Daily Archives: October 25, 2011

(RNS) Shifting Course, St. Paul’s Orders Protesters Out

More than a week after welcoming anti-corporate protesters onto its grounds, London’s historic St. Paul’s Cathedral now wants them to go away because their presence is costing too much money.

Asking the demonstrators to leave peacefully after nine days of occupying a makeshift tent city in the churchyard, St. Paul’s dean, the Rev. Graeme Knowles, said “we have done this with a very heavy heart.”

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

(Louisville Courier-Journal) Roman Catholics prepare for revised liturgy

A dozen people sat in a circle in a small meeting room beside the darkened sanctuary of St. Barnabas Church on Hikes Lane on a recent weekday morning, practicing new readings that will mark the biggest and most controversial overhaul of Roman Catholic liturgy in decades next month.

They gave a test run to a revised version of the confession of sins. They softly struck their chests with their fists as they read the repentance for sins committed through “my fault, my fault, my most grievous fault.”

Many hadn’t made that gesture in nearly half a century, when they had used the Latin phrase, “Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.” Since the Mass began to be recited in English, that clause, and the chest-striking, had been dropped from the confession of sin.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Roman Catholic

Peter Morici–It's time for Americans to put Mitt Romney's religion aside

Mormonism is not something I could accept as a faith — you will never get the Catholic out of me, even if I attend an Episcopal church in Georgetown.

Mormons believe in the salvation story that makes Christianity a separate faith, not merely a separate sect, from Judaism. However, Mormons also believe mortals possess the potential for divinity — to live a life like God in the hereafter — if they live a truly just life here on earth.

The potential for our own divinity sounds farfetched and cult-like to rigid and inflexible Christians, such as Texas Gov. Rick Perry supporter Rev. Robert Jeffress, but no more so than did the divinity of Christ and the Christian salvation story to First Century Jews or their Roman rulers. What is more important is what Mormons believe and teach to their children about what God expects from each of us in our relationships with our fellow human beings — or what it takes to live a good life.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Media, Mormons, Office of the President, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology

George Conger on Mollie Hemingway and The Episcopal Church Spin Doctors

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Media

(ENS) Executive Council submits GC resolution saying church is 'unable to adopt Anglican Covenant'

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Covenant, Episcopal Church (TEC), Executive Council, General Convention, House of Deputies President, Presiding Bishop

A Message from the Episcopal Church Executive Council

The first morning of Council brought three distinctive yet interwoven narratives from the Presiding Bishop, the President of the House of Deputies and the Chief Operating Officer. Each made important statements about how the work of Executive Council relates to the larger narratives of the life of the Church. There were moments of conflict as values held passionately by the three speakers were openly expressed. There were admonitions to find Jesus among the poor, to honor the hard work and witness of the whole people of the Church in all orders, to express how we carry out God’s mission in the shaping of a budget.

The experience of conflict in church meetings where budgetary discussions and vision are mixed together often make us wary of even trying to connect the dots, of weaving a whole story from the threads. Rich insights by committed leadership, accompanied by a common commitment to hear one another out, resulted in the beginnings of new stronger cloth.

In 2009, General Convention closed with a strong emphasis on mission, mission, mission. . . . God is calling the church to meet Jesus in the marginalized ”“ the poor, the lonely, the suffering, the lost. Weave, weave, weave . . . Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori in her opening remarks challenged Council to regard budgets as moral documents. The 76th General Convention’s adoption of the Five Marks of Mission of the Anglican Communion as mission priorities are the threads that are woven through all the parts of The Episcopal Church’s budget.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Episcopal Church (TEC), Executive Council, House of Deputies President, Parish Ministry, Presiding Bishop, Stewardship

Diocese of Upper South Carolina Convention Passes Resolution on the Mark Lawrence Investigation

(Via email–KSH).

Resolution offered by The Vestry of Christ Church, Greenville
Christ Church City Greenville
An Invitation to Conversation

WHEREAS: God’s very essence and nature is revealed to us in the community of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, “Being of glorious majesty and perfect love as one God in Trinity of persons;” and

WHEREAS: Jesus Christ himself entered into fully human community by calling faithful disciples and by promising he would be with us to the end of the ages, and

WHEREAS: we, as Episcopalians, affirm St. Paul’s teaching in our Baptismal liturgy that “[t]here is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all,” and

WHEREAS: any injury endured or experienced by a member of our community of the church as the Body of Christ affects the whole Body of Christ, and

WHEREAS: the Diocese of South Carolina formerly encompassed the territory and parishes that now comprise the Diocese of Upper South Carolina, such that the communicants of the two dioceses are significantly interrelated and bound by faith, fellowship and family, Therefore be it

RESOLVED: that we, the people of the Diocese of Upper South Carolina, gathered together at the 89th Diocesan Convention in a spirit of unity and reconciliation, invite The Most Reverend Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop and Primate of the Episcopal Church and The Right Reverend Mark Lawrence, Bishop of South Carolina to come together in person at a mutually convenient time and place in order to strengthen the bonds of our community; and be it further

RESOLVED: that The Most Reverend Katharine Jefferts Schori and the Right Reverend Mark Lawrence engage in healing conversation regarding the ongoing tensions between The Episcopal Church and the Diocese of South Carolina; and be it further

RESOLVED: that The Right Reverend Andrew Waldo, Bishop of the Diocese of Upper South Carolina hand deliver a copy of this resolution to The Most Reverend Katharine Jefferts Schori and The Right Reverend Mark Lawrence with our warm regards and collective prayers.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: South Carolina, TEC Diocesan Conventions/Diocesan Councils, TEC Polity & Canons

Rick Stevenson Chimes in on Mormons and Episcopalians

From here:

I take exception to Marilyn Gibson’s letter, “Placing Mormon faith” (Forum, Oct. 20), when she claims that Episcopalians “don’t think Mormons are Christian.” While I applaud her ability to back up her research using the trusted source Wikipedia, I urge her to broaden her research before asserting that my religion does not consider our Latter-day Saint brothers and sisters to be Christian.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Christology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Mormons, Other Faiths, The Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Theology

(ABC Aus.) Civil union debate divides Queensland Parliament

JENNIFER RICE: It would enable relationships to be registered. So it would give them some official capacity, some recognition, something beyond a de facto relationship. In terms of rights that attach with that, that may have a flow-on effect in terms of government benefits and recognition, but again that would depend on the recognition that the Commonwealth gave to the registration.

MATT WORDSWORTH: The bill is being introduced by the Deputy Premier and Treasurer, Andrew Fraser.

It was discussed at caucus yesterday and it was agreed that a conscience vote would be allowed. The Leader of the House, Labor MP, Judy Spence, moved to fast track the bill through Parliament.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Australia / NZ, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Sexuality

(NY Times Opinionator Blog) Stanley Fish–Is Religion Above the Law?

The most perspicuous example of a ministerial exception is the Catholic church’s limitation of membership in the priesthood to males. If a university were to have a rule that only men could serve as professors, it would be vulnerable to a suit brought under the anti-discrimination provisions of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The difference (or so it has been asserted) is that there is no relationship between professorial skills and gender ”” a woman can perform the duties of a teacher of history or chemistry as well as a man ”” while the tradition of an all-male priesthood is rooted in religious doctrine. So the university would be engaged in discrimination pure and simple, whereas the church’s discrimination is a function of its belief that the all-male priesthood was initiated by Christ in his choice of the apostles.
Were the state to intervene and declare the tradition of an all-male priesthood and the doctrine underlying it unconstitutional, it would be forcing the church to conform to secular norms in violation both of the free exercise clause (the right of a religion to be governed by its own tenets would be curtailed) and the establishment clause (the state would in effect have taken over the management of the church by dictating its hiring practices). (I am rehearsing, not endorsing, these arguments.)

This clear-cut example ”” to which both sides in Hosanna-Tabor v. EEOC refer frequently ”” may be the only one (and it is only clear-cut because it has behind it 2,000 years of history). For the question quickly becomes one of boundaries ”” how far does the ministerial exception extend? To whom does it apply?…

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Church/State Matters, Law & Legal Issues, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

Kristina Keneally–God is Back but Does it Matter in Australia?

Australia and America are quite different: our origins, our founding stories, our patterns of migration, our relationship with Europe.

America’s practice of choice and competition in religion couldn’t be more different from Australia, where pretty much everyone was either a rock-chopper or a proddy dog for the first 150 years of our history.

But, if God is back in the rest of the world, is God coming back in Australia? In many ways, yes.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Australia / NZ, Religion & Culture

(SHNS) Terry Mattingly–Mormons' and Baptists' competition fuels tension

In recent years, [Richard] Land has numbered himself among those who describe Mormonism as a kind of fourth Abrahamic tradition, a new faith that has reinterpreted the past under the guidance of its own prophet and its own scriptures. In this case, he said, “Joseph Smith is like Mohammad and The Book of Mormon is like the Koran.” Mormons believe they have restored true Christianity, while Trinitarian churches reject this claim that they have lost the faith.

Thus, it’s not surprising that a new LifeWay Research survey of 1,000 liberal and conservative Protestant clergy in America found that 75 percent disagreed with this statement: “I personally consider Mormons (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) to be Christians.” The surprise was that 48 percent of mainline Protestant pastors strongly agreed that Mormons are not Christians.
Meanwhile, the Vatican in 2001 addressed the issue of “whether the baptism conferred by the community The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, called Mormons in the vernacular, is valid.”

The response from the late Pope John Paul II was blunt: “Negative.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Baptists, Christology, Evangelicals, Mormons, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, The Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Theology

(Salon) Born-again Bikers ride Harleys to Worship

On a crisp Sunday morning outside this rural Southern town last spring, leather jacketed bikers rode their thundering Harley Davidsons down a quiet country road to a large red barn they call their church.

The lawn was covered with glistening motorcycles and wide-handled choppers. The lot was crowded with bikers exchanging loud greetings and bear hugs as they waited for the Sunday service, which they call a “worship rally” to begin. Their leather jackets ”“ some deeply creased from years spent “serving Satan” ”“ bore patches reading, “Riding for Jesus” and “Jesus Saves Bikers too.” At 10 a.m. the bikers joined hands, bowed heads and formed a large prayer circle that some might have mistaken for something else.

Mike Beasley, the large ponytailed, bandana-wearing preacher of the Angier Freedom Biker Church, spoke out to his flock.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Rural/Town Life

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O Heavenly Father, who hast given us a commandment, that we should believe on the name of thy Son Jesus Christ, and love one another: Give us also grace to keep this commandment, that we may evermore dwell in thee, and thou in us, in the power of thy Holy Spirit; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

After this I looked, and lo, in heaven an open door! And the first voice, which I had heard speaking to me like a trumpet, said, “Come up hither, and I will show you what must take place after this.” At once I was in the Spirit, and lo, a throne stood in heaven, with one seated on the throne! And he who sat there appeared like jasper and carnelian, and round the throne was a rainbow that looked like an emerald. Round the throne were twenty-four thrones, and seated on the thrones were twenty-four elders, clad in white garments, with golden crowns upon their heads. From the throne issue flashes of lightning, and voices and peals of thunder, and before the throne burn seven torches of fire, which are the seven spirits of God; and before the throne there is as it were a sea of glass, like crystal. And round the throne, on each side of the throne, are four living creatures, full of eyes in front and behind: the first living creature like a lion, the second living creature like an ox, the third living creature with the face of a man, and the fourth living creature like a flying eagle. And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all round and within, and day and night they never cease to sing, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!” And whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to him who is seated on the throne, who lives for ever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives for ever and ever; they cast their crowns before the throne, singing, “Worthy art thou, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for thou didst create all things, and by thy will they existed and were created.”

–Revelation 4:1-11

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

From the Do Not Take Yourself too Seriously Department: Dave Barry on Men, Women, and Pick Up Lines

My point here is that, in matters of the heart, males have the brains of a walnut. No, wait! That is not my point. My point is that perhaps you women could cut us males a little bit of slack in the move-making process, because we are under a lot of stress. I vividly remember when I was in 10th grade, and I wanted to call a girl named Patty and ask her to a dance, and before I picked up the phone, I spent maybe 28 hours rehearsing exactly what I was going to say. So when I actually made the call, I was pretty smooth.

“Hello, Dance?” I said. “This is Patty. Do you want to go to the Dave with me?”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, Animals, Humor / Trivia, Men, Psychology, Women

(USA Today) Survey: Religious identity slips among U.S. Catholics

One in four Americans call themselves Catholic, but a survey released Monday finds this is more a cultural brand label for many than a religious identity.

An overwhelming majority, 88%, say “how a person lives is more important than whether he or she is Catholic,” according to Catholics in America: Persistence and change in the Catholic landscape.

The survey, a comprehensive look at the beliefs and practices of 1,442 U.S. adults identifying themselves as Catholics, also finds that 86% say “you can disagree with aspects of church teachings and still remain loyal to the church.”

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

(WSJ) Home Lending Revamp Planned

Federal regulators on Monday unveiled a major overhaul of an underused mortgage-refinance program designed to help millions of Americans whose home values have tumbled.

he plan is the latest White House effort to deal with one of the most critical impediments to economic recovery””a stagnant housing market caused in part by a surfeit of homeowners who are unable to refinance.

The overhaul will, among other things, let borrowers refinance regardless of how far their homes have fallen in value, eliminating previous limits. That could open up refinancing to legions of borrowers in Nevada, Arizona, Florida, California and elsewhere who are paying high interest rates and are deeply “underwater,” owing more than their houses are worth. President Barack Obama is expected to tout the program in Las Vegas on Monday.

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