Daily Archives: May 7, 2009

AP: Obama defends, curtails National Day of Prayer

President Barack Obama is scaling back White House plans for Thursday’s National Day of Prayer even as his administration defends the tradition in federal court in Wisconsin.

Obama’s position has disappointed Christian conservatives, who want the president to do more to mark the day, and an atheist group that wants him to end the tradition.

The Obama administration has asked a judge to dismiss a lawsuit filed by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, which claims the day violates the separation of church and state. In a rare alliance, 31 mostly Republican members of Congress and a prominent Christian legal group are joining the administration to fight the lawsuit.

Congress established the day in 1952 and in 1988 set the first Thursday in May as the day for presidents to issue proclamations asking Americans to pray.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Religion & Culture, Spirituality/Prayer

Manny Ramirez will be suspended 50 games for positive drug test

Manny Ramirez has tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs and will be suspended 50 games starting today, The Times has learned.

The test result and suspension is expected to be announced later today. The Dodgers informed triple-A outfielder Xavier Paul this morning that he was being promoted to Los Angeles.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Drugs/Drug Addiction, Sports

Domino's billionaire says economy won't stop his vision of Catholic school, town

Near the magnificent new church on the Ave Maria University campus, sculptor Marton Varo chips away at 80 tons of the best white marble money can buy, direct from the same Italian quarry where Michelangelo used to get his.

The $3 million, 35-foot-tall bas-relief sculpture depicts The Annunciation, when the angel Gabriel tells the Virgin Mary she will bear the son of God. The work will someday adorn the facade of the 10-story Ave Maria Oratory, around which a modern campus and college town have materialized in quick time on the edge of the Florida Everglades.

The recession has a stranglehold on much of southwest Florida, but billionaire Thomas Monaghan’s vision for the 1,100-seat church and the Roman Catholic school he created continues to take shape, even if construction isn’t progressing as quickly as he had hoped.

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

Indaba funded from Atlanta, Georgia. Report from ACC-14 Day 5 part 2

In the colonial era the Anglican Church and British Imperial Power were not just continuous but identical. Orthodoxy and imperialism were inseparable in the British colonial project. British imperialism used religious orthodoxy ”“ the true faith, and political orthodoxy, parliamentary government as opposed to despotic rule. This helps to explain the resistance among liberals to orthodoxy. It was unthinkable for them to espouse orthodoxy without being associated with imperialism.

This now presents a problem for those from the non-western former colonial world who espouse orthodoxy. They are thought themselves to be relics of a colonial past. The challenge for them is demonstrate that religious orthodoxy is liberating and transformative. Liberals see them only as representing an alliance of orthodoxy with oppression.

In creating uncolonial space where they demonstrate that the gospel brings liberation and transformation, the Global South leaders are not only creating space for themselves, but also for the orthodox of western societies who are marginalized because they will not go along with the cultural pressure for diversity, inclusion and pluralism and are therefore seen as rigid and repressive. Evangelicals since John Stott have been regarded as marginal from the centres of power both of English society and the English church. Thus uncolonial space is global.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Consultative Council, Globalization

Robert Lundy–The Fourth Moratorium – Report from ACC-14 Day 5 Part 1

The Windsor Continuation Report to the Archbishop of Canterbury and ACC-14 sets out nine recommendations that its authors felt would best deal with the present crisis in the Anglican Communion. Of the nine recommendations set forward, none of them pertain to the cessation of litigation by TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada. This omission would not be as ironic if it were not for the fact that the text of the WCG’s report does directly refer to the litigation going on in North America. Paragraph 34 says, “”¦a fourth moratorium requested by the unanimous voice of the Primates at Dar es Salaam in 2007 – to see the end of litigation – has also been ignored.” However, when the report’s authors decided to make recommendations as to the “four moratoria,” they dealt with moratoria one, two, and three (on consecrations of bishops living in a same gender union, permission for rites of blessing for same sex unions, and interventions in provinces) but omitted moratorium number four. Why would they do that?

When asked why this “fourth moratorium” was addressed in the report’s content, paragraph 34, but not in its recommendations, the highest level answer I could get was, “I can’t tell you the answer to that question.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Consultative Council, Law & Legal Issues

ACNS: The Continuing Indaba and Mutual Listening Project

During the past few years the Anglican Communion has been developing a ”˜Listening Process’. The root of the process was in response to the request of the bishops attending the Lambeth Conference in 1998 in Resolution 1.10 to establish “a means of monitoring the work done on the subject of human sexuality in the Communion” and to honour the process of mutual listening, including “listening to the experience of homosexual persons” and the experience of local churches around the world in reflecting on these matters in the light of Scripture, Tradition and Reason. The Anglican Consultative Council meeting in Nottingham (ACC 13) encouraged such listening in each Province and requested the Secretary General to collect and make available these resources for use in the Communion.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Consultative Council

Sudan: Anglican Head Warns Nation Could Return to War

Sudan is in real danger of sliding back to war, according to the head of the Anglican Church in the Eastern African nation.

On Monday, Archbishop Daniel Deng Bul, Primate of the Episcopal Church of Sudan, wrote a passionate letter to representatives of the international community in the country appealing for their increased support for implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) which ended the civil war in 2005.

He said he had recently toured many parts of South Sudan and witnessed first-hand the suffering of the people due to growing insecurity.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Anglican Provinces, Episcopal Church of the Sudan, Sudan, Violence

Notable and Quotable

Nondiscipleship is the elephant in the church. It is not the much discussed moral failures, financial abuses, or the amazing general similarity between Christians and non-Christians. These are only effects of the underlying problem. The fundamental negative reality among Christian believers now is their failure to be constantly learning how to live their lives in The Kingdom Among Us. And it is an accepted reality. The division of Christians into those from whom it is a matter of whole-life devotion to God and those who maintain a consumer, or client, relationship to the church has now been an accepted reality for over fifteen hundred years.

And at present–in the distant outworkings of the Protestant Reformation, with its truly great and good message of salvation by faith alone–that long-accepted division has worked its way into the very heart of the gospel message. It is now understood to be a part of the “good news” that one does not have to be a life student of Jesus in order to be a Christian and receive forgiveness of sins. This gives a precise meaning to the phrase “cheap grace,” though it would be
better described as “costly faithlessness.”

–Dallas Willard, The Divine Conspiracy (San Francisco: Harper, 1998), p.301; emphasis his

Posted in Uncategorized

Anglican Journal: Anglican provinces may be asked to increase contributions

The 14th Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) will consider requesting member provinces to increase their financial contributions to the Anglican Communion by 10 per cent over a three-year period to cover the cost of inflation.

Briefing ACC delegates on the state of Communion finances, Canon Kenneth Kearon, secretary general of the Anglican Communion, expressed concern that “we’re now operating on low reserves” of £104,000 ($183,000 Cdn).

Mr. Kearon distributed a list of contributions made by each province and urged delegates to look at them. He said “an exceptional increase of 10 per cent” had similarly been requested at the last ACC meeting in 2005, but “frankly, very few gave; money wasn’t forthcoming.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Consultative Council, Parish Ministry, Stewardship

ENS: Listening Process ready to move to next phase

The Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) asked May 6 for a renewal of the Anglican Communion’s process of listening to homosexual persons and those who struggle with the full inclusion of such persons in the life of the church.

A resolution passed by the ACC on the fifth day of its May 2-12 meeting here says the council “recognizes that listening is a long-term process” and is linked to the Windsor Continuation Group’s call (in paragraph 26 of its final report) for “gracious restraint” from blessing same-gender relationships and the ordination and consecration as bishops of people living in such relationships.

The resolution also notes its request echoes the continuation group’s call for the renewal of the Listening Process and “a real seeking of a common mind upon the issues which threaten to divide us.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Consultative Council

ACC-14 Press Briefing 5th May 2009

One of the most important issues to come before the Anglican Consultative Council is the draft text of the Anglican Covenant. The idea for an Anglican Covenant has been before the Communion for the past few years and it was in 2006 the Archbishop of Canterbury established the Covenant Design Group. The process has been one of evolving texts as ideas suggestions hopes and fears from Primates, Provinces and the Lambeth Conference were shared with the Design group. Just before the Anglican Consultative Council began The Covenant Design Group produced The Third (Ridley Cambridge) Draft .

The Chair of the Covenant Design Group Archbishop Drexel Gomez presented a history of the process and the current text at ACC-14 on Monday May 4th. His address may be found here

On Tuesday May 5 Archbishop Gomez and Bishop Gregory Cameron held a press briefing reviewing the document and Bishop Gregory explained the process that ACC will follow in considering the text and discussed the kind of resolution that would be needed to forward the Covenant to the provinces for their consideration.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Consultative Council, Anglican Covenant

A.S. Haley on the Legal Arguments in San Joaquin

If it did not succeed for Bishop Dionisije Milivojevich, why should that maneuver succeed for Bishop Jerry Lamb? What right, under the Serbian Orthodox decision, does anyone have to come into a secular court and seek a declaration that Bishop Schofield has been duly and properly deposed, and is no longer the “Bishop of San Joaquin”?

And, even more pertinent to the issues at hand, who is to say that the Rt. Rev. Jerry A. Lamb is the proper person even to bring such a claim? If we are to look only to the Episcopal Church (USA) to say who is one of its bishops, then as already mentioned, what is to stop the Episcopal Church from picking out any loyal parishioner and saying: “You are now ‘the Bishop of San Joaquin.’ Please sign this lawsuit for us. Thank you.”

The answer to that last question is simply what has already been noted: the Constitution and Canons of the Diocese of San Joaquin, as duly enacted and adopted over the years, are the only authority that can specify just who is and who is not a Bishop of that Diocese. Unless and until they have been followed to the letter, the defendants contend that there is no person who can in law (as opposed to whatever the Episcopal Church (USA) wants to do) claim to be that Bishop. And since they were not followed in the case of the Rt. Rev. Jerry A. Lamb, he cannot, they maintain, be entitled to bring a suit in law as “the Episcopal Bishop of San Joaquin.”

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

E.J. Dionne: Words From Rome Change The Debate on Inviting Obama to Notre Dame

We now know that the reaction of right-wing Catholics to Notre Dame’s invitation to President Obama falls into the category of “more Catholic than the pope.”

To the dismay of many conservatives, the Vatican’s own newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, has offered what one antiabortion Catholic blog called “a surprisingly positive assessment of the new president’s approach to life issues” — so positive, in fact, that a spokesman for the National Right to Life Committee was moved to criticize Pope Benedict XVI’s daily.

The Vatican newspaper offered its analysis as Catholic liberals and conservatives are battling fiercely over Notre Dame’s decision to invite the president as this year’s commencement speaker and to grant him an honorary degree….

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Education, Life Ethics, Office of the President, Other Churches, Politics in General, Pope Benedict XVI, President Barack Obama, Roman Catholic

David Ignatius: Baby Boomers Going Bust

People have accused the baby boomers of being whiners almost since we were born. But just wait until we get to retirement age and discover that we don’t have nearly enough money to take care of our “golden years.” That’s going to be the ultimate generational bummer.

I’ve been gathering some data about what I’ll call, with the usual boomer understatement, the “retirement crisis.” My mentors have been Eugene Ludwig, the head of the consulting firm Promontory Financial Group, and his colleague Michael Foot. The numbers show a genuinely frightening gap between what people have saved for retirement and what they will need. And many of these studies don’t take into account last year’s stock market crash, which will make the problem worse.

Let’s start with the basic fact that only about half of Americans have any employer-sponsored retirement plan at all. The other folks will have to depend on Social Security. For a typical boomer worker, that would mean a monthly benefit of about $2,400 at a retirement age of 66 in 2020. On that, you won’t be able to afford many Starbucks lattes.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Aging / the Elderly, Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, Stock Market, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

A Washington Post Editorial: Unsnarling Travel

President Obama seeks to change this. Last month, he released a strategic plan that identified 10 corridors for high-speed rail ranging between 100 miles and 600 miles that could be eligible for federal funding. Attention would be shown to Acela. Mr. Obama would plunk down $8 billion authorized in the stimulus package and $5 billion over the next five years. That is a drop in the bucket; a proposed line between Anaheim, Calif., and San Francisco alone carries an estimated cost of $34 billion and would take 10 years to build. But this is a worthwhile down payment on a transportation system that would benefit the environment.

Mr. Obama calls high-speed rail “long overdue.” So is a modern air traffic control system. A car GPS navigation unit is more advanced than the 1950s-era equipment being used today. The Federal Aviation Administration is putting the pieces in place to make NextGen fully operational. It would allow more planes to get into and out of the air faster, relieving airport congestion and reducing delays. This is especially important for the New York area. A third of all U.S. flights go through the region, and a hiccup at any of its four major airports can affect two-thirds of the nation’s air traffic.

But it is not clear how the FAA will pay for key components of NextGen.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, The U.S. Government, Travel

BibeBeltBlogger: The Bishop of Spokane Votes Yes on Northern Michigan

…the bishop of Spokane, the Right Rev. James E. Waggoner, told me today (5/5/09) he has consented to the election of the Rev. Kevin G. Thew Forrester as bishop of Northern Michigan.

The word that Waggoner used most (about a half-dozen times) to describe Thew Forrester is “integrity.” Bishop Waggoner said he knows Thew Forrester, he’s worked with Thew Forrester, he’s read the bishop-elect’s writings and he’s observed the bishop-elect’s leadership.

“He’s a person of integrity in his proclamation of the Gospel, in his preaching, in his teaching. I think it [Thew Forrester’s message] certainly is orthodox and has integrity to it,” Waggoner said.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Northern Michigan

ACNS: Resolutions of ACC-14 from 5th May

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Consultative Council

John Allen: Can the Pope Bring the Peace?

…when Pope Benedict XVI visits Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian territories starting on Friday, the world may be excused for holding its breath. In his four years on the job, this pope has not always demonstrated a deft symbolic touch. If he simply manages to get back to Rome without starting a war, some might declare the trip a success.

Yet Benedict can, and should, do much more. Granted, the pope is not a politician, and this trip is more a pilgrimage than a diplomatic mission. Nonetheless, Benedict can make a unique contribution to the peace process at a moment when it obviously needs the help.

The reason for this is that popes enjoy a tremendous advantage over Western politicians in engaging the Middle East. This is the realm of “theopolitics,” where religious convictions always shape policy choices. A pope can engage those convictions in a way that secular trouble-shooters like former Senator George Mitchell, President Obama’s envoy to the Middle East, never could.

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Posted in * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Israel, Jordan, Mexico, Middle East, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic, The Palestinian/Israeli Struggle