Daily Archives: November 1, 2010

(Telegraph) Anglicans who defect to Rome 'can stay in CofE churches'

Anglicans who defect to Rome in protest at plans to ordain women bishops could be allowed to continue worshipping in their Church of England buildings, a leading official said today.

Hundreds of priests and parishioners are expected to take up the Pope’s offer to convert to Roman Catholicism and join a new body for Anglicans who disagree with the ordination of women bishops when it is established next year.
Church authorities have insisted that defectors will not be able to retain their parish buildings when they leave the Anglican family.

But today the Church’s most senior official, William Fittall, raised the prospect of a compromise.
Mr Fittall, secretary general of the General Synod, said it would be “entirely possible” for those who convert to Roman Catholicism to be allowed to share their former churches with Anglicans who remain in the Church of England.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

Actions on the Resolutions of the Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Iowa

Here is one:

Resolution 158-E
Support for Our Independent Judiciary

BE IT RESOLVED, that the 158th Annual Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Iowa express support for the state of Iowa’s system of judicial merit selection and retention of judges and for the justices of the Iowa Supreme Court in the wake of their unanimous decision upholding Iowa court case Varnum v. Brien, 763 N.W. 2d 862 (Iowa 2009). This decision has subjected them to campaigns by politicians, clergy, and lobby groups who are opposed to the decision and who are seeking to stir the electorate to vote against retaining the three justices who are up for retention election in November of 2010; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that while people have different opinions about the Court’s decision in this or any case, this resolution is to give thanks to God who inspired the founders of the United States of America to wisely entrust us with a government that includes an independent judiciary to serve as a check on the power of the state over an individual or minority group; a government where the liberties of individuals and minorities are protected by the Constitution of the United States and, here, of the State of Iowa. Where, by the founder’s design, and as was done in Varnum v. Brien, 763 N.W. 2d 862 (Iowa 2009), jurists are to be guided by law and statute. The Episcopal Diocese of Iowa supports our independent judiciary as the best way for all Americans to receive fair and impartial justice, not subject to the political pressures of politicians or lobby groups or popular majorities; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Episcopal Church in Iowa is grateful for the God-given, far-seeing, wisdom of the founders; who, over 200 years ago, saw the necessity of the separation of church and state to best protect our religious freedom; and
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that a copy of this resolution of support be sent to each of the justices of the Iowa Supreme Court, and to the Supreme Court Administrator.

Read them all (scroll down).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, TEC Bishops, TEC Diocesan Conventions/Diocesan Councils

CEN–Church panel accuses Indian Bishop of fraud

A Church of South India (CSI) panel has concluded that a prima facie case for fraud can be laid against the Bishop in Coimbatore.

In interim report prepared by an investigatory panel given to the CSI executive committee last month concluded Bishop Manickam Dorai was likely to have committed fraud and theft of church funds. A final report will be presented to the executive committee in December, but the interim findings determined there was probable cause to dismiss Bishop Dorai, the panel concluded.

On July 2, the executive committee of the CSI’s General Synod placed Bishop Dorai on an indefinite leave of absence and dissolved the diocese’s executive council. The bishop and his cronies are accused of embezzling diocesan funds and taking kickbacks on construction projects amounting to over £500,000.

Read it all.

Posted in * International News & Commentary, Asia, Ethics / Moral Theology, India, Pastoral Theology, Theology

Michiko Kakutani reviews James Kaplan's new book on Frank Sinatra

He was the original teeny-bopper heartthrob and the harbinger of a new age of celebrity. When it snowed, one writer observed, “girls fought over his footprints, which some took home and stored in refrigerators.”

The story of Frank Sinatra’s rise and self-invention and the story of his fall and remarkable comeback had the lineaments of the most essential American myths, and their telling, Pete Hamill once argued, required a novelist, “some combination of Balzac and Raymond Chandler,” who might “come closer to the elusive truth than an autobiographer as courtly as Sinatra will ever allow himself to do.”

Now, with “Frank: The Voice,” Sinatra has that chronicler in James Kaplan, a writer of fiction and nonfiction who has produced a book that has all the emotional detail and narrative momentum of a novel.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Books, History, Music

CNS–Pope calls on world community to help end savage violence in Iraq

A deadly militant siege of a Catholic church in Baghdad, Iraq, was a “savage” act of “absurd violence,” Pope Benedict XVI said.

The pope urged international and national authorities and all people of good will to work together to end the “heinous episodes of violence that continue to ravage the people of the Middle East.”

“In a very grave attack on the Syrian Catholic cathedral of Baghdad, dozens of people were killed and injured, among them two priests and a group of faithful gathered for Sunday Mass”, the pope said of the Oct. 31 incident.

“I pray for the victims of this absurd violence, which is even more savage because it struck defenseless people, gathered in God’s house, which is a house of love and reconciliation,” he said after praying the Angelus with pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square Nov. 1, the feast of All Saints.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Iraq, Middle East, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

Episcopal Diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania celebrating 100 years

Only a little more than 120 miles separate Erie and Pittsburgh, but Episcopalians decided a century ago that the regions were too far and too different for one bishop to cover.

So at a convention in 1910, they created the Diocese of Erie from parts of the Pittsburgh diocese.

Now members of that newer entity, which eventually came to be known as the Episcopal Diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania, will celebrate its centennial. The Erie-based diocese also will hold its annual convention here.

“We are in a really hopeful time for the diocese,” administrator Vanessa Butler said.

While membership is down to about 4,700, she said, the 34 congregations in the diocese are all working toward the mission of transforming lives and attracting people to the light of Christ.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops

Millions of homeowners keep paying on underwater mortgages

For almost two years, home foreclosures have swept the nation, spreading misery among once-buoyant families, spattering lenders with red ink and undermining efforts to restart the economy.

But a bigger problem may turn out to be the millions of Americans who are still faithfully paying their mortgages, but on houses worth far less than before the bubble burst. It’s not that these homeowners will stop making their payments. It’s just the opposite ”” that they will keep doing it.

How could that be a source of future trouble? Because, with home prices stagnant in much of the country, payments on mortgages that are underwater could absorb billions of dollars that might be used for other forms of consumer spending ”” a drag on family finances, the housing market and the overall economy.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market, Personal Finance, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Bloomberg–Food Inflation Accelerating as Cooking Oil Poised to Catch Grains

Cooking oils, left behind in this year’s surge in agriculture prices, are poised to catch up with grains as record demand cuts stockpiles by the most in 17 years.

Inventories of soybean oil and palm oil, used by Nestle SA and Unilever and in everything from Hellmann’s mayonnaise to Snickers candy bars, will drop 12 percent in the coming year as China and India increase consumption 11 percent, U.S. Department of Agriculture data show. Food prices climbed in September to the highest level since the crisis in 2008 that sparked riots from Haiti to Egypt, the United Nations says.

“China’s economy is growing and there’s no reason why the country will take any less food next week, next month, or next year,” said Steve Nicholson, a commodity procurement specialist at International Food Products Corp., a distributor and advisor on food ingredients in Fenton, Missouri. “We’ve been able to produce more food in the past 2,000 years, but can we do it fast enough to meet the demand from China and other emerging economies to stave off a crisis?”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Asia, China, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Economy, Globalization

Society must protect people unable to work ”“ Archbishop Barry Morgan of Wales

People who are unable to work need to be cared for properly and not be accused of being work-shy, the Archbishop of Wales said last night.

Dr Barry Morgan said the mark of a civilised society was the way it cared for its worst off members.

He was speaking at a service to mark the 100th anniversary of the Tonypandy Riots.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Economics, Politics, Anglican Provinces, Church of Wales, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market

Kendall Harmon–Are there Prophets in our Midst?

We hear a lot of talk about being “prophetic” in the Episcopal Church these days, but should we?

On many occasions in the last several years I have heard an Episcopal Church leader say, “we are a prophetic church; we speak truth to power.” As I write this, there is an essay in circulation with the headline “Now is the time for prophetic action.”

We need to think carefully about such words.

In the Bible, a prophet was someone who brought God’s word into a situation. God spoke to them, they listened, and sought accurately to convey what they heard to God’s people. Hence we hear such Old Testament language as “Thus says the Lord,” or, in the ministry of Jesus, when we read “it was said”¦but I say to you.”

There are no prophets in the full biblical sense any more. As far as we know, the canon of Holy Scripture is closed. But it is possible, although rare, to see in a ministry a “prophetic” element. How can we discern such a thing?

For starters, prophets are not usually self-referential and are never self-authenticating. You do not find them saying, “Hi, I am a prophet.” Indeed, quite the opposite is the case. Amos answered Amazi’ah, “I am no prophet, nor a prophet’s son; but I am a herdsman, and a dresser of sycamore trees”¦” (Amos 7:14).

Prophets also swim upstream in the time in which they minister. WAY upstream. If people are zigging, there may be an occasional zagger, but prophets are zuggers. They come from surprising backgrounds, speak in often shocking ways, and are most of the time greeted with disdain, opposition, hostility, or even worse. As Hebrews puts it:

“They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword; they went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, ill-treated — of whom the world was not worthy — wandering over deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth” (11:37-38)

Perhaps most importantly, prophets are almost always only seen fully in retrospect. When Jeremiah was ministering, many thought him crazy, and most believed him wrong. People from his home area plotted to kill him, and those in authority lowered him at one point into a pit of miry clay. They believed the temple of the Lord was impregnable and the Babylonians were never coming; it was only much later that they could see Jeremiah’s words about both were accurate.

If we use these three measuring points, are there many today who may have prophetic elements in their ministry? Perhaps; but I would venture to say that if so none of us know or recognize them as such right now, and we will be very surprised in heaven when we see the truth of how God is using them.

In the meantime, let us be cautious about such language, remembering well Jesus’ warning: “”Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves” (Matthew 7:15)

–The Rev. Dr. Kendall S. Harmon is Canon Theologian of the Diocese of South Carolina and the convenor of this blog

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * By Kendall, Episcopal Church (TEC), Pastoral Theology, Sermons & Teachings, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Gallup–Republicans Appear Poised to Win Big on Tuesday

The final USA Today/Gallup measure of Americans’ voting intentions for Congress shows Republicans continuing to hold a substantial lead over Democrats among likely voters, a lead large enough to suggest that regardless of turnout, the Republicans will win more than the 40 seats needed to give them the majority in the U.S. House.

The results are from Gallup’s Oct. 28-31 survey of 1,539 likely voters. It finds 52% to 55% of likely voters preferring the Republican candidate and 40% to 42% for the Democratic candidate on the national generic ballot — depending on turnout assumptions. Gallup’s analysis of several indicators of voter turnout from the weekend poll suggests turnout will be slightly higher than in recent years, at 45%. This would give the Republicans a 55% to 40% lead on the generic ballot, with 5% undecided.

Read it all. We shall see–it is not over until it is over.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., House of Representatives, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Senate, State Government

A Prayer for All Saints Day

O Almighty God, who hast knit together thine elect in one communion and fellowship, in the mystical body of thy Son Christ our Lord: Grant us grace so to follow thy blessed saints in all virtuous and godly living, that we may come to those indescribable joys which thou hast prepared for those who truly love thee: through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who with thee and the Holy Spirit liveth and reigneth, one God, in glory everlasting.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

A Quote to begin the day

[After one gospel gathering]… a single Chinese man remained behind, right at the back of the room. When we went to him,”¦he said, “I am a murderer, an adulterer, and I have broken all the laws of God and man again and again. I am also a confirmed opium smoker. He cannot save me.” We laid before him the wonders of Jesus and His gospel and His power. The man meant business, and was soundly converted. He said, “I must go to the town where I have done all this evil and sin, and in that very place tell the good tidings.” He did. He”¦was brought before the [magistrate], and was ordered 2,000 strokes with the bamboo, till his back was one mass of red jelly, and he was thought to be dead. He was”¦taken to the hospital and nursed by Christian hands, till he was, at last, able to sit up. He then said, “I must go back again to my own city, and preach this gospel.” We strongly dissuaded him, but a short time after he”¦started preaching in the same place. Once more he was brought before the court. They were ashamed to give him the bamboo again, so sent him to prison. But the prison [cell] had small open windows and holes in the wall. Crowds collected, and he preached out of the windows and holes till, finding he did more preaching inside the prison than out”¦they set him free”¦.Such men are worth saving.

–C.T. Studd (1860-1931)

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, Asia, China, Church History

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Be gracious to me, O God, for men trample upon me; all day long foeman oppress me; my enemies trample upon me all day long, for many fight against me proudly. When I am afraid, I put my trust in thee. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust without a fear. What can flesh do to me?

–Psalm 56:1-4

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

NPR–Probe Details Culpability Of Nazi-Era Diplomats

During the Third Reich, Germany’s foreign ministry staff across Europe cooperated in the mass murder of Jews and others, according to a government-sponsored study released Thursday in Berlin.

The report says German diplomats during the Nazi era were far more deeply involved in the Holocaust than previously acknowledged. It also shows how West German diplomats after the war worked to whitewash history and create a myth of resistance and opposition to Nazi rule.

The report is a devastating indictment of Germany’s war-era diplomatic corps, that long cast itself as relatively “clean” of Nazi war crimes and tried to portray any wrongdoing as the result of a few bad actors.

Read or listen to it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Europe, Germany, History, Judaism, Other Faiths

Buffalo News–During her visit, the Presiding Bishop stresses core mission

The rector and most of the members of the former St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Parish in the Town of Tonawanda, once the diocese’s largest congregation, broke from the diocese in 2008 and now refer to themselves as St. Bartholomew’s Anglican Church.

But Jefferts Schori insisted the Episcopal Church isn’t about numbers but about being a prophetic voice.

“The Episcopal Church has never been large in this country. It’s always been a leader; it’s always included a number of leaders in the wider community,” she said. “Part of that has been our willingness to engage the human condition. We think that’s very important. We’re going to stay engaged in the community, even when it’s messy.”

Read it all.

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

The Economist Leader–Angry America: the United States and Obama are doing better than many believe

It takes an effort these days to recall the thrill that surged through the world when Barack Obama was elected America’s president. It was not only that he was the first black person to assume the globe’s greatest office. He seemed to be preternaturally thoughtful, dignified and decent; a man who could heal America’s wounds at home and restore its reputation abroad. Though too many were swept away in a collective longing to see hope triumph over experience, none of it seemed wholly unreasonable at the time. Yes, many thought, he can.

Two years later, the magnitude of the let-down is palpable everywhere; and at home the president is caught in a vice. To many on the left, he is a cowardly compromiser, whose half-baked plans to get America back to work have done little to help those who voted for him, and whose health-care and financial reforms were gutted at the behest of special interests. To many on the right, he seems a doctrinaire spendthrift who has squandered trillions of dollars on wasteful bureaucracy, mortgaging the future while failing to grapple with the present. To centrists who backed him, including this newspaper, he has been a disappointment, his skills as a president falling far short of his genius as a campaigner.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., History, House of Representatives, Iraq War, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Psychology, Senate

(Post-Gazette) James O'Toole: Angry American electorate seeking change

Two years after America voted overwhelmingly for change, polls, analysts and an angry election season suggest its voters are about to do so again.

Amid universal expectations of big Republican gains in Congress, Tuesday’s balloting is also likely to tip the scales of power in states across the country, and with them, partisan prospects for the elections of 2012 and the balance of the century’s second decade.

In Pennsylvania, the high-profile, high-spending races for governor and senator have been unavoidable to anyone with a television or radio. Both are at the top of the national parties’ priorities. But in an election in which the GOP needs 39 seats to wrest the speaker’s gavel from Nancy Pelosi, a spotlight has also cast Pennsylvania’s U.S. House contests in sharp relief. In a chamber in which 90 percent of incumbents typically win re-election, nearly half of Pennsylvania’s seats feature competitive contests.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, History, House of Representatives, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Psychology, Senate, State Government

Notable and Quotable

Radical trust is what it means to be a Christian of the Lutheran flavor even though Lutherans, like everyone else would prefer a cross the t and dot the i system where God had to play by rules we understand and ultimately control. But to trust that God loves with no strings attached, no down payment required, because God’s very nature is love means God’s love is truly free.

–Lutheran Phil Heinze on the Living the Lectionary blog; a very appropriate thought for Reformation Sunday

Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Lutheran, Other Churches, Pastoral Theology, Theology

LA Times–Sharia Law is on the Ballot in Oklahoma

As the country grapples with its worst economic downturn in decades and persistent unemployment, voters in Oklahoma next week will take up another issue ”” whether they should pass a constitutional amendment outlawing Sharia, or Islamic law.

Supporters of the initiative acknowledge that they do not know of a single case of Sharia being used in Oklahoma, which has only 15,000 Muslims.

“Oklahoma does not have that problem yet,” said Republican state Rep. Rex Duncan, the author of the ballot measure, who says supporters in more than a dozen states are ready to place similar initiatives before voters in 2012. “But why wait until it’s in the courts?”

Some conservative activists contend that the U.S. is at risk of falling under Sharia law. They point to Europe, with its larger Muslim population and various accommodations to the Islamic religious law.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Europe, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, State Government