Daily Archives: April 15, 2009

An Email from Bishop Jack Iker

To the clergy and convention delegates,

We are neither surprised nor alarmed by the lawsuit brought against the diocese on Tuesday. Our attorneys are reviewing the allegations and will be advising me on how to respond.

We are confident that we followed the proper legislative process in amending our Constitution and Canons and are prepared to make our case in court if necessary.

Your patience and prayers will be much appreciated as this process unfolds.

A blessed and joyous Eastertide to all of you.

–(The Rt. Rev.) Jack Iker

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Fort Worth

Anglican Church in Canada: New book bursting with bishops

The fourth volume of The Anglican Episcopate in Canada is packed with details on 105 bishops consecrated in Canada between 1976 and 2008. Written by former primate Archbishop Michael Peers, each bishop’s entry provides details on education, service, ordinations, and elections and is accompanied by a photo.

Not only is the book an archival record, but Archbishop Peers has written his own observations on episcopal ministry over this period. Since 1976, the Anglican Church of Canada has seen many firsts, including the first ordinations of Aboriginal and the first women bishops.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces

Can this Lady Sing?

Watch it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Music

Muted response to latest ”˜Anglican Covenant’ draft

Churches which violate the boundaries of Anglican faith and order would be subject to a disciplinary process overseen by the joint standing committee of the Primates and the Anglican Consultative Council, the third draft of the Anglican Covenant has proposed.

Scofflaws could be adjudged to be acting in a manner “incompatible with the Covenant” and subject to possible suspension from participation in international Anglican forums, the documents said. However, discipline would not be automatic, and would be exercised by the individual provinces and the communion; for “it shall be for each Church and each Instrument to determine its own response to such recommendations” for discipline, the proposed Covenant stated.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Covenant

Michael Gerson: A Searcher With Faith in Mind

Religion has often unintentionally enabled scientific skepticism. The faithful will issue a challenge to science: Ha, you can’t explain the development of life, or the moral sense, or the nearly universal persistence of religion. To which the materialist responds: Can too. It is all biology and chemistry, thus disproving your God hypothesis.

To this musty debate, Andrew Newberg, perhaps America’s leading expert on the neurological basis of religion, brings a fresh perspective. His new book, “How God Changes Your Brain,” co-authored with Mark Robert Waldman, summarizes several years of groundbreaking research on the biological basis of religious experience. And it offers plenty to challenge skeptics and believers alike.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology

Washington Post: Economic Data Clash With Obama's Optimism

The president and the Federal Reserve chairman voiced cautious optimism yesterday that the economy could be beginning to stabilize. But the economy wasn’t cooperating.

Retail sales dropped sharply in March, the government reported, and wholesale prices fell steeply. Both pieces of data underscore the hard slog the nation faces to emerge from its deep recession and the limitations of more optimistic talk from Washington. The stock market fell 2 percent, as measured by the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index.

President Obama and Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke were hardly effusive. Obama acknowledged that “there will be more job loss, more foreclosures and more pain” before the recession ends. But both men, in separate speeches, spoke of an end to the sense of free-fall that enveloped the U.S. economy in the final months of 2008 and first months of 2009.

Their words reflect a new phase of the government response to the financial crisis and recession. Unlike a few months ago, the major policies meant to prop up the economy– increased government spending, special lending programs and extensive efforts by the Fed to pump money into the economy — are now largely in place. Thus, senior officials are trying to encourage Americans to be confident about the future, so that those who still have their jobs will feel more comfortable buying a house, a car or other large items.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Protests over plans to sell London church

Selling St Mark’s, Mayfair, to a millionaire beauty magnate would be an act of blasphemy, shattering a 185-year-old covenant, Lady Sainsbury has claimed this week.

Speaking to The Church of England Newspaper, just weeks before a crucial meeting will decide the building’s fate, Lady Sainsbury, who attends the church, is determined that St Mark’s should be saved.

The diocese is currently trying to negotiate a deal with George Hammer of Hammer Holdings, who owns The Sanctuary in London’s Covent Garden. Hammer plans to turn the North Audley Street church into a ”˜wellness centre’. Last month he was refused planning permission but is still continuing his bid.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Parish Ministry

Marketplace: Why people cheat on their taxes

[KAI] RYSSDAL: If ever there was topic that rolled behavioral and economics all into one, it is taxes. Because really you don’t want to pay them. What is the temptation here, to maybe not pay taxes and cheat a little bit.

[DAN] ARIELY: Taxes, especially with the American system, is a kinda good test case for cheating. Where we have to pay taxes, and we realize it. We also realize it’s good to pay taxes on some level because the government does all kinds of things for us. At the same time, we have our selfish desires to pay as least as possible. And the tax code lets us play tricks with ourselves. So imagine you went out for dinner with your aunt, and she asked you how work was going, and you said, “Oh, it was going well,” and she gave you some suggestions about work. Can you not charge it as a business expense?

I caught this last night on the way home from the dentist, it is really a good discussion. Read or listen to it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Taxes, Theology

Where Do Our Tax Dollars Go?

Take a look.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Budget, Economy, Taxes, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government

Another Awkward Sex Talk: Respect and Violence

William Pollack, a psychologist at Harvard Medical School who wrote “Real Boys: Rescuing Our Sons From the Myths of Boyhood” (Owl Books, 1999), argues that the way we talk to boys and young men about sex often stereotypes them and hurts their feelings.

“One boy said, ”˜They treat us like we’re perpetrators ”” we have sexual needs but we also have other needs,’ ” Dr. Pollack told me.

Somehow, there has to be a way to talk about sex and relationships beyond the anatomical details, and a way to discuss what happens in school and what happens on the cover of People magazine.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Sexuality, Teens / Youth

Cynthia Cohen: Being fruitful, but responsible

Surely having children is a blessing and a joy. Yet this passage from Genesis tells us that we are to have them, not just for our own delight, but also to assist in the renewal of God’s creation.

We are gifted with children, rather than entitled to them. Marrying and having children, the Book of Common Prayer declares in The Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage, are not to be entered into unadvisedly or lightly, but “reverently and deliberately.”

A recent foray into the world of assisted reproduction by a single 33-year-old woman to have more children ”“ octuplets, as it turned out ”“ to add to six under the age of 8 already living, however, leaves us perplexed and concerned. Ought we to have as many children as our bodies will bear?

Is it possible for us to cherish and nurture children as creatures with their own uniqueness and integrity if we deliberately have more than a dozen of them who are very young? What are the limits to God’s call to us to be fruitful and multiply?

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Children, Episcopal Church (TEC), Life Ethics, Marriage & Family

ENS: 'I am Episcopalian' microsite draws half a million visitors during Lent

A communications initiative, launched on Ash Wednesday, which provides a new way for Episcopalians to share their connection to and appreciation for the Episcopal Church, was heavily used during Lent.

A special welcoming page on the church’s website, technically called a “microsite” and titled “I am Episcopalian,” was visited more than 500,000 times in the six and a half weeks between Ash Wednesday and Easter, according to Michael Collins, director of digital communication in the Episcopal Church’s Office of Communication.

The microsite contains short video clips of Episcopalians representing the diverse membership of the Episcopal Church.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Blogging & the Internet, Episcopal Church (TEC), Media

Rupert Shortt: There are now almost as many Roman Catholics as citizens of China ”“ why?

A generation ago, mainstream Christianity was widely dismissed as démodé. This verdict itself looks old-fashioned today. Whether you view recent developments with relief or unease, it is clear that the Catholic Church, in particular, remains remarkably robust. There are now almost as many Catholics as citizens of China. Secularists might be surprised to learn that the Church is the largest single supplier of health care and education on the planet, the principal glue of civil society in Africa, the strongest bulwark of opposition to the caste system in India, and a leading player in global campaigns for sustainable living. It provides almost the only charitable presence in Chechnya, and other blackspots often forgotten by the rest of the world. Yet these marks of health contrast sharply with the often poor standard of the Church’s leadership. The anomaly is crystallized by the position of Catholic women. If access to education forms one of the most important strands in a girl’s advancement, then the Church gets a major part of the equation wholly right. At the same time, it makes a catastrophic mistake in continuing to teach that all artificial contraception is sinful. When the Pope spells out what he holds to be a corollary of this teaching ”“ that the provision of condoms makes the spread of HIV more likely ”“ then wrong-headedness shades into chronic irresponsibility.

Ian Linden begins his admirable new book with a Chinese proverb: when a tree falls it makes a big noise, when a forest grows nobody hears anything. Media interest in ecclesiastical affairs tends to focus on the falling trees reflected in sex scandals, “unholy rows” and popes who demonstrate their fallibility. Global Catholicism does not evade these topics, but the book’s starting point lies a long way from the marble halls of the Vatican and its sheltered inhabitants. The main task Linden sets himself is to chart how a Eurocentric body which had largely spread in the wake of empire has evolved over the past half-century into the world’s most diverse and far-flung organization.

Read it all.

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

Episcopal Church sues to regain control of Fort Worth-area buildings held by Anglican Group

The Episcopal Church filed suit Tuesday to regain control of Fort Worth-area church buildings and other property held by a breakaway contingent led by Bishop Jack Iker.

“We’re stewards of property that has been given for generations to the Episcopal Church. We can’t just let people walk off with it,” said Kathleen Wells, chancellor for the reorganized Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth.

The suit was filed in Tarrant County district court and names Iker as a defendant, among others.

Read it all.

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

USA Today: Q&A: Can we be married, but independent?

Sociologist Andrew Cherlin of Johns Hopkins University says in his new book, The Marriage-Go-Round, that Americans marry more, have more live-in partners and divorce more frequently than any other country. He talks to USA TODAY:

Q: Are Americans fickle about their relationships?

A: Americans are caught between two clashing values. They very much value marriage and long-term relationships but judge them on how personally fulfilling they are and how happy they are. It translates to a changing of partners because we want to be together with someone, but we also want to be independent. We’re trying to find that ideal partner, but we’re also wanting to be personally fulfilled. If we find the partner, we get married. If not, we break up.

Read it all.

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

Betwixt and Between: I Never Thought I'd See the Day When I'd Agree with Canon (Kendall) Harmon

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, Theology

Telegraph Editorial: Christians face a new persecution

Easter Sunday is the most confident and optimistic feast in the Christian calendar. And Christians presently need all the confidence they can muster. The latest EU draft directive has alarmed the Church of England, with good cause. In the name of outlawing discrimination, it would compel faith schools to admit unbelievers and force churches to perform marriage ceremonies for same-sex couples.

Neither of these impositions is reasonable. What is being attempted, under the guise of eliminating discrimination, is discrimination against Christians. Since legislators in Brussels must be well aware of this, it is disingenuous of them to pretend to be well-intentioned. The wider agenda is to remove anti-discrimination laws from the jurisdiction of Westminster to Brussels, when public opinion favours a reverse process ”“ the repatriation of authority to Britain.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, England / UK, Europe, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture

Living Church: North American Bishops Meeting with GAFCON Primates in London

Joining the archbishops in the three-day meeting are the Rt. Rev. Robert Duncan, Bishop of Pittsburgh in the Anglican Church of the Southern Cone and the archbishop-designate of the ACNA; the Rt. Rev. Jack L. Iker, Bishop of Fort Worth in the Anglican Church of the Southern Cone; the Rt. Rev. Charles Murphy; the leader of the Anglican Mission in the Americas (AMiA); the Rt. Rev. Martyn Minns, Bishop of the Convocation of Anglicans in North America and one of his bishops suffragan, the Rt. Rev. David Anderson; the Rt. Rev. John Guernsey, Provincial Bishop Suffragan for the Anglican Church of Uganda; the Rt. Rev. Bill Atwood, Bishop of All Saints Diocese in the Anglican Church of Kenya; and the Rt. Rev. Don Harvey, leader of the Anglican Network in Canada.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, --Proposed Formation of a new North American Province, Common Cause Partnership, GAFCON I 2008, Global South Churches & Primates