Monthly Archives: June 2009

Wall Street Journal: The Albany-Trenton-Sacramento Disease

President Obama has bet the economy on his program to grow the government and finance it with a more progressive tax system. It’s hard to miss the irony that he’s pitching this change in Washington even as the same governance model is imploding in three of the largest American states where it has been dominant for years — California, New Jersey and New York.

A decade ago all three states were among America’s most prosperous. California was the unrivaled technology center of the globe. New York was its financial capital. New Jersey is the third wealthiest state in the nation after Connecticut and Massachusetts. All three are now suffering from devastating budget deficits as the bills for years of tax-and-spend governance come due.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Budget, Economy, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, State Government, Taxes, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government

House of Bishop's Theology Committee Report on Communing the Unbaptized

The sense of the Committee is that our work is not yet complete and that we have not had sufficient time to discuss all of these matters as fully as we would like. We offer this document to the House of Bishops and the larger General Convention as an initial reflection. In this document we try to reflect some of the issues around which our discussions have coalesced, though often without resolution. We also raise several issues and questions regarding the practice of “open communion.” These are issues that have either come up in our face to face discussions or from our examination of essays written on this topic or from conversations at various levels in our own dioceses. There may be need in the future to produce a more substantial document after further discussion and consultation with the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music and after receiving responses to this paper.

Read it carefully and read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Eucharist, General Convention, Sacramental Theology, Theology

Bruce Robison: The Covenant aligns with Episcopal identity

Some have suggested that the choice is between polar extremes: either we submit to an authoritarian international hierarchy, or we describe ourselves as some kind of autonomous American “denomination” affiliated on an ad hoc basis with some of the other churches around the world sharing similar historical backgrounds.

My view is that the covenant offers a third possibility–one more authentically aligned with our identity as a church that has from its beginning understood itself as simultaneously independent and interdependent – independent in terms of polity and governance, to be sure, but profoundly interdependent in character and spiritual identity.

The covenant is at its heart about recovering and renewing within our Anglican family of churches the spirit of Christian life reflected in Paul’s word, “the eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you'” (I Corinthians 12:21). The covenant says that it is from within the Anglican Communion that we of the Episcopal Church will continue the long process of learning what it means to be one in Christ Jesus.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Covenant, Episcopal Church (TEC)

Mark Tooley: A Tale of Two Churches

Arguably the Episcopal and Methodist Churches have been America’s historically most influential. Numerous American elites, including many of the Founders, were and are Episcopalian, making it often the de facto “established” church. And Methodism became America’s largest church in the 19th century, creating the evangelical populist ethos that robustly survives today, if now mostly among other denominations.”¨

Like other Mainline denominations, Episcopal and Methodist seminaries succumbed to theological liberalism early in the 20th century, reaching radical crescendos in the 1960s, when both churches began numerically to decline, a decline that continues until this day.

But the two denominations now seem set on different trajectories, as vividly illustrated by very recent events. Last week, the newly formed Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) convened its first provincial assembly, bringing into one denomination an estimated 100,000 regular worshipers and 700 congregations. Most of these Anglicans have left the Episcopal Church since 2003, when Gene Robinson became the first openly homosexual Episcopal bishop.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Episcopal Church (TEC), Methodist, Other Churches, Sexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths)

David Brooks: Vince Lombardi Politics

The great paradox of the age is that Barack Obama, the most riveting of recent presidents, is leading us into an era of Congressional dominance. And Congressional governance is a haven for special interest pleading and venal logrolling.

When the executive branch is dominant you often get coherent proposals that may not pass. When Congress is dominant, as now, you get politically viable mishmashes that don’t necessarily make sense.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Health & Medicine, House of Representatives, Law & Legal Issues, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Senate

A Picture of Your Blog Host with the Toy Maltese

This is Kendall Harmon and Temah.

Posted in * By Kendall, * General Interest, Animals, Harmon Family

Anglicans welcome new bishop to Algoma

A well-respected scholar and theologian is the Anglican Church of Canada’s Bishop of the Diocese of Algoma.

An overflowing congregation in Sault Ste. Marie welcomed Stephen Gregory Weed Andrews as its 10th bishop Monday at a ceremony at St. Luke’s Cathedral.

In addition to 11 of Ontario’s bishops and more from across Canada, the head, or primate, of the church, Fred Hiltz, attended and spoke of Bishop Andrews’ many assets.

“He has a very keen academic mind, and is a very skilled writer and speaker, particularly in the area of New Testament,” said Hiltz at a post-ceremony gathering at the Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre.

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

Post and Courier: Why Mark Sanford will stay

Amid a whirlwind of public criticism, a good dose of humility and lots of soul-searching over his affair with an Argentine woman, Gov. Mark Sanford on Monday said that one of the key reasons he has decided to stay in office is to avoid influencing the 2010 gubernatorial primary.

If Sanford would step down, Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer would become South Carolina’s 116th chief executive. Many see that as giving Bauer a leg up over other Republican candidates in next spring’s gubernatorial primary.

Bauer would have the spotlight, and the 18 months left in Sanford’s second term for a trial run to win over voters. That possibility has political insiders angling behind the scenes and dictating, in part, how Sanford’s fall from grace plays out.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, Politics in General, State Government

From the Morning Scripture Readings

A Song of Ascents. I lift up my eyes to the hills. From whence does my help come? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth. He will not let your foot be moved, he who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD is your keeper; the LORD is your shade on your right hand. The sun shall not smite you by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life. The LORD will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and for evermore.

–Psalm 121

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Benedict XVI: On Saint Paul, a Model of Love for Christ

St. Paul is an example of a priest who was completely identified with his ministry — just as the holy Curé d’Ars would also be — conscious of possessing a priceless treasure, that is, the message of salvation, but in an “earthen vessel” (cf. 2 Corinthians 4:7); thus he is at the same time strong and humble, intimately persuaded that everything is God’s doing, everything is grace.

“The love of Christ possesses us,” the Apostle writes. This could well be the motto of every priest — that the Spirit compels (cf. Acts 20:22) him to be a faithful steward of the mysteries of God (cf. 1 Corinthians 4:1-2). The priest must belong totally to Christ and totally to the Church; to the latter he is called to dedicate himself with an undivided love, like a faithful husband to his bride.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Sound of Silence: The Culture Wars Take a Break

The culture wars may not have ended, but on some fronts the combat has gotten rather quiet. For instance, family values.

True, David Letterman’s awkward joke about a daughter of Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska prompted denunciations of the “media elite” (though it also boosted Mr. Letterman’s ratings).

But the admissions of extramarital adventures by two Republican stalwarts, Gov. Mark Sanford of South Carolina on Wednesday and Senator John Ensign of Nevada the week before, did not help their party’s cause and stood in dim contrast to President Obama’s recent success in co-opting parts of the conservatives’ cultural agenda ”” whether voicing his opposition to gay marriage, or delivering Father’s Day homilies on parenting.

Still another instance of what may be an emerging politics of accommodation, with both parties seeing the benefits of the center, came earlier this month when Mr. Obama announced his selection of Jim Leach, a former congressman, to head the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Church/State Matters, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology

The bride wore white, and the bridesmaids wore collars

Wedding attendants are going to the dogs.

Pet-loving couples are increasingly including their dogs (and other pets, to a much lesser degree) in the wedding parties of some very formal weddings — decking them out in silk and satin and including them in the receiving line, on the program and in the portraits.

“Many people think of their pets as family members, and they wouldn’t think of having a special day like this without that member,” says Celina Bojorquez, co-owner of Beverly Hills Mutt Club, purveyor of upscale accessories like doggie tuxedos ($70 and up) and couture dresses ($170 to $500).

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * General Interest, Animals, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry

New North American Anglican grouping won't last says Gene Robinson

Bishop Gene Robinson, an openly homosexual man living openly with a partner, whose 2003 consecration as bishop of the diocese of New Hampshire created a backlash among traditional believers within the U.S., church, told Ecumenical News International he does not believe the new Anglican grouping has long-term viability.

“A church that does not ordain women or openly gay people – I don’t see a future for that,” Robinson told ENI after delivering a sermon on 28 June at the First Presbyterian Church in New York City during the city’s annual gay pride festivities.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, ACNA Inaugural Assembly June 2009, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Episcopal Church (TEC), Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Conflicts

Helen Smith: In my experience, the internet is not the disease but rather the symptom

A commenter in response to the news story, I think, hit the nail, on the head, “the internet is not the disease but the symptom.”

If a marriage is good, one will want to spend more time with their spouse, and perhaps if strained, will try to escape in various ways, which might include going online. Or, in my case, both spouses could spend a lot of time online and then use it to make their marriage better. Glenn and I discuss stuff online all the time and always have something fun to talk about. I have never laughed as hard at some of the things I read or had to think so much in response to some of them. So, I guess, like any hobby or vice (take your pick), it depends on how one uses it as to whether it is positive or negative.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Blogging & the Internet, Marriage & Family

Robert J. Samuelson: (Financial) Panics 'R' Us!

Up to a point, some retrenchment of the financial sector is healthy. It absorbed too much of America’s talent while pursuing strategies that, in hindsight, misallocated the nation’s investment capital. But there are perils to overregulation. It could dampen the normal risk-taking required for solid economic expansion.

However the debate concludes, regulation isn’t a panacea against future crises. The idea of “enlightened regulators” who are vastly more perceptive than the bankers, traders and money managers they regulate is a fiction. Even in early 2007, when the problems of subprime mortgages had emerged, few regulators or economists foresaw a wider financial meltdown. They didn’t see the impending chain reaction. The problem wasn’t a lack of regulation; it was a lack of imagination.

So the next crisis could come from anywhere — perhaps the follies of government, not finance. Between now and 2019, the U.S. federal debt could rise to $11 trillion , projects the Congressional Budget Office. U.S. Treasury bonds are the bedrock of the global financial system; they’re considered safe and reliable. What if a glut of bonds causes investors to lose faith? What are the implications? Good questions. The seeds of the next crisis almost certainly won’t be found in the debris of the last.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, History, Politics in General, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The U.S. Government