Recently received this from the web hosting service of this site, and am in hearty agreement:
You may have heard about Protect-IP (PIPA) and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) currently under consideration in Congress. If passed, among other things, SOPA requires Web hosting companies like 1&1 to police websites in order to prevent them from communicating copyrighted information on the internet. We would like to make sure you are aware of 1&1’s official position on SOPA.
As a global provider of domains and hosting services, we oppose the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) or Protect-IP (PIPA) Acts currently under consideration. While we observe the concerns of those who are troubled by the potential impact on protecting intellectual property online, 1&1 feels there is an urgent need to strike a balance between dissemination of and access to information and protection against its illegal use within the public domain.
The US government is currently reviewing SOPA and PIPA as possible ways to prevent unlawful distribution of copyrighted materials available on the internet. These current proposals, if passed, would allow for significant interventions into the technological and economical basis of the internet. This could put the vast benefits and economic opportunities of entirely legal and legitimate e-business models at risk. Generally, companies offering technological services should not be forced to be the executor of authority in such matters. If they were to act upon every implication of content infringement without any judicial research into the actual usage of its customers, the integrity behind their customer’s freedom of information and speech would be enormously harmed.
1&1 Internet, Inc. has worked through associations and with related companies to ensure that these aspects are taken into account. Thus, we welcome the serious consideration by the US Congress of the potential harmful effects on Internet freedom should SOPA and / or PIPA be passed as law, and hope the stability of the Internet’s domain name system (DNS) remains intact.
We encourage every Internet user concerned about these plans to contribute to the debate and to raise their voice with their local representatives in the House or Senate. One way to express your concerns could be to use one of the websites that emerged to protect user interests in the current legislative debate, such as http://fightforthefuture.org/.
At 1&1 we support you, our customer, and an open internet. If you find that you are supporting a company that encourages SOPA and wish to drop them as a provider, please follow the simple instructions contained on the website linked below.
Thank you for being one of our extremely valued customers, and for taking the time to read this.
Air Force One had just landed in Manchester, N.H., on a brisk Tuesday morning last month when President Obama made an admission to Valerie B. Jarrett, his close friend and senior adviser.
“I just called Reggie,” Mr. Obama said. It was his first domestic trip without Reggie Love, the former Duke University basketball player who had been his constant companion and presidential “body man” until he left in November to study for his M.B.A. full time. “I miss him,” the president confessed.
If you have followed Barack Hussein Obama’s meteoric rise to power, you’ve noticed that anyone asking questions about his background typically finds him or herself on the receiving end of the Alinsky Attack Machine. Any criticism of Obama is called RAAACIST! Anyone who inquires about the many mysteries surrounding his “missing years” or his activities while in college and in his early days in Chicago is called every name in the book in the efforts to discredit that questioner.
Why is that?
What’s Barack Obama hiding…and what is the Left going to such lengths to keep hidden?
Could it all boil down to something as simple as Barack Obama being gay?
I’ll let Kevin DuJan expand on this; he’s in a lot better position to know the truth. His primary objective in this is to show the difference between the way the media handles the sexual misadventures of a Herman Cain, using unsubstantiated sources, and the way it handles the same situation with Barack Obama. You say that Cain’s allegations were proven…bingo!
No man can do everything he wishes. Choices must be made…For our personal decision making we should conduct a little civilian triage:
Who can’t live without you, or you without them?
Who would be nice to help if you don’t have to neglect the first group?
Who are those who will be fine with or without you?
Why is it what we often give the most of our time to those who care about us the least, and the least of our time to those who care about us the most? That’s why we should decide in advance what our priorities ought to be. That’s why we should prioritize everything on the basis of who will cry at our funeral. (p. 159, emphasis mine)
RTÉ newsreader Anne Doyle has read her final broadcast tonight, exactly 33 years to the day since she first appeared on national television.
She read an eight-minute main evening news bulletin at 8.50pm, shorter and earlier than usual because of the Christmas schedule.
The broadcast ended with a special report which looked back at her long and distinguished career at Montrose.
I must confess, I’ve been a fan of RTÉ (Radio Telefis Éireann, the national broadcaster of Ireland) since the late 1990’s. They were one of the first to do consistent Internet broadcasting of their news services. Unencumbered by the silly tax-driven rules that restrict the BBC and desirous to keep an extensive diaspora bonded to home, it makes for interesting viewing. I first learned of the Columbine tragedy while watching RTÉ.
Because of the time difference, it was easier to watch the 9.00 news, and Anne Doyle was the main newsreader for many years. (Broadcasting the Angelus before 6.01 news was way cool, IMHO.) I was struck at her serious, almost deadpan delivery. Those who sing “When Irish Eyes are Smiling” never saw Anne Doyle read the news. But her professionalism was undeniable. CBS would have done well to emulate RTÉ in their selection criteria of the first American woman to anchor a network newscast; it would have avoided the fiasco of a perky lightweight like Katie Couric.
The fact that a small country could best The Greatest Nation on Earth in such a matter is not only a tribute to the Celtic “gift of gab” that we see repeated here on a regular basis (think of how many Irish and Scots-Irish names dominate talk radio here.) It’s also a tribute to RTÉ’s judgement as well.
Best wishes to her in her future endeavours. In the meanwhile, RTÉ News online remains an excellent source of news, especially since it includes (in the evening in the U.S.) Euronews. Since Europe in general and Ireland in particular are at the centre of the current debt crisis, it makes for compelling–and free–viewing.
This is the time of year when we think of, amongst other things, all the things we were doing and experiencing at this time of the year in days past. For me, this Christmas is a milestone in one respect: forty years ago now, I was in New Orleans, along with my entire family, on a most un-Christmaslike mission.
Although people have definite associations with why to visit the Crescent City, for me and my family New Orleans has always loomed large for other reasons. My father’s mother was from there, and she came too, lamenting what a dump the place had become since she had grown up in the Garden District. A good deal of our family business’ sales went to New Orleans and South Louisiana, so there were business calls to make (we even made a side trip to Morgan City, see photo below.)
This trip, however, was in a league of its own: after four months of traction and messing around back home, the doctors had decided that drastic action was needed on my mother’s intense back pain. So off we went to the Ochsner Hospital, and two weeks before Christmas she had a spinal fusion. Initial recovery from this was simple but excruciating: she had to be completely immobile while the fusion started to heal into the spine. So we retained round the clock duty nurses and waited until the fusion was strong enough where she could be flown home.
My mother was never one to expect (or really want) the “24/7” family room vigil that is ingrained in Southern culture, so when we weren’t seeing Dad’s customers, dining at Commander’s Palace (as my great-grandparents had done,) hitting the Café du Monde or experiencing our first microwave oven (at Ochsner’s automat) we were out in our dad’s rental car. My brother believed that there were three types of cars made in the U.S.—Pontiac, Pontiac and Pontiac—so the fact that we had a Bonneville was a special treat. South Louisiana isn’t the best place to really put the pedal to the metal, but we did our best, and we were amazed at just how fast the car would go. Evidently oblivious to the kind of hurts Judge Perez’ boys could put us in, after another fast run we pulled over, our curiosity getting the best of us. We were incredulous when we popped the hood and discovered that the car had a 455 cu.in. engine. Amazed they would equip a rental car in this way, we now understood the performance.
That Christmas, unique in many ways, was a “last Christmas” for several reasons. It was my brother’s last Christmas before graduating from military school. It was our last Christmas to live in Palm Beach. It was also my last Christmas as an Episcopalian. Before we celebrated our Lord’s birth again, my brother graduated and went on to maritime academy, we moved down the coast, and I swam the Tiber, where I stayed for most of the decade.
It’s only been in the last decade when I meaningfully reconnected with my Anglican/Episcopal roots, and part of that has been a recent reading of L.P. Curtis’ Anglican Moods of the Eighteenth Century. It’s an interesting look at the two major threads of Anglican life and spirituality in the century the British Empire became the greatest in the world, even with the independence of the American colonies. It’s also before the Oxford Movement and the emergence of “unEnglish and unmanly” Anglo-Catholicism in the following century. On the Evangelical side, the central figure was John Wesley, whose Methodist movement eventually made its exit from the Church of England (and ultimately spawned the Wesleyan, Holiness and Pentecostal movements.) For the most part the figures on the Latitudinarian side such as Joseph Butler and John Tillotson are mere names to most other than Anglican specialists, but one is immediately familiar to political conservatives: John Locke.
The Methodists’ departure in England, and even more so the stampede out the narthex in the newly independent United States, left Latitudinarianism with the upper hand in the Anglican world. That was very much in evidence in the Episcopal Church I was raised in; in fact, it was one of the appeals the church had. It’s hard for Evangelicals outside of the Anglican/Episcopal world to think of growing the church via the determined apathy that one found in traditional Episcopalianism, but until the upheavals of the 1960’s, that’s exactly what happened.
It’s tempting to think that the Latitudinarians’ chief mission in life was to give the “box checkers” (to use a Catholic term) comfort, but that’s not entirely justified. The aforementioned champions of nice English religion were very interested in defending Christianity against the attacks present at the time, principally deism at home and atheism across the Channel. Their defence tended to run in an intellectual way, albeit nowhere near as rigorous as their Roman Catholic counterparts. But defence it was. They (especially Locke) were concerned with the proper ordering and conduct of society, and the principles traditionally associated with American polity bring us to owe a debt of gratitude for this if nothing else.
So why could I not bring myself to continue in a Latitudinarian way? There were and are several reasons for this.
The first is that the New Testament I read demands a lot more from a person than the Latitudinarians would allow. That was especially evident in a place like Palm Beach.
The second is that the Episcopal Church, or at least the “radicals” I started to run into in prep school, had stopped believing in it and were more attuned to “social justice” issues, to say nothing of “situational ethics” and other new causes. An institution which abandons its core beliefs and then demands institutional loyalty is asking too much.
The third is that the world around me couldn’t be survived with just a “nice” religion. To really work, Latitudinarianism or other belief and practice like it requires ideal conditions. Those ideal conditions weren’t to be found in a world which had (and still has) lost its senses. Such a religion also lacks “cred” in lower economic strata, which is why Wesley and his successors have made such headway there.
I still get the feeling that, in spite of—or maybe because of—all of the hard stands and institutional chaos of the last decade, many Anglicans inwardly yearn to return to the church of Butler, Tillotson, Locke or even Anthony Trollope. But that’s not the world we live in. Like the Bonneville that my brother and I cruised around our ancestral homeland in, the church needs spiritual horsepower to get where we are going, and that’s best found in the churches and movements that are Wesley’s progeny.
Let me take this opportunity wish all my visitors at Positive Infinity—especially those from the Anglican/Episcopal world, and of course my Roman Catholic and Orthodox friends, along with my fellow Wesleyan Pentecostals—a very blessed Christmas, as we celebrate our Saviour coming into the world.
During the first centuries of the church the greatest theological controversy sought to answer the question, “How is Jesus of Nazareth God?” A full discussion of the Christological developments can fill a library with books. I want to briefly address only one issue – the significance of Theotokos, which says that Mary is “God-bearer.” I remember this discussion in my theology class in seminary. Our professor insisted that Theotokos was improper and it is better to think of Mary as “mother of our Lord.” I must challenge that statement and affirm Mary as Theotokos.
Those who haven’t pitched 1500-2000 years of church history in order to make them feel singular about themselves know that one of the ways Nestorius propounded his broad-based dualism of the divine/human nature of Jesus Christ was to object to Mary being referred to as Theotokos, or Mother of God. Nestorius was shown the door over this, although churches which followed his idea flourished for many centuries from Iran to China.
The church’s apprehension about Nestorian dualism were justified. If we really believe that Jesus Christ is God in the flesh, that he is both human and divine, and that he is not spiritually schizophrenic, then we must proclaim that Mary is indeed the Mother of God, whether we believe that devotions to her are proper or not. This is true whether we are Chalcedonian or not.
During the Christological debates of the 3rd and 4th centuries the many controversies can be expressed in two words – Theotokos or Christotokos. Is Mary the mother of the Christ, or is Mary the mother of God? If Mary is Christotokos, the mother of the Christ, then when did Jesus become Christ? Maybe, Jesus was not God incarnate, but was later adopted or anointed as the son of God. If so, then Jesus is not of the same divine essence of the Father. To suggest that Mary is “mother of our Lord” falls into the same theological trap – that Jesus may not be the eternal Son. Christotokos cannot fully express the meaning of Jesus Christ. Mary is Theotokos – the mother of God. Theotokos affirms the fully divinity of Christ, that Jesus, the son of Mary, is of the same essence with the Father and Holy Spirit; that Jesus Christ is the union of eternal divinity and humanity. The union of God and human took place in the womb of the Virgin.
For those who are wondering what relevance this has in a day when the main focus seems to be on attendance and income, it can be shown that Islam is, in many ways, Nestorianism taken to its logical conclusion. The Qur’an is a document that shows a serious relationship with Nestorian concepts. This is especially true with Jesus Christ; Nestorius’ neat separation of Jesus’ human and divine natures ends up with Jesus losing the latter (sort of) in the pages of the Qur’an. A long running objection to Nestorianism is that it leads back to the complete denial of the divinity of Christ; Islam is the fulfilment of that objection.
That, of course, exposes one of the key weaknesses of Islam from a theological standpoint. It’s something I beat to death in My Lord and My God, but ultimately there is a great gap between an uncreated God and his creation. There must be something to connect the two. For Christians, the incarnate Christ is the ultimate connection, the connection that gives us a way back to God. With Islam, there is no such connection, thus there is no apparent rationale why or how God would care or interact with us.
Those who would emulate Nestorius in order to combat Marian devotions, as Nestorius did, are taking Christianity in a direction that we (and they) really don’t want to go. Can we excise this kind of thinking? If Allah wills it…
Before sunrise Thursday, just a handful of customers were waiting outside the new Palm Beach Publix, scheduled to open at 7 a.m.
By 6:50 a.m. the crowd had grown to about 50 people.
That’s when store manager Nick Abiusi decided to let the throng in, handing them the latest Publix circulars and greeting many of the shoppers by name. “We’re happy to be back,” he said to many of them. “It’s great to see you.”
A half-hour later, there were lines at all 10 checkout stands and at least 500 people were making their way around the new super market.
I know I spend way too much time on this, but Publix has become a Palm Beach institution almost as much as the Everglades Club. The fact that the nation’s richest zip code should have such a love affair with a chain grocery store–one that started with its original opening in 1971–is a lesson to everyone, as I noted five years ago in The Event of the Season.
What I am about to say isn’t going to sit well with many people. It’s based on some very deep convictions of mine regarding the whole course of Christianity these days which have developed both in my years of involvement in the whole Anglican blogosphere and in my work for the Church of God. But it’s time to lay some things out.
It’s instructive to go back to the end of the last millennium, when it became apparent to some in the Episcopal Church that they were headed to a dead end re being in an orthodox church. (Why this took so long is beyond me, but I digress…) The AMiA was the first tangible organisation in this round of North American Anglican churches started to address this problem. Unlike previous churches, it had the advantage of, via the two primates (one from Rwanda and one from Singapore,) of being in communion with the Archbishop of Canterbury, which is a necessary prerequisite for being a part of the Anglican Communion. The AMiA has been successful up to now in fulfilling its mission, and it has had many who have followed its pattern by seeking communion with other provinces in communion with Canterbury.
In the course of this process, which has dominated the Anglican/Episcopal world for more than a decade and is arguably the most compelling story going on in Christianity these days, the whole strength of African Christianity, Anglican and otherwise, became apparent to everyone. North American Anglicans have used this to construct what is still very much a work in progress: the creation of an Anglican province on these shores that is in communion with the Archbishop of Canterbury.
The actions of same Archbishop, however, should have given pause to the enthusiasm. It’s not difficult to show Rowan Williams’ lack of commitment (and that’s putting it politely) for a truly orthodox-centred Anglican Communion. And even if he were so inclined, his government is not. As the official state church, the Church of England is about to get equality legislation shoved down its throat. The Anglican Communion has a doctrinally unstable centre, and coupled with the obvious orientation of the Episcopalians, the whole concept of an orthodox Anglican communion (even with the over-rated Covenant) centred in the “First World” is marginal at best and delusional at worst.
What should be the centrepiece of any Anglican organisation in North America that wants any connection with the rest of the Communion is the connection with the Global South. Implicit in that is the realisation that the centre of Christianity has moved. Also implicit in that is the idea that, if the centre of population of Christianity has moved, the centre of authority should move also, if not immediately in a process facilitated by those of us in what is now “the mission field” (a concept embodied in the AMiA’s name and original purpose.) Unfortunately this is where Murphy’s move shows itself in its worst light.
There are many complex issues that remain to be unravelled here, but it seems to me that some unfortunate attitudes have surfaced along the way. There are issues of financial accountability; these should be sorted out in a methodical manner. Murphy’s language of being Moses leading the children of Israel out of Egypt says more than he probably wants it to. It shows a creeping messianic complex in the making, and it also says that his Rwandan opponents are Pharaohs. His reference to reverse colonialism is equally unfortunate. Face it: the Anglican Communion was brought to Africa as part of the British colonial effort, even though it’s spilled over into the colonies of others (Rwanda was a Belgian colony before its independence.) The simple fact–and one that Murphy and others conveniently forget–is that a colonial experience is an unpleasant one for those who are being colonised. It’s amazing that Anglicanism has done as well as it has in Africa with that kind of legacy. (The West Indies, with the additional legacy of slavery, is another story altogether.) A friend of mine from a former British colony complained about British colonial rule; my response was, “You see how much we thought of it.” Evidently Murphy has forgotten that part of American history in his quest to lead the “British church” on these shores out of “Egypt.”
The fact is that a little “reverse colonialism” is appropriate in this situation. Didn’t the Rwandan connection allow the AMiA to say that it was in communion with Canterbury? Where has the abandonment of the faith been proceeding at an accelerating rate? Why is it that, just because we have the money and tend to be full of ourselves, that we should automatically assume to have the right to be autocephalous? Isn’t it time to face the fact that we as Christians (putting the Anglican part aside for a second) are part of what is now a Third World religion? The last questions aren’t just for Murphy and his colleagues, but for every Christian denomination and organisation who still thinks that the rest of the world is the “mission field,” with concomitant, U.S. centred organisation.
At this point the best thing that Murphy could do is to integrate the AMiA into the ACNA. At least it would give some higher, unifying purpose to a move which only looks to divide at this point. That isn’t a simple business either; North American Anglicanism is divided over WO and even more over women bishops, but I think there are other less noble motives behind continued balkanisation.
As for the Rwandans, I’m inclined to think they are deeply hurt over this episode. I can’t much blame them. They’re finding out that both gratitude and loyalty are scarce commodities on these shores, something that those of us who live here have known for a long time. The impression this leaves is that the orthodox Anglicans in North America are no more reliable than their revisionist counterparts, and that’s an unfortunate legacy. It’s one that will come back to haunt us. In a society whose upper reaches are firmly in the driver’s seat and who really don’t want us any more, we need all the friends we can get, and this isn’t a good way to get them.
This is the time of year when many academic institutions wind down their semesters. That’s certainly the case with UTC where I teach. It’s time to reflect on a couple of things that have transpired during the calendar year which, in their own way, deflect a good deal of conventional wisdom about those who are “coming up.”
The first took place last Spring. The reality of violence on campus is one of the sadder aspects of college life, but administrations have to take it seriously. Just before an end of class, the alarm went off: it was a bomb threat. The general result of this is that the building is evacuated and the faculty and students that need to re-enter the building in the foreseeable future stand in the parking lot and wait until the all-clear sign. Mercifully UTC has not had a bomb go off in living memory, although we had one threat called in by a student who was afraid they would bomb an exam!
There’s one big upside to all of this: standing in the parking lot turns into a social event. It’s easy in academia to put on blinders and only interact with the same group of people all of the time. A bomb threat is an opportunity to catch up with people you don’t see very often, or in the case of students do so outside of the classroom. I had a student who went to an old-line, downtown church that has morphed into something of a “mega-church” (“mega” relative to the size of the community it’s in.) As a result of this they built a new multi-million dollar complex in a more suburban setting. But my student wasn’t all that pleased. As we were standing around, he confessed to me that he preferred the old church they were in because it had stained glass windows and he could look at them and enjoy them during the service.
Stained glass windows were, for centuries, Christianity’s visual presentation for most church goers. In an age of illiteracy, they taught the truths of the faith to many. They’ve been lampooned as stodgy and “churchy,” but it was interesting to hear a member of a generation raised online longing for stained glass windows. It may not put the lie to a lot of calls for “relevance” these days amongst church leaders, but it certainly puts things in a different perspective.
The second event I want to touch on wasn’t a bomb threat but was nevertheless explosive in its own right. The university’s diversity department sponsored a panel discussion entitled The Science of 9/11. When it quickly became evident that this was turning into an advocacy session for the “Truthers,” and the main target was our former civil engineering department head (who was on the panel, largely agreeing with our government’s assessment of the causes of the collapse of the WTC) my students who were there became the main opposition to the procession of Truthers, whose main comeback was “Google it.”
Subsequent discussions revealed that my students took a more critical view of what came up in a search engine than many of my contemporaries. The Internet is a tremendous–essential really–tool for research and news gathering, but my students took a more “trust but verify” type of approach. I suppose my contemporaries, triumphant in successfully turning on a computer, are more gullible about the quality of the information found therein.
A few weeks later our library had a surplus book sale. We are about to get a new library, and the library department wanted to trim the collection of books with little interest, some of which hadn’t been checked out in twenty years. For a seasoned engineer, there were some real gems to be found, but I have spotted stacks of books which some of my (and other engineering) students had bought.
Why would they do this, other than the books were cheap? Engineers are, on the whole, a cautious group. They want their designs to be successful (and the legal system gives them plenty of additional motivation as well.) They understand that a) science and technology does march forward, but b) many of the underlying principles are still the same, and c) old material contains experience that may be “lost in the shuffle” now. Engineers, to the greatest extent possible, want to avoid the mistakes of others or, put otherwise, want to benefit from the wisdom of others. If an old book contains an idea or a caution that saves money or prevents failure, it’s worth remembering, even if the newer material overlooks it.
My office at the university is in what I refer to as the “Textbook Museum.” It’s filled with old textbooks, but they’re still valuable reference materials and, as some of my students have pointed out, better written and edited than what is out now. Unfortunately too much of our educational establishment is mesmerised with the newness of technology and the fear of looking old that, once again, we risk losing a great deal of accumulated wisdom that our students really need–and want–to have on hand.
The generation that was raised not to trust anyone over 30 is now far past that, but we’re still locked into the fear that we’ll be thrown into the trash can of history if we don’t always present the newest thing. What we need to present is that which endures, has meaning and works, and that’s especially important when we turn to the greatest “old” book of all.
The head of the Anglican Mission in America has been threatened with ecclesiastical discipline for contumacy. Unless Bishop Chuck Murphy repents of his disobedience and apologizes for his offensive statements within seven days, the Rwanda House of Bishops will assume that he has “made a de facto choice to withdraw as primatial vicar” of the AMiA.
In letter from the Rwandan House of Bishops to Bishop Murphy dated 30 Nov 2011, the AMiA leader was chastised for disobedience and abuse of office.
This issue is of special interest for me for a simple reason: in my teaching at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, all of the three full-time civil engineering faculty–including the Kenyan department head–are African. They are great people to work for, I could not ask for better. But they like team players; indeed, they expect it, as I implied in They Tell Us What to Do and We Do It. Murphy should have known that when he signed up to be a bishop in the AMiA. He needs to come to terms with them ASAP.
It’s true that the ACNA, birthed out of the efforts of several (mostly) African provinces, has its work cut out for it integrating all of these into one North American whole. Everyone who had any experience with church politics knew this going in. But let’s ask the stupid question: if Chuck Murphy can’t be a team player with those in Rwanda, how can he be one with his colleagues here?
After chronicling the sorry trip to the bottom by TAC Archbishop John Hepworth, it’s tempting to say that there’s something leeching out of the purple shirts of Anglican prelates that’s affecting their style of mind. Unfortunately that’s not the case; “egos inflatable to any size” is a disease that affects many of our Christian leaders, especially the Boomers who currently dominate the scene. The obsession with leadership is something that cuts across churches of all types and doctrinal tastes. But I don’t think that the “take the bull by the horns” style that’s so admired in this country is what Jesus had in mind when he used the shepherd analogy for a leader as opposed to a cattleman.