Daily Archives: March 30, 2008

Presiding Bishop Seeking Quicker Way to Intervene Before Other Dioceses Leave

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.

Read it all and make sure to reread Mike Lumpkin’s letter in the light of this.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Presiding Bishop, TEC Conflicts, TEC Polity & Canons

Robert Munday: A hierarchical church?

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.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, TEC Polity & Canons

Dan Martins: Repeating Lies Does Not Add Up to Truth

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.

Read it all.

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

The ENS article on San Joaquin Doings Yesterday

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.”

How was it settled exactly? By whom and according to what reasoning and sourcing and analysis? Read it all.

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

Notable and Quotable

God speaks in the silence of the heart. Listening is the beginning of prayer.

–Mother Teresa

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Spirituality/Prayer

The Murky Politics of Mind-Body

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.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Health & Medicine, Psychology

Muslims more numerous than Catholics: Vatican

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.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Globalization, Islam, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

On Faith, Race and Politics, Disagreement among faithful is commonplace

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.”

Read it all from today’s local paper.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, US Presidential Election 2008

An unshakable faith

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.”

Ramey cries.

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.

Read it all from the front page of today’s local paper.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Health & Medicine, Religion & Culture

The Road of Life

At first, I saw God as my observer,
my judge,
keeping track of the things I did wrong,
so as to know whether I merited heaven
or hell when I die.
He was out there sort of like a president.
I recognized His picture when I saw it,
but I really didn’t know Him.
But later on
when I met Christ,
it seemed as though life was rather like a bike ride,
but it was a tandem bike,
and I noticed that Christ
was in the back helping me pedal.

I don’t know just when it was
that He suggested we change places,
but life has not been the same since.
When I had control,
I knew the way.
It was rather boring,
but predictable . . .
It was the shortest distance between two points.
But when He took the lead,
He knew delightful long cuts,
up mountains,
and through rocky places
at breakneck speeds,
it was all I could do to hang on!
Even though it looked like madness,
He said, “Pedal!”
I worried and was anxious
and asked,
“Where are you taking me?”
He laughed and didn’t answer,
and I started to learn to trust.
I forgot my boring life
and entered into the adventure.
And when I’d say, “I’m scared,”
He’d lean back and touch my hand.
He took me to people with gifts that I needed,
gifts of healing,
and joy.
They gave me gifts to take on my journey,
my Lord’s and mine.
And we were off again.
He said, “Give the gifts away;
they’re extra baggage, too much weight.”
So I did,
to the people we met,
and I found that in giving I received,
and still our burden was light.
I did not trust Him,
at first,
in control of my life.
I thought He’d wreck it;
but He knows bike secrets,
knows how to make it bend to take sharp corners,
knows how to jump to clear high rocks,
knows how to fly to shorten scary passages.
And I am learning to shut up
and pedal
in the strangest places,
and I’m beginning to enjoy the view
and the cool breeze on my face
with my delightful constant companion, Jesus Christ.
And when I’m sure I just can’t do anymore,
He just smiles and says . . . “Pedal.”

— Author unknown

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life