Daily Archives: March 26, 2009
Six Democratic legislators have introduced a bill to stop Boeing from threatening to move out of Washington. That’s right: threatening to move…. No more threats from Boeing! The state’s biggest manufacturer might leave, but it could never threaten to leave. Then again, if Boeing were really planning an exit, wouldn’t lawmakers want to know?
The Southern Baptist Convention, which is launching a new national campaign to bring unbelievers to Jesus, is up against a major obstacle: motivating its own members to evangelize.
But it may be the only effective way to reach people, according to a survey of 15,173 people by LifeWay Research, a Christian research firm.
During the worst economic downturn in a generation, some people in the United States are beginning to catch glimpses of an unfamiliar sight: causes for hope.
The banking system is still fraught, the U.S. economy is contracting sharply, and 600,000 jobs are vanishing every month. But other economic barometers have stabilized a bit and stock markets have surged about 20 percent during the past two weeks, kindling hopes among investors that the long-suffering economy might finally be searching for a bottom.
Two new reports from the housing market and manufacturing sector underscored those fragile wisps of optimism Wednesday.
The Obama administration will detail on Thursday a wide-ranging plan to overhaul financial regulation by subjecting hedge funds and traders of exotic financial instruments, now among the biggest and most freewheeling players on Wall Street, to potentially strict new government supervision, officials said.
The Treasury secretary, Timothy F. Geithner, will outline the broad revamping of the regulatory system, which goes further than expected, in a hearing on Thursday. He is expected to say that the new rules are necessary to prevent a repeat of the excesses that nearly wrecked the global financial system and plunged the economy into a recession.
The plan, which would require congressional approval, would give the government vast new powers over “systemically important” banks and other financial institutions that are so big that their collapse would jeopardize the economy as a whole.
North Korea is loading a Taepodong rocket on its east coast launch pad in anticipation of the launch of a communications satellite early next month, U.S. officials say. U.S. counterproliferation and intelligence officials have confirmed Japanese news reports of the expected launch between April 4 and 8.
North Korea announced its intention to launch the satellite in February. Regional powers worry the claim is a cover for the launch of a long-range missile capable of reaching Alaska. National Intelligence Director Dennis Blair said earlier this month that all indications suggest North Korea will in fact launch a satellite.
San Jose is now home to the new St. James Anglican Church. All are invited to celebrate the establishment of this community of faith. Sunday services will include a traditional mass at 9 am, and a contemporary service at 10:45 am.
St. James will be meeting at the Camden Community Center at 3369 Union Ave, San Jose, CA 95124. St. James has joined the newly-formed Anglican Church of North America, which unites 700 orthodox Anglican congregations, representing roughly 100,000 people in the United States and Canada.
The initial launch team for St. James has been drawn from the former leadership of St. Edward’s Episcopal Church. Fr. Ed McNeill, who led St. Edward’s for 10 years, is St. James Anglican Church’s first pastor. Six of the twelve members of St. Edward’s Vestry have left to help found St. James.
The decision of Fr. McNeill and other church leaders to found St. James Anglican Church marks the end of years of debate within St. Edward’s about supporting the efforts of The Episcopal Church USA. While members of the Episcopal Church have always welcomed a diversity of opinion, recent theological innovations by the national leadership have made it impossible for many orthodox Christians to remain.
The Episcopal Church has increasingly adopted policies that are unacceptable to orthodox Christians, departing from the primacy of Scripture. Church leaders have taken positions that undermine traditional teaching on the Divinity of Christ, Jesus’ resurrection and His role in salvation, Biblical standards on sexuality, and many of the tenets expressed in the Nicene Creed. These changes aligned the church with today’s social trends, and led the church away from its historic mission. The result has been declining attendance, declining ordinations and the departure of many clergy members, strained relationship with the global Anglican Communion, and nationwide lawsuits.
Fr. McNeill said, “We are very happy that the time of divisiveness has passed, and that healing can begin. We will miss our friends who have chosen to remain in the Episcopal Church and are committed to praying for them. We look forward to serving in the Bay Area as Anglican Christians.”
A website has been established at www.newanglicanchurch.com, to provide a means for community-building among Anglicans in the Bay Area. Those who have left the Episcopal Church, or who have been searching for Orthodox churches in the Bay Area, will have access to news and information, as well as an opportunity to communicate with others.
Only 9% of U.S. hospitals have electronic health records, according to a new survey that reveals the gap between the present state of American health care and a high-tech future envisioned by policy makers.
“We are at a very early stage in adoption, a very low stage compared to other countries,” said David Blumenthal, a Harvard professor and an author of the survey. Last week, the Obama administration named Dr. Blumenthal National Coordinator for Health Information Technology.
The survey, sent to hospitals in March 2008 and published online Wednesday by the New England Journal of Medicine, found that most institutions have some basic electronic systems, such as those for reporting patients’ lab results.
Patrick Yu, the area bishop for York-Scarborough, discusses the Toronto bishops’ proposal for same-sex blessings in an email exchange with Sue Careless.
TAP: At General Synod in 2007 you voted against a local option (by diocese) for same-sex blessings (SSBs). Today you are supporting a local option for SSBs in parishes in the Diocese of Toronto. What has changed?
Patrick Yu: I have struggled with the issue since the 70’s. Looking back, it has been a mixture of resistance and support. I did resist a hasty, non-reflective revisionism but I also resisted a narrow and non-reflective conservatism as well. Recently I find myself resisting schism, particularly wholesale condemnations of the kind Jesus warns against which often violate the ninth commandment! [Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.] Perhaps less known is my support for a public place for gays and lesbians which is distinct from marriage. I also work hard to secure a place for those people, priests and parishes who, in conscience, cannot pronounce same-sex relationships blessed as marriages. If you look at my voting record at GS2007, and more importantly, my activity in the House of Bishops around that time, you will see this combination, which often feels like tension. That has not changed. What has changed is a growing conviction that God is calling the Diocese of Toronto to a renewed sense of mission, particularly in the area of owning and sharing our faith in Jesus with others, and growing churches. I see our effort as a way to break the logjam around sex which threatens to paralyse us in our mission, particularly in public discussions like Synod.
One of the resolutions up for consideration at General Convention in July is endorsement of the Earth Charter together with the development of “action steps for diocese, churches and individuals to implement its principles locally, nationally and internationally.”
The Earth Charter is a declaration of fundamental principles for building a just, sustainable and peaceful global society in the 21st century. Following the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, it was drafted over a multi-year period by an international drafting committee that engaged literally thousands of ordinary people and hundreds of local and international organizations. It was formally launched in June 2000 and has since received formal endorsements by thousands of groups worldwide.
Renewing the face of the earth, then, is an enterprise not of imposing some private human vision on a passive nature but of living in such a way as to bring more clearly to light the interconnectedness of all things and their dependence on what we cannot finally master or understand. This certainly involves a creative engagement with nature, seeking to work with those natural powers whose working gives us joy, as St Augustine says, in order to enhance human liberty and well-being. But that creative work will always be done in consciousness of costs, seen and unseen, and will not be dominated by fantasies about unconditional domination. It is a vision that, in the Christian context, is founded on the idea of humanity as having a ‘priestly’ relationship with the natural order: the human agent is created with the capacity to make sense of the environment and to move it into a closer relation with its creator by drawing out of it its capacity to become a sign of love and generosity. This entails so using the things of the earth that they promote justice between human beings ”“ making sense so as to make peace, equity and so on, using the skills of negotiating the environment in order to alleviate suffering and spread resources. Used in this way, the raw material of the environment is seen as serving human need ”“ but only by being used in awareness of its own integrity and its own constraints. It remains itself, but in its use for the sake of healing or justice becomes ‘sacramental’ of the infinite gift from which it originates. The ‘face’ of the earth becomes an aspect of the face of God. And a good many theologians have started from here in explaining what the actual sacraments of the Church mean ”“ especially the Eucharist ”“ as the firstfruits of a world of material things that has been given meaning in the context of communicating divine generosity.
All this echoes what St Paul touches on in Romans 8: creation is in some sense frustrated so long as humanity is ‘unredeemed’. The world is less than it might be so long as human beings are less than they might be, since the capacity of human beings to shape the material environment into a sign of justice and generosity is blocked by human selfishness.
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger said a make-shift tent city for the homeless that sprang up in the capital city of Sacramento will be shut down and its residents allowed to stay at the state fairgrounds.
Schwarzenegger said he ordered the state facility known as Cal-Expo to be used for three months to serve the 125 tent city residents, some of them displaced by the economic recession. The encampment may be shut down within a month, said Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson. The move comes after the Sacramento City Council last night agreed to spend $880,000 to expand homeless programs.
Two British Columbia parishes have quit the Anglican Church of Canada and have affiliated with the Anglican Network in Canada (ANiC). The votes by St Matthias in Victoria and St Mary’s Nanoose Bay increase the breakaway group’s ranks to 28 parishes served by three former Anglican Church of Canada bishops and 73 priests and deacons.
By a vote of 170 in favor and 10 opposed, St Matthias withdrew from the diocese on March 8 and joined the traditionalist breakaway group led by Bishop Don Harvey, the former Bishop of Eastern Newfoundland and Labrador. The congregation has left its property to the diocese and a remnant group and on March 15 began worshipping at a local community center.
Judge Schwartz actually gets what is wrong with the whole process of creating a trust on individual parish property through a top-down imposition of the Dennis Canon! (But don’t get your hopes entirely up. As we shall later see, he comes to the Church’s rescue—-or rather, in a classic punting of responsibility to those judges higher up on the pay scale, he reads the Supreme Court as having done the rescuing for him.) Can you be proud of a Church that treats all of its contributors in such a cavalier manner? The Church (at the national level, at least) regards you not as someone whom it must inform, or treat with any courtesy or respect, but as just another source of funds for as long as you are ignorant enough to allow it to control local property matters without your knowledge. For it knows that, should you find out about its ultimate control, you might stop giving money to a church over which you really have no say. And why on earth would you ever give any money for its further expansion?
There is much recent material on this: A press release from the TEC affiliated parish, a press release from the Episcopal Diocese of Colorado, the text of the court ruling itself, and a statement from the Anglican parish is there.
Mars Hills draws 11,000 worshipers each week””surely a sign of vitality. But what about the next generation? Churches that reach out to only one or two generations may find out that the next generation wants nothing to do with their way of being culturally savvy. What happens when Bell and Mars Hill are 40- and 50-somethings? Will the church gracefully transform itself into the next generation’s new painting, with a new cultural frame of reference? Of course, such worries can be found in any church.
Meanwhile, Christian convictions are vibrant and healthy at Mars Hill. The church shows evidence of passionate commitment, compelling artistry and intellectual curiosity””all of which are evident in Bell’s sermons too. No wonder young adults are paying attention.
I like the guy and I think the videos, used properly, are a useful tool for parishes. I salute Rob Bell for getting out there and trying to bring Jesus meaningfully into people’s lives. Read it all–KSH.