics too, exactly because of its generality. Yet it still means something definable and concrete: The country, Lincoln believed, is the carrier of a precious cargo, a proposition that is the timeless human truth, and the survival of this principle will always be of providential importance. We assent to Lincoln’s creed, wide open as it is, when we think of ourselves as Americans.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

Deadline Looms for California Districts to Layoff Teachers

School districts across California are reeling because of millions of dollars of proposed education cuts in Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s budget. March 15 is the deadline to give teachers layoff notices, and thousands of them will go out across the state. A particularly hard-hit school district offers a look at the reality of the cuts.

Listen to it all from NPR. This is a good illustration of how the economy’s weakness is hitting home at the local level. Note carefully the profile of one district which has sent layoff notices to 20% of its teachers, and one school which has laid off 9 or its 12 teachers–KSH.

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

Dina McGreevey on Eliot Spitzer's Fall

My heart aches for Silda Wall Spitzer. Not only do she and her children have to weather the storm brought on by her misguided husband, she also has to endure the judgments of the commentariat, many of whom have asked, with some frequency, why on earth she would stand by her man during his public ”” and anemic ”” mea culpa.

As someone who has stood by her politician husband during his public ”” and anemic ”” mea culpa, all I can say is: It’s a personal decision. There’s no right or wrong answer.

Who knows why powerful men conduct themselves this way? Maybe it’s the thrill, the rush of trying to get away with something. Maybe it’s just arrogance. The only thing that’s clear is that they’re blithely unaware of the lives their actions will destroy.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Politics in General, Theology

Notable and Quotable

“The treasures of God’s mercy are always laid up in store for his children, even at all times they do not enjoy them.”

From the Geneva Notes on this verse from Psalm 31:

O how abundant is thy goodness,
which thou hast laid up for those who fear thee,
and wrought for those who take refuge in thee,
in the sight of the sons of men!

(Psalm 31 is the psalm for this coming Sunday)

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Kidnapped bishop in Iraq found dead

The body of a Chaldean Catholic archbishop kidnapped by gunmen last month was found in a shal- low grave in northern Iraq yesterday.

The discovery sparked an immediate response from Pope Benedict XVI. Speaking in Rome, he said the act offends the dignity of humankind.

Archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho was seized by gun- men on February 29, minutes after delivering a mass in Mosul, considered the last urban stronghold of al Qaeda in Iraq.

Read it all.

Update: there is more on the Pope’s response there.

Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Other Churches, Roman Catholic

Edward Albee at 80: Still Asking the Big Questions

His recommendation [for how to watch one of his plays]?

“Pretend you’re at the first play you’ve ever seen ”” have that experience ”” and I think ‘what the play is about’ will reveal itself quite readily.”

Ben Brantley, chief drama critic of The New York Times, says Albee is “without peer among American playwrights.”

“Certainly of his generation,” Brantley says, “but I would say period.”

Among living dramatists, Brantley says, no one else takes the grand themes Albee does.

“I’m not talking about questions of politics or immediate topical issues,” Brantley stresses. “Edward Albee asks questions ”” the most basic existential questions. He confronts death, he confronts sex with, I think, eyes that remain very wide open.”

Read (or better yet listen to) it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Theatre/Drama/Plays

Lutheran group keeps marriage traditional

A task force drafting a statement on sexuality for the nation’s largest Lutheran group said Thursday that the church should continue defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

However, the panel did not condemn same-gender relationships. The committee expressed regret that historic Lutheran teachings have been used to hurt gays and lesbians, and acknowledged that some congregations already accept same-sex couples.

The report released by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is part of the denomination’s yearslong effort to bridge internal differences over the Bible and homosexuality.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Lutheran, Marriage & Family, Other Churches

CEN: Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil says Scripture is ”˜not relevant to gay debate’

Those portions of Scripture that condemn homosexual behaviour as sinful are not relevant to the mission and ministry of the Church today, the Brazilian House of Bishops said in a Pastoral Letter on Human Sexuality.

Divine revelation is an unfolding process that makes itself known to the community of believers as it is played out across time, the bishops said following their December meeting in Porto Alegre. There is no single truth, they argued, but a process of culturally conditioned truths that reveals itself through a collaborative” process of the church “using its ‘sense of reality’ and ‘good common sense’ formed by faith and by life experience.”

“This principle defines that ‘God was in Christ reconciling the world in himself.’ Anything the Bible says that is not related to the essence of such Revelation is secondary, which means it is part of the culture and customs of those who were instruments of God for writing Scriptural texts,” the Brazilian bishops wrote.

“To us, the Bible is the Word of God in the sense of a message from God and not something dictated by God. And that is why, throughout the centuries, the Church discerns what is essential and what is secondary – what is Divine Revelation and what is human mediation, always connected to each time and culture.” Because this “discernment is not simply done through the opinions of individuals or groups,” the decision by Brazilian evangelicals in the Diocese of Recife to withdraw from the Brazilian Church over the majority view of scriptural interpretation was un-Anglican, they argued.

The Brazilian bishops condemned those “among us schismatic and disaggregating elements that cannot admit that there are in the Anglican Communion streams that diverge from their way of thinking.” While they respected the courage of their convictions, the “virtue of tolerance” and “full inclusion” could not permit dissent from these mandates, they argued. Because the question of human sexuality had not been conclusively settled, they believed, the church must foster a “respect for differences of opinion related to questions that are not essential” to the life of the Church.

In a second letter released following the House of Bishops meeting, Archbishop Maurício de Andrade stated that he had told the Primate of the Southern Cone, Bishop Gregory Venables, that he was willing to establish a “conversation” with Recife Bishop Robinson Cavalcanti in order to reconcile the breakaway diocese. However, “nothing happened,” the Brazilian archbishop said. When queried by The Church of England Newspaper, Bishop Venables confirmed that he had spoken with Archbishop de Andrade about the Brazilian schism during the Dar es Salaam primates meeting, but the Brazilian church had so far declined to engage with Dr. Cavalcanti.

–This article appears on page 6 of the March 14, 2008 edition of the Church of England Newspaper

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil, Anglican Provinces, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

From the Email Bag

Good Morning.

Just a short note to let you know that I appreciate your blog, even though I often disagree with your views. It’s not that I consider myself to be very liberal, I just don’t consider myself to be a fundamentalist (which is what many on the conservative fringe of the Episcopal Church are). As a middle-of-the-road, via media, Anglo-Catholic, high Church Episcopalian…..I find that the center ground is being pulled away from me at this point in the life of the Church. As I said, you and I would disagree about many things, but at the same time, I appreciate your ability to put forth your thoughts in a Christian manner.

The people that post comments on your site are something entirely different. The level of hate (and I do not use that word lightly) has noticeably risen in the last week or so, and I thank you for your taking note of that and calling the commenters attention to this fact. While I acknowledge you try to use other adjectives without using the word “hate”, I find that, sadly, the word “hate” is quite a proper description for some of the postings.

I am troubled at the level of venom in the words of the internet blogs. Be it either the far right side or the far left, there is certainly not much in either extreme that resembles Christianity.

Web sites such as [name of site], the [name of site], and several on the “extreme liberal” sides are an embarrassment to the Church. T1:9 is different, and alot of that is because you try to keep folks steered in the right direction. It is a terrible reflection on the Church when people with differing viewpoints cannot have discussion in a civil manner.

Keep up the good work.

I have not changed a word of this, and it is posted with the author’s permission. My only major place of disagreement with the writer is when he or she says “The people who comment,” I would modify it to say “some of those who comment.” But it has been true of far too many comments lately, and it interests me that this came the day I made the post about the comments–KSH.

Posted in Uncategorized

Former Quincy Bishop Charged

Bishop Edward MacBurney, bishop retired of the Diocese of Quincy, has been formally charged with canonical violations by the Episcopal Church in the United States of America. These charges stem from events occurring in June, 2007 when Bishop MacBurney wa s invited to make a pastoral visit to a non-Episcopal chu rch in San Diego, California. MacBurney, 80 years old, retired from his position as a diocesan bishop in 1994, but as a bishop in good standing still actively ministers to churches throughout the country and also in other parts of the Anglican Communion..

The basis of the charges against MacBurney relate to the allegation that he did not receive permission to perform liturgical rites from the sitting Episcopal diocesan bishop in San Diego. Even though the church MacBurney visited had severed ties with the Episcopal Church in the United States and had re-affiliated with the Anglican Bishop of Argentina, a primate of the worldwide Anglican Communion, the charges allege that MacBurney impermissibly crossed Diocesan boundaries.

Although MacBurney is retired, he remains a member of the Episcopal House of Bishops with seat and voice. The essence of the charge is the claim that MacBurney is prohibited from ministering within the geographical territory of another Episcopal diocese even if the church to which he ministers is no longer affiliated with the Episcopal Church. Attorneys for MacBurney state that the charges raise the theoretical question as to whether an Episcopal bishop exercises total control over a certain geographical territory or whether a Bishop merely exerc ises control over the Episcopal churches within that territory. The Episcopal Church has suffered internal turmoil for a number of years and it has been common practice for certain retired bishops to minister to parishes experiencing ideological differences from their bishops.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts