Showing posts from March, 2007

Finding the Historical Jesus

When Albert Schweitzer critiqued the various searches for the historical Jesus, he suggested that they had all looked into a well and saw their own reflection. I doubt that things have changed all that much in the decades that have passed since he made that observation. We continue to seek a Jesus that either looks like us or at least affirms our own predilections.

But the Jesus of history was and is a citizen of another time and place -- a place of particularity that was Jewish and a first century Jew at that. Paula Fredriksen of Boston University provides helpful insight into our dilemma. First she points out that we must "respect the distance between now and then; between his concerns and commitments and ours." Then she makes this statement that needs to be heard: "The historical Jesus of Nazareth was never and can never be our contemporary." If we should desire to place on him our agendas and ideals, then we will distort and obscure his person. But, how temptin…

More on the Jesus Tomb -- again

This morning I ran across the fairly new blog of Bruce Fisk, New Testament Professor at nearby Westmont College. Westmont is Evangelical and can be at times conservative, but it is also known for good scholarship. Bruce is one such scholar. In a series of posts, Bruce deals with James Tabor's claims concerning the recently revealed discovery of a tomb with an ossuary with Jesus' name on it (and the TV show based on it). The most recent post is a guest contribution by Westmont's long time NT person, Robert Gundry, author of a significant commentary on Matthew. If you are interested in this subject, Bruce's blog seems to be a good place to go. Gundry's piece helps clarify the early Christian understanding of resurrection and notes that the idea that physical resurrection is a later addition doesn't fit the evidence. Consider Gundry's challenge: According to 1 Corinthians 15:1–7 Paul “received” information about Jesus’ death, burial, resurrection, and a…

Spinoza, Theocracy, and loving God

I must admit, I've not read much in Spinoza, the 17th century excommunicated Dutch Jew and Pantheist. If that's not a run on sentence, I don't know what is! Anyway, Richard Beck, chair of the psychology department at Abilene Christian University, postulates a bit on Spinoza's ideas about God and theocracy in particularly. I blogged the other day in response to Richard Mouw's defense -- attempt to rehabilitate -- of the term theocracy. I don't buy it -- and Beck shows us why. Consider: With this perspective in hand, I suddenly warmed to Spinoza's project if not his God. Given our current situation in America, Spinoza's concerns about theocracy seem remarkably relevant and timely. Further, I'm very, very tired of religious people telling me what God does or does not like. What God loves and what God hates. What God approves of or disapproves of. I'm not a Spinozist, but I can't tell you how many times a day I want to say to religious peo…

Taking Radical Islam Seriously -- What's the Strategy?

Let's be honest -- the "War on Terror" is seen as a conflict with "Radical Islam" or "Islamofascism" as the President likes to call it. Now, knee-deep in our fifth year in Iraq and even longer in Afghanistan, with no end in sight, the question that stands before us is simple: If radical Islam is the problem how do we deal with it? The Administration's answer is military muscle, but that doesn't seem to be working -- though many lives have been expended in a war that's gone on longer than WWII and looks to be heading quickly into Vietnam territory. There might be a better answer, one that might ratchet down the rhetoric and find a place of common ground. It won't be easy and it surely doesn't fit with our idea that we've got the power so let's use it. Chuck Gutenson of Asbury Seminary has written what I think is a well thought out post at God's Politics. He suggests that we as Christians, by putting our trust in the Militar…

Thy Kingdom Come - a Review at SoMA

Randy Balmer's Thy Kingdom Come is an important response to the direction of the Evangelical Movement. Even if you don't accept his understanding of Evangelicalism, I think he raises questions that need answering. I've written a review of the book for SoMA Review, which John Spalding has graciously published. I invite you to take a look at it -- just click here. John has paired my review with Benjamin Shobert's review of Aleandra Pelosi's HBO film Friends of God. Shobert gives an excellent intro to this film, which since I don't have HBO am waiting to find on Netflix. I found this statement of Shobert intriguing: Pelosi’s quirky journey through evangelical America reveals just how far the Christian subculture extends. Today’s evangelicals have come a long way, baby. They encompass everything from the straight and narrows to young rebels sporting long hair, tattoos, body-piercings, and couture jeans complete with un-buttoned and un-tucked shirts. “Friends of…

Things Don't Look Good for the AG

George had full confidence in Donald, but then didn't. Of course the nation would have been much better off if Rumsfeld had been jettisoned years earlier -- So far Robert Gates has shown himself to be one of the few competent Bush appointees. Now we have an AG who has shown himself to be at minimum incompetent if not corrupt. Ashcroft was an ideologue, something that Alberto Gonzalez doesn't appear to be. Gonzalez is simply a political hack. Not sure which is worse. Anyway, today's hearings with Gonzalez's former deputy don't seem to be going well. Here are a just a few tidbits! "Right now it is generally acknowledged that the Department of Justice is in a state of disrepair, perhaps even dysfunctional, because of what has happened, with morale low, with U.S. attorneys across the country do not know when another shoe may drop," said Specter, R-Pa.

Sampson also confirmed a large White House role in planning the firings. That undercut the department's lo…

What Hath the Da Vinci Code Wrought?

Even if the "factual" claims in the Da Vinci Code are bogus, the book and accompanying movie have been a boon for tourism. Word comes that the Scottish Rosslyn Chapel, which is supposedly the resting place of Mary Magdalene's body, is experiencing an amazing number of tourist visitations these days. Thus, it seems that the Scottish government is now going to spend 14 million on restoration.

Of course with all the money old Dan Brown has made on this, it would be only appropriate if he helped finance the restoration of all these sites he's now made famous! Especially now that a judge has ruled he didn't plagiarize the work of Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh. Poor Michael and Richard, the popularizer of their pseudo-history didn't suffer for his blind use of their stuff!

The Gangs of Lompoc

I doubt that a movie by that title will be appearing at the cinema near you any time soon. Lompoc, after all, isn't New York. But the turn out at a forum last evening in Lompoc dealing with the problem of gangs is suggestive of major issues to be resolved.

The forum, which is reported on by the local Lompoc Record, was organized by my good friend Joyce Howerton, the former mayor of Lompoc and a progressive activist in a community led by conservative business types. Hers is often a lonely voice, but when a standing room only crowd shows up, you know you have an issue. Now, I must confess, I wasn't in attendance. You see, I had scheduled a forum on civility in politics and religion for the same evening. You might have guessed that my numbers were small. Unfortunately we'd not coordinated our dates --- but that's neither here nor there. The point is, there is a gang problem in our communities. I pastor in Lompoc, which has 4 major gangs, the largest having 35…

Dobson's take on Fred Thompson and the Newt

Besides the hoopla on Anna Nicole Smith, which seems to have everyone still agog, many of us are wondering who the Religious Right will annoint as their GOP candidate. Many of the candidates have made the requisite stops and have been interviewed by Jim Dobson or Pat Robertson, hoping to receive their imprimatur. So far, no one has received this coveted anointing. Dan Gilgoff of US News reports that Dobson is impressed by actor Fred Thompson's credentials as a conservative -- he affirms all the right things. But, according to Dobson, he's not sure Thompson is a Christian --- though apparently he was baptized in the Church of Christ (which should not be confused with the United Church of Christ -- the denominational affiliation of Barack Obama). The Church of Christ is the conservative branch of my own Stone-Campbell tradition, best known for its a capella worship. But, if Fred doesn't make the grade because he doesn't pass Dobson's "religious test,"…

Democrats and Evangelicals

Amy Sullivan writes in a God's Politics blog posting that Republicans don't own Evangelicals. Indeed, Republicans have done a better job courting Evangelicals, but she says that where Democrats have engaged Evangelicals open to their ideas, they've been successful. Indeed, young Evangelicals concerned about things like the environment, poverty, health care, war, etc. will find more like minded people in the Democratic Party than the current GOP party.

A treat from Miles Davis and John Coltrane

Thanks to the Jazz Theologian I came across this great video of Miles Davis and John Coltrane playing "So What?" Just sit back and enjoy this piece of historic video from two of the jazz world's greatests lights.

Teaching the Bible in Public School

When this week's Time arrived with a cover story entitled "Why We Should Teach the Bible in Public Schoo {But very, very, carefully} my nearly 17 year old HS junior son blurted out -- "you can't do that, it's unconstitutional." But is that true? The truth is, it's not unconstitutional to teach about the Bible in public schools, but you can't teach it from a religious perspective. You have to teach it like you teach any other subject. Now, being a historian I know that teaching things objectively is nearly impossible. I guess you can teach math objectively, but even that may not be true (I don't know since the last math class I took was in 9th grade).
But, should we teach the Bible in Public School? I've already posted some answers to that question from Boston University Professor Stephen Prothero, and this article by Time's senior religion reporter, David Van Biema is rooted in part on Prothero's calls. Van Biema explores the issue by…

Ten Propositions on Being a Theologian

Today's 10 Propositions from Kim Fabricius over at Faith and Theology are intriguing because they deal with the person doing the theology rather than theology itself. I think you'll find them interesting. I'll give you a couple of samples and encourage further thought:
1. Actually, there is no such thing as a theologian, anymore than there is such a thing as a Christian. Theologians are not solitary creatures. Theology is the outcome of good conversation, the conversation of friends. Though – the rabies theologorum – you could be forgiven for thinking the opposite! Which is why, in the interest of world peace, it is probably wise that theological conferences are held infrequently. Theologians are like horse manure: all in one place and they stink to high heaven; they are best spread around.
Theology as good conversation -- I like that. I also must beware the warning of spreading it on too thick!!
7. All good theology is always contextual theology. Which is not to say that the…

Kathleen Kennedy Townsend -- an interview

The blog Faithfully Liberal, a blog run by 2 seminarians, offers a most helpful interview with Robert Kennedy's daughter, Kathleen, regarding the message of her new book Failing America's Faithful.

Here she answers why she wrote the book:

A:I wrote Failing America’s Faithful now because I care for my Church and my country. Churches today are failing their faithful. The Churches are failing to make the connection between faith and the common good and faith and justice.

We face great challenges in the United States—a war in which Americans have tortured prisoners and have neglected our own soldiers. Iraq itself has been ripped apart with millions of refugees searching for safe havens. Income inequity has grown so that while the few have gotten richer, many families lack health care, children suffer from a poor education and pensions have been cut. We are harming the earth that we should steward.

Yet, the churches have focused their attention not on these large issues but on abortion…

Thoughts on Theocracy

Theocracy is a bad word these days. There is great fear of theocracy, perhaps because something akin to it is present in places like Iran and because of the specter of it being present in some of the pronouncements of the Religious Right. And so I was surprised to see Richard Mouw, President of my alma mater, Fuller Theological Seminary, trying to rehabilitate the word. He begins his blog posting by saying: "I keep reading about how bad it is to be a 'theocrat,' so every chance I get I try to own up to the fact that I am one of them. I am a theocrat." My sense is that Mouw has a different understanding of theocrat than I do -- and indeed he does. For Mouw, theocracy is equated with the "reign of God." If you believe that God is sovereign then by virtue of that you're a theocrat. I made this point with a rabbi friend a while back. He was complaining about “those theocrats” in the evangelical world whose views about public policy he abhorre…

Conservative Judaism and the Ordination of Gays and Lesbians

I found this position statement from the Chancellor-Elect of Jewish Theological Seminary at the Daily Dish: What I find it interesting is the cautious way in which this decision within Conservative Judaism to accept the ordination of gays and lesbians was made. It was made carefully, cautiously (indeed, conservatively), by considering Scripture in the context of tradition along with modern understandings and deciding that the Law can be modified. I think you'll find this section fascinating for the care it takes in interpreting Scripture: I begin by directly confronting the two major obstacles standing in the way of a credible stance allowing for gay and lesbian ordination. The first is Leviticus chapter 18, verse 22. "Do not lie with a male as one lies with a woman; it is abomination ( to'eva)." Is the text not crystal clear? Is it not God's word? Why, then, were learned rabbis (and the rest of us) even debating the acceptability of homosexuality? The question has…

Speaking of Faith -- Martin Marty on Kara Tippett's Good Sense

I have taken up posting Martin Marty's Sightings contributions. I'm a big Marty fan and love his MEMO column in the Christian Century. I find him to be generous, gracious, and full of wisdom. When I met him a year or so back he was ever so gracious to me and I appreciate that from one who is among the top tier of my profession (clergy and historian). This week Marty speaks of Kara Tippett's new book Speaking of Faith-- which I have on my shelf to be read, but as yet is not read. Marty speaks of her book and her work as a counterbalance to the Coulters and Dawkinss of the world. Those who take such a radically ungenerous turn. It's unfortunate, as Marty shares, that such a voice as Kara's doesn't get heard as it should. I look forward to my own reading of the book, but read here Marty's take. Sightings 3/26/07 Speaking of Speaking of Faith-- Martin E. Marty My website reminds readers that I cannot write dust-jacket blurbs for forthcoming books, a policy explaine…

Warrior Versus Priest -- Clinton and Obama

In this presidential contest within the Democratic Party, Hillary and Barack are the leading contenders. Ron Brownstein of the LA Times casts this as battle between Hillary the Warrior and Obama the Priest. The one has been able to connect with the Blue Collar while the other with intellectuals. Brownstein sees Obama in the cast of a Eugene McCarthy, Woodrow Wilson, Adlai Stevenson, while Clinton hails from the Humphrey, Mondale, cast that reaches out to the blue collar. The question is, can Obama reach beyond the traditional sphere of influence of the priestly cast. Thus, Brownstein sees Clinton as the more likely candidate coming out. I guess we'll see. In part I think it depends on what happens with John Edwards. If he doesn't win the nomination (which I think is still unlikely), it will be interesting to see who he will endorse. Edwards has clout with the blue collar voter and could be the key.

Rudy and the Evangelicals

Maybe you've been wondering why Evangelicals have begun to warm up to Rudy Giuliani, despite the statements by people like Richard Land of the SBC and Jim Dobson, that they could never support someone so wrong on the great moral issues of our time -- abortion and gay marriage. Dan Gilgoff writes in the LA Times today -- "A New Crusade within the GOP" -- why this may be happening. Gilgoff notes that when reporters questioned Mitt Romney as he emerged from a time of questioning at the National Religious Broadcasters convention, he said that the leading question asked him had to do with how to deal with Islamic radicalism. Apparently, as Gilgoff points out, "terror values" are growing on "moral values" among White Evangelicals. Since there is no strong "moral values" candidate, it appears that "terror values" has the upper hand. But why is this? Consider what Gilgoff reports: Polls show that evangelicals support President Bush&…

Speaking of Impeachment

Since the question of impeachment has been coming up, here's some Sunday Funnies featuring Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert -- via YouTube. Enjoy.

Kudos to Al Rodgers and Daily Kos

Impeaching Bush?

It's one thing when a Democratic die hard like John Conyers says that impeachment might be a possibility, it's another when a member of your own party like Chuck Hagel broaches the subject. That Hagel, who is in his own right something of a maverick is upset enough about President Bush's disregard for the voice of the people and of the opposition party that he broaches the impeachment question. “Any president who says, I don’t care, or I will not respond to what the people of this country are saying about Iraq or anything else, or I don’t care what the Congress does, I am going to proceed — if a president really believes that, then there are — what I was pointing out, there are ways to deal with that,” said Hagel, who is considering a 2008 presidential run. I'm not sure impeachment would be good for the country, at least at this point, in part because Cheney is next in line, which would likely lead to another impeachment trial. Yet, it's getting a bit scary here a…

Oregon's Dream Season Falls Short

Ah, I had visions of the Ducks facing the UCLA Bruins to determine which Pac10 team would fight for the national championship. They ended up losing 85-77, but they still pushed the defending champion Florida Gators hard, and so I'm happy. It could have been better, but this is really pretty good!!! So, good job guys!!!

Considering Conservative Values

Faith in the Public Square
Published in the Lompoc Record
Robert Cornwall
Sunday, March 25, 2007

My politics and even my religious perspectives tend to be left of center. If you read this column regularly, that confession shouldn't come as any surprise. Last week I tried to reclaim, even redeem, the “liberal” label. Having made my point, I want to say that I also value the true conservative voice. Indeed, I welcome the conservative voice as a necessary caution to the liberal's advocacy of progressive ideas and actions.
This is, of course, the American way, for we've never been a one-party state. Multiple voices can make for disharmony and confusion, but the alternative is quite unappetizing. If only one voice is heard, then freedom of expression has been effectively eliminated.
Our government's system of checks and balances helps prevent one branch of government from dominating the other two, and it keeps us tied to the rule of law. Now, from time to time one party or anothe…

Biblical illiteracy is a civic problem with political consequences.

This is the subtitle of Stephen Prothero's column in yesterday's Christian Science Monitor. Prothero has been hawking his new book, which is due to come out any day -- maybe today -- entitled Religious Literacy! Again, I'm awaiting a free copy to review here, if the publisher is seeing this!! In this column, Prothero writes that it is important to America's civic life that every high school student take a course on biblical literature. Why? Because the Bible plays such an important role in American life. The problem, Prothero believes, is that politicians and others regularly use Scripture in speeches and writings and the American people are completely unaware of its use and how its being used. Of course the issue is how such a course is to be taught. Back in the day, the Bible was taught, but usually from a Protestant/devotional perspective. Thus the Christian faith itself was being taught by the government. This isn't what Prothero advocates. Instead, he wants it…

A Politicized Justice Department?

The Soviets were famous for their show trials. Trials that where the decision of guilt or innocence was known in advance. That is a form of politicized justice, but at least at this point that's not what we're talking about here in the current Washington scandals. But it does appear that the Justice Department, under Alberto Gonzalez, has become increasingly politicized, so that the US Attorney firings may just be the tip of a very large iceberg. Whether or not crimes have been committed, it is obvious that the White House and the Justice Department have misled Congress and the American public.

E.J. Dionne takes up this issue in a well worded column this morning. Entitled "Inserting Politics into Justice", Dionne compares the current efforts by the Bush administration to stonewall Congress by claiming executive privilege. Yes, Bill Clinton did much the same thing on White Water, but back then it was the GOP that was crying foul, now they're trying to hide …

Ducks Make Elite Eight

Led by 5'6" freshman guard Tajuan Porter's 33 points (8 treys), the 3rd seeded Oregon Ducks outran the Runnin' Rebels of UNLV (76-72) to advance to the Elite 8. They join UCLA as a Pac10 rep in the Elite 8. Now, only last year's champ, Florida stands between them and the Final 4!!!

Go Ducks! May this be your year to pull the big upset!

Oscar Romero -- Martyrdom

March 24th marks the 27th anniversary of the martyrdom of Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador. Prophet and pastor, Romero spoke for the poor and the dispossessed. He opposed the powerful, and he was gunned down in his own cathedral by right wing death squads. Although his protege, Jon Sobrino, has been disciplined, his voice remains with us.

Romero, perhaps like John XXXIII, was a surprise. According to Renny Golden, he was a compromise choice of the conservative elite, and yet something happened that changed his life. Sonn after becoming Archbishop of San Salvador, one of his priests, Rutilio Grande, was murdered after challenging the wealthy elite whose dogs, he said, ate better than El Salvador's poor. When Romero drove out to view Grande's body, the peasants asked if he would speak for them as had Grande. He had a conversion experience of sorts and took on the mantle of spokesman for the poor. His choice to take this calling isolated himself from the hierarchy, who turne…

Moltmann and the Resurrection

Yesterday I posted on the Resurrection as process. I'd like to add a bit more to that discussion. If you read through Moltmann's Jesus Christ for Today's World, which is a shortened version of his The Way of Jesus Christ (Fortress, 1990), you discover that Moltmann is less interested in the question of history and more in the impact of the resurrection. Regarding the "factuals" he writes: Jesus was crucified publicly and died publicly. But the only people to learn of his resurrection were the faithful women at his tomb in Jerusalem, and the disciples who had fled into Galilee. The disciples then returned to Jerusalem and proclaimed the crucified Jesus quite openly as Lord and redeemer of the world, whom Jesus raised from the dead. Those are the relatively well-attested historical facts. And they are astonishing enough. But at the same time, all that can actually be proved about them are the assurances of the women that at Jesus' empty tomb they heard an…

Being Prophetic and Being Pastoral

This morning I had the privilege of participating in a clergy breakfast with George Regas, the retired pastor of Pasadena's All Saints Episcopal Church -- the same George Regas whose challenge to George Bush got All Saints into trouble. George was in town to give the Walter Capps Center's Martin Marty Lecture (UCSB). George engaged us in a fruitful conversation about being prophetic. He lamented that preachers these days aren't as prophetic as they were back in the 60s and 70s. There may be several reasons for that, one being fear of the IRS, but more likely fear for one's job. In our conversation we focused on how and why we can be prophetic, and the key maybe the pastoral support for one's prophetic work. More than anything, to be prophetic in our churches we must have a group of folk who will support us in our preaching. They don't have to agree, and George pointed out that back in the day when he first went to Pasadena, a group of about 12 members offered th…

The Process of Resurrection

For Paul the resurrection stands at the center of the Christian faith. Without the resurrection then our preaching is in vain, and our faith is in vain as well (1 Cor. 15:12ff). Our own resurrections, Paul asserts are caught up in Christ's resurrection. No wonder Easter stands at the center of Christian experience.

In a scientific age that looks for that which is historically or scientifically verifiable, the resurrection is a difficult concept to embrace. Talk of empty tombs and such, well, that is so far back in history. Discoveries of Jesus' tomb are more conjecture than historical proofs. As a historian, I put great stock in what history demonstrates, but I also know that the historical record is not just incomplete, it is a finite discipline dependent on human records and observations, combined with what we believe is possible. Now, talk of resurrection becomes difficult. Still, I find the hope of the resurrection to be central to my faith.

In thinking about …

Stephen Colbert "pontificates" on the Religious Right

Stephen Colbert gets it right. The Religious Right has "found success by doing one thing and doing it right" -- focusing on sex. Evangelicals like Richard Cizik, says Jim Dobson dilute the message by getting away from what works.

Take a look:

Due Apologies

A lot of people are apologizing about their judgments that led to the war in Iraq, not that it'll help now. Christian Century Senior Editor Debra Bendis writes at Theolog, the Century's blog, a pointed response to two "apologizers," Peter Beinhart a former editor at conservative New Republic and Kenneth Pollack, a writer who in the days before the war, raised the specter of Iraq's dangers. Both now say they were wrong. Bendis responds: I know that all of us—academics, writers and publishers—may work with inadequate information and can make poor judgments. What angers me about public figures like Beinart and Pollock is that they underestimate the amount of power they wield. Their misguided opinions brought them fame and book royalties—and now a few sleepless nights. But an admission of mistakes is quickly presented and just as quickly becomes more archived literature. Meanwhile someone's kids are paying for the mistakes with their lives.

Cancer, Politics, and Perspective

David Kuo blogs on his own cancer and his conversations with Elizabeth Edwards about her own struggles. He shares from his conversations with John Edwards about his struggles and how the death of their son and Elizabeth's cancer have led to his "faith 'roaring back'." I don't know what I would do in his shoes. Since my wife isn't thrilled about politics I wouldn't probably be in that situation in the first place, but personally I would probably be calling a halt to things. But each of us has to make own own decision. I'm assuming Elizabeth Edwards told her husband, we need to move forward. We can't stop now. My only hope is that the stresses of the campaign, and if he wins, office doesn't put debilitating stress on her health. Again, we remain in prayer.

Hush -- The Secret Presidency

Secrecy has become the name of the game in the Bush White House, from Dick Cheney's secret meetings with oil companies to the secret spying on Americans, the Bush hallmark is keeping things from the people. This topic is taken up in a Boston Globe editorial regarding the recent firings of US Attorneys. What Bush has forgotten is that this isn't a dictatorship -- he serves at our behest and should honor the requests of those we've empowered to give oversight the proper respect. Here is part of that column entitled Let in the Light. The White House offer of closed-door, unsworn interviews, with no transcript, was slapped down by congressional leaders yesterday almost as fast as it deserved to be. White House spokesman Tony Snow said weakly that the officials shouldn't be required to give sworn testimony since it is a crime to lie to Congress whether under oath or not. But if that is the case, what is the argument against Rove, Harriet Miers, and the others raising thei…

.any day a beautiful change.: The Verdict on Mr. Emergent

Katherine Pershey writes about her experiences with the Emergent movement and her reading of Brian McLaren's Generous Orthodoxy at .any day a beautiful change.: The Verdict on Mr. Emergent.

She likes the phrase "Generous Othodoxy" and is attracted to McLaren's embrace of the Eucharist. This is something we Disciples like, of course, as it's at the heart of our worship life.

Update on John Edwards Campaign

The first report I saw this morning at the LA Times online was that John Edwards had halted his campaign. Apparently that report was premature. The most recent report is that he will continue his campaign. What that means in the long run is uncertain of course. (The LA Times report includes video of the press conference). The report is that Elizabeth Edwards' cancer has returned and spread to the rib. When cancer spreads to the bone, it is considered incurable but treatable. They will be working with chemo and radiation in the hope that this will stop the spread of the cancer and enable Elizabeth to live a long and productive life. They compared it in the video feed to dealing with diabetes. It doesn't go away, but people live long lives with the disease.
Edwards says that if he can't deal with this crisis then he shouldn't be president. It is true that there is no greater crisis than when it hits home in the family. May he draw strength from this event, whether or…

Episcopal-Anglican Rift Widens

It should come as no surprise that the Bishops of the Episcopal Church in the US have rejected calls from the larger Anglican communion to stop its progress regarding the place of Gays and Lesbians in the church. US bishops meeting in a conclave in the Houston area have released a statement rebuffing the demands made at the recent meeting of Anglican leaders in Tanzania. Of course, the momentum is moving to much in the other direction for the church to turn back now or even suspend those efforts at inclusion. There is of course another issue on the table, one that riles the bishops I'm sure, and that is the meddling in the inner workings of the American church by forces from the outside. In some ways this is kind of a role reversal -- the mission is now challenging the missionaries. In the Episcopal Church, indeed, in the Anglican Communion, national and diocesan boundaries are sacrosanct. For a rival bishop to mess around in your diocese is tantamount to sheep steeling. Now, I'…

John Edwards Campaign Halted

Unfortunate news is coming out that John Edwards is suspending his campaign because of his wife's health issues. This is really disheartening news. Even though I've put my hat in the Obama ring, I have great respect for John Edwards, supported him in 2004, and welcome his strong advocacy for the poor and the working class of America. He had yet to take off in the polls, but his lead in the Iowa polls suggested a real opportunity to do just that. Therefore, my prayers and thoughts are reaching out to Elizabeth Edwards as she deals with her breast cancer and to John as he focuses on family rather than nation. At this point, it's unknown whether this is permanent or not, but it looks as if that is what is happening. So, we pray.

Who's Watching over GW?

LA Times columnist Ron Brownsteinwrites an important column on the dangers of inattention. For six years a GOP led Congress basically let GW do what he wanted, with nary a challenge. Iraq went from bad to worse, money got spent willy nilly, but nothing happened. The problem was, GW had a management style that despised details and he is loyal to a fault. No one raised questions and so nothing was done.

Now, that the American voter has reestablished some of that equilibrium. Rumsfeld, the Secretary of the Army, others involved with Walter Reed, etc. have all resigned. Though Bush is resisting and AG Alberto Gonzalez is heading out on a mea culpa tour of US Attorney's offices, how much longer before he bites the dust. I mean, now even formerly loyal GOPers are saying enough is enough. Freed from their subservience in pursuit of dominance, some are getting their spines back.

The key in all of this search for effective oversight, something sadly lacking these last few years, is a wise…

The GOP Line on Science and Global Warming

This article by Nicole Gaudiano of the Daily Times, from which I provide an excerpt from the opening paragraphs says it well: WASHINGTON -- House Republican Leader John Boehner would have appointed Rep. Wayne Gilchrest to the bipartisan Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming -- but only if the Maryland Republican would say humans are not causing climate change, Gilchrest said.

"I said, 'John, I can't do that,' " Gilchrest, R-1st-Md., said in an interview. "He said, Come on. Do me a favor. I want to help you here.' "

Gilchrest didn't make the committee. Neither did other Republican moderates or cience-minded members, whose guidance centrist GOP members usually seek on the issue. Republican moderates, called the Tuesday Group, invited Boehner to this week's meeting to push for different representation.

The select committee's purpose is to investigate and recommend ways to reduce dependence on foreign energy sources and redu…

Ponderings on a Faith Journey: Former Abp of Canterbury Calls for Possible Disestablishment

Ponderings on a Faith Journey: Former Abp of Canterbury Calls for Possible Disestablishment

Interesting column from Ruth Gledhill, Religion writer for the Times on-line that makes mention of my posting about the George Carey call for disestablishment of the Church of England!

Not that I'm an expert on English affairs!

Obama and His Church

An AP story sorts out the issues of Barack Obama, Jeremiah Wright, and Trinity UCC in Chicago. It's a good article that notes that Wright insists there is no rift, that Obama apologized for disinviting him to pray at the campaign kick off, and that we shouldn't believe everything we read and hear. Here is the closing portion of that article that speaks to Obama's spiritual journey. Obama's spiritual journey

The son of a white mother from Kansas, who was skeptical of organized religion, and a Kenyan father, Obama was raised in a secular household. He spent part of his childhood in Indonesia, where he attended a Catholic school and a public school where he took Islamic religion classes.

He explained how his spiritual journey culminated that day he walked toward the
altar at Trinity in a 2006 article on the United Church of Christ's Web site, writing that as he knelt beneath that cross, "I submitted myself to (God's) will and dedicated myself to discovering His tr…

Happy Easter!!

We remain on our Lenten path, but Easter is on the horizon. Yes, we must process into Jerusalem with palms laid before us, gather in the upper room and then in Gethsemane, before going to the cross, but Easter remains on the horizon. Because I know several of my regular readers -- and commenters -- have a difficulty with the doctrine of the resurrection, I thought it worth giving a link to Kim Fabricius's "Ten Propositions on the Resurrection." Now I don't expect these 10 propositions to prove convincing to my blogging friends, but they are worthy of consideration. If I find time I'll add some thoughts of my own over time on the resurrection -- maybe before Easter or maybe afterwards. Fabricius notes the problems with the "courtroom" style apologetics that tries to prove beyond a reasonable doubt the historicity of the resurrection. Whatever we say about the resurrection contains within it a degree of mystery. So, is the resurrection non-histori…