Daily Archives: November 20, 2010

(McClatchy) Appeals court rules in favor of Anglican diocese in San Joaquin dispute

In Thursday’s ruling, the appellate justices said the issue before them was “not resolution of a property dispute … (but) solely this issue: Who is the Bishop of the Diocese of San Joaquin: John-David Schofield or Jerry A. Lamb? This is an issue the First Amendment forbids us from adjudicating.”

The matter of who is bishop, outside of property issues, the court wrote, is a matter for the church itself. Civil courts must not decide “questions of religious doctrine,” the justices wrote.

The facts are clear, the justices said, and not a matter for courts to decide: Schofield was the bishop until Jan. 11, 2008. Lamb has been the bishop since March 29, 2008. “Third, at some point Schofield became the Anglican Bishop presiding over an Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin, affiliated with the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone of South America.”

Thus, the trial court erred by naming Lamb as the bishop, the justices said.

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

Debt Rising, a City Seeks Donations in Michigan

A Michigan city is pleading with churches, schools and a hospital for donations to help cover its staggering budget deficit.

The mayor of Mount Clemens, Barb Dempsey, sent a letter this week to 35 tax-exempt organizations asking them to voluntarily contribute to the city’s general fund, which pays for services like fire protection, streetlights and roads. Ms. Dempsey said the city has already drastically cut its expenses, having disbanded the police department six years ago, but still faces a $960,000 deficit that is projected to reach $1.5 million next year.

“Those are all services that they utilize at no cost to them,” Ms. Dempsey said. “We figured it can’t hurt to send out letters. If you don’t ask, you never know.”

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, City Government, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Politics in General, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

24 New Cardinals Get Red Hats in Rome

Pope Benedict XVI elevated 24 new cardinals in a festive ceremony in St. Peter’s Basilica on Saturday, bestowing quadrangular red hats on the new members of a group that will one day elect his successor.

Two Americans were among the newly elected. Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl of Washington, D.C., is seen as a bridge-builder and was greeted with waves of applause from the hundreds of supporters who came for Saturday’s ceremony. Archbishop Raymond L. Burke, a former archbishop of St. Louis, is now the prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, a Vatican court, and is known for his outspoken criticism of President Obama and of Catholics who are abortion rights supporters.

Dressed in heavy golden vestments, Benedict called on the new cardinals to devote themselves entirely to humble service to the church, whose force, he said, is “not the logic of supremacy, of power according to human criteria, but the logic of bowing down to wash feet, the logic of service, the logic of the cross which is at the base of every exercise of power.”

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Posted in * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Europe, Italy, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

(NY Times) The U.S.-Japan inflation correlation chart–Following Japan's Trajectory Thus Far

Check it out courtesy of Floyd Norris.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Asia, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, History, Japan, Politics in General, The U.S. Government

A WSJ Editorial: The Fed's Bipolar Mandate

If there is a silver lining to the uproar over the Federal Reserve’s decision to create $600 billion in new reserves in the next few months, it is the renewed public attention to the Fed’s impossible dual political mandate for stable prices and maximum employment.

To be specific, Paul Ryan suddenly has company. The Wisconsin Congressman has since 1999 proposed legislation that would let the Fed focus monetary policy solely on the goal of stable prices. This week he’s been joined by fellow Republicans Mike Pence of Indiana and Tom Price of Georgia, while Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee told us he plans to work with Mr. Ryan to introduce legislation next year that would lift the dual mandate. If the 112th Congress did nothing else, this would be worth the price of its election and a major contribution to better economic policy.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Federal Reserve, History, House of Representatives, Politics in General, Senate, The U.S. Government

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's Germany Speech–Rebalancing the Global Recovery

The global economy is now well into its second year of recovery from the deep recession triggered by the most devastating financial crisis since the Great Depression. In the most intense phase of the crisis, as a financial conflagration threatened to engulf the global economy, policymakers in both advanced and emerging market economies found themselves confronting common challenges. Amid this shared sense of urgency, national policy responses were forceful, timely, and mutually reinforcing. This policy collaboration was essential in averting a much deeper global economic contraction and providing a foundation for renewed stability and growth.

In recent months, however, that sense of common purpose has waned. Tensions among nations over economic policies have emerged and intensified, potentially threatening our ability to find global solutions to global problems. One source of these tensions has been the bifurcated nature of the global economic recovery: Some economies have fully recouped their losses while others have lagged behind. But at a deeper level, the tensions arise from the lack of an agreed-upon framework to ensure that national policies take appropriate account of interdependencies across countries and the interests of the international system as a whole. Accordingly, the essential challenge for policymakers around the world is to work together to achieve a mutually beneficial outcome–namely, a robust global economic expansion that is balanced, sustainable, and less prone to crises….

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Asia, China, Economy, Federal Reserve, Foreign Relations, Globalization, The U.S. Government

Martin Feldstein (WSJ): The Deficit Dilemma and Obama's Budget

Surprisingly, the chairmen overlooked the easiest route to reducing the deficits over the next decade: scaling back the costly budget that President Obama presented earlier this year. Much of the projected doubling of the national debt between 2010 and 2020 reflects the spending and tax proposals in that budget.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that those proposals would, if enacted, raise the 10-year budget deficit by $3.8 trillion, even after taking into account the president’s proposed $1.3 trillion of new taxes on businesses and higher-income individuals. The $5.1 trillion gross cost of the Obama proposals reflects the cost of making the Bush tax cuts permanent for individuals with incomes below $250,000, of providing additional tax cuts for low- and moderate-income individuals, and of increasing spending on domestic programs.

As President Obama considers the bipartisan commission’s proposals and plans his next budget, he should begin by removing some of the $3.8 trillion of increased deficits that he proposed earlier this year. Financial markets and policy makers around the world want to see if the administration is as serious about deficit reduction as the American public.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Budget, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Social Security, Taxes, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government, The United States Currency (Dollar etc)

Thomas Friedman–Too Good to Check

On Nov. 4, Anderson Cooper did the country a favor. He expertly deconstructed on his CNN show the bogus rumor that President Obama’s trip to Asia would cost $200 million a day. This was an important “story.” It underscored just how far ahead of his time Mark Twain was when he said a century before the Internet, “A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.” But it also showed that there is an antidote to malicious journalism ”” and that’s good journalism…..

The next night, Cooper explained that he felt compelled to trace that story back to its source, since someone had used his show to circulate it. His research, he said, found that it had originated from a quote by “an alleged Indian provincial official,” from the Indian state of Maharashtra, “reported by India’s Press Trust, their equivalent of our A.P. or Reuters. I say ”˜alleged,’ provincial official,” Cooper added, “because we have no idea who this person is, no name was given.”

It is hard to get any more flimsy than a senior unnamed Indian official from Maharashtra talking about the cost of an Asian trip by the American president.

“It was an anonymous quote,” said Cooper. “Some reporter in India wrote this article with this figure in it. No proof was given; no follow-up reporting was done….

How many times have we been over this? Wherever you read it, whoever is alleged to have said it, check it out and make sure it is right. Read it all–KSH.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Media

Duke Cancer Researcher Quits as Papers Questioned

A Duke University cancer scientist resigned Friday amid concerns about his research that arose after the university started probing whether he’d lied on a grant application.

School spokeswoman Debbe Geiger also said another researcher at the school is asking the journal Nature Medicine to retract a paper he published with Anil Potti, the scientist who’s stepping down. Potti’s collaborator Joseph Nevins said some of the tests in the research they produced for that paper can not be duplicated.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Science & Technology, Theology

Partnering in Communion Conference Report

In a conference convened at the Marriott Airport Hotel in Orlando, Florida on November 15 ”“ 17, 2010, Communion Partners, the fellowship of bishops, clergy and laity from The Episcopal Church who are committed to biblical orthodoxy, traditional Christian practice and the Anglican Communion, met to equip and encourage one another for the work of the Great Commission. The focus of the conference was establishing mission partnerships within The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion for the Gospel ministry. The participants heard from the Rt. Rev. Josiah Idowu-Fearon (Kaduna Diocese, Church of Nigeria) about opportunities for mutual ministry in northern Nigeria and in a workshop were instructed about reaching out to our Muslim neighbors. The Very Rev. Kuan Kim Seng (Dean of St. Andrew’s Cathedral, the Diocese of Singapore and diocesan Director of Missions) and the Very Rev. Yee Ching Wah (Dean of the Missionary Deanery of Thailand/Anglican Church of Thailand) introduced those gathered to the need for English-speaking people to come, teach English and share their faith in Southeast Asia. The Bishop of the Diocese of South Carolina (the Rt. Rev. Mark Lawrence) and members of the new Anglican Communion Development Committee (the Rev. Michael Clarkson and the Rev. Robert Lawrence) shared their vision and model for strengthening our bonds with the Anglican Communion through mutual mission and ministry. In addition to the workshop by Bishop Fearon, three other workshops entitled “Discerning the mission ethos of the parish,” “The biblical basis for remnant theology,” and “Mission opportunities in SE Asia” were offered.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, - Anglican: Primary Source, -- Reports & Communiques, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Missions, Pastoral Theology, Theology

Simon Sarmiento–The covenant is a waste of time and money

Asked if he thought the covenant would become a reality, the former bishop of Durham, Tom Wright, recently said: “I think so, because I don’t think really there’s any alternative.” Without it, he argued, “the loudest voices tend to win, or at least drown out the other ones, and I have seen that happen and it’s not a pretty sight”.

But responding to the loudest voices was exactly what the Windsor report did ”“ capitulating to Nigeria, Uganda, Sydney and the others ”“ to propose a covenant that establishes a formal procedure to block other Anglicans doing what they judge necessary for the Gospel.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Covenant, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Ecclesiology, Theology

Vinay Samuel and Chris Sugden–Truth or Conviction: questions over the Anglican Communion Covenant

The Covenant sets some of the credal statements of the Christian faith in a specific framework. The premise of this framework is that the doctrinal and theological disagreements which have surfaced within the Communion are not about fundamentals but have arisen through problems in communication and understanding, as people have differing convictions.

Are the doctrinal and theological matters in current dispute matters of right and wrong, truth and error, or matters of personal conviction over which better communication will produce unity and harmony? The Covenant process is only capable of dealing with disagreements of the latter kind. Better communication in such a framework requires an attitude of openness, a process of listening and adequate time. So the Covenant puts in place such a decision-making process in the Communion….

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Covenant, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Ecclesiology, Global South Churches & Primates, Instruments of Unity, Pastoral Theology, Theology, Windsor Report / Process

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Edmund of East Anglia

O God of ineffable mercy, who didst give grace and fortitude to blessed Edmund the king to triumph over the enemy of his people by nobly dying for thy Name: Bestow on us thy servants, we beseech thee, the shield of faith, wherewith we may withstand the assaults of our ancient enemy; through Jesus Christ our Redeemer, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, Church History, England / UK, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Most gracious God, who hast been mindful of me not only during the last night but through all the days and seasons of my life: Pardon my sins, fashion in me those virtues which are acceptable to thee, and grant that in serenity I may serve thee more faithfully in the gift of this new day which thou hast provided, for Jesus Christ’s sake.

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man has great power in its effects. Eli’jah was a man of like nature with ourselves and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. Then he prayed again and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth its fruit.

–James 5:16-18

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

The Shadow Scholar–a man paid to write student papers shares his story

I haven’t been to a library once since I started doing this job. Amazon is quite generous about free samples. If I can find a single page from a particular text, I can cobble that into a report, deducing what I don’t know from customer reviews and publisher blurbs. Google Scholar is a great source for material, providing the abstract of nearly any journal article. And of course, there’s Wikipedia, which is often my first stop when dealing with unfamiliar subjects. Naturally one must verify such material elsewhere, but I’ve taken hundreds of crash courses this way.

After I’ve gathered my sources, I pull out usable quotes, cite them, and distribute them among the sections of the assignment. Over the years, I’ve refined ways of stretching papers. I can write a four-word sentence in 40 words. Just give me one phrase of quotable text, and I’ll produce two pages of ponderous explanation. I can say in 10 pages what most normal people could say in a paragraph.

I’ve also got a mental library of stock academic phrases: “A close consideration of the events which occurred in ____ during the ____ demonstrate that ____ had entered into a phase of widespread cultural, social, and economic change that would define ____ for decades to come.” Fill in the blanks using words provided by the professor in the assignment’s instructions.

How good is the product created by this process? That depends””on the day, my mood, how many other assignments I am working on.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Theology, Young Adults

Philip Jenkins: The case for prosperity

Prosperity can be a real problem. As new Chris tian churches have flourished in the non-Western world in recent decades, their conservative attitudes on theological and moral issues have caused some discomfort for liberal-minded Euro-Ameri cans. In one specific area though, namely, the prosperity gospel, criticisms cross partisan boundaries. Even ob­servers deeply sympathetic to the rising churches of Africa or Latin America are troubled by the astonishing success of U.S.-inspired megachurch preachers who present health, wealth and material success as the essential promises of the Christian faith.

If that is indeed the core message of emerging Chris tianity, should we not be concerned about the future of the faith? Comprehending the prosperity gospel might be the most pressing task for anyone trying to study the changing shape of global Christianity.

In West Africa especially, it is hard to avoid churches with a strong prosperity theme….

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Personal Finance, Religion & Culture, Theology

Further steep decline reported in The Episcopal Church

The Episcopal Church continuesin its course of a steep decline in the wake of its divisions over doctrine and discipline, with the national office reporting that in 2009 average Sundayattendance (ASA) fell by three percent to 682,963.

As of the end of 2009, the Episcopal Church reported having 2,006,343 active members””at its peak in the 1960s the Church counted over 3.5million members. The church shed 22,294 members in 2009, following a loss of 22,565 in 2008. Income from parochial giving also declined by 2.8 per cent last year, falling to £1.33 billion.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, TEC Data