April 18, 2014

Prophet Jim Wallis and the Ecclesia of Economic Ignorance

Jim Wallis

Wallis poses as a centrist but his economic prescriptions are hard-left with lots of self-congratulatory "prophetic" moralizing thrown in. +++++++++++++++++++ By John Couretas. Acton Institute This class of the very poor – those who are just on the borders of pauperism or fairly over the borders – is rapidly growing. Wealth is increasing very fast; poverty, even pauperism, is increasing still more rapidly. – Washington Gladden, Applied Christianity (1886) For three decades, we have experienced a social engineered inequality that is really a sin – of biblical proportions. We have indeed seen class warfare, but this war has been waged by the wealthy and their political allies against the poor and the middle class. – Jim Wallis, Rediscovering Values: On Wall Street, Main Street, and Your Street (2010) One of Jim Wallis’ long running aims at Sojourners is to cast himself as a moderate or centrist (God is not a Republican. Or a Democrat). This is howling nonsense to anyone who … [Read more...]

Three articles on the economic meltdown in Greece

One article is even from the Huffington Post, which (almost) invariably confuses moral posturing with clear thinking. Send money to Greece? Have you lost your marbles? Sidney Morning Herald Cleaning up Greece's Augean Stable Huffington Post. Note the fourth to last paragraph about potential cooperation between Russia and Greece. Man who broke the Bank of England, George Soros, 'at centre of hedge funds plot to cash in on fall of the euro' London Daily Mail. BTW, did you know more Americans read the online versions of English newspapers than the English? … [Read more...]

Greece as Political Time Bomb

David P. Goldman posted this today on First Things's blog First Thought.  He describes the economic situation in Greece and sketches out some of the social causes and possible outcomes.  In my heart I want what I read here to not be true--but I suspect my hopes are misplaced. In Christ, +Fr Gregory On Feb. 12, I posted this item at my "Inner Workings" blog at Asia Times and on the Spengler blog at First Things: Although Greece is an EC member, its finances and political system have the character of a banana republic. EC membership, though, enabled Greece to borrow far more money than any banana republic, such that the country's debt-to-GDP ratio is about triple that of Argentina just before the latter's bankruptcy in 2000. And because Greece is an EC member, the size and adumbrations of a bankruptcy would be much, much larger than that of any Latin American country. Earlier I had assumed that we were watching a negotiation: Brussels would shout "Never!," the Greeks … [Read more...]

Archbishop of Canterbury Opens Trinity Wall Street Economics Conference

Institute of Religion and Democracy

BREAKING NEWS! John Couretas has an excellent analysis over at the Acton Blog with video. Back to our report... I don't want to turn this into beat up on the Anglicans day but, as long as we are discussing the presumptuousness of religious professionals, here's another. Amid the backdrop of an ongoing economic recession, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams gave the keynote address at the annual conference hosted by the Episcopal Church’s affluent Wall Street outpost. “Building An Ethical Economy: Theology and the Marketplace” was the 40th annual event hosted by Trinity Wall Street’s Trinity Institute. [...] While Williams warned against materialism's dangers, his respondent, a former Wall Street Journal editor, warned against theologians who ignore the moral need for wealth creation. According to Lee, theologians, especially on the left, tend to emphasize the distribution of wealth – how fair it is – economists tend to emphasize the generation of wealth – how … [Read more...]

More evidence that the EP’s global warming stance was reckless

We warned the Ecumenical Patriarch that endorsing the global warming agenda was reckless. Anyone with eyes to see clearly saw that global warming (since renamed "climate change" -- a harbinger that the effort might freeze over) was a political, not scientific, enterprise designed to wrestle control of economies away from nation-states and hand it over to non-elected bureaucracies. Now more evidence about the massive corruption surrounding global warming has emerged. The American Thinker ran a piece (see: Climategate: CRU Was But the Tip of the Iceberg) that alleges fraud from more research institutions that told us that global warming was a real threat including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS). It will take time for the reports to filter into the mainstream, but once they do, you can bet this house will come crashing down like ice breaking from a glacier. The Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Greek … [Read more...]

Calls to “Resist Europe’s secularization” made at Taizé youth meeting

The Presbyterian Outlook (ENI) — Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomeos I, a spiritual leader who represents Eastern Orthodox Christianity, has urged young Christians to resist secularization in Europe in a message to an ecumenical meeting that was greeted by global and regional leaders. "After the fall of the Berlin Wall, Europe no longer recognizes the place for Christianity that history dedicated to it — it is as if Christianity were being expelled from the history of Europe," said Bartholomeos I, the Istanbul-based Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople. The patriarch made his appeal in a message sent to a five-day European Youth Meeting, organized by France's ecumenical Taizé Community in Poznan, Poland. "We wish to recall here that the identity of Europe is primarily Christian and cannot be considered without this legacy," he said in his message to the December 29 - January 2 gathering. "The secularization of Europe here takes the form of a rejection of the God of … [Read more...]

Roundup of Green Patriarch videos: Biden, Reid and Coca-Cola

Welcome Remarks at the Nov. 4 Vice President Dinner. [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RmZT6PiZsSA[/youtube] … [Read more...]

Going global with the Cola Bear

(L to R) Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the Coca-Cola Polar Bear, and Archbishop Demetrios

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and Archbishop Demetrios paid a visit to Coca-Cola world headquarters last week to meet with Muhtar Kent, president and chief executive officer of the company. It is a striking image here: Two hierarchs from the ancient see of Constantinople meeting with the mascot of a company that is the symbol par excellence of economic and cultural globalization. One of the pleasant surprises in the Patriarch's book "Encountering the Mystery" was his assertion that "the Orthodox Church is not opposed to an economic progress that serves humanity as a whole." This is about 180 degrees from what you usually hear from Old World hierarchs, who so often condemn globalization and its chief architect, "the West." In truth, there's a bit of that in Bartholomew's views, but more balance. Unfortunately, like other Orthodox hierarchs, he continues to view economic activity as a zero sum game -- whoever gains does so by taking from someone else. There's no real understanding … [Read more...]

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew: Unity in God’s Time

From "Unity as Calling, Conversion and Mission," the opening address of His All Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew to the Plenary of the World Council of Churches’ Commission on Faith and Order event, "Called to be One Church" (Crete, Greece, October 7, 2009): We should not be frustrated by our human limitations, which unfortunately determine our disagreements and divisions. Our ongoing and persistent pursuit of unity is a testimony to the fact that what we seek will occur in God’s time and not our own; it is, by the same token, the fruit of heavenly grace and divine kairos. [ ... ] ... genuine humility demands from all of us a sense of openness to the past and the future; in other words, much like the ancient god Janus, we are called to manifest respect for the time-tested ways of the past and regard for the heavenly city that we seek (cf. Heb. 13.14). This “turning” toward the past and the future is surely part and parcel of conversion. [ ... ] ... it is … [Read more...]

Green Patriarch backs UN climate change framework

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Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I weighs in on the Bangkok Climate Change conference where delegates were greeted with “stern pep talks": Istanbul, Turkey, 9/28/2009 In view of the international negotiations on climate change commencing in Bangkok, Thailand, and only two months before the crucial United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, we urge the international community to undertake courageous commitments for the prevention of the most severe consequences of global warming. The accomplishment of a good agreement within the framework of the international negotiations in Copenhagen does not solely constitute a moral imperative for the conservation of God's creation. It is also a route for economic and social sustainability. Taking action against climate change should not be understood as a financial burden, but as an important opportunity for a healthier planet, to the benefit of all humanity and particularly of those states whose economic development is … [Read more...]

Asceticism — The Cure for Consumerism

A report from Wells Fargo Securities shows a "record drop" in consumer credit this summer. "Despite the cash-for-clunkers program starting in the last week of July, nonrevolving credit fell at a staggering 11.7 percent annualized pace," analyst Yasmine Kamaruddin wrote. Indeed, much of the decline was attributed to a spike in charge offs, which points to the ongoing, widespread distress in economic life. But here's the thing, and it's very simple. The reason that major sectors of the economy such as autos and housing have suffered historic declines -- indeed in some cases been on the verge of collapse -- is that consumers suddenly stopped buying what companies were selling. Certainly, much of this pull back can be explained by growing joblessness and fear about the future. But I suspect that there's also a cultural shift going on, which may continue long after the economy bounces back. In the future, we may see less consumption, especially for things like the McMansions and … [Read more...]

Green Patriarch: Human Economy Failing

One would think that, having established a worldwide reputation as the Green Patriarch, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I -- and his advisers -- would approach the writing of a statement on Orthodox Christian stewardship of the environment with a certain gravitas, a sense of responsibility to those in the Church searching for answers on the weighty and complex problem of how to live in this Creation, deeply troubled but still productive and beautiful. One would also hope that these environmental statements from the Phanar would be informed with the sort of intelligence and insights that display some familiarity with environmental science, economics, public policy, the political realities of living in advanced democracies, and the awareness that these problems are often technical and leave ground for well-meaning Orthodox Christians to debate or even disagree on the particulars. This sort of approach to understanding environmental problems does not in any way undermine the … [Read more...]