Daily Archives: August 1, 2011
President Obama and Congressional leaders have stitched together an agreement to prevent a national default, provided their 11th-hour deal does not fracture on Monday, but the epic budget battle has failed to resolve another question: which party can be better trusted to govern?
The president, with his re-election on the horizon, emerges from the showdown in a diminished state after giving considerable ground and struggling to rise above a deep partisan intransigence that has engulfed Washington. And Republican leaders, especially Speaker John A. Boehner, are bruised after navigating the intractable sentiment of the Tea Party movement.
A full victory lap was not expected ”” or, perhaps, deserved ”” by those on either side of the debate, which has consumed the capital, unnerved the financial markets and infuriated the American public. Yet even as a compromise was announced on Sunday evening, both parties were prepared to try to define the deal as staying true to their respective principles.
… membership has always gone up and down, and in recent years has waned to the point that no more than 10 people show up on any given Sunday.
None of the remaining members even live in Wellsburg anymore, [Senior Warden Lois] Barton said.
The church hasn’t had its own pastor in years and shares a priest with a cluster of Episcopal churches in the area.
The remaining members finally made the painful decision to dissolve the church. The building will remain the property of the Central Episcopal Diocese of New York, which will decide its fate, Barton said.
….the debate is a clear loss for America as a whole. Here’s how Christine Lagarde put it:
There was a positive bias towards the United States of America, towards Treasury bills. That was the case historically. And the current crisis is probably chipping into that very positive bias.
That very strong confidence that generally led to a flight to quality and investment in Treasury bonds is slightly eroded at the moment. I mean, it was unheard of, only six months, to imagine that the United States could be under negative watch by the rating agencies.
So here’s what I’m wondering: is there some way of quantifying the cost to the US of simply having this debate? Is there a way of taking Lagarde’s “positive bias” and giving it a number, in terms of say basis points of reduction on US borrowing costs?
The Rev. Mark Lewis is married. He also wants to become a Catholic priest. Lewis is the rector of St. Luke’s in Bladensburg, the first [Episcopal]… parish in the U.S. to seek to become Catholic under Anglicanorum coetibus, a process outlined by Pope Benedict XVI in 2009 that allows groups of Anglicans to join the Roman Catholic Church without discarding their liturgical heritage. Raised Episcopalian, the 52-year-old Lewis entered the ministry 10 years ago and has two grown children. He will become Catholic with his parish in October.
Do you consider yourself to be of a specific faith?
Obviously, I am of the Catholic faith. Even as Episcopalians, we believed we were Catholic Christians. The Episcopal Church is a very broad church. In it you can have very evangelical people, and in it you can also have very high church Anglo-Catholics, of which I was one.
Why did you and your church convert?
I teach Catholic theology to my people. Once the apostolic constitution was announced, it opened a door that had previously been closed to us. I didn’t really want to sway them with my excitement, so we looked at it together: “Is this something that is really of interest to us?” We looked at the difference between being a Catholic in the Anglican tradition, and being a Catholic in the Roman tradition. And we realized as a church that we needed to be in communion with the Church of Rome.
Lack of gratitude is one of the driving forces of unbelief.
–Douglas Wlion, Books and Culture, May/June 2011 edition, p.8
For the Episcopal Church, questions about homosexuality and same-gender relationships came to a head with the election of the Rev. Canon V. Gene Robinson. In a controversial move in 2003, Robinson made history as the first openly gay priest to become a bishop in his church.
“It was like a lightning bolt hitting in the middle of the living room,” said Rev. Maureen Doherty, an Episcopal priest and a campus minister at the University of Northern Iowa.
Since then, a lot has changed in her church and in her state. After Iowa removed barriers in 2009 that had kept same-sex couples from marrying, Doherty, a lesbian, wed her partner. Doherty now has permission from her bishop to wed other same-sex couples whereas before, she was limited to offering a blessing.
“Depend upon it, sir, when a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully.”
–Smauel Johnson (1709-1784)
President Obama and congressional leaders Sunday night sealed a deal to raise the federal debt limit that includes sharp spending cuts but no new taxes, breaking a partisan impasse that has driven the nation to the brink of a government default.
The agreement brings to an end a self-created crisis that has consumed Washington, rattled Wall Street, and shaken confidence in the American political system at home and abroad. The deal could clear Congress as soon as Monday night ”” barely 24 hours before Treasury officials have said they could begin running short of cash to pay the nation’s bills.
Passage of the agreement, however, remained far from certain in the House, where skeptical Republicans were just beginning to digest the details….
O Lord and Master, who thyself didst come into the world to bear witness to the truth, and didst say that the good and faithful teacher should be greatly accounted of in thy kingdom: Send, we beseech thee, thy blessing upon all who are engaged in the work of education. Give them clearness of vision and freshness of thought, and enable them so to train the hearts and minds of the children that they may take their appointed places in the work of this life, and may be ready for the service of the life to come. We ask it for thy honour and glory, who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever.
–Arthur W. Robinson
I have my own personal remembrances of John, of course, having served closely with him as his Study Assistant nearly thirty years ago. My favourite picture of him is this one I took when we were on a bird watching holiday together in Portugal. We had a few moments before our flight left Faro, so, not wanting to miss an opportunity of spotting one more specie, we struck out for the airport perimeter. The grey flannel trousers and blue jacket, the posture and the intensity, the hushed ”˜Look there!’ at a beautiful avian display, this is a memory of John that I shall never forget.
I have often been asked what is the most significant thing I learned from John when I was with him. As I have moved through various stages in my Christian development, I have found my answer to this question changing. Where once I tried to emulate his self-discipline and homiletic style, today I remember his loyalty, integrity and humility. There was a moment in 1984 when he took issue with the Bishop of Durham, David Jenkins, over provocative statements the bishop had made about Jesus’ resurrection. It is a mark of his respect and charity that John did not rush into print with a rebuttal, but rather sought a personal audience with Bishop Jenkins to make sure that he understood the bishop’s position and to give the bishop a chance to respond to his own concerns. John’s sense of fairness and the fact that he did not savour argument, did, on occasion, put him at a disadvantage. In a public debate with Bishop Spong he came off badly when Bishop Spong departed from the rules and left John unprepared to answer. John rued the event, but not because he had been treated so poorly. He was concerned that the audience had not been furnished with a sufficient defence of the truth as he saw it.
Merciful God, whose servant Joseph of Arimathaea with reverence and godly fear did prepare the body of our Lord and Savior for burial, and did lay it in his own tomb: Grant, we beseech thee, to us thy faithful people grace and courage to love and serve Jesus with sincere devotion all the days of our life; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
Remember, O Lord, according to the multitude of thy mercies, thy whole Church, all who join with us in prayer, and all our brethren, wherever they may be in thy vast kingdom, who stand in need of thy grace and succour. Pour down upon us all the riches of thy mercy, so that, preserved in soul and body, and steadfast in our faith, we may ever praise thy wonderful and holy name; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, believed in the Lord, together with all his household; and many of the Corinthians hearing Paul believed and were baptized. And the Lord said to Paul one night in a vision, “Do not be afraid, but speak and do not be silent; for I am with you, and no man shall attack you to harm you; for I have many people in this city.” And he stayed a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.
Sources familiar with the outlines of the deal say it would raise the debt limit by about $2.7 trillion and reduce the deficit by the same amount in two steps. It would cut about $1 trillion in spending up front and set up a select bicameral committee to put together a future deficit-reduction package worth $1.7 trillion to $1.8 trillion.
Failure of Congress to pass the future deficit-reduction package would automatically trigger cuts to defense spending and Medicare. An aide familiar with the deal said the Medicare cut would not affect beneficiaries. Instead, healthcare providers and insurance companies would see lower payments.
Scottsdale, Ariz. – On an empty desert lot covered with snake holes, cactus and scraggly brush lie the clearest clues to the demise of Marshall & Ilsley Corp., the once-great Wisconsin bank company brought down by its expansion into red-hot real estate markets at the worst possible time.
The lot once sold for $225,000, financed by an $180,000 M&I loan that went bad in 2008. Victor and Rita Lockwood recently bought the lot for $20,000 – they’re looking for a place to park a trailer if they default on their $586,000 M&I loan and lose their home across the road.
Two pieces of desert property, two loans that ultimately could cost M&I hundreds of thousands of dollars – and the same scenario has been playing out over and over, with no end in sight.
Bishop Tom [Brown] was then elected to succeed Archbishop Davis, and he was installed as the 10th Bishop of Wellington in February 1998.
He hit the ground running.
In his charge to his first diocesan synod Bishop Tom declared that change was on its way ”“ and he’d start that by disbanding the diocesan standing committee.
When he outlined that move, he says, applause broke out in the cathedral ”“ led by the clergy.
“The standing committee had swollen to 27 members,” Bishop Tom recalls, “and it acted like parliament. There was a left wing, a right wing, liberals, conservatives ”“ catholics, evangelicals and charismatics, all fighting for their own patch.”
John Stott was pre-eminently an evangelist to students around the world and in commentaries he wrote as a gifted expositor of the word of God. It is instructive to compare Billy Graham’s autobiography with Timothy Dudley Smith’s massive biography of John Stott. Billy Graham’s autobiography is graphic and revealing; by contrast John Stott’s biography is reticent and discreet. We learn much about John Stott’s bird watching, nothing about his role as Chaplain to the Queen and the names of individuals, high and low, whom he met and ministered to.
I count it a rare honour that he invited me to preach at All Souls, Langham Place. I also shared with him the platform at one of the great Urbana Conventions under the auspices of the Inter-Varsity Fellowship in America. John Stott stayed with me when conducting a Mission to Melbourne University. He was a memorable guest, delighting my children by teaching them the longest word in the English language, floccinaucinihilipilification!
“He was a very broad-minded evangelical,” said Richard J. Mouw, president of Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, which hosted Stott several times. “He was the kind of person who wanted to bring different factions together and emphasize what we hold in common.”
Stott believed that evangelism was not the only mission of Christians, a stance that some evangelicals criticized. He urged Christians not only to spread the gospel but to act on the Bible’s teachings by addressing social injustice in the world. He wrote and preached on climate change, global debt and other pressing issues facing contemporary society. Through the Langham Partnership he trained preachers, built libraries and helped 300 pastors from poor countries earn doctorates in biblical studies. They returned to their countries and became evangelical leaders, such as the Nepalese graduate who started a seminary in Katmandu.
“Evangelism and social action went together in the ministry of Jesus,” Stott told the Orange County Register in 1998. “So they ought to go together in ours.”