Saturday, July 16, 2005

The Little Gospel of Superhero Films
Entertainment Feature

by Dr. Marc T. Newman
July 15, 2005

(AgapePress) - Summer is in full swing and the cinemas are packed with people watching snippets of the Gospel story without even knowing it. No, theaters are not showing Passion of the Christ marathons; instead they are showing superhero films. Movies are not theology lessons, but buried within them are hallmarks of the Christian story. With just a little mining we can help people see why elements in these films are so gripping -- the kinds of problems heroes encounter, the hero's need for empowerment, and the good ending -- because they speak to our own condition.

The article:

Kendall Harmon: The Embarrassing Silence of the Reappraisers About Connecticut

Imagine the following scenario. In a reasserting diocese, a rector of a reappraising parish seeks some kind of alternative arrangement with another Episcopal Bishop. They enter into negotiation about exactly how this will work–and this by the way is what the Connecticut six did, they did NOT, as is sometimes stated, set out conditions which had to be met. There are a series of meetings but things are at an impasse. SOME parish money is redirected in ways the diocese would rather not see.

Rector of said parish has a son with special needs and partly as a result, takes a sabbatical to do some reassessing and to seek to be a good steward, with his wife, of this son. This is worked out with the vestry and the diocese enourages sabbaticals. A supply priest is brought in, an arrangement with the rector of the neighboring parish is worked out, etc. By the way, the priest has a good relationship with the parish where he has been for some time and the parish has grown, numerically and spiritually.

Read the rest:

Lectionary Readings for July 17, 2005

Wisdom 12:13,16-19
Romans 8:18-25
Matthew 13:24-30,36-43
Psalm 86 or 86:11-17

Collect Almighty God, the fountain of all wisdom, you know our necessities before we ask and our ignorance in asking: Have compassion on our weakness, and mercifully give us those things which for our unworthiness we dare not ask, and for our blindness we cannot ask; through the worthiness of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Romans 8:18-25
I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God; for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

Methodist Retreat Center Hosting Pro-Homosexual Rally Over Labor Day Weekend
By Jim Brown and Jody Brown

July 15, 2005

(AgapePress) - The official retreat center for the Southeast Jurisdiction of the United Methodist Church is taking heat for its plans to host a convocation put on by major pro-homosexual caucus groups within Methodism.

The Labor Day weekend conference at
Lake Junaluska in North Carolina will focus on how to lobby to overturn the church's teachings on marriage and sex, and lobby for the acceptance of same-sex "marriage" and practicing homosexual clergy. Called "Hearts of Fire," the conference is being organized by the pro-homosexual Methodist group Reconciling Congregations. According to that group's website, one forum will "explore the development of transgender and gender queer spirituality" as well as the "sources of gendering." Participants are encouraged to "come with a robust interest in all things gender, whether or not they themselves are gender non-normative."


Biblical Scroll Fragments Found in Israel
Fri Jul 15, 3:48 PM ET

JERUSALEM - A secretive encounter with a Bedouin in a desert valley led to the discovery of two fragments from a nearly 2,000-year-old parchment scroll — the first such finding in decades, an Israeli archaeologist said Friday.

The finding has given rise to hope that the Judean Desert may yield more treasures, said Professor Chanan Eshel, an archaeologist from Tel Aviv's Bar Ilan University.
The two small pieces of brown animal skin, inscribed in Hebrew with verses from the Book of Leviticus, are from "refugee" caves in Nachal Arugot, a canyon near the Dead Sea where Jews hid from the Romans in the second century, Eshel said in an interview with The Associated Press.


From the Albany Intercessor
Saturday, July 16, 2005

A word received:
Do not be afraid.
I Am with you.
Though men rise up against me,
I Am still Lord and King.
Do not be afraid.
You are mine, I have redeemed you.
Grieve with me for those who have turned aside.

posted by Albany Intercessor at 7:51 AM

Psalm 94
The Lord Will Not Forsake His People

1 O Lord, God of vengeance,

O God of vengeance, shine forth!
2 Rise up, O judge of the earth;

repay to the proud what they deserve!
3 O Lord, how long shall the wicked,

how long shall the wicked exult?
4 They pour out their arrogant words;

all the evildoers boast.
5 They crush your people,

O Lord,and afflict your heritage.
6 They kill the widow and the sojourner,

and murder the fatherless;
7 and they say, “The Lord does not see;

the God of Jacob does not perceive.”

8 Understand, O dullest of the people!

Fools, when will you be wise?
9 He who planted the ear, does he not hear?

He who formed the eye, does he not see?
10 He who disciplines the nations, does he not rebuke?

He who teaches man knowledge—
11 the Lord—knows the thoughts of man,

that they are but a breath.

12 Blessed is the man whom you discipline, O Lord,
and whom you teach out of your law,
13 to give him rest from days of trouble,
until a pit is dug for the wicked.
14 For the Lord will not forsake his people;
he will not abandon his heritage;
15 for justice will return to the righteous,
and all the upright in heart will follow it.

16 Who rises up for me against the wicked?

Who stands up for me against evildoers?
17 If the Lord had not been my help,

my soul would soon have lived in the land of silence.
18 When I thought, “My foot slips,

”your steadfast love, O Lord, held me up.
19 When the cares of my heart are many,

your consolations cheer my soul.
20 Can wicked rulers be allied with you,

those who frame injustice by statute?
21 They band together against the life of the righteous

and condemn the innocent to death.
22 But the Lord has become my stronghold,
and my God the rock of my refuge.
23 He will bring back on them their iniquity
and wipe them out for their wickedness;
the Lord our God will wipe them out.


Friday, July 15, 2005

Prayer of St. Bonaventure

Pierce, O most sweet Lord Jesus, my inmost soul with the most joyous and healthful wound of Thy love, and with true, calm and most holy apostolic charity, that my soul may ever languish and melt with entire love and longing for Thee, may yearn for Thee and for thy courts, may long to be dissolved and to be with Thee. Grant that my soul may hunger after Thee, the Bread of Angels, the refreshment of holy souls, our daily and super substantial bread, having all sweetness and savor and every delightful taste. May my heart ever hunger after and feed upon Thee, Whom the angels desire to look upon, and may my inmost soul be filled with the sweetness of Thy savor; may it ever thirst for Thee, the fountain of life, the fountain of wisdom and knowledge, the fountain of eternal light, the torrent of pleasure, the fullness of the house of God; may it ever compass Thee, seek Thee, find Thee, run to Thee, come up to Thee, meditate on Thee, speak of Thee, and do all for the praise and glory of Thy name, with humility and discretion, with love and delight, with ease and affection, with perseverance to the end; and be Thou alone ever my hope, my entire confidence, my riches, my delight, my pleasure, my joy, my rest and tranquility, my peace, my sweetness, my food, my refreshment, my refuge, my help, my wisdom, my portion, my possession, my treasure; in Whom may my mind and my heart be ever fixed and firm and rooted immovably. Amen.

Level of Perversion on Internet Requires Parents to Install Porn Filtering Protection
By James L. Lambert
July 15, 2005

(AgapePress) - Dr. Judith Reisman, noted author and researcher, told me over a year ago that "all is lost on the Internet." She was referring to the enormous impact the smut industry has, attracting vast amounts of traffic to their pornographic websites. The sheer number of such websites is alarming.

In 1996, while conducting research for my book Porn In America, I discovered several reliable sources stating there were an estimated 79,000 pornographic websites on the Internet. Less than ten years later, that figure has swelled to more than 1.4 million sites -- and the number is still growing.

The sex industry is luring millions of visitors to their sites. Because of little, if any, federal oversight during the last 12 years, the level of perversion at those sites has increased notably. In the 1980s and early 1990s, it was somewhat difficult to locate bizarre and extremely graphic porn material in America. This is no longer the case. Today there are countless websites promoting incest, bestiality, rape, child-adult sex, group sex, voyeurism, and prostitution.


Witchcraft Goes Mainstream
Through sorcery all nations were deceived-Revelation 18:23

News Advisory, July 15 /Christian Wire Service/ -- Author and speaker Steve Wohlberg, author of Hour of The Witch, from Destiny Publishers, asks, "Did you know?"

-- Wicca witchcraft is the fastest growing religion in America, especially with teenagers. Wicca is the seventh largest organized religion in America Source, NPR, All Things considered.

-- Sorcery sells!! Wal-mart sells a complete section of books for spells, recipes and mixing potions. Visit and type in "Wicca".

-- Since the release of the Harry Potter series, interest in Wicca materials, schools, spells has increased over 200%. --Retail Trends, 2004

-- Teens love witches! Spells and the spiritual sells. --Spelling Television Productions/WB Television. Television series and movies spread the gospel of Wicca witchcraft targeted to teen girls. Charmed websites promote and provide spells for teenagers.

-- Oberon Zell-Ravenheart is a world-renowned occultist, a master wizard, a practicing witch. His popular book, Grimoire for the Apprentice Wizard (New Page Books, 2004), is now available on In bold print the Grimoire says that its express purpose is to target the growing numbers of Harry Potter readers who have become interested in exploring real Witchcraft. Under "Acclaim for the Author," the Grimoire unveils its mission.

-- Harry Potter stories accurately portrays Wicca spells and rituals according to Wiccans and Wizards.


A Statement by Six Bishops of the Episcopal Church USA Repudiating Actions of Andrew Smith, Episcopal Bishop of Connecticut

Is the bishop of Connecticut a "Kissing Judas"? The author and scholar, Os Guinness, has recovered Soren Kierkegaard's 19th century stinging rebuke of the Church's leadership and applied it to many in the current Episcopal House of Bishops.

These bishops have kissed the Lord with their vows and betrayed Him for the silver currency of contemporary culture. They have separated themselves from the Abrahamic religions of Orthodoxy, Judaism, and Islam. They have acted in opposition to 4000 years of Judeo-Christian tradition and departed further from Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, and Classical Protestantism, as well as defiantly violated the expressed will and commitment of the world-wide Anglican Communion.

Bishop Andrew Smith has repudiated the faith he swore to at his consecration when he voted against Resolution B001 at General Convention in 2003. Bereft of the faith which alone establishes true unity in the Church, he now attempts to impose unity by uncanonical coercion against six faithful clergy in his diocese.

Since Bishop Edward Fowler put John Bunyan in jail for 11 years in the 17th century there has scarcely been such an example of brutal and unconscionable ecclesiastical tyranny.

The Rt. Rev. C. FitzSimons Allison
The Rt. Rev. Maurice M. Benitez
The Rt. Rev. William J. Cox,
The Rt. Rev. Alex D. Dickson
The Rt. Rev. William C. Wantland
The Rt. Rev. Milton L. Wood, Jr.
Bishops of the Episcopal Church USA


Out of Africa
The leader of nearly 18 million Nigerian Anglicans challenges the West's theology and control.
by Douglas LeBlanc

Philip Jenkins, in his groundbreaking The Next Christendom, wrote that a "global perspective should make us think carefully before asserting 'what Christians believe' or 'how the church is changing.' All too often [such statements] refer only to what that ever-shrinking remnant of Western Christians and Catholics believe. Such assertions are outrageous today. … The era of Western Christianity has passed within our lifetimes, and the day of Southern Christianity is dawning."
In the Anglican Communion, the third-largest Christian body in the world with more than 70 million adherents, there is no better representative of that shift than Nigerian Archbishop Peter Jasper Akinola.

To grasp his importance as a leader of global Anglicanism, consider Holy Communion. For most Anglicans, Communion (or the Holy Eucharist) is the center of weekly worship. The Book of Common Prayer recognizes Communion and baptism as the two primary Christian sacraments. Like millions of other Christians, Akinola (pronounced Ah-key-ola) and other conservative Anglican leaders consider Communion an outward and visible sign of God's redemption of the world. They also believe it should be a sign of Christian unity, grounded in agreement on important doctrines

The story:


In April, a number of Bishops, myself among them, wrote to Bishop Smith expressing our “deepest grief and concern…for those within Connecticut who are now under threat of deposition as clergy, removal as lay leaders, or reduction to mission status as congregations.”
The Bishop’s actions this week in seizing the church property of St. John’s, Bristol, inhibiting the Rev. Mark Hansen and attempting to replace the parish’s elected lay leadership sadly make it clear that our concerns were justified. It would appear now that Bishop Smith has no intention of showing restraint or acting pastorally toward those parishes in his diocese who believe they have no other option but to stand against his move away from mainstream Christian orthodoxy as well as his patent unwillingness to fulfill the clear mandates of the Windsor Report.


Ephraim Radner-The Rev. Mark Hansen's inhibition: What is to be done?

The recent inhibition of the Rev. Mark Hanson (St. John’s, Bristol) in the Diocese of Connecticut by Bp. Andrew Smith, and the physical take-over of his parish’s pastoral oversight, buildings and administration raise disturbing questions. Like most outsiders to this episode, I do not know the motivating details of this event. But its public face is clear enough: without personal contact and without clearly stated reasons, the bishop inhibited a priest who in every respect, except in his lack of concrete support of his bishop’s teaching, seems to have been a faithful pastor to his congregation. The manner in which the inhibition took place, including an unannounced visit to change locks and take possession of computer files and other materials, was, to most observers, shocking in its brazen and clumsy assertion of power. Why was no prior meeting held with Vestry and parishioners to explain the bishop’s concerns? Why was no meeting held with the priest? Why does the stated cause for the inhibition – “abandonment of communion” – seem to have nothing to do (and in any case to have been formulated months before the actual actions just taken) with the actual explanations given by the bishop and his staff? The bishop’s actions appear to have little interest in the real pastoral needs of the congregation and rector. As reported by eyewitnesses and newspapers, this is one of the most egregious exercises of unfounded disruption of congregational life – devoid of Christian transparency – that ECUSA has seen in some time.


No Decision Yet on Florida Seven

In responding to a request for alternative episcopal oversight from seven priests, the Bishop of Florida is consulting widely and is aware that many Episcopalians will be affected by whatever decision he announces, according to a diocesan spokesperson, Paul Van Brunt. Earlier this week, the Rt. Rev. John Howard briefed the standing committee on the situation at a regularly scheduled meeting.

“This is not a trivial decision,” Mr. Van Brunt said. “It’s not just about the seven priests. This will affect roughly 2,000 parishioners as well.”

During a meeting with Bishop Howard on June 16, the Rev. Jim McCaslin, All Souls’ Church, Jacksonville; the Rev. Neil Lebhar, Redeemer, Jacksonville; the Rev. David Sandifer, Calvary, Jacksonville; the Rev. Samuel Pascoe, Grace, Orange Park; the Rev. C. Alexander Farmer, St. Michael’s, Gainesville; the Rev. James Needham, Community of Life, Tallahassee; and the Rev. Robert Sanders, Jacksonville Anglican Fellowship, a newly formed congregation, delivered their request in writing, asking for a response within one month.

The rest:

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Video Testifies to Truth: Transition from Homosexuality to Heterosexuality Possible
By Jim Brown and Jody Brown
July 14, 2005

(AgapePress) - In October, churches, libraries, and colleges will be showing a documentary to raise dialogue concerning alternatives for people who experience same-sex attraction.

The documentary I Do Exist features five former homosexuals who share their testimonies about choosing to leave the homosexual lifestyle. During the week of October 8-15, the video will be shown by groups across the United States that believe homosexuals can change. The film, which conveys the message no one is born a homosexual, premiered last year as a way to counter a "homosexual pride" celebration called National Coming Out Day.

I Do Exist producer, Dr. Warren Throckmorton, says the video affirms that an individual's identity is defined by his or her commitment to absolute truth.


A Statement from the American Anglican Council Condemning Seizure of St. John’s Church, Bristol by Bishop of Connecticut
July 14, 2005

Yesterday, the Rt. Rev. Andrew Smith, Bishop of Connecticut, issued an inhibition against the Rev. Mark Hansen, rector of St. John’s, Bristol and seized church property over the protest of the church’s elected lay leadership. We believe there are serious questions regarding the canonical grounds upon which this inhibition was based as well as inconsistencies in the bishop’s explanation of his actions. We are outraged that any bishop would seize control of a church without lengthy consultation with the vestry [elected church board], and to do so in the name of pastoral concern is unconscionable. Bishop Smith has exhibited pastoral disregard for the leaders, members and clergy of St. John’s. He also seems to display a lack of episcopal discretion and appears devoid of prudent counsel with which bishops are expected to carry out the historic and canonical role to which they are called.

In blatant disregard for the clear warning of the four Instruments of Anglican Unity to avoid doctrinal innovations on human sexuality, the Episcopal Church’s General Convention 2003 voted to approve the election as bishop of a man living in a same-gender relationship. Bishop Smith voted for that measure, subsequently participated in the consecration of V. Gene Robinson, and advocates the blessing of same-sex unions. In so doing, we believe he has abandoned the official teaching of the Anglican Communion.

The rest

Why men should head the Church
Sacha Bonsor

Former deacon Caroline Sandon puts the case against female bishops

AFTER the Synod’s vote on Monday to remove the legal blocks to women becoming bishops, a quiet celebration is taking place among the Church’s female ranks. But, as a former deacon of St Andrew’s Church in Cambridge, I feel that the ordination of female bishops will destroy values that the institution to which I belong has spent 2,000 years establishing. The point about the Church is that it is like the family: it has a hierarchy — and women should not be at the head.


And Now This, for Your Kids
Albert Mohler
Beyond The News Commentary
July 14, 2005

As if parents didn't have enough to worry about, a series of children's books is prompting controversy in several school districts and libraries.
The first in the series, written by Linda De Haan and illustrated by Stern Nijland, is entitled King & King (, and it gives a whole new meaning to the concept of a fairy tale.

The rest::

Brad Drell On Standing Firm In The Faith
Why Louisianans of Both Dioceses Must Stand Firm in the Faith

By Brad Drell

Recently, the Diocese of Louisiana and the Diocese of Western Louisiana celebrated 200 years of the Episcopal Church in Louisiana. Our two dioceses share much in common - a long standing heritage of 200 years, Camp Hardtner, Cursillos that still number themselves from a common reckoning, a Bishop, Leonidas Polk, who founded the University of the South (and I’ve attended church and practiced law with Polks right here in Central Louisiana), Kairos Prison Ministry, and the culture of our state which is unique - highly Catholic, highly Evangelical (read Bible Belt), yet, a state which has extremely high rates of sexually transmitted diseases, divorce, incarceration and poverty. In short, it is good there are a lot of churches in Louisiana, as there are many in need of redemption, and what is a church but a hospital for sinners. In Louisiana, the Church is much needed.

In my personal experience, there are very few Louisianans who would deny the existence of God, or challenge the notion that God loves us and plays a role beyond imagination in all our lives. Bishop Spong’s concept of a non-theistic God just won’t fly in Louisiana. We know better. In the past, we just didn’t worry about the wingnut fringe of the Episcopal Church - like our country, we thought it was confined to California and the North East.

Many of us Louisiana Episcopalians experienced shock and dismay at the actions of the General Convention of 2003 which essentially endorsed homosexual behavior as normative. We had basically been about our business of spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ in our own backyard, and attempting to make Jesus Christ present in the broken and hurting backyard of our own state. The affairs of the national church were none of our business. Feeding the hungry, visiting those in prison, evangelizing the lost - these were and are our tasks, for which the resources held by the Episcopal Church in Louisiana or any church were inadequate, and resources were not to be wasted on the navel gazing of the national church. While all this was going on, our properties were mortgaged to the national church via the Dennis Canon, and the theology of the Episcopal Church drifted so far from what we knew here in Louisiana.

So why do I, a churchman from the Diocese of Western Louisiana, whose focus prior to GC2003 was prison ministry, now spend time on the affairs of the national Episcopal Church?

The rest:

Fatalities Blamed On Birth Control Patch
Written By The Associated Press
Created:7/13/2005 3:36:46 PM

Gingerly, Kathleen Thoren's family gathered around her in the intensive care unit, unable to speak to their beloved sister, daughter, wife, or even stroke her hands. The slightest stimulation might create a fatal amount of pressure on the 25-year-old woman's swollen brain, warned the doctors.

"We were horrified, but we tried to just quietly be with her," said her sister Erika Klein. "In the end, it didn't help.

" The mother of three died last fall, just after Thanksgiving, after days of agonizing headaches that the coroner's report said were brought on by hormones released into her system by Ortho Evra, a birth control patch she had started using a few weeks earlier.

She was among about a dozen women, most in their late teens and early 20s, who died last year from blood clots believed to be related to the birth control patch. Dozens more survived strokes and other clot-related problems, according to federal drug safety reports obtained by The Associated Press under a Freedom of Information Act request

. Several lawsuits have already been filed by families of women who died or suffered blood clots while using the patch, and lawyers said more are planned.

Though the Food and Drug Administration and patch-maker Ortho McNeil saw warning signs of possible problems with the patch well before it reached the market, both maintain that the patch is as safe as the pill.

However, the reports obtained by the AP appear to indicate that in 2004 -- when 800,000 women were on the patch -- the risk of dying or suffering a survivable blood clot while using the device was about three times higher than while using birth control pills.


Burdens Cast on Him
by C.H. Spurgeon

Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee; he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved. (Psalm 55:22)

It is a heavy burden; roll it on Omnipotence. It is thy burden now, and it crushes thee; but when the Lord takes it, He will make nothing of it. If thou art called still to bear, "he will sustain thee." It will be on Him and not on thee. Thou wilt be so upheld under it that the burden will be a blessing. Bring the Lord into the matter, and thou wilt stand upright under that which in itself would bow thee down.

Our worst fear is lest our trial should drive us from the path of duty; but this the Lord will never suffer. If we are righteous before Him, He will not endure that our affliction should move us from our standing. In Jesus He accepts us as righteous, and in Jesus He will keep us so.

What about the present moment? Art thou going forth to this day's trial alone? Are thy poor shoulders again to be galled with the oppressive load? Be not so foolish. Tell the Lord all about thy grief and leave it with Him. Don't cast your burden down and then take it up again; but roll it on the Lord and leave it there. Then shalt thou walk at large, a joyful and unburdened believer, singing the praises of thy great Burden-bearer.


For our brothers and sisters suffering persecution and heavy trials, we pray Lord that You would remind us to cast everything upon your shoulders; You who carried the weight of our sins and can do all things if we but trust in You!

William Witt Comments on the Latest in the Diocese of Connecticut
From titusonenine
Personal account of a parishioner of the takeover of St John's in Bristol, Connecticut by Bishop Andrew Smith.

Prayer for St. John's @ Lent and Beyond here:

Connecticut Six Website here:

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Fish Bill Gutted; Now Smells Like Once-Defeated Homosexual 'Marriage' Legislation
By Jody Brown
July 13, 2005

(AgapePress) - If it looks like a fisheries research bill and smells like a fisheries bill, chances are -- at least in California -- that it's a bill promoting homosexual "marriage." One family advocate in the Golden State calls the resurrection of the once-dead legislation "an abuse of process."

AB 849 originally dealt with California's fish and game code and with ocean and marine fishery research. It had been read before the State Assembly, passed, and sent on to the Senate. Now, after being gutted and amended in late June by San Francisco Assemblyman Mark Leno and his co-authors, it not only has completely new content dealing with "gender-neutral marriage," but a new title as well: the "Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act." (
See mark-up of AB 849)


Connecticut Six Defend their Churches' Sanctity

Six Connecticut Episcopal churches have respectfully but firmly placed limits on their diocesan bishop's recently scheduled official visitations to their congregations. In a letter delivered to Bishop Andrew Smith on Wednesday, the six churches informed their Bishop that while he will be welcomed at any time, their clergy and congregations believe it would be inappropriate for him to preach or to preside at the Eucharist.

The clergy and parishes, known as the "Connecticut Six”, have been at odds with their bishop for the past two years following his abandonment of Anglican Church teachings. Citing Bishop Smith’s repeated public attacks against them, the churches stated that he has created an "atmosphere of hostility and mistrust" that makes the sanctity and dignity of a shared Eucharist impossible.

The situation in the Diocese of Connecticut is rooted in a context of a grievous and unprecedented Communion-wide crisis. The principled stance of these six churches has been recognized as an expression of faithfulness, not rebellion, by Primates of the Anglican Communion and the Archbishop of Canterbury. Archbishop Rowan Williams stated that the Panel of Reference was being constituted to consider situations where “extraordinary arrangements” might be needed “to provide for parishes which find it impossible in all conscience to accept the direct ministry of their own diocesan bishop….”

The rest:

Episcopal bishop inhibits one of six embattled priests

HARTFORD (AP) -- One of six Episcopal priests accused of refusing to recognize his bishop's authority has been suspended. The six had asked to be supervised by someone else because they oppose gay marriage.
Smith favored the 2003 consecration of the Reverend Gene Robinson, the church's first openly gay bishop. Smith on Wednesday suspended the Reverend Mark Hansen for up to six months and appointed another priest to lead Saint John's Church in Bristol.
A spokeswoman for the diocese says Smith recently learned Hansen had sent a letter to the parish indicating he was leaving the church and would help find another priest. She says Smith does not have any plans to take immediate action against the other five priests. She says Hansen's situation is different because he did not notify Smith of plans to take a sabbatical or leave the church.
The Reverend Susan J. McCone has been appointed to lead the congregation. She's an assistant priest at Saint John's Church in Washington, Connecticut. Parishioners will be invited to a meeting Sunday night to discuss the situation.


Special Report
By David W. Virtue

BRISTOL, CT: (7/13/2005)--Connecticut Bishop Andrew Smith and 12 of his diocesan leaders walked into St. John's Episcopal Church in Bristol this morning waving a letter of inhibition at the Rev. Mark Hansen, hacked into the church's computer, shut down the church's website and took over the building. The senior warden tried in vain to stop him.

The bishop then issued a letter of inhibition to Hansen using Title IV Canon 10 Sec. 1 saying that Hansen was not permitted to attend worship or enter the buildings for education or worship. "It is regrettable that your actions have brought us to this point where the initiative which includes this inhibition has become necessary," wrote the bishop.

"I do not accept this inhibition. I am still the Rector of St. John's parish and the Bishop has no right to proceed in accordance to proper canon law," said Fr. Hansen.

On hearing the news the other five parish priests known as the "Connecticut Six" gathered together in solidarity with Hansen and the Senior Warden.

The bishop promptly announced that a woman priest was now in charge of the parish.

An observer noted, with a touch of cynicism that Bishop "Drew' Smith started with the parish where he knew the rector would be away today. He was there for a Vestry meeting last night.


Indonesian Sunday School Teachers Face Five Years in Prison

Christian Wire Service/ --

Court proceedings involving three Christian women arrested under "Child Protection" laws, for leading Sunday school classes for their local church continued on Thursday July 7th. Once again, a mob of radical Islamists arrived by the truckload at the court where the proceedings continued. The mob gathered just outside the courthouse; and as the three women arrived for their trial, police forces had to hold back the assembled mob from attacking the women, as they shouted "Allahu akbar! (God is great!) Dr. Rebekah is evil, hang them...Shoot her!"

It remains unclear who organized the mob, but experts believe former Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), a disbanded radical Islamist group, were behind the demonstrations. Whoever was behind the protests, they were obviously designed to strike fear into judicial authorities as well as the Christian population.

As the trial began, the mob again took over the seats in courtroom and reacted vigorously to everything said in the proceedings, especially when the leader of the investigative team of the Indonesian Council of Islamic Preachers shouted toward the women, "Stop the terror you are committing!" The mob responded by shouting back the traditional Islamic phrase for slaughtering animals, "Allahu-Akbar," and "shoot them!"

Several children were called to the witness stand to testify along with their parents, but all of the children were too frightened by the mob, and had to be taken outside to recover from their fright. When their testimony resumed, the children denied being given money to convert to Christianity. It was also made clear that each Muslim child who attended the Sunday school classes had their parents' permission, and when the three Christian women took the children on field trips, the children were accompanied by their Muslim parents.


Why Should Christians Care About the Supreme Court Nominee?
Janet ChismarSenior Editor for Faith

Mere days after Justice Sandra Day O'Connor announced her resignation from the United States Supreme Court, battle lines were drawn and some Democrats were threatening to impose litmus tests on any potential replacement. Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said in an interview, "All questions are legitimate. What is your view on Roe v. Wade? What is your view on gay marriage?"

O'Connor has been a critical swing vote on issues like partial birth abortion and recently sided with the majority in the 5-4 decision striking down a display of the Ten Commandments.


The Supreme Court and Moral Anarchy

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 12, 2005 ( – “What does the nomination of a replacement for Sandra Day O’Connor, constitutional law, and moral chaos have to do with one another? A good deal more than you think.”

So writes Robert Bork, a former judge on the U.S Court of Appeals, in what is arguably one of the clearest and most timely expositions of the fundamental abuses which plague the institution of the Supreme Court. “Their Will Be Done”, printed in the Wall Street Journal on July 10, calls into question the entire legal, social, and moral philosophy under which the Supreme Court has been operating, pointing out the grave abuses of power by that court, and highlighting the immediate necessity of a return to faithfulness to the Constitution, lest the United States be completely fragmented by the Court’s destructive moral anarchy.

“The struggle over the Supreme Court is not just about law,” prophesies Bork, “it is about the future of our culture.”


Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Oswald Chambers- July 12th

"Till we all come . . unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ." Ephesians 4:13

Rehabilitation means the putting back of the whole human race into the relationship God designed it to be in, and this is what Jesus Christ did in Redemption. The Church ceases to be a spiritual society when it is on the look-out for the development of its own organization. The rehabilitation of the human race on Jesus Christ's plan means the realization of Jesus Christ in corporate life as well as in individual life. Jesus Christ sent apostles and teachers for this purpose - that the corporate Personality might be realized. We are not here to develop a spiritual life of our own, or to enjoy spiritual retirement; we are here so to realize Jesus Christ that the Body of Christ may be built up.

Am I building up the Body of Christ, or am I looking for my own personal development only? The essential thing is my personal relationship to Jesus Christ - "That I may know Him." To fulfil God's design means entire abandonment to Him. Whenever I want things for myself, the relationship is distorted. It will be a big humiliation to realize that I have not been concerned about realizing Jesus Christ, but only about realizing what He has done for me.

"My goal is God Himself, not joy nor peace,
Nor even blessing, but Himself, my God."

Am I measuring my life by this standard or by anything less?


Abortion's Lingering Damage Revealed
Studies indicate a substantial percentage of women experience serious post abortion complications
by Dr. Barry De Veber,
Institute for Bioethics and Social Research in Toronto
Originally published as an Op-Ed in the London Free Press

After reviewing the various letters to the editor supporting abortion on demand and Henry Morgentaler, I would like to make a few comments and corrections.

Pro-life supporters come from various moral and religious backgrounds, but they all want to see the unborn child or fetus given some recognition and status so it cannot be eliminated simply because it's not wanted.

They see a small, defenceless human individual, which at seven weeks has a heart beat and brain activity, and by 14 weeks is fully developed. By 20 to 24 weeks these babies become viable, as in rare cases they can survive outside the womb. About this time, before birth, they can have intrauterine surgery on the heart and other organs, at which point they become patients. Of course, they have no legal status until a miraculous passage through the birth canal, when it is recognized by everyone as a legal human being.

However, since abortion supporters choose to ignore these facts, they should be concerned about complications following abortions that are increasingly reported in scientific literature: 1) A study sponsored by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, in 2001 showed that 41,000 women who had abortions had five times the number of hospital admissions for psychiatric problems, compared to a similar number of women who had no abortion. This was a short-term study done at three months, and did not deal with long-term effects of abortion. 2) A study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal in 2003 showed an increase number of psychiatric admissions among lower-income women who had induced abortions. 3) A Finnish study of the records of 600,000 women showed a six-fold increase in suicides in post-abortion women compared to those with a live birth, three times the incidence of women in general. There are other published studies in Britain and the U.S. showing similar findings. 4) It is obvious there are large numbers of women with post-abortion psychological problems, judging by the growth of hundreds of related counselling centres in North America, the largest being Project Rachel.

The rest:

Use Your Spiritual Gifts to Help Your Church Grow
Whitney Hopler
Contributing Writer

If you're a Christian, God has given you at least one spiritual gift. And those gifts aren't just for your own benefit; their purpose is to bless entire Body of Christ. When you discover your spiritual gift(s) and use them in your local church, you'll see amazing growth take place for everyone in your congregation.

Here's how you can use your spiritual gifts to help your church grow:

Understand what truly constitutes a spiritual gift. Know that your spiritual gift (or combination of gifts) determines your purpose in Christ's Body. Spiritual gifts are special attributes given by the Holy Spirit to every member of the Body of Christ, according to God's grace, for use within the context of the Body. A spiritual gift is not a natural talent (everyone has natural talents, but only believers have spiritual gifts), a fruit of the Spirit (all Christians should develop the same fruit, whereas only certain Christians receive particular spiritual gifts), or a role (Christians should be ready to fill any role in case of an emergency or temporary need, but that doesn't necessarily mean the role makes use of their unique strengths). Ask God to help you discern true spiritual gifts from counterfeit ones that come from the evil side of the spiritual realm.

For study:

Wolves in Berlin
Europe’s Demographic Crisis
July 11, 2005

In a well-known urban legend, college students simultaneously flush all the toilets on campus and break down the town’s sewage system. While this story about overtaxing a sanitation system may be a myth, real-world Germans have learned what happens when you don’t tax the system enough. It’s a vivid example of the damage caused by the “birth dearth.”

The “birth dearth” is what demographers call plummeting birth rates in most of the industrialized world. Throughout Western Europe and East Asia, the birth rate is well below 2.1 births per woman—which is the minimum needed to maintain a stable population.

Environmentalist dogma argues that plummeting birth rates are a good thing: People cause pollution, we’re told. Well, officials in countries like Japan, Korea, and Germany now know better. In these and other so-called “advanced” societies, shrinking populations threaten their way of life and their cultural identity.

In Japan, for example, a birth rate that is barely half of “replacement level” has forced the closure of more than two thousand schools in the past ten years, with hundreds more closures to come. It’s left the government wondering who will support Japan’s aging population. These and other concerns, like the possible extinction of the Japanese people, have prompted older Japanese to call their childless children “parasite singles.”

The rest

Canadian Senate Expected to 'Rubber Stamp' Homosexual Marriage Bill
By Chad GroeningJuly 11, 2005

(AgapePress) - A pro-family activist in Canada says there is very little hope that homosexual marriage will not become the law of the land now that Parliament has passed its same-sex "marriage" bill, known as C-38, and the Senate vote on the bill is largely a formality.

Brian Rushfeldt, co-founder and executive director of the
Canada Family Action Coalition (CFAC), has been urging pro-family Canadians to contact their senators and urge them to vote against the homosexual marriage bill. However, he estimates the chance that the Senate will do the right thing by voting against the same-sex marriage legislation as "virtually none."

In fact, Rushfeldt says even attempts to temper the provisions of the legislation are unlikely to make it through the liberal Senate's approval process. "There were a couple of amendments that a couple of the senators tried to introduce," he points out, adding, "I don't even think any amendments are going to get passed in the Senate. I think it's going to go through just the way it went through our Parliament with the same wording as Parliament sent up to them. They can just rubber stamp it."


'Judicial murder' and Terri Schiavo
By Nat Hentoff

July 11, 2005

While editorials across the nation agreed in chorus that at last, Terri Schiavo will rest in peace, the autopsy report declined such certainty:"It is the policy of this office that no case is ever closed and that all determinations are to be reconsidered upon receipt of credible, new information." Even if no new information surfaces, how Terri Schiavo was put to death is causing many Americans to confront their own death.

Pat Anderson, for a long time the attorney for Terri Schiavo's parents, said the day Terri died of dehydration as ordered by the courts and her husband: "Euthanasia in America now has a name and a face." Dr. Jon Thogmartin's autopsy report made clear that Terri Schiavo was not dying, let alone terminal. As Dr. Carl D'Angio wrote in a June 21 letter in the New York Times: "Her family loved what was left of her and asked only to be permitted to care for her at their own expense. My question is, who or what was better served by her passive execution by water deprivation than by the first alternative?"

Responding to the autopsy report, Terri's parents said: "Terri's case was NOT an end-of-life case. Terri's case was about ending a disabled person's life. Terri was brain-injured. This does NOT mean that she was brain-dead." Her parents also noted that "according to the medical examiner, Terri was given morphine for pain as she died ... If Terri could feel no pain, as some would say, why would these drugs be necessary? In our opinion, the treating health care officials understood that Terri felt pain."

Read the rest:
Excellent column!

Christians Uniquely Positioned to Offer Hope in Aftermath of Dennis

(CEN, July 11, 2005) – Christian Emergency Network (CEN) Founder and Chairman Mary Marr reminds Christians today, “Even if you are not directly affected by Hurricane Dennis, the best thing you can do to help now is to prayerfully consider assisting Christian organizations, even though public appeals generally overlook Christian organizations such as the Salvation Army and instead refer people to secular relief organizations.”

She explained, “By doing so, Christians will be giving of their time, talents and money to those organizations which, in a time of disaster, understand that it is the hope found in Jesus that offers the only true eternal results.” She added, “Christians know that government, while able to respond with tangible assistance, cannot turn fear and hopelessness around in a crisis. Jesus is the only one with lasting Hope and Christians have the ability to share Him today for such a time as this.”


Monday, July 11, 2005

Chastity as God Intends
Comprehensively Addressing Sexual Issues
By Kate Harris

July 6, 2005

A review of Real Sex: The Naked Truth about Chastity, by Lauren Winner (Brazos, 2005).

When Lauren Winner wrote about her conversion from Orthodox Judaism to Christianity in her 2003 memoir, Girl Meets God, her frank recognition of the complexities of newfound faith were unpredictable and charming. As she takes up the question of sex and chastity in her new book Real Sex, her candor is not only resonant, it is uniquely insightful. In what seems likely to emerge as a critical resource for any Christian seeking to pursue a coherent sexual ethic in a hyper-sexualized culture, Winner effectively redefines the scope of Christian sexual ethics to incorporate realities-as-they-really-are within the church. She emphasizes the profound relevance of Scripture and tradition as a remedy, while articulating a winsome, yet bold challenge for the Church to be less modest about its call to chastity.


Way cleared for women bishops

THE Church of England has voted to move towards ordaining women bishops, a step which could provoke an exodus of conservative clergy and deepen the widening splits within the worldwide Anglican Communion.A synod meeting in the city of York voted to "remove legal obstacles" in church law to women bishops, a process church officials said could take about four years to complete.

All three houses of the synod - the church's parliament - voted in favour. The most senior house, the House of Bishops, voted 41 for and only six against.

Bishops play a key role in the hierarchy of Christian churches since they head dioceses and ordain new priests. Opening the episcopate, or community of bishops, to women would allow them into the inner sanctum of power in the church.

But the decision risked putting the church on a collision course with its conservatives, who defend the all-male clergy by saying Jesus Christ chose only men as his Apostles - the forerunners of modern bishops.


Churchmen on brink of exodus over women bishops
Christopher Morgan

ON THE eve of a critical vote on the creation of women bishops in the Church of England, a senior figure has warned he and hundreds of priests will quit if the move is approved.

Andrew Burnham, Bishop of Ebbsfleet, this weekend becomes the first leading churchman to state that he would be likely to defect to the Roman Catholic Church.

The General Synod will tomorrow be asked to vote on the first stage of the process for “removing the legal obstacles to the ordination of women to the episcopate”. A vote in favour will set in train church legislation that may take three years.

“A woman bishop wouldn’t be a bishop because a bishop is someone whose ministry is acceptable through the ages to all other bishops,” said Burnham. “A Church of England with women bishops would no longer have a united episcopate. Bishops would no longer be what they say they are. I would have to leave.”

He said he would be forced to quit if Anglicans did not make proper provision for opponents of women bishops, and indicated that he believed 800 priests would follow suit.

The rest of the story:,,1-523-1688178,00.html

St. Benedict
Of Humility

Brethren, the Holy Scripture crieth to us saying: "Every one that exalteth himself shall be humbled; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted" (Lk 14:11; 18:14). Since, therefore, it saith this, it showeth us that every exaltation is a kind of pride. The Prophet declareth that he guardeth himself against this, saying: "Lord, my heart is not puffed up; nor are my eyes haughty. Neither have I walked in great matters nor in wonderful things above me" (Ps 130[131]:1). What then? "If I was not humbly minded, but exalted my soul; as a child that is weaned is towards his mother so shalt Thou reward my soul" (Ps 130[131]:2).

Hence, brethren, if we wish to reach the greatest height of humility, and speedily to arrive at that heavenly exaltation to which ascent is made in the present life by humility, then, mounting by our actions, we must erect the ladder which appeared to Jacob in his dream, by means of which angels were shown to him ascending and descending (cf Gen 28:12). Without a doubt, we understand this ascending and descending to be nothing else but that we descend by pride and ascend by humility. The erected ladder, however, is our life in the present world, which, if the heart is humble, is by the Lord lifted up to heaven. For we say that our body and our soul are the two sides of this ladder; and into these sides the divine calling hath inserted various degrees of humility or discipline which we must mount.

The rest:

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Why God Asks Us to Pray
by Henry T. Blackaby

It is a serious matter to ask, “Why does God ask us to pray?”
Jesus told His disciples that “... men ought always to pray and not lose heart ... ”(Luke 18:1). Throughout His ministry Jesus was always urging His disciples to pray. But why? Surely, it was not merely for them to get their desired wishes!

Could the answer be found in what we call the Lord’s Prayer? In the middle of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, he gives a long and careful word on prayer (Matthew 6:5-15). The heart of it all is His “model prayer,” which begins: “Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven....” Examining the text carefully we notice that the heart of prayer is God the Father. Thus, prayer must first focus on God rather than ourselves. Our prayer should be for God’s name and full character to be revealed clearly. We then pray for His will -- not our will -- to be done and that God express His will “on earth” in the arena of our lives. We should desire that heaven’s will be done where we live.

When our prayer is God-centered, God reveals Himself and His heart for all to see. When we pray for God to work mightily for Himself alone, He does. God can then work through the prayer lives of His people to make Himself known to a watching world. And when He does He is glorified! That is, He is seen in His activity for who He is, and this will draw people to Himself. Not all will be "saved," but all will know Him in one way or another. So we must model Jesus' prayer faithfully before we make any request for God to “bless us” and meet our needs.

I have noticed that when people know that I am a child of God they watch to see what God does when I pray. Therefore, I pray with Him in mind so that when He answers my prayer HE is the focus of attention for everyone to see. Our desire should always be that God is seen and loved and followed by others because of what He is doing when we pray. And this, of course, is especially true when we live out our lives and prayer in our families and in our workplaces. Those around us every day, who should know us as Christians, will know when we pray and what God does when we pray. They will not be drawn to us, but to God -- whom we serve. And when they see God working, He will be honored and glorified!


NEA bolsters gays on policy, practices
By George Archibald
July 8, 2005

LOS ANGELES -- The National Education Association ended its four-day convention here with a big victory for members promoting homosexual advocacy, but debate by conservatives seeking resolutions condemning adult-minor sexual contact and supporting respect for "all living things" was cut off.

"It was a very obvious attempt to stifle dissent on issues with which they disagree -- biblical issues or issues on the [political] right," said David Kaiser, a retired teacher from Ohio, who was blocked from discussing his proposal to strike language allowing the right to abortion from the union's family-planning policy.

The 9,000 delegates at the 2.7-million-member union's yearly business meeting also blocked a proposal by Ohio delegate Keith Gudorf to put the NEA on record that its longtime policy of "compassion and respect for all living things" in an animal vivisection section also applied to humans in the family-planning section.

Also blocked was a proposal by California delegate Diane Lenning, ousted chairwoman of the NEA Republican Educators Caucus, to amend the union's sexual-assault policy to state that "the association deplores the advocacy of adult/minor sexual contact."

Story here:

Hurricane center's Max Mayfield guided by faith in Christ
Jul 8, 2005
By Barbara Denman

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (BP)--As Floridians hunker down in front of television sets for the latest hurricane news, they are hoping reports will not bring word of storms bearing down on their homes and worldly possessions. Yet even in the midst of their turmoil, a single, calm voice will guide them through what may be the most cataclysmic event of their lifetime.

That voice, belonging to Max Mayfield, director of the National Hurricane Center, is one of vigilance and reassurance. As an advisor to national media and governmental agencies, Mayfield's words often are a matter of life and death.

"You can't overly alarm people," the 56-year-old meteorologist said. "But our message is very consistent. We want every individual, every family and every business to have a hurricane plan before the storm. People who had a plan did better than people who did not [in previous years]."

As the voice in the midst of the life-threatening storms, Mayfield himself relies on his Christian faith. He quickly recalls a verse he claims as his own: 1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18, "Rejoice in everything, pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."

"Prayer is a big part of my life," he said, noting that his prayer is not to change God's will but to ask Him to limit loss of life and property damage.


An almighty market
God is a big business in the publishing world, as long as writers steer clear of any forbidden territory

Despite early predictions that the religious book market was just a flash-in-the-pan literary phenomenon, the growth of Christian books outpaced the adult trade category in 2004, with sales expected to soar in coming years.

"People kept asking themselves, 'Is this a bubble? A temporary trend?"' said Albert Greco, a consultant with the Book Industry Study Group who has tracked the book business for 20 years. "No, it is a significant trend in the marketplace."

It is a marketplace that will be much discussed as the Christian Booksellers Association holds its International Christian Retail Show today through Thursday at the Colorado Convention Center. The show features training, workshops and exhibitors. It is not open to the public.

In 2004, religious books represented 7 percent of all book sales, with $1.95 billion in net revenues. The book industry overall totaled $26.45 billion in net revenues, according to the Book Industry Study Group. Translated into consumer spending, readers spent $3.7 billion on religious books, a category that includes Christian books. That is an increase of nearly 285 percent from 1983.


A Reflection on Barabbas and the Election of Bishop Gene Robinson

In all four Gospels, the Jews were given a choice between Jesus and Barabbas, a rebel hero of the Jewish people (save in John’s Gospel, where he is a bandit.) It seems to me that Barabbas was a fairly popular man - a pro-Jewish, anti-Roman rebel, who, while some Jews may have decried him publically, would have ultimately had the support of the Jews, even if secretly, for attempting to throw off the Romans. He would be one of many Jewish rebel leaders over the time of the Roman occupation of Israel, but, at the time Jesus was brought before Pilate, I suspect he was rather in vogue, having recently led a riot where presumably someone loyal to Rome was killed. Barabbas was doing what most Jews wanted to do - get rid of the Roman oppression of Israel’s sovereignty. So, when faced with a choice between Jesus and Barabbas, the Jews chose Barabbas. Why? They liked him. Barabbas was a good guy in the eyes of the Jews. He might even be one of the favorite sons of the Jews. Jesus, however, had become a pain for the Jews. He wasn’t giving them freedom from the Romans, but was preaching the Good News of forgiveness and transformation, and a turning away from sin and to God. I can picture Ciaphus, the high priest, leading the cries of “Barabbas!”

The irony is further striking, in that Barabbas is Jesus Barabbas, and Pilate gives us a choice between Jesus Barabbas, “son of the father” and Jesus the Christ. A choice between the Jesus of the age and Jesus, the Christ - the Jesus of all ages.

The rest:

Drell's Descants: