"A coarsening of attitudes" toward the young, the old and the poor

America (the Jesuit weekly magazine, not the country) has published an excellent editorial on the current budget debate. Though it is couched in Catholic terms, and appeals to Catholic tradition, I suspect it will speak to Christians of many denominations:

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Is Uganda's "Kill the Gays bill" coming back?

It seems possible that the Ugandan parliament will take up notorious anti-gay legislation when it reconvenes later this month. Box Turtle Bulletin has the story:

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Christians unite! These marathoners must be stopped

Writing for Religion Dispatches, Sarah Morice-Brubaker argues that as citizens we have a perfect right to tell other citizens what to do with their bodies, especially if what they are doing goes against God's design, and is likely to cost us money.

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The Church of England in all its glory and complexity

Matthew Engel of the Financial Times' magazine has written an institutional profile of the Church of England. It won't tell those of you who read this blog regularly much that you don't know, but it is an excellent encapsulation of the issues that challenge the church, from the parochial (declining attendance and revenues) to the global (intolerance toward lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Christians.)

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PBS examines mainline clergy wellness

Deborah Potter filed an insightful report on clergy wellness for Religion Ethics Newsweekly in October, and PBS liked it well enough to rebroadcast it last weekend. It features the Rev. Joseph Stewart-Sicking, an Episcopal priest who teaches pastoral counseling, and includes a visit to a CREDO conference at the Lake Logan Episcopal Center in North Carolina. We like it well enough to rebroadcast it, too.

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Bishop Parsley joins suit against Alabama immigration law

Episcopal News Service reports:

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Life for Zimbabwe Anglicans worsens

UPDATE: Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori speaks about Zimbabwe following her visit to Anglicans there:

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Debt-limit legislation passes House and Senate

As the House and Senate pass the debt-limit bill and the President signs it, discussions continue as to who showed the most leadership and which party had concern for the most vulnerable in US society.

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Practicing what you preach

The Democrat and Chronicle (Rochester NY) reports on an area priest who is heading to Tanzania to help kids. The Rev. Dahn Gandell, priest in the Diocese of Rochester and 2009 Deputy to General Convention; and parishioner, Deborah Shafer, will join others who are part of Carpenter's Kids project.

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Christians in the Holy Land

Kim Lawton of PBS reports in Religion and Ethics Newsweekly on Christians of the Holy Land:

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Mary Magdalene: role model for bishops

The Very Reverend June Osborne, Dean of Salisbury, gives the sermon during the service for the Ordination and Consecration of the Bishop of Salisbury and the Bishop of Stepney. Service was held at St Paul's Cathedral, on the Feast of Mary Magdalene, Friday 22nd July 2011:

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Life after governance change

Alban Insitute discusses governance and how it may be changing from the "way it's always been:"

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Your (church) website: design matters

If you think the content of a website is all you need, you may be wrong. Read about why design matters on a website; even a church website!

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Deader than dead?

How do we understand PVS, persistent vegetative state? One researcher finds that people in these states are deader than dead

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Meetings are death!

The ever-prolific (and insightful) Seth Godin points us toward a book that may just transform the way that we approach meetings:

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Evaluating pastors and priests

At Duke Divinity's "Call & Response Blog," James Howell reflects upon some of the complexities of a new evaluation system in his denomination. Do you evaluate your pastor or priest? If not, why not? If so, how and why?

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Corporations balance irresponsibility with responsibility

Economists Matt Kotchen of Yale University and Jon Jungbien Moon of Korea University find that corporations offset bad actions with good actions.

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Women in the episcopate topic "a bit dated"

Bishop Victoria Matthews, previously bishop in Canada and now in New Zealand, spoke on the sidelines of the recent General Synod of the Church of England. She was invited to speak on women in the episcopate.

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Muslim Americans affiliate with their religion and the US

Tuesday, Gallup issued a report, Muslim Americans: Faith, Freedom, and the Future.

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Philippines "not in favor" of Anglican Covenant

In the latest issue of The Philippine Episcopalian reproduces the General Synod address of the Prime Bishop of The Episcopal Church of the Philippines, The Rt. Rev. Edward Malecdan. The synod met in early May.

In his address the Prime Bishop reported that the ECP Council of Bishops is not in favor of the Anglican Covenant:

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POTUS moves to improve response to atrocities

From the White House:

Today, President Obama is directing a comprehensive review to strengthen the United States’ ability to prevent mass atrocities.

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Priest forced to leave All Saints’, Damascus

The Church Times:

As the Syrian authorities’ response to the popular uprising becomes increasingly brutal, despite the start of the Islamic fast of Ramadan, the small Anglican community that remains in the country is about to be deprived of pastoral leadership.

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Three logicians walk into a church

Rector: Would any of you like to fill out a visitor's card?

Logician 1: I don't know

Logician 2: I don't know.

Logician 3: No.

Losing my religion...
women drop out of church

Barna Group has been conduction tracking surveys on women and men and religion for 20 years. New analysis of that data shows a decline of interest in church by women.

Women and Faith

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Anglican summit on crisis in the Horn of Africa

While news reports are just starting to give a sense of the scope of the disaster unfolding right now in the nations of eastern Africa, the Anglican Alliance for Development is already moving forward with a summit. Leaders from the various regions, Primates of the Anglican Communion and representatives of the U.N. will meet in Nairobi next week.

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Fort Worth launches ambitious media strategy

The Diocese of Fort Worth, recovering from the troubles with former leaders who tried to break from The Episcopal Church, has launched an ambitious strategy for reconnecting with each other and the wider church. Using Twitter,™ Facebook,™ and other forms of electronic communication. In answer to a question about The Episcopal Insider:

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Reflections for Ramadan: Somali famine

Imam Khalid Latif is blogging his reflections during Ramadan in the Huffington Post:

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Sudanese bishop appeals to world to stop genocide

Andudu Adam Elnail, the Episcopal bishop of the Diocese of Kadugli, in Sudan’s Southern Kordofan state appeared before congress in DC this week and appealed to the UN Security Council to investigate and intervene in wide-spread crimes against humanity by the northern Sudanese government based in Khartoum.

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Rowan Williams in 1988 on homosexuality

A pamphlet entitled "Speaking Love’s Name; Homosexuality: Some Catholic and Socialist Perspectives" written in 1988 had an introduction from Prof. Rowan Willams. It a name we recognize, but a voice we've rarely heard.

His writing refers to a resolution at the 1987 synod of the Church of England in which the traditional teachings of sex being reserved for the state of holy matrimony was reaffirmed.

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Loss of religion in Hispanic culture

We reported on the latest Barna research earlier this week. But one of the most surprising observations of this year's update to the survey was recognition that latinos are losing their connections with organized religion faster than any other major ethnic group in the U.S.

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Where children sleep

If you haven't taken time to view the pictures from James Mollison's new book "Where Children Sleep", then take five or ten minutes right now. The images are startling, striking and in a few cases deeply poignant.

From the write up on New York Times gallery of images:

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Dutch reform, 2011-style

Exodus Church, in Gorinchem, central Holland, is the site of a turn in Dutch Protestant theology, the BBC's Robert Pigott reports.

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Cast out of Eden, if only as a beginning

Brook Wilensky-Lanford, author of Paradise Lust: Searching for the Garden of Eden, writes about the contemporary hunt for the biblical Eden. She argues that Eden is less a place than a typology: not so much a physical location as it is the idea that everything has to get started somehow.

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In New York, LGBT wedding planning apace

Sara Tracey reports on the wedding plans of a gay New York couple, Joseph Eppink and Ralph Panelli, as they move quickly toward a mid-September ceremony. (Eppink is Music Director and Organist at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church in Albany.)

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Assorted links: tacky Christian consumerism edition

Would Jesus prefer to have his name on a yoga DVD or a very long roll of strawberry flavored gum?

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Army to host atheism-themed event

From Religion News Service: U.S. Army officials have agreed to host "Rock Beyond Belief" - an event centered around the theme of nonbelief - at North Carolina's Fort Bragg.

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Rick Perry and the imperative of obedience

Texas Governor Rick Perry had himself a bit of a party on Saturday. Sarah Posner of Religion Dispatches has a report:

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Examining questions of growth on the brink of another crisis

Despite initial skepticism, the Rev. Andrew Studdert-Kennedy has come to believe that long-term economic growth is both sustainable and desirable. The Rev. Giles Fraser is not so sure.

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The death of American Protestantism?

The always provocative Stanley Hauerwas, in an essay for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Religion and Ethics website, argues that American Protestantism is dying in part because it conflates God and country, although not in a straightforward nationalistic sort of way:

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A pilgrimage on Twitter

The Anglican Communion News Service reports that the Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Revd John Pritchard, is tweeting his pilgrimage of holy sites in his area.

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London riots: actions and reactions

UPDATED: Churches are responding as the riots in Tottenham have spread to 3 cities in England.

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The whys of the riots

UPDATED: Channel 4 news explores the reasons behind the riots in London and elsewhere:

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Student expelled after sexual abuse by Episcopal teacher

The Dallas Morning News reports on the testimony in the lawsuit against Episcopal School of Dallas:

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Eternal life: post-modern style

Jesse Archer comments on life after death of a "friend" on Facebook in The Advocate:

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Churches respond to riots

Simon Morris reflects on the ways that the Tottenham riots brought out the best in his church:

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High court awards church properties to excommunicated bishop

Anglican Communion News Service reports that the Zimbabwe high court has ruled in favor of excommunicated bishop Norbert Kunonga:

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Bishop Beckwith on scarcity and abundance

Bishop Mark Beckwith of the Episcopal Diocese of Newark reflects on scarcity and abundance in our own time and in the time of Jesus:

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Should churches strive for excellence?

Should churches strive for excellence? Or, is this "not the church's way"? What are the ways that the church might strive for excellence and also avoid the pitfalls along the way?

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Archbishop of Canterbury on riots

The Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams reflects on the "unrest" in England. Williams is going to Parliament today. According to Twitter™, the Archbishop of York John Sentamu will also attend to lead prayers and speak:

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Celebrating Ramadan at the White House

President Obama spoke at the Iftar dinner last night.

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ABC speaks in House of Lords about UK riots

A full transcript of the Archbishop's speech follows, or listen to the podcast [7Mb].

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Neighbors draw on power of church

Read the following news report. Would you respond the same way as the church official?

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Freakonomists look at marriage

Two items from the Freakonomics, one on co-habitation, the other on fathers.

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John Chilton goes back to college

John Chilton, a charter member of the Café’ team of news bloggers, is giving up his weekly slot in the Café’s rotation to devote his considerable talents to teaching economics at Virginia Commonwealth University. He filed his last story as a daily blogger last night, and, typically, it focused on the intersection of morality and economics.

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On the role of the Church after the riots

Andrew Brown comments on the Archbishop of Canterbury's address to the House of Lords and says that the "Church of England is demonstrating its value as a social body:":

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A church, a shul and a mosque

In Omaha, Nebraska, a synagogue, a mosque and an Episcopal Church are being built on land the three communities purchased together. The Tri-Faith Initiative is an experiment in intentional religious co-existence.

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Study explores educational level and religiosity

CNN:

People tend to become less religious as they become more educated, right? Not necessarily, according to a new study.

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Preaching to their own choirs

Rob Bell's recent book "Love Wins" stirred up controversy mainly in Evangelical circles in the US, when he questioned the existence of hell. Other books have popped up in response. According to Ken Chitwood, blogging at Sacred Duty on Chron.com, no matter which side the writers are on, they are pretty much preaching to their own choir.

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Making amends for acts of racism

The Bishop of New Jersey led a service at St. Peter's in Perth Amboy NJ that was part of an effort to make up for past indifference and domination of others. It was an attempt to undo a centuries old series of acts that reflected the church's lack of respecting the dignity of every human being that is now part of our baptismal covenant.

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How to respond to the riots?

As England takes stock of where it finds itself as the riots this week seem to be calming down, there's a great deal of discussion online about how to best respond the actions.

Should the state take a hard line against the rioters and their families (in the case of minors)? Should the state respond to the underlying social-economic issues? Should there be a balanced response?

Savi Hensman argues that taking the hard line is going to be counter productive:

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Ministry to seafarers

The Rev. Lacy Largent, whom many in the Episcopal Church know through her ministry at Camp Allen, is featured in an article that talks about her "other" ministry, that of a chaplain to seafarers at the Port of Houston.

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Sir Paul Reeves, Archbishop and Governor General has died

An Anglican Archbishop who also served as New Zealand's first Maori Governor-General, has died. He was 78. Sir Paul Reeves was the Primate of New Zealand in the early eighties and then was appointed by Her Majesty the Queen to serve as Governor General of New Zealand where he was able to build unique bridges between the various cultures of that nation.

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Study says the rich are less empathetic than the poor

If you have been following the political debate in Washington and Iowa, you might already have arrived at the same conclusion as a study featured in The New York Times.

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A wedding in a hospital room

In this deeply moving article, New York Times reporter Anemona Hartocollis tells the story of Richard Townsend, 77 and Jacques Beaumont, 86, partners of 39 years, who were married this week in the hospital room in which they are both being treated for terminal illnesses.

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Green wave keeps on rolling

Anyone who keeps a Google alert for the words "Episcopal Church" knows that more and more congregations are affirming the environmental gospel of the Rev. Sally Bingham and Interfaith Power and Light. The most recent converts come from Cobb County, Georgia.

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What Paul really thought about women

John Dominic Crossan continues The Search for the Historical Paul with an essay in Huffington Post on what Paul thought about women:

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Why churches prefer loving mercy to doing justice?

Marilyn Sewell writing for the Huffington Post touches on a familiar, but nagging question. Why do churches feel more comfortable asking their members to give to charity than to advocate for change.

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Taxpayer-funded discrimination

Nicole Neroulias of Beliefnet asks whether religious organizations that receive federal subsidies--sometimes significant federal subsidies--should be allowed to discriminate in hiring, or to force employees to worship.

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Anglican liturgy group offers views on same-gender blessings

The communique from the International Anglican Liturgical Consultation, held August 1-6 in Canterbury features this nugget:

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The god of the gut

Writing at the Pangea blog, Kurt Willems (who calls himself an Evangelical reject) arrives at this conclusion after telling a few stories about how his relationships with animals have changed his views about food:

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Republican candidates (save one) line up against LGBT rights

With the exception of Jon Huntsman, the Republican candidates for the presidency staked out anti-gay territory in the debate last week in Iowa. Mother Jones has the story. And some video.

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Nice work

Today's Daily Scan, which we receive courtesy of Neva Rae Fox in the Episcopal Church's Office of Public Affairs is full of news that Episcopalians can be proud of.

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Tax credits for churches?

UPDATED:
Episcopal Church Foundation Vital Practice reports:

Last week, Bishop Curry of the Diocese of North Carolina learned that two of the congregations in his diocese were eligible for a tax credit through the Health Care Act of 2010. Kristin Hoyle, a Raleigh CPA specializing in nonprofits who worked with these congregations, contacted the Diocesan Canon for Administration so that information about this credit could be shared throughout the diocese.

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+Parsley speaks out on Alabama immigration law

The Rt. Rev. Henry Parsley, Bishop of Alabama and former Chancellor of the University of the South, Sewanee, TN went on CNN today to explain why the churches are going to court over the new laws on immigration in Alabama:

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Stolen Rembrandt found in Episcopal priest's office

UPDATED - see below
The Los Angeles Times reports:

An L.A. County Sheriff's official confirmed Tuesday that deputies recovered a stolen Rembrandt from the pastor's office of an Episcopal church in Encino.

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Sexism in the church

The Rev. Lesley Crawley calls out the Church for its sexism in The Guardian today:

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9/11 commemorations

Many churches, especially around the New York City and Washington DC areas are planning special services for Sunday, September 11, which is the 10th anniversary of the tragedy. Here are some resources. What will your church be doing?

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Silence is golden

Christianity teaches that repentance is essential to the life of faith. But what about people who confess to crimes they did not commit? The Economist reports on the phenomenon of false confessions:

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Changing our perspective on liturgical practice

Senior Pastor Amy Butler reflects on change in the urban church context:

Changing Our Perspective
by Amy Butler in the Alban Institute Weekly

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Sabbath and vacation

The Washington Post's OnFaith blog is asking for people to reflect on the practice of Sabbath and vacation:

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Tutu on the lingering aspects of Apartheid

Archbishop Desmond Tutu continues his work as a voice of prophecy and speaking truth as he reflects on the lingering effects of Apartheid:

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Rich get richer; the poor...not so much

What should the church's role be when we hear that the rich are getting richer ... a LOT richer, and the poor are getting poorer?

Land of the free, home of the poor
From PBS Online

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The future of Tibet

Lobsang Sangay, the Prime Minister of the Tibetan Government in Exile writes about the willingness of the Tibetans to enter into serious negotiations with China about the sovereignty of Tibet:

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Evaluating job creation: politically & through the lens of the church

The question of job creation is the early hot topic in qualifying Rick Perry's run for the presidency. Statistics of Texas job growth under Perry's governance are being used politically to build and attack his bid, and debate rages over how much credit or blame he deserves.

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RC priests call for expanded leadership

Bosco Peters, on his Liturgy blog, reports of a growing trend of Roman Catholic priests to vocally call for change in leadership restrictions in spite of the consequences.

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More American families with children live in poverty

The official child poverty rate grew by 18 percent and poverty levels for families with children increased in 38 states, according to a new study.

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Evangelicals who excel in science get into trouble

Asking questions and searching for answers is something that most scholars value. When your job is reconcile a literal Christianity with science, it's work that can get you fired.

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US will undertake case-by-case review of deportation cases

The Obama administration said yesterday that they will indefinitely delay deporting many illegal immigrants who don't have criminal records and will offer them a chance to apply for a work permit. Deportation efforts will instead focus on convicted criminals and those who might be a national security or public safety threat.

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Vatican releases some sex abuse documents on-line

The Vatican published on-line some internal files about a priest accused of molesting youngsters in Ireland and the U.S. in advance of a deadline set by an Oregon federal district court judge. The plaintiff's lawyers demanded the documents in a lawsuit in which a victim of sexual abuse is attempting to hold the Holy See vicariously liable for the action of a now deceased priest. The move may be designed to avoid turning over more documents in the discovery phase of the trial.

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Carbon emission reduction a moral duty

An Australian Anglican group has released a paper that describes the reduction of carbon emissions as a moral duty.

The Environment Working Group of the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Australia described their Discussion Paper in a news release:

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Are Mormons winning the web?

The Washington Post describes how the Mormon Church promotes it's own web-site in their quest to win the web. But there is more to the internet than Google.

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A surge in same-sex parenting

According to data released Wednesday by the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of reported same-sex parents increased significantly in the decade 2000-2010.

The Charleston SC Post-Courier writes:

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Stop blaming only the poor for the riots

Barry Morgan, the Archbishop of Wales has strong words from establishment figures in the U.K. who are blaming the August riots solely on the lack of morals amongst the poor. He challenges the "elite" to put their own house in order first, and to see to their own moral compasses before they call for the adjustment of others'.

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Rowan Williams to visit Zimbabwe in October

The Archbishop of Canterbury is traveling to Zimbabwe in hopes of being able to stop the ongoing violence caused by renegade Anglicans under the leadership of Bishop Nolbert Kunonga.

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Finding the authorative text of the O.T.

The idea that biblical texts have evolved over time, especially in the Old Testament, isn't terribly big news for most mainline denomination Christians. But it can be a challenge to people who hold an inerrantist view of scripture. Generally such a belief claims that the "original autograph" of the bible is the one that is truly inerrant. But as of yet no one had been able to work backwards through the methodology of textual criticism to find that authoritative version.

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Sci-Fi is picking up the ball the Church is dropping?

The best science fiction (and fantasy) stories are often essentially an examination of moral actions and associated conversations about what is the right thing to do in a given moment. The author has the freedom to tweak the setting and situation in a way that allows the moral conflict to be both heightened and focused in ways that typical fiction doesn't.

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Sojourners runs ad spotlighting LGBT homelessness

After Sojourners rejected an offer to purchase ad space on its web site during Mother's Day by the Believe Out Loud campaign, many blogs (including the Café) pointed out the inconsistency of the notion that an organization labeling itself as both progressive and Christian would not participate in a simple campaign to raise awareness of the need for gracious hospitality for all in our churches, especially in this case members of the LGBT community.

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But he seems so nice

Jack Hibbs, pastor at Calvary Chapel, Chino Hills, preached last Sunday on the subject of "Authority, Submission, and Love." Before that - apparently in loving submission to heavenly authority - he recorded an announcement encouraging the blockage of The FAIR Act, California SB 48, a recently-signed-into-law bill that would prohibit

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How to think yourself out of - or into - religious affiliation

More hard news today from the handwringing number-crunchers down at the Department of Declining American Protestantism: It isn't that Americans are necessarily less religious as a whole, so much as that they conceive of themselves as existing wholly apart from religious belonging in an age in which affiliation seems to count for little.

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Prayers for Libya

On our side of the planet, a darkening sky. Meanwhile, the Arab Spring descends in full force in Libya. It is now early Monday there, and the rule of Moammar Gadhafi, without which the world has not known itself for 42 years, appears to be on the crest of collapsing while rebel supporters are converging upon a main square of Tripoli.

So remember North Africa, and remember Libya, and remember The Rt. Rev. Bill Andrew Musk, area bishop of North Africa in the Episcopal/Anglican Diocese of Egypt.

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Getting up to speed on transgender issues

Becky Garrison admits to her credit that even many veteran campaigners for LGBT equality don't actually know very much about the challenges faced by those identified by the last initial in that acronym. In a recent article for Killing the Buddha, she sets out to educate herself, and educates the rest of us in the process. Some excerpts:

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Get those girls off the altar

This just in from The Arizona Republic:

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A yearning for things lost

A tip of the hat to Andrew Sullivan for directing us to this lovely passage from a recent essay by Tony Woodlief at Image Journal:

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The effect of 9/11 on the perception of religion

Cathy Grossman of USA Today is covering Templeton-Cambridge seminars on Science and Religion convened by the Templeton Foundation. A recent article focuses on a presentation by R. Scott Appleby, a Catholic scholar at the University of Notre Dame, who who directs, "Contending Modernities," a program examining the interaction of Catholic, Muslim and secular forces in modern world.

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Religion links from all over

Riazat Butt, religion reporter for the Guardian, is traveling in Afghanistan with British army chaplains. One chaplain said to her:

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The top 25 progressive theologians

Who do progressive clergy read? A group of thirty United Church of Canada clergy listed their top 25 theologians. There are a number of Episcopalian and Anglican writers in the mix. Marcus Borg tops the list which includes Barbara Brown Taylor, John Spong and even N.T. Wright.

Take a look at the list here. Who's missing? Has there ever been a similar study done in the U.S.? Me, I'd add in James Alison to start.

"Time to panic about kid's education"

A recently released report has some sobering news for American parents. Children in the U.S. are falling further behind world standards in education. Some of that may be due to an increasing focus in other nations, but it's alarming that the American system isn't able to keep pace.

LZ Granderson writing on CNN's blog makes this point:

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Earthquake near Richmond, VA

(UPDATED) A large earthquake has hit central Virginia and the D.C. area and was felt throughout the mid-Atlantic region. Damage and injuries are not yet fully known.

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Earthquake damage at National Cathedral

[UPDATED with statement by the Presiding Bishop] The National Cathedral sustained some structural damage today because of the earthquake centered near Richmond, VA this afternoon. The Dean of the Cathedral has released the following statement:

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St. Stephen's, Culpeper condemned due to earthquake

St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Culpeper VA, near the epicenter of today's quake, has suffered extensive damage. According to reports the "the Nave has been separated from the Narthex". The local building inspector has condemned the building.

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Churches sue to stop Alabama's Immigration Law

Clergy in Alabama sue to try to stop Alabama's new anti-immigration law:

Clergy Sues To Stop Alabama's Immigration Law
by Debbie Elliot in NPR News online

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Assessing the damage to the National Cathedral

The Atlantic Wire has updated photos of the damage to the National Cathedral, also, check out the exclusive video of Head Mason Joe Alonso inspecting the damage, and the National Cathedral's website has updates as well.

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Prayer and meetings

Richard Schmidt reflects on the role of prayer in vestry meetings in the ECF Vital Practices for Leading Congregations blog:

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National Cathedral damage not structural

The Washington Post reports that the quake damage at the National Cathedral is not structural.

National Cathedral quake damage is not structural
By Michelle Boorstein,The Washington Post

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Catholic Charities v. Illinois


Catholic Charities and the best interests of the foster child
By Mark Silk in Spiritual Politics

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UPDATED: Rise in Glory Dr. Pamela Chinnis

(Updated with statements)

Pamela%20Chinnis.jpgDr. Pamela Chinnis, 30th President of the House of Deputies, died last evening (the 24th) at 6:31 p.m. Dr. Chinnis, a lay person, was the first woman to serve as President of the HOD. She is remembered for her many achievements, writings and service to this Church she loved so much.

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Churches damaged by earthquakes unprotected by their insurance

Washington National Cathedral, and many other churches, received compounding bad news that their buildings damaged in the earthquake centered in Virginia would not be covered by insurance.

This includes churches insured by the Church Insurance Company.

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When kids bring up same-sex marriage

Lee Rose Emery writes for CNN about how it's in the car that her children enter the deep conversations:

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Steve Jobs resigns from Apple

Xeni Jardin, one of the regular bloggers on the site Boing Boing, speaking on CNN after the news of Steve Jobs sudden resignation from Apple was announced, said that it was as if, for many in the tech world, a major spiritual leader had stepped aside. There's a sudden need among the technorati to take stock, to reflect and to wonder about how the future is going to be different.

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"a preacher kinda question"

Hugh Hollowell, Mennonite minister and founder/director of Love Wins Ministries, tells a story of finding Jesus in a Crack House on the blog Two Friars and a Fool.

"I laugh, and give serious thought to bringing up incarnational theology, using this as a teaching moment. But then I decide I cannot add a bit to what she just said..."

A respectful international discussion of same-sex blessings

The International Anglican Liturgical Consultation (IALC) was asked by the Episcopal Church's Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music (SCLM) for input as they develop theological and liturgical principals to guide the formation of rites for same-sex blessings.

Simon Sarmiento reports in the Church Times:

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National Cathedral closed through September 4

WTOP-TV reports that the building, damaged in the earthquake on Tuesday, will remain closed through the duration of Hurricane Irene, as it is sweeps over the District this weekend, and afterwards to check on structural issues.

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Some 9/11 charities fail in their mission

A decade after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, some of the charities and non-profits that raised money to serve victims, families and to memorialize them have failed miserably in fulfilling their missions. The AP story includes an Episcopal priest who raised money for a ground zero garden of forgiveness that was never built.

The Associated Press reports:

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An icon for gay Catholics

Father Mychal Judge, the Franciscan priest and NYFD Chaplain who died in the line of duty at the foot of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001has become an icon for gay Roman Catholics. For example, a parish in Syracuse, New York, is erecting a statue to both honor Judge's witness and to demonstrate to the community that this parish chooses to continue that witness.

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A film chronicle of one woman's journey of faith

The New York Times reviews "Higher Ground," a film about one woman's spiritual journey from mainline Christianity to her baptism and life in a tight-knit evangelical/pentecostal church to her movement into the world of the spiritual-but-not-too-religious secular world while still maintaining intellectual curiosity and spiritual engagement.

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Why are there more divorces in the Bible Belt?

CNN wonders what fuels the relatively high divorce rate in the "Bible Belt" compared with the relatively secular Northeastern US?

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Rikers Island prisoners locked up and left behind

Solitary Watch reports

“We are not evacuating Rikers Island,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in a news conference this afternoon.

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Hurricane check in

Are you experiencing Hurricane Irene? Keep the Café posted either here at The Lead in the comments, on Facebook or on Twitter. Use #ecafe and #hurricaneirene on Twitter.

Irene makes landfall in North Carolina

Fueling the rise of Islamophobia in the U.S.

Think Progress reports that $42 million from seven foundations are fueling the rise of Islamophobia in the U.S. Some of the names will be familiar to The Episcopal Church as those who funded the Anglican right wing, the Richard Scaife Foundation ($7,875,000 and the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation ($5,370,000).

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Executive Council: new approach to 2013-15 budget

The Executive Council of the Episcopal Church is preparing the 2013-15 budget for approval at General Convention (GC). Input is being solicited from across the church. Lay and clergy leaders, Deputies to GC, bishops and others are being asked to complete a survey to hear from the church about priorities for the budget. Kudos to the Executive Council for this first step to a more open process.

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Oh, for more leaders like this, rise in glory Jack Layton

Malcolm French at Simple Massing Priest writes of the Honorable Jack Layton of Canada:

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Church in the dark

Stuck at home, in the dark, while a hurricane blows outside on a Sunday morning? Only have a laptop or mobile device with limited battery capacity? In between everything else, you can still go to church electronically.

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At 106, she's renewing her baptismal vows

From United Methodist News Service:

Jean Christy celebrated her 106th birthday by renewing her baptismal vows Aug. 21 at Andrews United Methodist Church, where she has been a member since she was 12 or 13 years old.

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Clarity from a (Methodist) Bishop

After the last item about a faithful member of the Methodist community, it seems appropriate to follow up with a story about a faithful Methodist bishop - Bruce R. Ough, resident Bishop of the Ohio West Area of The United Methodist Church, who sent a word of welcome by letter to the Sing a New Song conference in Huron, Ohio.

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Irene-struck sycamore tree pierces nave of Maryland church

Not much news has rolled in to the Café in the way of churches suffering damage related to Hurricane Irene, but this one caught our eye:

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Theological fortitude in a meteorological and emotional maelstrom

File under Practical Theology: Rev. Marian Windel told her earthquake- and hurricane-battered Virginia congregation today that God wasn't "mad at us in any way."

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Diocese of New York announces slate

The five nominees to become bishop coadjutor of the Diocese of New York are:

The Very Rev. Peter Eaton, dean of St. John’s Cathedral, Denver, Colorado.

The Rev. Cathy Hagstrom George, priest in charge at St. Mary's Church, Dorchester, Massachusetts.

The Rev. Canon John T. W. Harmon, rector of Trinity Church, Washington.

The Very Rev. Tracey Lind, dean of Trinity Cathedral, Cleveland.

The Rt. Rev. Pierre Whalon, the Paris-based bishop-in-charge of the Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe.

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Muriel Porter: Is Sydney a threat to the Communion?

In a lengthy essay on the Religion and Ethics section of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's website, Muriel Porter explores the role of the Diocese of Sydney in the Anglican Communion:

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Does The Help help?

Elizabeth Geitz is not sure whether the runaway popularity of the movie The Help, based on the bestselling book of the same name, is an altogether good thing. She writes:

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Judge blocks Alabama immigration law

CNN reports:

A federal judge temporarily blocked enforcement of a tough immigration law in Alabama on Monday.

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Asking questions about candidates' faith

Bill Keller, executive editor of The New York Times, is in favor of asking political candidates tougher questions about their religious faith:

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But God was not in the whirlwind

Stephen Prothero at the CNN Belief blog writes:

Hurricanes and earthquakes are one arena, however, where the language of science has almost entirely routed the language of theology.

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Religion on the frontline of Afghanistan

Riazat Butt, writing for The Guardian, spends 2 weeks traveling in Afghanistan with army chaplains and reports on religion and military service in harm's way.

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Win £1000: why will you remain Anglican?

Anglican Communion News Service (ACNS) writes Trust offers £1,000 prize for people to explain why they will remain Anglican:

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Irene leaves trail of destruction and relief efforts

Matthew Davies and Mary Frances Schjonberg writing for Episcopal News Service report on the aftermath of Hurricane Irene, the damage and the work of the church sheltering and helping.

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Obama to speak at National Cathedral on 9/11

President Barack Obama will close the 9/11 anniversary weekend with a speech at the Washington Cathedral, according to the Washington Post:

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"The Help:" more reactions

Yesterday, The Lead reported Elizabeth Geitz' review of the movie and book, The Help. A scan of more reviews reveals mixed feelings and reactions from grandchildren and children of the "help" portrayed in the movie.

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Eid Ul Fitr and Muslims in the U.S.

Eid Ul Fitr celebrates the end of the fast of Ramadan. Huffington Post writes:

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Conservatives try to appropriate MLK, Jr.

Everyone seems to want to quote and refer to Martin Luther King, Jr. This article in The New Republic reminds us that MLK, Jr. was not so conservative as some think.

Hey Conservatives! Stop Trying to Appropriate Martin Luther King.
From The New Republic

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Daily Office app, by Mission St. Clare!

Mission St. Clare, which has been a popular online source for the Daily Office since 1995, has now created an iPhone and iPad app, and it's free! Check it out.

The Mission St. Clare iPhone and iPad App
From Mission St. Clare

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Are you defending the status quo?

Seth Godin reflects on the top signs that you may be defending the status quo. Is your church defending the status quo? Is this good? Did Jesus defend the status quo? Good food for thought and discussion.

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People respond to Irene with cooperation and compassion

People are responding to the destruction of Hurricane Irene with cooperation and compassion:

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Clergy rebellion against Roman Catholic Church in Austria

Time reports on "a clergy rebellion" in the Austrian Roman Catholic Church:

A Clergy Rebellion in Austria's Catholic Church
From Time.com

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Update on Vermont Episcopal Churches

Lynn Bates, the Diocese of Vermont's Canon to the Ordinary and Transition Minister, wrote the following letter that was posted on the Diocesan Webpage and on the website of Christ Church, Montpelier:

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