Daily Archives: October 27, 2013

(Honolulu Star Advertiser) Episcopal Church in Hawaii affirms support for same-sex Marriage

The Episcopal Diocese of Hawai”˜i on Saturday voted to encourage the state Legislature to pass marriage equality, the largest denomination to announce its support of an issue that has divided people of faith.

A resolution was approved by acclamation of the 180 Episcopalians who attended the diocese’s annual convention at the Cathedral of St. Andrew, including 44 clergy. The diocese has 40 worshipping sites and about 9,000 parishioners statewide.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), State Government, TEC Diocesan Conventions/Diocesan Councils, Theology

(The Economist) In response to red tape and high taxes, corporate America is mutating

In 1996 Richard Kinder was the president of Enron and the heir-apparent to Ken Lay, the energy firm’s boss. It was not to be. He was passed over for the top job, apparently judged too conservative to take the helm of America’s most innovative company. His next move, with a partner, was to buy some pipelines and a coal terminal from his former employer. Buying things that rust? It was all very old economy.

Sixteen years later the man who bested Mr Kinder to become Enron’s chief executive is in jail and that company is a byword for misleading accounting. By contrast Kinder Morgan is worth $109 billion, Mr Kinder’s personal stake approaches $9 billion and in the past year alone he has received distributions of $376m. That success is partly due to America’s energy boom and Mr Kinder’s talents; but it is also due to his shrewd use of a distinctive corporate structure….

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Taxes, The U.S. Government, Theology

PBS ' Religion and Ethics Newsweekly–Roman Catholic College Identity

BOB FAW, correspondent: This is “coming out day” at Georgetown University in Washington, DC. At this Jesuit institution, three dozen students celebrate homosexual and lesbian lifestyles even though the Catholic Church considers them immoral. Thomas Lloyd is president of Georgetown’s Gay Pride.

THOMAS LLOYD (Student, Georgetown University): By recognizing pride, Georgetown has become more true to its Jesuit values. Commitments to social justice are some of the most important and historically grounded parts of Catholic doctrine.

FAW: But what is sanctioned at one Catholic university is anathema at another: Florida’s Ave Maria University.

JIM TOWEY (President, Ave Maria University): This is a university that’s founded on biblical truth, on scripture, and on the sacramental richness of the Catholic Church….

Read or watch and listen to it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Education, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Young Adults

(LA Times) Some health insurance gets pricier as Obamacare rolls out

Fullerton resident Jennifer Harris thought she had a great deal, paying $98 a month for an individual plan through Health Net Inc. She got a rude surprise this month when the company said it would cancel her policy at the end of this year. Her current plan does not conform with the new federal rules, which require more generous levels of coverage.

Now Harris, a self-employed lawyer, must shop for replacement insurance. The cheapest plan she has found will cost her $238 a month. She and her husband don’t qualify for federal premium subsidies because they earn too much money, about $80,000 a year combined.

“It doesn’t seem right to make the middle class pay so much more in order to give health insurance to everybody else,” said Harris, who is three months pregnant. “This increase is simply not affordable.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --The 2009 American Health Care Reform Debate, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Personal Finance, The U.S. Government, Theology

Anglican Theologian J.I. Packer on Servanthood

“Servant” in our English New Testament usually represents the Greek doulos (bondslave). Sometimes it means diakonos (deacon or minister); this is strictly accurate, for doulos and diakonos are synonyms. Both words denote a man who is not at his own disposal, but is his master’s purchased property. Bought to serve his master’s needs, to be at his beck and call every moment, the slave’s sole business is to do as he is told. Christian service therefore means, first and foremost, living out a slave relationship to one’s Savior (1 Corinthians. 6:19-20).
What work does Christ set his servants to do? The way that they serve him, he tells them, is by becoming the slaves of their fellow-servants and being willing to do literally anything, however costly, irksome, or undignified, in order to help them. This is what love means, as he himself showed at the Last supper when he played the slave’s part and washed the disciples’ feet.

When the New Testament speaks of ministering to the saints, it means not primarily preaching to them but devoting time, trouble, and substance to giving them all the practical help possible. The essence of Christian service is loyalty to the king expressing itself in care for his servants (Matthew 25: 31-46).

Only the Holy Spirit can create in us the kind of love toward our Savior that will overflow in imaginative sympathy and practical helpfulness towards his people. Unless the spirit is training us in love, we are not fit persons to go to college or a training class to learn the know-how or particular branches of Christian work. Gifted leaders who are self-centered and loveless are a blight to the church rather than a blessing.

–J.I. Packer Your Father Loves you (Carol Stream. Illinois: Harold Shaw Publishers, 1986) and quoted by yours truly in the morning sermon

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Spirituality/Prayer, Theology, Theology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology)

Lowcountry South Carolina rabbis respond to big changes in American Jewish identity

Rabbi Stephanie Alexander of Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim, a Reform congregation downtown, said that unlike in a church or mosque, belief in God is not the singular underpinning of Judaism.

At her synagogue, involvement is as much about worship as assembling in a community and studying Judaism.

“It is an openness to God that is essential,” Alexander said. “It’s a willingness to wrestle with whether or not you believe in God.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, * South Carolina, Judaism, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

(FT) America is a superpower at risk of slippage

It has been 10 days since the US government shutdown came to an end. And if the bond market were your guide, there would appear to be no lasting costs ”“ the 10-year US Treasury yield dipped below 2.5 per cent this week for the first time since August.

Yet beneath the surface, Washington’s flirtation with a voluntary default has shaken confidence in American political institutions. There may be no immediate rival to the dollar as the world’s reserve currency. Markets are more preoccupied by prospects of a delay to the Federal Reserve’s tapering plans. But as John Kerry, US secretary of state, said this week, the world is now monitoring the US to see when it will recover its senses. It cannot afford to make a habit of political recklessness.

The fact that Washington is undergoing a crisis of will, rather than ability, is not particularly reassuring. There is no question that the Treasury’s has capacity to service US obligations. At about 75 per cent of gross domestic product, publicly held US debt is entirely manageable ”“ and less than a third of that of Japan. And the US fiscal deficit is on course to drop below 4 per cent of GDP next year.

Read it all (if necessary another link is there).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Currency Markets, Economy, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Politics in General, The U.S. Government

Local Politics (IV)–A Former State Senator opposes a Dorchester Cnty Sales Tax Inxrease

[Many voters]… are angry that their County Council has scheduled its fourth attempt to pass LOST in a special election on Nov. 5, 2013, when they know that low voter turnout and $33,000+ special costs are assured, rather than in a regularly scheduled, no extra cost election in, say, Nov. 2014. They also are angry about Council’s misinformation (until corrected by citizens) that LOST would not tax groceries (it does) and its annual costs would be much lower than they are; some Councilmen’s expressing disdain for opposition to LOST, denouncing citizen statements as false but refusing to give corrections, refusing to provide evidence of Councilmen’s claims, and not understanding the consequences of LOST; and one Councilman at a public meeting uncivilly tossing away two anti-LOST flyers on a nearby table, yelling they were all “lies” and wagging his finger at a LOST opponent as he derisively challenged that opponent to a debate at which the Councilman declared he would “shred” the opponent.

Citizens are angry to realize that, while LOST would give property tax relief to some, large numbers of citizens essentially would not benefit at all; most would pay more sales tax than they would save in property tax; most benefits would go to a wealthy few who need them the least; the costs of getting LOST tax benefits would be exorbitant; and the LOST tax would grow government by increasing government spending.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, City Government, Economy, Politics in General, Taxes

A Prayer to Begin the Day

We give thee thanks, O God our Father, for the good work which thou hast begun in us, in that thou hast called us to the knowledge of thy grace and faith in thee; and we pray thee so to continue thy work in us that our lives may be strengthened for thy service in the fellowship of the gospel, and our love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and all discernment, to thy praise and glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

“Thus says the LORD of hosts: Consider how you have fared. Go up to the hills and bring wood and build the house, that I may take pleasure in it and that I may appear in my glory, says the LORD. You have looked for much, and, lo, it came to little; and when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why? says the LORD of hosts. Because of my house that lies in ruins, while you busy yourselves each with his own house. Therefore the heavens above you have withheld the dew, and the earth has withheld its produce. And I have called for a drought upon the land and the hills, upon the grain, the new wine, the oil, upon what the ground brings forth, upon men and cattle, and upon all their labors.” Then Zerub’babel the son of She-al’ti-el, and Joshua the son of Jehoz’adak, the high priest, with all the remnant of the people, obeyed the voice of the LORD their God, and the words of Haggai the prophet, as the LORD their God had sent him; and the people feared before the LORD. Then Haggai, the messenger of the LORD, spoke to the people with the LORD’s message, “I am with you, says the LORD.” And the LORD stirred up the spirit of Zerub’babel the son of She-al’ti-el, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua the son of Jehoz’adak, the high priest, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people; and they came and worked on the house of the LORD of hosts, their God, on the twenty-fourth day of the month, in the sixth month. In the second year of Darius the king…

–Haggai 1:7-15

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

John Lomperis–The United Miracle: A Methodist Seminary Turns from Reappraising into Reasserting

Not long ago, United Theological Seminary (UTS) in the Dayton, Ohio area was just another declining, has-been mainline seminary, facing ominous financial hardships, dominated by Scripture-demoting theological liberalism, and reflective of so much of what was wrong with its shrinking sponsoring denomination, the United Methodist Church. The former seminary of the Evangelical United Brethren (which merged with the Methodist Church to form the United Methodist Church in 1968) was founded by Bishop Milton Wright, father of the famed Wright brothers.

Today, the school is a very different place than what many alumni experienced. It is now explicitly committed to a high view of biblical authority, “the historic Christian faith,” “the cultivation of holiness,” and “the renewal of the church.” Rev. Dr. Wendy Deichmann, UTS’s president since 2008, openly associates with the Confessing Movement within the United Methodist Church, an evangelical caucus group with which IRD’s UMAction program has worked closely over the years. Applicants for faculty positions must be explicitly committed “to the historic Christian faith.”

God has clearly been blessing this new direction under the leadership of President Deichmann.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Methodist, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Seminary / Theological Education, Theology

Local Politics (III)-Why Kendall Harmon will be Voting Against a Dorchester Cnty Sales Tax Inxrease

It would be nice if more Christians understood that our faith always has local implications, including our life in public, which is in the polis, and therefore our faith has local political ramifications. The are derivative, yes, they are always penultimate, but they do matter.

This whole campaign makes me sad. It is a pitch to lessen property taxes by raising sales taxes. Allegedly.

It is immoral in all sorts of ways but here are two principle reasons why I will vote no. First, it is a regressive tax. Those least able to will have to pay more tax (and yes it goes on groceries!). And secondly, the other argument I hear all over is all the other counties are doing it so we should to, otherwise we will lose business etc. to nearby counties which already have the (dumb, immoral) tax. This is right out if 1 Samuel where Israel asks for a King since all the other nations have one.

Now this may cause property taxes to be slightly higher, and since we own our home, that will involve us. I don’t know anyone who likes higher taxes, but if this is the implication of my vote this coming November, so be it.

County Leaders should be ashamed of themselves (especially since this is the fourth time they have tried this)–KSH.

Posted in * By Kendall, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, City Government, Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Housing/Real Estate Market, Personal Finance, Politics in General, Rural/Town Life, Taxes, Theology