Saturday, July 23, 2005


Jesus Christ was born in a stable; he was obliged to fly into Egypt; thirty years of his life were spent in a workshop; he suffered hunger, thirst, and weariness; he was poor, despised and miserable; he taught the doctrines of Heaven, and no one would listen. The great and the wise persecuted and took him, subjected him to frightful torments, treated him as a slave and put him to death between two malefactors, having preferred to give liberty to a robber, rather than to suffer him to escape. Such was the life which our Lord chose; while we are horrified at any kind of humiliation, and cannot bear the slightest appearance of contempt.

Let us compare our lives with that of Jesus Christ, reflecting that he was the Master and that we are the servants; that He was all-powerful, and that we are but weakness; that he was abased and that we are exalted. Let us so constantly bear our wretchedness in mind, that we may have nothing but contempt for ourselves. With what face can we despise others, and dwell upon their faults, when we ourselves are filled with nothing else? Let us begin to walk in the path which our Saviour has marked out, for it is the only one that can lead us to Him.


Lectionary Readings for Sunday, July 24, 2005

1 Kings 3:5-12
Romans 8:26-34
Matthew 13:31-33,44-49a
Psalm 119:121-136 or 119:129-136

O God, the protector of all who trust in you, without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy: Increase and multiply upon us your mercy; that, with you as our ruler and guide, we may so pass through things temporal, that we lose not the things eternal; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Romans 8:26-34
The Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn within a large family. And those whom he predestined he also called; and those whom he called he also justified; and those whom he justified he also glorified.
What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us, will he not with him also give us everything else? Who will bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? It is Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us.

Reporter seeks justice for victims and for God
Jerry Mitchell breaks the mold.

July 17, 2005

The Mississippi newspaper reporter doesn't fit conventional categories or stereotypes.

He's an investigative reporter who's broken big stories on the Ku Klux Klan and corruption in the criminal justice system in Mississippi. But he does it in a polite, non-confrontational manner opposite the stereotype of an ambush interviewer.

He's worked for justice for African Americans in the spirit and tradition of the civil rights movement of the 1960s. But his foundation is not in his own good intentions. He sees himself as a humble instrument in the hands of God.

In an age of relativism, he believes in absolute truth and standards of justice that don't shift according to someone's subjective preferences of the moment.


Youth Ministry: Stepping into the Virtual Community
posted by
Andy Rau on July 22, 2005

Blogs, instant messenger, chat rooms and Internet forums—all are cited as tools for creating “virtual communities.” They point to an internet phenomenon that has been underway for years but is just now starting to be taken seriously by mainstream churches and ministries. Chances are, the kids in your youth group are already connected to an online community. So what does a virtual community look like—and how can it make your ministry more effective? Renee Altson has written an excellent
overview of a healthy online community [PDF], with plenty of suggestions and ideas for incorporating the virtual world of blogs and chats with your “offline” ministry. She also lists tips to help even Internet-challenged ministers step into the world of blogging and IM and make an existing youth ministry more meaningful and effective.


Meeting of Bishops in Los Angeles Concludes

Nineteen invited bishops from across the theological spectrum reported “frank, respectful” discussion “on a variety of issues that have caused pain and dissension within the Episcopal Church” at the conclusion of a July 18-21 meeting in Los Angeles, hosted by the Bishop, the Rt. Rev. J. Jon Bruno.

One of the initial invitations proposing the meeting said the purpose was “to discuss a final settlement.” A number of other explanations were offered in subsequent communications, however, leading one participating bishop to deny to the diocesan communications officer knowledge of any official purpose a few weeks before it began.

Shortly after the official opening, the Rt. Rev. John B. Chane, Bishop of Washington, made it known that he would leave if “it became clear that details of the meeting were being revealed while it was in session.” Jim Naughton, communications director for the Diocese of Washington, said “the bishops pledged to each other to keep details of the meeting confidential.”

Rest of the story

Police Crackdown Forces Hundreds from Zimbabwe Churches
Church leaders accused the government of a ''total disregard for the law and perpetrating human rights violations.

''Friday, Jul. 22, 2005 Posted: 6:28:40PM EST

Police raided at least nine churches in Zimbabwe’s second-largest city on Wednesday, forcibly removing hundreds of homeless people seeking shelter after the government's crackdown on illegal settlements in urban areas, church leaders and news agencies reported yesterday.


No Further Than Natural Things
Elisabeth Elliot

"Well, it's perfectly natural for you to feel that way," I was telling myself when I was upset with the way someone had treated me. "It's a normal reaction."
It was a normal reaction for a carnal mind. It was not normal for a spiritual one. The carnal attitude deals with things on one level only--this world's. It "sees no further than natural things" (Rom 8:5 JBP).
Is there a telescope that will bring into focus things I would not see with merely "natural" vision? There is.
"The spiritual attitude reaches out after the things of the spirit." It is a different means of perceiving. It will enable me to see what I could not have seen with the naked--that is, the carnal--eye.
It works. When I looked at that person who had offended me through the "spiritual eye," I saw in him one of God's instruments to teach me, instead of one of the devil's to torment me. I saw something more. I saw a person God loves, and whom He wants to love through me.

Found here

Bishop Spong Tells Religious "Progressives" to Stick It to Conservatives
Mark Tooley

Contrasting his own sense of divine love with the ostensible "hate" of conservative Protestants and Catholics, Episcopal Bishop John Shelby Spong insisted, "I don't want to denigrate any human being."

But Spong lashed into traditional Christians in a scorching speech to Michael Lerner's Conference on Spiritual Activism on July 21 in Berkeley, California. He hailed Lerner as a "major force for peace in our nation and the world."

Hundreds at what Spong called a "consciousness-raising conference" cheered and applauded as he mocked traditional Christian and Jewish beliefs about God and the Bible.
"I rise up to say 'no' to popular religion in America today," Spong declared, calling American religiosity "tribal" and the "blessing of private prejudices."

Warning against this supposed "tribal" religion, Spong insinuated a connection between conservative Christians and Islamist terrorists. He noted, as if it were some kind of proof, that both Osama bin Laden and George W. Bush "invoke" God.

Spong, who is the retired Episcopal Bishop of Newark, has long been a biting polemicist on behalf of liberal religion, writing books suggesting that the Virgin Mary was a prostitute and St. Paul a "self-hating gay man,"while denying that Christ was divine and rejecting a personal God. "It's time to name evil as evil when sounded in pious accents of biblical religion," Spong declared blazingly. "In the 21st century ... my nation seems to be walking religiously back into religious attitudes that I spent a lifetime trying to escape."

The rest

Friday, July 22, 2005

Where is God when things are being shaken?
by Henry Blackaby

". . . the heavens and earth will shake; but the Lord will be a shelter for His people . . ." (Joel 3:16b)

If a person does not have a real or close relationship with God, the incredible "shaking" of our day will be a time for anger, bitterness, cynicism and even deep unbelief in the very existence of God!

What do we see being shaken in the world today? -- homeland security since the 9/11 tragedies; terrorism and its constant destabilizing threats; the downturn and uncertainties in the economy; wars in Bosnia, Afghanistan, Kuwait and Iraq; death in our military and its effect on their families; changing standards, including the debate over marriage; breakdown in family life; bankruptcies and unemployment; rising costs in education and other aspects of life; corporate fraud and scandals; and many more life-changing and unsettling aspects of life that are touching all of us.

The rest

God alone knows all the facts,
sets all the goals, and determines morality. Nowhere in Scripture are His principles to be replaced in favor of human calculation. He allows us to play the game; He does not allow us to make the rules.
--Erwin Lutzer

Catholic Activist Dismayed by Media's Invective of Nominee Roberts' Religion
By Jody Brown
July 22, 2005

(AgapePress) - The leader of a Catholic religious and civil rights group is pointing it didn't take long for critics of Supreme Court nominee John Roberts to drag religion into the debate. He accuses on online magazine that is seldom friendly to Catholics of "playing the Catholic card" in early attempts to undermine the nominee's chances for confirmation.

Supreme Court nominee John Roberts and his wife, Jane, are Roman Catholics. He attended Catholic elementary and high schools in Indiana, and now is a parishioner at a Catholic church near the couple's home in Maryland. Jane Roberts is on the board of governors of the John Carroll Society, a Catholic lay group that sponsors a Mass every year before the start of the new Supreme Court term. In addition, she was on the board of directors for Feminists for Life from 1995 to 1999 and at one time was its executive vice president. She currently does pro bono legal work for the organization.

The rest

Arkansas Parents Uncover Volumes of Vile Literature in School Libraries
By Jim Brown

July 22, 2005

(AgapePress) - An Arkansas mother who succeeded in getting three sexually explicit books removed from Fayetteville school libraries says she has found there are more than a hundred books of that nature in the school district. Now a mental health counselor is recommending a parental audit of all the books in the city's school libraries.

According to a search conducted by Fayetteville mom Laurie Taylor, out of 502 books listed under "sex" in the city's middle, junior high, and high school libraries, there are 66 books on sex instruction, and 32 of those are on child sex instruction. Another 75 of the books deal with homosexuality, 23 fall under the category of lesbian fiction, 16 are on rape, 9 on incest, and there are even some books on bestiality.

The rest of the story

News from the Saint Louis meeting of bishops


Bishop Smith Dismisses Role and Authority of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Panel of Reference

Contact:Cynthia P. Brust
July 22, 2005

In an article dated July 22, 2005, the Church of England Newspaper reports that Andrew Smith, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut, has “warned” the Panel of Reference “that it will have no role in the battle for alternate episcopal oversight (AEO)” in the Diocese of Connecticut. According to the report, Diocesan Director of Communications Karin Hamilton says Bishop Smith “does not envision a role for it [the panel] in the present conflict as he wishes to resolve the present dispute ‘domestically’.”

The Rev. Canon David C. Anderson, President and CEO of the American Anglican Council (AAC), responded to the recent developments in the Diocese of Connecticut saying, “This is a staggering development in a dramatic and escalating situation. Bishop Smith ran roughshod over canon law when he seized St. John’s Episcopal Church in Bristol and inhibited their rector. Now he has reportedly challenged the Archbishop of Canterbury who established the Panel of Reference in order to deal with cases just like this one. Are their no bounds to his arrogance and challenge of Anglican authority?”

The rest at AAC website

Connecticut Attorney Ralph Dupont responds to Diocese of Connecticut Attorney Alan Baker 7/22/2005

July 21, 2005
Alan Robert Baker, Esq.
Baker O’Sullivan & Bliss PCPutnam Park,
Suite 100100 Great Meadow Road
Wethersfield, CT 06109-2371

Dear Mr. Baker:

Your letter to Attorney Reeve, under date of July 19, 2005, has received careful consideration and review. We expressly deny the many factual generalizations therein. We are responding to your implied suggestions for an immediate resolution of the St. John’s dispute.

We are prepared to respond as permitted by Canon IV.10.2. We assume upon receipt of Father Hansen’s declaration denying abandonment of the communion, that the inhibition will be withdrawn, promptly, with an appropriate public announcement.

Father Hansen and the Bishop need not meet for that purpose, of course, but if a meeting is desired by the Bishop, then Father Hansen must be provided with a Consultant, at the expense of the Diocese, as required by canon law in such cases. Hopefully, that meeting will lead to a resolution of the sabbatical leave issue, as well, with Attorney Reeve’s assistance.

The rest at titusonenine

Eminent Domain: Churches 'Targeted by the Bulldozers'
Jeff JohnsonSenior Staff Writer

( - There is disagreement over whether the U.S. Supreme Court's recent eminent domain decision endangers the property rights of churches, synagogues and other religious institutions. Some argue that the First Amendment and existing laws may offer adequate protection, while others worry that the decision will open the door to a political assault on the property of people of faith.The Supreme Court's Kelo v. New London ruling, could mean that "religious institutions that are, by nature, non-commercial and, by law, tax exempt, would be the first to be targeted by the bulldozers because of their alleged lack of economic contribution to the community," according to Jared Leland, media and legal counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.


How Discipline Died
The church should stop taking its cues from the state.
by Marlin Jeschke
posted 07/22/2005 09:00 a.m.

The Protestant reformers named three "marks by which the true church is known": the preaching of the pure doctrine of the gospel, the pure administration of the sacraments, and the exercise of church discipline to correct faults. Today, church discipline is feared as the mark of a false church, bringing to mind images of witch trials, scarlet letters, public humiliations, and damning excommunications. Does discipline itself need correction and redemption in order to be readmitted into the body of Christ? We have asked several experts from different (and sometimes contrasting) professional and theological backgrounds to explain how church discipline fell into disrepair and how it can be revived, so that the true church can fully embody the pure doctrine of the gospel once again
Day One
Who killed church discipline? As in any good mystery story, fingers point everywhere.
It's tempting to finger the megachurch as the prime suspect, if only for its size. In such settings, it is hard to keep track of the membership rolls, let alone members' personal lives. Congregants from the 9:30 service rarely meet those who attend the 11:00 service, even if they may be committed to biblical mandates to help a fellow church member in spiritual or moral trouble. But how can one even tell a member? Many people attending these churches may be church hoppers or perennial visitors, considering themselves free-floating Christians without accountability—and they like it that way.

The rest

Roberts' rules . . .
By Cal Thomas
July 22, 2005

Once again, President Bush has confounded his critics by doing what he said he would do. He has nominated to the Supreme Court someone he believes will not make law from the bench, but interpret laws in light of the Constitution as the Founders wrote it.

D.C. Appeals Court Judge John Roberts has been in his current post just two years. Confirmed to that position by a unanimous voice vote in the Senate, Judge Roberts won't get that sort of treatment this time around. Liberal senators, like Democrats Patrick Leahy of Vermont and Charles Schumer of New York, will try to pin down Judge Roberts on cases such as Roe v. Wade as to whether "settled law" can be overturned. If it can't, the United States might still be practicing racial segregation, even slavery.


A Burglary at an Episcopal Church in Connecticut?

Last week Bishop Andrew Smith of Connecticut did the very thing which he had been threatening for several months. Without a trial he ignored all semblance of due process as he declared a priest of his diocese, Fr. Mark Hansen of St. John’s Bristol, to be “inhibited,” claiming that he had abandoned the Anglican Communion. I wrote an open letter to Bp. Smith on April 17, 2005 to warn him against the actions which he has now taken (see,

Claiming that Fr. Hansen has abandoned the Anglican Communion is nonsense, since just the night before the Letter of Inhibition was written, he did one of the standard things any rector does - attend his parish’s vestry meeting. This is hardly an example of a priest who has jumped ship.

I do not know what the legal situation is with St. John’s Church, but most Episcopal Churches in New York are religious corporations which are independent of the diocese. They may be a member of the diocese, but as religious corporations they have independent legal existence. If a bishop here did what Bishop Smith did in Connecticut - seize a parish without any civil court proceedings - he would face something more serious than violating his own church canons in wrongly deposing a priest. He and his staff could be charged with the felony of burglary.

Unless the diocese owns the property, the bishop has no legal right under civil law to enter or remain in a church without the consent of the parish. According to published reports, that is exactly what Bishop Smith did with the help of the locksmith on the morning of Wednesday, July 13, 2005, when they allegedly pried open the door of Fr. Hansen’s private church office and changed the locks. Without giving the bishop permission to do this, this would be a burglary in most New York parishes and probably in most other states.

Wearing a purple shirt rather than a black mask does not differentiate a bishop from a cat burglar when these tactics are used. That it was done in broad daylight or that the bishop had a canon law document claiming to “inhibit” the priest is irrelevant. Without a police officer carrying a warrant or a court order from a judge, no man can break an office door and seize parish records of a church corporation. Being a bishop confers no special legal right to break into your church, your house, your bank account records, your computer, your website, or any other private property. Unless the rector, church wardens, vestry, or church secretary give the bishop the key and say, “Take it over,” a bishop seizing a church corporation without a court order is a common burglar.

An Episcopal Church parish under canon law is not legally a subdivision of the diocese, and the diocese has no more right to seize a church by walking in the front door one morning than the state governor does to seize your house. The so-called Dennis Canon, even if it was lawfully adopted by the Episcopal Church (and that legal issue has not yet been settled), does not apply since St. John’s did not leave ECUSA or the Diocese of Connecticut. The Dennis Canon by its own explicit language places no restriction on a parish unless it has left its diocese or the national church.

According to some published reports there is an allegation that St. John’s was not paying its mortgage to the diocese. If so, the bishop’s remedy is a mortgage foreclosure in court, not a locksmith breaking into the rector’s office with the parish secretary in tears watching it all. Even if the parish did not own the property, the bishop should afford them the same right a landlord gives a tenant who is not paying rent - an eviction proceeding. An evicting slumlord apparently has more respect for his tenant than this bishop has for this parish.

What Bishop Smith did last Wednesday against St. John’s in Bristol, Connecticut would have been a felony in New York if it had been done against my parish.

Where is the voice of the presiding bishop, Frank Griswold, and the diocesan bishops of ECUSA reprimanding the actions of one of their own? Oliver Goldsmith, the Irish playwright, was on the mark when he wrote, “Silence gives consent.” When we do not hear the revisionist bishops of ECUSA speaking out against this travesty, the reasonable assumption is that they quietly agree.

Rectors, wardens, vestry, and parish secretaries - beware! Faithful Episcopal parishes which refuse to bless same sex unions or accept homosexual bishops living with their lovers now need to take extraordinary measures to protect themselves against an unannounced takeover by the bishop. Do parishes need to install burglar alarms, have iron bars on their windows, encrypted computer records with off-site data storage, and the number of the local police department on the speed dial to protect themselves not against thieves in the night, but against their own bishop? Sadly a civil law attorney and a canon lawyer are now essential to every prudent parish.

Just when things cannot get worse in the Episcopal Church, they did.

Raymond Dague is a New York attorney and the chancellor of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Syracuse, New York, a parish of the Anglican Communion Network.

Bishop Smith Meets with St. John's, Bristol -
Observations by AAC's the Rev. Canon Ellis E. Brust
July 22, 2005

Bishop Smith meets with St. John’s, Bristol

Observations of July 17, 2005 Meeting
The Rev. Canon Ellis English Brust
Chief Operating Officer
American Anglican Council

I was in Bristol, Connecticut, last weekend to support an American Anglican Council (AAC) parish as its theological dispute with Bishop Andrew Smith escalated. On Sunday I was invited by the senior warden and members of the vestry to attend a hastily called meeting between Bishop Andrew Smith and the congregation of St. John’s. Just days before, on July 13, Bishop Smith--joined by a squad of diocesan staff, locksmiths, computer hackers, and security guards--seized control of the building despite protests of the parish secretary and senior warden. Bishop Smith locked out members of the congregation, issued an inhibition of Fr. Mark Hansen, and forced a revisionist priest-in-charge on the orthodox congregation. In an emotionally charged atmosphere, Bishop Smith tried in vain to “rebuild trust” (as he claimed) between himself and the 150 or so people in attendance at Sunday’s meeting. I am thankful I was there to both assist this beleaguered congregation and witness first hand the diocesan twisting of canonical and ecclesiastical authority.

Before the meeting, Bishop Smith and a staff member were fidgeting with flip charts inside the chancel, and some of his entourage were scattered around the pews while others – including two security guards – controlled the parishioners entering the nave. There were two satellite trucks and other reporters in the parking lot who had been given clear instructions to stay outside by Diocesan Communications Director Karin Hamilton. Ms. Hamilton approached me less than 30 seconds after I took my seat to inform me that this was a meeting between the bishop and members of St. John’s and asked me to leave. I declined, reminding her of the state’s “sunshine laws”. The bishop similarly tried removing Anglican Communion Network Dean Bill Murdoch, who also declined. A few minutes past 7 p.m., the Bishop called the meeting to order, introduced his entourage (lawyers, staff members, the purported priest-in-charge), and again asked all others (there were only the two of us, myself and Bill Murdoch) to leave. The congregation erupted in protest stating that we were their representatives at the meeting. The bishop acquiesced.

Please read the rest! AAC blog

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Jeremiah 23:1-4

1 "Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of My pasture!" says the LORD. 2Therefore thus says the LORD God of Israel against the shepherds who feed My people: "You have scattered My flock, driven them away, and not attended to them. Behold, I will attend to you for the evil of your doings," says the LORD.
3"But I will gather the remnant of My flock out of all countries where I have driven them, and bring them back to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase.
4I will set up shepherds over them who will feed them; and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, nor shall they be lacking," says the LORD.

O Father, we know your heart is grieved over those shepherds who have led Your people astray or who have driven them away. We pray that You would turn their stony hearts into hearts of flesh, that You would open the eyes of their hearts to see and understand You and the hope of Your calling and great riches in Christ Jesus. We thank You that You have promised to look after Your people who suffer under those who do evil in their authority and we pray that they may have strength and perserverence in the time of trial, knowing that the Great Shepherd will never leave them nor forsake them. Amen.

Busy Youth Ministry Means No Time For God

Youth minister: create space for kids to ''be still and know'' rather than produce program after program giving more information and ''convincing'' kids to follow Jesus.

Thursday, Jul. 21, 2005
Posted: 10:38:03AM EST
Ministers of youths have increasingly noticed that youths are kept too busy.

As a youth pastor, I see many teens who are stressed out from being too busy," wrote Tim Geare and Tim Sanford from Focus on the Family. Topher Philgreen of YouthFront believes effective youth ministers must create space for kids to “be still and know" rather than produce program after program giving more information and “convincing” kids to follow Jesus.

Philgreen asked, "When was the last time you were still? When was that last time you got so still that when the Holy Spirit whispered into your heart, it was like a roar?" in a recent article for National Network of Youth Ministries.


Canadian Evangelicals Will Continue to Promote Traditional Marriage
Howard Williams

Ottawa ( - Evangelical Christians in Canada will not affirm the newly legalized definition of marriage to include same-sex unions, despite a bill signed into law Wednesday giving homosexual and lesbian couples the same civil marriage rights as those enjoyed by heterosexuals.

"The unique, distinct nature of heterosexual marriage is no longer recognized in our law and public policy, but we will continue to promote and teach the biblical understanding of marriage in our families and churches," Evangelical Fellowship of Canada President Bruce Clemenger said.

"Evangelical pastors and congregations will continue to celebrate and promote marriage as the exclusive and enduring union of one man and one woman," he said.


Now for the good news
Jul 21st 2005

George Bush's education reforms may be working

THERE is no shortage of bad news for the White House these days. The Washington press corps is on death watch outside the house of Karl Rove, George Bush's chief adviser, and the car bombs continue to explode across Iraq. Yet last Thursday also saw some rare good news. It is buried in a pretty obscure place, in a report published by the National Assessment of Educational Progress. But it has some big implications—not only for Mr Bush's much-maligned claim that he is a different sort of conservative, but also for the future health of American society.


Black Conservative Group Blasts Ebonics Plan for California Schools
By Melanie Hunter Senior Editor
July 20, 2005

( - A black conservative group is criticizing a controversial pilot program in San Bernardino, Calif., schools that would inject "Ebonics" slang into the schools' curriculum.

The project, known as SANKOFA or Students Accumulating New Knowledge Optimizing Future Accomplishment Initiative, is designed to improve the academic performance of black students by keeping them interested in their studies.

But black conservative group Project 21 said the program will do more harm than good.

"Teaching Ebonics, which is nothing more than urban slang, will not provide a means for an individual to acquire a job," said Project 21 member Michael King in a statement.


Jihad Made In Europe
From the July 25, 2005 issue:
There may be more to fear from a mosque in Leeds than a madrassa in the Middle East.
by Reuel Marc Gerecht
07/25/2005, Volume 010, Issue 42

THE JULY SUICIDE BOMBINGS IN London--some or all of whose perpetrators were Muslims born and reared in Britain--are likely to produce in the United Kingdom the same intellectual reflection on Muslim identity in Europe that is already underway in nearby countries. The French began this reflection in earnest ten years ago, after bomb-happy, lycée-educated, French-born Islamic holy warriors terrorized France. The Spanish began it after their own train bombings in March 2004, and the Dutch after the brutal slaying of the film director Theo van Gogh by a Muslim militant in November 2004. Quite likely the British will reach the same conclusion the French already have, to wit: Islamic terrorism on European soil has its roots in the Middle East. "British Islam"--the behavior and spiritual practice of Muslims in the United Kingdom--it will be said, is by and large a progressive force standing against pernicious and retrograde ideas emanating from the Middle East. There are big problems of acculturation at home in mother England, all will confess, but the holy-warrior mentality is imported.

Read the rest here

London hit by four bomb attempts, two weeks on
By Philippe Naughton, Times Online

Exactly two weeks after four suicide bombers wreaked havoc in the London rush hour, large parts of the capital were again brought to a standstill today by apparent copycat attacks on three Tube trains and a bus.
Emergency services were called out to incidents at three stations, including a reported nail bomb attack at Warren Street station.
Warren Street, Shepherd's Bush and Oval stations were evacuated at 12.30pm. An explosion was also reported on a No 26 bus at Hackney in East London, blowing out the windows but not causing any injuries.
Sir Ian Blair, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, has confirmed that one person was injured in attacks that were "close to simultaneous".


Sometimes life looks like the backside of a loom.

A day's circumstances seem as disconnected as the threads on the underside of an Oriental rug. We are hard pressed to see any pattern or purpose to it all. Prayer is the Divine Weaver's invitation to step around to what is really the front side of the loom, to the eternal side of life. And the movement is transformational, often breathtaking. The upward look of prayer reveals the real meaning of life. In giving us the Lord's Prayer, Jesus was inviting us to step around the loom and see life from the perspective of heaven. True prayer is God's invitation to see life through God's eyes and to set the circumstances of life in their larger context. We need this perspective if we are to see our lives as more than a disconnected sequence of events.
--Steve Harper

David Roseberry Writes the Bishop of Connecticut

The Rt. Rev. Andrew Smith
Diocese of Connecticut
1335 Asylum Avenue,
Hartford, CT 06105

Dear Bishop Smith,

This past week a man came to my house and shut off the electricity. I had forgotten to pay the bill while I was on vacation. I was home when the lights went out, so I ran outside and spoke to the man. I reasoned with him and pleaded with him. He listened to my situation, had compassion on me, and immediately turned the power back on. I don’t know any more about that man, but I thank God for his heart and his generosity. I paid the bill in full that afternoon.

This is the way people should behave … especially if they are leaders in the church! Paul says in Galatians 6:10 “Therefore, as we have the opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”

The rest at titusonenine

Small blasts hit London transport
Thursday, July 21, 2005 Posted: 1322 GMT (2122 HKT)

LONDON, England (CNN) -- At least one person has been injured following reports of three small explosions on London's transport system, police say.
The incidents came two weeks to the day since bombs on three Underground trains in London and a double-decker bus killed 56 people including four bombers.
CNN's Matthew Chance said police told him a device exploded in or around Warren Street Tube station in the center of the British capital.
The area around the station has been sealed off and the Bomb Squad is on the scene to check for other explosive devices.
Transport Police told ITN there was an injury at Warren Street. There are no other reports of casualties.


Author Warns Parents of Casual Sex Pitfalls Awaiting College Students
By Jim Brown
July 20, 2005

(AgapePress) - Dr. Jennifer Morse, a popular writer and speaker on family issues, says modern patterns of dating on college campuses are destructive when it comes to finding life-long married love.

Morse has written a new book called Smart Sex: Finding Life-long Love in a Hook-up World (Spence Publishing Company, 2005). In it, she warns parents who are sending a child to college this fall that most can expect casual sexual encounters, co-ed dorms, and even co-habitation to be part of their kids' lives for the next four years.

The author says hookups -- that is, encounters involving casual, recreational sex -- are not conducive to making a proper judgment about who will be one's lifelong partner. "If you start off with the idea that sex is a recreational activity with no moral or social significance," she asserts, "you're going to be drawn to the wrong persons, you're going to be doing the wrong kinds of things -- you're just not going to be in the right kind of mode for finding somebody with whom you can share life-long love."

At schools with co-ed dormitories and sometimes even co-ed rooming groups, it is not uncommon for students who live in close proximity to begin having sex. Again, Morse says this can be relationally damaging in the long term, as social science research has shown that couples living together before marriage are more likely to divorce than couples who do not co-habit before marriage.


Senate GOP rallies for Roberts
By Charles Hurt
July 21, 2005

Senators warmly welcomed Judge John G. Roberts Jr. on Capitol Hill yesterday, and several key members said his nomination to the Supreme Court should not be blocked under the deal struck in May to end judicial filibusters.
"This man has the right stuff and will do the right thing for America and for us as individuals," said Sen. John W. Warner, Virginia Republican and member of the group of seven Democrats and seven Republicans who crafted the pact to end most of the filibusters against President Bush's judicial nominees.
Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican and also a member of the so-called Gang of 14, agreed with Mr. Warner that Judge Roberts doesn't meet the "extraordinary circumstances" required to warrant a filibuster.
"Judge Roberts deserves an up-or-down vote," Mr. McCain said. "And I hope that the other members of that group would also agree with me."
A survey yesterday by The Washington Times of all 100 senators found that 44 senators -- all Republicans -- support Judge Roberts' nomination to the high court -- at least for now. Fifteen senators, including nine Democrats, made a point to praise Judge Roberts but stopped short of endorsing his nomination.

The Washington Times

Catacomb Find Boosts Early Christian-Jewish Ties, Study Says
James Owenfor

July 20, 2005

For millions of pilgrims and tourists, the ancient catacombs of Rome represent the rise of Christianity. Yet a new study suggests that these vast underground burial complexes may owe their origins to Jews—and that Judaism may have influenced Christianity for longer than previously thought.
Carved over several centuries from soft rock on the outskirts of the imperial capital, the catacombs are the resting places of hundreds of thousands of Christians.
But along with the 60 early-Christian complexes, two Jewish catacombs survive in Rome. They are distinguished by Judaic motifs, such as the seven-branched candelabras, or menorahs, that appear on many grave stones.

National Geographic News

Godcasts' booming across the Internet
Knight Ridder Newspapers

(KRT) - Behold the Godcaster, spreading religion and spirituality, one iPod at a time.

Godcasts, religious and spiritually themed podcasts, have been fruitful and multiplied, becoming the most popular use of the new online technology since it debuted less than a year ago. Searches for "Godcast" and "pod preachers" increased 355 percent in just one month this spring, according to the Internet search engine Lycos, on par with searches for the super model Naomi Campbell and the television show "ER."

In a podcast, radio-style broadcasts are posted on the Internet and can be downloaded to an iPod or MP3 player so that the listener can tune in anywhere, anytime. What makes podcasting so novel is that fans can also subscribe to their favorite podcasts, programming their digital music player to download the latest show automatically.


Polygamy: The Next "Right" to be Legalized?
By Kim Bonney

CBN News Producer – WASHINGTON - Voters across the country have repeatedly rejected same-sex marriage. Yet the battle over same-sex marriage may be resolved by the courts.
The stakes are high because if same- sex marriage becomes legal, polygamy may be next.

Story here

Connecticut Bishop to Panel of Reference: Drop Dead!

Plans for an international Panel of Reference to investigate divisions between traditionalists and liberals will not affect a key American diocese. The Archbishop of Canterbury’s Panel of Reference has been warned that it will play no role in the battle for alternate Episcopal oversight (AEO) in the diocese of Connecticut, a spokesman for Bishop Andrew Smith told The Church of England Newspaper.

Bishop Smith’s rejection of a mediating roll for the Panel in one of the flashpoints of division within the Communion, demonstrates its irrelevance, critics charge. Liberal American and Canadian bishops who have expressed willingness to work with the Panel have largely granted AEO to dissident parishes, while bishops who so far have refused AEO, will ignore the Panel with impunity, they claim. Bishop Smith Bishop inhibited the Rev Mark Hansen, rector of St John’s, Bristol, Connecticut, for failing to abide by the diocese’s sabbatical guidelines – and by doing so, the diocese claims, pastorally neglecting his congregation. On the morning of July 13, Bishop Smith, accompanied by lawyers and locksmiths, served notice on the parish secretary that Dr Hansen – a staunch opponent of Bishop Smith over his support for Gene Robinson – had been inhibited and would be deposed in six months unless he recanted. The bishop ordered the locks changed and a security guard maintains a 24-hour vigil at the parish.

The rest: titusonenine

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

The Church of SpongeBob
Mark Tooley

Episcopalians often get tarred as America’s most liberal Christian denomination. But there is a more liberal one! (Hint: it’s the one Howard Dean joined after he quit the Episcopal Church in a dispute over a bike trail.)

And it’s nearly as old, too. Episcopalians can trace their history in America back to Jamestown in 1607, but the United Church of Christ’s antecedents date to the Puritans who arrived in New England only a couple decades later.

It’s been a roller coaster of a ride across the centuries for the United Church of Christ, from gun-toting Calvinists to super-PC gay “marriage” proponents.

The rest: IRD

Oswald Chambers

"They that wait upon the Lord . . . shall walk and not faint." Isaiah 40:31

There is no thrill in walking; it is the test of all the stable qualities. To "walk and not faint" is the highest reach possible for strength. The word "walk" is used in the Bible to express the character - "John looking on Jesus as He walked, said, Behold the Lamb of God!" There is never any thing abstract in the Bible, it is always vivid and real. God does not say - Be spiritual, but - "Walk before Me."

When we are in an unhealthy state physically or emotionally, we always want thrills. In the physical domain this will lead to counterfeiting the Holy Ghost; in the emotional life it leads to inordinate affection and the destruction of morality; and in the spiritual domain if we insist on getting thrills, on mounting up with wings, it will end in the destruction of spirituality.

The reality of God's presence is not dependent on any place, but only dependent upon the determination to set the Lord always before us. Our problems come when we refuse to bank on the reality of His presence. The experience the Psalmist speaks of - "Therefore will we not fear, though . . ." will be ours when once we are based on Reality, not the consciousness of God's presence but the reality of it - Why, He has been here all the time!

At critical moments it is necessary to ask guidance, but it ought to be unnecessary to be saying always - "O Lord, direct me here, and there." Of course He will! If our common-sense decisions are not His order, He will press through them and check; then we must be quiet and wait for the direction of His presence.


Congress to add 2 months to Daylight Savings Time
July 20, 2005

It looks like Daylight Saving Time is about to be extended, and that has child safety and fire prevention advocates riled.

Congressional leaders of both parties have signed off on a proposal, being considered in Washington this week, to start Daylight Saving Time on the first Sunday in March and end on the last Sunday of November. They say it would save energy.

If the president signs the bill, the new law would take effect immediately, extending Daylight Saving Time by one month this fall. Currently, Daylight Saving Time begins at 2 a.m. on the first Sunday of April and ends at 2 a.m. on the last Sunday of October.

Chicago Sun-Times

Conservative Religious Groups Praise 'Originalist' Roberts Nomination
But in 2003 nominee said he was uncomfortable with the label.
by Collin Hansen
07/20/2005 04:30 p.m.

Conservative Christian leaders reacted jubilantly Wednesday to President Bush's nomination of John G. Roberts Jr. to the Supreme Court, despite Roberts's limited and ambiguous record on abortion. They praised the 50-year-old judge from the D.C. Court of Appeals as brilliant, qualified, ethical, and—most importantly—an "originalist" and "strict constructionist."

"The President made it clear he would nominate individuals to the Supreme Court who reflected the judicial philosophy of justices he admired the most. He stated those were [Antonin] Scalia and [Clarence] Thomas," said Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council. "From every indication, that is exactly what he has done. He has nominated a judge who knows the difference between the Court and Congress, between litigating and legislating."


Sri Lanka Tsunami Children Saved By Missionaries amid Reports of Kidnappings
Tuesday, July 19, 2005
By BosNewsLife News Center

COLOMBO, SRI LANKA (BosNewsLife)-- Sri Lanka's government is allowing Christian native missionaries to save children who narrowly survived the recent Tsunami disaster, following news that some are being abducted into forced labor or child prostitution by people posing as aid workers, BosNewsLife established Monday, July 18.


Into the Blogosphere--The New Information Revolution
Albert Mohler
Author, Speaker, President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

We are now witnessing a comprehensive revolution in the way information is distributed, evaluated, and catapulted into the nation's consciousness. Just ask Eason Jordan.

Jordan was once CNN's senior news chief. All that changed in February 2005 when reports came out of Davos, Switzerland and the World Economic Forum, attributing nearly unbelievable comments to the news executive. As reported, Jordan had claimed that American soldiers had targeted certain reporters and journalists in Iraq to be killed.

Within hours, "blogs" had jumped on the story, tracking down the actual substance of the comments and catching Jordan in a web of unsustainable denials. Within days, the executive simply resigned, explaining that he had "decided to resign in an effort to prevent CNN from being unfairly tarnished by the controversy over conflicting accounts of my most recent remarks regarding the alarming number of journalists killed in Iraq."

The rest

Wrenching Good Out of Evil
The Story of Nien Cheng
July 20, 2005

On the evening of August 30, 1966, Nien Cheng sat alone in her Shanghai home, reading. Toward midnight, she heard a truck stop in front of her house. Moments later a gang of Red Guards burst through her front door. The leader stepped up. “We are the Red Guards. We have come to take revolutionary action against you!” he said.

The gang proceeded to ransack Cheng’s home. Cheng—a wealthy woman with ties to England—was thrown in prison; her daughter was also taken from her. She was accused by the Communist government of spying for the British. The charge was false—but powerful people were about to make her a sacrificial lamb, somebody who would discredit Chairman Mao’s opponents.


Sandpaper People: How to Love Abrasive Souls God's Way
Mary Southerland
Author & Contributing Writer

We live in a world that hoards a myriad of problems. However, you will be thrilled to know that I have discovered the biggest problem of all – people! In my opinion, if there were fewer people, there would definitely be fewer problems.

Let’s be honest! Some people are more difficult to get along with than others; they “rub” us the wrong way! I call them “Sandpaper People.” Sandpaper people come in all shapes, sizes and colors and sometimes they are us! We try to change them, run from them, ignore them and even take a stab at fixing them. If only it were that simple. It rarely is.

The rest:

Borg revisited

Raymond Dague: The Theology of Heresy in Central New York

Excerpt: "Borg is in the tradition of Spong and Pike. In a well written book The Meaning of Jesus: Two Visions by Marcus J. Borg & N. T. Wright, Borg describes what he thinks about Jesus, and often what he does not think about Jesus.

Borg believes that Jesus was not conceived by Mary as a virgin, but was the biological child of Joseph and Mary. Jesus was “more likely” born in Nazareth and not in Bethlehem as recorded in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. None of the things associated with the nativity of Jesus such as the appearance of the star, the shepherds seeing the angel, or the magi visiting the baby ever happened. Also the geologies of Jesus were fabrications, or as Borg likes to say, “history metaphorized.” Jesus did not know that he was the Jewish Messiah. Jesus did not predict his own death, nor did he see his death as the salvation for the sins of man. Jesus did not utter the words of the Eucharist at the Last Supper over the bread and the wine. There was never a trial of Jesus before the Jewish or Roman authorities. Whether the tomb was empty on Easter morning is “irrelevant” to the Christian faith. He describes the Nicene Creed as “not…a set of literally true doctrinal statements to which I am supposed to give my intellectual assent, but as a culturally relative product of the ancient church” which he prefers to chant or sing, rather than say.

Borg is an attractive and glib speaker, and a fine writer. He cranks out book after book debunking orthodox Christianity, and is a bit better than his predecessors Pike and Spong in trying to articulate actual content to what he believes. But basically his calls himself Christian by remaking Christianity as he “imagines” Jesus. When you see a theologian, bishop, or priest speak about “imagining” or “re-imagining” God, watch out. They, like Pike, Spong and Borg, are remaking God in their own image, and to their own liking."

Reflections on Vacation Bible School: Marcus Borg
Brad Drell @ 7:42 am

I’ve been helping down at the church every night this week with Vacation Bible School. The program this time is Jerusalem Marketplace. Our parish hall and the kids are all decorated to match the period (with the usual creative anachronisms, like the plastic juice dispensers tied to ropes inside the well in the middle of the marketplace), and they are learning about the Torah and about Jesus. Very cool.

Each night, we’ve told the kids about Jesus - what he did, who he was.

While Borg “likes folks that tell those stories", these aren’t stories about Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny - these are stories about God. Children look up to adults and expect them to tell them the truth and not to lie to them. I have a couple of questions for Mr. Borg.

The rest:



Is 97% Good Enough? What about this, Mr. Borg?
Brad Drell @ 1:41 pm
Jesus story ‘gets it 97pc right

It is 97 per cent certain that God raised Jesus Christ from the dead - based on sheer logic and mathematics, not faith - according to Oxford professor Richard Swinburne.

“New Testament scholars say the only evidence is witnesses in the four gospels. That’s only 5 per cent of the evidence,” Professor Swinburne, one of the world’s leading philosophers of religion, said last night.

Bush Nominates Justice Roberts to Supreme Court - Abortion Fight Has Begun

WASHINGTON, July 19, 2005 ( - Following today's announcement regarding the nomination of Judge John G. Roberts to serve as associate justice on the U.S. Supreme Court, the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) in Washington, D.C. is concerned a filibuster will ensue, due to the judge's pro-life stand.

"Liberal pressure groups will insist that Senate Democrats filibuster against Judge Roberts, unless he pledges in advance to vote against allowing elected legislators to place meaningful limits on abortion," said NRLC Legislative Director Douglas Johnson. "Millions of Americans will be watching to see if the Democratic senators bow to these demands."


Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Andrew Murray

"ALL growth in the spiritual life is connected with the clearer insight into what Jesus is to us. The more I realize that Christ must be all to me and in me, that all in Christ is indeed for me, the more I learn to live the real life of faith, which, dying to self, lives wholly in Christ. The Christian life is no longer the vain struggle to live right, but the resting in Christ and finding strength in Him as our life, to fight the fight and gain the victory of faith. This is specially true of the life of prayer. As it too comes under the law of faith alone, and is seen in the light of the fulness and completeness there is in Jesus, the believer understands that it need no longer be a matter of strain or anxious care, but an experience of what Christ will do for him and in him—a participation in that life of Christ which, as on earth, so in heaven, ever ascends to the Father as prayer. And he begins to pray, not only trusting in the merits of Jesus, or in the intercession by which our unworthy prayers are made acceptable, but in that near and close union in virtue of which He prays in us and we in Him. The whole of salvation is Christ Himself: He has given HIMSELF to us; He Himself lives in us. Because He prays, we pray too. As the disciples, when they saw Jesus pray, asked Him to make them partakers of what He knew of prayer, so we, now we see Him as intercessor on the throne, know that He makes us participate with Himself in the life of prayer."

Evening Prayer-St. Augustine
(4th Century)

Watch thou, dear Lord,
with those who wake, or watch, or weep tonight,
and give thine angels charge over those who sleep.
Tend thy sick ones, Lord Christ.
Rest thy weary ones.
Bless thy dying ones.
Soothe thy suffering ones.
Pity thine afflicted ones.
Shield thy joyous ones.
And all, for thy love's sake.

Bush Nominates Federal Judge Roberts

The Associated PressTuesday,
July 19, 2005; 7:51 PM

WASHINGTON -- President Bush chose federal appeals court judge John G. Roberts Jr. on Tuesday as his first nominee for the Supreme Court, selecting a rock solid conservative whose nomination could trigger a tumultuous battle over the direction of the nation's highest court, senior administration officials said.

Bush offered the position to Roberts in a telephone call at 12:35 p.m. after a luncheon with the visiting prime minister of Australia, John Howard. He was to announce it later with a flourish in a nationally broadcast speech to the nation
Roberts has been on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit since June 2003 after being picked for that seat by Bush.

Advocacy groups on the right say that Roberts, a 50-year-old native of Buffalo, N.Y., who attended Harvard Law School, is a bright judge with strong conservative credentials he burnished in the administrations of former Presidents Bush and Reagan. While he has been a federal judge for just a little more than two years, legal experts say that whatever experience he lacks on the bench is offset by his many years arguing cases before the Supreme Court.


Canadian National Public Radio Broadcasts Call for State Control of Religion Especially Catholicism

OTTAWA, July 19, 2005 ( - Just as Senate approaches the final vote on the gay 'marriage' bill, C-38, Canada's national public radio CBC Radio has aired a commentary by a retired professor from the Royal Military College calling for state control over religion, specifically Catholicism. While parliamentarians dismissed warnings by numerous religious leaders and experts that such laws would lead to religious persecution, former professor Bob Ferguson has called for "legislation to regulate the practice of religion."

"Given the inertia of the Catholic Church, perhaps we could encourage reform by changing the environment in which all religions operate," Ferguson began his commentary in measured tones yesterday. "Couldn't we insist that human rights, employment and consumer legislation apply to them as it does other organizations? Then it would be illegal to require a particular marital status as a condition of employment or to exclude women from the priesthood. "

Ferguson continued, "Of course the Vatican wouldn't like the changes, but they would come to accept them in time as a fact of life in Canada. Indeed I suspect many clergy would welcome the external pressure."


Attorney: Fired Allstate Employee's Trial Carries Implications for Religious Freedom
By Jim Brown

July 19, 2005

(AgapePress) - There's a pre-trial hearing on Wednesday (July 20) in the case of a former Allstate employee who claims the insurance company fired him for writing an article against homosexual "marriage." The outcome of the case will likely determine whether a Christian employee can be fired for expressing his religious beliefs while off the job.

Former Allstate security manager Matt Barber recently filed a federal lawsuit against the company, alleging viewpoint discrimination. An investigation by the state of Illinois concluded that Barber was terminated because an "outside organization" complained about an article he wrote on his own time. The article defending traditional marriage appeared on several conservative Internet sites.


The Post-Truth Era--Welcome to the Age of Dishonesty
Albert Mohler
Author, Speaker, President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

By the time you finish reading The Post-Truth Era, Keyes is likely to have convinced you that dishonesty is now the order of the day, and that deception has now been institutionalized at virtually every level of American culture.

Keyes is an author of keen perception and wide-ranging observation. He has pulled together an enormous body of evidence, all pointing to the pervasive rise of dishonesty in American life. As Jeremy Campbell remarked in The Liars' Tale, "It is a creeping assumption at the start of a new millennium that there are things more important than truth."


C.S. Lewis
"What seem our worst prayers may really be, in God's eyes, our best. Those, I mean, which are least supported by devotional feeling. For these may come from a deeper level than feeling. God sometimes seems to speak to us most intimately when he catches us, as it were, off our guard."

Gay Student Sanctioned for Offensive E-mails
Damages were settled Friday against a former Baylor University seminary student who sent offensive e-mails to school officials following the loss of his scholarship
Tuesday, Jul. 19, 2005

Damages were settled Friday against a former Baylor University seminary student who sent offensive e-mails to school officials following the loss of his scholarship.

James Matthew Bass, 25, was a student at Baylor's George W. Truett Theological Seminary until late 2003, when administrators revoked his scholarship after learning that he is gay, according to Waco Tribune-Herald.

No longer able to afford the tuition, Bass withdrew from the largest private institution in Texas.

According to the Baylor lawsuit filed Jan. 19, school employees, including President Robert Sloan, received a series of e-mails allegedly sent from someone with a Baylor-affiliated e-mail address, said Houston Voice(HV) in Jan.

Some 1000 “highly offensive” e-mails sent to 50 Baylor employees and their families included sexually explicit comments, racial epithets, and a false obituary for a Baylor administrator who is still alive.


Canadian Senators Ordered to Vote in Favour of Gay "Marriage" Bill
- Final Vote Likely Thursday

OTTAWA, July 18, 2005 ( - Sources in Canada's parliament have revealed to that Liberal Senators have received a letter ordering them to be present for the vote on the same-sex 'marriage' bill C-38 and to vote in favour of it. The source indicated that the letter was followed up with direct phone calls to Senators. "I have never seen this degree of instruction and pressure," said one source.


Bush to announce court choice
Speculation centers on female judge from Louisiana

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Bush has decided whom to nominate to succeed Sandra Day O'Connor on the Supreme Court and was poised to announce his pick in a prime-time Tuesday night address.

White House press secretary Scott McClellan said the Bush administration was asking television outlets to broadcast the speech live. Bush's spokesman would not identify the president's choice.
But there was intense speculation that it would be Judge Edith Clement of the U.S. Court of Appeals in New Orleans.

The televised speech was scheduled for 9 p.m. ET.


Quick reviews of books by Michael Card, Nicky Cruz, Bret Lott, and Patricia Raybon.Reviewed by Cindy Crosby 07/19/2005

For those looking for good summer reading:

Modern-day Jesus coming to NBC television

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A modern-day Jesus is coming to prime-time television.
The NBC network, eager for new hits to reverse a ratings slump, said on Friday it has given a mid-season 2005-06 commitment to a new drama titled "The Book of Daniel," depicting Christ as a contemporary confidant to a pill-popping priest.

Divorce rate falls as cohabitation climbs and climbs
Associated Press Writer
July 18, 2005, 5:48 PM EDT

MOUNT LAUREL, N.J. -- The divorce rate in the United States is falling and a new study from the National Marriage Project at Rutgers University has an explanation: More people are shacking up instead of getting hitched.

In their report released Tuesday, the co-directors of the Rutgers-based National Marriage Project say they're glad the divorce rate is on the decline. But report authors David Popenoe and Barbara Dafoe Whitehead are concerned that more people are living together without marrying, and especially worried about children of those relationships

"The breakup rate of cohabiting couples is considerably higher" than that of married couples, Popenoe said. "As more and more cohabiting couples have children, that becomes more of a problem." The study analyzed data gathered by the U.S. Census Bureau and other researchers


Letter to Bishop Andrew Smith of Connecticut
July 18, 2005

I am in receipt of your Notice of Inhibition of Fr. Mark Hansen, and am aware of your seizure of his parish. Needless to say, your actions are not only illicit and contrary to the canons of this Church, they are not worthy of anyone claiming the responsibility of the apostolic office. You have caused great harm to the Church here and abroad, and have, unfortunately, demonstrated a mind-set more in keeping with the Prince of this world than the Prince of Peace.

Any canonist worthy of the name knows that you have deliberately misused Canon IV.10 in order to attack someone who upholds the Catholic Faith in a manner deliberately designed to deny him any hearing or trial. You grieve the heart of Our Blessed Lord. However, I fear your own actions demonstrate any inability to see what you have done wrong, or to bring you to the repentance your soul so desperately needs to save you from spiritual death. I pray for you with great sadness.

--The Rt. Rev. William Wantland, Retired Bishop of Eau Claire

The Los Angeles Meeting of Bishops
Brad Drell @ 10:22 am

The meeting of the twenty bishops with the intent of finding a way forward (and, if not possible, a way to an amicable divorce according to rumor) begins today. What do we know? We know that Bishops, Bruno and Chane will be there. We know that Bishop MacPherson will be there. Rumor further has it that Bishop Iker may be there. I wouldn’t be surprised if Jenkins is there. Bishop Duncan has been invited, and is coming, based on what I hear, but I also hear that he has told the inviting group that if there is any foolishness, he will be on a plane home, and quick.

What will come out of this meeting? Well, there has been a flury of activity of late on Alternative Episcopal Oversight, which makes me think that there are many folks who at least think this may be a topic of discussion at the meeting, and with everything going on with the Connecticut Six right now, this topic is definitely one to be addressed.

the rest:

Monday, July 18, 2005

Liberal conservatives
Many evangelicals are liberal when it comes to the church

by Gene Edward Veith

Liberals today prefer to be called "progressives." They want to escape the negative connotations that have risen around the name for their ideology. The irony is that "liberal" was itself a label to make them sound better.

The term comes from a Latin word meaning "freedom." Technically, a "liberal economic system" refers to free market, capitalist economics, as championed by today's "conservatives." The classical approach to teaching and learning favored by many conservatives today is technically "liberal education," referring to the equipping of a free citizen. Such an education specifically designed for freedom is in contrast to John Dewey's self-styled "progressive education," designed to form the socialist worker


Brother Lawrence

"It is, however, necessary to put our whole trust in GOD, laying aside all other cares, and even some particular forms of devotion, though very good in themselves, yet such as one often engages in unreasonably: because those devotions are only means to attain to the end; so when by this exercise of the presence of GOD we are with Him who is our end, it is then useless to return to the means; but we may continue with Him our commerce of love, persevering in His holy presence: one while by an act of praise, of adoration, or of desire; one while by an act of resignation, or thanksgiving; and in all the manner which our spirit can invent."

France faces drought, locusts
Jul. 17, 2005 at 9:41PM

On top of a severe drought, France is fighting a plague of hundreds of thousands of locusts. The locusts are devouring everything from crops to window-box flowers, reported the Observer. "At the beginning they seem small, insignificant insects but they grow very quickly," said Aveyron region farmer Gerard Laussel. "They eat everything that is green, leaving only stalks, and when they have finished they leave some kind of scent so the cattle do not want to graze on what is left."

The French environment ministry said drought could be felt across most of France, but it mostly impacted from the Atlantic Ocean to Paris. "There is nothing we can do for the 700 or 800 farmers affected," said Patrice Lemoux, an agriculture official. "The locust has no known predator and the only insecticides which might make a difference are banned."

Drought tightens its deadly grip in Europe
By David Evans Mon Jul 18, 7:43 AM ET

PARIS (Reuters) - Drought in Europe tightened its deadly grip on Monday as a forest blaze that killed 11 firefighters raged in Spain, and with weekend temperatures soaring in France, authorities scrambled to protect the elderly.
Spain and Portugal are suffering their worst droughts since records began in the 1940s, and in western France, water levels are at their lowest since the major drought of 1976.
Parched conditions now stretch from north Africa to the French capital, causing billions of euros worth of damage as crops shrivel, rivers dry up and pastures turn to dust.


Two Competing Religions--The Legacy of the 1960s
Albert Mohler
Author, Speaker, President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Monday, July 18, 2005

Today's culture wars can be directly traced to the cultural transformations of the 1960's. As a matter of fact, that critical decade represented nothing less than a cultural revolution of sorts--a revolution Stanley Kurtz describes as "both a fulfillment and a repudiation of the vision of America's founders."

Kurtz makes his case in "Culture and Values in the 1960's," a fascinating essay published in Never a Matter of Indifference: Sustaining Virtue in a Free Republic, recently released by the Hoover Institution Press. Edited by Peter Berkowitz, Never a Matter of Indifference is a thought-provoking collection of essays on moral character and democratic responsibility. Kurtz's essay adds historical context to the book's central thesis--that moral virtue is an absolute necessity in order for political liberty to flourish.


The Power of Paradox
Stalking the Good Life
BreakPoint with Charles Colson

Over the past weeks, I have done dozens of interviews about The Good Life, my just-released book, and, of course, Deep Throat.

If you saw any of these interviews, you would know that I startled a lot of interviewers when they asked about Watergate, and I responded I was grateful that I went to prison. When I told Aaron Brown, "Thank God for Watergate," he looked stunned.

But I meant it. One of the great truths I've discovered, one I discuss at length in The Good Life, is that life is filled with paradoxes. Things are not the way we think they're going to be. For example, I've learned the greatest lessons in my life through suffering and defeats. And that's the pattern of the cross, isn't it? The great paradox: Adversity can produce the greatest blessings.


Christianity Vanquished in Britain?
Believers in the U.K. Demand Changes from the Church
Feature by Ed Vitagliano

July 18, 2005

(AgapePress) - When Lord Bromley Betchworth returned to the United Kingdom (U.K.) after living in the U.S. for 12 years, he returned to a culture that had dramatically changed.

"I was shocked at how moral values had changed in such a short time and how church attendance in mainstream denominations was in free fall," he said. "Four out of five churches were either declining or simply static."

Betchworth wrote those words in the forward to a fascinating new report that seeks to explain the moral breakdown in a once vibrant Christian nation.


David Virtue-News Summary

"An ignorant man of God is superior in the eyes of the Church to an arrogant heretic, be the latter ever so learned. -- Irenaeus, as reported in The Fathers of the Greek Church (Pantheon Publishers)"

Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception ... on the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man's conscience." II Cor. 4:2 (NIV)

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

We are discovering, as a matter of fact, that ECUSA can be expected to state clearly in 2006 that it has no intention of abandoning its position on pansexuality with regard to the Episcopal Church's homosexuals, lesbians, transsexuals and bisexuals and their behavior, and their need to repent. They won't. All the "listening" in the world, all the publications put out by the church will not change that fact. We have listened ourselves into stupefaction. At that point in time the mask will come off and we will see clearly who the secessionists really are.

If you had any doubt about that, the actions of Bishop Andrew Smith in the Diocese of Connecticut confirmed it this past week. He, like his fellow revisionist bishops Smith is worse than a canonical fundamentalist. He twists the canons for his own purposes. These bishops care nothing for the 'faith once delivered to the saints,' only in their ecclesiastical power governed by General Convention resolutions, not Holy Scripture.

The fork in the road is now clear. Hundreds of parishes who have fled the Episcopal Church over the past few years will only escalate in number, and this past week, in the face of overwhelming opprobrium, the Bishop of Connecticut descended in a Gestapo like raid on one parish - a godly parish that was thriving under the leadership of its rector the Rev. Mark Hansen - and in one brief moment of time the parishioners found themselves cut off from their true spiritual head and set adrift at the whim of a bishop who recognizes neither the authority of (divine) Holy Scripture or even the less than the authoritative (human) Windsor Report.

the rest: