Daily Archives: March 17, 2008

ACI: On the Matter of Deposing Bishops at a Time of Communion Self-Assessment

In this case, a central clue as to what is going on was given by Bp. Schofield’s March 12 Statement in response to the vote to depose him on the basis of his having “abandoned the Communion of the Church” (Canon IV.9.2): “I have not abandoned the Faith,” Schofield stated; “I resigned from the American House of Bishops and have been received into the House of Bishops of the Southern Cone. Both Houses are members of the Anglican Communion. They are not ”“ or should not be ”“ two separate Churches.” Bp. Schofield’s point is straightforward: if the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone is not a “separate church” from TEC, how can he have “abandoned” the “Communion” of TEC’s own ecclesial existence? Does in fact TEC “recognize” the Southern Cone as an Anglican Church with which she is in communion? In what sense, then, is “abandonment” taken?

The basic ecclesial issue, then, is one of recognizability. Yet this is just the issue that is at stake in the Anglican Communion’s current struggles. Archbishop Rowan Williams himself spoke to it straightforwardly last December in his Advent Letter to the Primates. The Anglican Communion’s “unity”, he wrote, “depends not on a canon law that can be enforced but on the ability of each part of the family to recognise that other local churches have received the same faith from the apostles and are faithfully holding to it in loyalty to the One Lord incarnate who speaks in Scripture and bestows his grace in the sacraments. To put it in slightly different terms, local churches acknowledge the same ‘constitutive elements’ in one another. This means in turn that each local church receives from others and recognises in others the same good news and the same structure of ministry, and seeks to engage in mutual service for the sake of our common mission.” The issue of “recognisability”, of course, is more than a matter of Anglican Communion concern; it has become a central feature of ecumenical discernment. And therefore, the fact that the Presiding Bishop, her advisors, and the House of Bishops as a whole can determine that Bishops Schofield and Cox are worthy of deposition under Canon IV.9.2 would seem to indicate that they believe that both bishops and the Province of the Southern Cone do not share with TEC in the “constitutive elements” of “church” in the fundamental ways that provide “communion”.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Analysis, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Polity & Canons, Theology

More From the Email Bag

Dear Father Harmon,

I never comment; however, I have almost stopped reading comments because I find so many of them rude.

Thank you for letting this lay fallow this week. I hope you have a most blessed Holy Week and the break is good for you. Your blog is the only one I read daily. It has been tremendously important to me.

May God bless you and keep you with us,

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Blogging & the Internet

Bishop Duncan Responds to Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori

Read it carefully and read it all.

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

Gretchen Morgenson–Rescue Me: A Fed Bailout Crosses a Line

What are the consequences of a world in which regulators rescue even the financial institutions whose recklessness and greed helped create the titanic credit mess we are in? Will the consequences be an even weaker currency, rampant inflation, a continuation of the slow bleed that we have witnessed at banks and brokerage firms for the past year?

Or all of the above?

Stick around, because we’ll soon find out. And it’s not going to be pretty.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Stock Market

Nica Lalli: Am I raising 'atheist children'?

I am an atheist. I have never joined, or been part of, any religious group or organization. I was raised without religion, and without much understanding of what religion is. I have never had much of an identity religiously, and I stayed away from much thought or discussion on the matter. It is only recently that I have really explored the many options for religious beliefs and have decided that rather than saying, “No comment,” I now call myself an atheist.

I am also a parent. I have two children: a 13-year-old daughter and a 10-year-old son. They don’t belong to any religious group, either. I never had them baptized, christened, or blessed. Neither of them had a bris, bat mitzvah or first communion. But am I raising “atheist children”? Just because I do not identify our family as religious, are they atheists? I don’t think so. Rather, I am raising questioning children, and those are the best kind of children to send out into the world.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Children, Religion & Culture

A little Recent History

In an interview with CNBC, Alan Schwartz said he expects Bear Stearns fell within the range of estimates that analysts on Wall Street forecast for the fiscal first quarter, which ended last month.

Analysts’ expectations for profit range from 46 cents per share to $1.61 per share.

Schwartz also denied rumors that the company’s liquidity is under threat. Bear Stearns still has a $17 billion cushion against losses, he said. “Our balance sheet has not weakened at all,” he said. “We don’t see any pressure on our liquidity.”

From CNN money, referring to an interview this past Wednesday, March 12th.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy

Choral Music for Palm Sunday: 'Miserere'

Composer Gregorio Allegri’s “Miserere” is a piece of choral music so powerful that a 17th-century pope decreed it could be played only during the week leading to Easter ”” and then only in the Sistine Chapel. Jesse Kornbluth of HeadButler.com talks about the “Miserere” with Jacki Lyden.

Listen to it all from NPR.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Music

From the Email Bag

Hi Dr. Harmon,

Sorry to hear that comments have been taking a downward turn recently. Will be praying for you all this week as you prepare for Easter (we live in…[ ] and celebrate Easter on the Orthodox calender, so it’ll be another month for us). I really enjoy reading your blog, and I hope people, like you said, will use this time in the church calender to reflect on the holiness and humility of our Savior.

Peace to you,

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Blogging & the Internet

Alan Greenspan on the Current Financial Crisis

The current financial crisis in the US is likely to be judged in retrospect as the most wrenching since the end of the second world war. It will end eventually when home prices stabilise and with them the value of equity in homes supporting troubled mortgage securities.

Home price stabilisation will restore much-needed clarity to the marketplace because losses will be realised rather than prospective. The major source of contagion will be removed. Financial institutions will then recapitalise or go out of business. Trust in the solvency of remaining counterparties will be gradually restored and issuance of loans and securities will slowly return to normal. Although inventories of vacant single-family homes ”“ those belonging to builders and investors ”“ have recently peaked, until liquidation of these inventories proceeds in earnest, the level at which home prices will stabilise remains problematic.

Read it all.

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

We are Taking a Break from Comments For Holy Week

I was so very troubled by the deterioration of the comments recently that having said my prayers about it I believe it prudent to take Holy Week and have no comments on any thread for a week.

This achieves several things:

(1) It gives all of us space to step back and focus on the most important week of the Christian year.

(2) It allows some perspective on life, the blog, the news, and our comments thereon. One of the sayings I use in parish ministry is “no one is indispensable,” by which I mean sabbaths need to be taken and ultimately it is up to God. Some people commenting on this site who have been asked to take a time out based on their comments have protested to us by email for months afterward, as if the site depended on what he or she had to say.

(3) It allows some reflection to be taken on what to do about the comments when we return to allowing them during Easter Week. It looks as if after a warning we may need to turn to a more aggressive editing policy at a minimum. Any suggestions you have are welcome.

(4) It gives the elves and me a break in this area (which really does take a lot of work).

In the meantime you can feel free to share any thoughts you have to me by email at: E-mail: KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com. It is possible that any really important emailed comment may be posted in the main blog if I think it appropriate–KSH.

Posted in * By Kendall, * Culture-Watch, Blogging & the Internet

Pope: Enough With Slaughters in Iraq

Pope Benedict XVI issued one of his strongest appeals for peace in Iraq on Sunday, days after the body of the kidnapped Chaldean Catholic archbishop was found near the northern city of Mosul.
The pope also denounced the 5-year-long Iraq war, saying it had provoked the complete breakup of Iraqi civilian life.

“Enough with the slaughters. Enough with the violence. Enough with the hatred in Iraq!” Benedict said to applause at the end of his Palm Sunday Mass in St. Peter’s Square.

On Thursday, the body of Archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho was found near Mosul. He had been abducted on Feb. 29.

Benedict has called Rahho’s death an “inhuman act of violence” that offended human dignity.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Iraq War, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

J.P. Morgan Chase to buy Bear Stearns for $2 a share in stock

Amazing–the fifth largest investment bank in the U.S. goes from 70 to 2 in a week.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Stock Market

Fed Takes New Steps to Ease Crisis

The central bank approved a cut to its lending rate to financial institutions to 3.25 percent from 3.50 percent, effective immediately, and created another lending facility for big investment banks to secure short-term loans.

The steps are “designed to bolster market liquidity and promote orderly market functioning,” the Fed said in a statement. “Liquid well-functioning markets are essential for the promotion of economic growth.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy

Black Players' Struggles Find Voice in 'Black Magic'

In March 1944, basketball players from the North Carolina College for Negroes played a secret game against military medical students from Duke University.

Rabid segregation kept the teams from playing together in public, and by the end of the clandestine matchup, the North Carolina players had soundly beaten Duke, 88-44.

The secret game was just one of the historic incidents featured in a new ESPN documentary about early African-American basketball pioneers and the historically black colleges and universities that nurtured them. Black Magic tells the stories of many of the players who gradually broke through the barriers of segregation and racism and set the standard for the basketball stars of today.

Read it all–something else to look forward to on television.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Race/Race Relations, Sports

NY Times Magazine: When Girls Will Be Boys

It was late on a rainy fall day, and a college freshman named Rey was showing me the new tattoo on his arm. It commemorated his 500-mile hike through Europe the previous summer, which happened also to be, he said, the last time he was happy. We sat together for a while in his room talking, his tattoo of a piece with his spiky brown hair, oversize tribal earrings and very baggy jeans. He showed me a photo of himself and his girlfriend kissing, pointed out his small drum kit, a bass guitar that lay next to his rumpled clothes and towels and empty bottles of green tea, one full of dried flowers, and the ink self-portraits and drawings of nudes that he had tacked to the walls. Thick jasmine incense competed with his cigarette smoke. He changed the music on his laptop with the melancholy, slightly startled air of a college boy on his own for the first time.

Rey’s story, though, had some unusual dimensions. The elite college he began attending last year in New York City, with its academically competitive, fresh-faced students, happened to be a women’s school, Barnard. That’s because when Rey first entered the freshman class, he was a woman.

Read it all.

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

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Sexuality, Young Adults

Tenebrae captures the spirit of Christ's passion

Christians, the Rev. Doug Dortch fears, often move too quickly from Palm Sunday to the Resurrection. Calvary barely gets a pause.

That’s why he likes the Tenebrae service ”” what he calls the “best-kept secret about Christian worship” ”” during Holy Week. Tenebrae, the Latin word for shadows, attempts to recreate the emotional atmosphere of Christ’s passion by extinguishing candles or lights, one by one, throughout the service, which ends in complete darkness and silence.

“The service enables Christians to identify with the betrayal and abandonment and agony of the crucifixion,” said Dortch, pastor of First Baptist Church. “It’s highly experiential.”

He said it answers the age-old question ”” raised by many of the “new atheists” today ”” “how bad things can happen to good people.”

“The only answer that can be given, I think, on this side of the grave, is that God is present with us in the pain and the suffering, just as he was with Jesus,” he said.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Liturgy, Music, Worship

The Independent: Wall Street fears for next Great Depression

One UK economist warned that the world is now close to a 1930s-like Great Depression, while New York traders said they had never experienced such fear. The Fed’s emergency funding procedure was first used in the Depression and has rarely been used since.

A Goldman Sachs trader in New York said: “Everyone is in a total state of shock, aghast at what is happening. No one wants to talk, let alone deal; we’re just standing by waiting. Everyone is nervous about what is going to emerge when trading starts tomorrow.”

In the UK, Michael Taylor, a senior market strategist at Lombard, the economics consultancy, said on Friday night: “We have all been talking about a 1970s-style crisis but as each day goes by this looks more like the 1930s. No one has any clue as to where this is going to end; it’s a self-feeding disaster.” Mr Taylor, who had been relatively optimistic, has turned bearish: “It really does look as though the UK is now heading for a recession. The credit-crunch means that even if the Bank of England cuts rates again, the banks are in such a bad way they are unlikely to pass cuts on.”

Mr Taylor added that he expects a sharp downturn in the real UK economy as the public and companies stop borrowing. “We have never seen anything like this before. This is new territory for us. Liquidity is being pumped into the system but the banks are not taking any notice. This is all about confidence. The more the central banks do, the more the banks seem to ignore what’s going on.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Stock Market

Preaching the gospel of John Lewis

On Easter Day, John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York, will be standing up to his waist in water inviting allcomers to renounce the devil before plunging them in his open-air baptismal tank.

Last week he settled for renouncing John Hutton, secretary of state for business, enterprise and regulatory reform, who has said we need more millionaires and should celebrate the freedom to get rich.

“To celebrate wealth for its own sake is such a strange view,” says Sentamu. “We should celebrate creativity, people who expand our horizons to become more loving and more caring, not celebrate people who are driving big cars. Wealth creation is in order to improve the lives of all, not just for the individual.”

If he rejects the Gospel of John Hutton, he is nonetheless a firm believer in the Gospel of John Lewis, which last week announced profits of £379m and revealed that its 69,000 staff ”“ partners in the business ”“ will receive bonuses worth 10 weeks’ pay.

“That is what I am looking for: the John Lewis model,” he says. “It’s not about making more and more millionaires, because there is no evidence that these millionaires put back what they get out.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Economy, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Stewardship

Renters Face Rapid Eviction as Foreclosures Soar

The subprime mortgage crisis continues to claim casualties, and some of them aren’t even homeowners.

In California, scores of renters are being kicked out of their homes, even when they haven’t missed a single rent payment.

Shirley and William Hayes love the house they’ve been renting in a comfortable subdivision outside San Francisco. Even so, they’re moving.

“I have been packing. I have almost all of the linen done. We’re eating out of paper plates, plastic forks, spoons and knives,” Shirley Hayes says.

Read or listen to it all.

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

Notable and Quotable (II)

“[John] Carroll’s précis of the burden of The Triumph of the Therapeutic (1965), and of Rieff’s aphoristic polemic on the ”˜alternative culture’ of the1960s, Fellow Teachers (1972), is among the most arresting passages in New Makers [of Modern Culture]. ”˜Culture is interdicts””a central body of commanding “Thou shalt nots”’, Carroll summarizes.

They are contravened at the individual’s peril. Every society depends on orders of authority””from parents to teachers, priests to rulers””whose fundamental responsibility is to maintain the interdicts, and by means of guilt-inducing repressions. . . . Cultures go into decline when the interdicts are not defended by the elites, and the remissions take over. This is the condition of the modern West, where it is increasingly forbidden to forbid, and the trend is towards everything being permitted. In place of the traditional response to feeling bad: ”˜Pull yourself together!’ which assumes that individual character is responsible for its own malaise, the modern reflex is remissive. The therapist replaces the priest as society’s central authority figure.”

–Richard Davenport-Hines, “More Muslims” (review of New Makers of Modern Culture, ed. Justin Wintle), Times Literary Supplement, 14 September 2007, p.10. (Hat tip: SP)

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A.