Daily Archives: December 6, 2011

(USA Today) Amy Sullivan–Let's put 'Christ'-mas in its place

I would enjoy the goodwill and merriment of X-mas without reservation if I no longer felt it was co-opting and eclipsing my religious holiday. Lighting the Advent candles and reading daily devotions would provide a quiet respite during X-mas season. And on Christmas morning, instead of collapsing in an exhausted and mildly resentful heap, I could begin the real celebration with a full heart.

As a society, we need a designated time of year to celebrate with one another. We need the outlet of X-mas to give us a burst of festive energy to get through the winter. And we need fudge and Santa cookies, darn it. So let’s take Christ out of Christmas and make our culturewide secular celebration official. Just give me Jesus Day when it’s all over.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Christmas, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Religion & Culture

(The Hill) The fall of ”˜key man’ Jon Corzine

The spectacular fall of Jon Corzine will be on display Thursday when the former New Jersey senator and governor testifies before a House panel on the bankruptcy of his former firm, MF Global.

Just months ago Corzine, a Democrat, was seen as a possible successor to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.

So confident was MF Global in Corzine that its bond sale in August included a “key man” provision that gave investors an extra 1 percent in interest if Corzine left the firm “due to his appointment to a federal position by the president of the United States and confirmation of that appointment by the United States Senate prior to July 1, 2013.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Stock Market, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, Theology

(WSJ) At MF Global, Jon Corzine Rebuffed Internal Warnings on Risks

MF Global Holdings Ltd.’s executive in charge of controlling risks raised serious concerns several times last year to directors at the securities firm about the growing bet on European bonds by his boss, Jon S. Corzine, people familiar with the matter said.

The board allowed the company’s exposure to troubled European sovereign debt to swell from about $1.5 billion in late 2010 to $6.3 billion shortly before MF Global tumbled into bankruptcy Oct. 31, these people said. The executive who challenged Mr. Corzine resigned in March.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Euro, European Central Bank, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Stock Market, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, Theology

(Anglican Journal) Budget Crunch leads Diocese of Ontario to “suspend” newspaper

On Nov. 29, the Synod Council of the Anglican diocese of Ontario “suspended” four of its programs and ministries to create a “credible, balanced budget” for 2012. Cuts include the diocesan newspaper, Dialogue, as well as the diocese’s summer residential youth program, Camp Hyanto.

The decision is meant to “relieve the financial load on the diocese,” said the bishop of the diocese, Michael Oulton, in a letter issued to parishes Dec. 3.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Canada, Economy, Media, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Stewardship, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Down Under on Same Sex Marriage–Division in the pews but most faiths say: 'I don't'

Dr Peter Jensen…expressed his profound disappointment yesterday with Labor’s endorsement of gay marriage at the weekend.

”This is not a matter of equality, but of trying to force respect by changing the definition of one of the fundamentals of our society,” he said. ”I hope MPs will use the conscience vote to send a powerful signal of support for the integrity and true meaning of marriage.”

While the condemnation from many senior religious leaders to the party’s decision has been near universal, in this fight not all of their faith communities could be in their corner.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Provinces, Australia / NZ, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture, Sexuality

(LA Times) Drone that crashed in Iran may give away U.S. secrets

The radar-evading drone that crash-landed over the weekend in Iran was on a mission for the CIA, according to a senior U.S. official, raising fears that the aircraft’s sophisticated technology could be exploited by Tehran or shared with other American rivals.

It was unclear whether the drone’s mission took it over Iran or whether it strayed there accidentally because of technical malfunctions, the official said.

Though the drone flight was a CIA operation, U.S. military personnel were involved in flying the aircraft, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the secrecy involved.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Defense, National Security, Military, Foreign Relations, Iran, Middle East, Politics in General, Science & Technology

(WSJ) New York City Area Churches Grapple With School Ruling

The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear a Bronx church’s case on whether it can hold worship services in New York City public schools.

The decision ends a 16-year legal battle over the rights of churches in city schools and means 160 area churches have roughly two months to find new places to hold worship services.
Lawyers for the Bronx Household of Faith, an evangelical congregation that meets at P.S. 15 in the Bronx, filed a petition in late September asking the court to review a June appeals-court ruling barring churches from holding worship services on school property.

Now that congregation, along with dozens of others, has until Feb. 12 to find a substitute house of worship.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, City Government, Economy, Education, Housing/Real Estate Market, Law & Legal Issues, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

R.C. Bishop Greg O'Kelly (South Australia): Labor betrays its own over same sex marriage

There must never be social or political discrimination against any human being. There must be legal protection for same-sex couples to ensure appropriate justice in areas like property, inheritance, personal access, and so on.

But a same-sex union is not marriage, and can never be. Marriage is a vowed union of a man and a woman in a love from which human life can spring. A same-sex union is clearly not that, so this term marriage cannot be applied.

No other society in history has ever understood matter otherwise. The family as the basic unit of society is too precious for marriage and same-sex union to be equated.

Read it all.

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

(SMH) Gerard Henderson–Iran remains at the heart of Middle Eastern instability

As the International Atomic Energy Agency has confirmed, Iran is getting closer to acquiring a nuclear bomb – it might be able to do so in less than two years. A Persian nuclear bomb threatens Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states as much as it does Israel. Europe and the United States also have reason to be deeply concerned.

And then there is what many had hoped would become the Arab Spring. It may be that a majority of Muslims in North Africa reject the form of democracy favoured in the West. Young Muslims have shown enormous courage in demonstrating for freedoms in the face of repression in Tunisia, Morocco, Egypt, Syria, Bahrain and the like. Yet, when relatively free elections have been conducted in Tunisia, Morocco and Egypt, the Islamist parties have prevailed.

This does not mean such nations will become Islamic theocracies like Iran any time soon. It is likely that, in the short term at least, the Islamist parties will share power with other organisations, including the army.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Defense, National Security, Military, Foreign Relations, Iran, Middle East, Politics in General

(The Tablet) Catholic-Muslim dialogue Improving after Challenging beginning

Five years after Pope Benedict XVI’s Regensburg address that ignited protests around the Islamic world, the Catholic-Muslim Forum established to improve interfaith relations has said that what began as formal dialogue has become increasingly characterised by friendship.

The forum, which grew out of Muslim dissatisfaction with comments in Pope Benedict’s 2006 Regensburg speech, held its second round of theological consultations in Jordan last week. The fate of Middle Eastern Christian minorities amid the Arab Spring’s Islamist renaissance provided a sombre background to the meeting, much as perceived Christian misunderstandings about Islam preceded the first session of the forum at the Vatican in November 2008.

But increasing contacts between Catholic officials and Muslim scholars of the Common Word initiative, the 2007 Islamic dialogue appeal to Pope Benedict, have created bonds that helped both sides tackle sensitive issues.

Read it all.

Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Inter-Faith Relations, Islam, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

(CNS) Too much focus on money destroys the environment, says cardinal

Excessive focus on money is destroying the environment and dehumanizing people, said Honduran Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, president of Caritas Internationalis.

Religious communities have a duty to call attention to the importance of the human person, who is “at the center of creation,” he said while international leaders were debating the extension of legal limits on the production of greenhouse gas emissions.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, Globalization, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint Nicholas

Almighty God, who in thy love didst give to thy servant Nicholas of Myra a perpetual name for deeds of kindness on land and sea: Grant, we pray thee, that thy Church may never cease to work for the happiness of children, the safety of sailors, the relief of the poor, and the help of those tossed by tempests of doubt or grief; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O Gracious God and most merciful Father, who has vouchsafed us the rich and precious jewel of thy holy Word: Assist us with thy Spirit that it may be written in our hearts to our everlasting comfort, to reform us, to renew us according to thine own image, to build us up into the perfect building of thy Christ, and to increase us in all heavenly virtues. Grant this, O heavenly Father, for the same Jesus Christ’s sake.

–Geneva Bible

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

And Amazi’ah said to Amos, “O seer, go, flee away to the land of Judah, and eat bread there, and prophesy there; but never again prophesy at Bethel, for it is the king’s sanctuary, and it is a temple of the kingdom.” Then Amos answered Amazi’ah, “I am no prophet, nor a prophet’s son; but I am a herdsman, and a dresser of sycamore trees, and the LORD took me from following the flock, and the LORD said to me, ‘Go, prophesy to my people Israel.’

–Amos 7:12-15

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

S&P warns euro nations of possible credit downgrade

Standard and Poor’s has put Germany, France and 13 other eurozone countries on “credit watch” due to fears over the impact of the debt crisis.

S&P’s move means that countries with top AAA ratings would have a 50% chance of seeing their rating’s downgraded.

The news came as a surprise to investors and saw stocks fall back on early gains as the euro also fell.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Stock Market, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The Fiscal Stimulus Package of 2009

(RNS) Mainline Protestants seek reforms, stir anger

A list of the Episcopal Church’s 75 commissions, committees, agencies and boards spilled over eight PowerPoint slides during a recent presentation by its new chief operating officer, Bishop Stacy Sauls.

By his count, there are also nearly 50 departments and offices in the church’s New York headquarters, and 46 committees in its legislative body, the General Convention.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Episcopal Church (TEC), Lutheran, Methodist, Other Churches, Pastoral Theology, Presbyterian, TEC Bishops, Theology, United Church of Christ

Province IV Bishops Seek a Meeting with South Carolina Bp. Lawrence

The full text of the letter follows below the fold

December 5, 2011

The Right Reverend Mark Lawrence
The Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina
126 Coming Street
Charleston, South Carolina 29413

Dear Mark,

I write to you following the regular annual meeting of the bishops of Province 4, gathered this year in Memphis, Tennessee. We missed you and understood your need to stay at home and close to your diocese.

The meeting covered a variety of topics: the Denominational Health Plan; the beginning of a search process for a new dean of the School of Theology at Sewanee; the upcoming Provincial Synod in June and the General Convention in July; ministry to retired clergy and their families; Daughters of the King; a prison ministry network in our province; ongoing concerns about the sin of racism in our world and church; and immigration, among other topics.

We also considered, with some concern, recent publicly reported actions regarding quitclaim deeds given to parishes in the Diocese of South Carolina. Since we have had no direct communication from you regarding these reported actions, we determined that it is our duty as bishops of this province to address these concerns in direct communication with you, as Jesus exhorts his followers in Matthew’s Gospel (18:15-20), and in accord with our ordination vows regarding the unity and governance of the church. What we seek in the coming weeks is a face-to-face meeting with you and and a representative group of your fellow Bishops Diocesan of Province 4 in order to have a clarifying conversation and to address the concerns raised among us:

A. We have heard and read reports that you have given a quitclaim deed to each congregation in your diocese. Is this true? If this report is true, under what canonical authority did you proceed? Did you involve the Standing Committee and are the members of the Standing Committee in accord? Who signed the deeds? Would you provide a sample copy of a deed and the letter of explanation that accompanied it?

B. In order to better understand your action, the Bishops of Province 4 gathered in Memphis respectfully request that you meet with several of your fellow Provincial Bishops Diocesan in Charleston, or elsewhere if you desire, to discuss what has been noted above. We make this request in a spirit of collegiality and fellowship as well as out of concern for the people of the Diocese of South Carolina and concern for the well-being of The Episcopal Church.

I have contacted you earlier today by telephone and shared with you the content of this letter, as well as seeking a date in the very near future for our proposed meeting. I will send you an email and hard copy of the letter. I am also releasing this letter to Episcopal news organizations today after our conversation.

Faithfully yours,


Clifton Daniel, 3rd
Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of East Carolina
Vice President of Province 4 of The Episcopal Church

(Please note if necessary you may find a pdf version there–KSH).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Episcopal Church (TEC), Pastoral Theology, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: South Carolina, TEC Polity & Canons, Theology

(Anglican Ink) Rwanda House of Bishops gives Ultimatum to AMIA Chairman Chuck Murphy

The head of the Anglican Mission in America has been threatened with ecclesiastical discipline for contumacy. Unless Bishop Chuck Murphy repents of his disobedience and apologizes for his offensive statements within seven days, the Rwanda House of Bishops will assume that he has “made a de facto choice to withdraw as primatial vicar” of the AMiA.

In letter from the Rwandan House of Bishops to Bishop Murphy dated 30 Nov 2011, the AMiA leader was chastised for disobedience and abuse of office.

“You have constantly disregarded the decisions and counsels of the House of Bishops” and have “misused the authority given to you by the Archbishop in advancing your new missionary society interests,” said the letter signed by the Archbishop Onesphore Rwaje and the Rwandan bishops.

The censure follows a 17 Nov 2011 meeting in Washington between Bishop Murphy and Archbishop Rwaje, which sources described as having had a full and frank exchange of views.

Read it all.

I will take comments on this submitted by email only to at KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of Rwanda, Other Churches, Pastoral Theology, Theology