Daily Archives: March 3, 2009

B.C. Anglican group may leave parish over same-sex marriage debate

A rogue Anglican group will hold a vote Sunday on whether to split from its Victoria-area parish over its views on same-sex marriage, a church leader confirmed Monday.

Bruce Bryant-Scott, the archdeacon of the Vancouver Island Diocese of the Anglican Church of Canada, said St. Matthias parishioners will decide whether to join the breakaway Anglican Network in Canada, which opposes same-sex unions.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

Pennsylvania Court asked to remove Episcopal priest

After biding its time for years, the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania has asked a civil court to remove the Rev. David Moyer as rector of the Church of the Good Shepherd in Rosemont, and to declare the diocese as owner of the renegade parish’s property.

Moyer, a vocal critic of liberal trends in the Episcopal Church, has served as the parish’s rector and lived in its rectory since 1989, even though he was deposed as a priest nearly seven years ago.

Last week, the diocese informed him and Good Shepherd’s vestry that it had petitioned Montgomery County Orphans Court to order the parish to transfer the title to its buildings, as well as all other assets, to the diocese.

It also asked the court to “restrain and enjoin” Moyer “from further use and occupancy” of the site, which fronts on Lancaster Avenue.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Pennsylvania

A WSJ Editorial: The Obama Economy

As 2009 opened, three weeks before Barack Obama took office, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 9034 on January 2, its highest level since the autumn panic. Yesterday the Dow fell another 4.24% to 6763, for an overall decline of 25% in two months and to its lowest level since 1997. The dismaying message here is that President Obama’s policies have become part of the economy’s problem.

Americans have welcomed the Obama era in the same spirit of hope the President campaigned on. But after five weeks in office, it’s become clear that Mr. Obama’s policies are slowing, if not stopping, what would otherwise be the normal process of economic recovery. From punishing business to squandering scarce national public resources, Team Obama is creating more uncertainty and less confidence — and thus a longer period of recession or subpar growth.

Read it all.

Update: Investor’s Business Daily is not happy either:

Capital, bluntly put, has gone on strike. Those who own wealth are pushing it to the sidelines, as a young and inexperienced president tries to jam through the most sweeping economic changes in over 70 years.

The prospect of these changes becoming law has already radically altered our nation’s economy. Entrepreneurs and CEOs who once created new products, new services, jobs and trillions in wealth for America’s workers and retirees now find themselves vilified and punished for their success.

ABC News reported this week that many upper-income taxpayers already are planning to cut back on work and investments to stay under $250,000 in income ”” the point where Obama’s punitive taxes kick in. No one wins from this, yet Obama seems oblivious.

This isn’t the only warning sign. A new study asserts that some 100,000 highly educated, well-trained Indians now living in the U.S. will return home in the next few years. Ditto China.

Immigrant entrepreneurs are highly sensitive bellwethers of economic and social conditions. They know where the opportunities are ”” and where they aren’t. They’re voting with their feet.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Budget, Economy, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The Fiscal Stimulus Package of 2009, The U.S. Government

Terence Corcoran: Obama solution begets crises

The agenda is likely to reshape American capitalism, if that’s what you want. But let me rain on this parade as it passes ”” before The Music Man runs off with River City’s most beautiful women. While he promises to deliver Americans from recession, financial crisis and the Wall St. Pool Hall, Mr. Obama’s agenda actually threatens to plunge America into new crises, while extending the current crises.

Profoundly anti-market and anti-capitalist themes and tones run through Mr. Obama’s speech. Nowhere in the world has a country risen to prosperity by blowing up markets (in energy, for example) and turning to massive state intervention (banking) to solve problems, especially problems that do not even exist (oil dependence).

Mr. Obama’s speech, burdened with never-ending calls for state action, contains the seeds of at least four crises….

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Budget, Canada, Economy, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The Fiscal Stimulus Package of 2009, The U.S. Government

USA Today: 'Do not resuscitate' vs. 'allow natural death'

Could three words change the way severely ill patients and their loved ones think about death?

Spiritual leaders and some medical staff at hospitals across the USA believe so, and they are reconsidering how they pose one of life’s toughest questions:

Do you want to sign a “Do Not Resuscitate” form?

When they ask, family members often balk. They believe they are giving up, condemning a loved one to death.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Death / Burial / Funerals, Health & Medicine, Life Ethics, Parish Ministry

On His Feast Day, John Wesley for Lent

And if men thus deceive themselves, is it any wonder that they deceive others also, and that we so seldom find “an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no guile?” In looking over my books, some years ago, I found the following memorandum: “I am this day thirty years old; and till this day I know not that I have met with one person of that age, except in my father’s house, who did not use guile, more or less.”

This is one of the sorts of desperate wickedness which cleaves to the nature of every man, proceeding from those fruitful roots, — self-will, pride, and independence on God. Hence springs every species of vice and wickedness; hence every sin against God, our neighbour, and ourselves. Against God, — forgetfulness and contempt of God, of his name, his day, his word, his ordinances; Atheism on the one hand, and idolatry on the other; in particular, love of the world, the desire of the flesh, the desire of the eyes, and the pride of life; the love of money, the love of power, the love of ease, the love of the “honour that cometh of men,” the love of the creature more than the Creator, the being lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God: — Against our neighbour, ingratitude, revenge, hatred, envy, malice, uncharitableness.

Hence there is in the heart of every child of man, an inexhaustible fund of ungodliness and unrighteousness, so deeply and strongly rooted in the soul, that nothing less than almighty grace can cure it. From hence naturally arises a plentiful harvest of all evil words and works; and to complete the whole, that complex of all evils, —

— That foul monster, War, that we meet,
Lays deep the noblest work of the creation;
Which wears in vain its Maker’s glorious image,
Unprivileged from thee!

In the train of this fell monster are murder, adultery, rape, violence, and cruelty of every kind….

–From his sermon “The Deceitfulness Of The Human Heart”

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Anthropology, Church History, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Lent, Methodist, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Theology

Pastoral Visitors Briefing Seminar

Following the Report of the Windsor Continuation Group to the Archbishop of Canterbury (which was published at the Primates Meeting in Alexandria, Egypt, in February 2009) the initial group of Pastoral Visitors called for by the Windsor Continuation Group in their Report and commended by the Primates Meeting in their Communiqué (para 15) met for a briefing session at Virginia Theological Seminary from 25-28 February.

Those appointed by the Archbishop of Canterbury to the Pastoral Visitors team are: the Rt Rev’d Santosh Marray, the Rt Rev’d Colin Bennetts, the Rt Rev’d Simon Chiwanga, Maj Gen (ret’d) Tim Cross, Canon Dr Chad Gandiya, who all participated in the briefing seminar, and the Very Rev’d Justin Welby, who was unable to attend.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Archbishop of Canterbury, Windsor Report / Process

ACNS: Women's World Day of Prayer

On Friday 6 March over 3 million people worldwide will be praying and worshipping together during an annual day of prayer, using a service prepared by Christian Women in Papua New Guinea.

Papua New Guinea is a land of many ethnic groups and over 800 distinct languages of which more than half are unrelated. As a result, there is great cultural diversity, yet the women of Papua New Guinea have emphasised the oneness there is in Christ.

In spite of gender inequality, women in Papua New Guinea are beginning to take their place in professions previously closed to them. There are now women who are pilots, engineers, doctors, lawyers, judges, lecturers and also officers in the military forces. In this way, they make a very positive contribution to their nation. Further information and resources can be found on the Women’s World Day of Prayer website at www.wwdp-natcomm.org

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, - Anglican: Latest News, Spirituality/Prayer, Women

More From the Keeping Things in perspective Department

God’s Grandeur

The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
And wears man’s smudge |&| shares man’s smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.

And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs —
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast |&| with ah! bright wings.

–Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889)

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Poetry & Literature

The Feast Day of John and Charles Wesley

Lord God, who didst inspire thy servants John and Charles Wesley with burning zeal for the sanctification of souls, and didst endow them with eloquence in speech and song: Kindle in thy Church, we beseech thee, such fervor, that those whose faith has cooled may be warmed, and those who have not known thy Christ may turn to him and be saved; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church History, Church of England (CoE), Methodist, Other Churches

As economy unravels, applications surge at U.S. public colleges

Admissions officers at the State University of New York college campus here are suddenly afraid of getting what they have always wished for: legions of top high school seniors saying “yes” to their fat envelopes.

Students are already tripled up in many dorm rooms after an unexpectedly large freshman class entered last autumn. And despite looming budget cuts from the state, which more tuition-paying students could help offset, officials say they are determined not to expand enrollment at their liberal-arts college beyond the current 6,000 undergraduates.

At SUNY New Paltz – a four-year college that is one of the statewide system’s 64 campuses – as at many other well-regarded public institutions this spring, admissions calculations carefully measured over many years are being set aside as an unraveling economy is making less-expensive state colleges more appealing.

Read the whole article.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Education, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

In secret letter, Obama offered deal to Russia

President Barack Obama sent a secret letter to Russia’s president last month suggesting that he would back off deploying a new missile defense system in Eastern Europe if Moscow would help stop Iran from developing long-range weapons, American officials said Monday.

The letter to President Dmitri A. Medvedev was hand-delivered in Moscow by top administration officials three weeks ago. It said the United States would not need to proceed with the interceptor system, which has been vehemently opposed by Russia since it was proposed by the Bush administration, if Iran halted any efforts to build nuclear warheads and ballistic missiles.

The officials who described the contents of the message requested anonymity because it has not been made public. While they said it did not offer a direct quid pro quo, the letter was intended to give Moscow incentive to join the United States in a common front against Iran. Russia’s military, diplomatic and commercial ties to Tehran give it some influence there, but it has often resisted Washington’s hard line against Iran.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Defense, National Security, Military, Europe, Foreign Relations, Iran, Middle East, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Russia

U.S. rescue efforts may risk double-dip recession

“The stuttering attempts to repair the banking and lending mechanisms so far by the new administration suggests that by late 2010, the specter of a second dip into recession will be looming large,” said Merrill Lynch economist Sheryl King.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Budget, Economy, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, The 2009 Obama Administration Bank Bailout Plan, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner

Vatican halts bishops' joint Anglican-Catholic church service

The “request” was made by the Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, which is the central governing body of the Catholic Church handling most affairs relating to official public worship.

In a joint statement, the Right Reverend Brian Farran, Anglican Bishop of Newcastle, and the Most Reverend Michael Malone, Catholic Bishop of Maitland-Newcastle, said the congregation had “expressed concern about a simultaneous celebration and the possibility of confusing messages being given to the people”.

In the statement, Bishop Malone said he believed that since a similar celebration had been held in England in 1989, a precedent had been established, and he apologised to those who would have been involved.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Provinces, Ecumenical Relations, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Other Churches, Roman Catholic

Notable and Quotable (II)

“It seems like customers aren’t as interested in spending money as they used to be,” he said during a lunch break. “They ask more questions. They’re on a budget, and before it wasn’t an issue.”

Mihai Dumitriu, who sells Proactiv face wash and cleansers at a mall kiosk in Illinois

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Economy

James Glassman–Stimulus: A History of Folly

Stimulus””that is, fiscal intervention with the express purpose of speeding up the normal regenerative process that Grant describes””is unnecessary and almost certainly harmful, a policy based on hubris and anxiety, rather than on history and good sense. Under such circumstances, the proper way to analyze discrete proposals today for spending or taxing is on their own merits, not on their supposed ability to stimulate something else. There may, in fact, be a good reason for government to spend billions of dollars today on building highways, and it has nothing to do with stimulus. It is that long-term interest rates are at historic lows and that the right highways can boost the economy in the long term. There also may be a good reason, again far apart from stimulus, for revising the tax code and reforming Social Security and Medicare. It is that Americans now understand that the economic future is not so assured as they believed a couple of years ago, and it is time for decisions to be made””in a manner careful, sensible, and unstimulated.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Budget, Economy, History, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The Fiscal Stimulus Package of 2009, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner

Roman Catholic Church Growing with World Population

The 2009 Pontifical Yearbook recorded that the number of Catholics worldwide increased by 1.4% from 2006-2007, just over the world population growth, which in the same period increased by 1.1%.

Priestly vocations also grew, though less (0.4%), but with notable differences between the continents: While Europe is witnessing a recession, Africa and Asia are experiencing an increase in vocations.

These are the main conclusions drawn from the “Annuario Pontificio,” the official Vatican publication that gathers up-to-date statistical data on the worldwide Church. The volume was presented to Benedict XVI on Saturday.

The latest edition covers data relating to the growth from 2006 to 2007, explained a Vatican communiqué. According to the statistics, the number of Catholics in the world has increased from 1.131 billion to almost 1.147 billion in one year, 17.3% of the total population, a percentage that has remained stable from one year to another.

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

Notable and Quotable (I)

All this is telling. The administration and Congress, though pledging to restore economic growth, care more about protecting foreclosure victims and promoting homeownership among the young and poor. Politics trumps economics.

Robert Samuelson in a piece I posted this morning

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama

Archbishop of Canterbury warns recession could fan race attacks

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, warned this week that the current financial climate could pave the way for increased xenophobia in the UK.

Speaking at the Christian-Muslim Forum at St Ethelburga’s Centre for Peace and Reconciliation, in an event discussing the current financial crisis, the Archbishop said that we needed to learn important lessons from history. In responding to a question he said: “I think we do ignore, at our peril, the very high risk which history should have taught us.”

He went on to say: “The very high risk of financial stringency could lead to political extremism. Anger finding its expression in xenophobia, prejudice, rivalry — all the tactics that both sociologists and psychologists remark on as the displacement of unease and fear.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Archbishop of Canterbury, England / UK, Islam, Other Faiths, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture