A Rowan retrospective worth reading

Instant retrospectives on Rowan Williams' not-yet-concluded tenure as Archbishop of Canterbury are thick on the ground, but this one by Tom Sutcliffe stands out for its balance, nuance, and ability to compare Williams' style of leadership to that of his predecessors. Here is a taste:

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We're back. We think.

Folks, we have been through two disruptive rounds of server migration. We hope that things will run smoothly now, but we don't really know. If you posted a comment within the last 24 hours it was probably lost during the migration, even if the system seemed to accept it. Sorry about that. Please repost if you are so inclined.

The Methodists are wrestling with structure too

As General Convention draws near there is a growing consensus that this year the presenting issue is how to best structure the Episcopal Church to do its work as we move into a new era. We're not the only denomination facing the challenge. The Methodist General Conference has just looked at the same question, and it didn't go well.

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Bp Provenzano: "William White is dead"

Bp Larry Provenzano, the bishop of Long Island, has something to say about the structure questions facing the Episcopal Church. Taking a cue from a presentation given to his diocese earlier this year that "Eisenhower is dead", meaning that the centralized, corporate, model for church government that came to full bloom in the 1950's is no longer useful, he is suggesting that the bicameral structure of General Convention, created during the time of the first Presiding Bishop needs to be discarded.

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"Putting Anti-Racism training to work"

The Rev. Peter Wallace took part in an anti-racism workshop in Atlanta recently. Most of the leadership of the Episcopal Church have done this. But Peter had an experience leaving the building that afternoon that forced him to put his new insights to work much sooner than he expected.

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American Catholic realignment?

To look at the way religious views form public opinion here in the United States, it seems pretty clear that conservative Protestants and Roman Catholics are growing closer and closer in their world-view. They make common cause lobbying the government in terms of political wedge issues. The favorite candidate of much of the Evangelical South in the recent Republican primary season was Rick Santorum, a very conservative Roman Catholic.

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Blue Book reports unearth more anxieties over structure

From ENS, word of a trend in Blue Book reports: everyone wants to do something about perceived structural liabilities and inequities, "from the over-arching to the extremely specific."

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Making progress

Hi folks. Efforts to resolve the Cafe's server problems continue. The Lead seems to be working. We aren't so sure about the comments. You may be under the impression that some of your comments have been lost, but we are under the impression that they still live on a server to which you are not being directed.

In any case, we plan to post content as we are able. We will keep you posted on further developments.

Methodists vote against ending investments tied to Israel

In The New York Times:

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St. Mark’s Church-in-the-Bowery competes for top preservation prize

(New York, NY)—St. Mark’s Church-in-the-Bowery is one of 40 New York landmark’s chosen to compete for a portion of $3 million in grant money marked for historic preservation projects through Partners in Preservation. Today St. Mark’s launches a new social media campaign to publicize its competition.

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Protestors on United Methodist delegate floor

Update 5 PM

A protest was held on the United Methodist's vote to retain the current language of the Book of Discipline that the "practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching."

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Savannah GA church settlement

The Episcopal Diocese of Georgia announced May 3 that the Episcopal Church has resolved the remaining issues with Christ Church Anglican, the group that separated from the Episcopal Church several years ago but which remained in the church building on Johnson Square in Savannah until last December according to Episcopal News Service.

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Focus on budget, structure and mission continues

The Rev. Susan Brown Snook has a new series on her blog, looking at whether or not The Episcopal Church is a sinking ship.

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Fatal shooting at Maryland Episcopal Church

UPDATE #5: The name of the apparent shooter, who was found dead in a wooded area near the church, was released this afternoon.

The latest from the Baltimore Sun:

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And also with you

Go ahead, say it. "May the Fourth be with you."

Matthew Cresswell at the Guardian looks at some of the religious expressions that have sprung up using the images and language of the Jedi from the Star Wars saga.

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Another settlement in Virginia

Updated: The Church of the Apostles (ACNA) in Fairfax, Virginia has settled with the Diocese of Virginia.

Here is the news release from the Diocese of Virginia:

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Where Episcopalians live

The Association of Statistician of American Religious Bodies has a map on their Facebook page showing where Episcopalians live in the USA.

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Bishop Packard arrested again

Bishop George Packard joined Occupy Wall Street for a march on May 1st, taking him past Trinity Church, Zucchotti Park, and then to Viet Nam..through a stop at the memorial at Veterans Plaza. It was here that the Bishop was arrested again.

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Ellicott City priest still on life support

CORRECTION: The Diocese posted this statement on Facebook:
We've received reports from the hospital that the Rev. Mary-Marguerite Kohn is still on life-support. We deeply regret our earlier report to the contrary.

Prayers continue.

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Reaching out to young adults collaboratively

A news story highlights an aspect of evangelism we often forget and that is that evangelism is more than just selling your denomination.

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Kentucky Derby: only sadness on Derby Day

Kurt Wiesner, member of The Lead news team reflects on Derby Day:

The biggest sports day of the year for me used to be Derby Day.

My mother’s love for horses sparked my interest in The Triple Crown, and especially the Kentucky Derby.

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Maryland shooting update

The Rev. Kirk Kubicek writes his parish, friends and family on Facebook updating them on the situation at St. Peter's, Ellicott Mills where there a homeless man apparently shot the parish administrator and the co-rector on Thursday before killing himself.

The situation remains as stated by the parish:

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The Consultation Platform for General Convention 2012

The Consultation has published its platform for General Convention 2012:

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Dreams of a church

The President of the House of Deputies of the Episcopal Church has requested video submissions from young adults of their "Dreams of Church." This video shares [the] Rev. Ballentine's dream for an Ethiopic Rite within the Episcopal Church, as a vehicle by which the Church can honor the African Identity of many of its flock, through the ancient liturgies and witness of this Ancient African church.

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Creating a new progressive ecumenical church

The Rev. Chuck Currie calls for a new progressive ecumenical church relationship.

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Sunday update on Maryland shooting

Updated at 2:47 pm 5/6. The Associated Press is reporting that the Rev. Mary-Marguerite Kohn has died.

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North Carolina clergy in marriage equality ad

An ad for Marriage Equality in North Carolina and opposing the current proposals to narrowly define marriage in the North Carolina constitution features Bishop Michael Curry and other Episcopal clergy:

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Jackson Hole group spearheads civility, compassion and love

The weekly news bulletin from St John's Episcopal Church in Jackson Wyoming reveals the church at work in the community promoting Civility, Compassion and Love. The Rev. Mary Erickson writes:

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Bishops White and Seabury are at it again

Summoned, apparently, by the debate over restructuring the governance of The Episcopal Church, Bishops William White and Samuel Seabury have been resurrected and are continuing their argument over church polity on Twitter.

@BpWhiteLives and @SamSeabury

Dioceses of Quincy, Chicago explore reunification

A press release from Canticle Communications:

DIOCESES OF QUINCY AND CHICAGO CONTINUE REUNIFICATION TALKS

Bishops, Diocesan leaders seek to build relationships, conduct due diligence

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Homeless ministries: staying the course, safely

On Friday, Douglas Jones, a homeless man who became angry after being told that he needed to reduce his visits to the food pantry at St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Ellicott City, Md., shot and killed the Rev. Mary-Marguerite Kohn, the parish's co-rector and Brenda Brewington, its administrator. Jones then killed himself.

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Sermon for a sad Sunday at St. Peter's, Ellicott Mills

The Rev. Kirk Kubicek, co-rector of St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Ellicott City, Maryland, delivered this sermon yesterday morning. St. Peter's is the church at which a mentally unstable homeless man shot and killed co-rector the Rev. Mary Marguerite Kohn and parish administrator Brenda Brewington on Friday, and then killed himself.

Here is an excerpt:

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Café newsblogger's parish needs your vote

St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Sioux City, Iowa, whose rector is the Cafe's own Father Torey Lightcap, needs your help. St. Thomas' community garden is one of 15 such gardens vying in online voting for a $4,000 grant from DeLoach Vineyards.

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What the PB is saying at provincial synods

The presentation that Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori is making at provincial synods is now online. Here is an excerpt, what do you think about it?

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Billy Graham could learn a thing or two about families

On the eve of the day on which voters in North Carolina will decide whether to add discrimination against gays and lesbians to the state constitution, Fred Clark, also known as Slacktivist, directs us to three commentators who could enlarge Billy Graham's sense of what it means to be Christian.

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Baptist prof: good guys losing fight over climate change

Among the more intriguing developments on the religious and political landscape in the past five or six years is the increasing concern for our deteriorating environment among evangelical Christians, especially young evangelical Christians. The Rev. Dr. David Gushee, director of the Center for Theology and Public Life at Mercer University, charts his own involvement in this movement in a thoughtful essay for the Center for Health and the Global Environment at the Harvard University Medical Center.

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Clergy who lose their faith

What happens when the religious leader in a community loses their belief in God? For some it's a secret they hide. For others it means the end of their vocation. For some it's a temporary thing. And for some it's become a reason to seek support from others in a similar state.

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The challenge of Bp. Packard's actions

Bishop George Packard, arrested during the occupation of Zuccotti park last December, was arrested again over the weekend at the Vietnam Veteran's memorial in New York City this weekend. He was participating in a protest by the group "Veterans for Peace".

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Why the Methodists did what they did

We covered the demonstration following rejection of any official accommodation of conscience for clergy and laity in the Methodist Church who are supporters of marriage equality last week. But there's more to what happened than just the demonstration. The Conference decided, after the votes that would have officially admitted a diversity of opinion to cancel all subsequent votes on issues touching on the same subject.

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"Where have all the Rectors gone?"

I attended a clericus meeting in Arizona today. One of the topics that came up in our free ranging discussion was the changes that have happened to small to medium size churches that used to be able to employ a full time seminary trained priest. What used to be the most common model of parish ministry has become almost a rarity.

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Spiritual direction booming

The "spiritual but not religious" people in society, while not growing as a percentage of society, do seem to be driving a marked increase in the number of people providing spiritual direction.

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Maurice Sendak, in memoriam

Maurice Sendak died today, but not before showing us how the wild rumpus starts.

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For synagogues' cantors, ordination means a lot

In a move long anticipated, Reform Jews are phasing out "investiture" of cantors and are moving toward ordination, JTA reports.

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Does talk about structure just paper over larger issues?

Every so often, in and amongst the general chatter, something catches your attention. Crusty Old Dean (Bexley Hall's Rev. Dr. Tom Ferguson) made this blogger sit up straight this morning in an entry on blips and germs in an entry he calls a manifesto.

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Bp. Curry on passage of Amendment One in North Carolina

The Rt. Rev. Michael B. Curry of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina offers the following on the day after the passage of Amendment One.

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President Obama endorses marriage equality

In an interview with ABC News, Barack Obama today became the first sitting U. S. President to endorse marriage equality:

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Pacifism has a mean left hook

Reuters reports professional boxer and current WBO welterweight champ Manny Pacquiao has cleaned up his partying ways and gone biblical - or at least, started reading the Bible with regularity - with the result that he's a better, more focused fighter.

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Maryland Episcopal Church leaders offer forgiveness and funeral services for homeless shooter of priest and assistant

From the Huffington Post:

ELLICOTT CITY, Md. -- The Episcopal Diocese of Maryland is offering forgiveness and a funeral service for a homeless man who killed himself after fatally shooting a priest and church secretary last week.

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Fact versus opinion in Tennessee property dispute ruling

Affirming a trial court's judgment as sound, a Nashville-based appeals court found for the Episcopal Diocese of Tennessee against a former parish's representatives, court documents testify.

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The Rev. Susan Russell on tomorrow's Morning Edition

Susan Russell posts:

Just finished an interview with NPR's fabulous Barbara Bradley Haggerty. Look for her segment on Obama, Faith & Marriage Equality tomorrow on Morning Edition!

Archbishop of Wales Dr. Barry Morgan elected to the Crown Nominations Commission

From Anglican Communion News Service

The Most Revd Dr Barry Morgan, Primate of The Church in Wales, has been elected to serve on the Crown Nominations Commission for Canterbury, the body that will nominate the next Archbishop of Canterbury.

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Bishop Budde on President Obama's "evolution"

(Via e-mail) Bishop Mariann Budde of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington released the following statement on President Barack Obama's endorsement of marriage equality:

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#GodLovesTheGirlScouts

Updated. US Catholic has what ought to be an April Fool's Day story, but isn't. Bryan Cones writes:

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Diocese of LA wins again in court

The Diocese of Los Angeles has won another appeal in the ongoing dispute with two breakaway congregations.

The Los Angeles Times reports:

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Same Bible, differing interpretations

When President Obama endorsed same-sex marriage this week, he cited his faith, and this highlighted the fact that different Christians read the same Bible differently and see different implications. The Rev. Canon Susan Russel talked about this on NPR's Morning Edition today.

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Forgiveness and anger

The Rt. Rev. Eugene Sutton writes on forgiveness in The Washington Post. Following the murder of a priest and administrator at St. Peter's Episcopal Church of Maryland Sutton comments on a country that votes down programs for those who find themselves hungry and homeless and votes up easy access to guns:

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Tax exemption and progressive religion

The New York Times ran a "Room for Debate" on whether churches should continue to enjoy tax exemption. Among the variety of views was the observation that tax-exemption allows for freedom of religious expression by small progressive groups mainly in cities where taxes are generally higher.

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The Golden Rule rules

David Gibson at Religion News Service notices that in America, the Golden Rule--treating others as you wish to be treated--is still at the heart of popular (and political) American religious thought.

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When "none of the above" doesn't fit

Kate Blanchard, writing at Religion Dispatches, reflects on her spiritual journey and finds that none of the usual labels--religious, spiritual or atheist--fit. She proposes an alternative.

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Rosa Parks remembered at National Cathedral

The National Cathedral in Washington DC dedicated a stone carving of Rosa Parks yesterday according to USAToday:

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Walter Wink: rise in glory

Walter Wink, one of the most influential Bible scholars and theologians died May 10 at age 76. Ekklesa writes:

At the time of his death, he was Professor Emeritus of Biblical Interpretation at Auburn Theological Seminary in New York. He was ordained as a Methodist minister in 1961. He developed nuanced biblical arguments in favour of pacifism, anti-capitalism and the acceptance of same-sex relationships.

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Church shooting reminder that forgiveness is necessary

Derek Olsen, frequent contributor to Daily Episcopalian, writes in the Washington Post.

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Can you fire a parishioner?

Work it Richmond discusses difficult customers and assesses the costs of sending them on their way. How do you think this might apply to church or not.

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Hard news from South Sudan

The Diocese of Chicago, which has a companion relationship with the Diocese of Renk, links to difficult news this morning about the deteriorating situation along the Sudan-South Sudan border.

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John Yates wants his own facts

The Rev. John Yates, rector of the schismatic Falls Church, is entitled to his own opinion about the events that led him and his followers to break with the Episcopal Church. He is entitled to having those opinions published in The Washington Post. He is not, however, entitled to his own facts.

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Happy Mothers' Day

Last year, the Rev. Greg Syler,rector of St. George's Episcopal Church in Valley Lee, Maryland, wrote a thoughtful piece about the historical origins of Mothers' Day, and we thought you might like to read it again. It does not conclude in a warm and fuzzy fashion, but that is its strength:

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Religion news: the week in review

Odyssey Networks wraps up last week's religion news. Like many media outlets, they give the Catholic League more visibility that it deserves.

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Obama, Christianity and marriage equality

Andrew Sullivan has an excellent round up of reaction focusing on the religious aspects of President Obama's historic endorsement of marriage equality.

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Salon: Atheism's new clout

Gretta writes in Salon:

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Chicago Consultation, Ujamaa Centre hold African consultation on scripture, sexuality

From the Chicago Consultation:

In October, some 25 Anglican leaders from across Africa gathered with more than a dozen Episcopalians from the United States for a consultation on issues of justice and human sexuality.

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Did the medieval church perform same-sex unions?

I lack the theological and historical chops to assess Eric Berkowitz's claim that the Catholic Church celebrated same-sex unions between men in medieval times, or to distinguish his claims from those of the late historian John Boswell. But I would be delighted to hear from commenters who can give us a sense of whether Berkowitz is saying anything new or significant. He writes:

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Bishop Sauls writes to the staff

Bishop Stacy Sauls, chief operating officer of the Episcopal Church, sent the following e-mail to the church's staff yesterday in the employee newsletter. In it he discusses the role of the Church Center staff:


Not Being Overcome by Fear

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The young resist hymnal revision

One of the reports submitted to General Convention this year analyzes the interest in the Episcopal Church in revising the 1982 Hymnal. The task of doing the research was passed to the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music, and they've posted their long report on the Church Pension Group website. (See update below for more information regarding the report itself.)

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Church of Ireland reiterates traditionalist stance

The Church of Ireland met in General Synod last week. Last year, Dean Tom Gordon entered into a civil partnership with his long time partner and in so doing created a crisis in the Irish Anglican church. After attempts by the bishops to reiterate the traditional opposition to marriage equality in the church as part of a temporizing compromise, a push by the progressive voices to oppose that plan has highlighted the disagreement within the church.

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CWOB resolutions at General Convention study guide

Sharing communion without first baptizing a person is a small but common practice in the Episcopal Church right now. There's been a great deal of discussion on the question here on the Episcopal Café over the past few years.

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Researchers make hay of new numbers on acceptance of gays

LifeWay Christian Resources - a product of the Southern Baptist Convention - recently polled 2,144 Americans using an online instrument. They were asked, "Do you believe homosexuality is a sin?"

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Bikes blessed; riders relieved; hospital helps

The L.A. Times reports on Bike Week L.A.:

... dozens of cyclists rode to Good Samaritan Hospital for the ninth annual Blessing of the Bicycles. A rabbi talked about living green. A nun spoke of guardian angels. And the Rev. Jerry Anderson, an Episcopal priest and hospital chaplain, sprinkled holy water on bikers and their bikes.

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Shifting when (much of) the rest of the world shifts

In the Dallas Morning News' blog on religion, theologians from all over Texas consider the question of marriage equality and of how and whether the church should shift when the culture does - or if it's the other way around - or both - or something else entirely.

Fort Worth's Katie Sherrod takes a reasoned swing at the question.

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Presiding Bishop on Doctrine of Discovery, Indigenous Peoples

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori today issued a pastoral letter.

On May 7, Jefferts Schori joined other religious voices in repudiating the Doctrine of Discovery at the 11th session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII). The theme for the UNPFII meeting is “The Doctrine of Discovery: its enduring impact on indigenous peoples and the right to redress for past conquests (articles 28 and 37 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples).” In 2009, General Convention repudiated the Doctrine of Discovery.

The text of the letter follows.

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Is 'open table' the next big controversy?

It's befuddling - to me, at least - that The Christian Post, in having had the same amount of time to look over resolutions proposed for Indianapolis this summer as everyone else, has decided to highlight resolution C040, which promotes "open table" by eliminating Canon I.17.7, the requirement of baptism as necessary for reception of Holy Communion.

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Bending tradition for schools of theology

There has been much conversation recently on the future of seminaries.

Katherine M Douglass and Jason Bruner, doctoral candidates at Princeton Theological Seminary, write in The Chronicle of Higher Education:

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Former "Occupy Wall Street" space now occupied: by artisanal food trucks

Noreen Malone reports on the new "occupiers" of the Trinity Wall Street space in the New York online:

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Bishop Lee: Pray for the NATO Summit

The Rt. Rev. Jeffrey D. Lee, Bishop of Chicago, on the NATO Summit:

Ascension Day 2012
Dear Friends:

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Christianity after religion

Some history to absorb before restructuring and budgeting at General Convention. Diana Butler Bass talks about her new book, Christianity After Religion, at All Saints Church, Pasadena, CA:

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Five phrases not to say

Reluctant Xian says that there are five things that Christians should never say. This is not like George Carlin's classic comedy routine, through, because these never get bleeped.

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Preserving VAWA

Bonnie Anderson, President of the House of Deputies of the Episcopal Church, writes about the Violence Against Women Act which is now up for renewal in Congress.

The Episcopal Church has gone on record, along with many other religious groups and leaders, as being opposed to the changes to VAWA as proposed in the House bill.

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RC diocese seeks to turn three Episcopal priests into lay persons

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Allentown wants to declare that three Episcopal priests, who were received from the Catholic Church, are lay people.

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Building community in a city

Many cities in the U.S. grew quickly, covering a lot of space in short time, which makes the experience of isolation and disconnection. This is an experience common to both large cities and spread out suburbs. Some churches in the Las Vegas have joined with local groups to build a sense of connection and to find community based solutions.

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Video depicts alleged abuse at W. KS Episcopal school

Associated Press reports:

The mother of a 14-year-old boy says a cellphone video depicting her son struggling to stand on two broken legs is proof that her son was harmed while attending a Kansas military school and supports claims in a federal lawsuit that the school encouraged a culture of abuse.

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A Scottish view of the Covenant

Kelvin Holdsworth, Provost of St, Mary's Cathedral in Glasgow, says that it is important for the American Episcopal Church to formally say "no" to all of the Anglican Covenant even though the issue appears to be dead in the Church of England. He says that there are subtle, but equally destructive aspects of the sections not dealing with discipline.

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Bishops Jefferts Schori and Tutu discuss mission "live"

UPDATE: video now available:

The Washington National Cathedral will host a live webcast featuring a discussion about mission with Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church, Katharine Jefferts Schori, and former Archbishop of Southern Africa, Desmond Tutu.

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No basis in the Bible for an afterlife

N.T. Wright and other scholars think our concept of heaven is all wrong. The Bible does not support some heavenly afterlife but a renewed life on earth. Huffington Post reports:

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New Hampshire elects Rob Hirschfeld on first ballot

MORE UPDATES below
UPDATE: Photo of bishop elect from Twitter. Statement from Diocese of New Hampshire.

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10 things churches can learn from Apple Stores

In the meantime blog compares Guy Kawasaki's 10 things you can learn from Apple™ Stores and church.

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NAACP supports marriage equality

CBS News is reporting that the NAACP has voted to support marriage equality:

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) backed a resolution on Saturday in support of "marriage equality."

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Church of England bishops must be equal

Miranda Threlfall-Holmes writes that legislation allowing women to be ordained as bishops must not compromise the authority of bishops. In The Guardian at Comment is free:

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Presiding Bishop on communion and baptism: 'Don't separate them.'

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori believes that the sacraments of communion and baptism should not be separated. At a townhall meeting in North Carolina a few months ago, she said, "If we're aware that there are people coming to the table who have not been baptized, it's time to do something.

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Graduates honor slain Episcopal School director

Graduates of Episcopal School of Jacksonville, Florida, paid homage Saturday to Dale Regan, head of the school who was murdered in her office in March.

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Poll shows support for Queen as Head of the Church

A new BBC News poll shows that people in England overwhelming support Queen Elizabeth II's role as "Defender of the Faith" and wish to see her continue to serve as head of the Church of England. From Alex Strangwayes-Booth of BBC News:

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The Christian case for gay marriage

"I am a Christian, and I am in favor of gay marriage," writes law professor Mark Osler on CNN's Belief Blog. "The reason I am for gay marriage is because of my faith."

Osler, who worships at St. Stephens Episcopal Church in Edina, Minn., goes on to say:

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Catholic Archbishop reported to advocate equal treatment for homosexuals in long-term relationships

Interesting news out of Germany-- the Catholic Archbishop of Berlin has reportedly come out in favor of treating those in long-term homosexual relationships equal to those in heterosexual relationships.

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Baptism now, Communion in a minute

"On call" baptism.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori dropped this phrase in video taped remarks on the issue of Communion without Baptism, and frequent Cafe commenter Jonathan Grieser picked it up. He writes:

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A "missional polity." How does that work?

"A More True Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society: Toward a Missional Polity for The Episcopal Church," an essay by the Rev. Dwight Zscheile published in the Journal of Religious Leadership in 2006 has been receiving renewed attention as the church turns its attention to restructuring its governance and administration. Why not read it and tell us what you think.

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Mote Magomba: a change of heart

One of the great pleasures of working on the video we posted last week from the gathering that the Chicago Consultation held in partnership with the Ujamaa Centre of the University of KwaZulu Natal in October was the opportunity to interview several of the participants in the consultation at length. I especially enjoyed talking with the Rev. Mote Magomba, director of the Amani Christian Training Centre in Iringa, Tanzania. The story of his change of heart on LGBT issues was the highlight of the video. Here, you can hear him speak about it at greater length.

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C of E: Male bishops amend legislation on female bishops

Thinking Anglicans has the press release from the Church of England. The core--which, to be honest is beyond my interpretive capabilities is here:

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Evil: cosmic, systemic, personal

The Rev. Gary Hall, rector of Christ Church, Cranbrook recently taught a course on the problem of evil at Cranbrook School, Mitt Romney's old stomping grounds. Here is what he concluded:

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Peter and the "shellfish" argument

As the Episcopal Church and other denominations have taken positions of that support the full inclusion of LGBT Christians and marriage equality, those in support of that position point out that the ritual law of the Old Testament was suspended after the resurrection, and arguing that Levitical prohibitions are still in force for some things and not others doesn't make a lot of sense.

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Reactions to English HoB statement on women bishops

Yesterday the Church of England's House of Bishops released their draft legislation on the next steps to ordaining women priests to the episcopate in England. There's been a great deal of comment overnight. Not much of it has been favorable.

Women and the Church released this statement

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Pentecost is coming, wear red

Christ Church in Winnetka Illinois has a few fashion tips for people looking to dress properly for church this coming Sunday...

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Diocese of Lexington nominates five for next bishop

The Episcopal Diocese of Lexington (in Kentucky) has released the Search Committee's list of five nominees to serve as the seventh bishop of the diocese.

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General Convention teaching resources

Looking for resources to teach about General Convention in advance of its meeting this summer? The Diocese of Texas has put out a helpful six minute video (see below) perfect for a Sunday forum and the Episcopal Church Foundation's Vital Practices blog has made the following books and online resources available:

Learn About General Convention Graphic Booklet

'What Is General Convention?' (Audio Slideshow)

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Musician as theologian

If you ask most people who's the theologian in a local congregation, they're more likely than not going to point to the ordained clergy. But that's just not the whole story according to an article by Mark Gorman posted in the Duke Divinity School Magazine.

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Falls Church, Anglican holding out until bitter end

Henry D. W. Burt, secretary of the Diocese of Virginia writes with the latest news from the property settlement front:

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Bonnie Anderson won't seek re-election

May 23, 2012

Dear Deputies and First Alternates,

I write to you for two reasons: to thank you for your support, friendship, prayers, challenges, brilliance and love that has inspired and humbled me during these 6 years and second, to let you know that I do not plan to stand for election as President of the House of Deputies for another term.

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Africa sees some of the biggest falls ever in infant mortality

The Economist:

16 of the 20 African countries which have had detailed surveys of living conditions since 2005 reported falls in their child-mortality rates (this rate is the number of deaths of children under five per 1,000 live births).

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Hidden exodus: RC becoming protestant

The National Catholic Reporter reports that the Roman Catholic Church has lost one-third of its members and one in ten Americans (USA) is an ex-Catholic:

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Colin Powell supports marriage equality

Politico reports that Colin Powell endorses marriage equality:

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The Rev. Canon Leonel Mitchell has died

UPDATED: see below

From the Rev. Brian Grantz of Northern Indiana:

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Timetable: House of Deputies will elect new president and VP

Bonnie Anderson sent this email to the House of Deputies mailing list this morning. A broader release will soon follow.

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Clergy among those trained to support
Maryland's "Dream Act"

Rachel Baye writes in The Washington Examiner:

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"The question for women priests (COE) today is: do we stay with this abusive institution?"

UPDATE: From Thinking Anglicans

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Trinity Wall Street to close Connecticut conference center

ENS: The Rev. James H. Cooper, rector of Trinity Wall Street, announced the closure of Trinity’s conference center in West Cornwall in a May 24 letter to the parish. The full letter follows.

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Kicking the can down the road

Bishop Alan Wilson reflects on the legislative changes that Bishops added to legislation allowing for the ordination of women to the episcopate. He names two lies behind all the machinations: that it is not about sex and this does not regularize discrimination. What the Bishops cannot let go of, Wilson says, is the culture of sexism and sanctioned discrimination.

He writes:

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Back to the future of the church

This weekend the Taizé Community will hold a conference in the U.S., and several thousand people — particularly young adults — are expected to meet for prayer and song at DePaul University in Chicago.

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Now, now ladies, don't bother your pretty little heads

The Archbishop of Canterbury and Archbishop of York have issued a statement write to those who are enraged about the additions, by a small group of bishops, to the legislation on women in the episcopacy:

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Bishop Bruno writes to the Diocese of L.A.

Bishop J. Jon Bruno of Los Angeles, was discharged to his home from the hospital yesterday after being diagnosed with leukemia.

LA Times:

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Christians witness for LGBT Ugandans

The Washington Post carries an op-ed piece about the plight of LGBT people in Uganda from a pair of unusual advocates: a former ambassador who was also president of a Catholic college, and an evangelical leader.

Thomas Patrick Melady is senior diplomat in residence, The Institute of World Politics, a former U.S. Ambassador to Burundi, Uganda and the Holy See and President Emeritus of Sacred Heart University.

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St. Paul's told London police to remove Occupy protesters

Acccording to a report in Ekklesia:

The City of London Police Commissioner has revealed that St Paul's Cathedral gave the police permission to forcibly remove Occupy protesters from the cathedral steps. This contradicts claims made by the cathedral authorities.

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Historic ordinations at St Matthew's, Fairbanks, Alaska

From a press release from the Diocese of Alaska:

This Sunday, May 27, 2012, The Rt. Rev. Mark Lattime, Episcopal Bishop of Alaska, will ordain to the Priesthood Bella Jean Savino and Shirley Lee.

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Reading the "Blue Book" for General Convention

Preparing for General Convention and overwhelmed reading the Blue Book? Two deputies have offered "cliffs notes" style commentaries and reflections on the content and resolutions:

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Young adults will mess up your church

Adam J. Copeland, blogging at A Wee Blether, believes most churches don't really want young adults.

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Biblical girls make the big time

Mary E. Hunt, writing at Feminist Studies in Religion reviews Biblical Girl: Eve’s Big Fat Family Reunion:

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St. David's Episcopal Church and marriage equality

St. David's Episcopal Church featured on KXAN TV news in Austin. Bishop Doyle has designated St. David's to become the first of two Episcopal congregations in Texas to officially "bless" same-sex couples.

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The unifying power of Pentecost

Rhonda Mawhood Lee draws from memories of growing up in Montreal, a world of two languages, to reflect on the power of Pentecost:

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Southern Cone rejects Pollesel as bishop co-adjutor of Uruguay

From the Anglican Journal:

The House of Bishops of the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone has voted not to ratify the election of Archdeacon Michael Pollesel as bishop co-adjutor of the diocese of Uruguay.

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ABC selection panel: Dominated by liberals?

The Telegraph gives space today to those who feel that the panel charged with selecting the next Archbishop of Canterbury is dominated by liberals:

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It is okay to sing patriotic songs in church. Yay or nay?

Pentecost fell on Memorial Day weekend this year. The Birthday of the Church was also the eve of the day on which Americans honor their war dead. (All of their dead, in fact, but their war dead in particular.) I am guessing this made for some interesting musical choices in Episcopal churches around the country, especially involving the inclusion of patriotic songs in the liturgy.

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War, heroism and the followers of Christ

Gary Hall, rector of Christ Church, Cranbrook, has written an excellent reflection on Memorial Day. I invite you to add link to other Memorial Day reflections in the comments.

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The internet is a blessing

Here is a message that churches have been slow to accept: the internet is a blessing. The popular blogger Rachel Held Evans explains why:

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In England, what do amendments to legislation on female bishops mean?

Two esteemed online friends are debating the significance of the amendment that the Church of England's bishops have made to legislation that would permit women to be ordained as bishops.

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Ecclesia de Lange and the cost of conscience

The Rev. Ecclesia de Lange talks about being dismissed from her position as a pastor in the Methodist Church of South Africa after she married her female partner. The Rev. de Lange participated in a consultation sponsored by the Chicago Consultation and the Ujamaa Centre of the University of KwaZulu-Natal in October 2011.

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Questions for the candidates for PHoD and VPHod

Hi folks,

If you have questions for the (as yet unannounced) candidates for President and Vice President of the House of Deputies, submit them in the comments, and we will do our best to get them answered.

Cheers,
The Café

(UPDATE) Mark Harris has a similar question posted on his blog, and he uses an observation by Pittsburgh Deputy Jim Simons that the job of PHoD has significantly expanded over recent years, and there's been no concurrent increase in funding or any stipend. Harris wonders how people who will run will be able to afford to do that ministry… So maybe that's a question we need to be asking too.

The power of hello

When we think of church growth strategies we tend to imagine marketing plans and hired consultants. But there are a number of very simple things any congregation can do that will make a huge difference. And they don't require any clergy involvement or probably permission.

In a series on "Internal church marketing" the "CMS" blog gives a list of simple things that welcome and invite newcomers into the congregation's community:

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LCMS and ACNA pledge cooperation

The 2.3 million member Missouri Synod Lutheran Church and Anglican Church in North America have begun talks about ways they might cooperate in areas of common concern. They find agreement in much of their core doctrines, with some issues about liturgy, sacraments and the ministry of the ordained.

But they both agree that they must fight any effort toward marriage equality and must fight to de-legalize abortion.

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Wish List for Next PHoD

The unanticipated election of a new person from the House of Deputies to serve as President has been on a lot of minds this past weekend. We posted some questions earlier in the day that you might like to ask people thinking about running. And over the weekend Lelanda Lee, a member of the Episcopal Church's Executive Council, posted some thoughts about what she'd like to see in a candidate.

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No one's religious liberty is being threatened

During last week there were a number of news stories about Roman Catholic organizations, with strong support by right-wing evangelicals, filing lawsuits against the new federal guidelines requiring contraception for women in everyone's basic health care.

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Turning Outwards

Susan Snook has some concerns about the way the conversation on restructuring the Episcopal Church is headed.

Imaging what someone from outer space might think of the claims that the Episcopal Church wants to refocus itself outwardly towards mission she writes:

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Good wins out in the end

Back in the days of armed turmoil in Sierra Leone, Madeline Albright was photographed holding a small girl whose arm had been chopped off by a local militia who regularly maimed the civilian population in a bid for power. The girl, whose full name is now Memuna Mansaray McShane, is the subject of an essay by Nicholas Kristof that reminds us that sometimes good wins out quickly.

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Anglican Church of Canada considers what a "No" to the Anglican Covenant means

From the Anglican Journal:

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The top ten myths about women (and the heroes who bust them)

CARE has an interactive feature to their website on the myths people cling to hold women back and the "heroes" who have changed perceptions:

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What would Martin do?

Paul Brandeis Raushenbush, Senior Religion Editor of The Huffington Post asks "Would King have evolved on Gay Rights?"

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Are the amendments a step too far?

Debate on amendments to the Church of England Act of Synod which will enable appointment of women as bishops continues. Thinking Anglicans reports on several viewpoints. Will the amendments be a step to far for supporters of full equality of women in the episcopate? Will it bring any anti-women as bishops voters to support the Act?

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Is your church dangerous to the Gospel?

Alan Hirsch talks about mission and ministry and the church's temptation to being risk averse in Communitas not Community:

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Voters tire of politicians invoking religion

Charles Blow at the New York Times notes how politicians love to invoke religion and how tired Americans are of hearing it.

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Graceful, yes, but of necessity? Rowan Williams' inter-church partners

In The Guardian's "Comment is Free" blog, Savi Hensman argues that Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams' affection for Orthodox Christianity, together with a marked subservience to Pope Benedict XVI, have negatively impacted the ability of the Church of England and the Anglican Communion to stand up for people who need to be stood up for, and to effectively deal as full partners in the Porvoo Communion.

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Iranian 'running man' spreads message of world peace

Yasmin Khorram writes on CNN about the saga of Reza Baluchi:

He's been running all his life, running for freedom, running for peace.

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