Daily Archives: March 31, 2010

CNS–Late nun's plea that Catholics really live Holy Week still resonates

Sister Thea Bowman, a well-known educator, evangelist and gospel singer, died March 30, 1990, but the Franciscan Sister of Perpetual Adoration left behind a legacy that still resonates, including her reflection on Holy Week that was released shortly after her death.

Sister Bowman, who was from Canton, was nationally known for her work to advance the life of her fellow black Catholics in the church. She was 52 when she died of bone cancer. For that last two years of her life the disease forced her to spend most of her time in bed or a wheelchair. She was buried alongside her parents in Memphis, Tenn.

She drew capacity crowds wherever she went, giving lectures and workshops on black Catholic culture and life. She was also a liturgist, a writer on spirituality and an artist. At the time of her death she had been a consultant for intercultural awareness for the Jackson Diocese for about 20 years.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Holy Week, Other Churches, Roman Catholic

Mark Lawrence–Disciplines to Renew the Mind: Reading and Meditating on God’s Holy Word

This is the last of my articles on the Lenten Disciplines. We have looked briefly and sequentially at Self-Examination & Repentance; Fasting; and Self-denial. We come now to the final disciplines mentioned in the Ash Wednesday’s Invitation in The Book of Common Prayer for the observance of a holy Lent””“Reading and Meditating on God’s Holy Word.” A recent Gallup Survey noted that only 10% of Americans read the Bible daily, and only one in five Christians belongs to a study group of any kind. Only 31% of committed Christian men have read a Christian book of any kind in the past year. Women who are committed Christians do significantly better here. It is important to realize that the mind will always take on an order that conforms to the order of whatever it concentrates upon or has in the past focused upon. Mind-pollution is a reality. Just consider the way a jingle from a commercial can stick in your mind sometimes even when you do not cultivate it.

St. Paul’s words are most appropriate in regards to this when he writes, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind”¦” That’s the goal we’re after in the discipline of Reading and Meditating on God’s holy Word. And since we have entered into Holy Week during which some of our parishes have a service every day and when each day brings us ever deeper into Christ’s redeeming work, it is the most appropriate time for me to take up these two disciplines.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Episcopal Church (TEC), Lent, Pastoral Theology, Spirituality/Prayer, TEC Bishops, Theology, Theology: Scripture

South Carolina Convention Resolutions Pass; Incursions Addressed

The Very Rev. Robert S. Munday, Ph.D., Dean and President of Nashotah House preached on the Lord’s Prayer during a service of Holy Eucharist. Dean Munday told listeners that the ultimate thing for which they should be praying is the power of the Holy Spirit. “God wants to give the power of the Holy Spirit to empower his Church,” he said.

Mark Lawrence, XIV Bishop of South Carolina, began his address to the convention quoting Saint Paul, “My spirit is troubled,” he said. “When I came to Troas to preach the gospel of Christ, even though a door was opened for me in the Lord, my spirit was not at rest….” 2 Corinthians 2:12-13a Lawrence noted that though there are doors open to us (for gospel work) we must, instead, turn our attention to the “distractions that come from the decisions others have made within The Episcopal Church.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Episcopal Church (TEC), Presiding Bishop, TEC Bishops, TEC Diocesan Conventions/Diocesan Councils

John Pozadzides: How I’d Hack Your Weak Passwords

Note: This isn’t intended as a guide to hacking *other people’s* weak passwords. Instead, the aim is to help you better understand the security of your own passwords and how to bolster that security.

Read it carefully

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Blogging & the Internet, Science & Technology

Georgetown Times–All Saints church groups reach an agreement, begin healing

Two local church groups that have disagreed for almost 10 years have recently come to an agreement, finally settling a long legal and emotional battle. These two groups are made up of family members and one-time friends who once shared the name All Saints Episcopal Church on Kings River Road in Pawleys Island.
One group, which made up the majority of the original congregation, left the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina and began worshipping under the Anglican Church.

The Episcopal group left the church grounds and, after a 2006 court ruling that gave the Anglicans the right to the All Saints property, started a new church on Highway 17 in Pawleys Island called All Saints Waccamaw Episcopal Parrish.
In September, the case was heard by the S.C. Supreme Court and the corporate entity of All Saints was awarded to the Anglican group.
Now that the two groups have come to consensus, everyone involved is looking forward to a future of healing.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, TEC Conflicts, TEC Departing Parishes

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams' 2010 Ecumenical Easter Letter

We who live in more comfortable environments need to bear two things in mind. One is that fellow-Christians under pressure, living daily with threats and murders, need our prayers and tangible support ”“ by personal contact, by continually reminding our governments and media of these things. To a Christian experiencing these threats, it matters more than most of us could imagine simply to know that they are not alone and not forgotten. But the second point to remember is that we need to keep our own fears in perspective. It is all too easy, even in comfortable and relatively peaceful societies, for us to become consumed with anxiety about the future of Church and society. We need to witness boldly and clearly but not with anger and fear; we need to show that we believe what we say about the Lordship of the Risen Christ and his faithfulness to the world he came to redeem.

The world will not be saved by fear, but by hope and joy. The miracle of the joy shown by martyrs and confessors of the faith is one of the most compelling testimonies to the gospel of Jesus. In whatever way we can, we must seek to communicate this joy, however dark or uncertain the sky seems. All authority belongs to Jesus, and into his wounded hands is placed the future of all things in heaven and earth. To him be glory for ever.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Ecumenical Relations, Holy Week

CBC: In Eastern Canada Rector furious over reprieve for St. Philip's Church Building

The council is allowing the Church By The Sea Committee enough time to develop its plan to turn the former church into a museum.

“I’m disappointed at how the vote went,” said Rev. Edward Keeping, the rector of the community’s church, who blamed some members of council for having made up their minds before the matter was debated Tuesday night.

He said he would file a complaint with the provincial Department of Municipal Affairs about the conduct of some councillors, and insisted the decision goes against the vast majority of congregation members who voted in favour of demolition at an annual meeting three weeks ago.

“We cannot afford it. We don’t have the money,” Keeping said.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Canada, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Stewardship

Telegraph–Marriage more stable than living together, Office for National Statistics finds

Analysis of Census results found that four-fifths of spouses who were married in 1991 were still together a decade later, compared with three-fifths of cohabiting couples.

Older couples and those with children were more likely to stay in the same relationships, the independent statistics body said.

The findings of the ONS are likely to reignite the political debate over whether married couples should be given tax breaks.

Read the whole article.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, England / UK, Marriage & Family

President Obama to Open Offshore Areas to Oil Drilling for First Time

The Obama administration is proposing to open vast expanses of water along the Atlantic coastline, the eastern Gulf of Mexico and the north coast of Alaska to oil and natural gas drilling, much of it for the first time, officials said Tuesday.

The proposal ”” a compromise that will please oil companies and domestic drilling advocates but anger some residents of affected states and many environmental organizations ”” would end a longstanding moratorium on oil exploration along the East Coast from the northern tip of Delaware to the central coast of Florida, covering 167 million acres of ocean.

Under the plan, the coastline from New Jersey northward would remain closed to all oil and gas activity. So would the Pacific Coast, from Mexico to the Canadian border.

The environmentally sensitive Bristol Bay in southwestern Alaska would be protected and no drilling would be allowed under the plan, officials said. But large tracts in the Chukchi Sea and Beaufort Sea in the Arctic Ocean north of Alaska ”” nearly 130 million acres ”” would be eligible for exploration and drilling after extensive studies.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Energy, Natural Resources, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Science & Technology

Notable and Quotable

“I don’t believe in an afterlife. I don’t believe in a single or multiple godhead. I respect people who do, but I don’t believe it myself. But there’s a big ‘but’ which enters in here. I am much more conscious than I ever was ”” for obvious reasons ”” on what it will mean to people left behind once I’m dead. It won’t mean anything for me. But it will mean a lot to them. It’s important to them ”” by which I mean my children or my wife or my very close friends ”” that some spirit of me is in a positive way present in their lives, in their heads, in their imaginations and so on. So [in] one curious way I’ve come to believe in the afterlife ”” as a place where I still have moral responsibilities, just as I do in this life ”” except that I can only exercise them before I get there. Once I get there, it will be too late. So, no God. No organized religion. But a developing sense that there’s something bigger than the world we live in, including after we die, and we have responsibilities in that world.”

European historian Tony Judt in an interview with Terry Gross of NPR

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Death / Burial / Funerals, Eschatology, Health & Medicine, Other Faiths, Parish Ministry, Secularism, Theology

Report: More seniors to be homeless by 2020

Many more elderly Americans could face…uncertainty in [the] coming years.

A report released Monday by the National Alliance to End Homelessness projects a 33 percent increase over the next decade in elderly people who are homeless.

That would mean that today’s estimate of 44,172 homeless over age 62 would climb to 58,772.

Officials last year counted only nine homeless people over age 65 in Sedgwick County. But 39 people ages 55 to 64 reported being homeless, hinting at the potential for an increase.

The growth could have “huge implications” for everyone and should be seen as evidence that a more expansive safety net of social services will soon be needed, said Nan Roman, president of the alliance.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Aging / the Elderly, America/U.S.A., Economy, Personal Finance, Poverty

Hamish McRae: Dealing with China will never be easy

They do things differently in China. As the four Rio Tinto executives have found to their cost, the fact that corruption is endemic in China does not mean that foreigners who transgress get a free pass. Indeed it is because corruption is so evident that it suits the authorities to have periodic high-profile cases to try to counter it. So the case was, as in Voltaire’s Candide, “pour encourager les autres”.

There may be further objectives. The former mayor of Shanghai, Chen Liangyu, the man credited with choreographing the city’s economic renaissance, is currently serving an 18-year sentence for corruption in what many saw as a politically motivated move. So all foreign companies operating in China should take heed of what has happened, as of course they will.

However, this particular case exposes just one of many difficulties the West has and will have in dealing with the world’s new great commercial power. Multinational companies have long been aware of the political risks of operating in different jurisdictions around the world. They have had their assets nationalised, their executives under house arrest and, worse, their bank balances frozen.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Asia, China, England / UK, Foreign Relations

USA Today–Health care law too costly, most say

Nearly two-thirds of Americans say the health care overhaul signed into law last week costs too much and expands the government’s role in health care too far, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds, underscoring an uphill selling job ahead for President Obama and congressional Democrats.

Those surveyed are inclined to fear that the massive legislation will increase their costs and hurt the quality of health care their families receive, although they are more positive about its impact on the nation’s health care system overall.

Supporters “are not only going to have to focus on implementing this kind of major reform,” says Robert Blendon, a professor of health policy and political analysis at Harvard. “They’re going to have to spend substantial time convincing people of the concrete benefits of this legislation.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Health & Medicine, Psychology, The 2010 Obama Administration Health Care Bill

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Have you not read this scripture: ‘The very stone which the builders rejected has become the head of the corner; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes’?”

–Mark 12:10,11

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Another Prayer for Holy Week

O Lord, who didst spend this day in quiet retreat at Bethany, in preparation for thy coming passion: Help us ever to live mindful of our end; that when thou shalt call us to pass through the valley of the shadow of death, we may fear no evil, for thou art with us, who didst die that we might live with thee for ever.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Lent, Spirituality/Prayer

Homeowners balk as property tax bills stay high

Despite a real estate implosion, property tax revenue collected by states and localities actually rose 2.7% last year to $421.8 billion.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market, Politics in General, State Government, Taxes, The September 2008 Proposed Henry Paulson 700 Billion Bailout Package

RNS: Faith Leaders Call for Civility After Attacks

As Democratic lawmakers reel from violent attacks and threats, religious leaders have issued a “covenant for civility” pledging that they will pray for politicians and model respectful behavior.

“The church in the United States can offer a message of hope and reconciliation to a nation that is deeply divided by political and cultural differences,” reads the statement, signed by more than 100 Christian leaders.

The covenant was released Thursday (March 25) by the anti-poverty group Sojourners, as members of Congress who voted in favor of health care reform have faced attacks. A brick was thrown through Democratic Rep. Louise Slaughter’s window in Niagara Falls, N.Y., and a gas line was cut at the home of the brother of Rep. Tom Perriello, D-Va.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Ethics / Moral Theology, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology

LA Times: Canings and church firebombings Flare up in Malaysia

The Metro Tabernacle Church, a storefront with metal shutters, sits gutted, black smoke stains on the concrete pillars bearing witness to the intense fire that destroyed the property.

The attacks on this and more than a dozen other houses of worship in January, followed in February by the caning of three Muslim teenagers for extramarital sex and a kerfuffle this month over an insulting act during a Christian service have prompted some soul-searching in Malaysia.

Though religious tensions have occasionally simmered in this multicultural society, these were the first attacks in recent memory, and left some Malaysians wondering how committed their nation remains to its relatively tolerant brand of Islam and what the cost could be to its global image, foreign investments and tourism trade.

“It hurts your international reputation,” said Kharis Idris, director of the MyFuture Foundation, which promotes multicultural engagement. “Church burning doesn’t sound good in any country. If it goes on, it will be bad for the economy. And if someone were to kill someone, all hell could break loose.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Asia, Islam, Malaysia, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Violence

Thomas Brundage–Getting the truth on the case of abusive Milwaukee priest Father Lawrence Murphy

As I have found that the reporting on this issue has been inaccurate and poor in terms of the facts, I am also writing out of a sense of duty to the truth.

The fact that I presided over this trial and have never once been contacted by any news organization for comment speaks for itself.

My intent in the following paragraphs is to accomplish the following:

To tell the back-story of what actually happened in the Father Murphy case on the local level;

To outline the sloppy and inaccurate reporting on the Father Murphy case by the New York Times and other media outlets;

To assert that Pope Benedict XVI has done more than any other pope or bishop in history to rid the Catholic Church of the scourge of child sexual abuse and provide for those who have been injured;

To set the record straight with regards to the efforts made by the church to heal the wounds caused by clergy sexual misconduct. The Catholic Church is probably the safest place for children at this point in history.

Read it all (Hat tip: WJT).

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic, Sexuality, Theology

Living Church: St. Andrew’s Leaves South Carolina Diocese

Two days after the Bishop of South Carolina announced a ceasefire in a long-standing property dispute, another large parish took final steps in separating from the Episcopal Church.

On March 27 the Rev. Rev. Mark J. Lawrence told the diocese’s annual convention that All Saints’ Episcopal Church, Waccamaw, and All Saints’ Church (Anglican Mission in the Americas) had reached an out-of-court settlement in their legal battle for church property.

On March 29 the congregation of St. Andrew’s, Mt. Pleasant, acted on a parish survey in December 2009 that recommended leaving the Episcopal Church to affiliate with the Anglican Church in North America’s Diocese of the Holy Spirit.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Departing Parishes

CSM–Christian faith: Calvinism is back

Snow falls resolutely on a Saturday morning in Washington, but the festively lit basement of a church near the US Capitol is packed. Some 200 female members have invited an equal number of women for tea, cookies, conversation ”“ and 16th-century evangelism.

What newcomers at Capitol Hill Baptist Church (CHBC) hear is hardly “Christianity for Dummies.” Nor is it “Extreme Makeover: Born-Again Edition.” Instead, a young woman named Kasey Gurley describes her disobedience and suffering in Old Testament terms.

“I worship my own comfort, my own opinion of myself,” she confesses. “Like the idolatrous people of Judah, we deserve the full wrath of God.” She warns the women that “we’ll never be safe in good intentions,” but assures them that “Christ died for us so we wouldn’t have to.” Her closing prayer is both frank and transcendent: “Our comfort in suffering is this: that through Christ you provide eternal life.”

It is so quiet you can hear an oatmeal cookie crumble….

Today, [Calvin’s] theology is making a surprising comeback, challenging the me-centered prosperity gospel of much of modern evangelicalism with a God-first immersion in Scripture.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Evangelicals, Other Churches, Reformed, Religion & Culture, Theology

Episcopal Diocese of Virginia: Appeal Hearing Set for April 13

The Supreme Court of Virginia has announced that it will hear the appeal of the Diocese of Virginia and the Episcopal Church on Tuesday, April 13. The Diocese is challenging the constitutionality of Virginia’s one-of-a-kind division statute (Va. Code § 57-9(A)) and the rulings of the Circuit Court, which allowed former Episcopalians to claim Episcopal Church property as their own. We expect a ruling on June 11.

Communicants of the Diocese are welcome to attend the hearing, although seating is quite limited. The Diocese has requested special arrangements to accommodate overflow seating, and we will keep you updated with news of these arrangements.

Read it all.

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

ADV:Virginia Supreme Court Sets Church Property Hearing for April 13

The Anglican District of Virginia (ADV) received notice that the Virginia Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on April 13, 2010, in the church property case brought by The Episcopal Church and Diocese of Virginia.

“Our church members are standing firm for the Gospel and will remain in prayer for the church property case that will be heard in a matter of weeks. It’s unfortunate that this matter, which we tried so hard to resolve amicably out of court, has now reached the level of the state Supreme Court. While we remain confident in our legal footing, it’s regretful that we had to defend ourselves in the first place,” said Jim Oakes, Chairman of the Anglican District of Virginia.

Read it all.

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

A Letter from Bishop Mark Lawrence to the S.C. Diocese Regarding St. Andrew's Departure

March 30, 2010
Tuesday in Holy Week
Diocesan House

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

I received a phone call from the Reverend Steve Wood, rector of St. Andrew’s, Mt. Pleasant, the day before yesterday, Sunday, March 28, 2010, that the Vestry and members of the parish voted to leave The Episcopal Church and affiliate with the Anglican Church in North America.

Although I am not surprised by this decision, I am saddened by it. In fact there is a poignant irony in the departure of St. Andrew’s from the Diocese and from The Episcopal Church. As bishop of the Diocese of South Carolina, I receive almost daily letters and emails from people across this Church suggesting that our stance gives them encouragement to remain and persevere within TEC. Yet here at home we could not hold one of our strongest congregations. The departure of The Episcopal Church from the way of Christ and the Biblically rooted teachings of the Church has become too discordant for them to tolerate any longer.

While the ramification from their departure has yet to unfold in its entirety, I hope many among us will look for ways to continue our mutual ministry and relationships. The arrangements to be made for those within the congregation who wish to remain within the Diocese of South Carolina and The Episcopal Church will be among the subjects that I will be discussing with Steve and the parish leadership, as well as among our diocesan leaders.

By God’s grace we will keep St. Andrew’s in our prayers and work with them to find ways to cooperate in gospel mission and ministry that honors Jesus Christ and his Kingdom.

Yours in Christ,

–(The Rt. Rev.) Mark Lawrence is Bishop of South Carolina

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * South Carolina, Episcopal Church (TEC), Evangelism and Church Growth, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Care, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Conflicts