Saturday, July 30, 2005

"Learning Christ"

Teach me, my Lord, to be sweet and gentle
In all the events of my life-
in disappointments,
in the thoughtlessness of others,
in the insincerity of those I trusted,
in the unfaithfulness of those on whom I relied.

Let me put myself aside,
to think of the happiness of others,
to hide my little pains and heartaches,
so that I may be the only one to suffer from them.

Teach me to profit by the suffering that comes across my path.

Let me so use it that it may mellow me,
not harden nor embitter me;
that it may make me patient, not irritable.
that it may make me broad in my forgiveness, not narrow, haughty and overbearing.

May no one be less good for having come within my influence.
No one less pure, less trusted, less kind, less noble for having been a fellow-traveler in our journey toward ETERNAL LIFE.

As I go my rounds from one distraction to another, let me whisper from time to time, a word of love to Thee. May my life be lived in the super-natural, full of power for good, and strong in its purpose of sanctity.
Amen.

Lectionary Readings for Sunday, July 31, 2005

Nehemiah 9:16-20
Psalm 78:1-29 or 78:14-20, 23-2
Romans 8:35-39
Matthew 14:13-21

The Collect:
Let your continual mercy, O Lord, cleanse and defend your Church; and, because it cannot continue in safety without your help, protect and govern it always by your goodness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Nehemiah 9:16-20
Ezra blessed the Lord, and said, "Our ancestors acted presumptuously and stiffened their necks and did not obey your commandments; they refused to obey, and were not mindful of the wonders that you performed among them; but they stiffened their necks and determined to return to their slavery in Egypt. But you are a God ready to forgive, gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and you did not forsake them. Even when they had cast an image of a calf for themselves and said, `This is your God who brought you up out of Egypt,' and had committed great blasphemies, you in your great mercies did not forsake them in the wilderness; the pillar of cloud that led them in the way did not leave them by day, nor the pillar of fire by night that gave them light on the way by which they should go. You gave your good spirit to instruct them, and did
not withhold your manna from their mouths, and gave them water for their thirst.

Our Uniquely Undisciplined Moment
Formal accountability has been a core part of church life from its earliest days.
by Thomas C. Oden

posted 07/29/2005 09:30 a.m.

Excerpt:
"Whenever laity or clergy are disciplined, it seems to modern eyes, and especially to the secular press, like overbearing legalism, moral insensitivity, and exclusivism. If any constraints are put on reception of Communion, it appears undemocratic. When church trials have sought to call voluntary believers to accountability to their own voluntary decisions and commitments, the press paints a picture of social injustice. Any attempt at accountability, even for the worst abuses, looks to modernity like oppression. Believers understandably wonder: How can meaningful church discipline be recovered in a culture that prefers no accountability at all?"

Excellent!

Kendall Harmon: Bishop Duncan M. Gray Swings and Misses
titusonenine
7/30/2005

“Since we were birthed out of the Church of England, a brief look at our English history provides an important insight into our present situation and personality.

In the 16th century, the Protestant Reformation exacted a bloody toll in England. A succession of monarchs beginning with Henry VIII produced an ecclesiastical pendulum swing from Protestantism to Catholicism to Protestantism.

The political, social and religious fabric of the nation was under enormous pressure.

However, early in the reign of Elizabeth I, a new direction was charted. Queen Elizabeth refused to take sides in the theological disputes and through acts of Parliament she directed that the unity of the Church of England would be based not on doctrinal conformity (as the Protestants demanded) or on magisterial authority (as the Catholics required), but on a common liturgical worship.

Thus, from our earliest moments as a distinct Christian community, liturgical worship, the act of saying our common prayers together, has held us together in the midst of remarkable theological diversity and conflict.”

Excellent read! Don't miss this one!

It is possible for the power of God to be so manifest in your human life that you will never be as you were before; for you will be ever going forward, from victory to victory, for faith knows no defeat.

The Word of God will bring you into a wonderful place of rest in faith. God means for you to have a clear conception of what faith is, how faith came,and how it remains. Faith is in the divine plan, for it brings you to the open door that you might enter in. You must have an open door, for you cannot open the door; it is God who does it, but He wants you to be ready to step in and claim His promises to all the divine manifestation of power in the name of Christ Jesus. It is only thus that you will be able to meet and conquer the enemy, for "He that is within you is greater than he that is without."

Smith Wigglesworth

Christian Women on Trial for ‘Evangelizing’ Muslim Children
By Lucille Talusan
CBN News Asia Correspondent

CBN.com – INDRAMAYA, Indonesia - Muslim extremists in Indonesia have demanded that three Christian women be put to death for allegedly evangelizing Muslim children.

The women are on trial now. They say they were holding an authorized program for Christian students in public schools and were not targeting Muslim kids.

The three Christian housewives have been in jail for more than two months now. The case has caused concern for Christians and stirred the passions of militant Muslims.

CBN News was present in one of the court hearings. Three truckloads of Islamic radicals surged into the courthouse to show defiance to the three Indonesian Sunday school teachers accused of converting Muslim children to Christianity.

Rest of the story

Hansen fires back at bishop

The Bristol priest whom Connecticut’s Episcopal bishop suspended July 13 formally denied Bishop Andrew D. Smith’s inhibition charges Friday, issuing a "good faith denial" that he has abandoned communion with the church.


The denial by the Rev. Mark Hansen of St. John’s Church, a member of what has become known as the "Connecticut Six," came with no additional direct comment.

But a press release issued on Hansen’s behalf said that church law provides that if the bishop is "reasonably satisfied" that a priest has issued a good-faith denial, the bishop shall withdraw his notice of inhibition "and the inhibition shall expire.""Given the fact that the bishop has failed to provide evidence to corroborate his charges, and in light of Father Hansen’s, it is hoped that Bishop Smith will immediately lift the inhibition," the press release said.

Story

Friday, July 29, 2005

Jesus Comforts the Sisters
John 11:17-27

17 On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days.

18 Bethany was less than two miles from Jerusalem, 19 and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother. 20 When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home.
21 "Lord," Martha said to Jesus, "if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask."
23 Jesus said to her, "Your brother will rise again."
24 Martha answered, "I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day."
25 Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; 26 and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?"
27 "Yes, Lord," she told him, "I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world."

Confession of Martha

Lord, Your great I AM statement prompted Martha to respond by confessing You as the Son of God! We, too, believe that You are our Resurrection and our Life, the Son of the living God by Whom we come to the Father. May we be strong in our faith even when death surrounds us and we see no way out. You are our Way! You are our Life!

Movie Industry Watcher Observes Hollywood Sea Change in The Passion's Wake
By Ed Thomas
July 29, 2005

(AgapePress) - One Hollywood insider says things in Tinseltown are changing, in part thanks to Mel Gibson's hit independent feature, The Passion of the Christ. Because of the doors opened by that Bible-based blockbuster, film festival founder Jason Apuzzo sees hope for the future of movies that will appeal to conservatives and others longing to see good, quality cinema entertainment
.
As founder of the conservative Liberty Film Festival and its website -- as well as co-editor of the film blog "
Libertas" -- Apuzzo has been part of Hollywood for a while now. And after all these years, he says he is slowly seeing changes for the better. For one thing, the movie trade insider notes, Mel Gibson's Passion of the Christ did not just open Hollywood's eyes to the profitability of films dealing with religious messages; it also demonstrated that there is substantial interest in such films among what the industry considers to be its core audience.
Apuzzo believes the box office numbers proved to the movie industry that a film like The Passion of the Christ could have a major impact, measurable in box office receipts. "That film brought a lot of people back to the movies who may not necessarily have been Christians or conservatives, but who simply are just tired of bad films," he contends. Also, he says, Gibson's film brought back those who "are also tired of films that don't have a personal dimension to them."

The rest

Reaping What We Sow--The Harvest of Moral Relativism
Albert Mohler
Author, Speaker, President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

Friday, July 29, 2005

A culture, like an individual, reaps what it sows. The seed of honor produces a harvest of honorable acts. The seed of anger eventually yields violence. The law of the harvest is part of the divine design for human society, and it allows no exceptions. A society which sows reverence for life will reap a culture of kindness and a legacy of respect. A people shorn of this seed will eventually produce a harvest of unspeakable horror, anguish, and inhumanity.

America is now living on the tattered remnants of a post-Christian culture. The tapestry of permanent truths is not completely gone; here and there a fragment appears. But the moral fabric of this culture has been torn asunder by the clipping shears of moral revisionism. The threads now stand loose and bare, and American society has few defenses against the barbarians.

The story of the 20th century is framed by the overarching theme of moral relativism. Hitler, Lenin, Pol Pot, and a host of other moral relativists worked this theme thoroughly into the story of that century, but they have been joined by millions of modern Americans--relativists to the core--who are laws and gods unto themselves. Now, in the 21st century, we face unprecedented dangers posed by world terrorism and a threatening breakdown of the world order. At the center of these developments is the loss of any shared moral vision.

The clear dictates of Scripture are now commonly rejected as out of date and without authority. A society which denies God is not long held back by the prescription of His Word. Such a society soon learns that morality cannot be determined by democratic debate and majority vote, so it rebels against any moral code at all and retreats into the confusion of 250 million individuals--each with his or her own "values."

The rest!

National Survey Shows Strength of a Conservative Supreme Court Nominee

(Tupelo, MS) - A recent national survey commissioned by American Values and the American Family Association finds that voters favor a “more conservative” - over a “more liberal” - U.S. Supreme Court by 50.3 percent to 30.5 percent. Majorities of survey respondents also indicated that they disapprove of a number of the high court’s most liberal decisions.

“This survey demonstrates that President Bush’s judicial nominees need not fear appearing before the U.S. Senate and stating their opposition to the liberal judicial agenda. During his upcoming confirmation hearings, John Roberts should confidently defend his conservative philosophy,” said Gary Bauer, president of American Values.

The national survey of public opinion was conducted July 18 and 19 among 800 likely general election voters throughout the United States. All interviews were conducted by professional interviewers by telephone. Interview selection was conducted randomly from among lists of registered voters. The sample was constructed to statistically correlate with actual voter distributions across the country. The accuracy of this nationwide survey with 800 likely voters is within a margin of error of +/-3.46 percent at a 95 percent confidence interval.

The rest

Senators demand Roe be upheld
By Charles Hurt
THE WASHINGTON TIMES
July 29, 2005

A group of female Democratic senators said yesterday that they will vote against Supreme Court nominee John G. Roberts Jr. unless he vows to uphold abortion rights.

Yesterday's comments exceed previous posturing by Democrats calling on Judge Roberts to state his position on settled cases, a practice that previous high court nominees have avoided. They also come closer than ever to establishing a single-issue "litmus test" for his confirmation.

"Thousands of women a year died in back alleys," Sen. Barbara Boxer, California Democrat, said of the days before Roe v. Wade, the 1973

Story

Californians Seek Rite for Same-Sex Blessings
07/29/2005

A task force in the Diocese of California has concluded that “now is the time to acknowledge in convention our diocesan practice of 22 years.” The committee, charged by the diocesan bishop, the Rt. Rev. William E. Swing, to consider a variety of issues related to the status of marriage and the blessing of same-gender covenants in Church and society, has proposed three resolutions to be considered at convention in the fall.Resolution 1 asks convention to extend the life of the task force for another five years. The second resolution directs the commission on marriage and blessing to develop, for distribution at the convention in 2007, resources relating to the ethics and pastoral theology of lifelong committed relationships. The third resolution directs the commission on liturgy and music and the commission on marriage and blessing to jointly prepare for consideration by the 2007 convention a rite or rites which formalize the blessing of same-gender unions in the diocese, together with a policy for the use of said rite or rites.

Story

Church allows gay clergy to register partnerships
July 29, 2005

Gay clergy have been given the Church of England's blessing to register civil partnerships on the condition that they uphold its traditional teaching by abstaining from a sexual relationship. Guidelines issued by the House of Bishops this week, in preparation for the introduction of the Civil Partnerships Act in December, told clergy and candidates for ordination that they should expect to be asked for assurances that their relationship will be consistent with the Church's teaching.

the rest

Monday, July 25, 2005

Dear Readers,

I am heading off for a week of mountain air and enjoying God's creation!
If you don't alreading do so, here are my favorits links to keep up with the Angilcan /Episcopal news:

CaNN

Virtueonline

titusonenine

Albany Intercessor

Blessings to all! Pat

"In pastures green"? Not always; sometimes He,
Who knoweth best, in kindness leadeth me
In weary ways, where heavy shadows be.

And "by still waters" ? No, not always so;
Ofttimes the heavy tempests round me blow,
And o'er my soul the waves and billows go.

But when the storm beats loudest, and I cry

Aloud for help, the Master standeth by,
And whispers to my soul, "Lo, it is I."

So, where He leads me, I can safely go,
And in the blest hereafter I shall know
Why, in His wisdom, He hath led me so.
... Anonymous

Gay clergy can 'marry' but no sex
By Ruth Gledhill
Religion Correspondent

THE Church of England will today give its blessing to gay clergy who want to enter into civil partnerships.
But the Church is refusing to accord civil partnerships the status of marital relationships and gay clergy will be told that they must remain chaste.
The “sexless marriage” code for gays, to be published today, has been prepared by a working group headed by the Bishop of Norwich, the Right Reverend Graham James.
The established Church’s complex manoeuvrings are the result of having to remain on the right side of the law while abiding by Church doctrine.
The worldwide Anglican Communion is deeply divided over the issue of gay clergy and has been brought to the brink of schism over the election of its first openly gay bishop, the Right Rev Gene Robinson, in New Hampshire in the US.
The first civil partnership is expected to be registered in Brighton on December 21, involving a lesbian independent church minister, the Rev Debbie Gaston, and Elaine Cook.

Timesonline

Sunday, July 24, 2005

We Need Minor Keys Too
by
Mrs. Charles E. Cowman

"Giving thanks always for all things unto God" (Eph. 5:20).

No matter what the source of the evil, if you are in God and surrounded by Him as by an atmosphere, all evil has to pass through Him before it comes to you. Therefore you can thank God for everything that comes, not for the sin of it, but for what God will bring out of it and through it. May God make our lives thanksgiving and perpetual praise, then He will make everything a blessing.

We once saw a man draw some black dots. We looked and could make nothing of them but an irregular assemblage of black dots. Then he drew a few lines, put in a few rests, then a clef at the beginning, and we saw these black dots were musical notes. On sounding them we were singing,

"Praise God from whom all blessings flow,
Praise Him all creatures here below."

There are many black dots and black spots in our lives, and we cannot understand why they are there or why God permitted them to come. But if we let God come into our lives, and adjust the dots in the proper way, and draw the lines He wants, and separate this from that, and put in the rests at the proper places; out of the black dots and spots in our lives He will make a glorious harmony. Let us not hinder Him in this glorious work! --C. H. P.

"Would we know that the major chords were sweet,
If there were no minor key?
Would the painter's work be fair to our eyes,
Without shade on land or sea?

"Would we know the meaning of happiness,
Would we feel that the day was bright,
If we'd never known what it was to grieve,
Nor gazed on the dark of night?"

Many men owe the grandeur of their lives to their tremendous difficulties. --C. H. Spurgeon

When the musician presses the black keys on the great organ, the music is as sweet as when he touches the white ones, but to get the capacity of the instrument he must touch them all. --Selected

link

Flailing & Flummoxed
It’s cooperation or desperation for the Left on Roberts.

How do you define "flummoxed"? That would be Sen. Chuck Schumer. Or "flailing"? That would be Sen. Ted Kennedy. Or "desperate"? That would be the array of left-wing activist groups from People For the American Way to MoveOn.org. This cadre of desperately flailing flummoxed anti-Bushies has been brought to their state of extreme futility by the nomination to the Supreme Court of John Roberts, the un-Borkable.

Borking was pioneered by Kennedy, of course, when Judge Robert Bork was nominated to the court by President Reagan in 1987. It is a practice that involves destroying conservative nominees in all-out smear-fests. Eighteen years later, the Right has a two-step counterstrategy. First, find a nominee who has spent his career avoiding provocations that would give would-be Borkers traction. Then, unveil his nomination in a carefully prepared rollout with gorgeous visuals and rigorously on-message advocates.

President Bush opponents have been picking at Roberts's record, compiled as a deputy solicitor general in the first Bush administration, as a private advocate and as a judge on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals since 2003. They are finding little that is usefully distortable.

NRO

Air Force Academy: When Does Sharing Faith Become ‘Religious Insensitivity?'
By David Brody
Capitol Hill Correspondent

CBN.com – COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - The United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs is under the microscope because of allegations of religious insensitivity.
Some are concerned that evangelical Christians have been too forceful in witnessing to non-believing cadets. This has caused an uproar about a potential violation of separation of church and state.
The traditional hat toss and cadets marching to a famous beat: these are the sights and sounds at the Air Force Academy. The best and brightest come here, nestled in the foothills of Colorado Springs.
But despite its great reputation, the recent headlines have not been too kind. They read like this: "Faith bias is pervasive," "Heathens not welcome at Air Force Academy," "Religious Intolerance at Air Force Academy."


The rest

Huh?
Christian group vows to counter religious right
By Tom Stuckey
ASSOCIATED PRESSJ
uly 24, 2005

COLUMBIA, Md. -- Some Marylanders who describe themselves as progressive Christians are organizing to counter conservative religious groups that they say are dominating political debates about moral and religious issues.

"We've allowed the Christian right to commandeer and exclusively appropriate the term Christian for themselves," said Paul Verduin, a Silver Spring resident who has helped start Maryland Christians for Justice and Peace. "We refuse to be marginalized by some of their right-wing and extreme positions.

" To be sure, conservative and fundamentalist churches that once avoided politics are increasingly active in national and state governments over the last three decades -- lobbying state and federal legislators on such issues as abortion, stem-cell research and same-sex "marriage."

Conservative religious groups played an important role in some battleground states in the 2004 presidential election, including Florida and Ohio, both of which President Bush won.

The 20 persons who gathered recently at an Episcopal church in Columbia to talk about the future of the new group came from a variety of religious backgrounds, including the Church of Christ and Lutheran, Methodist and Roman Catholic churches. They also have been active in issues such as civil rights, the environment, war and helping the poor and elderly.

A big first step for members has been to agree on which issues to focus. So far they are united on one issue: the belief that the most important teachings of Jesus are not dominating the political dialogue in Maryland and elsewhere in the country.

article

Former Episcopal treasurer arrested
Diocese seeking $600,000 from property fund
By S.K. BARDWELL

The former treasurer of the Houston-based Episcopal Diocese of Texas was arrested Thursday in connection with more than a half-million dollars that disappeared from a diocese fund.

Ronald D. Null, 59, was arrested after a grand jury indicted him on a charge of felony theft on Tuesday, records show. He remained in jail Saturday in lieu of a $100,000 bail.

The diocese announced last month it was investigating the disappearance of $600,000 from a $5.5 million fund used primarily for the purchase of property.

story

When Someone Lets You Down
Not Losing Heart When
Others Disappoint Us

Blaine Smith

A woman in a class I was teaching once asked a favor of me. The community where she lived had an unfortunate ordinance, she explained, which could result in her losing the lease on her home. Cary had joined with other residents to lobby for the policy’s repeal. She asked if I would be willing to write a letter to the town council urging this change. I told her I’d be glad to help, and promised to get the letter off quickly.

The following week I caught the flu, and then with the pressure of other responsibilities never got around to fulfilling my promise. About six weeks later Cary brought up the matter again. Embarrassed, I confessed I had never followed through and began to offer my lame excuse, fearing she’d be disappointed with me. To my surprise she cut me off, saying, “Don’t worry, the Lord withheld your hand.” She went on to say that she realized the timing hadn’t been right for the letter. She was glad I’d neglected to send it.

The rest

Lift Up Your Heads,Ye Mighty Gates

Lift up your heads, ye mighty gates;
Behold, the King of glory waits;
The King of kings is drawing near;
The Savior of the world is here!

A Helper just He comes to thee,
His chariot is humility,
His kingly crown is holiness,
His scepter, pity in distress.

O blest the land, the city blest,
Where Christ the Ruler is confessed!
O happy hearts and happy homes
To whom this King in triumph comes!

Fling wide the portals of your heart;
Make it a temple, set apart
From earthly use for heaven’s employ,
Adorned with prayer and love and joy.

Redeemer, come, with us abide;
Our hearts to Thee we open wide;
Let us Thy inner presence feel;
Thy grace and love in us reveal.

Thy Holy Spirit lead us on
Until our glorious goal is won;
Eternal praise, eternal fame
Be offered, Savior, to Thy Name!