Monthly Archives: October 2011

(CEN) US Diocese asked to rehabilitate Pelagius

The Diocese of Atlanta has been asked to rehabilitate Pelagius.

Delegates to the diocesan convention will be asked to reverse the condemnation of the Council of Carthage upon Pelagius, and to explore whether the Fifth century heretic may inform the theology of the Episcopal Church.

Resolution R11-7 before the convention states in part:

“Whereas the historical record of Pelagius’s contribution to our theological tradition is shrouded in the political ambition of his theological antagonists who sought to discredit what they felt was a threat to the empire, and their ecclesiastical dominance, and whereas an understanding of his life and writings might bring more to bear on his good standing in our tradition;”

“And whereas his restitution as a viable theological voice within our tradition might encourage a deeper understanding of sin, grace, free will, and the goodness of God’s creation, and whereas in as much as the history of Pelagius represents to some the struggle for theological exploration that is our birthright as Anglicans, Be it resolved, that this 105th Annual Council of the Diocese of Atlanta appoint a committee of discernment overseen by our Bishop, to consider these matters as a means to honor the contributions of Pelagius and reclaim his voice in our tradition….”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Episcopal Church (TEC), Pastoral Theology, Soteriology, TEC Diocesan Conventions/Diocesan Councils, Theology

Archbishop Rowan Williams's statement on resignation of the Dean of St Paul's

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Archbishop of Canterbury

Dean of St Paul's Cathedral announces intention to resign

St Paul’s, 31 October 2011 The Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral, the Rt Rev Graeme Knowles, announced his intention to resign from his post this afternoon. He made his decision known to the Chapter and to the Bishop of London last night and has removed himself from Cathedral operations with immediate effect. He intended to submit his resignation as Dean of St Paul’s to HM the Queen today.

In the light of the Dean’s resignation, the Chapter has unanimously voted to request the Bishop of London to assist them in providing an independent voice on the ongoing situation at St Paul’s. The Bishop has had no part to date in the discussions and decisions made by Chapter and it is felt his input is now required.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Economics, Politics, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Economy, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Politics in General, Stock Market, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

(RNS) Lawyer Charges Catholic University with Civil Rights Violations

A famously litigious lawyer has filed charges against the Catholic University of America (CUA) for not providing Muslim students with prayer rooms that are free of Catholic iconography.

John F. Banzhaf III, a law professor at George Washington University who had earlier filed charges over CUA’s switch to same-sex dorms this summer, filed the new 60-page complaint with the Washington, D.C. Office of Human Rights.

“It shouldn’t be too difficult somewhere on the campus for the university to set aside a small room where Muslims can pray without having to stare up and be looked down upon by a cross of Jesus,” Banzhaf told Fox News.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Education, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

Anglican Church of Canada joins faith communities in call for climate justice at COP17

Earlier this week, leaders from diverse faith traditions and communities launched a Canadian Interfaith Call for Leadership and Action on Climate Change. The statement represents a convergence of Canadian faith-based traditions around a common conviction that climate change is an ethical and moral issue that requires greater governmental action, both domestically and globally.

The statement aims to strategically pressure the Canadian government as it prepares for the upcoming United Nations’ negotiations on climate change in Durban, South Africa (COP17). Based on the ”˜spiritual deficit’ and individualism witnessed within society, communities of faith are reasserting the messages of their respective sacred texts to live in harmony with the earth and be good stewards of creation.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Energy, Natural Resources, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology

(CNS) Among Assisi participants, a sense of deeper crisis in modern society

A common thread ran through many of the speeches and invocations of this year’s “prayer for peace” encounter in Assisi: the uneasy sense that the world is facing not merely conflicts and wars, but a much broader crisis that affects social and cultural life in every country.

Environmental damage, the rich-poor divide, erosion of cultural traditions, terrorism and new threats to society’s weakest members were cited as increasingly worrisome developments by speakers at the interfaith gathering in the Italian pilgrimage town Oct. 27.

Pope Benedict XVI, addressing the 300 participants, echoed those points in his own analysis of the state of global peace 25 years after Blessed John Paul II convened the first Assisi meeting.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Globalization, Inter-Faith Relations, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

The American Savings Rate Is Dropping, and Experts Are Puzzled

Scott Hoyt, an economist at Moody’s Analytics who specializes in consumer spending, said there were two competing hypotheses as to why the savings rate had dropped. “One is that consumers have just decided that they need to spend ”” they need to replace the car, the appliance, they want a new wardrobe.” The other, he said, is that the data, which is often revised months down the road, is simply incorrect.

“There have been several times where we spent a year or more talking about a negative savings rate” ”” meaning consumers spent more than they took in ”” “only to get benchmark revisions to the data,” Mr. Hoyt said. “The savings rate’s never been negative.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Personal Finance, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Christchurch Cathedral rebuild could cost $50m

Christ Church Cathedral leaders could have to find up to $50 million to rebuild their quake-damaged building.

The cathedral will be deconsecrated and partially demolished at the cost of $4m to make it safe, Anglican Bishop Victoria Matthews announced yesterday.

A final decision would be made once the controlled demolition and temporary holding measures were completed.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * General Interest, Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, Anglican Provinces, Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc.

(Washington Post) The graying of the Planet–World population not only grows, but grows old

The aging of the human race has been faster than anyone could have imagined a few decades ago. Fertility rates have plunged globally; simultaneously, life spans have increased. The result is a re-contoured age graph: The pyramid, once with a tiny number of old folks at the peak and a broad foundation of children, is inverting. In wealthy countries, the graph already has a pronounced middle-age spread.

This is, in many respects, very good news. Longer life is a blessing of modern medicine and improvements in nutrition. Lower fertility rates have corresponded to more educational opportunities for women and greater prosperity for societies in general.

But the unexpectedly abrupt demographic transition has created economic upheaval. For the countries that hit the fertility brakes the hardest, the graying of society has become a full-blown crisis. They’re suddenly desperate for babies. They need more workers to provide goods and services to huge numbers of pensioners….

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Aging / the Elderly, Economy, Globalization

Kendall Harmon's Sermon from this past Sunday: Love and Vulnerability

Listen to it all if you so desire.

Posted in * By Kendall, * Christian Life / Church Life, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Preaching / Homiletics, Sermons & Teachings, Theology

Cate MacDonald (Mere Orthodoxy)–To Laugh at Death

There’s something very primitive, and distinctly human about Halloween. For all the modern world’s enlightened thinking and secular commitments, we spend a day tramping around in costumes and decorating our homes, stores, and neighborhoods with trappings of physical death and afterlife.

But what strikes me most is how distinctly earthbound these images of death are. Zombies, ghosts, vampires, wiggling gravestones, animated skeletons, and haunted mirrors all display an afterlife which is, in it’s own way, very understandable. We have turned the dead into extensions of our earthly existence. We are frightened of them, sort of, but only enough to think it’s fun to talk about them and display them, which, I think, means we’re not actually scared at all.

Death, on the other hand, is truly unknowable and beyond our comprehension….

Read it all.

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

(Patheos Blog) Do Seminaries as we now Know them have a Future?

In recent months, we have been listening to ongoing discussions about the problems and promises of seminary education. Some of the talk is fraught with anxiety, and some of it is filled with hope, but it is all marked by a sharp awareness that seminaries must adapt to an increasingly complex world.

What challenges do seminaries face in the coming years? How are they””and the churches and communities that are the focus of their mission””preparing for those challenges? What signs of transformation can we see as we survey the horizon of theological education? What will seminary look like 10 years from now, and what purposes will it serve?…

Read it all (numerous contributions).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Religion & Culture, Seminary / Theological Education, Theology

(CEN) Tanzanian Archbishop calls for government to return nationalised schools

Archbishop Valentino Mokiwa has urged a leading candidate for president to promise to return to the church mission schools nationalized by the government.

Speaking at a school fundraising event on 24 Oct 2011 in Dar es Salaam, Dr. Mokiwa asked Edward Lowassa MP to return the schools if he wins the presidency. Elections are scheduled in the east African nation in 2015 to succeed President Jakaya Kikwete. While Mr. Lowassa has not formally announced his candidacy, he is considered a front runner for the post.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Anglican Church of Tanzania, Anglican Provinces, Education, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Tanzania

(Wash. Post) The Debt Fallout: How Social Security went ”˜cash negative’ earlier than expected

For most of its 75-year history, the program had paid its own way through a dedicated stream of payroll taxes, even generating huge surpluses for the past two decades. But in 2010, under the strain of a recession that caused tax revenue to plummet, the cost of benefits outstripped tax collections for the first time since the early 1980s.

Now, Social Security is sucking money out of the Treasury. This year, it will add a projected $46 billion to the nation’s budget problems, according to projections by system trustees. Replacing cash lost to a one-year payroll tax holiday will require an additional $105 billion. If the payroll tax break is expanded next year, as President Obama has proposed, Social Security will need an extra $267 billion to pay promised benefits.

But while talk about fixing the nation’s finances has grown more urgent, fixing Social Security has largely vanished from the conversation.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Aging / the Elderly, Budget, Economy, House of Representatives, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Senate, Social Security, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government

(Chicago Tribune) Muslim sues bottling company over Prayer time

A former delivery driver has filed a federal lawsuit against a soft-drink bottling plant in a Chicago suburb that he said fired him shortly after he asked to time his lunch break to attend weekly prayers at a mosque.

According to the lawsuit, Nathan Henderson had worked for the American Bottling Company in Harvey for only a month in early September 2007 when his boss pulled him aside to discuss reports that Henderson was taking time to say his five daily prayers during the workday. Because those breaks lasted only a minute or two and didn’t interfere with Henderson’s work, his boss added that he didn’t have a problem with it, the suit said.

The suit alleges that when Henderson then asked permission to take his lunch break in time to correspond with the Friday Jumma prayers, the weekly congregational prayer in the Muslim faith, his superior told him he could not do so.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Islam, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Law & Legal Issues, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O God our Father, whose will is our sanctification: Grant that thy Holy Spirit may so fill and possess our souls that we may be delivered from all unclean thoughts and imaginations, and may have grace to direct our minds to whatsoever things are true and honourable, just and pure, lovely and of good report, as revealed to us in thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

–Frank Colquhoun

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

Now when it was reported to Sanbal’lat and Tobi’ah and to Geshem the Arab and to the rest of our enemies that I had built the wall and that there was no breach left in it (although up to that time I had not set up the doors in the gates), Sanbal’lat and Geshem sent to me, saying, “Come and let us meet together in one of the villages in the plain of Ono.” But they intended to do me harm. And I sent messengers to them, saying, “I am doing a great work and I cannot come down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and come down to you?” And they sent to me four times in this way and I answered them in the same manner. In the same way Sanbal’lat for the fifth time sent his servant to me with an open letter in his hand. In it was written, “It is reported among the nations, and Geshem also says it, that you and the Jews intend to rebel; that is why you are building the wall; and you wish to become their king, according to this report. And you have also set up prophets to proclaim concerning you in Jerusalem, ‘There is a king in Judah.’ And now it will be reported to the king according to these words. So now come, and let us take counsel together.” Then I sent to him, saying, “No such things as you say have been done, for you are inventing them out of your own mind.” For they all wanted to frighten us, thinking, “Their hands will drop from the work, and it will not be done.” But now, O God, strengthen thou my hands.

–Nehemiah 6:1-9

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Voting on Conception as the Legal Start of Life

A constitutional amendment facing voters in Mississippi on Nov. 8, and similar initiatives brewing in half a dozen other states including Florida and Ohio, would declare a fertilized human egg to be a legal person, effectively branding abortion and some forms of birth control as murder.

With this far-reaching anti-abortion strategy, the proponents of what they call personhood amendments hope to reshape the national debate.

“I view it as transformative,” said Brad Prewitt, a lawyer and executive director of the Yes on 26 campaign, which is named for the Mississippi proposition. “Personhood is bigger than just shutting abortion clinics; it’s an opportunity for people to say that we’re made in the image of God.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Politics in General, State Government

PBS' Religion and Ethics Newsweekly–Wounded Soldiers Center

LUCKY SEVERSON, correspondent: This is the Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, the military’s largest and most advanced medical facility. It’s where doctors send some of the most seriously burned and wounded soldiers to recover, sometimes with artificial limbs. Since the beginning of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, thousands of soldiers, like Private Carlos Gomez, have suffered injuries like his. He was on a scouting mission and was seriously wounded when his vehicle ran over a roadside bomb in Afghanistan earlier this year.

PVT CARLOS GOMEZ: Well, the blast, it shot us straight up in the air so the impact actually broke my left leg. It shattered my heel and my bones down my right, left leg, I mean, and my right leg got crushed. They couldn’t save it anymore so they had to amputate it here at Brooke Army Medical Center.

SEVERSON: Two other soldiers were wounded in the blast. One was killed. At first Gomez wasn’t sure he wanted to live….

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Defense, National Security, Military, Health & Medicine, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Theology

(Anglican Journal) Tentative agreement reached on shared episcopal ministry in Montreal

Bishop Leonard Whitten, retired bishop of Western Newfoundland, will provide some guidance to several clergy and parishes in the diocese of Montreal who disagree with its bishop’s positions on same-sex marriage if details of a tentative agreement can be worked out.

The tentative agreement on “shared episcopal ministry” was disclosed by Bishop Barry Clarke of Montreal Friday, Oct. 27, in his address at the opening eucharist of the annual diocesan synod. He described the move as a pastoral response to the concerns of parishes and clergy unable to accept positions he and the diocese have taken on the issue in recent years.

Rev. Canon Bruce Glencross, among critics of the diocesan positions, said in a conversation that the rough outlines of an agreement were worked out at a meeting October 19 between the two bishops and six clergy of the Montreal diocese, but a number of details remain to be settled.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Theology

(ENS) New views, ancient rite ”“ Episcopalians reclaim healing ministry

Although Jesus commanded his followers to go out and preach the kingdom and heal the sick (Luke 9:2), the Rev. Nigel Mumford wonders if the Episcopal Church has only gotten it half-right.

“The church has done a great job preaching the kingdom, but not a very good job of healing the sick. That’s 50 percent of what the Lord told us to do,” said Mumford, 57, director of healing ministries at Christ the King Spiritual Life Center in Greenwich, New York. “Why is it that we’re not doing it?”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Episcopal Church (TEC), Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Theology

Fleming Rutledge–Marcus Borg's message

Last night at a gathering, Marcus Borg said (twice), “Jesus trumps the Bible.”

This is an extraordinarily irresponsible thing for a scholar and leader in the church to say. It can’t be said often enough: we have no access to knowledge of Jesus except through the Bible and its interpretation. There is no record of him outside the Bible until years after his death. The only way to understanding who he was is through the witness of the New Testament apostles. Therefore to suggest that he “trumps the Bible” is to suggest that we can cut loose from the Scriptures and construct a Jesus according to the perspectives of our own time. It has been shown over and over again that attempts to construct a “historical Jesus” or “real Jesus” apart from the faith-based witness of Scripture end in failure because such attempts are grounded, not in the text, but in the bias of those who undertake them….

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Adult Education, Christology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Blackburn) Bishop Nicholas Reade's Presidential Address to Diocesan Synod

I do not say that these three early developments [Canon, Creed and Episcopate] necessarily settle the issues currently facing the Church of England, but we do need constantly to look back to these three early developments, which is one reason why, before being ordained or appointed to any office within the Church, each person must make the Declaration of Assent.

I recognise that the Church of England tolerates a pretty broad range of understanding and that we need to distinguish between those things which are fundamental to the Faith and those about which agreement is less clear, but if the Church is to stand for anything there must surely be limits to what interpretations are acceptable, and that is one of the duties of a bishop and one reason why we may feel that there is a need for the Anglican Communion Covenant.

St Paul tells us, in the first letter to the Corinthians, that there must always be charity as a dominant motive and also that we must look for what builds up and not what confuses and destroys. I hope we would also take those words to heart today and in the months to come as we continue to discern the Lord’s will on the two subjects we are currently looking at, and that we will honour and respect one another and not let suspicion and mistrust sour our relationships, remembering always the General Synod’s endorsement in 2006 of the Lambeth Conference Resolution in 1998 that those who dissent from, as well as those who assent to the ordination of women to the priesthood and episcopate are loyal Anglicans.

Read it all.

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

Church of England Bishops’ office and working costs published

The 2010 office and working costs of bishops in the Church of England… [were] published… [this week]. Figures for individual bishops were first published, for the year 2000, in December 2001. Bishops’ office and working costs were previously published as a total figure.

Bishops’ office and working costs for the year ended 31 December 2010 are published on the Church of England website .

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Economics, Politics, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Economy, Parish Ministry, Stewardship

(Guardian) Occupy London: silence of once-critical clerics is infuriating but understandable

The archbishops’ silence ”“ and that of the wider church ”“ on the crisis at the cathedral is extraordinary, then, given their past remarks. But the truth is they gain nothing from commenting on it.

Siding with protesters would undermine the bishop of London and the dean of St Paul’s, who are already under fire for their actions, and represent an extrajudicial intervention not often seen in the Church of England. To ally themselves with their beleaguered colleagues would make them hypocrites. Those who have aired their views are retired ”“ like Lord Carey ”“ or relatively unknown outside Anglican circles.

However infuriating their reticence, the clerics who bashed the bankers during the global financial meltdown are unlikely to put themselves forward to debate the merits or otherwise of Occupy London, a subject made toxic by the prospect of eviction, but it is inconceivable that they do not have opinions on the events at St Paul’s.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Economy, England / UK, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Stock Market, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, Urban/City Life and Issues

(WSJ) A Weekend Conversation with Judy Collins

Watch it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Music

(WSJ) Michael Nielsen–The New Einsteins Will Be Scientists Who Share

In January 2009, a mathematician at Cambridge University named Tim Gowers decided to use his blog to run an unusual social experiment. He picked out a difficult mathematical problem and tried to solve it completely in the open, using his blog to post ideas and partial progress. He issued an open invitation for others to contribute their own ideas, hoping that many minds would be more powerful than one. He dubbed the experiment the Polymath Project.

Several hours after Mr. Gowers opened up his blog for discussion, a Canadian-Hungarian mathematician posted a comment. Fifteen minutes later, an Arizona high-school math teacher chimed in. Three minutes after that, the UCLA mathematician Terence Tao commented. The discussion ignited, and in just six weeks, the mathematical problem had been solved.

Read it all.

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

Bishop's love for Alzheimer's-stricken wife inspires blog, book

Bishop Philip Weeks places his hands on the arms of the chair and leans down to face his wife, June.

“Do you love me?”

She continues singing the soft, garbled song that only she can understand.

“Fifty-six years tomorrow is our anniversary. How about that?”

Read it all.

Posted in Pastoral Theology, Theology

A Profile of Episcopal Priest Dan Messier as he begins a new Ministry in Arizona

[Dan] Messier knows that as a mainline denomination pastor he faces a dwindling audience.

A report last week said the number of Episcopalians in the United States dropped below 2 million for the first time in decades ”” down 16 percent in the past 10 years. There were 3.5 million members in the mid-1960s.

Some within the church blame the declines on disagreements over the authority of Scripture and the person of Jesus Christ, and the church’s stance on hot-button social issues.

“I think the challenge is changing with the times,” Messier said. “It appears to me that a lot of the churches that are benefitting are places that are non-structural and more open.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, * South Carolina, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Roman Catholic, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Data, TEC Parishes

Notable and Quotable

“The most important thing in communication is to hear what isn’t being said.”

–Peter Drucker (1909-2005)

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Education, Pastoral Theology, Theology