Friday, October 31, 2014

Our groanings, which cannot be uttered, rise to Him...

Silhouette by the Ocean
It is not necessary to maintain a conversation when we are in the presence of God. We can come into His presence and rest our weary souls in quiet contemplation of Him. Our groanings, which cannot be uttered, rise to Him and tell Him better than words how dependent we are upon Him. ...O. Hallesby image

Wicca goes to college; Empty Pews; What’s wrong with mindfulness?...more

Under Sharia: Women Get Punished For Resisting Being Raped  The Islamic State has just beheaded a woman who resisted being raped by an ISIS fighter. She killed the rapist and then was slaughtered for defending herself.

Dr. Phyllis Chesler points out that this isn’t uncommon under Islamic Sharia law. In fact, it is commonplace that under Sharia, a woman who resists being raped can be tortured or killed....

Wicca goes to college  Most people think of October 31 as Halloween, but for a rapidly growing number of Americans the date is celebrated as “Samhain” (saw - en), one of the eight Wiccan (and pagan) “sabbats.”

Wiccans and other pagans belong to one of the fastest growing religions in the United States. The 2012 U.S. census shows an increase in self-identified Wiccans from 8,000 in 1990, to 134,000 (2001), to 342,000 (2008). Those who call themselves pagan, but do not worship as Wiccans, numbered 140,000 in 2001 and grew to 340,000 in 2008.

Paganism and Wicca are highly individualized belief “systems” that today almost defy definition. Patti Wigington, a “soccer mom,” PTA vice-president, and witch from Ohio explains: “With no central authority, anyone who publishes a book or creates a Website, can say whatever they want about the faith.”...

Remembering the Holocaust after the Survivors are Gone  As aging Holocaust survivors gathered at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum to celebrate its 20th anniversary last year, a question hung in the air:
 
How will the world remember the Holocaust — the Nazis’ systematic murder of 6 million Jews —  when the last survivors are gone?
 
It’s a question Joshua M. Greene, the writer and producer of “Memory After Belsen,” grapples with in his new documentary that will premiere at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York on Nov. 20 to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi concentration camps.
 
“The further we get away from the actual events of history, the more difficult it will be to stimulate interest, the more difficult it will be to avoid the Holocaust fading into ancient lore,” said Greene...
 
Empty Pews
When I first saw the gothic chapel at Princeton University many years ago, I was quite taken aback. It was large, beautiful inside and out with a spectacular stained glass window over the altar, and seemed surprisingly Catholic for a university that I had always taken to be professionally secular, neutral and mainly disinterested in religious matters. Margaret Grubiak’s book offers a great deal of enlightenment on the unusual circumstances and controversies over chapel construction and gives intriguing thoughts on the reasons for their decline. When finished with the book, I actually wished for an extension of it into current times to see what has since been the fate of the “white elephants.” But presumably that will have to wait...

Anglican vicar posts 'Bless the Burqa' sign outside church and is shocked by the backlash   An Anglican vicar in Australia says he is "sickened" by the hate he has received in response to a sign he put up outside his church saying 'Bless the Burqa'...

What’s wrong with mindfulness? More than you might think
...One of the difficulties mindfulness will face as it sweeps across the globe is that it quite clearly in fact is a religion, however much it might shy away from the word. It’s remarkable the number of classes advertised with the caveat ‘No religious content’, which of course makes it palatable to the growing number who shy away from religion. It’s ritual for those who don’t pray; communal practice for the individualist. It’s non–doctrinal, non-prescriptive, non-demanding in terms of conduct apart from an insistence on not being judgmental. It seems to be the perfect religion for a Britain which is in full flight from its state church...

Albert Mohler: Halloween and the Dark Side — What Should Christians Think?

Halloween Pumpkins
Friday, October 31, 2014

Over a hundred years ago, the great Dutch theologian Hermann Bavinck predicted that the 20th century would “witness a gigantic conflict of spirits.” His prediction turned out to be an understatement, and this great conflict continues into the 21st century.

The issue of Halloween presses itself annually upon the Christian conscience. Acutely aware of dangers new and old, many Christian parents choose to withdraw their children from the holiday altogether. Others choose to follow a strategic battle plan for engagement with the holiday. Still others have gone further, seeking to convert Halloween into an evangelistic opportunity. Is Halloween really that significant?

Well, Halloween is a big deal in the marketplace. Halloween is surpassed only by Christmas in terms of economic activity. According to David J. Skal, “Precise figures are difficult to determine, but the annual economic impact of Halloween is now somewhere between 4 billion and 6 billion dollars depending on the number and kinds of industries one includes in the calculations.”... the rest  image
The complications of Halloween go far beyond its pagan roots, however. In modern culture, Halloween has become not only a commercial holiday, but a season of cultural fascination with evil and the demonic. Even as the society has pressed the limits on issues such as sexuality, the culture’s confrontation with the “dark side” has also pushed far beyond boundaries honored in the past.

Trick or Treat Jesus

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Prayer has everything to do with moulding the soul...

Cape Point Scenery - HDR
Prayer has everything to do with moulding the soul into the image of God, and has everything to do with enhancing and enlarging the measure of Divine grace. It has everything to do with enriching, broadening and maturing the soul’s experience of God. That man cannot possibly be called a Christian, who does not pray. ...EM Bounds image

Houston drops controversial pastor subpoenas; Former Guantanamo detainees suspected of joining ISIS...more


Multiple NC Campaign Workers Willing to Aid Non-Citizens

Non-Citizens Are Voting
...A new study by two Old Dominion University professors, based on survey data from the Cooperative Congressional Election Study, indicated that 6.4 percent of all non-citizens voted illegally in the 2008 presidential election, and 2.2 percent in the 2010 midterms. Given that 80 percent of non-citizens lean Democratic, they cite Al Franken ’s 312-vote win in the 2008 Minnesota U.S. Senate race as one likely tipped by non-citizen voting. As a senator, Franken cast the 60th vote needed to make Obamacare law.

North Carolina features one of the closest Senate races in the country this year, between Democratic incumbent Kay Hagan and Republican Thom Tillis. So what guerrilla filmmaker James O’Keefe, the man who has uncovered voter irregularities in states ranging from Colorado to New Hampshire, has learned in North Carolina is disturbing. This month, North Carolina officials found at least 145 illegal aliens, still in the country thanks to the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, registered to vote. Hundreds of other non-citizens may be on the rolls...

Pro-Abortion Author Say’s Abortion is Normal and “Part of Being a Mother”  Earlier this month, The Huffington Post published an excerpt of Katha Pollitt’s new book, “Pro: Reclaiming Abortion Rights.” The excerpt is titled “The Abortion Conversation We Need to Have” and starts with Pollitt”s statement that abortion “is a common, even normal, event in the reproductive lives of women.”

Theresa Bonopartis, the director of a post-abortion healing program, gives a good rebuttal to this statement, “It [abortion] is not “normal,” regardless of its frequency, and no amount of writing or talking will ever make it so. That is why abortion continues to be such a controversial issue. She tries to justify her position by stating abortions occur worldwide and throughout history. So have rape and murder, but simply because an action is widespread does not make it normal or acceptable.”...

Well, yes, actually droplets from a sneeze could spread Ebola Ebola is a lot easier to catch than health officials have admitted — and can be contracted by contact with a doorknob contaminated by a sneeze from an infected person an hour or more before, experts told The Post Tuesday.

“If you are sniffling and sneezing, you produce microorganisms that can get on stuff in a room. If people touch them, they could be” infected, said Dr. Meryl Nass, of the Institute for Public Accuracy in Washington, DC.

Nass pointed to a poster the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention quietly released on its Web site saying the deadly virus can be spread through “droplets.”...

Houston drops controversial pastor subpoenas ... The controversy has touched a nerve among religious conservatives around the country, many of them already anxious about the rapid spread of gay rights and what it might mean for faith groups that object. Religious groups, including some that support civil rights protections for gays, have protested the subpoenas as a violation of religious freedom.

Parker, who is gay, and other supporters said the measure is about offering protections at the local level against all forms of discrimination in housing, employment and services provided by private businesses such as hotels and restaurants...

Sources: Former Guantanamo detainees suspected of joining ISIS, other groups in Syria  As many as 20 to 30 former Guantanamo Bay detainees released within the last two to three years are suspected by intelligence and Defense officials of having joined forces with the Islamic State and other militant groups inside Syria, Fox News has learned.

The development has cemented fears that the U.S. military would once again encounter militants taken off the battlefield.

The intelligence offers a mixed picture, and officials say the figures are not exact. But they are certain at least some of the released detainees are fighting with the Islamic State, or ISIS, on the ground inside Syria. Others are believed to be supporting Al Qaeda or the affiliated al-Nusra Front in Syria...

UK: Muslim child sex exploitation “now normal in parts of Greater Manchester”  This report doesn’t mention it (which in itself is telling), but 75%, and probably more (since it is so politically unacceptable to report such things), of these rape and sexual exploitation gangs are “Asian,” which is British Newspeak for “Muslim.” Despite the continuing horror of these revelations, the British continue to take this with equanimity, for to resist it would be “racist” and “Islamophobic.”

“Child sexual exploitation ‘now normal in parts of Greater Manchester’: report,” by Helen Pidd, the Guardian, October 29, 2014 (thanks to JCD)...

 Ladies, It’s Time To Stop Falling In Love With Vampires ...Why can bloodthirsty demons kill it (in more ways than one) with the ladies? Personally, I didn’t understand it, so I decided to investigate the matter by reading Bram Stoker’s 1897 classic, “Dracula.” From this Gothic thriller I gleaned several insights, which I here put forward for the edification of vamp groupies...

Gafcon comes of age: Archbishop says

30 Oct 2014
George Conger

Gafcon has become a de facto instrument of unity for the Anglican Communion, the Archbishop of Kenya, the Most Rev. Eliud Wabukala said on 24 Oct 2014 in a pastoral letter to the global Anglican reform movement. Recounting his visit to Atlanta to install Archbishop Foley Beach as the second primate of the ACNA, Archbishop Wabukala wrote that Gafcon was “emerging as a new and effective ‘instrument of unity’ for the Anglican Communion. … that reality was underlined at the investiture of Archbishop Foley Beach as the second Archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America by the Primates gathered in Atlanta, representing GAFCON and the Anglican Global South, receiving him as a Primate of the Anglican Communion.” Archbishop Beach’s “investiture demonstrated that the realignment of the Anglican Communion is now established and unstoppable,” he said, and “Anglicans around the globe are now affirming this fact.”  Anglican Ink

GAFCON Chairman Abp. Wabukala's October Pastoral letter

Corruption is killing South Africa: Archbishop warns
The “insidious cancer of corruption” is “the most egregious threat” to South Africa's democracy today, Archbishop Thabo Makgoba has said in a public lecture.

Delivering the Beyers Naude Memorial Lecture at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth on October 27, Archbishop Thabo also criticised suggestions that criminalising corruption was a “Western paradigm”.

“Actually, I think it's the other way around,” he said. “Corruption is a two-way street, a two-way transaction. For corruption to happen, you have to have a corrupter, someone willing to pay the bribe, and what I will call a “corruptee”, someone willing to take a bribe. For Africans, over the 50 or 60 years since liberation, the Western paradigm — if indeed there can be said to be one — is one in which Westerners have been the corrupters, and African elites the corruptees.”...

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The fight of faith in prayer...

We hear much in our day of the “rest of faith”, but there is such a thing as the fight of faith in prayer as well as in effort. Those who would have us think that they have attained to some sublime height of faith and trust because they never know any agony of conflict or of prayer, have surely gotten beyond their Lord, and beyond the mightiest victors for God, both in effort and prayer, that the ages of Christian history have known. ...RA Torrey image

Marriage and the Left’s Duplicity; The Vindication of Christian Sexual Ethics; ISIS’s War on the World’s Ancient Religions...more

Marriage and the Left’s Duplicity on Pre-Enforcement Challenges ...The Knapps filed what is called a “pre-enforcement” challenge. Leftist groups frequently use these types of challenges to advance their agenda, which is why it is so amusing that people in their camp are squawking that the Knapps filed such a suit.

Pre-enforcement challenges are lawsuits filed before actual enforcement of a law.

These types of lawsuits have a venerable legal pedigree, and play a pivotal role in protecting our precious First Amendment freedoms. They are based on a simple and understandable proposition: that people should be able to challenge a law that threatens their First Amendment rights without having to subject themselves to criminal prosecution...

Court rules Obama admin can’t force Catholic college to obey HHS mandate  ...A federal court issued a decision Tuesday in Ave Maria School of Law v. Sebelius that stops enforcement of the  Obama administration’s abortion pill mandate against Ave Maria School of Law, a Catholic law school...

An eerie calm: Iraqi Christians anxiously ponder their future  Basima al-Safar retouches a picture of Jesus on an easel outside her house overlooking the flat Nineveh plains, 30 miles north of Mosul.

The murals she paints tell the story of her people, Christians in Iraq. But with Islamic State militants nearby, she is worried that life in Alqosh and towns like it could soon come to an end.

The Assyrian Christian town of around 6,000 people sits on a hill below the seventh-century Rabban Hormizd Monastery, temporarily closed because of the security situation. Residents of Alqosh fled this summer ahead of Islamic State militants. Around 70 percent of the town’s residents have since returned. Still, a sense of unease hangs in the air...

ISIS’s War on the World’s Ancient Religions 
Yazidis, Samaritans, Copts and other descendants of ancient civilizations are being erased...

The Vindication of Christian Sexual Ethics
Over at The Weekly Standard, Heather Mac Donald has penned an outstanding cover story chronicling the ongoing collapse of sexual-revolution values on college campuses. It turns out that sexual “liberation” has not led to sexual fulfillment, but instead to a landscape littered with broken hearts, long-lasting psychic pain, and a consequent desperate effort to create and enforce a bizarre “neo-Victorian” sexual ethic grounded not in any real morality, but instead in an effort to use institutional power to shift the emotional, psychological, and legal consequences of sexual regret and ambiguity to men and — as much as possible — men alone.

It won’t work. Sure, there will be a chill that settles across some campuses (depending on enforcement), and there will be cases where the burden-shifting “works” (at least in the way that feminists want it to work) by ruining a man’s life in highly ambiguous circumstances. But the end result won’t be a net increase in healthy relationships but instead an increase in fear, confusion, and recriminations as neo-Victorianism butts up against the crazed ”sex week” culture that still infects campuses from the top to the bottom of the academic food chain. It’s decadence versus contractual morality that utterly defies human nature, and neither model is viable....

Religious Colleges Face a New Threat over Their Sexual Policies   Christian colleges value accreditation from secular agencies as a quality assurance mechanism, but also because without it their students will lose federal financial aid and may have trouble gaining acceptance to graduate school. So accreditation is a potential weapon in the hands of agencies influenced by the agenda of gay rights activists. This worries some education leaders in the wake of news from Gordon College in Wenham, Mass., while others say there’s nothing to fear...

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

A biblically balanced view of worship...

Christian Cross 14
A biblically balanced view of worship must take into account both God's transcendence and his immanence, his exaltation and his nearness, his majestic holiness and his unmeasurable love. This balance is not always easy to maintain. Churches that focus on divine transcendence are in danger of making God appear distant, aloof, unfriendly, unloving, devoid of grace. Churches that focus on God's immanence sometimes lose sight of his majesty and purity, his hatred of sin, and the consequent seriousness of any divine-human encounter. To maintain this balance, we must go back again and again to the Scriptures themselves so that we may please God in worship rather than merely acting on our own intuitions. ...John M. Frame image

Millennials Want Jobs, Not Vote Pandering; 3 Ways Technology Enables the Mission of the Church; Poland in defense shift...more

  ...Barack Obama was elected in 2008 less on the back of a programme than a personality. He embodied rather than articulated change. As such, his election did mark a revolution in American race relations but it did not represent a serious effort at governmental reform. With the notable – and controversial – exceptions of Obamacare and gay marriage (the latter led entirely by the courts and not the administration), liberals should be asking themselves what Obama has ever done for them. Conservatives will be asking what he’s done to the economy, having over-regulated and over-spent to little obvious advantage. I’m not so sure we can call the Obama administration liberal rather than just chaotic and vain...

Poland in defense shift as security concerns rise
Poland is planning a major realignment of its military structure because of the conflict in neighboring Ukraine, the country's defense minister said Monday, a move that could shift thousands of troops to its eastern border.

"The geopolitical situation has changed. We have the biggest crisis of security since the Cold War and we must draw conclusions from that," Polish Defense Minister Tomasz Siemoniak told The Associated Press...

Coeur d'Alene Says Hitching Post Is Exempt From Gay Rights Law  The city of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, said a for-profit wedding chapel owned by two ministers doesn't have to perform same-sex marriages.

The city has been embroiled in controversy ever since the owners of the Hitching Post sued the city. They say a city anti-discrimination law threatened to force them to marry same-sex couples now that gay marriage is legal in Idaho.

The story lit up conservative and gay-rights blogs. Wedding chapel owners Donald and Evelyn Knapp said they feared jail time or fines if they declined marriage services to a same-sex couple.

Initially, the city said its anti-discrimination law did apply to the Hitching Post, since it is a commercial business. Earlier this week, Coeur d'Alene city attorney Mike Gridley sent a letter to the Knapps’ attorneys at the Alliance Defending Freedom saying the Hitching Post would have to become a not-for-profit to be exempt.

But Gridley said after further review, he determined the ordinance doesn’t specify non-profit or for-profit...

Mother undergoes quadruple amputation after post-abortion infection   A woman had to have both feet, her right arm at the elbow, and left hand amputated after she developed septicemia following an abortion at a French hospital....

Millennials Want Jobs, Not Vote Pandering
...The effective unemployment rate for 18- to 29-year-olds is near 15 percent. For the 85 percent, their work is hardly assured to match their skill level: “[W]hile finding a job has become easier for recent college graduates over the past few years, finding a good job has not, and doing so is likely to remain a challenge for some time to come,” write New York Fed economists Jaison Abel and Richard Deitz. More than half of millennials are living paycheck to paycheck...

3 Ways Technology Enables the Mission of the Church  The technological-ification of the church is a huge issue, and every congregation and every pastor needs to take advantage of technology in order to enable the church’s mission.

I believe technology is a resource that we can use for God’s glory. Here’s three ways technology enables the church’s mission...

How Facebook Is Changing the Way Its Users Consume Journalism  ...Facebook now has a fifth of the world — about 1.3 billion people — logging on at least monthly. It drives up to 20 percent of traffic to news sites, according to figures from the analytics company SimpleReach. On mobile devices, the fastest-growing source of readers, the percentage is even higher, SimpleReach says, and continues to increase.

The social media company is increasingly becoming to the news business what Amazon is to book publishing — a behemoth that provides access to hundreds of millions of consumers and wields enormous power. About 30 percent of adults in the United States get their news on Facebook, according to a study from the Pew Research Center. The fortunes of a news site, in short, can rise or fall depending on how it performs in Facebook’s News Feed...

Scientists Still Can’t Find UFOs, And They Should Stop Trying   ...  With the backing of governments and other organizations, scientists have poured untold billions of dollars into searching for intelligent life out there somewhere. SETI scans cosmic noise for tunes. Yet, all it has produced is a useful plotline for B-grade sci-fi movies.

Astronomers are building ever more powerful and expensive telescopes to peer deeper into space. Hawaii will soon host the Thirty Meter Telescope. The University of California-Los Angeles reports the cost on that particular piece of hardware, even before construction has begun, is already $141 million. NASA is set to launch the James Webb Space Telescope into orbit by 2018, at a projected cost of $8.8 billion.

This is not money flushed down some theoretical wormhole. We have made basic astrophysical discoveries, from the afterglow of the Big Bang to the shape of our universe. Yet, there isn’t as much as a pip or a squeak suggesting the existence of intelligent life...                                                   

Monday, October 27, 2014

Only those who try to live near God...

Breathing.
Only those who try to live near God and have formed the habit of faithfulness to Him in the small things of our daily life, can hope in times of need for that special light which shows us our path. To do as well as we can the job immediately before us, is the way to learn what we ought to do next. ...Evelyn Underhill image

Anglican Unscripted Episode 134 - CofE okays Bishop Remarriage


Oct 27, 2014

Anglican Unscripted is the only video newscast in the Anglican Church. Every Week Kevin, George, Allan and Peter bring you news and prospective from around the globe. Please donate at http://anglican.tv/donate

Story Index
00:00 Forward in Faith Bishop allowed to remarry in Church of England

Nigeria: Boko Haram kidnaps 30 more children; Study: Non-citizens are voting in federal elections...more

Nigeria: Boko Haram kidnaps 30 more children
Around 30 children were abducted by suspected Boko Haram militants during a siege on a village in northeast Nigeria, a local chief said on Sunday.

Alhaji Shettima Maina, who leads the village of Mafa in Borno state, said insurgents "grabbed young people, boys and girls" during an attack on Thursday.

"They took all boys aged 13 and above ...and all girls aged 11 and above," he added...
Muslim Extremists Kill 31 Christians in Taraba State, Nigeria

China Announces New Two-Child Policy
...The modifications come as China worries about its shrinking labor force. As the birth rate drops and the population grays, the number of workers between 15 and 59 years old fell in 2012 by 3.45 million to 937 million. Cai said the country’s potential growth rate will decrease 6.2 percent every year from 2016 to 2020. He doubts the policy change allowing a second child will stop the population from shrinking, as China’s fertility rate hovers at 1.6 per women, lower than the 2.1 needed to sustain population levels.
 
Reggie Littlejohn, president of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers, said in a statement “the problem with the one-child policy is not the number of children ‘allowed.’ Rather, it is the fact that the CCP is telling women how many children they can have and then enforcing that limit through forced abortion, forced sterilization, and infanticide.” The government has deemed forced abortions illegal, but the practice still continues in the countryside. At the same time, cultural preference for boys has led to a gender imbalance as parents abort their baby girls...

Churches urged to join forces against abortion-coverage mandate  ...The American Civil Liberties Union convinced the state agency that a 40-year-old state law requiring that plans cover "basic health services" has been misinterpreted for decades and should include elective abortion. But as many pro-life and pro-family groups argue, abortion is not healthcare...

Study: Non-citizens are voting in federal elections — and probably tipped at least one Senate race to Democrats ...Because non-citizens tended to favor Democrats (Obama won more than 80 percent of the votes of non-citizens in the 2008 CCES sample), we find that this participation was large enough to plausibly account for Democratic victories in a few close elections. Non-citizen votes could have given Senate Democrats the pivotal 60th vote needed to overcome filibusters in order to pass health-care reform and other Obama administration priorities in the 111th Congress. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) won election in 2008 with a victory margin of 312 votes. Votes cast by just 0.65 percent of Minnesota non-citizens could account for this margin. It is also possible that non-citizen votes were responsible for Obama’s 2008 victory in North Carolina. Obama won the state by 14,177 votes, so a turnout by 5.1 percent of North Carolina’s adult non-citizens would have provided this victory margin...

Derek Jeter’s Enduring Legacy
...Since the time he was a rookie, Jeter also exuded a quality rare among young athletes: maturity. He was a throwback to an earlier era—when the grass was real, and the game more traditional—demonstrated by his legendary work ethic, courtesy toward reporters, and passion to succeed. Others may have had more talent, but no one had more class on the diamond, practiced harder, or burned more to win.

Off the field, Jeter has not led an uneventful life—as the celebrity columnists are quick to remind us. But in an age of social media, Jeter has managed to keep his personal life largely private. More important, he told the New York Times that he is Catholic, recently revealed he always prays, and now talks about marrying and starting a family. In retirement, the process of maturity continues.

With his quiet demeanor and athletic grace, Derek Jeter has been called the Joe DiMaggio of our generation. He was, as Joseph Bottum maintains in his elegant Kindle essay on Jeter, genuinely important for baseball as well as our sports-oriented culture. Whether anyone sings a popular song about his mystique—as Simon and Garfunkel did for DiMaggio—is yet to be seen. But Derek Jeter’s standing—both as a baseball player, and human being—is secure among his legion of followers. His is a legacy that will endure...

7 things the middle class can't afford anymore ...The middle class has certainly changed. We've ranked a list of things the middle class can no longer really afford. We're not talking about lavish luxuries, like private jets and yachts. The items on this list are a bit more basic, and some of them are even necessities. The ranking of this list is based on affordability and necessity. Therefore, items that are necessity ranked higher, as did items that a larger percentage of people have trouble paying for...

Has the Last Episcopalian Been Born?...other news

By Rod Dreher
October 27, 2014

Philip Jenkins, a scholar and Episcopal layman, does the math and finds out that at the Episcopal Church’s current rate of decline, there will be no more Episcopalians, there will be no more Episcopalians by the end of this century. Excerpt:
If we extrapolate that rate into the not-too-distant future, then the number of people attending Episcopal churches on a typical Sunday will be negligible by mid-century, typical of a tiny sect rather than a great church or denomination. It won’t reach zero for a while, but in effect, the church will cease to exist. We might need a new vocabulary of religious decline. How about church evaporation? That mid-century date is really not far off. In fact, the baby baptized at my church last Sunday will by that point only be a young adult in her 30s. Non-attending notional members will persist for a few years longer, but by the end of the century, we should be talking total disappearance. In that scenario, America’s last Episcopalian walks among us today. At some point, young people contemplating a clerical career will have to consider just how long there will indeed be a church for them to serve.
Read the whole thing. The Presbyterian Church USA, another major liberal mainline Protestant church, one almost the same size as TEC, is declining at an even faster rate. Church statistics from 2011 show that the median age of a PCUSA member is 63, and has been rising. This means half the people in the PCUSA are over 63. This also means that over the next couple of decades, half the PCUSA’s current members are going to die. Are they being replaced?

(By the way, TEC is a younger church, but not by much. A 2011 report said that the average Episcopalian is 57. Same demographic decline too. You might recall that the Presiding Bishop of TEC said back in ’06 that the failure of Episcopalians to have babies to replace dying members is actually a sign of virtue. “We encourage people to pay attention to the stewardship of the earth and not use more than their portion,” she told The New York Times.) the rest

AU: Report slams Anglican abuse response
...The commission's public hearing was told about frequent sexual, psychological and physical abuse of nine former residents of the North Coast Children's Home in Lismore between 1940 and 1985.

Handing down its findings, the commission found the diocese denied responsibility for the sexual abuse, denied some victims financial compensation and conducted some settlement negotiations in a hostile manner...

CoE bishop given permission to remarry after divorce
The chairman of Forward in Faith (UK), the Rt. Rev. Jonathan Baker, Bishop of Fulham, has written to his clergy informing them that he has been given permission by the Bishop of London and Archbishop of Canterbury to remarry following his divorce to his wife...

Tribalism holding back Nigeria warns Okoh
...Archbishop Okoh, the Primate of All Nigeria said: “The challenge facing the nation, which is also affecting the Church, is the issue of tribalism, the absence of unity. You will agree with me that, today we have a country but we are not united, if we are united, our country would have made much progress,” he said...

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Huge Solar Flare Erupts from Biggest Sunspot in 24 Years


Here

Saturday, October 25, 2014

The heart of the believer is Christ's garden...

My Back Yard
"I am come into my garden, my sister, my spouse." —Song of Solomon 5:1

The heart of the believer is Christ's garden.
He bought it with His precious blood, and He enters it and claims it as His own.

A garden implies separation. It is not the open common; it is not a wilderness; it is walled around, or hedged in. Would that we could see the wall of separation between the church and the world made broader and stronger. It makes one sad to hear Christians saying, "Well, there is no harm in this; there is no harm in that," thus getting as near to the world as possible. Grace is at a low ebb in that soul which can even raise the question of how far it may go in worldly conformity.

A garden is a place of beauty, it far surpasses the wild uncultivated lands. The genuine Christian must seek to be more excellent in his life than the best moralist, because Christ's garden ought to produce the best flowers in all the world. Even the best is poor compared with Christ's deservings; let us not put Him off with withering and dwarf plants. The rarest, richest, choicest lilies and roses ought to bloom in the place which Jesus calls His own.

The garden is a place of growth. The saints are not to remain undeveloped, always mere buds and blossoms. We should grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Growth should be rapid where Jesus is the Husbandman, and the Holy Spirit the dew from above.

A garden is a place of retirement. So the Lord Jesus Christ would have us reserve our souls as a place in which He can manifest Himself, as He doth not unto the world. O that Christians were more retired, that they kept their hearts more closely shut up for Christ! We often worry and trouble ourselves, like Martha, with much serving, so that we have not the room for Christ that Mary had, and do not sit at His feet as we should.

The Lord grant the sweet showers of His grace to water His garden this day. ...CH Spurgeon image

GAFCON Chairman Abp. Wabukala's October 2014 Pastoral letter

To the Faithful of the Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans and friends from Archbishop Eliud Wabukala, Primate of Kenya and Chairman of the GAFCON Primates’ Council

24th October 2014

‘The Lord builds up Jerusalem; he gathers the outcasts of Israel. He heals the broken hearted and binds up their wounds.’ Psalm 147:2,3


My dear brothers and sisters,

Greetings in the precious name of our Risen Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ!

It is my great joy to be writing to you twelve months after GAFCON 2 here in Nairobi! Please join with me in giving thanks to God for the great blessing of that wonderful time of fellowship, teaching and renewal. Despite many challenges, we brought together 1358 delegates, including 331 bishops, from 39 countries – and we paid all the bills! We eagerly look forward to GAFCON 3, but in the meantime there is much work for us to do.

The recent news that Lambeth 2018 has been postponed, perhaps indefinitely, is the latest sign that the old institutions of the Communion no longer command confidence. We must remember that the fundamental reason for this is doctrinal. We are divided because the Faith is threatened by unbiblical teaching.

In contrast, GAFCON 2 demonstrated that we were emerging as a new and effective ‘instrument of unity’ for the Anglican Communion. Nearly twelve months later, that reality was underlined at the investiture of Archbishop Foley Beach as the second Archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America by the Primates gathered in Atlanta, representing GAFCON and the Anglican Global South, receiving him as a Primate of the Anglican Communion.

Speaking shortly after that historic service I said ‘It is a sign of great hope for the Gospel in the world. It is not a small thing that has happened’. There was no need for us to be reminded of the reasons why GAFCON had called the Anglican Church in North America into being five years ago because the investiture demonstrated that the realignment of the Anglican Communion is now established and unstoppable.

Anglicans around the globe are now affirming this fact. Last month the Provincial Synod of the Anglican Church of Kenya unanimously approved a resolution to be in formal partnership with the GAFCON movement. Then just before the investiture, the Synod of the Diocese of North West Australia passed a resolution recognizing ‘the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) as a member church of the Anglican Communion, in full communion with Diocese of North West Australia’. Shortly afterwards, the Synod of the Diocese of Sydney passed a resolution which recognized ‘that GAFCON is an emerging instrument of communion when others have failed to provide the well needed leadership’ and stated ‘recognizing Synod’s desire to be in full communion with the ACNA.….Synod congratulates the Most Reverend Foley Beach on his consecration as Archbishop to the ACNA.’

The task before us now therefore is that of rebuilding, developing institutions and networks which help rather than hinder the proclamation of the gospel and reflect the new thing God in his mercy is doing in the Anglican Communion. Recognizing this need, the Primates Council earlier this year authorized the establishment of a strengthened Secretariat, tasked with organizing the means by which the movement can grow in effectiveness as a worldwide fellowship.

I am therefore very pleased to be able to tell you that an important step forward has been taken by the appointment of Mr Philip Robinson as GAFCON Operations Manager with effect from 1st October following a career at senior level in major City of London financial institutions. He will be based in the UK and his initial focus will be the mobilization and growth of our global fellowship, including the launch of a contact programme to widen understanding of GAFCON’s leading role in the renewal and reform of the Anglican Communion.

Finally, let us be faithful in continuing to pray for those who are facing great hardships. The Ebola disease has already killed over 3,000 people, mainly in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, and poses a global threat. Pray for the bereaved, the sick and those who care for them and those working to find effective drugs and a vaccine. We must also pray steadfastly for Christian communities and other minorities suffering so terribly at the hands of militant Islamic movements, especially in Mosul and northern Iraq. It is estimated that so far this year the Islamic State has forced some 500,000 from their homes and taken the lives of over 12,000 civilians. Yet we are seeing a remarkably strong witness to Jesus Christ from Christians who have been through such loss and pain. As we thank God for their faithfulness, let us stand with them in prayer, in practical support, and by letting our voices be heard so that their plight is not forgotten.

Posted October 25, 2014
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