29 September 2006

Save On Gas, Drink From The Tap.

From the New Atlantis (7th item):

"Bottled water has for some time been criticized by the American Dental Association because of its lack of fluoride. Now there is reason to believe that bottled water is bad for the environment, too. According to a recent study by the Earth Policy Institute, more than 1.5 million barrels of crude oil are used to produce plastic bottles for water in the U.S. alone each year—enough oil to fuel perhaps 100,000 cars for a year. The transportation of bottled water, far less efficient than the distribution of tap water, expends even more oil. The vast majority of the bottles that hold all the water—almost 7 billion gallons each year in the U.S. alone—turn into garbage. And the concentrated extraction of water near bottling plants has reportedly caused water shortages in some regions, like Texas and the Great Lakes, which can affect farmers and fishers."


28 September 2006

Girls Rule...

...and, as one so often hears when staffing at a summer camp, boys drool:

"...Boys get most of the D’s and F’s in school and boys make up 80 percent of an average school’s discipline problems. About 80 percent of children diagnosed with learning disabilities are boys, and over 80 percent of schoolchildren on Ritalin or similar drugs are boys.

“Lost,” “confused,” “slackers,” “directionless,” — these are the labels teachers now apply to adolescent boys. They call adolescent girls “smart,” “motivated,” “mature,” “focused,” even “fireballs..."


Get Me Out Of Jail.

Please consider supporting the Muscular Dystrophy Association - help raise my bail!

Click here for more info, or here just to give. Thanks.

27 September 2006

Holy Image, Holy Ground...in L.A.

This Getty Center exhibit of sacred art from St. Catharine's monastery in Egypt almost makes a trip to L.A. seem worthwhile:

"From a remote monastery in the Sinai desert of Egypt, they are coming. Fifty-two precious icons and liturgical objects, many of which have never left their home in Sinai, are on their way to Los Angeles for a once-in-a-lifetime exhibition at the Getty Center. From a remarkably vivid sixth-century portrait of Saint Peter, founder of the Christian church, to richly painted sanctuary doors, a bishop's stole, even a bronze crucifix used in worship, the objects are sacred and beautiful..."

Here's the whole thing, and here's a video introduction to the exhibit.

Brainwashed Jesus Freaks.

Also in today's Opinion Journal:

..."My journey across the country and through the Evangelical youth movement began after George Bush's bewildering reelection knocked the air from my lungs and the hope from my heart." So writes Lauren Sandler in "Righteous: Dispatches From the Evangelical Youth Movement." An "unrepentant Jewish atheist" who was "raised in Harvard Square," Ms. Sandler spent three years working at National Public Radio before embarking on her journey into the Christian heart of darkness..."


Don't Know Much About Civics.

And even if you could buy your way into a top school (see below), it wouldn't do you much good:

"So how is America's modern education system doing in this regard? Are our citizens enlightened enough to exercise the powers of our democracy? Do our colleges and universities provide their students the American history and constitutional understanding needed to make them strong and responsible citizens?

A study released this week by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute--www.americancivicliteracy.org--demonstrates that the answers to both questions are no. The study concludes that "America's colleges and universities fail to increase knowledge about America's history and institutions." In a 60-question multiple-choice quiz ,"college seniors failed the civic literacy exam, with an average score of 53.2 percent, or F, on a traditional grading scale." And at many schools "seniors know less than freshmen about America's history, government, foreign affairs, and economy..."

Here's the whole thing. A summary of the study is here, the depressing findings are here, and lots more interesting info on the rest of the site. And supposing you did buy your way into a top-flight school, it would likely make you stupider!
How about you? Take the Civic Literacy Quiz and see how you rank. Report your results (be honest) in the comments - age and alma mater would be interesting info as well.

26 September 2006

Trust And Obey...

...for there's no other way. Orthodox priest Fr. Stephen Freeman reflects on the means of grace:

"...The nature of grace and its work upon the soul is very much beyond the reach of our ken, much less our analysis of any process. But the Christian who regularly avails himself or herself of the sacraments of the Church, with heart-felt attention, will see that, with time, grace does the work of salvation in our hearts.

There is far too much attention paid to books and spiritual reading, with far too little attention paid to prayer, fasting and repentance. We think too much about what cannot be thought."


Hope To Get Into A Top College?

Well, tough:

"Each year, admissions officers at elite universities face an unhappy task. They are deluged with thousands upon thousands of applicants who are bright, enthusiastic, ambitious, and well-qualified — and most of whom must be rejected. There is no pretense that the weeding-out process operates strictly according to academic merit: Schools admit that they give preferences on the basis of race, ethnicity, nationality, socioeconomic standing, and “legacy status” (for the children and relatives of alumni). But even so, a public assumption of rough meritocracy prevails: Overall, the best students are supposed to end up at the best schools.

In The Price of Admission, Pulitzer Prize–winning Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Golden sets out to explode this supposition. He argues that the college-admissions process has been deeply corrupted by the rich and the powerful. His mission, as advertised on the book’s inside cover, is to “explore[] favoritism at the Ivy Leagues, Duke, the University of Virginia, and Notre Dame, among other institutions.” From his exploration, he concludes that privileged applicants — the pampered children of wealthy parents and alumni — are given huge advantages in admissions offices at our nation’s elite colleges. This, he charges, is fundamentally unfair — and even downright un-American..."


The Dawn Breaks?

Today from Jordan Hylden on First Things:

"...For the first time in recent memory, Anglican conservatives have something to cheer about. Ever since the Episcopal Church’s general convention in June, things have been moving rapidly in the Anglican world, and this past week was no exception. There were not one but two events sure to shape the future of Anglican polity and doctrine, following fast on the heels of a major statement by Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury. But instead of the almost obligatory gloominess of conservatives in response to, well, any significant action of their church, there is today a powerful sense of hope among many of the Anglican faithful, thanks to the long-awaited convergence of Canterbury, the Global South, and a substantial number of orthodox American bishops..."


23 September 2006

From My Chair To Anywhere.

Been reading some travel writing lately, including (and please do not be misled by the misleadingly titillating titles - they are misleading) The Birdman and the Lap Dancer and the utterly hysterical Sex Lives of Cannibals. And here today Opinion Journal's "Five Best" series is dedicated to travel literature - here they are. Happily, I've read none of them, so I've got something to look forward to. Surprized Evelyn Waugh's When the Going was Good didn't make the list.

22 September 2006

Windsor Bishops Speak.

The "Windsor Bishops" meeting at Camp Allen have issued a statement:

A Letter to the House of Bishops of The Episcopal ChurchSt. Matthew’s Day, 2006

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ:

We, the undersigned bishops, have met together at Camp Allen in the Diocese of Texas from September 19-22. We understand ourselves to be catholic bishops within the Anglican Communion and have met to contribute to our future life within this Communion. We are writing to you as fellow bishops in The Episcopal Church, in the knowledge that many others in our Province and around the world have expressed an interest in this meeting.

We have gathered with a common desire to work for the unity of the Church, as well as for the integrity and vitality of our own Province and the Anglican Communion as a whole.

We are grateful for the helpful briefing from the Archbishop of Canterbury, brought to us through the Bishops of Durham and Winchester. We have corresponded in turn with the Archbishop and communicated our hopes with respect to continuing in full constituent Communion membership. It is our intention to offer a faithful and dynamic witness within the Episcopal Church.

We confess our faith in Jesus Christ as the Way, the Truth and the Life – the faith that is uniquely revealed in the Holy Scriptures, set forth in the catholic Creeds, and to which the historic Anglican formularies bear witness.

We are committed to the conciliar character of our Communion. Consistent with the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Holy Cross Day letter to the Primates, it is our clear sense that General Convention of 2006 did not adequately respond to the request made of The Episcopal Church by the Communion through the Windsor Report and the Primates at Dromantine. These requests include explicit moratoria regarding church discipline and order. We express our regret, on behalf of ourselves, for those actions with which the Windsor Report was concerned.

We accept and affirm the Windsor Report and view adherence to it as furthering the vocation to heal the breaches within our own Communion and in our ecumenical relationships. Furthermore, we endorse the recommendation of the Windsor Report, as supported by the Archbishop of Canterbury, for the development of an Anglican Covenant.

The Windsor Report properly belongs within the larger framework of Anglican teaching, as expressed, not least, in successive Lambeth Conferences, including the resolutions of Lambeth 1998 (among which is Resolution 1.10). We understand this to be the mind of the Communion for teaching and discipline.

We recognize that many congregations within The Episcopal Church need a safe space within which to live out the integrity of their faith in compliance with the Windsor Report. We also recognize that there are some congregations that do not accept the provisions of the Windsor Report. We pledge ourselves to work with our Episcopal colleagues to care for all God’s people in our dioceses.

Within our group are needs for various levels of response to the conflicts in the church. While here we have worked diligently to achieve unity across these lines. We recognize the need of some among us for an alternative primatial relationship. This recognition does not weaken our fundamental theological and ecclesial commitments. Rather, our unity has strengthened them, and for this we thank God.

It is our hope and prayer that through our fellowship we can contribute to the renewal of our Province’s life within the Communion. We invite others who share our concern and position to join us in our common work on behalf of the church, and we plan to meet again early in the new year. We hope that those of you who share our commitments will find yourselves able to join us then, as we continue our work.

We ask for your prayers and assure you of ours.

In the name of Christ Jesus,

The Rt. Rev. Mark L. MacDonald, Diocese of Alaska
The Rt. Rev. William H. Love, Diocese of Albany
The Rt. Rev. John W. Howe, Diocese of Central Florida
The Rt. Rev. James M. Stanton, Diocese of Dallas
The Rt. Rev. Jack L. Iker, Diocese of Forth Worth
The Rt. Rev. Michael G. Smith, Diocese of North Dakota
The Rt. Rev. Edward S. Little, Diocese of Northern Indiana
The Rt. Rev. C. Wallis Ohl, Jr., Diocese of Northwest Texas
The Rt. Rev. Robert W. Duncan, Diocese of Pittsburgh
The Rt. Rev. Keith L. Ackerman, Diocese of Quincy
The Rt. Rev. Geralyn Wolf, Diocese of Rhode Island
The Rt. Rev. Jeffrey N. Steenson, Diocese of Rio Grande
The Rt. Rev. John-David Schofield, Diocese of San Joaquin
The Rt. Rev. Edward L. Salmon, Diocese of South Carolina
The Rt. Rev. John B. Lipscomb, Diocese of Southwest Florida
The Rt. Rev. Peter H. Beckwith, Diocese of Springfield
The Rt. Rev. Bertram N. Herlong, Diocese of Tennessee
The Rt. Rev. Don A. Wimberly, Diocese of Texas
The Rt. Rev. James M. Adams, Diocese of Western Kansas
The Rt. Rev. D. Bruce MacPherson, Diocese of Western Louisiana
The Rt. Rev. Gary R. Lillibridge, Diocese of West Texas

Over on TitusOneNine, comments ensue.

The Global South Speaks.

From a communique' from the Global South primates, meeting in Kigali, Rwanda:

9. We deeply regret that, at its most recent General Convention, The Episcopal Church gave no clear embrace of the minimal recommendations of the Windsor Report. We observe that a number of the resolutions adopted by the Convention were actually contrary to the Windsor Report. We are further dismayed to note that their newly elected Presiding Bishop also holds to a position on human sexuality – not to mention other controversial views – in direct contradiction of Lambeth 1.10 and the historic teaching of the Church. The actions and decisions of the General Convention raise profound questions on the nature of Anglican identity across the entire Communion.

10. We are, however, greatly encouraged by the continued faithfulness of the Network Dioceses and all of the other congregations and communities of faithful Anglicans in North America. In addition, we commend the members of the Anglican Network in Canada for their commitment to historic, biblical faith and practice. We value their courage and consistent witness. We are also pleased by the emergence of a wider circle of ‘Windsor Dioceses’ and urge all of them to walk more closely together and deliberately work towards the unity that Christ enjoins. We are aware that a growing number of congregations are receiving oversight from dioceses in the Global South and in recent days we have received requests to provide Alternative Primatial Oversight for a number of dioceses. This is an unprecedented situation in our Communion that has not been helped by the slow response from the Panel of Reference. After a great deal of prayer and deliberation, and in order to support these faithful Anglican dioceses and parishes, we have come to agreement on the following actions:

a. We have asked the Global South Steering Committee to meet with the leadership of the dioceses requesting Alternative Primatial Oversight, in consultation with the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Network and the ‘Windsor Dioceses’, to investigate their appeal in greater detail and to develop a proposal identifying the ways by which the requested Primatial oversight can be adequately provided.

b. At the next meeting of the Primates in February 2007 some of us will not be able to recognize Katharine Jefferts Schori as a Primate at the table with us. Others will be in impaired communion with her as a representative of The Episcopal Church. Since she cannot represent those dioceses and congregations who are abiding by the teaching of the Communion we propose that another bishop, chosen by these dioceses, be present at the meeting so that we might listen to their voices during our deliberations.

c. We are convinced that the time has now come to take initial steps towards the formation of what will be recognized as a separate ecclesiastical structure of the Anglican Communion in the USA. We have asked the Global South Steering Committee to develop such a proposal in consultation with the appropriate instruments of unity of the Communion. We understand the serious implications of this determination. We believe that we would be failing in our apostolic witness if we do not make this provision for those who hold firmly to a commitment to historic Anglican faith.

Here's the whole thing, which please read. I've here excerpted some of the material related to our controversies, but it is encouraging that there is much here related to the ongoing work of the Gospel among the poor, afflicted, and oppressed of the Global South.

Tennessee Research.

The commenters and elves over on TitusOneNine have pulled together some useful web research and discussion re the nominees for Bishop of Tennessee. Thanks especially to indefatigable prayer warrior Karen B. See especially
The search committee's website has brief biographies and responses to questions. Tolle, lege, orare.
And help raise my bail, for MDA.

21 September 2006

Back To The Future! Forward The Past!

An interesting plea recently published in Christianity Today, "A Call to an Ancient Evangelical Future":

"...In every age the Holy Spirit calls the church to examine its faithfulness to God's revelation in Jesus Christ, authoritatively recorded in Scripture and handed down through the church. Thus, while we affirm the global strength and vitality of worldwide evangelicalism in our day, we believe the North American expression of evangelicalism needs to be especially sensitive to the new external and internal challenges facing God's people.

These external challenges include the current cultural milieu and the resurgence of religious and political ideologies. The internal challenges include evangelical accommodation to civil religion, rationalism, privatism, and pragmatism. In light of these challenges, we call evangelicals to strengthen their witness through a recovery of the faith articulated by the consensus of the ancient church and its guardians in the traditions of Eastern Orthodoxy, Roman Catholicism, the Protestant Reformation, and the evangelical awakenings. Ancient Christians faced a world of paganism, Gnosticism, and political domination. In the face of heresy and persecution, they understood history through Israel's story, culminating in the death and resurrection of Jesus and the coming of God's kingdom.

Today, as in the ancient era, the church is confronted by a host of master narratives that contradict and compete with the gospel. The pressing question is: Who gets to narrate the world? "The Call to an Ancient Evangelical Future" challenges evangelical Christians to restore the priority of the divinely inspired biblical story of God's acts in history. The narrative of God's kingdom holds eternal implications for the mission of the church, its theological reflection, its public ministries of worship and spirituality, and its life in the world. By engaging these themes, we believe the church will be strengthened to address the issues of our day..."


20 September 2006

Help Raise My Bail!

Please consider supporting our middle Tennessee campaign for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. More here.

The Lord Of Life.

Has the Episcopal Church abandoned the Lordship of Christ by (among other things) joining itself to the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice? Thoughtful Evangelicals and Catholics say "yes." Here's a helpful new statement from the ECT project, published through First Things:

"...As Christian truth claims are public, so also are the questions pertinent to a culture of life. There is no more inescapably public and political question than who belongs to the polis of which we are part. The contention over abortion, for instance, is not about when human life begins. That is a biological and medical question about which there is no reasonable dispute. The moral and political dispute is over which human beings, at whatever state of development or decline, possess rights that we are bound to respect. The question is this: Who belongs to the community for which we accept public responsibility?

In what follows we hope to make the case that the defense of the humanum is made imperative by the Christian understanding of reality. Our position with respect to questions such as abortion, euthanasia, assisted suicide, and the creation and destruction of 19 embryos for research purposes is integral to that understanding of reality. Every human life is, from conception, created by God and is infinitely precious in His sight. The fulfillment of human life is, by the grace of God, “life and life abundant” through faith in Jesus Christ, who said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6).

We believe it is of utmost importance that everyone involved in the public discussion of these questions understand the unbreakable connection between a Christian worldview and the defense of human life. We can no more abandon our contention for a culture of life than we can abandon our allegiance to the lordship of Christ, for our contention is inseparably part of that allegiance..."


Tennessee Nominees.

From the Episcopate Committee:

September 20, 2006

Dear Friends,

With joy and enthusiasm the Episcopate Committee of the Diocese of Tennessee presents the following persons as nominees for election as our 11th Bishop: The Rev. John L Bauerschmidt from The Diocese of Louisiana; The Rev. James L. Burns from The Diocese of New York; The Rev. Thack H. Dyson from The Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast; The Rev. Dr. Russell Jones Levenson, Jr. from The Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast; and The Rev. Carter N. Paden from The Diocese of East Tennessee.

Biography's, Resumes and Responses to the Questions are available on our web page at www.tnbishopsearch.org . Hard copies of all these materials are being mailed to all clergy and all delegates. Please share this material with your alternate delegates and your parishes.

The Episcopate Committee arrived at this slate by consensus. All the nominees are rooted in the faith that enables their ministry, and all are committed to building bridges to those who do not share their views. Furthermore, they offer the promise of bringing energy and a passion for ministry into the Diocese. For these reasons the Episcopate Committee completes its work with hope and anticipation.

The nominees will meet delegates and others in a series of forums to be held October 18-21 in Sewanee, Murfreesboro (clergy forum), and Nashville. More information surrounding the Presentations can be found at www.tnbishopsearch.org.

The process for Nominating by Petition can also be found on the web site, www.tnbishopsearch.org .

The Electing Convention will take place at Christ Church Cathedral on Saturday October 28, 2006.

Please continue to pray for the Church, our Diocese, and now these nominees, as we look forward to electing a new Bishop of Tennessee.

Sincerely in Christ,
The Rev. Anne Stevenson, co-Chair
Dr. David L. Rowe, co- Chair
The Rev. Patrick Allen
The Rev. Vicki Burgess
Mr. Henry Carpenter
Ms. Sally Chambers
The Rev. Chris Findley
The Rev. Dorothy Hartzog
Mrs. Edwina Hefner
The Rev. Bill Hethcock
Mrs. Judy Hines
The Rev. William Midgett
Ms. Annette Pilcher
The Rev Jim Rogers
The Rev. Lee Spruill
Mr. Jim Stranch
Ms. Johniene Thomas

The Episcopate Committee
P.O. Box 693
Brentwood TN 37024
615 591 6631 (fax)

Almighty God, giver of every good gift, look graciously on your Church, and so guide the minds of those who shall choose a Bishop for this Diocese that we may receive a faithful pastor: who will care for your people and equip us for our ministries, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

19 September 2006

Get Me Out Of Jail!

HELP! I'm to be incarcerated on 3 October - all part of an effort to support the Muscular Dystrophy Foundation. Please click here to make a donation towards my $1,000 bail. Every little bit helps!

What Your Dollars Will Buy:

$25 Flu Shot
$63 One minute of research
$100 One support group session
$150 One physical, occupational or respiratory therapy consultation
$200 Professional fees related to initial diagnostic work-up at an MDA clinic
$500 Assists one person for one year with the repair of a wheelchair or leg braces
$600 Sends one child to MDA summer camp
$1,200 Pays for one year of Support Group meetings helping families cope with the challenges of neuromuscular disease
$2,000 Assists one person with the purchase of a wheelchair, leg braces or communication device
$3,780 Pays for an hour of MDA’s research seeking treatments and cures for more than 40 neuromuscular diseases.
$6,000 Sends 10 of ‘Jerry’s kids’ to MDA summer camp for a week of fun and recreation geared to their abilities.

Your bail money is put to good use: 76% of every dollar MDA raises goes directly to research, health care services and education.

Bishop Duncan Interview.

Here's an interview with the Rt. Rev'd Bob Duncan, Bishop of Pittsburgh and Moderator of the Anglican Communion Network. He speaks of last week's meeting in New York and the ongoing Camp Allen meeting of "Windsor Bishops." Via TitusOneNine.

This online video is a ministry of AnglicanTV.org

18 September 2006

Countercultural Conversation.

From the "Counterculture for the Common Good" project, an interview with the Rt. Rev. Dr. David Zac Niringiye, the suffragan bishop of Kampala, in the Church of Uganda:

What could equip us to be more countercultural, living in a nation that is very much at the center of power?

We need to begin to read the Bible differently. Americans have been preoccupied with the end of the Gospel of Matthew, the Great Commission: "Go and make." I call them go-and-make missionaries. These are the go-and-fix-it people. The go-and-make people are those who act like it's all in our power, and all we have to do is "finish the task." They love that passage! But when read from the center of power, that passage simply reinforces the illusion that it's about us, that we are in charge.

I would like to suggest a new favorite passage, the Great Invitation. It's what we find if we read from the beginning of the Gospels rather than the end. Jesus says, "Come, follow me. I will make you fishers of men." Not "Go and make," but "I will make you." It's all about Jesus. And do you know the last words of Jesus to Peter, in John 21? "Follow me." The last words of Simon Peter's encounter are the same as the first words.

Can we begin to read those passages that trouble us, that don't reinforce our cultural centeredness? Let's go back to Matthew 25 and read it in the church in America, over and over. Who are Jesus' brothers? The weak, the hungry, the immigrant workers, the economic outcasts. Let's read the passage of this woman who pours ointment over Jesus. Let's ask, who is mostly in the company of Jesus? Not bishops and pastors! The bishops and pastors are the ones who suggest he's a lunatic! Who enjoys his company? The ordinary folk, so ordinary that their characterization is simply this: "sinners." Can we begin to point to those passages?

Yet this ability to read different passages, to read the Bible differently, won't happen until people are displaced from their comfort zones. I thank the Lord for deep friendships he has given to me beyond my comfort zone, beyond my culture, beyond my language. Until that happens, we will all be tribal, all of us.


Ideas, Consequences...

And speaking of "Agrarian Dreams," here's Roger Kimball in the New Criterion reconsidering Richard Weaver:

"...As one of Weaver’s biographers, Fred Douglas Young, notes, The Southern Tradition at Bay was less a dissertation than “an apologia.” Most of Weaver’s mature themes make their appearance in the book. Indeed, several critics have pointed out that Weaver’s later work is essentially an elaboration and application of ideas he first formulated there. Weaver begins by laying out a constellation of four distinctively Southern, almost universally besieged, virtues: the feudal concept of society organized by an interlocking hierarchy of duties, filiations, and privileges; the code of chivalry; the ancient concept of the gentleman; and religion or at least “religiousness,” which may have “little relation to creeds” but, prodded by “a sense of the inscrutable,” “leaves man convinced of the existence of supernatural intelligence and power, and leads him to the acceptance of life as mystery.”

But that scaffolding describes only one level of Weaver’s argument. For every lost cause there is a victorious alternative. Weaver was interested in analyzing, elaborating, advocating what he took to be the virtues of the Old South; even more, he was interested in criticizing the forces that had undermined those virtues. The enemy, he thought, was not so much Grant’s and Sherman’s armies as the spirit that moved them. It was “science and technology.” It was centralized government. It was the ethic of “total war.” It was affluence, materialism, and the love of comfort. In a word, it was modernity. Hence the lessons of American’s premier lost cause: “The mind of the South,” Weaver wrote, is “conspicuous for its resistance to the spiritual disintegration of the modern world.” Is such resistance futile? Never mind. Resistance itself is glorious: strenuous, romantic, precisely because—perhaps one should say “even if”—futile..."


Eat Locally.

From a Books & Culture review of Agrarian Dreams by Julie Guthman:

"Last year, Gourmet magazine editor and veteran food-writer Ruth Reichel asked the question—local or organic? "Eating organically is a wonderful thing," she wrote, "but once you start calculating the real cost of food, you begin to think about the expense of flying it halfway around the world. What price do we pay in fuel, in government subsidies, in loss of flavor? Perhaps most importantly, what does it cost our community when we support people in other places at the expense of our neighbors?" These are questions widely asked today in the sustainable food movement, whose slogan has become: "local is the new organic."

In many ways this is what organic was always supposed to mean. Organic was farming for the small scale, seeking to supply local markets with food that was grown with regard for the land. Organic meant food that one could check up on. And the small number of people who were committed to organics did check up on it—they built relationships with farmers, and together the farmers and customers built co-ops. The goal was to create an agriculture that would work at nature's pace and be financially viable. In most of these regards organic farming was successful. Farmers were turning profits and customers were getting fresh produce that they didn't have to worry about.

But a good thing is hard to keep, especially when profits are to be had. Organic moved from being the domain of small farmers to a value-added label in the product portfolios of Fortune 500 companies..."


16 September 2006

We Have A Bishop!

South Carolina will always be "we" to me.
The Diocese of South Carolina has just elected Fr. Mark Lawrence of the Diocese of San Jauquin on the first ballot. Thanks be to God.

13 September 2006


Just in the Anglican Communion Network:
Bishops' Meeting in New York Fails to Reach Mutually-Satisfactory Solution
Pittsburgh, PA --Bishop Robert Duncan, moderator of the Anglican Communion Network, thanked the people of the Network for their prayers and support during the just-completed meeting of Episcopal Bishops in New York. The meeting, called by the Archbishop of Canterbury, has not led to a mutually agreeable way forward.
“It was an honest meeting. It became clear that the division in the American church is so great that we are incapable of addressing the divide which has two distinctly different groups both claiming to be the Episcopal Church,” said Bishop Duncan, “Our request for Alternative Primatial Oversight (APO) still stands. We wait on the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Primates of the Anglican Communion to answer our request,” he added. Among the many items discussed in New York was the fact that even if fulfilled, the APO request only deals with the situation of those in Network dioceses. While that situation is important, a far more desperate situation exists for congregations in non-Network dioceses. Bishop Duncan made it clear that as moderator of the Network, he will make every effort to see those needs fully and honestly addressed.
Bishop Duncan encouraged the people of the Network to continue focusing on the local mission of their churches in the days ahead. “In season and out of season, we have the Good News of Jesus Christ’s love to share with all the world. As I said after General Convention this summer, pray, but don’t worry.”
- END-
Below is the full statement released from the Anglican Communion News Service (ACNS):
New York Bishops Meeting: A StatementIssued 13 September 2006, 3 p.m. GMT
A group of bishops met in New York on 11-13 September at the invitation of the Archbishop of Canterbury and in consultation with the Presiding Bishop to review the current landscape of the church in view of conflicts within the Episcopal Church. The Archbishop of Canterbury had received a request from seven dioceses for alternative primatial pastoral care and asked that American bishops address the question. The co-conveners of the meeting were Bishops Peter James Lee of Virginia and John Lipscomb of Southwest Florida. Other participating bishops were Presiding Bishop Frank T. Griswold, Presiding Bishop-elect Katharine Jefferts Schori and Bishops Jack Iker of Fort Worth, Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh, James Stanton of Dallas, Edward Salmon of South Carolina, Mark Sisk of New York, Dorsey Henderson of Upper South Carolina, and Robert O’Neill of Colorado. Also participating was Canon Kenneth Kearon, the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion.We had honest and frank conversations that confronted the depth of the conflicts that we face. We recognized the need to provide sufficient space, but were unable to come to common agreement on the way forward. We could not come to consensus on a common plan to move forward to meet the needs of the dioceses that issued the appeal for Alternate Primatial Oversight. The level of openness and charity in this conference allow us to pledge to hold one another in prayer and to work together until we have reached the solution God holds out for us.

11 September 2006

Bring Back Shop Class.

St. Paul thought that Christians ought to "aspire to live quietly, to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands" (1 Thes. 4.11). All three aspirations are worthy of reflection, but here's Matthew Crawford in The New Atlantis pondering our culture's abandonment of manual work, and what we've lost:

"...By way of contrast, older readers will recall that until recent decades, Sears catalogues included blown-up parts diagrams and conceptual schematics for all appliances and many other mechanical goods. It was simply taken for granted that such information would be demanded by the consumer.

A decline in tool use would seem to betoken a shift in our mode of inhabiting the world: more passive and more dependent. And indeed, there are fewer occasions for the kind of spiritedness that is called forth when we take things in hand for ourselves, whether to fix them or to make them. What ordinary people once made, they buy; and what they once fixed for themselves, they replace entirely or hire an expert to repair, whose expert fix often involves installing a pre-made replacement part.

So perhaps the time is ripe for reconsideration of an ideal that has fallen out of favor: manual competence, and the stance it entails toward the built, material world. Neither as workers nor as consumers are we much called upon to exercise such competence, most of us anyway, and merely to recommend its cultivation is to risk the scorn of those who take themselves to be the most hard-headed: the hard-headed economist will point out the opportunity costs of making what can be bought, and the hard-headed educator will say that it is irresponsible to educate the young for the trades, which are somehow identified as the jobs of the past. But we might pause to consider just how hard-headed these presumptions are, and whether they don’t, on the contrary, issue from a peculiar sort of idealism, one that insistently steers young people toward the most ghostly kinds of work..."


A Month Of Meetings

From Joseph Hylden, an excellent summary of where we stand, what's at stake, and what may yet be possible:

There will always be an England,” as the saying goes. That may well be true, but the eternal perseverance of its Church, unfortunately, is somewhat more in doubt. As nearly all interested observers know, the Anglican Communion has been tottering on the brink of implosion for quite some time now, and recent events have not necessarily been in its favor. Three meetings this month, however, will almost certainly lend clarity, and perhaps even hope, to a situation that heretofore has often been murkier than the London fog.

The first meeting is set for this week, September 11–13, here in New York, and was called at the behest of
Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury. He will not attend in person, but Kenneth Kearon, his representative, will. The meeting will comprise twelve leading Episcopal bishops, running the gamut from the liberal establishment to the Network conservatives, with a number of Windsor Report–affirming moderates in between. On its face, the meeting is an attempt by Canterbury to make some sense of the recent request of seven bishops for something called “alternative primatial oversight.” At its root, the meeting is an effort, at long last, to do something about the increasingly sharp divisions that have riven the Episcopal Church. Given the magnitude of what has been asked, Canterbury has little other choice...

...“We must all hang together,” as the good Mr. Franklin once said, “or most assuredly we will all hang separately.” It cannot be emphasized enough that the decisions of the next few weeks and months are crucial, and are all interlocking. If the Episcopal Church does not allow the formation of an adequate alternative structure for Windsor-affirming dioceses and parishes, things will become very messy very quickly in this country, and the already-impatient Global South may well decide that a “new expression” of Anglicanism is required. The chaos of divorce hangs over the Anglican Communion, dark and thick like storm clouds. It seems almost cruel to counsel patience to those who, for years, have painfully watched their church turn into something they no longer recognize. But it is precisely now that patience is most required, and it is finally at this moment when that long-suffering patience may give way to hope. Admittedly, just now it is very dark, but it may be that this is the final and darkest moment before the dawn. Pushed to the brink of chaos, Anglicans may emerge from it for the first time truly as Communion and find their vocation as part of the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church they have claimed to be all along."