Monday, March 12, 2007

Monday March 12, 5 p.m. backup

Here are all the posts on the main page of T19 as of 5 p.m. Eastern today. We will post any new entries, especially news about Mark Lawrence's consent here as we get them from Kendall.

Western Kansas Votes a Third Time; Still Says No–Consents for Mark Lawrence Remain at 55

March 12th, 2007 posted by kendall at 4:10 pm

Indianapolis Recovenes and says no Again; Consents for Mark Lawrence Still at 55

March 12th, 2007 posted by kendall at 3:10 pm

Trying to keep you updated as I hear things.

Louie Crew: How the Final Announcement for Consents to a Episcopal Bishop’s Election Works

March 12th, 2007 posted by kendall at 3:02 pm

From here:

I called the Office of the Presiding Bishop this morning for clarification about the deadlines for consents for Mark Lawrence as Bishop of South Carolina. TEC’s canons specify that the Presiding Bishop must confirm the authenticity of all balloting, not just the balloting of bishops.

March 9th would have been the deadline, but 3 days have been added for a grace period. The Presiding Bishop consulted David Beers, her chancellor, as well as the parliamentarian of the House of Bishops. Therefore all consents must be postmarked by today, March 12th. By this evening the Standing Committee of South Carolina will FedEx to the PB’s Office for verification all of the consent forms which they have received.

Also a Standing Committee which has yet to file consent may notify the Standing Committee of South Carolina by email today that such a consent is in the mails. Paper copies of all consents must be in the PB’s office before any announcement may be made. Consent requires the majority of all members of the Standing Committee, not just a majority of all members present at a particular meeting.

Thanks to Carl Gerdau, Canon to the Presiding Bishop, for walking me through these details.

Southern Virginia Reconsiders and Changes to Yes; Consents for Mark Lawrence at 55

March 12th, 2007 posted by kendall at 2:04 pm

Take a look.

John Allen: Two parallels for understanding the ‘powerhouse’ church in Nigeria

March 12th, 2007 posted by kendall at 1:11 pm

I’m in Nigeria this week because I’m convinced that the 21st century is likely to be an “African century” in Catholicism, and I wanted to find out what makes one of the powerhouse churches of the continent tick.

In the 20th century, Africa went from a Catholic population of 1.9 million in 1900 to 130 million in 2000, a staggering growth rate of 6,708 percent. Half of all adult baptisms in the world, the surest sign of missionary expansion, are in Africa. Inexorably, pastoral and intellectual energy in the church will follow population, and this means that African leaders are destined to play an increasingly important role. Nigeria will have 47 million Catholics by 2050, and has the human capital and ecclesiastical infrastructure to become an African ‘voice’ in the global church.

This week, I’ve spoken at length with a half-dozen Nigerian priests, several bishops, and many Nigerian laity. I’ve taken part in liturgies and visited Catholic parishes, seminaries and schools. I’ve spoken to political and diplomatic figures about their impressions of the church. On the basis of that experience, two historical comparisons seem to best express the spirit of this growing, dynamic, fascinating church: pre-Vatican II American Catholicism, and English Catholicism in the 14th century.

The first image comes from an American priest who grew up in the pre-conciliar church in the United States, and who has served in various capacities in Nigeria for more than two decades.

“Seminaries here are full, and vocations to the religious life are booming,” he said. “Parishes are very strong. Catholic spirituality here is very devotional, with lots of pious leagues and societies. The leadership model is very clerical, very authoritarian, with priests placed on a pedestal. Theologically, the church here is conservative, with no one really chafing against Rome or established church teachings.”

This American is, in his own words, “somewhat liberal” on church matters, and said at first he was frustrated with the Nigerian ethos. Over time, he said, he’s come to see that it works for Nigeria.

Read it all and there is more there.

Gene Robinson Interviewed by New Hampshire Public Radio

March 12th, 2007 posted by kendall at 1:05 pm

Listen to it all.

In the Computer Dating Game, Room for a Coach

March 12th, 2007 posted by kendall at 12:21 pm

NOT getting any online dates? Maybe it’s time for an online makeover.

Businesses like, and say they will help turn a stale personal profile for dating Web sites into eloquent and catchy advertisements, writing the words for you. They will even help clients sift through prospective dates and start an initial e-mail conversation. Depending on the company and the services used, prices may range from $39 to $2,000.

Other companies, like and, sell professional photo shoots and retouching of existing pictures for people to post online.

“As online dating has gotten more popular, the more people have to do to get attention,” said Mindy Stricke, owner of, a New York business that has produced 1,000 profile portraits, at prices from $130 to $300. “There’s a lot of anxiety around this purchase because there’s no guarantees. But a lot of people, especially in New York, are willing to go the extra mile.”

Dating makeovers are hardly new. High-end offline dating services have long provided hairstyle and clothing renovations, as well as other help. But the latest twist underscores the frustration felt by some of the 40 million people using Internet matchmaking sites, said Mark Brooks, who follows the industry and author of the blog

“The promise of Internet dating is you plug in your profile and you send a few e-mails and you have got a date,” Mr. Brooks said. “It’s not as easy as that.”

Jim West, 43, a divorced engineer from Tatamy, Pa., struggled to get beyond the first “hello” e-mail when he started online dating. Sure, he got some dates, but with the wrong people, he said. So after six months, Mr. West paid $49 for a critique from Eric Resnick, owner of, based in Orlando, Fla. (The price of that service is now $69.)

“I felt like he was my sixth-grade English teacher,” Mr. West said. “He taught me how to write a good essay.”

Read it all.

Michael Medved– Scene 1: Discredit religion; Scene 2: See Scene 1

March 12th, 2007 posted by kendall at 12:10 pm

Just as freshly sprouted daffodils indicate the imminent arrival of spring, so the pop culture’s yearly discovery (and exploitation) of Jesus Christ heralds the upcoming celebration of the Easter holiday. The entertainment industry in particular has developed a curious strategy of attempting to connect with America’s massive, ardent Christian audience with pulpy projects that openly undercut key tenets of Christianity. These efforts range from blockbuster hits such as last year’s The Da Vinci Code to scandalous and largely forgotten feature films such as The Passover Plot (1976) — which showed Jesus planning to fake his own death on the cross. The most recent effort at simultaneously insulting and intriguing the faith-based audience involved the shamelessly oversold documentary The Lost Tomb of Jesus, which received its world premiere on the Discovery Channel last week.

The participation of Titanic director James Cameron as executive producer helped to ensure worldwide frenzy concerning the purported “scientific” significance of discoveries challenging New Testament teaching about the Resurrection.

Actually, all of the information in the painfully padded Lost Tomb broadcast derives from relics removed in 1980 from a construction site in a Jerusalem suburb. Workers inadvertently stumbled across an ancient burial chamber, and archaeologists hurriedly removed 10 ossuaries, or “bone boxes,” in which first century Jews interred the remains of their relatives after allowing the bodies to decompose.

Cameron’s collaborator, an Israeli-born Canadian named Simcha Jacobovici, directed the show and dominates the proceedings on screen, presenting himself as an intrepid combination of Indiana Jones and Tom Hanks in The Da Vinci Code.

For a relentlessly repetitive two hours, Jacobovici focuses on the indistinct inscriptions on his bone boxes, one of which may (or according to some experts, may not) read: “Jesus, Son of Joseph.” Other names on the six labeled ossuaries include Maria (the Latinized form of Mary), Mariamne (whom Jacobovici uses somewhat tortured logic to associate with Mary Magdalene) and Judah, son of Jesus. Though such names were common in ancient Judea, the movie insists that their presence in the same burial cave creates the overwhelming likelihood that this site, indeed, constitutes the Lost Tomb of Jesus.

Unfortunately, nearly all prominent Israeli archaeologists reject such reasoning.

Read it all.

Southwest Florida’s bishop-to-be finally takes the reins

March 12th, 2007 posted by kendall at 12:04 pm

[Dabney] Smith, 53, succeeds Bishop John B. Lipscomb, who has been on medical leave since December and plans to retire. Delegates elected Smith in December, and since Feb. 1, he has been the official bishop-to-be, known in the denomination as incoming bishop coadjutor.

“Today is a wonderful, festive and important day in the diocese of southwest Florida,” said Rev. Francis C. Gray Jr., retired bishop for northern Indiana and current assistant bishop for the diocese of Virginia.

“You have elected a bishop who is a loving, thoughtful person and who has a passion for the gospel of Jesus Christ,” Gray told the congregation.

The Episcopalian Diocese of Southwest Florida extends along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, with the northernmost congregation in Brooksville and the southernmost on Marco Island. It includes Tampa, St. Petersburg, Sarasota and Fort Myers.

A graduate of the University of South Florida, Smith has served Florida churches in various capacities, including congregations in Melbourne and Port Orange. Most recently, he has been rector of Trinity Episcopal Church in New Orleans since January 2005.

Smith grew up in Florida, is married and has three grown children.

At his consecration, participating bishops from around the country asked Smith about his belief in his ability to be bishop and whether he felt he’d been summoned to perform the duty.

“Are you persuaded that God has called you to the office of bishop?” asked Bishop Clifton Daniel III, bishop of the Diocese of East Carolina.

“I am so persuaded,” Smith answered.

Read it all.

Virgin Islands says Yes; Georgia reconsiders and Changes to Yes; Consents at 54

March 12th, 2007 posted by kendall at 11:22 am

We are going right down to the wire.

Update: Get Religion has comments on this story here.

From the Religion Report: The Existential Jesus

March 12th, 2007 posted by kendall at 10:45 am

Stephen Crittenden: Today, as promised, we’re reading Mark’s Gospel, the earliest of the four Gospels and arguably the darkest and most cryptic. Mark’s is the angry Jesus who casts out demons, curses fig trees, gives up trying to teach his disciples anything and dies completely alone.

Oscar Wilde wrote about Jesus that his entire life is also the most wonderful of poems “For pity and terror there is nothing in the entire cycle of Greek tragedy to touch it”.

Sociologist John Carroll certainly captures that in his new book about Jesus, the Existential Jesus, and he argues that Mark is one of the pinnacles of Western literature, that Mark’s Jesus is the great Western teacher on the nature of Being, and that his real tragedy is that he ends up as his only student.

John, welcome back to the program; it takes a certain kind of daring to write a book about Jesus, let alone a book in which you basically ignore two of the four Gospels, Matthew and Luke, because they’re not very interesting!

John Carroll: Jesus is a creation of four stories. We know virtually nothing about him apart from the four Gospels. There are snippets in later supposed Gospels, and the letters of Paul tell us next to nothing; there’s virtually no independent historical or archaeological evidence. So he’s a creation of four stories. The overwhelming consensus today is Mark is the first Gospel that was written. To me and great literary critics like Harold Bloom in the United States, and Frank Kermode in England, Marks’ is the punishing, powerful great narrative of the four in any literary or narrative sense. And next to it, Matthew repeats about 80% of Mark, and adds a lot more. Compared to Mark he’s long-winded, the narrative is jumbled and often incoherent, and it lacks subtlety and any of the depths and charge of the grand metaphysics, that you become embroiled in once you get into Mark’s Gospel.

I think Luke is a lot more interesting; there are pieces of great literary flair in Luke, and when he adds the parable of the Good Samaritan and the Prodigal Son, which no-one else does. But overall, it’s got similar weaknesses to Matthew, and in my reading John is the one of the three who they’re all writing with Mark in front of them. He’s the one of the three who really understood Mark, and what he does at his best, is he provides a series of brilliant narratives to elaborate and extend things that are too cryptic or undeveloped in Mark.

Stephen Crittenden: Oscar Wilde described the four Gospels as four prose poems about Jesus. You’re arguing there’s really only one prose poem, Mark, and the rest are footnotes, and the best footnotes are by John.

John Carroll: That’s exactly what I’m saying.

Stephen Crittenden: John, you mentioned the English literary critic, Frank Kermode. His book on Mark, ‘The Genesis of Secrecy’ is one of my favourite books, in fact I think it propelled me into the Religion Department at the ABC. Mark used to be seen as a pretty clumsy and unsophisticated Gospel written in poor Greek. Kermode shows that it’s very sophisticated indeed, especially in the way the narrative is structured. It’s not meant to be understood naturalistically, but as a kind of puzzle.

Read it all.

New York Episcopal leader has faith that controversy won’t split church

March 12th, 2007 posted by kendall at 9:29 am

Goshen — Episcopalians should relax.

They need not worry about a break with their Anglican brethren, said the Rev. Don Taylor, bishop vicar of the Episcopal Diocese of New York.

Taylor said he had faith that American Episcopalians could reconcile gay and lesbian issues that threaten to split them from the larger Anglican body. As in all democratic decision-making processes, differences of opinion can look like division instead of a process toward consensus, he said.

“The (Episcopal Church) is not in a position of kicking people out, it’s in a position of reconciliation,” said Taylor, one of New York’s highest-ranking Episcopal officials.

Taylor’s visit yesterday to St. James Episcopal Church in Goshen gave him, as well as local parishioners, a chance to chime in on the controversy.

“There was a time when I couldn’t be a bishop in New York, because I was black,” said Taylor, whose native country is Jamaica. “But times have changed, because we have allowed people to change and to reach their own conclusions.”

Like a majority of New York diocese members, most parishioners supported their leadership’s emphasis on inclusion and social justice.

Kevin Vesely, a Circleville resident and member of St. James, said he would prefer his church stick to its principles of openness rather than concede to powerful bishops in other countries. “We might not all agree with each other, but the Episcopalian Church always keeps an open mind,” he said.

Read it all.

Pastoral Letter from the Network Moderator

March 12th, 2007 posted by kendall at 9:20 am

From here:


Beloved in the Lord,

The Primates’ Meeting in Tanzania considered in great depth the plight “of those congregations and dioceses within the Episcopal Church who have sought alternative pastoral oversight because of their theological differences with their diocesan bishop or with the Presiding Bishop.”(1) The hope of the Primates’ Meeting, in the words of the Archbishop of Canterbury, is that a “sufficiently strong scheme” can be put in place so as to be “sufficient for all dissenting congregations and dioceses to find their home within it.”(2) Another way to say this is to say that a sufficiently strong plan must be found for the congregations and dioceses of the Anglican Communion Network (plus any others from the wider Windsor coalition that may desire similar insulation). The responsibility for developing such a system has been given to the wider coalition of Windsor Bishops who signed on to the “ Camp Allen principles” – a group that includes the Network Bishops – to shape such a system, a system to be led by a Primatial Vicar.(3)

There is much question as to the degree to which the vision for an international Pastoral Council and a domestic Primatial Vicar would leave the Network “within” the Episcopal Church. At the start, one has to say that the eighty-six congregations of the Network’s International Conference ( Uganda, Kenya, So. Cone and Central Africa) are neither under nor within the Episcopal Church, anymore than are the one hundred and forty churches in the Anglican Mission and CANA. Since the Key Recommendations of the Dar es Salaam Meeting anticipated “a place for [AMiA and CANA] within these provisions,” there is envisioned something much different than can be described as “within” the Episcopal Church.

For the hundreds of Network congregations in the Network Dioceses and Convocations, (who claim to be what they have always been, which is the Episcopal Church where they are) I want to share the following assessment. Most of us are at present within the Episcopal Church. This is where the Network was principally called to stand. One can be “within” something and not “under” it. The Network has been proving that for the last three years. The Dar es Salaam Communique and Key Recommendations represent a last attempt at reconciliation in the Anglican Communion and in the Episcopal Church. What the global leadership of the Anglican Communion has proposed is a marital separation. Pastorally, the church recommends such separations because they sometimes bring restoration of right relationship. Both parties are still technically within the marriage. But marital separations never leave one party “under” the other; such an arrangement would be doomed to failure from the start. The words of the Dar es Salaam Communique and Key Recommendations are carefully chosen. Any sense that the Pastoral Council and Primatial Vicar are “under” majority TEC is absent from the documents themselves, would surely doom the vision to failure, and could hardly prove “a sufficiently strong scheme.”

Whether this last effort to reconcile both the Episcopal Church to the Anglican Communion and the two parts of the Episcopal Church to each other can succeed is, in human terms, up to the Network, to the Windsor Bishops, and to the wider House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church. Three things must be said:

1) As Network Moderator, I will do everything I can to bring the hopes of the Primates Meeting to fruition. Necessarily, I will attend the meeting of the House of Bishops about to convene. The Archbishop of Canterbury has asked for “generosity and graciousness” in response to what the Primates have done. I will go in that spirit. Attendance at the meeting of the House of Bishops, however, should not be construed as anything more than doing what the situation requires. It remains that “the theological differences” with the Presiding Bishop and with those Diocesan Bishops who have taught and acted contrary to received Faith and Order (as upheld in the Windsor Report, and the Dromantine and Dar es Salaam Communiques) are of such magnitude that discussion of the issues before us is the limit of our participation in the life of the House of Bishops at the present time. This represents no alteration of the grounds on which most Network Bishops have participated in the House of Bishops since August of 2003.

2) The Windsor Bishops (which includes the Network Bishops) – all those who adopted the Camp Allen principles(4) – will meet shortly after Easter to shape our part of what the Primates’ Meeting has envisioned. Obvious agenda items include discussion about a Primatial Vicar, about a “sufficiently strong” plan for the Network and Windsor minority, and about imagining whether any form of ministry could be designed that would be acceptable to those who have gone out.

3) The House of Bishops will have to respond to us and to the recommendations of the Primates’ Meeting in a vastly different manner than has characterized the majority’s behavior toward us in recent experience. As already stated, the Archbishop of Canterbury has called on all to “approach [the] challenges with a spirit of graciousness and generosity.”(5) Pray toward this end.

From the earliest days, we in the Anglican Communion Network have known that our vocation is to stand for the Faith once delivered to the saints, in submission to the whole Anglican Communion. From the earliest days, we appealed to the Archbishop of Canterbury and to the Primates(6) to make that possible in an increasingly hostile environment here in the United States. Again, the Archbishop and the Primates have heard us. Again, they have spoken. They have determined to give the Episcopal Church one more chance to make it clear about the majority’s intentions vis a vis the teaching of Lambeth I.10, the Windsor Report and the Dromantine Communique.

Most of us, but certainly not all, in the Anglican Communion Network now believe that it is the Episcopal Church majority’s clear and continuing intention to “walk apart” in matters of Faith and Order. Nevertheless, we owe it to our beloved Communion to follow the Primates’ wisdom as to how to take a last step in that discernment. The Primates have established a deadline of September 30th for the Episcopal Church’s entire House of Bishops to make an “unequivocal” response.(7) For all that is ahead, the Anglican Communion Network will continue to work with those “within” and with those who have “gone out” for a biblical, missionary and united future for North American Anglicanism. There can be no turning back from that Godly commitment: the Network’s vision from the beginning. “And since we have this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart.” [2 Cor. 4:1]

Please continue to pray with fervor for me and for all who lead, as well as for all who are having an especially hard time with yet one more time of waiting and of testing. Your prayers are the vehicles of our Lord’s victory realized in the crises and crosses we face at every level both great and small.

Faithfully in Christ,

+ Bob Pittsburgh

Moderator, Anglican Communion Network

(1) Archbishop Rowan Williams, Pastoral Letter to the Primates, 5th March 2007.

(2) Ibid.

(3) Key Recommendations of the Primates, 19th February 2007.

(4) Ibid.

(5) Archbishop Rowan Williams, Pastoral Letter to the Primates, 5th March 2007.

(6) Dissenting Bishops’ Statement, 5th August 2003.

(7) Key Recommendations of the Primates, 19th February 2007.

Made it Home Safely

March 11th, 2007 posted by kendall at 11:56 pm

I feel older and more frail–KSH.

For Same Sex Couples, a world of ‘almost’

March 11th, 2007 posted by kendall at 3:10 pm

The two met when Mahood, who works for the Princeton University Press, hosted a meeting of the Delaware Valley Gay Neighbors, a local social support organization. Mahood became the stepfather of Kabara’s young daughter, who now has children of her own. Both men consider themselves grandfathers.

“I find myself in the awkward situation of not being able to say what my relationship is,” Mahood said. “I’m partnered? I’m civil-unionized? Marriage is a simple concept everyone understands.”

Mahood and Kabara were not the only ones disappointed that the legislation stopped short of outright marriage. Edwards, who works for the Office of Alumni and Donor Records, and McVicker, who works for the University’s Office of Human Resources, said they also regretted their inability to marry. The two have been together for over 10 years and confirmed their partnership in a religious ceremony in 1999.

“My partner and I don’t want ‘legalized gay marriage,’ ” Edwards said in an email. “We want marriage for all people. Obviously, we can’t predict how long a battle this will be, but if past history is any indicator, it probably will be a long battle.”

Read it all. The dictionary defines marriage as “the social institution under which a man and woman establish their decision to live as husband and wife by legal commitments, religious ceremonies, etc.” So what they want is actually a redefinition of what marriage is.

We have been over this ground again and again:

Not only the Bible is at stake, but the church’s whole theology of marriage. Traditionally, marriage was understood to have four purposes, communion (joy shared is doubled, sorrow is halved), union (the two shall become one flesh), procreation (be fruitful and multiply), and prevention (marriage was actually understood to prevent sin-when was the last sermon you heard on THAT one?). A same sex union cannot be unitive, because physically the bodies do not fit together in their design, and it is unable to be procreative.

So whatever else is being called for by Resolution C-005, it is not marriage. You see this in the rhetoric of the resolution itself. It is only clear what these couplings are not-marriage-but what they are is never carefully defined.

Yet the church has always understood that the only proper context for the expression of sexual intimacy is between a man and a woman who are married to each other. So what, it must be asked, are those claiming the necessity for change asking for? Among themselves there are actually three positions. Some say marriage needs to be shifted, some say we need a new category which is like marriage in some ways but unlike it in others, and others say we need to encourage friendships which may develop a physical side and see what God’s spirit will do.


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