Friday, December 19, 2008

Too Many...?

On my drive to work this morning I happened upon one of those morning talk shows discussing a family in Arkansas with 17 children. One of the hosts, a childless man went as far as to say the parents should be jailed for the sheer irresponsibility of not using a condom!

Granted, radio talk shows do not have an elevated level of discourse, but the amount of hostility voiced towards this family was astounding. Never mind that, as evolution goes, this 17 and counting couple have successfully passed their genes on and the childless talk show host is batting zero! It was made to sound obscene, illicit and almost criminal.

Since when did it become tasteless and irresponsible to choose to have children?

I wonder how, if children are loved, cared for, educated and raised in the midst of family it should be obscene to have so many?

In a society where single parenthood, irresponsible sexuality as evidenced by STD’s and abortion, violence and neglect of children, one would have thought these would have been more serious items of conversation when discussing responsible sexuality and parenting!

I must confess I could not fathom a household with so many but something is definitely wrong with our perceptions! Lord Jesus Christ open our eyes and ears that we may see and hear and change!

Blessings

Seraph

Friday, November 14, 2008

Prayer for Our President Elect

O Lord, our heavenly Father, the high and mighty Ruler of the universe, who dost from thy throne behold all the dwellers upon earth; Most heartily we beseech thee, with thy favour to behold and bless thy servant Barak, THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, and all others in authority; and so replenish them with the grace of thy Holy Spirit, that they may always incline to thy will, and walk in thy way. Endue them plenteously with heavenly gifts; grant them in health and prosperity long to live; and finally, after this life, to attain everlasting joy and felicity; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Even if we did not vote for him , it is our duty to pray for him and wish him well as he governs our great nation.

Blessings

Seraph

NO Communion for You..!







COLUMBIA, S.C. - A South Carolina Roman Catholic priest has told his parishioners that they should refrain from receiving Holy Communion if they voted for Barack Obama because the Democratic president-elect supports abortion, and supporting him "constitutes material cooperation with intrinsic evil."

The Rev. Jay Scott Newman said in a letter distributed Sunday to parishioners at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Greenville that they are putting their souls at risk if they take Holy Communion before doing penance for their vote.

"Our nation has chosen for its chief executive the most radical pro-abortion politician ever to serve in the United States Senate or to run for president," Newman wrote, referring to Obama by his full name, including his middle name of Hussein.

"Voting for a pro-abortion politician when a plausible pro-life alternative exits constitutes material cooperation with intrinsic evil, and those Catholics who do so place themselves outside of the full communion of Christ's Church and under the judgment of divine law. Persons in this condition should not receive Holy Communion until and unless they are reconciled to God in the Sacrament of Penance, lest they eat and drink their own condemnation."


I am aboslutely speechless!

Seraph

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Ray Boltz...In his Own Words!

“I thought I hid it really well...”

“I didn’t know people could see what I was going through, the darkness and the struggle. After I came out to my family, one of my daughters said she was afraid to walk in my bedroom because she was afraid she’d find me — that I’d done something to myself. And I didn’t even know they’d picked it up.”

“I thought, ‘Well, I can just do what I always do and hide the truth or I can take a risk and be honest.It’s hard to say I came out because I didn’t have all the answers. I just admitted what I was struggling with and what I was feeling. It’s hard to go, ‘This is the point where I accepted my sexuality and who I was,’ but I came out to them and shared with them what I’d been going through.”

“I’d denied it ever since I was a kid. I became a Christian, I thought that was the way to deal with this and I prayed hard and tried for 30-some years and then at the end, I was just going, ‘I’m still gay. I know I am.’ And I just got to the place where I couldn’t take it anymore … when I was going through all this darkness, I thought, ‘Just end this.’”

“You get to be 50-some years old and you go, ‘This isn’t changing.’ I still feel the same way. I am the same way. I just can’t do it anymore. I basically lived an ‘ex-gay’ life — I read every book, I read all the scriptures they use, I did everything to try and change.”

“I was so good at pretending/like an actor on a stage/but in the end nobody knew me/only the roles that I portrayed/and I would rather have you hate me/knowing who I really am/than to try and make you love me/being something that I can’t” (from “God Knows I Tried”).

It is hard to know what to say to words like these other than to offer prayers to God for Ray and his family.

This too is a truth we Christians probably would rather not hear about! It does not seem to fit in with our reading of the Bible or our neat formulas for "a life victorious" , going from "glory to glory" or being "overcomers"! Yet there are those among our loved ones or acquaintances who have felt similarly isolated and afflicted.

May God give us the grace to be attentive to their stories, sensitive to their needs, partners in prayer and quick to offer consolation instead of judgement.

Blesings

Seraph

Monday, September 1, 2008

Pregnant Palin....!











The world is ending !!! OMG Palin’s pregnant!!!!!!

Her 17 year old teen daughter that is!

The blogosphere is teeming with jokes, rumors, innuendoes, judgment and predictions of doom for McCain and Palin’s candidacy….mercy me conservatives are doomed!!

One would think some of these people did not live in 21st century America, where teenage pregnancy, independent of knowledge or availability of contraception, is rampant.

Maybe it is the cries of the childless we are hearing! Anyone who has ever raised teenagers knows there comes a point when they have to make their own choices! Parents can not staple their pants to their bodies nor put them in chastity belts…!Some kids, even from stable Christian families, choose to have sex before marriage whether parents approve or not …get real!

As I read predictions of the Alaskan governor’s demise among evangelical and Christian voters it dawns on me …many do not understand Christians or our concept of grace. People are human, they will not always make the best choices, but in an ideal world they will take responsibility for them.

In this difficult situation for the Palin family it seems they have tried to handle their private situation with grace. Their pregnant 17 year old daughter is assured of their love and support , even as she is realizing how life is changed when a girl becomes a mother. What more can be expected?

Interestingly, a contrast can be seen here between candidates and their concepts about children! Barack Obama, in his support of abortion, has said if his daughter were to become pregnant as a teenager he would not want her to be punished with a baby. Sarah and her daughter, as many Christians, seem to have seen it differently…children, even those unplanned are not a punishment, they can turn out to be a blessing!

Yes….its true, there is a pregnant Palin…big deal!!!! More power to the VP!!! For her and her family we wish nothing but the best and assure them of our prayers.

Blessings

Seraph

Grace for Gustav










Hurricane Prayer

Father, all the elements of nature obey your command. Calm the storms and hurricanes that threaten us and turn our fear of your power into praise of your goodness. Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.

Our prayers for all of those in the Gulf Coast and Lousiana!

Blessings

Seraph

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Palin in Play.....!
















Hey, Barry - - I Wouldn’t Call That Woman “Sweetie,” If I Were You

Posted by jay1949 on August 29, 2008

By its vicious, visceral reaction to Sarah Palin, the Obama campaign erased any lingering doubts about whether it used sexist attitudes to defeat Hillary Clinton. The attacks on Palin - - like those on Clinton - - are designed to create the impression that this person cannot be trusted with this responsibility. Clearly, however, the only basis to differentiate is that Palin and Clinton are women.

Sexist remark, yes or no: “Sarah Palin has a 4-month-old baby at home; she won’t have time for the job.” Now, some of you guys may have missed that one, but I’ll bet the women who heard that got it without missing a beat. Translation: “She can’t handle this job; she’s a woman.” The answer is “yes,” sexist remark. No one suggests that Barack Obama shouldn’t be running for President because he has two young children to raise.

Now, I realize that Obama himself didn’t say this, and to his credit he promptly disowned it, but a person Obama pays to speak on his behalf said this, according to FOX News and numerous other outlets:

“Today, John McCain put the former mayor of a town of 9,000 with zero foreign policy experience a heartbeat away from the presidency,” spokesman Bill Burton said.

Grok that statement for a minute. Savor it. It is, to begin with, a tacit admission that the McCain-Palin ticket has the better chance to win. But also, it makes an obvious comparison between Palin and Obama:

- - Palin has only a few years of experience. Of course, the same can be said for Barack Obama, who has less time than Palin as any kind of executive officer.

- - Palin has no foreign policy experience. Of course, neither does Barack Obama. If you’re counting trips to Iraq, they’re even.

So why is it that Palin, in her mid-forties, is not qualified to be Vice-president, but Obama, in his mid-forties and with no more relevant experience than Palin, is qualified to be President? Why would we be worried to have Palin a heartbeat away from the Presidency, but confident that Obama can handle the Presidency itself? What does Obama have that Palin lacks?

A penis, of course.

I found this hilarious and it does strike a chord of truth! Sure to be quite an exciting race!

Blessings

Seraph

Monday, August 25, 2008

Who's Your Daddy...?












A John Mccain "Le gusta la gasolina" ?

Well it would seem so! For an older guy running in a change, youth themed presidential race, John Mccain is attempting to add some hip to his image among Hispanics!

At the library of Central High School in Phoenix, to the shriks and screams of teenage girls, Daddy Yankee, the popular Puerto Rican reagetton recording artist endorsed the Republican candidate.

"I believe in his ideals and his proposals to lead this nation…He’s been a fighter for the Hispanic community.” said the artist . Mcain's response... “I just wanna say thank you, Daddy Yankee,”

It is reported that when asked what his popular hit "Gasolina" is about, the artist replied with a smile and said..."energy independence"! Indeed...quiero mas gasolina!

This may not translate to votes but it does seem Juan is making the effort! Politics makes for interesting bedfellows! It is sure to be an entertaining race!

Blessings

Seraph

Which Wives...?


Nigerian faces death for 86 wives

Mr Bello Abubakar challenged Muslim scholars two weeks ago. Nigeria's Islamic authority has told the man who has 86 wives to choose only four and repent within three days or else he will be sentenced to death.

The Jamatu Nasril Islam (JNI) passed their verdict on Mohammed Bello Abubakar, 84, according to Sharia law. This comes two weeks after the Nigerian press and the BBC reported on the case.

Talking to the media then, Mr Abubakar challenged Muslim scholars, saying there is no punishment stated in the Koran for having more than four wives. The former teacher and Muslim preacher lives in Niger State with his wives and at least 170 children, and says he is able to cope only with the help of God.

"A man with 10 wives would collapse and die, but my own power is given by Allah. That is why I have been able to control 86 of them," he told the BBC.

Most Muslim scholars agree that a man is allowed to have four wives, as long as he can treat them equally. But Mr Bello Abubakar told the BBC:

"To my understanding the Koran does not place a limit and it is up to what your own power, your own endowment and ability allows. "God did not say what the punishment should be for a man who has more than four wives, but he was specific about the punishment for fornication and adultery."


Marriage to one wife has its challenges...I can not even begin to imagine 86 and 170 kids!!!! Lord have mercy!

Speechless!

Seraph

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Mellizos....Mommie Missing!.

















Ricky Martin a father of twin boys...

Aug. 20, 2008, 5:15 PM EST

NEW YORK (AP) -- There won't be much "livin' la vida loca" for Ricky Martin these days — he's now the father of twin boys.

The Latin superstar had the children via a surrogate mother, and the babies were born a few weeks ago, according to a statement from his representatives.

"The children, delivered via gestational surrogacy, are healthy and already under Ricky's full-time care," said the statement. "Ricky is elated to begin this new chapter in his life as a parent and will be spending the remainder of the year out of the public spotlight in order to spend time with his children."

A representative said there was no further information on the details of the children's birth.

Martin, 36, is a multiplatinum singer who is best known for English-language hits like "She Bangs!" and "Livin' la Vida Loca." In recent years, the Puerto Rican star has been active in charitable efforts, including the prevention of sexual exploitation of children
This is an interesting bit of news; Ricky Martin is a parent!

I like him and admire his work with charity and children in particular. I wish him and his sons happiness and blessings! Yet, there are a lot of questions raised by the happy event...for us now, for the children maybe later...the obvious one ; where is mommy???

Though single parenthood is by no means a rarity in our society, the opting out of a relationship altogether yet choosing to have children has not been as common. Childbirth and rearing, wonderful and difficult as it is, has traditionally been in the context of a relationship between a man and a woman, or at least long term partners.

Two realities sort of seem to collide here, a person's wish for parenthood versus a child's need for the most stable family possible.

Reproductive technologies have made it possible for parenthood to increasingly be separated from its natural and traditional contexts. Increasingly in our society, relationship, joint responsibility, two people parenthood, are seen as merely options among others. It is now possible, and socially acceptable, to bypass the whole relationship thing, wedding expenses, marital discord, wife with postpartum blues thing.. and just opt for children born from a surrogate!

What a novel idea...my own kids no others intruding! As a parent, I must admit that at times, it sounds great, except for... those many other times when I am so glad there is a mommy!

Despite the excitement of the news and the joy I desire for the Martin boys, the trend seems a little disturbing.

Blessings

Seraph

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Barak and Babies....












Warren: "At what point does a baby get human rights in your view?"

Obama: "Well I think that whether you're looking at it from a theological perspective or a scientific perspective, answering that question with specificity...uh....you know is...uh....above my pay grade."
These words lifted out of the interview with Barack Obama at Saddleback Church leave me a little disgusted. The question does not even address the issue of when life begins, nor the status of the unborn under our laws but refers to human rights for babies! One could apply this to an unborn child, McCain did, or refer to the present law of the land where "baby", as far as human rights go, means a child that has been born...but to say it is beyond you to answer seems like a major cop out!

It is also a bit difficult to reconcile with at least this statement from the presidential candidate made on Father's day 2007 which would seem to acknowledge that the life of a child begins at conception; On that ocassion Barak Obama said.. "We need fathers to recognize that responsibility doesn't end at conception . . . It's the courage to raise a child."

Though Mr. Obama did speak clearly on issues related to his own faith in God, this kind of evasion will certainly not win him any friends among people who view life as a gift from God. He owed them at least a coherent explanation of his own views as the person of faith he claims to be.

Blessings

Seraph

Doctors Dissed...


California Supreme Court Limits Religious Liberty of Physicians
SAN FRANCISCO, Aug. 18- In a 7-0 decision, the California Supreme Court restricted the religious liberty of physicians' to respect his or her conscience when deciding whether to perform a particular medical procedure.

San Diego physicians Christine Brody, M.D., and Douglas Fenton, M.D., asserted a Constitutional defense, based on their religious liberty, to a lawsuit that was brought by an unmarried female patient over six years ago. The patient, Guadalupe Benitez, claimed the two Ob/GYNs discriminated against her based on her sexual orientation by referring her to another physician for the performance of an IUI (intrauterine insemination) in the course of fertility treatment.

The court's ruling holds that the First Amendment right to free speech and the free exercise of religion cannot be used as a defense to a claim of unlawful discrimination that is based on sexual orientation.

Dr. Brody began treating Ms. Benitez in August 1999 for infertility and informed the patient at the outset that the only procedure during the course of the extended fertility treatment as to which she had a religious issue was an IUI. The defendants contend that Ms. Benitez and her partner understood and agreed in advance to a future referral to another physician, at no expense to Ms. Benitez, should the IUI become necessary. After other fertility protocols were unsuccessful, Ms. Benitez objected to the IUI referral contending that she was being discriminated against because she was a lesbian.

Of course there are several takes on these news from California. Some are touting this as another victory against discrimination based on sexual orientation, others are seeing it as a limitation on religious freedom.

I find this disturbing! Of course physicians may not deny life saving treatment to any patient based on sexual orientation, but that they be forced to act againt their conscience and religious belief when it comes to an elective procedure seems a little much!

This case seems to be akin to that of physicians and pharmacists prescribing medication to induce an abortion. Yes, it is available and legal, but for some doctors and pharmacists to prescribe or dispense would be a violation of their religious belief and conscience. If the desired procedure or medication is available to the patient elsewhere in the community and the physician makes an appropiate referal, that should fall under acceptable medical practice.

I am very much in favor of the equal treament of gays and lesbians in society and the church, but no ammount of positive publicity makes this decision feel right! It seems like the court is limiting the religious freedom and constitutional rights of some to expand the privileges and services available to others.

Blessings

Seraph

Monday, August 18, 2008

Miami Medic.....!
















Col. Ted Martin, commander of the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Multi-National Division - Baghdad, presents Sgt. Rafael Delgado, a combat medic assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, with an Army Commendation Medal with Valor device Aug. 10 during an award ceremony here.

Delgado, a native of Miami, was presented the award for selfless and valorous actions to save the lives of fellow team members after an improvised-explosives device struck his vehicle. Delgado reacted immediately providing emergency medical treatment to Soldiers in the vehicle.

"It showed me that if there is one thing that I am proud of, and if there is one thing that I am true to, and if there is one thing that I am faithful to and will give my life for, it is my Soldiers," Delgado said, of his actions on that day. "As a medic and now a sergeant, it's an honor to work with these guys ... I will definitely put my life on the line for every one of these guys."

Congratulations Rafi! You are in our hearts and our prayers!

Blessings

Seraph

Friday, August 15, 2008

Paraguay's Lugo; President and Priest...












ASUNCION, Paraguay - Paraguay's president-elect has received unprecedented permission from the pope to resign as bishop, the papal nuncio said Wednesday, ending a dispute over Fernando Lugo's priestly status. Church officials earlier insisted that Lugo, 57, would always be a bishop under church law.

"This is the first case within the church in which a bishop receives a dispensation," Nuncio Orlando Antonini said at a news conference. "Yes, there have been many other priests the pope has left in the status of layman, but never a member of the hierarchy until today."

Lugo also made history with April's presidential election victory, which ended the 61-year rule of the Colorado Party in Paraguay. The former "bishop of the poor" takes office on Aug. 15.

"It's a great pain for the church to lose a bishop, a priest whom we tried to dissuade from the political option up to the last day of his election campaign," Antonini said. "But the Holy Father recognized that he was elected by the majority of the people to lead Paraguay for the next five years."

This is a very interesting case in which a bishop and pastor apparently finds the political arena and the presidential office a better alternative to the pulpit in the task of improving the life of the poor in his flock. Wether he can render to God and to Ceasar as well as strike a balance between God and "mammon", remains to be seen. May God bless Fr. Lugo as he follows his call and takes on the task of governing Paraguay. This will surely merit watching!

Blessings

Seraph

Friday, August 8, 2008

Rowan on Gays...!














From Archbishop Rowan, 28 September 2000

Dear Dr. Pitt,

"...This will have to be a relatively brief response to your very substantial question, but I hope it may suggest a few avenues. Until about 1980, I fully shared the traditional ethical understanding of homosexuality as a condition of (at best) some sort of ‘privation’, the practice of which was strictly forbidden to Christians by scripture and tradition.

My mind was unsettled by contact, as a university teacher, with one of two genuinely serious Christians who had concluded after prayer and reflections that the Scriptural prohibitions were addressed to heterosexuals looking for sexual variety in their experience; but that the Bible does not address the matter of appropriate behaviour for those who are, for whatever reason, homosexual by instinct of nature .

...By the end of the 80’s I had definitely come to the conclusion that scripture was not dealing with the predicament of persons whom we should recognise as homosexual by nature. And many of the arguments assumed by theologians in the Middle Ages and later increasingly seemed to beg questions or to rest on contested grounds. I concluded that an active sexual relationship between two people of the same sex might therefore reflect the love of God in a way comparable to marriage, if and only if it had about it the same character of absolute covenanted faithfulness...I was not convinced by the argument that the ethics for homosexual relations should be different from those for heterosexuals ...But it is now a very much politicised question, with many treating it as the sole or primary marker of Christian orthodoxy.

I find myself personally in a difficult situation, between the pressures of the clear majority view in my Church, my own theological convictions on this matter (as someone who has no desire at all to overthrow the authority of scripture here, but wants to ask if it has been rightly read on this matter) and the complex needs of individuals for pastoral counsel and support. I don’t see myself as a campaigner for a new morality; but if I’m asked for my views as a theologian rather than a church leader, I have to be honest and admit that they are as I’ve said.

One last point. The Church has shifted its stance on several matters ¬¬– notably the rightness of lending money at interest (condemned outright in the Old Testament and by all theologians before the seventeenth century) and the moral admissibility of contraception (generally denounced by the Anglican Church up to the middle of the twentieth century) so I am bound to ask if this is another such issue. If I am really seriously wrong on this, I can only pray to be shown the truth. I’d ask simply that Christians might be a little more ready than they seem to accept the good faith of those who have to a different conclusion..."
This certainly is an interesting insight into The Archbishop of Canterbury's thoughts at least in 2000, on this very pertinent issue which the Anglican Communion has been facing.

Blessings

Seraph

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Presiding Bishop...Post Lambeth

"...Many bishops came to this gathering in fear and trembling, expecting either a distasteful encounter between those of vastly different opinions, or the cold shoulder from those who disagree. The overwhelming reality has been just the opposite.

We have prayed, cried, learned, and laughed together, and discovered something deeper about the body of Christ. We know more of the deeply faithful ministry of those in vastly differing contexts, and we have heard repeatedly of the life and death matters confronting vast swaths of the Communion: hunger, disease, lack of education and employment, climate change, war and violence.

We have remembered that together we may be the largest network on the planet – able to respond to those life and death issues if we tend to the links, connections, and bonds between us. We have not resolved the differences among us, but have seen the deep need to maintain relationships, even in the face of significant disagreement and discomfort.

The Anglican Communion is suffering the birth pangs of something new, which none of us can yet fully appreciate or understand, yet we know that the Spirit continues to work in our midst. At the same time patience is being urged from many quarters, that all may more fully know the leading of the Spirit. God is faithful. May we be faithful as well..."

The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori Presiding Bishop and Primate The Episcopal Church

Inflatable Church...














Italian nuns set up inflatable church to save the souls of beach goers. The 100-foot-long church will be set up on Saturday and is to be manned by a team of priests waiting to hear confession, give mass and sing holy music.

"There will be four or five people singing, with music about God," said Chiara Facci from the Catholic group Sentinelli del Mattino, which is putting up the blow-up church. A night-time mass, competing with the more worldly attractions of local night clubs and bars, will take place between 10pm and 1am.

The Catholic church is trying to counteract the holiday effect of the Italian summer, when large cities empty and holidaymakers head for the beach. With businesses already suffering the holiday effect, churches want to make sure the travelling faithful do not leave their sense of piety and devotion at home.

The inflatable church is not the only such effort. Near Naples a group of nuns have relocated to beach cabins to help tourists say the rosary with an altar set up between tents. "The concept of a beach-convent is something that is appreciated by vacationers and the nuns themselves," said priest Antonio Rungi.

I must confess to struggling a bit with the concept. On one level it seems rather tasteless, but then again it is a creative way to reach people where they are.

Christ promised us he would be where there are two or three gathered in his name I guess that also means...inflatable churches! They would need to be real careful if they use incense and candles ... and be concious of hungry, pesky seagulls!

So many questions pop up in my head; can folks go in their tangas? ...whatever will the nuns wear? Will priests be in bathing suits or some kind of summer liturgical attire..that's a scary thought! Hmmm... I wonder?

Blessings

Seraph

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Lambeth....Lame?














Lambeth is finally over and the buzz is on as to what actually took place or not!

Predictably no one seems particularly pleased at the outcome of the Conference. Bishops, media and bloggers have been quite busy over the last month either criticizing or lauding the meeting format. Too restrictive and controlled alleged some, a good way to meet and converse in small groups said others. Difficult, honest conversations took place reported a few bishops, a lame waste of time and money was the impression of others.

Some things stand out for me at the conclusion of this Lambeth, my first as an Episcopalian;

The obvious one is there is still an Anglican Communion something which seemed doubtful a few months ago. Despite all the pre conference talk of schism, many bishops seem to remain committed to relationships and to the idea of a worldwide family of churches.

Secondly, +Gene Robinson, duly elected and consecrated bishop of New Hampshire who was excluded from the conference and inhibited from celebrating the Eucharist in England. It was precisely this which made him the more visible to press as he made the case for inclusion of the GLBT in all areas of the church....many heard!

GAFCON and the absence of 200 or so conservative bishops, mainly from Africa certainly was of significance. Their unwillingness to participate certainly sends a foreboding message for the future of a united Anglican Communion! Lambeth was impoverished by their boycott. Despite this, the case for a conservative reading of the Bible in reference to sexual ethics and the traditional understanding of the sacrament of marriage was made clearly by most bishops present in the conference. This surely was felt by the Episcopal Church!

The Archbishop of Canterbury surprisingly came out as a more imposing figure than I supposed. His leadership in the early retreats and conference seemed to raise his stature in the eyes of the bishops , and certainly so in mine.


I guess the last thing is the Lambeth Reflections document, fruit of the bishops conversations. For most people the key elements are those related to sexuality and the proposed moratoria…no new openly gay and partnered bishops , no church blessings for same sex couples and no unwelcome intervention of one province on the life of another. Though these ideas were well articulated in writing, it seems very unlikely these will happen in reality.

...I do not think Lambeth was lame but those who may have been looking for ironclad unity or quick solutions to the Anglican Communion’s problems to come from Lambeth are sure to find it quite dissapointing! One thing remains clear to me at the conclusion of this conference, we must trust the future of the Church into the hands of the only one who can lead it, guard it protect it for error, violence and schism…its Lord Jesus Christ.

We often look to human instruments to ensure the unity and agreement that has always eluded us, but perhaps, the message to keep in mind is that the Church is united at the Eucharist with Christ at the very center . In the end that may be all that is needed…

Blessings

Seraph

Saturday, August 2, 2008

CEC Convocation















Well …Convocation is over and we are safely home! Today I am struggling with a bit of headache, surely from generously sampling a new spirit while in conversation with CEC clergy boys last night. I should have known better but felt exceptionally brave, maybe from the excitement of the occasion.......lesson learned!

It was a wonderful couple of days of worship , conversation with old friends and making new acquaintances. Our departure from the CEC for ECUSA seemed common knowledge, yet we were treated with great cordiality. I hoped and expected no less…we are, after all.... family!

The Convocation began with the enthronement service Wednesday. The CEC was at worship in all its convergence glory featuring colorful banners, processions, flags, wonderful music, dynamic worship, the Gospel read in multiple languages and, of course, clouds and clouds of incense. The entrance procession seemed endless with the deacons and priests and the bishops all decked out in red… a sight to see! It was services like these that attracted many of us initially to this expression of the Church, and even the annoying feedback from the sound system, did not detract from truly beautiful celebrations.

The events were energetic, joyful with a focus on the present and future of the CEC. The crises of the last years seemed passed and, although acknowledged in passing by +Bates, the focus was on mission and ministry. There was much positive to be seen; young people who seemed inspired in the worship, younger clergy obviously excited about God and the church, an international presence from the Philippines, Africa , Brazil and a definite mellowing in the language as it refers to the CEC’s place in Christendom.

The star of the show, for me was Olivia Jones! After what seemed to be a losing battle with illness and great suffering, her smiling face, her health improved beyond odds, reminded us all of the power of faith! We sung Happy Birthday to his wonderful woman of God, as +Bates reminded us of the CEC’s own difficult last years and recovery. As the services ended, there seemed to be enough talent, gifting and conviction in the place to allow for hope as to the CEC’s future.

Yet, for both of us attending the services some concerns remain. The absence of +Randolph Adler, the CEC’s founder and first Patriarch,certainly was felt and the subject of uncertainty and question. The CEC remains committed to Government by Consensus, male headship, and despite a softening on the language from its bishops, seems to remain on a very conservative bent. The Liturgy is definitely evolving most notably the new version of the Creed, minus the filioque, and a couple of innovations borrowed from the Roman Rite which, to a fan of the BCP, did not seem to flow well.

I am so glad we had the opportunity to attend, to worship with this family in Christ, to rejoice with them even as they look forward to a future full of hope. As to regrets …happily I have none! Even as I rejoice in the joy the CEC expressed in its Convocation in Orlando, I am more excited than ever to be in the Episcopal Church.

Blessings

Seraph.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Be Fruitful and Multiply...!













Livia Ionce, 44, second left, holds her newborn daughter, Abigail Ionce, who was born Tuesday, as she and her husband, Alexandru, 51, pose for a photograph with 13 of their 18 children at their home in Abbotsford, Canada on Saturday July 26, 2008. Their oldest child is 23-years-old. The couple immigrated to Canada from Romania in 1990.

Wow....I wonder if they are Catholics?

Blessings

Seraph

Monday, July 28, 2008

Which Way Africa...?












posted by Elizabeth Keaton on her blog; Telling Secrets

The following letter was posted by Elizabeth Keaton. It was written by Rose Ngeri a Nigerian woman, now in England on ocassion of the Lambeth Conference where she hopes to meet as many African bishops and possible and reach them with this message. I offer it with my prayers for her and without comment.

Here are her own words to her bishops and their wives:

"The Lambeth Conference, to me, is a place where you meet Bishops and people from all walks of life to share different views about lots of things we see and hear. I gather that LGBT are welcome in the House of God by some people . . yet, denied the right of place in the same house of God by others.

Please, our African spiritual fathers, let us have a place in our churches. REMEMBER, WE WERE BORN OF YOUR FATHERS, MOTHERS, SISTERS, AUNTIES, COUSINS AND NEICES. Our mothers did not ask for this group of children. Rather it is the content of the man deposited in the woman that came out the same way it is made by God.

African leaders keep passing laws against LGBT. Please, if I may ask, what crime have we committed? Mothers, will you fold your arms and let your children die through torture? Why can't you ask them what crime your children have committed before they kill more of your children?

How long should we keep quiet about issues like this?

Which way Africa?"

Blessings

Seraph

Clouds at Canterbury...







Halt Gay Bishop Consecrations and Same-Sex Blessings!

Ruth Gledhill Religion Correspondent
A new pastoral forum is to be set up to bring rebel provinces into line in the Anglican Communion. The 650 bishops meeting at the Lambeth Conference in Kent debated proposals today for a body headed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, that would prevent any more consecrations of gay bishops or same-sex blessings.

The forum will also clamp down on "cross-border interventions" such as those where conservative bishops from Africa have consecrated bishops to pastor congregations in the United States. The document says the forum is needed because repeated requests for moratoria on gay consecrations, same-sex blessings and cross-border interventions have not been heeded.

It says: “The failure to respond presents us with a situation where, if the three moratoria are not observed, the [Anglican] Communion is likely to fracture.” The document proposes the forum as a “key mechanism to achieve reconciliation”.
The plan was drawn up by a group of bishops at the conference, who say in the document: "We believe that the pastoral forum should be empowered to act in the Anglican Communion in a rapid manner to emerging threats to its life."

It warns that a "proliferation" of ad hoc episcopal ministries such as those put in place by conservatives cannot be maintained. It calls for all existing ministries already set up to be placed “in trust” in order to be reconciled back into their original provinces...

Friday, July 25, 2008

Cuba at Canterbury...












The Episcopal Church of Cuba presided at a Eucharist on Day 8 of the Lambeth Conference. The service has been described in the web as amazinly upbeat and Bishop Frade reports the Archbishop of Canterbury himself attempting to clap in time to the Cuban rythm.

Among Cuba's bishops, as a first time attender to Lambeth, is +Nerva Cot, Cuba's 1st female bishop and the 11th woman consecrated to the episcopate in the Anglican Communion.

It must have been a sight to see!

blessings

Seraph

Sexy in the South...?












ATLANTA, Georgia (AP) –

The South tips the scales again as the nation's fattest region, according to a new government survey. More than 30 percent of adults in each of the states tipped the scales enough to ensure that the South remains the nation's fattest region.

The 2007 findings are similar to results from the same survey the three previous years. Mississippi has had the highest obesity rate every year since 2004. But Alabama, Tennessee, West Virginia and Louisiana have also clustered near the top of the list, often so close that the difference between their rates and Mississippi's may not be statistically significant.

Why is the South so heavy? The traditional Southern diet -- high in fat and fried food -- may be part of the answer, said Dr. William Dietz, who heads CDC's nutrition, physical activity and obesity division. The South also has a large concentration of rural residents and black women -- two groups that tend to have higher obesity rates, he said.

Fried Chicken, chicken fried steak, corn bread, fries....I'm getting really hungry!

Seraph

Careful with Cell Phones...


PITTSBURGH (AP) -- The head of a prominent cancer research institute issued an unprecedented warning to his faculty and staff Wednesday: Limit cell phone use because of the possible risk of cancer.

The warning from Dr. Ronald B. Herberman, director of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, is contrary to numerous studies that don't find a link between cancer and cell phone use, and a public lack of worry by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Herberman is basing his alarm on early unpublished data. He says it takes too long to get answers from science, and he believes people should take action now - especially when it comes to children.
"Really at the heart of my concern is that we shouldn't wait for a definitive study to come out, but err on the side of being safe rather than sorry later," Herberman said.

No other major academic cancer research institutions have sounded such an alarm about cell phone use. But Herberman's advice is sure to raise concern among many cell phone users and especially parents.In the memo he sent to about 3,000 faculty and staff Wednesday, he said children should use cell phones only for emergencies because their brains are still developing.

Hmmmm!

Blessings

Seraph

Gay and Here to Stay....













+Gene Robinson responds to the Episcopal Church of the Sudan

Posted by Kendall Harmon

First, this is also about the faithful people of New Hampshire who called me to be their bishop. Everyone seems to forget that I am not here representing myself, but rather all the people of the Diocese of New Hampshire, with whom it is my privilege to minister in Christ's name. They have called me to minister with them as their Bishop, and suggestions that I resign ignore the vows that I have taken to serve my flock in New Hampshire. I would no more let them down or reneg on my commitments to them than fly to the moon. We may be the one diocese in the entire Communion who is, for the most part, beyond all this obsession with sex and are getting on with the Gospel. They would be infuriated, as well they should be, if I entertained any notion of resigning. And it is not just Gene Robinson who is being denied representation at the Lambeth Conference, it is the people of New Hampshire who have been deprived of a seat at the table.

Second, those calling for my resignation seem to be under the impression that if Gene Robinson went away, that all would go back to being "like it was," whatever that was! Does ANYONE think that if I resigned, this issue would go away?! I could be hit by a big, British, doubledecker bus today, and it would not change the fact that there are faithful, able and gifted gay and lesbian priests of this Episcopal Church who are known and loved for what they bring to ordained ministry, who will before long be recognized with a nomination for the episcopate (as has already happened in dioceses other than New Hampshire), and one of them will be elected. Not because they are gay or lesbian, but because the people who elect them recognize their gifts for ministry in that particular diocese. We are not going away, as much as some would like us to. That toothpaste isn't going to go back into the tube! Not if the Bishop of New Hampshire resigns. Not if the "offending" bishops leave the Lambeth Conference. Not ever.

Well there you have it!

Blessings

Seraph

Gay Bishop Must Go...!











Archbishop of Sudan Press Briefing - Tuesday July 22
Excerps from a briefing with the Archbishop of the Sudan, the Most Reverend Dr. Daniel Deng Bul. Comments widely reported on the web.

“Gene Robinson should resign for the sake of the Church and the entire Anglican Communion…”

“We do not want to throw any people away, either. But we are here to determine how to remain united. That begins with forgiving one another for errors made. Gene Robinson is an error. The American church has not admitted they are wrong and we cannot forgive them until they do…”

“300 bishops are not here because of Gene Robinson. Can he not resign to allow them to come? Why has he not done that?

"...I am not saying the Americans should all be excluded, but keep Gene Robinson away and we will find a way to help them..."

“This issue of homosexuality in the Anglican Communion has a very serious effect in my country. We are called ‘infidels’ by the Moslems....I am begging the Communion on this issue so no more of my people will be killed…”

“The culture does not change the Bible; the Bible changes the culture. Cultures that do not approve of the Bible are left out of the Church’s life; people who do not believe in the Bible are left out of our churches…”

“…The American church is saying that God made a mistake. He made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Adam….”

“We will not talk to Gene Robinson or listen to him or his testimony. He has to confess, receive forgiveness and leave. Then we will talk. You cannot bring the listening to gay people to our Communion. People who do not believe in the Bible are left out of our churches, not invited in to tell us why they don’t believe…”

“The Authority of the Bible is always the same. You cannot pull a line out or add a line to it. That brings you a curse….”

When asked if he knows any gay people in the Sudan he replied, “They have not come to the surface. We do not have them.” The press from TEC that were in the room did not laugh out loud at this statement, but nearly.
This is somewhat disturbing at multiple levels, despite the Archbishop's obvious concern for his people , the Anglican Communion and of course the Scritptures and Gospel message! Perhaps it seeems so as a result of my living in a free, pluralistic society where, despite disagreement, respect for other's viewpoints and litsening to others is valued.

I fail to see how these words will in any way be convincing to Christians of progressive tendencies, whether they sympatize with the plight of the Sudanese or not. They reflect a world view , a view of Scriptures, the Gospel message and the baptismal covenant that does not resonate with the experiences and values of many in western, largely post modern societies.

One would also have to wonder as to the prudence of this statement given that many in TEC, including gay clergy, actively fund and suppport projects that have benefit the people and churches in Sudan.

Blessings

Seraph

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Is This Woman a Heretic?



[I composed this before arriving in Canterbury, but wanted to wait for the Conference to begin before publishing it.]

by Bishop Whalen




In the run-up document to the Global Anglican Future Conference entitled “The Way, the Truth, and the Life,” there is a remarkable statement:

“ English and American Anglicanism fell victim to certain bishops – ...who questioned the very ‘substance’ of orthodox Christianity: the transcendence of God, the possibility of miracles, the Virgin Birth and Bodily Resurrection of Christ and, underlying all, the authority of the Bible... such ‘prophetic’ views were stamped as mainstream with the election of Katherine Jefferts Schori as Presiding Bishop in 2006.” (page 39)

So, is she a heretic? That is, does she advisedly hold to teachings that contradict the Church’s clear witness to Jesus Christ, who died for our sins and rose again from the dead? He who is truly human and truly divine, yet one person? In interviews with her, this is clearly not the case!!!

Now, there are those who think that Bishop Katharine is a heretic because she supports the “full inclusion” of gay people into the Church—that is to say, that it is possible for gay people to lead holy lives as Christians, as long as their sexual expressions of love take place within a covenant bond, just as with straight people.

But there has always been a clear distinction between faith and morals, between doctrinal theology and moral theology. That distinction is formal: the doctrines of the Church may be developed but they may not be denied. If Bishop Katharine denied the tenets of the Creed, or that Holy Scripture does contain all things necessary to salvation, she would be a heretic, and I would most certainly resign my office as Bishop In Charge of the Presiding Bishop’s jurisdiction.

On the other hand, the moral teachings of the Church have always reflected the context in which the Church found itself. In times past, it has been taught that widowed people could not re-marry; that Christians could own slaves as long as they treated them correctly , that Christians could not charge interest on loans. It has never been heresy to disagree with such teachings. Bishop Katharine may turn out to be wrong about changing the traditional teaching on homosexual people. But that is not heresy.


Very interesting take on the Presiding Bishop's progressive views in reference to contemporary topics of faith and practice in the Episcopal Church.

Having had the privilege of hearing our Presiding Bishop preach in several ocassions I can say she is definitely not someone you can neatly tag and place in a box. A quiet speaker, she is uncompromisingly an advocate for those who are needy, marginated, siolated, the immigrant and infirm. Often her words remind the church that the good news are not just to be believed and talked about but lived in love and service to God and our fellow man!

God bless and guide The Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schorri as she leads the Episcopal Church in this complicated century, let her be a voice for Christ proclaiming the good news of his love for all.

Blessings

Seraph

Gays and the Millitary


Poll shows growing acceptance of Gays in the Millitary
By Kyle Dropp and Jon Cohen



Public attitudes about gays in the military have shifted dramatically since President Bill Clinton unveiled what became his administration's "don't ask, don't tell" policy 15 years ago today. Seventy-five percent of Americans in a new Washington Post-ABC News poll said gay people who are open about their sexual orientation should be allowed to serve in the U.S. military, up from 62 percent in early 2001 and 44 percent in 1993.

Today, Americans have become more supportive of allowing openly gay men and women to serve in the armed forces. Support from Republicans has doubled over the past 15 years, from 32 to 64 percent. More than eight in 10 Democrats and more than three-quarters of independents now support the idea, as did nearly two-thirds of self-described conservatives.

Fifty-seven percent of white evangelical Protestants now support allowing openly gay service members in the military, compared with 82 percent of white Catholics and 80 percent of those with no declared religious affiliation. Three-quarters of both married and single people support the idea, both significantly higher than in 1993.

Across all three periodic Post-ABC surveys on the issue, women have been more apt than men to support gays in the military. Today, more than eight in 10 women support allowing openly gay soldiers, compared with nearly two-thirds of men. Fifteen years ago, half of women supported this stance; nearly two-thirds of men opposed it. Furthermore, large majorities across age and education categories now support allowing openly gay individuals to serve in the military.

The Post-ABC poll was conducted by telephone July 10 to 13, among a random national sample of 1,119 adults. The results have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points. Error margins are larger for subgroups.

Even as we witness the controversies related to the role of gays and the place for their relationships in the life of the church, news like these remind us there is a radical change in the public attitudes about homosexuality in our culture. These changes seem to trascend religious preference, education, age and political persuation. It is quite illusory to think these attitudes and the tolerance they convey are somehow going to be erased as Americans enter churches on Sunday morning, read and interpret the Bible and choose those they want to lead them as pastors and bishops.

The Anglican Communion's crisis in this light seems more a clash of cultures and a natural consequence of changing public perceptions and attitudes than a battle for the soul of Christianity and Anglicanism as some would frame it. Are we becoming more liberal, permissive, tolerant of sin? Or is it that we are becoming more human, welcoming, respectful of the identity and rights of others? One thing seems certain, there is no way the clock can be set back nor human issues like these along with the persons they affect shoved back into the closet!

Blessings

Seraph

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Hugo Chavez launches his own Church




Venezuela: Anglican, Lutheran and Roman Catholic have consecrated three priests as bishops of a new church loyal to Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez.



Last Saturday the dissident churchman formed the Reformed Catholic Church of Venezuela in a ceremony in the western city of Ciudad Ojeda. Organized along Anglican principles, the “Bolivarian” church seeks to combine the socialist ideals of the president and nationalist heritage of Simon Bolivar --- the country’s founder --- with the tenets of liberation theology.

While the estimated 2,000 parishioners in five parishes in working-class districts loyal to the president pose no ecclesial threat to the Roman Catholic Church, or smaller Anglican and Lutheran churches --- they have been denounced by the country’s Roman Catholic hierarchy.

"The apparent political goal of this association distances it from the true expression of Christian faith," Cardinal Jorge Urosa Sabino said in a statement on Sunday. "Jesus Christ's true church is spreading the word and the gift of Christ to the whole world, separately from political issues and party affiliation."

However, the Rev Enrique Albornoz, a former Lutheran minister who helped create the independent church told the Associated Press, “We don't side with any political banner, but we cannot fail to recognize and support the socialist achievements of this government," and “back the social programmes of this revolutionary government."

The Bolivarian Church, which models itself on the nationalist catholic church formed in Nineteenth century Mexico that has since become the Anglican Church of Mexico, uses the Episcopal Church’s Book of Common Prayer and has adopted a liberal moral ethos, making clerical celibacy optional, permitting divorce and remarriage, and holding that homosexual conduct is not immoral.


Lord have mercy...!

Seraph

Friday, July 11, 2008

Psychoactive Incense....













Burning Incense Is Psychoactive: New Class Of Antidepressants Might Be Right Under Our Noses

ScienceDaily (May 20, 2008) — Religious leaders have contended for millennia that burning incense is good for the soul. Now, biologists have learned that it is good for our brains too. An international team of scientists, including researchers from Johns Hopkins University and the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, describe how burning frankincense (resin from the Boswellia plant) activates poorly understood ion channels in the brain to alleviate anxiety or depression. This suggests that an entirely new class of depression and anxiety drugs might be right under our noses...

To determine incense's psychoactive effects, the researchers administered incensole acetate to mice. They found that the compound significantly affected areas in brain areas known to be involved in emotions as well as in nerve circuits that are affected by current anxiety and depression drugs.

Well there you go...! Low chuch folks, the bells and smells crowd had the right idea all along!

Blessings

Seraph

+ Katharine at Lambeth











By RACHEL ZOLL 07.11.08, 7:03 AM ET
Episcopal Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori was installed as head of the U.S. church less than two years ago, inheriting a mess not of her own making. The global Anglican Communion was in an uproar over the 2003 consecration of the first openly gay Episcopal bishop, V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire. Long-simmering differences over Scripture and the global Anglican fellowship erupted into a threat of full-blown schism.

Jefferts Schori, a theological liberal who supported Robinson's election, has tried to ease the tensions in meetings with other Anglican leaders. Starting next Wednesday, she will be explaining the church's actions in her broadest venue yet: the Lambeth Conference, a once-a-decade meeting of Anglican bishops from around the world. Jefferts Schori said she's looking forward to the "face-to-face conversation" at the event.

While Robinson won't attend the Lambeth meeting, he will be just outside the event.He is preaching at a British church, despite a request from Williams that he refrain from doing so. A group of Episcopal bishops will host two receptions for Robinson outside the Lambeth Conference grounds so other Anglican bishops can meet and speak with him.

Jefferts Schori said she didn't ask Robinson to refrain from preaching and said his presence on the outskirts the conference "doesn't make my life more difficult." "I think it's an opportunity for others to meet him as a human being, as a member of this church, as an honored member of this church," she said.

Liberal Christians believe that committed same-sex relationships are permitted under the Bible's social justice teachings. Conservatives disagree - and they are a majority in the 77 million-member Anglican fellowship.

"Some people think that you can read the Bible without understanding the original context and simply take literally what you read. We will interpret - and it's an important part of faithful living," Jefferts Schori said. "To assume there is only one way of reading is hubris."

To prepare for the meeting, the presiding bishop said she has been speaking and praying with other Episcopal leaders. She is urging them to have realistic expectations for the event…."Conversations that are challenging can't be solved in one meeting," she said. "These issues aren't going to be finished by the end of the summer."


Sounds like it will be a hot summer at Lambeth!

Blessings

Seraph

I Love TEC
















I love the Episcopal Church, and in spite of the desirability of modern ecumenism, perhaps I secretly hope that I may die in her arms. I love her not conditionally or with calculation, not with careful reservations, but freely, joyfully, wholeheartedly.

I love the stone-and-brick stateliness of her old city parishes, even when they get down at the heels because “the neighborhood has changed.” And her tatty little small-town churches, smelling faintly musty and damp, kept going somehow in the face of great challenges by devoted, self-giving souls. And her gleaming, spanking-fresh suburban churches too, whose modern architecture speaks of the unending creativity of the Spirit.

I love her high-church places with their clouds of smoke from the incense pot and their chants. And no less do I love her low-church parishes, all furniture polish and gleaming brass and memorial tablets, some still with the restrained but curiously exuberant dignity of choral Morning Prayer.

I love her Book of Common Prayer, her firm doctrine and emphasis on sound learning, her devotion to scripture and tradition, and the glorious cadences of her language. But I love too the freedom that she grants her children, her openness to the new, her breadth of humanity, her expansive love, learned at the feet of Christ.

I love the bright young families proudly ranged in their pews on Sunday morning, and the elegant elderly who have seen it all, and the sparse little congregations on weekdays whose hushed devotion to their Lord is an almost palpable radiance. And her old priests whose eyes show the compassion taught them in a lifetime, and her young priests who are so sure that the world can be won in five years at the outside.

I love the names of her heroes—Cranmer, Hooker, Julian, Pusey, Gore, Underhill, Lewis, Seabury, Breck, DeKoven. And a hundred others, including some private ones of my own.

I love the letters to The Living Church that begin, “Dear Sir: It is high time . . ..” And the solemn verbiage with which the Executive Council launches a new project, the billowing sleeves of the bishops’ rochets, and the whole mad range of possible headgear that clerics can wear. I even love the battered Prayer Books in the pew racks that are sometimes confused with Hymnals.

I love the eccentric ladies in city parishes who dress in liturgical colors. And the uproarious stories about departed dignitaries that are told whenever the clergy gather and have time for small talk.

I love the Holy Communion, and the beauty of holiness, and the hands of young and old reverently raised to receive the sacrament. I really can’t help it. I don’t know if everybody ought to be an Episcopalian; it may be that other people feel as strongly about their Churches as I do about mine. I do know that I love the Episcopal Church and that I am sworn to her, forsaking all others.

I’m glad of it. And it isn’t denominational loyalty or sectarian spirit or party fervor or naiveté about her imperfections. It’s love.

Written originally by the Rev. James Pearson, edited by the Rev. Don Henning, and further edited by The Rt. Rev. Henry N. Parsley Jr.

I found this so very nice. Being in my "first love" as a newcomer to the Episcopal Church, I hope to love my new home this very much.

blessings

Seraph

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Living without Illegals....













What if we threw out all the illegal immigrants?
By Shirley Skeel

At least 12 million illegal immigrants live in the U.S. Most pick crops, wash dishes, build houses, cut lawns and do other jobs for between $6 and $15 an hour. They make up about 5% of the total U.S. work force. But … What if we threw them all out?

Lettuce and strawberries would rot in the fields. Dirty dishes would pile up in restaurants. Thousands of farmers and builders would go bust. Predator aircraft drones would prowl the Mexican border. And chunks of Los Angeles and Houston would look like ghost towns.

The biggest losers would be middle-class families with two working parents, living in high-immigrant states such as California, Texas, Florida or New York. Why? They would pay more for food, housing, entertainment and child care as a shortage of low-skilled workers drove up some wages, and therefore, some prices. Meantime, their own pay would remain the same. What's more, the ripple effect of thousands of businesses shrinking or closing for lack of staff might put one of the parents out of a job. Not to mention the garbage collection going to pot and no one to polish the missus' nails.....

People often fail to look at the practical consequences of their rethoric...would this not be a sight..! Seems like comprehensive inmigration reform allowing undocumented workers to regularize their status would be much more practical and humane.

blessings

Seraph

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Episcopales Latinos!


Nuevo Amanecer represents 'A New Dawn' for Hispanic and Latino ministries

By Nan Ross, July 02, 2008

An Episcopal Church conference on Hispanic and Latino ministry underway this week near Atlanta has gathered more than 200 people from diverse Spanish-speaking communities in eight countries to share in the challenges and blessings of their ministries and chart a course for continued growth.

"A New Dawn -- Nuevo Amanecer -- Together We Grow and Are Strengthened," represents the first time in six years that Episcopalians engaged in Hispanic and Latino ministries have come together. The entire program is offered in Spanish, with English translation available throughout.

At the opening Eucharist June 30, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori encouraged participants to examine "Why are we here? What is our mission? What is our vocation as Christian brothers and sisters?" And she reminded them, "Jesus' ministry belongs to all people who are baptized, not just bishops and clergy."

In her sermon, preached in Spanish, Jefferts Schori used Old and New Testament lessons for the Feast of St. Peter and St. Paul. Both readings use shepherds and sheep as metaphors to convey the vision of God, she said. And the vision of God "involves caring for all of the sheep, which means offering justice for all.

"It is our role, our work, to raise a strong voice in the wilderness," she said. "Only with a strong voice will we be able to challenge injustice."

Pastoral care is one of the more urgent topics being discussed. With tougher immigration laws being implemented in various parts of the country, a great deal of Hispanic and Latino ministry involves people who are feeling the pain of families torn apart by a legal system that's not as tolerant as it once was.

"Families are being divided because in the same family some are residents and some are not," said Soto.

"What is the church called to do?" Soto said. "The great Anglican theologian Richard Hooker told us to look to scripture, tradition and reason. The Hebrew scripture says the alien shall be as a citizen; the alien shall be given food and treated as if born here. We are too far from that concept. We are Episcopalians, and we have made the promise that we will treat every human being with dignity."

...

It was wonderful

Blessings

Seraph

Friday, June 27, 2008

Cuba Says No To Gay Pride



Cuban security agents detain gay activists, cancel parade

Posted on Thu, Jun. 26, 2008
By STEVE ROTHAUS



Gay dissidents in Cuba report that a planned gay-rights rally Wednesday was canceled after government security officers detained nine organizers. "The march was not able to take place because the government stopped our leaders," said Ron Brenesky, a Miami Cuban who heads the Unity Coalition, South Florida's largest Latin gay rights group.

"Our brothers and sisters in Cuba, they are not alone," said Brenesky, who spoke with gay activists in Cuba by cellphone Wednesday evening. Unity Coalition members gathered for the phone call at Club Azucar on Southwest 32nd Avenue in Little Havana.Dissident Ignacio Estrada Cepero told Brenesky and the others that he was detained early Wednesday before the planned rally in Havana. Security guards told him he didn't have permission to leave his home province of Santa Clara, Brenesky said.

Cuban Aliomar Janjaque was put on house arrest after being warned not to gather in a park with other gay dissidents, he told Unity Coalition members. The park was taken over by security forces, Janjaque said.

This bit of news from Cuba in the aftermath of the Supreme Courts legalization of gay marriages in California makes for interesting conversation. Understandibly many people of faith find it reprehensible that the courts should be defining marriage yet I wonder ...!

In some of the comments I have been hearing, it almost sounds as if some family upholding , Christ praising, God and neighbour loving folk fall on the same side of the Cuban government as it regards to gays...better to keep them out of sight!

When Christians seem to be on the same side as opressors, it is time to seriously pray and reflect on wether it is the spirit of Christ , or prejudice and distaste for the choices of others which motivates our actions and words.

Blessings

Seraph