Priest Must Decide Between Episcopal Priesthood and Islam
1. Bishop corrects priest who announced, "I am both Muslim and Christian"
The June 2007 newspaper for the Seattle-area Episcopal Diocese of Olympia had an article on Ann Holmes Redding, proclaiming her "both a practicing Muslim and an Episcopal priest." The Seattle Times followed up, and paraphrased Diocese of Olympia Bishop Vincent Warner (identified as Redding's bishop) as saying "he accepts Redding as an Episcopal priest and a Muslim, and that he finds the interfaith possibilities exciting."
Now it turns out that Redding is actually a priest under the Diocese of Rhode Island. Bishop Geralyn Wolf doesn't find the interfaith possibilities so exciting, and announced Thursday that Redding is undergoing church discipline.
"After meeting with her I issued a Pastoral Direction giving her the opportunity to reflect on the doctrines of the Christian faith, her vocation as a priest, and what I see as the conflicts inherent in professing both Christianity and Islam," Wolf wrote in an e-mail message to clergy and diocesan leaders. "During the next year she is not to exercise any of the responsibilities and privileges of an Episcopal priest or deacon. Other aspects of the Pastoral Direction will remain private."
"I'm deeply saddened, but I've always said I would abide by the rulings of my bishop," Redding told The Seattle Times today. "I understand that one of my options would be to voluntarily leave the priesthood The church is going to have to divorce me if it comes to that. I'm not going to go willingly."
Warner tells the paper that he still accepts Redding as an Episcopal priest and a Muslim, but says Wolf's pastoral direction is "a good way to have a timeout and provide an opportunity for Ann to continue to teach and at the same time take a look at her relationship both with the Episcopal Church and the Christian faith and Islam."
What will she continue to teach? Turns out that she'll be teaching theology at Seattle University, a Jesuit school.
2. ELCA showdown
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America said Thursday that the church had followed through on a February disciplinary committee decision to remove Bradley Schmeling from the ministry because he engages in homosexual behavior. The disciplinary committee had recommended that the denomination wait to remove Schmeling until after its national meeting in August, and urged the denomination to allow gay clergy. Schmeling says he refuses to leave St. John's Lutheran Church in Druid Hills, Georgia.
3. ACLU sues over courthouse Jesus icon
Jesus pictures seem to be the latest hot religious image to fight over in government buildings. Last year, Bridgeport High School in West Virginia fought to keep a copy of Warner Sallman's "Head of Christ" until the painting was stolen and the school decided not to replace it.
Now the ACLU is suing over an icon in the Slidell, Louisiana, City Court building. The icon shows Jesus with an open book, and is displayed with the message, "To Know Peace, Obey These Laws."
4. Evan Almighty deemed a bomb
The Los Angeles Times sounds a bit gleeful over the lack of enthusiasm for Evan Almighty. "Karma may not be a part of Christian theology, but it's awfully tempting to apply it to 'Evan Almighty's' underwhelming reception at the box office," Jay Fernandez writes. "With its uneasy mixture of juvenile pratfall humor and shallow piety, the Most Expensive Comedy Ever Made isn't connecting with as many of the film faithful as the filmmakers hoped. The wreckage left in the wake of the screenplay's development a more entertaining story than the film itself, if as convoluted as the bloodlines in Genesis may hint at a little divine retribution."
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