Saturday, July 26, 2014

Higher Calling, Lower Wages: The Vanishing of the Middle-Class Clergy

As full-time pastors become a thing of the past, more and more seminary grads are taking on secular jobs to supplement their incomes.
July 22, 2014

For someone seeking a full-time job as a church pastor, Justin Barringer would seem to have the perfect résumé. He’s a seminary grad, an author and book editor, and a former missionary to China and Greece. But despite applying to nearly a hundred jobs over the course of two years, Barringer, who lives in Lexington, Kentucky, could not secure a full-time, salaried church position.

So he splits his time among three jobs, working as a freelance editor, an employee at a nonprofit for the homeless, and a part-time assistant pastor at a United Methodist Church. “I am not mad at the church,” Barringer says. “However, I wish someone had advised me against taking on so much debt in order to be trained for ministry.”

Barringer’s story is becoming increasingly typical as Protestant churches nationwide cut back on full-time, salaried positions. Consequently, many new pastors either ask friends and family for donations (a time-honored clerical tradition) or take on other jobs. Working two jobs has become so common for clergy members, in fact, that churches and seminaries have a euphemistic term for it: bi-vocational ministry... the rest
Working multiple jobs is nothing new to pastors of small, rural congregations. But many of those pastors never went to seminary and never expected to have a full-time ministerial job in the first place. What’s new is the across-the-board increase in bi-vocational ministry in Protestant denominations both large and small, which has effectively shut down one pathway to a stable—if humble—middle-class career.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Stand Firm: Appellate Court Affirms Lower Court Decision in Quincy Appeal

July 25, 2014

NOTE from Jackie:  Allan [Haley] is still travelling and will comment on this as soon as he can.  I am posting a small excerpt from the decision but it can be read in its entirety here.  While we wait for Allan to find a place with wifi, let’s celebrate the good news!
An examination of the evidence reveals nothing to demonstrate an express trust, an implied trust, or any other interest vested in the Church. As stated, neither the deed nor the Discretionary Agency Agreement provides for an express trust in favor of the Church. Further, our review of the Diocese’s constitution and canons does not suggest diocesan assets were ever impliedly held in trust for the Church. After Jones, the Church adopted a trust canon (Title I.7.4, referred to by the parties as the Dennis Canon). That canon provides parish property is held in trust for the Diocese and Church and restricts a parish’s ability to dispose of its property. However, it appears undisputed the Church’s canons do not contain similar language with respect to diocesan property being held in favor of the Church. In addition, Bonner testified the Dennis Canon does not apply to property owned by a diocese. Our review of the record reveals nothing to suggest the opposite conclusion. Accordingly, the trial court’s findings in this regard are not against the manifest weight of the evidence.
¶ 55 In sum, the evidence presented demonstrates title to the funds and real property lies with the Diocese. Following our review of the record, we cannot say the trial court’s findings
were arbitrary, unreasonable, or not otherwise based on the evidence. Nor can we say the opposite conclusion is clearly apparent in this case. As a result, the court did not err in finding in favor of the Diocese. We commend the trial court for its detailed order, which we found quite helpful in reviewing this matter.
¶ 57 For the reasons stated, we affirm the trial court’s judgment and deny the Church’s motion to substitute party.
¶ 58 Affirmed; motion denied.

Found here/comments

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Time alone with the Lord Jesus each day...

"Many Christians backslide...They are unable to stand against the temptations of the world, or of their old nature. They strive to do their best to fight against sin, and to serve God, but they have no strength. They have never really grasped the secret: The Lord Jesus will every day from heaven continue His work in me. But on one condition—the soul must give Him time each day to impart His love and his grace. Time alone with the Lord Jesus each day is the indispensable condition of growth and power."
...Andrew Murray image

Birds on the Wires


WH Caves on Religious Accommodations to HHS Mandate; Obamacare OK’s Fake Accounts and Fake Promises...more

Cuomo's Office Hobbled Ethics Inquiries by Moreland Commission
With Albany rocked by a seemingly endless barrage of scandals and arrests, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo set up a high-powered commission last summer to root out corruption in state politics. It was barely two months old when its investigators, hunting for violations of campaign-finance laws, issued a subpoena to a media-buying firm that had placed millions of dollars’ worth of advertisements for the New York State Democratic Party.

The investigators did not realize that the firm, Buying Time, also counted Mr. Cuomo among its clients, having bought the airtime for his campaign when he ran for governor in 2010.

Word that the subpoena had been served quickly reached Mr. Cuomo’s most senior aide, Lawrence S. Schwartz. He called one of the commission’s three co-chairs, William J. Fitzpatrick, the district attorney in Syracuse.

“This is wrong,” Mr. Schwartz said, according to Mr. Fitzpatrick, whose account was corroborated by three other people told about the call at the time. He said the firm worked for the governor, and issued a simple directive:

“Pull it back.”...

Air Algerie Flight AH5017 disappears from radar
An Air Algerie flight carrying 116 people from Burkina Faso to Algeria's capital disappeared from radar early Thursday, according to the the plane's owner.

Air navigation services lost track of the Swiftair MD-83 roughly 50 minutes after takeoff from Ougadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso, at 9:55 p.m. ET Wednesday, the official Algerian news agency said. That means that Flight 5017 had been missing for hours before the news was made public... 

Christianity and non-Hindu religious activity banned
Church leaders in India have petitioned Chhattisgarh state to reverse its ban on non-Hindu religious activity, according to Morning Star News.

The ban — adopted by 50 villages in the Bastar District — could lead to the persecution of Christians and other minority communities...

Obamacare OK’s Fake Accounts and Fake Promises
...Health and Human Services is still paying the bills for the fake accounts. NBC News reports the subsidy cost for the 11 approved applications is about $2,500 a month or about $30,000 a year. “For each of our 11 approved applications,” the report reveals, “we paid the required premiums to put policies into force, and are continuing to pay the premiums...

White House Caves on Religious Accommodations to HHS Mandate  The Obama administration announced Tuesday evening that they would create a workaround to allow nonprofits to claim religious exemptions from the Obamacare contraception mandate without filing out a controversial form. The wider exemption, which will be finalized nest month, came after a series of defeats for the administration at the nation’s highest court.

At issue is EBSA Form 700, which religious nonprofits are required to sign before they are granted religious exemptions from the HHS mandate. Many religious nonprofits have complained that signing the form, which simultaneously directs insurers to provide the contraceptives, also violates their religious beliefs by making them complicit in the process. The result was something of a legal catch-22: in order to avoid acts that violate their religion, nonprofits would have had to violate their religion. Catholic and evangelical organizations such as Wheaton College, the University of Notre Dame, and Little Sisters of the Poor filed lawsuits against the Obama administration to receive accommodations without filing Form 700...
"This kind of thing is chilling for religious organizations"

Washington Dem Gov.: Enlightened Being Barack Obama Is “Bending The Arc Of The Moral Universe Forward"
That is some serious Obama worship...

Sudanese Christian woman Meriam Ibrahim arrives in Italy

Sudanese Christian woman Meriam Ibrahim arrives in Italy
Meriam Ibrahim, the Christian woman who was spared a death sentence for apostasy and then barred from leaving Sudan, met Pope Francis on Thursday after arriving in Rome to jubilant scenes following intense international efforts to free her.

Ms Ibrahim and her husband Daniel Wani thanked the pontiff for his support and he in turn thanked her for staying true to her Christian faith despite the threat of execution if she did not recant...

Meriam Ibrahim Visits Pope Francis After Finally Leaving Sudan
After finally being able to leave Sudan, the woman who was sentenced to die for her Christian faith when she was pregnant visited Pope Francis today.

“Pope Francis was very tender with her, her husband, who was in prison, and thanked her for her courageous witness to perseverance in the Faith,” Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi said of the meeting in a statement.

Describing the meeting between the young family and the Roman Pontiff as “very serene and affectionate,” Fr. Lombardi explained that for him encounter was “a gesture of closeness and solidarity for those who suffer for their faith.”

According to Vatican Radio, Ibrahim and her husband Daniel Wani, a U.S. citizen, as well as their two children, 1 year-old Martin and two-month old Maya, who was born in prison, met the Roman Pontiff in the Vatican’s Saint Martha guesthouse at 1:00p.m. local time...

Nora Calhoun: Learning from Bodies

A Silent Calling
First Things
August 2014

The baby in my arms lacks the majority of his brain. He was born just fifteen minutes before this moment, and he is likely to die before another fifteen minutes pass. He has taken no first breath and will give no first cry. He cannot see. He cannot hear. He does not feel the warm weight of my hand as it rests on his chest and belly. I quietly weep and pray as the last gift of oxygen his mother’s body gave him dwindles and his rosy newborn glow fades to gray. His soul gently slips out of his body, and his life ends.

Ability is not what makes death significant. At birth this baby had capacities below that of a healthy fetus at ten weeks. Holding his body, living and then dead, proves to me that it doesn’t matter how early the human heart beats, how early it is possible to feel pain, or when the senses develop. No ability or strength confers human status—not being viable or sentient or undamaged or wanted. Being of human descent is enough; you cannot earn or forfeit your humanity. If this baby’s death does not matter, no death matters.

I have not always seen this so clearly. A gut repugnance and horror of abortion, which I felt from the time I first heard of it as a nine-year-old, kept me from ever being fully pro-choice. But even after my conversion to Christianity at eighteen, I didn’t want to express full opposition to the opinions of almost everyone I knew, my family, teachers, and friends. I wanted to avoid the taboo of “judgmentalism,” widely imputed to those who oppose abortion, and to maintain credibility among the feminist friends I cherished... the rest image
As the body and mind deteriorate, the dying are not less themselves. Dementia steals the faculties for expressing the self—language, memory, personality—but the self remains, albeit largely inaccessible to others. The experience of actually being with the demented and dying is one of watching someone move farther and farther away, out of earshot and eventually out of sight. It’s wrong to think, “Because I cannot access something, it does not exist.” Being with someone who is near death undermines such nonsense.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Anglican Unscripted Episode 108

Jul 23, 2014

Kevin and Allan talk about the Diocese of South Carolina Trial

Remaining Mosul Christians forced to convert to Islam: Iraqi official

25 Christian families remain trapped in Iraq’s second city following end of ISIS deadline to flee
by Dalshad Abdullah
Wednesday, 23 Jul, 2014

ISIS had announced a weekend deadline for Mosul’s Christians—the majority of whom are Assyrian—to renounce their faith and convert to Islam or leave the city, forcing thousands to flee with few or no possessions.

“Around 25 Christian families remain trapped in Mosul. They are families with sick or elderly members who have not been able to get out of the city. They now find themselves under siege by ISIS,” Duraid Hikmat Tobia, an advisor to the governor of Nineveh, told Asharq Al-Awsat.

“Some of these families were attacked by militants and taken to ISIS-run Islamic Shari’a law courts. They were given the choice between [converting to] Islam or execution.”

Radical Islamists usually ask non-Muslims to choose between either paying the jizya (a tax levied on non-Muslims) or converting to Islam. However, ISIS appears to have gone one step further, threatening Mosul’s remaining Christians with death if they do not convert.

“Five families have converted to Islam so far,” Tobia said.

ISIS militants have also set fire to churches and other Christian sites, including burial grounds, in Iraq’s second city. Local and international media outlets have reported that ISIS militants have confiscated the belongings of fleeing Iraqi Christians, while eyewitnesses said that messages telling any remaining Christians to leave the city were broadcast on loudspeakers from the city’s mosques on Friday. the rest

Islam’s Religious Exemption From Criticism
...The truth of the matter is that Islam is a hybrid: it’s both a political ideology and a religion. And although the political side of Islam may turn out to be every bit as dangerous as Nazism or communism, the religious side provides considerable protection from criticism. Because of its religious nature, it seems improper to engage Islam in the kind of ideological warfare the West waged against fascism and communism.

Yet the threat to the West and to the rest of the world is, by all appearances, increasing. Egyptians, Nigerians, Kenyans, Pakistanis, Filipinos, and others are finding it difficult to arrest the spread of radical Islam within their borders. In Europe, Islamization moves on apace, and no one has found the formula for resisting it. In Iraq, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has proclaimed the creation of a new caliphate state, declared himself caliph, and has called on Muslims worldwide to join him in waging war against infidels. We hear a lot about all the different forms of Islam, but the idea of the caliphate is that there should be only one unified Islam. Like communism, the caliphate is intended to be a borderless community—a trans-national and ever-expanding empire of true believers. That’s because, like communism, Islam aspires to be a universal belief system...

ISIS Kills 31 People in Baghdad Suicide Bombing; Iraq Bishops Call on Gov't to 'Stop Catastrophe' and Protect Christians
...Iraq's bishops, who addressed al-Maliki in their appeal, called on "people of conscience in Iraq and around the world" to put pressure on militants to put a stop to "the destruction of churches and monasteries, manuscripts, relics and all the Christian heritage, priceless Iraqi and international heritage. "...

France's Jews Flee As Rioters Burn Paris Shops, Attack Synagogue to chants of 'Gas the Jews"

By Jessica Elgot

France's politicians and community leaders have criticised the "intolerable" violence against Paris' Jewish community, after a pro-Palestinian rally led to the vandalizing and looting of Jewish businesses and the burning of cars.

It is the third time in a week where pro-Palestinian activists have clashed with the city's Jewish residents. On Sunday, locals reported chats of "Gas the Jews" and "Kill the Jews", as rioters attacked businesses in the Sarcelles district, known as "little Jerusalem".

Manuel Valls, France's prime minister said: “What happened in Sarcelles is intolerable. An attack on a synagogue and on a kosher shop is simply anti-Semitism. Nothing in France can justify this violence.”...  the rest
“They were shouting: ‘Death to Jews,’ and ‘Slit Jews’ throats’,” David, a Jewish sound engineer told The Times. “It took us back to 1938.”

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Chaldean Bishop of Baghdad: Our worst fears have been confirmed

22 Jul 2014
Marta Petrosillo

"We are speechless, because what has happened is utterly shocking. Christians have been in Mosul for centuries, and now these families have been summarily evicted from their city, from their homes, from their lives. We are profoundly concerned for the future of the Christians in this country." Such was the horrified reaction of Auxiliary Bishop Saad Syroub in the face of recent events in Mosul. The Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) spoke to the Chaldean auxiliary bishop of Baghdad, by telephone on Friday 18th July.

The jihadists of ISIS (The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) have forced the few remaining Christians in this, the second city of Iraq, to leave their homes. Desperate, the Christians immediately fled, but were then stopped at the military checkpoints by ISIS militias, who robbed them of their cars and all their possessions, telling them they must continue on foot. Most of the families headed north, towards the town of Dahuk.

"It has never happened before that the Christians were chased from their own homes as if they had no rights at all", the bishop added. "Unfortunately, however, this is the reality today in Iraq, above all in Mosul." Bishop Syroub explained to ACN that during the last few days the jihadists had begun writing on all the Christian homes the words "Property of ISIS". Next to it they wrote, circled in red, the letter N – the initial letter of the Arabic word "nasara", meaning "Christians"... the rest
"It has never happened before that the Christians were chased from their own homes as if they had no rights at all", the bishop added.

Court Deals Blow to Subsidies-Ruling Is Major Setback to Implementation of Obamacare

By Brent Kendall
July 22, 2014

WASHINGTON—A federal appeals court on Tuesday struck down the subsidies available to some consumers who buy health coverage on insurance exchanges established by the federal government, in a substantial blow to the Obama administration's implementation of its signature health-care law.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, on a 2-1 vote, invalidated an Internal Revenue Service regulation that implemented a key piece of the 2010 Affordable Care Act.  The regulation said subsidies for health insurance were available to qualifying middle- and low-income consumers whether they bought coverage on a state exchange or one run by the federal government.
The ruling potentially could cripple the law by making subsidies unavailable in as many as 36 states where the federal government has run some or all of the insurance exchanges... the rest

DC court ruling deals new blow to Affordable Care Act   ...“We conclude that the ACA unambiguously restricts the [authorized] subsidy to insurance purchased on exchanges ‘established by the state,'” said Judge Thomas Griffith. “We reach this conclusion, frankly, with reluctance. At least until states that wish to can set up Exchanges, our ruling will likely have a significant consequences for millions of individuals receiving tax credits through federal exchanges and for health insurance markets more broadly.”...

Update: Separate US appeals court upholds Obamacare subsidies
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit upheld a federal regulations that implemented subsidies that are vital to President Barack Obama's healthcare overhaul, in direct conflict with another ruling on the issue handed down earlier on Tuesday.

A three-judge panel unanimously said the law was ambiguous, and that it would defer to the IRS's determination that subsidies could go to individuals who purchased health insurance on both federal and state-run exchanges...

A.S. Haley: Trial in South Carolina: ECUSA’s Witness again Barred from Rendering Undisclosed Opinions

July 21, 2014

Why are ECUSA and its attorneys so incapable of following the rules? Could it be that the lawlessness of 815, as aided and abetted by its attorneys, has now infected ECUSA's ability to present a civil case under the rules of court in South Carolina?

From first appearances, that would seem to be the only conclusion to draw from today's proceedings. First, let me use the account from the Episcopal Diocese's Press Office to provide the necessary background for what I shall go on to explain, and then I will put things into context:


TEC Attorney Admits TEC Constitution Does Not Prevent a Diocese From Leaving the Denomination

Judge Refuses to Consider Evidence about Whether TEC is Hierarchical

ST. GEORGE, SC, JULY 21, 2014 – An attorney for The Episcopal Church on Monday acknowledged that – despite TEC’s repeated claim that dioceses may not leave the denomination – there is nothing in the group’s constitution that specifically prohibits such a disassociation.

“It’s true it doesn’t say whether a diocese in the U.S. can or cannot [leave],” said Mary Kostel, attorney for TEC. “It’s arguably ambiguous.” [Ed. Note: Ms. Kostel could scarcely expect that such an outlandish remark on her part should be allowed to pass without editorial comment. What she is saying is that the absence of a specific prohibition in a governing document makes it somehow ambiguous as to whether or not the drafters still meant to prohibit the act they specifically did not prohibit. Example: The First Amendment does not contain any express language about a person's "freedom to disassociate from a group." So such a "right" must be "ambiguous" -- because it was not made express in the language of the Amendment -- and thus whether such a right actually exists is up to Congress to decide. Contrary to Ms. Kostel, what the courts have always held is that the First Amendment's "freedom to associate" necessarily embraces a corresponding "freedom to disassociate." The question of "ambiguity" in such a case does not even rise to the point of being debatable.]  the rest
Another excerpt:
...I almost never link to this site because of its many factual and legal distortions, all dressed up in rather spiteful bias, but today I shall make an exception. Steve Skardon has on his Website a remarkable first-person account of how yesterday went, viewed from the standpoint of a remnant Episcopalian who senses that things are not going well, and is struggling to understand why. If he could just see how ECUSA and its attorneys behave as though "the rules are made for other folk, not for us," he might -- in light of his own personal experience with Judge Goodstein which he recounts for the reader's benefit -- begin to get a glimmer of why that attitude does not sit well in her courtroom...

Monday, July 21, 2014

Anglican Unscripted Episode 107

Jul 21, 2014

Women's Ordination to the Episcopate in COE and GAFCON

Boko Haram Burns Nigerian Village, Kills Over 100; Iraqi Christians; IRS-More computer crashes...more

Fighting Erupts in Ukraine in Aftermath of Plane Crash as Netherlands Demands Bodies Returned ...“Having these people in control of the site is like leaving criminals in control of a crime scene,” Abbott said of the Russian-backed rebels....

Boko Haram Burns Nigerian Village, Kills Over 100
 Boko Haram militants killed over 100 people as they burned the village of Damboa in a horrific act of violence and terrorism. Residents who escaped the burning structures were gunned downed by militants.

“Those who could not flee surrendered and were killed by the insurgents,” a local official said.

The militants raised their flag over Damboa to demonstrate their defeat; the village lies 53 miles south of the capital city of Maiduguri...

Iraqi Christians are raped, murdered and driven from their homes – and the West is silent
 For the first time in 1,600 years, Mass is not being said in Mosul: an ancient culture has been wiped out in a matter of weeks. It's a war crime that, strangely, no one seems to want to talk about.

Mosul is the second-largest city in Iraq and the place where many Christians believe Jonah was buried. Since the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (Isis) rode into town, their faith has been forced underground. Bells have been silenced, the hijab enforced with bullets. Tens of thousands fled after being offered an unattractive choice: convert, pay a religious tax, or be put to the sword. The levy was unaffordable. According to one local news agency, Isis troops entered the house of a poor Christian and, when they didn’t get what they wanted, the soldiers raped the mother and daughter in front of their husband and father. He committed suicide out of grief.

Having driven away the worshippers, the Isis fanatics are now trying to extinguish the physical legacy they left behind. A centuries-old church has been burned to the ground; Jonah’s tomb has been desecrated. Isis wants to create the Islamic equivalent of Year Zero, a brave new world with no evidence of Christianity, women’s rights, democracy or even that most subversive of instincts, human pity...

Concern and Support for Iraqi Christians Forced by Militants to Flee Mosul-NYT  The Islamic State has issued an ultimatum to the Christians in the town of Mosul in northern Iraq, urging them to convert to Islam, pay a religious tax or face death...

Iraqi Christian Leader Condemns Sunni Militants
...worse than Mongol leader Genghis Khan and his grandson Hulagu who ransacked medieval Baghdad...

Now IRS Reports EVEN MORE Computer Crashes, Doesn’t Know If Emails Still Exist
IRS Deputy Associate Chief Counsel Thomas Kane said in transcribed congressional testimony that more IRS officials experienced computer crashes, bringing the total number of crash victims to “less than 20,” and also said that the agency does not know if the lost emails are still backed up somewhere.

The new round of computer crash victims includes David Fish, who routinely corresponded with Lois Lerner, as well as Lerner subordinate Andy Megosh, Lerner’s technical adviser Justin Lowe, and Cincinnati-based agent Kimberly Kitchens...

When Catholic Colleges Abandon Theology Requirements
...At the root of the current problem, I would suggest, is a trend that has been gaining strength for decades in the academy: the increasing secularization and professionalization of the disciplines...