Daily Archives: July 3, 2013

(Telegraph) Church of England set to bury Synod Same Sex Union debate

Officials have quietly shelved a debate on the possibility of registering civil partnerships in Anglican churches for the first time, ahead of a five-day meeting of the Synod which begins in York on Friday.

The motion had been tabled almost 18 months ago and has the backing of almost 120 members.

A separate motion reaffirming the traditional “doctrine of Christian marriage” has also been postponed until another session to allow more time for arguments over women bishops.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture, Sexuality

(Reuters) Portugal political crisis deepens as bond yields soar

Two more Portuguese ministers from the junior ruling coalition party were ready to resign on Wednesday, local media said, deepening turmoil that could trigger a snap election and derail Lisbon’s exit from an EU/IMF bailout.

Multiple newspaper radio and television reports said Agriculture Minister Assuncao Cristas and Social Security Minister Pedro Mota Soares will follow their CDS-PP party leader Paulo Portas who tendered his resignation on Tuesday. Party officials were not available to comment as the party’s executive commission was in a meeting.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Politics in General, Portugal, Stock Market

(Wash. Post) John Lomperis–Why many Methodists still oppose same-sex marriage

We realize that all of us are fundamentally sinners (members of the LGBTQ community no more so than me), in desperate need of the restoration uniquely available in Jesus. Methodists were historically known for recognizing that we also need a Christian community who loves us enough to challenge us when we sin.

We submit to Jesus as Lord. If He is truly Lord, then no area of our lives can be off-limits to Him. Jesus spoke strongly about the centrality of self-denial in following Him, which often means dramatic personal sacrifices, including not acting on powerful desires for things outside of God’s best for us. This is rather different from just seeking religious endorsement for how we have already decided to live our lives. But Jesus and new life in Him are more than worth it.

We are a biblical church. Our core doctrine calls the Bible “the true rule and guide for faith and practice.” Even liberal biblical scholars now agree that the Old and New Testaments are very clear in their moral disapproval of homosexual practice. I will never forget the courageous witness of a same-sex attracted friend I got to know while earning my master’s at Harvard Divinity School. After a relative asked him what more he could possibly expect the Bible to say to convince him of its position on homosexuality, he committed himself to celibacy and went on to faithfully serve in ministry. More fundamentally, Scripture paints a beautiful picture of marriage as a holy covenant of intensely intimate, self-giving community between man and woman, uniting the two most basic, equal categories of humanity.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Methodist, Other Churches, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths), Theology, Theology: Scripture

(The State) Thousands drawn to Columbia, South Carolina, stray Shaggy’s online ”˜dog diary'

“She has not just made this just about her,” said Leslie Richmand, a Plainsboro, N.J., counselor and another of [Patty] Hall’s Shaggy Facebook friends. “Patty is talking to all these people like they are in her living room.”

Hall calls the page a dog diary that she realizes has become something more. Fans have sent her a number of gifts, namely dog toys and books. but Hall also has received a collar with a radio transmitter, a wine glass painted with a portrait of Shaggy and a Mother’s Day card.

“She started off as a dog in distress, and now she has become their friend,” Hall said.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, * South Carolina, --Social Networking, Animals, Blogging & the Internet

(ACNS) Anglicans tackle child trafficking in Zambia’s tourist capital

The Anglican Church in Zambia has welcomed the news that the country’s tourist capital Livingstone has partnered with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) to fight child trafficking and child labour there.

“Being a border town, Livingstone is a fertile ground for human trafficking,” said Livingstone West parish priest Fr Emmanuel Chikoya. “Just recently 32 children were almost trafficked into a neighbouring country and members of the church were among those that exposed the incident.”

The city of Livingstone is preparing to co-host the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) General Assembly in August this year. Fr Emmanuel Chikoya has urged his parishioners to be vigilant as some visitors may take advantage of the event as an avenue for human trafficking.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Children, Church of Central Africa, Ethics / Moral Theology, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues, Zambia

Laura Dean–Cairo Diary, July 2: Brotherhood and Defiance

On the whole, though, critiques of the Tamarod movement””as well as of the police and the army””are muted. People are careful not to portray the Brotherhood in a negative or violent light. Everyone I speak to stresses that it’s natural for members of a society to hold differing opinions and says that the media is overstating the divisions in Egyptian society. Others differentiate between the army and the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, saying the former are of the people while the latter is a part of the old regime. Even the police, the same police who looked on while the Muslim Brotherhood Headquarters burned yesterday, are called “an Egyptian institution” by Abdel Aziz of Alexandria. “They don’t belong to any [political] trend,” he says.

Despite these gentle words, I can’t help but be unsettled by all of the military-looking exercises going on around me, though I am assured several times that the weapons and hardhats are merely a precaution against “thugs” who might want to harm the protesters. The presence of hundreds of men with sticks does give one pause, even when those men insist they are “peaceful” and “against violence.”

“We don’t want military rule. We want a civil government,” says Ahmed el Bahrawi, a 37-year-old engineer from Sharqeya in the Delta. “We don’t say religious, because people think [we mean] like Iran,” his friend, a French teacher, adds. The choice of the words “civil state” is a bit ironic. In this case, people are using it in the sense of civil as opposed to military rule, but the phrase “civil state” is usually used by liberals here to contrast with an Islamic state””which, of course, these people seek in some form. Changing times, changing lexicons, I suppose. Ahmed then shows me his dirty clothes and says he has been camped out since last Friday; today he took his first shower in six days.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Defense, National Security, Military, Egypt, History, Middle East, Politics in General

(Wash. Post) White House delays health-care rule that businesses provide insurance to workers

The White House on Tuesday delayed for one year a requirement under the Affordable Care Act that businesses provide health insurance to employees, a fresh setback for President Obama’s landmark health-care overhaul as it enters a critical phase.

The provision, commonly known as the employer mandate, calls for businesses with 50 or more workers to provide affordable quality insurance to workers or pay a $2,000 fine per employee. Business groups had objected to the provision, which now will take effect in January 2015.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --The 2009 American Health Care Reform Debate, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Health & Medicine, Office of the President, Personal Finance, Politics in General

(NY Times) Depth of Discontent Threatens Muslim Brotherhood and Its Leader

The Muslim Brotherhood, among the most powerful forces in Egypt, is facing perhaps the worst crisis in its 80-year history. Its members have been gunned down in the streets. Its new headquarters have been ransacked and burned, its political leader, President Mohamed Morsi, abandoned, threatened and isolated by old foes and recent allies.

It is a steep fall for the pre-eminent Islamist movement in the region, and especially surprising for a group that was elected just one year ago. Its critics say the Brotherhood remains stuck in old divisions, pitting Islamists against the military, and has failed to heed the demands of ordinary citizens.

“I think this is an existential crisis, and it’s much more serious than what they were subjected to by Nasser or Mubarak,” said Khaled Fahmy, a historian at the American University in Cairo, referring to the governments of Gamal Abdel Nasser and Hosni Mubarak, the autocrat deposed in 2011. “The Egyptian people are increasingly saying it is not about Islam versus secularism,” Mr. Fahmy said. “It is about Egypt versus a clique.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Defense, National Security, Military, Economy, Egypt, History, Islam, Middle East, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

(BW) Don't Expect Silicon Valley to Stop Asking for Political Favors (and a Quiz)

If legislators don’t stop granting favors to tech companies, they could transform Silicon Valley from a beacon of innovation into another dreary group of companies relying on government to protect them from competitors, argue George Mason University researchers Adam Theirer and Brent Skorup in a new paper about the history of cronyism in the tech sector. They also suggest that perhaps Silicon Valley should voluntarily disengage from the game.

Not likely. Silicon Valley’s lobbying spending has ballooned in recent years, with Google (GOOG) alone spending $18.2 million last year, more than AT&T (T), Boeing (BA), or Lockheed Martin (LMT), according to the Center for Responsive Politics. But if you really want to see the tech sector resembling every other deal-making, legislator-bullying, favor-seeking industry it claims to be different than, flip to Theirer and Skorup’s section on state and local governments. Tech companies have been getting deeply into the time-honored game of threatening to leave towns that want taxes from them. Some examples from the report….

Before you go and read it all, answer the quiz–how much did Google spend on lobbying last year (2012)?

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Science & Technology, The U.S. Government, Theology

Terry Mattingly on a Telegraph article–Valid apologetics or another case of Anglican syncretism?

Now here is the crucial question: Is this an attempt to create an Anglican approach that fuses or blends elements of Christianity and streams of pagan or neopagan belief, or is the goal to ask Anglican ministers and parishes to address some of the specific concerns and questions of people who are seeking answers by turning to other religions?

The key, in this case, emerges quickly enough. The question is whether the Telegraph team knew the identities of some of the key players….

Now, if you know the various parachurch groups inside of the Church of England, you know that the Church Mission Society is a prominent network on the EVANGELICAL side of the faith. Our own Father George Conger is a member of said society. These are the last Anglicans in the world who would be dabbling in syncretism. In fact, these are traditional Anglicans on the low-church side of the church who would be highly critical of that approach.

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore I will trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.

–Thomas Merton (1915-1968)

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Moreover as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD by ceasing to pray for you; and I will instruct you in the good and the right way.

Only fear the LORD, and serve him faithfully with all your heart; for consider what great things he has done for you.

–1 Samuel 12: 23-24

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Independent) Time’s up for President Mohamed Morsi as Egyptian army gets ready to move in

Mohamed Morsi woke up today as President of the Arab Republic of Egypt. By nightfall, if the opposition have their way, he may have been toppled in a coup d’état.

At about 3pm tomorrow afternoon, a 48-hour ultimatum announced by the military will come to a head. It called on the President to solve the deepening national crisis or face an army intervention. Reports said the military intends to establish an interim council to rule while the constitution is redrafted. It would then call presidential elections within months.

The President’s office responded to the army’s statement obliquely by saying Mr Morsi was “going forward” with his own plans “regardless of any statements that deepen divisions between citizens”.

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Posted in * International News & Commentary, Egypt, Middle East

Episcopal Diocese of Central Pennsylvania Bishop Nathan Baxter to retire

Baxter told diocese officials he has continued to deal with migraine headaches, vertigo and fatigue, the website reported, and he felt these ailments would interfere with his ability to execute his duties fully. Baxter has served as bishop for eight years. Most bishops in the Episcopal Church serve an average of 10 years before retirement, the website said.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Health & Medicine, TEC Bishops

(BBC) Egypt army leaks planned 'roadmap' to end protests

The Egyptian military has leaked details of its draft “roadmap” for the country’s future, which includes new presidential elections.

According to details given to the BBC, the plan would see the suspension of the new constitution and the dissolution of parliament.

Clashes in Cairo between opponents and supporters of President Morsi killed seven people on Tuesday, officials say.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Defense, National Security, Military, Egypt, History, Middle East, Politics in General, Violence

Statement on Stephen Lawrence allegations from the C of E's Comm. for Minority Ethnic Angl Concerns

“If true, the allegations that have emerged in recent days would show beyond doubt that we are not just hearing the revelation that some police officers behaved appallingly to the family and friends of a murder victim 20 years ago. In the light of what has been alleged, many people are now concluding that significant numbers of police officers, including some at senior level, knew of, and approved of, what was happening. The belief that this was not just a few bad apples but a rottenness at the core of UK policing needs to be tested by a full, open and independent investigation, now.

“If it is indeed the case that a cohort of officers has been complicit in a prolonged cover up, hiding the truth from the Macpherson enquiry and from the groups both within the Home Office and UK Policing that were set up in the wake of Stephen Lawrence’s murder and which sought to address the structural failings in how we police our society, then the integrity of all that well intentioned work is called into question, and we would be forced to conclude that a conspiracy of silence has continued until 2013 to prevent the full truth from emerging.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ethics / Moral Theology, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Theology

(Living Church) Mark McCall–A Provisional Solution for South Carolina

Jesse Zink’s “Why Provinces Matter” and the responses from William G. Witt and Colin Podmore [TLC, May 26] illustrate the range of opinions on what South Carolina’s ultimate ecclesial structure should be, from standalone province to joining the Anglican Church in North America. One thing in common to all of the initial essays, however, was the recognition that any decision on ultimate structure might still be some time away.

This recognition has also been the starting point of the Anglican Communion Institute in our work on this issue in the last several months. We believe that South Carolina’s current status does not necessarily present a problem in need of immediate resolution, but rather inheres in the nature of this dispute. Taking our cue both from Bishop Mark Lawrence and the Instruments of Communion, we have proposed that the guiding principle of the next season for South Carolina is “provisionality.” During this period ultimate decisions are deferred precisely because they are premature. Bishop Lawrence has stressed this on many occasions. The rupture with the Episcopal Church is too fresh with many unresolved issues; the ensuing litigation is only beginning, not nearing an end. This is not the time to make such a momentous decision as that regarding the ultimate future of this diocese, which predates the formation of the Episcopal Church.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, - Anglican: Analysis, Church History, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, Presiding Bishop, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: South Carolina, TEC Parishes, TEC Polity & Canons, Theology