Monthly Archives: July 2009

The Anglican Bishop of Port Elizabeth responds to General Convention

The Episcopal Church General Convention adoption of resolutions D025 and C056 is a deliberate defiance of the wider Body of the Anglican Communion. We believe this is the choice they make to be politically correct with circular popular opion which seeks continually to destroy the moral fibre of people in general as we see the decay all around us. The blessings of the same-sex unions and the ordination of practicing gay clergy is inconsistence with the Word of God written; it is theologically uninformed, incoherent with the wider church, endorsing schism in the Anglican Communion and threatens ecumenical fellowship and relations.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Southern Africa, Anglican Provinces, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

David Sanders: The Great Philanthropy Takeover

With all of the talk in recent months from activist groups like Greenlining and the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy about how charitable foundations need to devote more of their resources to urban areas and racial minorities, observers may have forgotten how much of American poverty is white and rural.

Earlier this month, the Council on Foundations, a national association for philanthropic organizations, attempted to chart a progressive course aimed at combating problems facing rural America. It hosted a three-day conference at Bill Clinton’s Presidential Library, which sits only a short distance from the Mississippi River Delta, home to some of the country’s most abject poverty.

According to a new report from The Bridgespan Group, which analyzed grant-making in 2006 by the top 1,000 foundations, grants to rural America accounted for only 6.8% of overall giving even though 17% of the nation’s population is rural and 28% of that rural population lives in poverty. A 2003 analysis of poverty by U.S. Department of Agriculture revealed that of the 14.2% rural Americans who lived in poverty, 11.3% were white, 30.5% were black, 25.4% were Hispanic and 19.5% were classified as belonging some other ethnic group. With respect to corporate gifts, only 1.4% of the 11,000 grants made by 124 Fortune 500 companies in 2000 went to rural organizations.

Read the whole article.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Charities/Non-Profit Organizations, Poverty

Eduardo Porter: Are We What We Search?

Ancient Greece had the Oracle at Delphi. The Shang dynasty had oracle bones. Contemporary America has Google.

Earlier this month, Lawrence Summers, President Obama’s top economic adviser, unveiled a new class of tea leaf to gauge the direction of the American economy: Google searches. The number of queries for “Great Depression,” which surged earlier in the year, had declined sharply, Mr. Summers noted. Economic anxiety is abating. The economy is probably turning the corner.

It was not the first time Google was invoked to show us the way. The company has a tool to track the path of the flu virus by looking at geographic trends in Internet queries for related terms. A study by Google researchers suggested search patterns could be used to track everything from home sales to the popularity of tourist destinations, and add to the accuracy of forecasts for new-home starts and car sales.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Blogging & the Internet

Reverend Ike dies at 74; preached gospel of prosperity

The minister known as Reverend Ike, who preached the gospel of material prosperity to millions nationwide, has died. He was 74.

The Rev. Frederick J. Eikerenkoetter II died Tuesday, according to a statement on his website. The cause of death was not given.

Reverend Ike preached the power of what he called “positive self-image psychology” to his 5,000 parishioners at the United Church Science of Living Institute in New York.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Death / Burial / Funerals, Parish Ministry, Psychology, Religion & Culture

Marion Hatchett on the American Episcopal Church (trumpeted with "TEC: The Flagship of Anglicanism")

From here where it is trumpeted with the title “TEC: The Flagship of Anglicanism:”

The American Church jumped way out ahead of the Church of England and other sister churches in a number of respects. One was in giving voice to priests and deacons and to laity (as well as bishops and secular government officials) in the governance of the national church and of dioceses and of parishes. The early American Church revised the Prayer Book in a way that went far beyond revisions necessitated by the new independence of the states.

At its beginning the American Church legalized the use of hymnody along with metrical psalmody more than a generation before use of “hymns of human composure” became legal in the Church of England. At an early stage the American Church gave recognition to critical biblical scholarship.

The American Church eventually gave a place to women in various aspects of the life of the church including its ordained ministry. The American Church began to speak out against discrimination against those of same-sex orientation, and the American Church began to make moves in establishing full communion with other branches of Christendom.

Historically the American Church has been the flag-ship in the Anglican armada. It has been first among the provinces of the Anglican Communion to take forward steps on issue after issue, and on some of those issues other provinces of Anglicanism have eventually fallen in line behind the American Church. My prayer is that the American Church will be able to retain its self-esteem and to stand firm and resist some current movements which seem to me to be contrary to the principles of historic Anglicanism and to the teachings of the Holy Scriptures.

Ah, would this be the same American Episcopal Church which had the widely used 1786 Prayer Book that the English Church rejected, for, among many other things, its Unitarianism and anti-Trinitarianism? Hmmmm–KSH.

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

Notable and Quotable (II)

We make a leap now of just a hundred years. From 1689 we pass to 1789, and find ourselves in the city of Philadelphia, at a convention assembled for the purpose of framing a constitution and setting forth a liturgy for a body of Christians destined to be known as the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America. During the interval between the issue of the Declaration of Independence and the Ratification of the Constitution of the United States, the people in this country who had been brought up in the communion of the Church of England found themselves ecclesiastically in a very delicate position indeed. As colonists they had been canonically under the spiritual jurisdiction of the Bishop of London, a somewhat remote diocesan. But with this Episcopal bond broken and no new one formed, they seemed to be in a peculiar sense adrift. It does not fall to me to narrate the steps that led to the final establishment of the episcopacy upon a sure foundation, nor yet to trace the process through which the Church’s legislative system came gradually to its completion. Our interest is a liturgical one, and our subject matter the evolution of the Prayer Book. I say nothing, therefore, of other matters that were debated in the Convention of 1789, but shall propose instead that we confine ourselves to what was said and done about the Prayer Book. In order, however, fully to appreciate the situation we must go back a little. In a half-formal and half­informal fashion there had come into existence, four years before this Convention of 1789 assembled, an American Liturgy now known by the name of The Proposed Book. It had been compiled on the basis of the English Prayer Book by a Committee of three eminent clergymen, Dr. White of Pennsylvania, Dr. William Smith of Maryland, and Dr. Wharton of Delaware. Precisely what measure of acceptance this book enjoyed, or to what extent it came actually into use, are difficult, perhaps hopeless questions.

–William Reed Huntington, A Short History of the Book of Common Prayer

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Episcopal Church (TEC), Liturgy, Music, Worship

Notable and Quotable

In the creed commonly called the Apostles creed, one clause is omitted; as being of uncertain meaning and the articles of religion have been reduced in number; yet it is humbly conceived that the doctrines of the church of England are preserved entire, as being judged perfectly agreeable to the gospel.

It is far from the intention of this Church to depart from the Church of England, any further than local circumstances require, or to deviate in anything essential to the true meaning of the thirty-nine articles; although a number of them be abridged by some variations in the mode of expression and the omission of such articles as were more evidently adapted to the times when they were first framed, and to the political constitution of England.

And now, this important work being brought to a conclusion, it is hoped the whole will be received and examined by every true member of our church, and every sincere christian with a meek, candid and charitable frame of mind; without prejudice or pre-possessions; seriously considering what christianity is, and what the truths of the gospel are; and earnestly beseeching Almighty God to accompany with his blessing every endeavor for promulgating them to mankind in the clearest, plainest, most affecting and majestic manner, for the sake of Jesus Christ, our blessed Lord and Saviour.

–The preface of the Proposed 1786 Book of Common Prayer

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Episcopal Church (TEC), Liturgy, Music, Worship

Statement by Province of Southeast Asia Standing Committee in response to GC 2009

We are of the view that the passing of these 2 resolutions, when on a plain and ordinary reading, constitutes an abrogation by TEC of the agreed-to moratorium on the consecration of practising homosexual clergy as bishops and rites of blessing for same-sex unions. This effectively moves TEC irretrievably away from the orthodox position of the rest of the Anglican Communion as a whole on these issues. This is a negative development. It is also a repudiation of the listening and consultation processes put in place in an attempt to resolve these issues.

We reiterate that the basis of the common heritage shared through membership of the worldwide Anglican Communion is best reflected by the proposed Anglican Covenant, which we wholly support. The proposed Anglican Covenant encompasses our basic shared beliefs and traditions. It represents the most basic statement of what we consider to be acceptable for resolving the present predicament facing the Anglican Communion and moving forward. We hope that the Anglican Covenant will be endorsed by the provinces in the Anglican Communion within the next 12 months.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), The Anglican Church in South East Asia

Giles Fraser: Are you Anglican or C of E?

Another kick in the teeth from the Archbishop of Canterbury comes this week in his reflections on the US General Convention. It looks as if we are heading for a two-tier Anglican­ism, with the anti-gay lot being able to have “representative functions”, and the inclusive lot being edged out of any decision-making processes.

Actually, we have been something like a two-tier Church for a while, but the nature of this division is different from the one Dr Williams des­cribes. One tier is called the Church of England; the other is called Ang­lican­ism. Ordinary people in the pews are members of the former; those with “representative func­tions” ”” bishops and the like ”” are often of the latter.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

Church Times: Two-track Communion will not exclude, says Williams

Broken bridges to the wider Anglican Communion will not be repaired by recent actions of the General Convention of the Episcopal Church in the United States, the Archbishop of Canterbury has stated in a reflec­tion that advocates a “two-track” Communion based on accep­t-ance of the Covenant proposals.

The issue was not human rights or dignity, but whether the Church was free to recognise same-sex unions by means of public blessings seen as analogous to Christian marriage, he said in Communion, Covenant and our Anglican Future, published on Monday.

A “yes” would have had to be pre­ceded by “the most painstaking biblical exegesis”, strong consensus, solid theological grounding, and due account taken of the teaching of ecu­menical partners. This was not the situation, Dr Williams said. The Church did not sanction the chosen lifestyle of anyone living in a sexual relationship outside marriage, and “a certain choice of lifestyle has certain consequences.

“So long as the Church Catholic, or even the Communion as a whole, does not bless same-sex unions, a person living in such a union cannot without serious incongruity have a representative function in a Church whose public teaching is at odds with their lifestyle.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Archbishop of Canterbury, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention

Richard Crocker: The Episcopal Church Dispute is About Theology

In truth, our members overwhelmingly elected to leave the Episcopal Church in August 2004 due solely to long-standing theological differences, specifically regarding the authority of Holy Scripture and the Lordship of Christ.

What do those two phrases mean? Authority of Holy Scripture asks, “Does the Bible say what it means and mean what it says?” At St. James we believe that the Holy Bible is God’s word. We take to heart its teachings and do our best to live by its tenets. The lordship of Jesus Christ asks, “Is Jesus who the Bible says he is ”” the son of God, born of the Virgin Mary, who died for our sins, was resurrected, and is with God in heaven?” The Bible teaches this and we believe it to be true.

Over the course of several decades, the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles and the national Episcopal Church stepped further away from the Bible’s traditional teachings ”” to the point that many Episcopal leaders now deny Christ’s virgin birth and his resurrection from the dead. Just this month, the presiding bishop of the national Episcopal Church, Katherine Jefferts-Schori, proclaimed that having a personal relationship with Christ ”” a core tenet of evangelical Christian belief ”” is the “great Western heresy.”

Rhoades also opined that “the Episcopalians want their Newport Beach property back, but St. James is digging in.” Our legal battle is about religious freedom and property rights. Americans hold dear the right to free speech and freedom of religion. People should not have their property confiscated for exercising their religion even if others do not agree with their beliefs. But that is exactly what is happening to St. James. The Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles and the national Episcopal Church have never held title to the St. James property. The people of St. James bought and paid for every square inch of this property with their tithes and offerings. They alone purchased the pews, the hymnals and the Sunday School booklets. The Episcopalians never paid a penny toward the purchase of the St. James’ property or toward building construction.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Los Angeles

Firefighters Galvanize Milwaukee to Help Family of Burn Accident after Doing the Rescue

Visit for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

Posted in * General Interest

Boston Globe: With Ortiz Story, Steroids scandal hits home

David Ortiz, the greatest single-season home run hitter in Red Sox history, yesterday acknowledged testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug in 2003 as he launched his golden era as one of the game’s premier power hitters.

Manny Ramírez, with whom Ortiz formed a fearsome 1-2 punch that helped catapult the Sox to world championships in 2004 and ’07, also tested positive for performance-enhancing substances in ’03, The New York Times reported.

Ortiz and Ramírez became the first Sox stars identified as purported drug cheats in a decades-long scandal that has sapped the integrity of the national pastime. Ortiz said he was unaware of the positive test until a reporter informed him an hour before yesterday’s game between the Sox and Oakland A’s at Fenway.

“The news blindsided me,’’ Ortiz said in a prepared statement after he hit a three-run home run to propel the Sox to an 8-5 victory.

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

Living Church: Church Building Fund Plans Move to Richmond

The trustees of the Episcopal Church Building Fund (ECBF) have announced that the fund’s headquarters is moving to Richmond, Va. Offices will be relocating to St. Stephen’s Church there this fall.

“The Building Fund has been located at the Episcopal Church Center in Manhattan for 34 years, and has enjoyed a strong collegial partnership that has reaped abundance for both” said the Rt. Rev. Dabney Smith, Bishop of Southwest Florida and chairman of the ECBF board. “Today, we begin a new chapter in our 129-year history.”

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

Religious Intelligence: Archbishop’s TEC response reveals division

Commenting on Dr Rowan Williams’ 26 point reaction to TEC’s decision to part from the moratorium placed upon them by the Communion, the Rev Giles Fraser, chair of Inclusive Church and soon to be canon chancellor of St Paul’s Cathedral, said he respected the Archbishop’s sensitivity on the matter but believed much of Dr William’s response to be ”˜hypocritical’. “It [the response] says that you can’t liturgically acknowledge same-sex unions because this would be, in a sense, liturgical acknowledgment of sex outside of marriage,” he said.

“But actually the latest liturgy that the Church of England has produced for the joint wedding baptism services is precisely that, it seems to me, if you are actually getting married and having your children baptised at the same time you are producing a liturgy which acknowledges sex outside marriage so I think there is a form of hypocrisy that goes on here with regards to gay people.”

Reflecting on the Archbishop’s response he said there was now an increasing demand for TEC to be further represented outside of the US and in the UK. “If members of the Episcopal Church in London find that they are not welcome in Church of England parishes then I guess the Episcopal Church has to respond pastorally to their needs.” He added that TEC had representation in Europe with a strong centre in Paris.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Archbishop of Canterbury, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention

Bishop Wright and ACI–Rowan’s Reflections: Unpacking the Archbishop’s Statement

Once we penetrate the complex language, the ABC is also eventually clear that the great majority at GenCon voted, in effect if not in so many words, against the two relevant moratoria. ”˜The repeated request for moratoria . . . has clearly not found universal favour’ is a roundabout but ultimately unambiguous way of saying ”˜the majority voted against the moratoria’. This puts in a different light the reference in the first paragraph to ”˜an insistence at the highest level’ (i.e. a letter from the Presiding Bishop) that the relevant resolutions ”˜do not have the automatic effect of overturning the requested moratoria’. That may be true in a strict legal sense, though many will see this as an example of typical TEC behaviour, a grandmother’s-footsteps game of creeping forwards without being noticed. But the resolutions that were passed clearly had the effect (a) of reminding people that the way was in fact open all along to the episcopal appointment of non-celibate homosexuals, and (b) of reminding people that rites for public same-sex blessings could indeed be developed. The ABC is now clearly if tacitly saying, throughout the document, that there is no reasonable likelihood, at any point in many years to come, that TEC will in fact turn round and embrace the moratoria ex animo, still less the theology which underlies the Communion’s constant and often-repeated stance on sexual behaviour. Nor is there any reasonable likelihood that TEC will in fact be able to embrace the Covenant when it attains its final form a few months from now. That is the reality with which the Reflections deal.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Covenant, Archbishop of Canterbury, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention

Backers of Gay Marriage Rethink California Push

Marc Solomon, marriage director for Equality California, said he spent June and early July asking the opinions of nearly two dozen California political consultants and pollsters and had been surprised by the almost unanimous opinion that a 2010 race was a bad idea.

“I expected having watched the protests and the real pain that the L.G.B.T. community had experienced that there would be some real measurable remorse in the electorate,” Mr. Solomon said, referring to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. “But if you look at the poll numbers since November, they really haven’t moved at all.”

A major factor in any California balloting, of course, is money; campaigns here are remarkably expensive, with a number of costly media markets. The Proposition 8 campaign, for example, cost more than $80 million, with opponents spending some $43 million.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Politics in General, Sexuality, State Government

Files Vanished, Young Chinese Lose the Future

For much of his education, Xue Longlong was silently accompanied from grade to grade, school to school, by a sealed Manila envelope stamped top secret. Stuffed inside were grades, test results, evaluations by fellow students and teachers, his Communist Party application and ”” most important for his job prospects ”” proof of his 2006 college degree.

Everyone in China who has been to high school has such a file. The files are irreplaceable histories of achievement and failure, the starting point for potential employers, government officials and others judging an individual’s worth. Often keys to the future, they are locked tight in government, school or workplace cabinets to eliminate any chance they might vanish.

But two years ago, Mr. Xue’s file did vanish. So did the files of at least 10 others, all 2006 college graduates with exemplary records, all from poor families living near this gritty north-central town on the wide banks of the Yellow River.

With the Manila folders went their futures, they say.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Asia, China, Young Adults

Religious Intelligence: New Lichfield welcome strategy aims to increase attendance

The Everybody Welcome package includes a leader’s manual, booklets for members, and a DVD of interviews and footage demonstrating the effects of a good welcome. The course gives tips such as: train a dedicated ”˜Welcome Team’ to look out for newcomers, analyse whether the service is sufficiently engaging, and check the quality of post-service refreshments.

The course has been designed by the Archdeacon of Walsall, the Ven Bob Jackson, and Lichfield’s director of Parish Mission, George Fisher. Archdeacon Jackson said: “The first hurdle for visitors is are we going to find friendliness when we turn up? And I think in most churches, and certainly the better ones, they do. The big problem is how to get in. Anyone can attend a service, but how do you start belonging to a church community?”

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

Churches battle in California courts

The California courts have handed the Episcopal Church and the ACNA a mixed bag of legal decisions this month in the battles over parish property. While both sides have trumpeted the importance of their legal victories, neither ruling is likely to settle the property litigation.

On July 21 the Fresno County Superior Court affirmed its May 5 ruling granting summary judgment in favor of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin in its suit against the Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin, while an Orange County Court on July 13 dismissed two motions filed by the Diocese of Los Angeles against St James Church in Newport Beach, that challenged the legal sufficiency of the parish’s cause of action in light of the California Supreme Court decision in favor of the Diocese.

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

The Bishop of Georgia writes on General Convention 2009

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention, TEC Bishops

The Bishops of Massachusetts Write Their Clergy about General Convention 2009

Of particular interest to our diocese, and indeed to many across our church and communion, were the two actions recognizing the ministry (D025) and pastoral needs (C056) of persons in same-sex committed relationships. These measures (appended below) were prayerfully and painstakingly crafted and deliberated upon, and deserve your careful reflection so that our summarization here, and the various interpretations being offered elsewhere, do not do injustice to the careful work that preceded their adoption.

D025, “Commitment and Witness to the Anglican Communion,” reaffirms our church’s commitment to mission and an ongoing listening process within the Anglican Communion, and it recognizes that lay and ordained ministry is being exercised by persons in committed, same-sex relationships in response to God’s call. It also acknowledges that we in this church and the broader communion are not of one mind about these matters. We voted for this resolution as a descriptive rather than prescriptive statement, and as such, we see it as a truth-telling contribution to the ongoing conversation in our communion.

C056, “Liturgies for Blessings,” calls for the collection and development of theological and liturgical resources for the blessing of same-gender relationships, and acknowledges the church’s need to provide pastoral response to couples in same-gender marriages and unions, particularly in places such as our own state of Massachusetts where we are ministering in the midst of a discrepancy between what our civil law allows and our church canons do not.

Before we venture an interpretation of what this action of General Convention means for us here in the Diocese of Massachusetts, and before we can form any plans for how we might proceed accordingly, we feel it is important to take some time to speak, listen and pray with diocesan clergy and leadership, including the Standing Committee, as well as with our brother and sister bishops in similarly affected dioceses, so that how we ultimately go forward in Massachusetts not only responds with integrity to the pastoral needs in our local context but also takes into account, with what we hope can be some kind of consistency, the situations of our neighboring New England dioceses. All of this we do within the bounds of our wider Episcopal Church, which took this action in unity but not unanimity. We remain mindful that what we do locally and how we do it has implications for the wider body of which we are members.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops

Newsweek–Polyamory: The Next Sexual Revolution

Terisa, 41, is at the center of this particular polyamorous cluster. A filmmaker and actress, she is well-spoken, slender and attractive, with dark, shoulder-length hair, porcelain skin””and a powerful need for attention. Twelve years ago, she started dating Scott, a writer and classical-album merchant. A couple years later, Scott introduced her to Larry, a software developer at Microsoft, and the two quickly fell in love, with Scott’s assent. The three have been living together for a decade now, but continue to date others casually on the side. Recently, Terisa decided to add Matt, a London transplant to Seattle, to the mix. Matt’s wife, Vera, was OK with that; soon, she was dating Terisa’s husband, Larry. If Scott starts feeling neglected, he can call the woman he’s been dating casually on the side. Everyone in this group is heterosexual, and they insist they never sleep with more than one person at a time.

It’s enough to make any monogamist’s head spin. But the traditionalists had better get used to it….

It’s a new paradigm, certainly””and it does break some rules. “Polyamory scares people””it shakes up their world view,” says Allena Gabosch, the director of the Seattle-based Center for Sex Positive Culture. But perhaps the practice is more natural than we think: a response to the challenges of monogamous relationships, whose shortcomings””in a culture where divorce has become a commonplace””are clear. Everyone in a relationship wrestles at some point with an eternal question: can one person really satisfy every need? Polyamorists think the answer is obvious””and that it’s only a matter of time before the monogamous world sees there’s more than one way to live and love. “The people I feel sorry for are the ones who don’t ever realize they have any other choices beyond the traditional options society presents,” says Scott. “To look at an option like polyamory and say ‘That’s not for me’ is fine. To look at it and not realize you can choose it is just sad.”

Read it all (my emphasis).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Sexuality, Theology, Young Adults

Philip Turner: Communion And Hierarchy

Fr. [Mark] Harris with the rest of the communion opposes an international hierarchy with jurisdiction in the various local churches that make up the communion. He does, however, favor another form of hierarchy””one that finds no place in TEC’s constitution but nonetheless is now being argued in the courts of California, Pennsylvania, and Texas. For lack of a better term, I will call this the view of ecclesial hierarchy to be established in secular courts. The Office of the Presiding Bishop in the cases of the Dioceses of San Joaquin, Pittsburgh, and Forth Worth is arguing before a secular court that TEC is a hierarchical church with supreme authority located in the General Convention, the Executive Council, and the Office of the Presiding Bishop. In this scheme, the various dioceses are sub-units in a subordinate relation to these governing entities. The courts may be receptive to this argument because the law tends to operate with a very simple distinction between hierarchical and non-hierarchical churches. In this typology, TEC will appear at first glance as hierarchical in a way that say Pentecostal Churches do not.

It is a matter of general agreement that this position is being argued in order to prevent the three dioceses mentioned above, upon their departure from TEC, from taking the property of the diocese with them. To Fr. Harris’ credit, he has another, and to my mind nobler, reason for defending this position. He does not want the dioceses of TEC to be able to act independently of the General Convention, the Executive Council, and the Office of the Presiding Bishop. Thus, Fr [Mark] Harris has a position that is, as it were, a knife that cuts in two directions. Internationally, he seeks to establish the unfettered autonomy of the several provinces of the communion and so preclude any form of “global governance,” and domestically he wishes to establish a form of hierarchy, like that of the Methodists and Presbyterians, that locates final authority in a national form of governance that has supreme authority over its constituent units.

Fr. Harris’ position, like that of the Presiding Bishop and the majority of TEC’s present leadership, when all is said and done, serves to identify TEC as a denomination within the spectrum of American Protestant denominations. That is, Fr Harris wants TEC first of all to understand itself as an expression of Christianity defined by the borders of a nation state rather than as an expression of Catholic Christianity that happens to be located within the boundaries of a nation state.

The conversion of TEC, with little catholic remainder, into yet another American denomination is reason enough to be concerned about Fr. Harris’ views.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Polity & Canons, Theology

John Richardson on Rowan Williams' response to General Convention

This is as close as he comes to admitting ”˜schism’. In fact he specifically rejects the word in paragraph 24, describing it as simply “two styles of being Anglican”. Nevertheless, it envisages a future quite unlike the present, resulting from the decisions and actions of TEC and others.

Those of us who believe TEC is schismatic, who basically support ACNA and who are convinced the Covenant is a dead duck should not greet Dr Williams’ statement with automatic scorn. Its length is no more than we would expect from him, and its willingness to see both sides is intrinsic to his own theology. Nevertheless, there must still be a concern that he does not seem to accept the fundamental logic of what must happen when people pull in different directions.

Holding people together in such circumstances, whether by a covenant or by some other convention, may succeed, but it is in principle contrary to the underlying processes. Unless some means may be found by which TEC and others within the Communion can be made to pull in the same direction, then tensions will continue and a split is virtually inevitable.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Archbishop of Canterbury, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention

ENS: Episcopalians urged to support affordable health care

The Episcopal Public Policy Network issued a Policy Alert July 29 asking Episcopalians to contact their elected officials and urge them to pass legislation that would provide affordable health care to all Americans.

“For a while it looked like they were going to leave town without discussing it,” said DeWayne Davis, domestic policy analyst in the Episcopal Church’s Washington, D.C.-based Office of Government Relations, adding that late on July 29 it looked like the bill would be discussed in the House of Representatives.

Congress is set to take a monthlong summer recess beginning August 3.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Episcopal Church (TEC), Health & Medicine, Politics in General

Zenit on Rowan Williams Response to GC 2009: Anglican leader speaks to Episcopal Pro-gay Ruling

Archbishop Rowan Williams, the leader of the Anglican Communion, has spoken to the decision of the Anglican church in the United States to go forward with ordaining homosexual bishops and blessing same-sex unions.

In his statement Monday, Archbishop Williams addressed the decisions made at the Episcopal general convention, held early this month.

The declaration, titled “Communion, Covenant and our Anglican Future,” expressed concern about the U.S. church decisions regarding same-sex lifestyles, noting that “a realistic assessment of what [the] convention has resolved does not suggest that it will repair the broken bridges into the life of other Anglican provinces; very serious anxieties have already been expressed.”

The archbishop said the issue is a matter of “whether the Church is free to recognize same-sex unions by means of public blessings that are seen as being, at the very least, analogous to Christian marriage.”

“In the light of the way in which the church has consistently read the Bible for the last 2,000 years,” he said, “it is clear that a positive answer to this question would have to be based on the most painstaking biblical exegesis and on a wide acceptance of the results within the Communion, with due account taken of the teachings of ecumenical partners also. A major change naturally needs a strong level of consensus and solid theological grounding.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Archbishop of Canterbury, Ecumenical Relations, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention, Other Churches, Roman Catholic, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

Bay Area reporter: Episcopal Church OKs pro-gay measures

In the California Episcopal Diocese, “LGBT persons have and will be ordained,” explained Thomas M. Jackson, president of Oasis, an official LGBT ministry of the local diocese.

“That wasn’t the question,” he said. “The issue was whether or not people would be given a fair hearing if they were called to be considered to be a bishop.”

The Reverend John Kirkley, rector of the St. John the Evangelist in San Francisco’s Mission District, said he was “heartened” by the approval of ordination and blessing resolutions, at the same time voicing “hopeful patience” as the most “helpful response” to the Episcopal Church’s “small but significant steps forward.”

In moving on, both Jackson and Kirkley agree: Lay persons, deacons, priests, and bishops will abide by the constitutions and canons of the Episcopal Church that prohibit any kind of discrimination against gay people.

The ordination resolution in effect removes de facto moratoria on openly gay bishops.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

A Boy, the Middle East and the Sea

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As someone who grew up going to Lake George every summer and who probably takes the water far too much for granted, this one made me cry. Watch it all–KSH

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Children, Middle East, Travel

Chicago Consultation responds to Rowan Williams' recent reflections in response to GC 2009

In his statement, the Archbishop of Canterbury spoke to the entire Communion, including provinces in parts of the world where gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) people face serious criminal penalties and even death. We hope and pray that the Archbishop’s strong condemnation of prejudice against GLBT people, and his call to penitence for our inconsistencies on these issues, will embolden Anglicans across the world to stand against hatred and discrimination when they encounter it in their midst.

We also urge all Anglicans, including the Archbishop, to regard the full inclusion of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in the body of Christ as nothing less than a Gospel mandate and a requirement of our baptismal vows. To understand this issue as simply one of civil liberties or human rights ”” to which the Gospel also calls us ”” does grave injustice to our sisters and brothers in Christ and our fundamental understanding of baptismal theology.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Archbishop of Canterbury, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention