The Rev. Otis Moss is set to take over as pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, the church Illinois Sen. Barack Obama attends. Moss talks to Michele Noris about the most famous member of his congregation and the now-controversial former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.
Daily Archives: March 20, 2008
Paul is 28. He’s had one serious relationship that only lasted six months, but he says it was enough to put him off them for life.
“It sounds bad but if someone offered me either love and companionship or an endless stream of loveless sex with different men, I’d take the second one,” says Paul. “Sex exists over here, and I get my love from my friends over here, “ he gestures. “Some might say that I’m missing out, but I don’t agree.”
He said when he fell in love with his ex he was cautious, but his partner kept re-assuring him. “He told me over and over that he felt the same way I did, that he’d never hurt me. He begged me not to hurt him. And then one day he just left. Dropped me like a hot brick. No explanations, nothing. I was left hanging for months, wondering what I’d done wrong. I don’t want to go through that ever again….
Adrian, 35, is of the opinion that while gay rights activists are waving the flag of domestic wedded bliss, less of us are actually settling down in meaningful relationships. He says that he thinks it’s all about what’s fashionable.
“Yes, there’s this political push for relationship rights, but that’s all about looking equal to everyone else. If we have marriage then we have to be treated like equally. It makes sense. I don’t think that’s necessarily reflective of what the community wants or how many of us are actually partnering up.”
Bloomberg News reports Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s Capitol Hill home is slipping in value and may soon be worth less than he paid for it. An economist quoted by Bloomberg estimates Bernanke’s house has lost $260,000 in value.
Dwight Hopkins, a professor at the University of Chicago Divinity School, says black liberation theology often portrays Jesus as a brown-skinned revolutionary. He cites the words of Mary in the Magnificat ”” also known as the “Song of Mary” ”” in which she says God intends to bring down the mighty and raise the lowly. Hopkins also notes that in the book of Matthew, Jesus says the path to heaven is to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the sick and the prisoners. And the central text for black liberation theology can be found in Chapter 4 of Luke’s gospel, where Jesus outlines the purpose of his ministry.
“Jesus says my mission is to eradicate poverty and to bring about freedom and liberation for the oppressed,” Hopkins says. “And most Christian pastors in America skip over that part of the book.”
Hopkins attends Trinity United Church of Christ, where Rev. Wright just retired as pastor. In the now-famous sermon from 2003, Wright said black people’s troubles are a result of racism that still exists in America, crying out, “No, no, no, not God bless America! God damn America ”” that’s in the Bible ”” for killing innocent people.”
This was not just an instance of the West defining itself against Christianity, but also, more tellingly, of a post-Christian West, still recovering from seeing religion as contagion, mobilizing behind a domesticated highbrow view of culture for safeguard.
At Lambeth itself, and subsequently, there was widespread consternation among Western bishops that the Third World bishops seemed misguided enough to think that the Bible could replace enlightened reasonableness as a standard of guidance and Christian teaching. The unprecedented large conversions taking place in Africa and elsewhere were viewed as unwelcome resistance in the path of the West’s cultural juggernaut.
—Lamin Sanneh, the D. Willis James Professor of Missions and World Christianity and professor of history at Yale Divinity School
Carolyn Devine wiped the sweat out of her eyes and glanced up at her gym’s TV sets, where a national debate over race was roiling.
Newscasters heatedly debated Illinois Sen. Barack Obama’s recent speech about his longtime pastor’s incendiary comments. They analyzed video clips of the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., whose church is about a mile from this South Side gym, preaching “God damn America” and condemning the government for “treating our citizens as less than human.”
Devine, who is African American, doesn’t break her stride on the treadmill.
“The race debate? It’s always this way here,” said Devine, 42, who runs a beauty business. “It always gets people hot under the collar, and it’s always going to. I’m stunned that the rest of the country seems shocked that racism still exists.”
“We’ve been torn””all of us,” said Diane Friend, a parishioner who voted to align with the Anglican Church and is leaving St. John’s as a result of the vote.
The Episcopal Church “has gotten away from the Gospel” and is interpreting scripture in a new way to support positions the Bible does not, Friend said.
“We’ve lost a lot of families in the last few years because of this issue,” Friend said. “More are leaving than coming.”
Within the congregation there was “a lot of agonizing, a lot of tears and a lot of flip-flopping as we got closer to the vote,” [the Rev. Rob] Eaton said. “When the vote came, I was just a mess, getting sick too. A lot of others were feeling a lot of anxiety.” Eaton, who describes himself as “a conservative, Bible-believing disciple of Christ,” said he did not want to align with the Southern Cone because he felt God was calling him to remain an Episcopal priest.
In a letter he wrote to parishioners on the church’s Web site in December, he spoke of “strident” voices in both the liberal and conservative camps of the U.S. church and said there is a need for a “clear and reasonable voice” from within the denomination.
“Perhaps this is part of why the Lord continues to call me to be a priest within the Episcopal Church…I know it’s not because He thinks this is going to keep my blood pressure down,” he wrote.
While Eaton felt God was calling him to stay within the Episcopal Church, he said others in his parish felt just as strongly God was calling them to leave.
I hope you and the Elves are enjoying the break from comments. I have to say though that I am missing them. Not the fiery robust ones — but the many thoughtful and helpful ones. I have realised that I rely on the commentators to analyse the significance of the posts and to point out how they fit with the overall pattern of what is going on. I am looking forward to the return of these kind of posts, which have always been the greater proportion of all the comments on your site.
Title IV, Canon 9 section 2 of the Episcopal Church’s Constitution and Canons requires that the House of Bishops “by a majority of the whole number of Bishops entitled to vote” must give its consent to depose a bishop under the abandonment of communion canon.
Eligible voters are defined as both active and retired bishops. Of the 294 bishops eligible to vote, less than a third were present for the trial. To lawfully depose Bishop Schofield, 148 votes would have to have been cast in favor of deposition.
As of breakfast on the last day of the House of Bishop’s March 7-12 meeting, 115 active and retired bishops were present. However, by the start of the trial only 68 active bishops answered the roll call, as did an undisclosed number of retired bishops.
The two hour trial in absentia began with a reading of the charges, followed by prayers from the chaplain. The bishops then broke apart into small groups and then gathered in a plenary session for debate.
A voice vote was held, first for Bishop Schofield and then for Bishop Cox, and both were declared to have been deposed. Questioned about the canonical inconsistencies at a post-meeting press conference, North Carolina Bishop Michael Curry defended the proceedings but admitted that there had been no discussion of its legality. “We have acted in recommendation to our canonical advisers,” he said. ”We acted in accordance with the canons.”
The Supreme Court overturns a murder conviction and death sentence for a black defendant in Louisiana who said his trial was tainted by racism. A seven-member majority of the justices said the prosecutor improperly kept blacks off the jury.
The launching of the 50th anniversary celebration of the Church Army in Jamaica will be a feature of the 138th Synod of the Anglican Church in Jamaica and Grand Cayman. The launch takes place with the opening service at St Peter’s, the parish church in Falmouth, on March 26, beginning at 4:30 p.m.
At the service, Lord Bishop the Rt Rev Dr Alfred Reid will deliver the first part of his charge to the church and nation, under the theme: ‘God’s mission, God’s people, God’s power’.
During his entry into Jerusalem, the people paid homage to Jesus as the Son of David with the words of the pilgrims of Psalm 118: “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” (Mt 21: 9). He then arrived at the temple. There, however, in the place that should have been taken up by the encounter between God and man, he found livestock merchants and money-changers who occupied this place of prayer with their commerce. Certainly, the animals on sale were destined to be burned as sacrifices in the temple, and since in the temple it was impossible to use coins that bore the likeness of the Roman emperors, who were in opposition to the true God, they had to be exchanged for coins that did not show the idolatrous image. All this, however, could have taken place elsewhere: the place where this was now occurring should have been, in accordance with its destined purpose, the atrium of pagans. Indeed, the God of Israel was precisely the one God of all peoples. And although pagans did not enter, so to speak, into the Revelation, they could however, in the atrium of faith, join in the prayer to the one God. The God of Israel, the God of all people, had always been awaiting their prayers too, their seeking, their invocations. Instead, commerce was prevailing – dealings legalized by the competent authority which, in its turn, profited from the merchants’ earnings. The merchants acted correctly, complying with the law in force, but the law itself was corrupt. “Covetousness… is idolatry”, the Letter to the Colossians says (3: 5). This was the idolatry Jesus came up against in the face of which he cites Isaiah: “My house shall be called a house of prayer” (Mt 21: 13; cf. Is 56: 7), and Jeremiah: “But you make it a den of robbers” (Mt 21: 13; cf. Jer 7: 11). Against the wrongly interpreted order, Jesus with his prophetic gesture defends the true order which is found in the Law and the Prophets.
Today, all this must give us, as Christians, food for thought. Is our faith sufficiently pure and open so that starting from it “pagans”, the people today who are seeking and who have their questions, can intuit the light of the one God, associate themselves in the atriums of faith with our prayers and, with their questions, perhaps also become worshippers? Does the awareness that greed is idolatry enter our heart too and the praxis of our life? Do we not perhaps in various ways let idols enter even the world of our faith? Are we disposed to let ourselves be ceaselessly purified by the Lord, letting him expel from us and the Church all that is contrary to him?
“In this era of exploding media technologies there is no truth except the truth you create for yourself.” That’s the assertion of Richard Edelman, the founder and CEO of one of the world’s largest public relations companies. The work of PR professionals has always caused concern from people who believe in the importance of truth-telling. But Edelman’s observation suggests that in the communications ecosystem that is the Internet, where everyone is a spinmeister, the very idea of truth becomes less and less plausible. The quote from Edelman is in a new book by journalist Andrew Keen called The Cult of the Amateur: How Today’s Internet Is Killing Our Culture (Doubleday/Currency). “Today’s media,” writes Keen, “is shattering the world into a billion personalized truths, each seemingly equally valid and worthwhile.”
Andrew Keen hasn’t always been so negative about the Internet. He almost made a fortune in the 1990s by founding Audiocafe.com, one of the first digital music sites. Keen got involved in that project because he wanted to make the world’s best music more available to more people. But the more time he spent among the digirati in Silicon Valley, and the more he heard the utopian pronouncements of its most energized leaders, the more he realized that his view of culture and theirs were at odds. He wanted to expand the audience for great music. The Web enthusiasts wanted to make money by allowing more people to distribute home-made music, no matter how unimaginative and insipid it was, and collect revenue for all of the web advertising that accompanies the narcissism-enabling websites.
The poll showed Arizona Sen. McCain, who has clinched the Republican presidential nomination, is benefiting from the lengthy campaign battle between Obama and Clinton, who are now battling to win Pennsylvania on April 22.
McCain leads 46 percent to 40 percent in a hypothetical matchup against Obama in the November presidential election, according to the poll.
That is a sharp turnaround from the Reuters/Zogby poll from last month, which showed in a head-to-head matchup that Obama would beat McCain 47 percent to 40 percent.
“The last couple of weeks have taken a toll on Obama and in a general election match-up, on both Democrats,” said pollster John Zogby.
Matched up against Clinton, McCain leads 48 percent to 40 percent, narrower than his 50 to 38 percent advantage over her in February.
In the end, a belief in Easter is a Holy Spirit-inspired faith decision of the mind and the heart. It is a choice. You can believe the witnesses who say that a unique and remarkable liberation occurred that has gone on recreating the world ever since, by the triumph of life over death, of love over hate, of light over darkness.
Or you can believe that the witnesses were mistaken and that life and death, love and hate, light and darkness are evenly matched: there is no ultimate power for good that is stronger than the grave.
As Luke says in his Gospel, the only people to whom the Risen Christ appeared were people who loved him, witnesses that God had already chosen. The Resurrection, therefore, is made visible and possible for those who experience it because of the love that is in them – because God is love and because God loved the world so much that God gives Christ to people in a new and living way. With them, if you believe that the divine love is stronger than death, then you can believe in Easter.
Christ did not raise himself from the death-dealing hatred that killed him; God raised Christ by divine love, in and through the heart love of the disciples, so that the Spirit of God that raised Jesus from death, may be divine love alive in us.
One of the most critical leadership strategies I have tried to live day in and day out as Rector of a growing vibrant congregation is to make sure our theology drives every single thing we do together. Gospel-Holy Spirit driven theology that is clearly evident in our preaching, teaching and all we do. For instance, the goal of our recent instructed Eucharists was to enrich our worship by realizing the theological ”˜whys’ of why we do what we do in worship.
One of the most profound learnings for me during our day of Clarity and Charity was a simple vacuum of any coherent theology coming from the Presiding Bishop. There was no there-there, no center of theological gravity. The most often repeated word from her was experience. Re-evaluating marriage, Scripture, the uniqueness of Jesus Christ through our own experience. I felt as if the head of the Unitarian church was at the microphone and not the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church.
This idea of our own experience kept coming up to the point that finally at the end of the question and answer session I went to the microphone and stated to the P.B. that I am a happily married man of twelve years, but that as a priest in a very difficult ecclesiastical marriage with the church, feeling as if the Bride of Christ (the church) has become completely unfaithful with little or no fidelity. Imagine if my wife were to come home and say”¦. “Al, I think we should abandon the marital vows and base our marriage on our experience of what feels right and wrong, in fact out of that experience Al, I think we should have an open marriage. I know it’s out of the box thinking but experientially it just feels like the right thing to do!” If that were agreed to, our marriage would inevitably end in destruction, not to mention the damage done to the countless relationships surrounding the marriage. So it is when we use our experience to trump Scriptural authority. I ended my time at the microphone asking the question of where in the world do we go from here now that we have once again and with clarity been exposed to our massive differences? The question was never answered.
At the end of the day, I would say objectively we indeed fulfilled our mission of clarity and charity. Charity was displayed, and even greater clarity given..clarity that we are not two churches under one roof but two very different religions.
–The Rev. Al Zadig is rector of Saint Michael’s, Charleston, South Carolina
Through arrangements negotiated before the arrival of Mark Lawrence to the Lowcountry, the Presiding Bishop, Katharine Jefferts Schori, was invited to the diocese of South Carolina in 2008. The scheduled visit, on February 24-25, included a choral evensong service at Saint Philip’s Charleston, an extended and frank exchange of views with diocesan clergy at Saint Andrew’s, Mount Pleasant, and a tour of various diocesan ministries. The diocesan tour was led by the Rev. John Burwell and the Rev. Craige Borrett and featured visits to Saint John’s Chapel, Charleston, Holy Cross, Sullivan’s Island, Christ-St. Paul’s, Yonges Island, and the Bishop Gadsden Retirement Community on James Island.
The time of conversation with diocesan clergy included a focus on four topics: the exclusivity of Christ, the concern that the national leadership is not telling the truth of what is occurring in our common life, the relationship between the Holy Spirit and the authority and text of Holy Scripture, and the nature of communion and what it means to be in communion with one another as Anglicans. These topics were dealt with through back and forth exchanges and included brief topic introductions from Bishop Mark Lawrence, the Rev. Kendall Harmon, the Rev. John Barr, and the Rev. Dow Sanderson, as well as questions from the floor, which came from other clergy.
The interchange provided an opportunity for clarity and charity and, for many, the size of the theological divide it revealed was quite painful and stark.
“There was a propensity to avoid giving direct answers to many of the questions put before her,” noted the Rev. John Burley of Saint Andrew’s, Mount Pleasant. “When Kendall Harmon commented that the report given to the Anglican Consultative Council had not truthfully represented a process of discernment in our Province of the theology in that report given at Nottingham in 2005, Katharine Jefferts Shori avoided the real issue by commenting that she had not been the Presiding Bishop when the presentation was made at Nottingham. She seemed to request a pass on answering questions concerning the theology of that presentation and yet she kept bringing up slavery and that the church was a huge proponent of a biblical argument for slavery. Her repeated references to the slavery issue seemed to indicate that she wanted all of us to take the responsibility for the misguided interpretation of scripture 150 years ago but she was unwilling to comment on a report to the Anglican Communion setting forth a defense of full inclusion which was prepared just a few years before her election. In a very cavalier way, she was very quick to tell us at every turn what offended her and I was highly offended that we were so speciously lumped in with the horrible mistakes of long distant past. It was clear that she was making a comment on the way she believes we are misinterpreting scripture for these present day issues.”
–This article will appear in an upcoming edition of the Jubilate Deo, diocesan newspaper of South Carolina
Somehow, in the space of about 100 hours, the value of a share of Bear Stearns, one of the nation’s most storied investment banks, skidded from about $67 to a bargain-basement $2. On Monday, just to twist the knife, some wit taped a $2 bill to the glass doors of Bear’s headquarters.
How could this happen?
It is hard to say it was an accident. Bear Stearns’s stunning downfall and subsequent sale to JPMorgan Chase on Sunday was orchestrated by some of the most powerful people on Wall Street and in Washington. It will go down either as a heroic rescue of the financial system or grand theft, Wall Street style. Maybe it was a bit of both.
Make no mistake: this was one of the greatest corporate euthanizations of all time. And Wall Street played its own gleeful role in it.
Five years ago today I had real hope that things would soon change in the nation of Iraq, after years of tyranny, dictatorship and suffering. Unlike any other non Iraqis I meet now in Iraq, I had been here before the war. I had experienced the fear and tyranny of the Saddam regime and I openly said we needed force to bring change. I knew that this could not be done by the Iraqi people. I feared what would happen to the people I loved during the days of the war. I was full of joy when the war finished so soon and I quickly returned to the nation I loved. On returning I found a sense of liberation, joy and freedom. There was a joy I had never seen before. Chaos was certainly there but we hoped it would soon cease. I will never forget the words of the top British General telling me to leave my return for a couple of weeks because ‘security should then be sorted out’. Five years later it has still not been sorted.
It is impossible to really describe what it is like here in Baghdad. I live in the fortified International Zone but even here I am surrounded by my bodyguards at all times and we can’t move without carrying the right pieces of plastic ID around our necks. When we do move we can’t move more than five miles an hour, have to stop every few yards a different security barriers and when we get to them the colour of your piece of plastic dictates how quickly you will be allowed through. All very intense, but it does not compare to my regular trips to St George’s Church.
The idea of tying the stations to social activism isn’t even all that novel. Via Crucis re-enactments, like the one by Catholics in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood where costumed churchgoers play the roles of Jesus and other figures in the Passion, include stops that call attention to social problems or injustices. One year, the Chicago procession stopped in front of a neighborhood tortilleria to pray for employees working in unsanitary conditions. Online, you can find homegrown Stations of the Cross devotions that stop to pray at neighborhood sites like parks or at the scenes of fatal car accidents.
But by taking Jesus’ Passion out of play altogether, the Millennium Development Goals liturgy is a greater departure than any of these other alternative versions. So, what’s the point of stations without the cross?
The people at Episcopal Relief and Development who distributed the new liturgy insist that their alternative version was intended to complement, not replace, the traditional stations. They say the service would not be a good choice for Good Friday. And, they add, their cause is a good one: Meeting the Millennium Development Goals is an institutional priority of the Episcopal Church.