Saturday, July 02, 2005

Readings for Sunday, July 3, 2005

Collect
O God, you have taught us to keep all your commandments by loving you and our neighbor: Grant us the grace of your Holy Spirit, that we may be devoted to you with our whole heart, and united to one another with pure affection; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Zechariah 9:9-12
Rejoice greatly, O daughter Zion!
Shout aloud, O daughter Jerusalem!
Lo, your king comes to you;
triumphant and victorious is he,
humble and riding on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
He will cut off the chariot from Ephraim
and the war horse from Jerusalem;
and the battle bow shall be cut off,
and he shall command peace to the nations;
his dominion shall be from sea to sea,
and from the River to the ends of the earth.
As for you also, because of the blood of my covenant with you,
I will set your prisoners free from the waterless pit.
Return to your stronghold, O prisoners of hope;
today I declare that I will restore to you double.

The rest here: http://www.io.com/~kellywp/YearA/Pentecost/AProp9.html

Movie Review
Mayhem and Meaning: What's Missing from War of the Worlds

(AgapePress) - Teleology is the philosophical study of purpose -- for example, in nature, design, or morality. Rick Warren's best-selling book, The Purpose Driven Life, would have been considered an unnecessary title at the beginning of the 20th century because people already believed that they had a purpose. The malaise that infected the late 20th century, and which continues unabated, comes from the loss of a sense of purpose among many in the West. We have become an a-teleological culture, but, I think, not an anti-teleological culture. We may not have a purpose, but we certainly are looking for one.

Lack of purpose is why so many people are leaving Steven Spielberg's War of the Worlds (DreamWorks) remake with a hollow, unsatisfied feeling that I predict will dampen box-office receipts. What makes a movie a blockbuster is that people want to see it more than once. I cannot imagine wanting to sit through War of the Worlds again. And that is a shame, because Spielberg was given a story tailor-made for his kind of retelling. Unfortunately, in shifting War of the Worlds from a film about an attractive culture with transcendent underpinnings threatened by an unstoppable invasion to a film focusing on a self-centered derelict dad just trying to keep himself and his kids alive, Spielberg robs the films of catharsis and meaning -- no community, little love, and scant hope of transcendence.

An excellent read! More here: http://headlines.agapepress.org/archive/7/12005a.asp

Nomination Could Be Defining Moment for Bush

There are few genuine earthquakes in American politics, but yesterday's announcement by Justice Sandra Day O'Connor easily qualifies as one. Her retirement is likely to trigger one of the most consequential confirmation battles in a generation, with the ideological balance of the Supreme Court and the future of contentious social issues now firmly in the hands of President Bush.

Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/07/01/AR2005070101832.html

On "Personal" Faith
What Is Personal Is Common

When I ask what "forcing our beliefs on others" actually means, the reply generally boils down to "talking about our beliefs in any way." The idea at work behind this notion is that personal means subjective, private, esoteric and inward.

I used to believe this myself when I was a teenager. "Spiritual" experiences were, I thought, the sort of thing that ought to happen to us when we have achieved some special state of consciousness, some plateau of contemplation forbidden to the unwashed herd of humanity, some enlightened state of mystical insight incommunicable to the hoi polloi. However, as I got older (and especially as I came to understand the Catholic faith better), I learned something I should have know all along.

Personal things are not private; personal things are common.

More here:
http://www.catholicexchange.com/vm/index.asp?vm_id=2&art_id=27700&sec_id=#section53094

A nation of deists
The dominant American religion is a far cry from Christianity

by Gene Edward Veith

After interviewing over 3,000 teenagers, the social scientists summed up their beliefs:

(1) "A god exists who created and ordered the world and watches over human life on earth."
(2) "God wants people to be good, nice, and fair to each other, as taught in the Bible and by most world religions."
(3) "The central goal of life is to be happy and to feel good about oneself."
(4) "God does not need to be particularly involved in one's life except when God is needed to resolve a problem."
(5) "Good people go to heaven when they die.


World Magazine: http://www.worldmag.com/subscriber/displayarticle.cfm?id=10775

Why Can't the Tolerant Tolerate Christians?

Evangelical Outpost has a brief survey on the increasingly intolerance non-Christians are showing towards those who they feel are too Christian. Apparently Christians are so obviously wrong that we no longer deserve a place in the public square. As Christians gain in prominence in American life it appears that the vitriol is also growing.

Article here: http://fightingonthebeaches.blogspot.com/2005/06/why-cant-tolerant-tolerate-christians.html

Friday, July 01, 2005

The Deer's Cry
Also known as "The Breastplate of St. Patrick" and "The Lorica"


I arise today through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity, through belief in the Threeness, through confession of the Oneness of the Creator of creation.

I arise today through the strength of Christ with his Baptism, through the strength of His Crucifixion with His Burial through the strength of His Resurrection with His Ascension, through the strength of His descent for the Judgment of Doom.

I arise today through the strength of the love of Cherubim in obedience of Angels, in the service of the Archangels, in hope of resurrection to meet with reward, in prayers of Patriarchs, in predictions of Prophets, in preachings of Apostles, in faiths of Confessors, in innocence of Holy Virgins, in deeds of righteous men.

I arise today, through the strength of Heaven; light of Sun, brilliance of Moon, splendor of Fire, speed of Lightning, swiftness of Wind, depth of Sea, stability of Earth, firmness of Rock.

I arise today, through God's strength to pilot me: God's might to uphold me, God's wisdom to guide me, God's eye to look before me, God's ear to hear me, God's word to speak for me, God's hand to guard me, God's way to lie before me, God's shield to protect me, God's host to secure me: against snares of devils, against temptations of vices, against inclinations of nature, against everyone who shall wish me ill, afar and anear, alone and in a crowd.

I summon today all these powers between me (and these evils): against every cruel and merciless power that may oppose my body and my soul, against incantations of false prophets, against black laws of heathenry, against false laws of heretics, against craft of idolatry, against spells of witches, smiths and wizards, against every knowledge that endangers man's body and soul. Christ to protect me today against poisoning, against burning, against drowning, against wounding, so that there may come abundance in reward.

Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ on my right, Christ on my left, Christ in breadth, Christ in length, Christ in height, Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me, Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks of me, Christ in every eye that sees me, Christ in every ear that hears me.

I arise today through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity, through belief in the Threeness, through confession of the Oneness of the Creator of creation. Salvation is of the Lord. Salvation is of the Lord. Salvation is of Christ. May Thy Salvation, O Lord, be ever with us. Amen.
This powerful prayer was composed by Saint Patrick in the year 433. He was aware that there was an ambush to try to kill him and his group en route to the King's court. It was during the march that they chanted the sacred Lorica or Deer's Cry - later known as St. Patrick's Breastplate. As the druids lay in hiding, ready to kill, they saw not Patrick and his men,
but a gentle doe followed by twenty fawns. St. Patrick and his men were saved.

Church, state and the courts in America But whose law should prevail?
Jun 30th 2005

From The Economist print edition

The church-state divide may once again be about to dominate American politics. Prepare for a summer of deep discussions by reading this useful new guide:
Divided by God: America's Church-State Problem—And What We Should Do About ItBy Noah FeldmanFarrer, Straus & Giroux; 306 pages; $25Buy it at
Amazon.comAmazon.co.uk

“CONGRESS shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” What could be simpler than the First Amendment? Quite a lot of things, it seems, judging by this week's Supreme Court decision. It is fine to display the Ten Commandments on government land, but displaying them inside a courthouse violates the separation of church and state.
Such seemingly arbitrary distinctions are typical of the tortured church-state divide in America. The legality of Christmas cribs on government property can be reduced, crudely, to the “plastic reindeer rule”. A reindeerless crib endorses Christianity; one with them (and preferably a Santa as well) is all right.

More than ever, America seems to be a country “divided by God”, to borrow the title of Noah Feldman's new book. Americans are split, not between believers and non-believers (virtually all of them are in the first camp), but between two groups who disagree about the role of religion in the public square: “legal secularists”, who want the law to make government Godless, and “values evangelicals”, who insist that religion is relevant to political life.

More here:
http://www.economist.com/books/displayStory.cfm?story_id=4127042

Allstate Insurance unwittingly spawns anti-same-sex marriage martyr
by Judi McLeod, Thursday, June 30, 2005

Toronto-- On the same day Canada’s historic same-sex marriage bill passed through the House of Commons, thousands of emails were pouring into Allstate Insurance Company over conservative columnist J. Matt Barber. Allstate may have unwittingly spawned an anti-same-sex-marriage martyr in the spunky J. Matt Barber.
Barber, a former employee of the insurance giant was fired--allegedly terminated, all for writing a column posted on several websites that was critical of same sex marriage and espousing his signature Christian beliefs.

Canada Free Press story here: http://www.canadafreepress.com/2005/cover063005.htm

Marriage Now Just a Sexual Relationship
The same-sex marriage bill that passed the House of Commons yesterday was the final chapter in a story that began in 1967.
by Father Raymond J. de Souza

All in all, it is an impressive bit of work for a mere 38 years. The same-sex marriage bill that passed the House of Commons yesterday was the final chapter in a story that began in 1967, when then-justice minister Pierre Trudeau introduced his Omnibus Bill. Famous for its decriminalizing of homosexual acts (" … the state has no place in the bedrooms of the nation"), it was the liberalization of divorce laws that led more directly to where we are today.


The article here: http://www.christianity.ca/news/social-issues/2005/06.004.html

On Christian Perfection-Fenelon

Christian Perfection is not that rigorous, tedious, cramping thing that many imagine. It demands only an entire surrender of everything to God from the depths of the soul, and the moment this takes place, whatever is done for Him becomes easy. They who are God’s without reserve, are in every state content; for they will only what He wills, and desire to do for Him whatever he desires them to do; they strip themselves of everything, and in this nakedness find all things restored an hundred fold. Peace of conscience, liberty of spirit, the sweet abandonment of themselves and theirs into the hand of God, the joy of perceiving the light always increasing in their hearts, and finally the freedom of their souls from the bondage of the fears and desires of this world, these things constitute that return of happiness which the true children of God receive an hundred fold in the midst of their crosses, while they remain faithful.

The rest of the meditation: http://www.ccel.org/ccel/fenelon/progress.iii.xxiv.html

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Parents Cautioned: Look Out for LOGOHomosexual Cable Network Going Into Millions of Homes, Whether They Want It or Not
By Mary Rettig and Jody BrownJune 30, 2005

(AgapePress) - The director of research for the
American Family Association (AFA) says parents need to be on the lookout for a new cable network designed for homosexuals.
The new MTV network, LOGO, launches today (June 30) in about ten million homes with digital cable in major metropolitan areas like Los Angeles, New York, and Atlanta. It is designed to appeal to a "gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender audience," and will feature such programming as the Annual Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) Awards, Queer As Folk, and homosexual films.
Unlike other homosexual networks, LOGO will be available in homes without paying any premium. AFA's Ed Vitagliano says that should pose a major concern for parents.
"LOGO is going to be on local cable systems, not as a premium channel like Showtime or HBO -- which you pay for if you want it. It is going to be, at least in some markets, part of the general, regular [cable] package," he says. "So what's going to happen is that parents are going to find one day that, as their kids are flipping [the channels] to go to Cartoon Network or Nickelodeon or something of that nature, they're going to go past LOGO [and] the homosexual programming on that network."

Rest of the story: http://headlines.agapepress.org/archive/6/302005b.asp


A Look at Gay Marriage Around the World
By The Associated Press
June 30, 2005

The following is a look at gay marriage in nations where it is legal in all or part of the country or where such legislation is pending.

NETHERLANDS -- Legalized in 2001. Same-sex couples also have the right to adopt children, either within the Netherlands or from abroad.
BELGIUM -- Legalized in 2003. Gay couples cannot adopt children, although that is being discussed by lawmakers.
SPAIN -- Legalized on Thursday. Gay couples have all the rights enjoyed by heterosexual couples, including for adopting children.
CANADA -- The House of Commons passed legislation Tuesday that would legalize gay marriage by July 31 as long as the Senate also passes the bill, which it is expected to do.
UNITED STATES -- Massachusetts is the only U.S. state that allows gay marriage. Vermont and Connecticut have approved same-sex civil unions.


Methodist leaders vote to bless gay couples
The Methodist church yesterday became the first big Christian denomination in Britain to offer the prospect of blessings services for same-sex couples.
Although adamant that such services would not be regarded by the church as marriages, officials admitted that they could well be seen as such by the couples themselves and by the wider society.


Story here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/gayrights/story/0,12592,1517862,00.html

Tennyson

STRONG Son of God, Immortal Love,
Whom we, that have not seen Thy face,
By faith, and faith alone embrace,
Believing where we cannot prove.
* * * * *
Thou seemest human and divine,
The highest, holiest manhood Thou;
Our wills are ours, we know not how,
Our wills are ours to make them Thine.
* * * * *
O Living Will that shalt endure,
When all that seems shall suffer shock
Rise in the spiritual Rock,
Flow through our deeds and make them pure.
* * * * *
That we may lift, from out the dust,
A voice as unto Him that hears,
A cry above the conquered years,
To one that with us works, and trust
* * * * *
With faith that comes of self‑control
The truths that never can be proved,
Until we close with all we loved
find all we flow from, soul in soul.

N.T. Wright's Sermon

If you haven't already done so, please read Bp. N.T. Wright's sermon below. You don't want to miss it!

http://titusonenine.classicalanglican.net/index.php?p=7544

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Term paper about 'God' earns student failing grade
'He told me you might as well write about the Easter Bunny. He wanted to censor the word God.'

By LEROY STANDISH/Staff Writer
VICTORVILLE — For using the "G" word 41 times in a term paper, Bethany Hauf was given an "F" by her Victor Valley Community College instructor.Hauf's teacher approved her term paper topic — Religion and its Place within the Government — on one condition: Don't use the word God. Instead of complying with VVCC adjunct instructor Michael Shefchik's condition Hauf wrote a 10-page report for her English 101 class entitled "In God We Trust.""He said it would offend others in class," Hauf, a 34-year-old mother of four, said. "I didn't realize God was taboo." Hauf has received legal assistance from the American Center for Law and Justice. The ACLJ is a conservative Christian legal foundation founded by Dr. M.G. "Pat" Robertson, who is also the founder, chairman and face of the Christian Broadcasting Network.

The rest here: http://www.vvdailypress.com/2005/111996392756993.html

Canadian Bill C-38 Final Passage Eerily Coincides
With Sodom and Gomorrah Readings at Catholic Masses

TORONTO, June 28, 2005 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The likely final passage this evening of Canada’s same-sex marriage bill C-38 was eerily highlighted by today’s daily Mass readings, encountered by Catholics who attended Mass across the nation. Today’s scripture readings, which are established years ahead according to an international liturgical calendar, contained passages that astonished many by their direct relevance to the disturbing culmination of the same-sex marriage legislation battle.
The first reading, from the book of Genesis Chapter 19, relates the infamous story of the punishment of Sodom and Gomorrah as a result of its sexual and especially homosexual immorality. The second reading from the Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 8:23-27, in the New Testament, relates the story of the apostles’ terror while in a boat in the midst of a violent storm.

When they ask Jesus to save them he responds “Why are you terrified, O you of little faith?”

See the article: http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2005/jun/05062810.html

(note: the bill did pass Tuesday night)



Bishop N.T. Wright: Closing Address to the ACC Conference in Nottingham

"Ever since the eighteenth century, western protestantism has been pulled more and more towards a denial, explicit or implicit, of the great central truths of Christian faith – sometimes, indeed, towards watering them down while still saying the words, sometimes actually to open mockery of the idea of the Trinity or the resurrection or the full meaning of the cross. And what has happened, exactly as the eighteenth-century Deists intended it should, is that God is no longer a player on the world scene; Jesus is Lord far away in heaven, or in the secret places of my heart, perhaps, but he can’t tell me how to run my business or which way to vote. And when that happens Caesar smiles his grim smile and pulls in the rope, and the worlds of money and sex and power all dance to his tune, exhibiting that tell-tale imperial pattern, the pagan pattern, the pattern that says there is no resurrection, that Herod is King of the Jews and Caesar is Lord of the world, that Mammon, the money-god, is divine and rules our pockets, that Aphrodite, the goddess of erotic love, is divine and rules our loins, that Mars the god of war is divine and doesn’t mind who wins as long as people keep fighting each other. My brothers and sisters, is it surprising that, if every doctrine from the Trinity to the divinity of Jesus to his saving death and bodily resurrection and ascension has been dismissed as outdated, disproved or irrelevant, the church should then have no means of protesting against massive economic injustice, against the erosion and inversion of sexual morality, against rampant militarism – in other words, against Caesar and all his weapons? Is it not time to be grasped once more by the real authority of scripture, which is not about quoting a verse here and a line there but about being reshaped by the full story, the whole narrative, the entire drama of a book like Acts until the picture becomes clear and we see who Caesar is and how he works, who Jesus is and how he rescues God’s lovely world from corruption and slavery, and who we are called to be as his Spirit-led witnesses to the ends of the earth?"

The whole thing: http://titusonenine.classicalanglican.net/index.php?p=7544

Lord, thank You for bishops like NT Wright who boldly proclaim the the truth of Your Gospel. Fill us all with like zeal so that this world can be transformed!

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Two Missing Verses
From Lent and Beyond

(referring to last Sunday's readings)
Did any of you other faithful readers note the verses that were omitted from yesterday’s ECUSA lectionary? I was very startled when yesterday’s Epistle reading began with Romans 6:3. Romans 6 has been a very important chapter for me in my personal spiritual walk and I’ve memorized much of it. So I immediately realized what verses were missing:
Rom 6:1-21 What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?2 By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? (NIV)


The rest is here: http://lent.classicalanglican.net/?p=952

Irenæus: Against Heresies

1. Inasmuch as certain men have set the truth aside, and bring in lying words and vain genealogies, which, as the apostle says,“minister questions rather than godly edifying which is in faith,” and by means of their craftily-constructed plausibilities draw away the minds of the inexperienced and take them captive, [I have felt constrained, my dear friend, to compose the following treatise in order to expose and counteract their machinations.] These men falsify the oracles of God, and prove themselves evil interpreters of the good word of revelation. They also overthrow the faith of many, by drawing them away, under a pretence of [superior] knowledge, from Him who rounded and adorned the universe; as if, forsooth, they had something more excellent and sublime to reveal, than that God who created the heaven and the earth, and all things that are therein. By means of specious and plausible words, they cunningly allure the simple-minded to inquire into their system; but they nevertheless clumsily destroy them, while they initiate them into their blasphemous and impious opinions respecting the Demiurge; and these simple ones are unable, even in such a matter, to distinguish falsehood from truth.

More here: http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf01.ix.ii.i.html

Court Issues 'Dangerous' Decisions on Ten Commandments

by Pete Winn, associate editor

Two key decisions on public display of the Decalogue fail to clarify what's constitutional.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on a pair of Ten Commandments cases today, decisions Focus on the Family Chairman James Dobson, Ph.D., said "tore a hole through the First Amendment."
On separate 5-4 votes, the Court ruled unconstitutional Ten Commandments displays in two Kentucky courthouses, while it upheld the constitutionality of a Ten Commandments monument on the grounds of the Texas Capitol.
But the Texas ruling is far from a victory, according to Dobson.
"This was no affirmation of the right of religious expression — particularly Christian religious expression — in the public square," Dobson said. "It was an argument rooted in logic along the lines of, "Well, the Commandments have been around for a long time, so long, in fact, that they're kind of like any other historical decoration that might be used to adorn the walls or the grounds of a public building. So let them stay in place and keep accumulating dust."


Read the rest at: http://www.family.org/cforum/feature/a0037014.cfm

Monday, June 27, 2005

Rediscovering the Historical Jesus:
Presuppositions and Pretensions of the Jesus Seminar
Dr. William Lane Craig

In this first part of a two-part article, the presuppositions and pretentions of the Jesus Seminar are exposited and assessed. It is found that the principal presuppositions of (i) scientific naturalism, (ii) the primacy of the apocryphal gospels, and (iii) the necessity of a politically correct Jesus are unjustified and issue in a distorted portrait of the historical Jesus. Although the Jesus Seminar makes a pretention of speaking for scholarship on the quest of the historical Jesus, it is shown that in fact it is a small body of critics in pursuit of a cultural agenda.

More here: http://www.leaderu.com/offices/billcraig/docs/rediscover1.html

A Must Read

A Position Paper on Scripture, Authority, and Human Sexuality of the Church of Uganda
From titusonenine

Worth a reread:
Cardinal Ratzinger's (now Pope Benedict) sermon on moral relativism

"Every day new sects are born and we see realized what St. Paul says on the deception of men, on the cunning that tends to lead into error (cf. Ephesians 4:14). To have a clear faith, according to the creed of the Church, is often labeled as fundamentalism. While relativism, that is, allowing oneself to be carried about with every wind of "doctrine," seems to be the only attitude that is fashionable. A dictatorship of relativism is being constituted that recognizes nothing as absolute and which only leaves the "I" and its whims as the ultimate measure."

More here: http://www.zenit.org/english/visualizza.phtml?sid=69555

African Anglicans Make New Push to Split Over Homosexuality

Churches and Prisoners
by Raymond Dague

What do pious churchgoing folk share in common with jailbirds serving prison sentences for serious crimes? More than you might expect. They both share the same federal statute which protects their religious freedom. That statute was just declared to be constitutional when the United States Supreme Court unanimously decided the case of Cutter v. Wilkinson on May 31, 2005. So churches and prisoners can now assert religious rights with greater assurance that they will get maximum protection from the courts.

The story about how it came about is an interesting one. It speaks well of the willingness of the congress to protect religious liberties when the courts have dropped the ball. Hence the importance of the current battle in the senate over the filibuster of President Bush’s nominees to the courts. The president cares about religious freedom, whereas his opposition seems more concerned about protecting abortion and gay rights.

Religious liberties have been eroded since 1990 by a case which said that if there is a general law, you have to obey it, even if that law impinges on your religious beliefs and practices. You get no exceptions. Before 1990 the government could not abridge religious liberties unless firstly, the government had a compelling interest to do so, and then secondly, only if they used the least restrictive means available to accomplish that compelling government interest.

So for example, if the government passed a law which said that everyone had to attend school between the ages of 6 though 16 (which all states have done), it had to show that the government had a compelling reason why all kids should go to school. That is not hard. There is plenty of data which shows that it is important to have an educated citizenry. It is also clear that a lifetime of problems occur for most people if they do not have a basic grade school education. But that is not enough. The government also had to show that the goal of an educated citizenry and eliminating the problems of being uneducated are best met by a law which forces everyone without exception to attend school between the ages of 6 and 16.

It happens that the Amish do not send their children to school after they have learned how to read the Bible at a good level of comprehension, which is well before age16. So in 1969 the Amish father of a 15 year old boy was tried by the State of Wisconsin for violating their compulsory education law. He was convicted, and his case went to the Supreme Court. There the Court decided, yup, Wisconsin has a compelling governmental interest in seeing that all of its citizens are educated, but that in the face of the religious objection of an Amish father to sending his son to school, the state had to make an exception. A universal law applicable to everyone had to make exceptions for the deeply held religious convictions and practices of those who could not follow the law without violating their religious beliefs.

All this changed in 1990 with a case entitled Employment Division v. Smith. In Smith the Supreme Court reversed the rule of the Amish case (without admitting that they did so) and said, no exceptions for religious practices. Three years later in response to Smith, the congress, after an intense lobbying effort by the Christian Legal Society and other religious groups, passed a law called the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. This law re-established the rule of the Amish case, and again allowed for exceptions based on deeply held religious convictions. But the Supreme Court in 1997 declared the Religious Freedom Restoration Act to be unconstitutional based on various technical aspects of how congress justified passing the statute. Back to the “no exceptions” rule.

When religious groups tried to correct those technical defects with a new and improved law which would allow the religious exception, the political climate had changed. The rise of the homosexual rights movement lead many former supporters of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act to grow concerned that the anti-discrimination laws for homosexuals which were being manufactured by the courts would have holes punched in them by religious objections.

Apparently the gay rights crowd thought that churches using their land and prisoners in jail could not endanger gay rights. Christian leaders such as Sam Casey of the Christian Legal Society and Chuck Colson of Prison Fellowship were able to successfully lobby congress to get a law which again gave religious conscience an exception to a general statute. Such a statute might be reasonable on its face, but occasionally oppressive to religious freedoms. A statute by the long and odd sounding name of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 was born.

Readers might not care about the new statute (unless you happen to be reading this in jail), but pastors and churches should take careful note. The next time the local zoning board says, “no, you can’t do that with your own property because it violates our zoning law,” there now may be a good legal response from the church attorney.

Maybe there is a hint of Providence in the political compromise which linked Jesus’ call to outcasts to follow him (now called the church) with those jailed for theft, drugs, and murder. There is an old maxim which says “politics makes strange bedfellows.” Jesus might like that, but say it slightly differently. “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Raymond Dague is a Syracuse, New York attorney who represents many churches in their disputes with zoning boards, and is a member of the Christian Legal Society and the parish chancellor of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Syracuse. His law office can be found at (315) 422-2052 and on the web at www.DagueLaw.com.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Albany Bishop Herzog's Address to the June 2005 Diocesan Convention at Camp-of-the-Woods

http://www.albanyepiscopaldiocese.org/
documents/pastoral/bpconv05.html


Thank you Lord for the faithful diocese of Albany! How wonderful are the blessings You have poured out upon the Bishops, clergy and lay people there. I thank You that it is Your work that they are doing and Your Holy Spirit that they are seeking.

Psalm 31: 19-20

Do you hunger for God?

Do you want more of the Lord? Do you want to know his presence in a deeper way? Spend a week meditating on A.W. Tozer's The Pursuit of God.

Check it out:
http://calvarychapel.com/library/Tozer-AW/PursuitOfGod/0.htm

I pray it may bless you greatly and increase your zeal for the things of God!