Daily Archives: October 24, 2012

(Washington Post) Mars Cramer–Euthanasia was the right decision for my wife

As a rule, the family doctor who has known the patient for years is the best judge of her condition and of the earnestness and independence of her request. But he must also consult another doctor, an outsider, for an independent assessment; that doctor must also put his views in writing. Afterward, both reports are submitted to a monitoring committee, which may ask for further explanation and can refer problematic cases to the Inspector of Health and the Public Prosecutor. But their annual reports show that the monitoring committees do this only very rarely ”” in 2010, at the rate of one in every 300 reported cases.

We called for the consulting doctor, who spent the better part of an hour with Mathilde. Afterward, he called our family doctor and said he was not sure she was suffering enough.

What is unbearable suffering? It is an impossible question. The monitoring committees have given up trying to define it and adopted the view that the patient’s own judgment is decisive, provided the acting doctor is convinced of its earnestness and sincerity….

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Death / Burial / Funerals, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Parish Ministry, The Netherlands, Theology

Panel of Reference report on the Fort Worth 7 finds misconduct

In an 19 Oct 2012 email Bishop Matthews wrote:

“The Reference Panel unanimously decided according to IV. 6.sec.8 that the complaint will proceed with option (c), Conciliation pursuant to Canon IV.10.”

Under the Title IV disciplinary canons, if the intake officer finds that if a prima facie case can be made against the accused ”“ if the charges if proven true would constitute an offense ”“ the proceedings are passed on to a Reference Panel for action….

the panel proposed…option b, conciliation.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, --Aggressive Title IV Action Against Multiple Bishops on Eve of Gen. Con. 2012, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Polity & Canons

Frequently Asked Questions About the Assault on the Diocese of South Carolina

What actions were taken against Bishop Lawrence?

On Monday, October 15, 2012, the Bishop was informed of the actions of the Disciplinary Board for Bishops (a feature of the Title IV changes to the national Canons which our Diocese rejected because they are contrary to the TEC Constitution). They had apparently voted a month earlier to “certify” that he had abandoned the Church.

What does that mean?

To this Diocese, as explained below, it has no canonical meaning or legal effect. However, TEC believes his actions amounted to renouncing the doctrine, discipline and worship of the Church. The TEC canons require the Presiding Bishop promptly to notify the Bishop. It appears that did not happen. She informed him verbally nearly a month after the ostensible date of this certification. Even now we do not know when the certification was signed. All this after beginning a conversation in the interim about the potential for a negotiated settlement of our differences.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: South Carolina

Bishop of Burnley urges worshippers to ensure church is not seen as 'a soggy sponge'

A leading churchman has urged worshippers to ensure the Anglican communion is not seen as a ”˜soggy sponge’ as they await the appointment of a new bishop.

Bishop of Burnley, the Right Rev John Goddard, will act as ”˜caretaker’ until a replacement can be found for the outgoing Bishop of Blackburn.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

Marc De Leyritz of Alpha Course-France Speaks on the New Evangelization

ZENIT: Why this emphasis on the “Kerygma”? What was the inspiration that the “Kerygma” is essential to preaching the Gospel?

Marc de Leyritz: Alpha was founded in England in an Anglican parish 30 years ago. Florence and I brought it back to France and we adapted it to a Catholic setting, which is a big challenge because when you’re in France, anything that comes from England is really a bad start. But, this distinction between Kerygma and catechesis is really something key, since the beginning of the Church, since the very first day. You see on the day of Pentecost, Acts 2, Peter gives a very short speech, the nucleus of the faith, which is what Kerygma means, the proclamation of the nucleus. And, he speaks probably one minute or two minutes, and the Bible says that listening to this, people’s hearts were pierced and they asked, “Brother, what shall we do?” And he said, “Repent,” and then they were baptized. And on that day, the first day of the Church, 3000 people were baptized. And only then, the nascent Church started to help people to grow into full disciples of Jesus Christ.

So, Pope John Paul [II], in a very foundational text called “Redemptoris Missio” which is an encyclical and in another post-Synodal exhortation called “Catechesi Tradendae”, he makes this distinction. He says you cannot give catechesis before Kerygma.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Europe, Evangelism and Church Growth, France, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

NPR Talks to Placido Domingo about his new album

Placido Domingo is one of the most influential people in classical music. During a 50-year career, he’s played more than 140 roles, conducted more than 450 operas, and won just about every award that a human being can win in opera and life.

Domingo has a new album of solo songs and duets with other singers, whose names might surprise you. Take, for example, his version of Shania Twain’s “From This Moment On” ”” a duet with Susan Boyle.

Listen to it all (slightly over 9 minutes).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Europe, Music, Spain

Melbourne’s Anglican pondered a leaner look, theological learning

Melbourne’s Anglican Synod contemplated its own future ”“ and that of the way the Church prepares candidates for ordination and provides continuing professional development for clergy ”“ on its third night, Friday 19 October.

Synod commended a review of its own size and composition that proposed that lay parish representatives be in proportion to full-time equivalent ministry staff in each parish. It endorsed the principle that its House of Laity should have at least as many members as its House of Clergy and asked the Diocesan Council, which meets regularly between sessions of Synod, to bring recommendations on clergy representation to next year’s Synod with a view to introducing new representation in time for the 52nd Synod, which is to meet from 2016-18.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Provinces

Court Rejects Kunonga Appeals in Anglican Property Row in Zimbabwe

The ex-communicated Anglican Bishop, Nolbert Kunonga, has lost the latest round in his controversial campaign to take over Anglican Church properties from the main church (CPCA).

The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed five appeals that had been lodged by the Kunonga faction, as well as two others launched by his Manicaland counterpart and supporter, Bishop Elson Jakazi.

The appeals were struck off the court’s register after Kunonga’s lawyers made a u-turn and claimed he was still the CPCA’s legitimate Bishop of Harare. This is despite the fact that Kunonga formed his own Church Province of Zimbabwe and appointed himself Bishop of Harare.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Church/State Matters, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Zimbabwe

Two Letters to the Editor of the Local Paper on the Diocese of South Carolina Situation

One is from a former bishop of the diocese, and the other from a layman–read them both.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: South Carolina

(Washington Post) U.S. develops new blueprint for hunting terrorists

Over the past two years, the Obama administration has been secretly developing a new blueprint for pursuing terrorists, a next-generation targeting list called the “disposition matrix.”

The matrix contains the names of terrorism suspects arrayed against an accounting of the resources being marshaled to track them down, including sealed indictments and clandestine operations. U.S. officials said the database is designed to go beyond existing kill lists, mapping plans for the “disposition” of suspects beyond the reach of American drones.

Although the matrix is a work in progress, the effort to create it reflects a reality setting in among the nation’s counterterrorism ranks: The United States’ conventional wars are winding down, but the government expects to continue adding names to kill or capture lists for years.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Defense, National Security, Military, Foreign Relations, Politics in General, Science & Technology, Terrorism

New Health Care Law Slashes Full Time Worker definition, leads to More Part Time Workers

Usually full time workers are understood to be those employed 35 hours a week or more–but this has now shifted. The key section of the law may be found here:

[Section 1513](4) Full-time employee
(A) In general
The term “full-time employee” means, with respect to any month, an employee who is employed on average at least 30 hours of service per week.

As Mike Sherlock notes:

…any employer in his right mind would [look at the new definition of full time worker and] reduce the hours someone worked from say 34 to something like 25 or 28, just to make sure the average hours worked was under 30.

If a lot of corporations did that, and a lot people had reduced hours, then corporations would have had to hire more workers to keep the same total number of hours.

Indeed there was a massive surge in part-time employment (+582,000) in October…

You can read the rest here and there is more there.

Posted in Uncategorized

(USA Today) Ken Paulson–When faith and football don't mix

Public school students are largely free to exercise their faith on campus and on the field. A player’s personal prayer in the locker room or on the bench is protected by the First Amendment.

The challenges to prayer arise when school employees and resources are involved. A high school football coach can’t lead his team in prayers. Yet a patchwork of inconsistent court decisions boils down to this: Public universities are free to hold prayers before football games as long as they only cite God and do not mention Jesus. A specific nod to Christianity would be viewed as supporting one faith over others. The theory is that a general nod to a deity serves a non-religious purpose, giving fans a moment to reflect, while not advancing a particular faith.

Public high schools, on the other hand, face greater restrictions

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Church/State Matters, Education, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture, Spirituality/Prayer, Sports

Martyn Lloyd Jones' story of the woman who everyone thought was a Christian but was not

It was my pleasure and privilege to preach for nine Sundays in Canada, in Toronto, in 1932. I well remember being welcomed on the first Sunday morning by the minister of the church who, though on vacation, was still not out of town. He introduced me, and in responding to the welcome I thought it would be wise for me to indicate to the congregation my method as a preacher. I told the congregation that my method was to assume generally on Sunday morning that I was speaking to believers, to the saints, and that I would try to edify them; but that at night I would be preaching on the assumption that I was speaking to non-Christians as undoubtedly there would be many such there. In a sense I just said that in passing. We went through that morning service, and at the close the minister asked if I would stand at the door with him to shake hands with people as they went out. I did so. We had shaken hands with a number of people when he suddenly whispered to me saying, ‘You see that old lady who is coming along slowly. She-is the most important member of this church. She is a very wealthy woman and the greatest supporter of the work.’ He was, in other words, telling me to exercise what little charm I might possess to the maximum. I need not explain any further! Well, the old lady came along and we spoke to her, and I shall never forget what happened. It taught me a great lesson which I have never forgotten.
The old lady said, ‘Did I understand you to say that in the evening you would preach on the assumption that the people ljstening are not Christians and in the morning on the assumption that they are Christians?’ ‘Yes,’ I said. ‘Well,’ she said, ‘having heard you this morning I have decided to come tonight.’ She had never been known to attend the evening service; never. She only attended in the morning. She said, ‘I am coming tonight.’ I cannot describe the embarrassment of the situation. I sensed that the minister standing by my side felt that I was ruining his ministry and bitterly regretted inviting me to occupy his pulpit! But the fact was that the old lady did come that Sunday night, and every Sunday night while I was there. I met her in her house in private conversation and found that she was most unhappy about her spiritual condition, that she did not know where she stood. She was a fine and most generous character, living an exemplary life. Everybody assumed-not only the minister but everybody else-that she was an exceptionally fine Christian; but she was not a Christian. This idea that because people are members of the church and attend regularly that they must be Christian is one of the most fatal assumptions, and I suggest that it mainly accounts for the state of the Church today.

–Martyn Lloyd Jones, Preaching and Preachers (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1972), pp.147-149 (emphasis mine); used by yours truly in a recent sermon

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, Anthropology, Canada, Church History, Evangelism and Church Growth, Parish Ministry, Soteriology, Theology

(Charles Haynes) What is the truth about American Muslims?

Over the past decade, an anti-Muslim movement in America has pushed for anti-Shariah laws in some 23 states and helped generate anti-mosque protests in more than 50 communities.

Even more disturbing, poisonous anti-Muslim rhetoric has contributed to an atmosphere of anger and hate that provokes acts of intimidation and violence ”“ including the recent attack on a Sikh temple in Wisconsin where six people were murdered, apparently because the killer confused Sikhs with Muslims.

Groups involved in the “stop Islamization of America” campaign have spent more than $40 million attempting to convince the public that American Muslims practice an inherently violent and oppressive faith that seeks to subvert the Constitution, according to a 2011 study conducted by the Center for American Progress.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Islam, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

A Pastoral Letter from Maryland Bishop Eugene Taylor Sutton–Political Voices and Gospel Values

I write this pastoral letter to you, the clergy and laity of the Diocese of Maryland, because you will be voting on November 6 on a number of issues of great significance for the future of our state. In particular, there are are three referenda on the ballot that have caused much controversy as we are inundated with ads on television, radio, and the internet – all seeking to direct our attention to one point of view or another.

In the coming weeks, you may see, read or hear me interviewed in the media about certain issues that our church or diocese has spoken about in convention resolutions or pastoral letters from your bishops. In all of these matters, I want to assure you that The Episcopal Church considers what and who you vote for in an election to be an act of your personal choice, an expression of your responsibilities as a faithful child of God as well as an informed citizen of the state. We have too much respect for you and your conscience to tell you how you should vote; that to us would be an abuse of power that does not honor the way of Jesus.

Instead, I consider the role of bishop in public issues to be that of reminding the church and the public at large of our Christian tradition of 2,000 years of moral and ethical reflection on matters of social concern. In our Anglican way of moral reasoning, we make use of the resources of Holy Scripture, tradition and human reason, and bring them to bear upon the difficult issues of the day. It is in the spirit of continuing a dialogue with you – not silencing, excommunicating or closing off conversation with you, my brothers and sisters in Christ – that I present this pastoral letter as a communication from me to you, as chief pastor of a diocese seeking to shepherd his flock.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Gambling, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops

Fulcrum Statement on Women Bishops

From here:

Fulcrum fully supports women bishops and hopes that the Measure passes through the General Synod in November. We believe that this is the view of most evangelicals in the Church of England. We agree with CEEC that all members of General Synod must prayerfully consider the good of the whole church and vote with a clear conscience. We hope that all those who want women bishops will vote for the Measure. We further hope that those who are against will be able in good conscience to abstain, recognising that it is clearly the will of the Church to proceed, and then work with the provision, which is unlikely to be strengthened should the legislation fall this time.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Women

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O God, the Lord and leader of the hosts of the blessed: Instruct us in the spiritual warfare; arm us against all foes visible and invisible; subdue unto us our own rebellious affections; and give us daily victory in the following of him who vanquished sin and death, and now goeth forth with us conquering and to conquer, even thy Son our Saviour Jesus Christ.

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

The seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!” And he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I have given you authority to tread upon serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing shall hurt you. Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you; but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

–Luke 10:17-20

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

ABC News Amazing Video–Beluga Whale Sounds Like a Human

Watch and listen to it all and you can read a bit more over there.

Posted in * General Interest, Animals

(Democrat and Chronicle) Woman to Watch: Episcopal priest relishes Interfaith work

For as long as she can remember, Rev. C. Denise Yarbrough knew she was called to work for the holy ministries.

Born in New Jersey, she grew up in the Episcopal tradition and majored in religious studies at Barnard College. At the time, women were just starting to work as ordained ministers, but Yarbrough was discouraged by her religious mentors from entering the profession. “The priest told me to go out into the world and do something else, and then return one day,” she recalls. “I think he thought I never would, but I did!”

Twelve years after graduating Barnard and working as a lawyer, Yarbrough was ready to return to her called profession. Today, she serves as an Episcopal priest for the Episcopal Diocese of Rochester and is the recently appointed Director of Religious and Spiritual Life at the University of Rochester.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Episcopal Church (TEC), Inter-Faith Relations, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry

Ed Stetzer–Christianity isn't dying, cultural Christianity is

You’ve heard it suggested the United States is simply Europe on a 50 year delay. Supposedly most churches will be museums before our grandchildren reach adulthood.

Though new numbers from Pew Research released this month point to a decline in American Protestants, no serious scholar believes Christianity in America is on a trajectory of extinction. And, as a Ph.D. researcher and practicing evangelical Christian, I say to those who’ve read recent reports and come to that conclusion, “Not so fast.”

You see, many in the U.S. who identify as Christian do so only superficially. These cultural Christians use the term but do not practice the faith. Now it seems many of them are giving up the Christian label, and those cultural or nominal Christians are becoming “nones,” people with no religious label….

Read it all.

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