Saturday, August 13, 2005

God Is Still in Control
1 Kings 19:8-18

Perhaps we have felt like Elijah and said, "What is the use?" Perhaps we have given the best of our lives to accomplish something for the Lord and feel that we have been left stranded.

Perhaps we feel that the Enemy is seeking to destroy all traces of Christianity and belief in the true God and that he is after our soul too. Perhaps we feel we are the only one left of all God's people.

If so, we need to be reminded, as Elijah was, that God still had 7000 who had not bowed their knee to Baal.

And God still is the Almighty God. He is still on His throne. People cannot dethrone Him, no matter how hard they try. All we need for life and godliness and Christian service is found in Him.

Perhaps we have tried hard to overcome temptations and to rise above our testings. Perhaps we have fought against the overwhelming odds of modernism in our church.

Perhaps we have done so and have found few, if any, standing with us, and we are about ready to give up our belief in the fundamentals of the Word of God. Do not give up. God is still in control of this world and this universe.

Perhaps we have tried hard to live for the Lord and have failed. Perhaps we fail today as we failed yesterday and the day before and are asking, "What's the use?"

Let us come out of the cave of darkness and listen to the still, small voice of God. He tells us that He has given us all that pertains to life and godliness (see 2 Pet. 1:3). Every provision has been made for us.

"In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will" (Eph. 1:11).

found here

Lectionary Readings for August 14, 2005

Isaiah 56:1(2-5)6-7
Psalm 67
Romans 11:13-15,29-32
Matthew 15:21-28

Almighty God, you have given your only Son to be for us a sacrifice for sin, and also an example of godly life: Give us grace to receive thankfully the fruits of his redeeming work, and to follow daily in the blessed steps of his most holy life; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Isaiah 56:1
Thus says the LORD:
Maintain justice, and do what is right,
for soon my salvation will come,
and my deliverance be revealed.


Innocence, Corruption, and the Screening of Childhood
by Marc T. Newman, Ph.D.

In his book, The Disappearance of Childhood, cultural critic Neil Postman notes that since the 1950s the line separating children and adults has blurred, often to the point of being indiscernible. Children are now depicted not as kids, but as mini-adults. Postman places much of the blame on mass media, primarily television, for providing cross-generational access to what had previously been considered "adult secrets" -- about social problems, sexuality, crime, etc. How the media depict children can tell viewers a lot about societal attitudes toward children -- movies, for example, can both move and mirror culture.

There have been a number of films with children in starring roles this year, but I find it noteworthy that the only ones who have a childhood distinctly different from adults occur in movies set in quirky rural locales or fantasy landscapes. Some films have children becoming mini-adults as a result of circumstances beyond their control, but what is most disturbing are the films in which the disappearance of childhood is communicated through the vulgarization and sexualizing of children in common modern suburban settings.


by Mona Charen
August 13, 2005 01:05 PM EST

LONDON -- They are so obliging, the Brits. On nearly every crosswalk, painted alerts on the streets warn visitors to "look left" or "look right" depending upon whether you've come to a one-way or two-way street.

Even with these cautions, we've had a couple of close shaves with cars making turns from the "wrong" direction.

The city is hardy and resilient, if a bit edgy. The 7/7 bombings and 7/21 attempted bombings are still on everyone's minds and lips. When sirens scream and three police cars race down the street, people shoot nervous glances at them. Tourism is way down. The police presence is ostentatious. Wait times at attractions like the London Eye (an enormous Ferris wheel with enclosed glass pods that sits on the banks of the Thames), usually up to an hour in the summer months, are down to five or 10 minutes. The British Museum is busy, but not mobbed. It's easy to find seating at lunchtime in the cafe. When we explain that we're from Washington, D.C., and are therefore used to this, we get rueful and sad nods from Londoners.

Mona Charon's column

Hugh Hefner: Protestant Saint of the Century (?)

It is not often that I commend the writings of a liberation theologian. And I'm not about to do so now, at least not in totality. But Native American liberationist Vive Deloria's thirtieth anniversary edition of God Is Red: A Native View of Religion has some important insights about the state of mainline Protestantism.

Deloria, in the midst of the typical revisionist proposals for Christian theology, offers the idea that Hugh Hefner should be pronounced "Protestant saint of the century." This is because, he suggests, of the ways in which the mainline bureaucracies have embraced "almost every kind of sexual activity as permissible 'if it is done with love.'"

On another note, Deloria takes on the political lobbying wings of the liberal Protestant denominations in this way: "They feel the only task remaining in the field of religion is to find a way to make their church relevant to the outside world. Most of them would take the Second Coming of Jesus as a personal affront indicating that God has lost confidence in their ability to solve problems."


Fidel Castro to Help Construct Evangelical Churches in Cuba
Cuban President Fidel Castro will provide facilities to help Evangelical Churches build new churches and develop their pastoral mission, said the head of the World Council of Churches

Saturday, Aug. 13, 2005 Posted: 7:51:07AM EST

Cuban President Fidel Castro will provide facilities to help Evangelical Churches build new churches and develop their pastoral mission, said the head of the World Council of Churches (WCC).

At the end of his four-day visit to Cuba, WCC’s general secretary, the Rev. Dr. Samuel Kobia, had what he described as a “very good meeting” with the Cuban president, according to an Aug. 8 report by the Latin American and Caribbean Communication Agency (ALC). The talks addressed different issues – in particular Church-State relations on the island and the challenge represented by the growth of Cuban Evangelical Churches in recent years.

"Churches, in particular Protestant churches, are growing and because of this growth, they need to build new churches and seminaries and have access to the media in order to tackle the pastoral challenges that arise in their service to the Cuban people," said Kobia, according to the WCC.

Kobia told the Cuban president that all Cuban churches should receive equal treatment on the part of the state
in order to meet the challenges raised by their pastoral ministry.

The story

Men In Pews: A New Form of "Affirmative Action"?
Rebekah Montgomery
Contributing Writer

You know him. He's home reading the paper while his wife and children fill a church pew. When the pastor asks for prayer requests, his wife raises her hand and murmurs, "Unspoken." But everyone knows. She's been praying their entire marriage for her husband to come to church.

But he won't come. He may not even be able to articulate why. Something about church that drives him away, makes him feel like less of a man. He doesn't find God there.

Author and television producer David Murrow says that 90 percent of American men believe in God and five out of six call themselves Christian, only two out of six attend church. They accept the reality of Jesus but see no value for themselves in attending church. Church is for women and children.

The rest

Ancient water system discovered near Jerusalem
By Michele Chabin
Religion News Service

JERUSALEM - Israeli and American archaeologists have discovered what they term a "monumental rock-hewn water system" near Jerusalem dating back to the eighth century B.C.

The discovery, announced Aug. 9, was made during an eight-week dig at a cave close to Jerusalem, in Ein Kerem, which is regarded as the traditional birthplace of John the Baptist.

Last summer, Shimon Gibson, the chief archaeologist at the dig, announced that he had found a cave that may have been used by John the Baptist to anoint his followers.

A statement by Gibson and archaeologist James Tabor from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte said that the latest excavations have revealed the cave to be part of "a much larger Iron Age water system, rock-cut in places to a depth of 65 feet."

The archaeologists said the cave, which dates back to the time of King Hezekiah (according to pottery shards from that period), contains a vertical shaft, an open horizontal corridor, a flight of stone steps above a tunnel and three external plastered pools, all of which was on the slope above an underground reservoir.


Friday, August 12, 2005

... stooping very low, He engraves with care
His Name, indelible, upon our dust,
And, from the ashes of our self-despair,
Kindles a flame of hope and humble trust.
He seeks no second site on which to build,
But on the old foundation, stone by stone,
Cementing sad experience with grace,
Fashions a stronger temple of His own.

... Patricia St. John, from "The Alchemist"

“Lutherans Rebuff Gay Clergy, Marriage Proposals”

A national meeting of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (search) rejected a proposal Friday that would have allowed gays in committed relationships to serve as clergy under certain conditions.

The measure would have affirmed the church ban on ordaining sexually active gays and lesbians, but would have allowed bishops and church districts called synods to seek an exception for a particular candidate — if that person was in a long-term relationship and met other restrictions.

Delegates voted against the measure 503-490. Even if it had won a simple majority of votes, that wouldn’t have been enough; the proposal needed a two-thirds majority to pass.
Earlier in the day, delegates voted 851-127 to keep the church unified despite serious differences over homosexuality. They also rebuffed what many saw as an attempt to push the denomination toward approval of blessing ceremonies for same-sex couples.

All the proposals — the product of three years’ work by a special church task force — were meant as a compromise that would satisfy both those who support gay clergy and those who regard gay sex as sinful. However, the measures drew immediate opposition from Lutherans on opposing sides of the debate.

Conservatives said the ordination proposal would have effectively overturned prohibitions against non-celibate gays in the Lutheran ministry and advocates for gays weren’t satisfied, either. They said the measure would have created a second-class roster for homosexual clergy in the church.

As debate on gay ordination began Friday afternoon, about 100 gay advocates wearing rainbow sashes walked silently to the front of the hall, stood before the stage where Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson (search) was overseeing the meeting and turned to face the delegates.
They stood quietly and did not move, even though Hanson politely asked them to disperse several times. After some discussion, the delegates decided to proceed, and the protesters stayed in place as the debate continued. They remained standing even after the voting ended.


Protestants Struggle With Gay Policy
Sunday August 7, 2005 8:31 PM
By The Associated Press

The top legislative body of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is set to take key votes this week on ordaining gays and blessing same-sex unions. Conflicts over what the Bible says about homosexuality have been tearing at Protestant denominations for years. Here is a description of how the debate is playing out in major American churches:

-UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST: The liberal, 1.3 million-member denomination passed a resolution July 4 endorsing same-sex marriage, making it the largest Christian denomination to do so. The church has been ordaining gays for decades.

-EPISCOPAL CHURCH: This U.S. branch of Anglicanism sparked a crisis in the global Anglican Communion by confirming its first openly gay bishop, V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire. Controversy over Robinson has battered the 2.3 million-member American church for the past two years and Anglicans worldwide are struggling to find a way to stay together.

-AMERICAN BAPTIST CHURCHES USA: Tensions over homosexuality are heating up in the 1.4 million-member denomination; its leader pleaded for unity at a churchwide meeting last month. The denomination bars ordination of partnered gays, but several congregations are ignoring the prohibition. Some conservatives are threatening to leave unless those churches are reined in.

-UNITED METHODIST CHURCH: The denomination of 8.2 million members last year upheld its ban on ordaining sexually active gays. Recently, two lesbian ministers who have partners were separately tried by the church on charges they violated that rule. One woman was acquitted; the other's case is before the highest church court.

-PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH (U.S.A.): A task force for the denomination of 2.4 million people is scheduled to finish a report this summer on how to overcome severe disagreements on gay relationships. The church currently bans sexually active gays from the clergy ranks.

Found here

From subtle love of softening things,
From easy choices, weakenings,
(Not thus are spirits fortified;
Not this way went the Crucified;)
From all that dims Thy Calvary,
O Lamb of God, deliver me.

Give me the love that leads the way,
The faith that nothing can dismay,
The hope no disappointments tire,
The passion that will burn like fire;
Let me not sink to be a clod:
Make me Thy fuel, Flame of God!

... Amy Carmichael

It's All About Jesus
A convert to Orthodoxy reconsiders evangelicalism.
by Sam Torode
posted 08/12/2005 09:00 a.m.

Twenty years ago, Thomas Howard, the brother of devotional writer Elisabeth Elliot, wrote a book titled Evangelical Is Not Enough. His basic argument was that rituals don't necessarily lead to dead religiosity. Instead, sacramental rites and liturgical rhythms can bring us closer to Christ. Howard was an Anglican at the time, and later became Roman Catholic.

I've been on a similar journey. I grew up Baptist, lost my fundamentalist faith, became interested in the ancient traditions of the church, attended a Lutheran parish for a time, and eventually wound up Eastern Orthodox.

Like Howard, I now stand on the opposite side of the liturgical fence from most evangelicals. But I've come to a different conclusion than "evangelical is not enough."

Excellent essay

Pro-Family Group Sponsors Rally Focused On Stopping Judicial Activism
By Allie MartinAugust 12, 2005

(AgapePress) - Christian activists will gather Sunday evening, August 14, at Nashville's Two Rivers Baptist Church to highlight battles over the Supreme Court and judicial tyranny across America. The event is called "Justice Sunday II: God Save the United States and This Honorable Court."

Organized and sponsored by the
Family Research Council (FRC), the program features speakers such as James Dobson and Jim Daly of Focus on the Family, Prison Fellowship founder Charles Colson, Ted Haggard of the National Association of Evangelicals, former Senator Zell Miller (D-Georgia), and others. FRC president Tony Perkins says the event will be both educational and motivational.


The truth of Christ's supremacy over all the powers in the universe is one which modern man sorely needs to learn. He is oppressed by a sense of impotence in the grasp of merciless forces which he can neither overcome nor escape. These forces may be Frankenstein monsters of man's own creation, or they may be horrors outside his conscious control; either way, he is intimidated by the vastness of those fateful currents which threaten to sweep him on to destruction, whether he will or no. And to modern man in his frustration and despair, the full-orbed gospel of Christ, as Paul presents it to the Colossians, is the one message of hope. Christ crucified and risen is Lord of all; all the forces in the universe, well-disposed and ill-disposed, are subject to Him. To be united to Christ by faith is to throw off the thraldom of hostile powers, to enjoy perfect freedom, to gain the mastery over the dominion of evil -- because Christ's victory is ours.
... F. F. Bruce, The Apostolic Defense of the Gospel

Church Evangelical Council Attacks 'Compromise' with Civil Partnerships
The Evangelical Council, which is the umbrella organisation for the evangelical groups within the Church, has demanded that the Church’s attempts to compromise with the government’s civil partnerships legislation should be withdrawn immediately.
Friday, Aug. 12, 2005 Posted: 6:17:43AM EST

LONDON – The Church of England has once again come under fire for its decision to ease its views on civil partnerships within the Church. The Evangelical Council, which is the umbrella organisation for the evangelical groups within the Church, has demanded that the Church’s attempts to compromise with the government’s civil partnerships legislation.

The council spoke out yesterday, 10th August 2005, against the decision by the Church of England Council of Bishops that clergy would be allowed to enter civil partnerships, just as long as they informed their supervising bishop that they would abstain from partaking in sexual relations with their partner.

In a clear and formal statement, the Evangelical Council criticised the Church’s leaders of submitting to the secular culture of moral decline. The Guardian newspaper record the council as saying, “We urge the House of Bishops to withdraw this compromised and unworkable statement while continuing to affirm the historic teaching of the church ... It will further exacerbate the division threatening the future of the Anglican Communion.”


Forced Re-Conversions by Hindu Extremists are Growing in India
One ministry has 1,000 evangelists who will each share the message of Christ with 1,200 others.

MNN) Thousands of people in India are turning to Christ every week. Churches are growing. More people are becoming pastors, missionaries and evangelists. In addition, many Hindu nationalists aren't happy, and they're taking action.

Mission India's Dr. Kamala Chiranjeevi says forced re-conversions are becoming more common, and it's a well coordinated effort.

"It's a Hindu religious group, raising 100,000 coordinators, sending them to every district," Chiranjeevi says. "They are watching every movement. If there is any Christian activity they are going and attacking them and beating them."

However, the attacks are just the beginning, says Chiranjeevi, as these people are taken to the local Hindu temple.

"Inside the temple they are asking them to renounce their faith. And they will apply the red mark to their forehead. They say some rituals. And they take an Oath."According to Chiranjeevi, the re-conversion attacks are growing.

The rest

Abortion Rights Group Withdraws Anti-Roberts Ad
Organization's Allies Among Critics of NARAL Commercial
By Dan BalzWashington Post Staff Writer
Friday, August 12, 2005; Page A03

Under pressure from conservative groups and some abortion rights advocates, the president of NARAL Pro-Choice America announced last night that the organization will pull a controversial ad attacking Supreme Court nominee John G. Roberts Jr. and replace it with a new commercial looking more broadly at Roberts's record.

The decision came after days of criticism that the ad was a flagrant distortion of the record, and hours after Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), a supporter of abortion rights, urged the group in a letter to cancel the ad. He called it "blatantly untrue" and said that by running it, NARAL "undercuts its credibility and injures the pro-choice cause."


Lutherans Nearing Key Vote on Gays' Role

The Associated Press
Friday, August 12, 2005; 4:58 AM

ORLANDO, Fla. -- A task force of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America spent three years researching whether the denomination should ordain gays or bless same-sex unions.
On Friday, recommendations from the panel could be up for a vote by more than 1,000 delegates to a national churchwide assembly.

The proposals are meant as a compromise, aiming to uphold Lutheran restrictions on gays and lesbians who are not celibate, while allowing congregations and bishops to make exceptions in some cases without risking discipline.

The rest

Diocese Mobilizes Opposition to Proposed Massachusetts Law

The Bishop Suffragan of Massachusetts is urging the clergy of the diocese to mobilize opposition to a bill before the state legislature which would require churches to submit annual financial reports and statements of assets to the state attorney general.

Senate Bill 1074, “An Act Relative to Charities in Massachusetts,” was introduced in response to the abuse scandals concerning the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston.

“Opening the door to the intrusion of the state in church matters could begin a slippery slope” to state intrusion into religion, the Rt. Rev. Roy Cederholm wrote on Aug. 9.

The “burdensome reporting requirements that this bill would create,” he said, would bring about an onerous financial burden and would have a chilling effect on the laity. “This bill would make it even more difficult to find volunteers to fill this position [parish treasurer] as it would now carry serious legal obligations in addition to the already considerable time commitment.”

The rest @ The Living Church

The State we're in
The Rt Revd Michael Scott-Joynt Bishop of Winchester, gives a first-hand commentary from his seat in the Lords, and a hard-hitting critique as a bishop of the effect upon marriage of recent parliamentary legislation

The Civil Partnerships Act 2004 comes into effect on 5 December this year. Throughout its passage through Parliament, the government asserted that it was not legislating for ‘gay marriage;’ and the Act avoids defining anywhere the character of the relationship upon which those becoming, by their signatures alone, ‘civil partners’ will enter. But gay couples are booking the date; and meetings and websites trumpet that there will be clergy of the Church of England among them seeking the publicity that will, they hope, embarrass their bishops and establish, de facto at least, change in the Church’s teaching and discipline.

The House of Bishops is on the point of publishing (I write in mid-July) a carefully considered, orthodox Pastoral Statement on Civil Partnerships; but on 29 May a substantially inaccurate preview of a draft of this Statement appeared in the Sunday Times – and caused consternation as it was circulated around the Anglican Communion among people many of whom can have no understanding of the cultural and legislative world through which we in the UK are now living. (But many of our own people have not woken up to its character either!)

The rest

Judge rules for local Los Angeles area church

An Orange County judge today tentatively ruled that St. James Church in Newport Beach is the rightful owner of its property, not the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles.

St. James is one of three parishes that last year broke away from the Episcopal Church, the American branch of the worldwide Anglican Church, over differences in matters of faith, including the national church’s ordination of an openly gay bishop.

St. James has since reaffiliated with a diocese in Uganda.

The Episcopal Diocese has argued that the church’s buildings, hymnals and other property belong to it rather than the parish.
The diocese had no comment on the judge’s tentative decision, spokeswoman Janet Kawamoto said….”

Thursday, August 11, 2005

O Lord our God,
Who has called us to serve You,
In the midst of the world's affairs,
When we stumble, hold us;
When we fall, lift us up;
When we are hard pressed with evil, deliver us;
When we turn from what is good, turn us back;
And bring us at last to Your glory.

... St. Alcuin


What a simple thing it is to be a branch, the branch of a tree, or the branch of a vine! The branch grows out of the vine, or out of the tree, and there it lives and grows, and in due time, bears fruit. It has no responsibility except just to receive from the root and stem sap and nourishment. And if we only by the Holy Spirit knew our relationship to Jesus Christ, our work would be changed into the brightest and most heavenly thing upon earth. Instead of there ever being soul-weariness or exhaustion, our work would be like a new experience, linking us to Jesus as nothing else can. For, alas! is it not often true that our work comes between us and Jesus? What folly! The very work that He has to do in me, and I for Him, I take up in such a way that it separates me from Christ. Many a laborer in the vineyard has complained that he has too much work, and not time for close communion with Jesus, and that his usual work weakens his inclination for prayer, and that his too much intercourse with men darkens the spiritual life. Sad thought, that the bearing of fruit should separate the branch from the vine! That must be because we have looked upon our work as something other than the branch bearing fruit. May God deliver us from every false thought about the Christian life.

Andrew Murray

German Bishops Stop Plan by Police to Hand out Condoms at World Youth Day
COLOGNE, August 11, 2005

( - With the pervasiveness of the condom doctrine in government, media and education it is perhaps understandable that Germany's police union would have thought that distributing condoms at World Youth Day was a good idea.

Prrotests from Church officials caused the GdP union to back off. The police include condom distribution at any event where large crowds are expected to gather. A bewildered sounding GdP union spokeswoman said, “We don't want to offend anyone,” and said the decision to cancel the distribution was “an issue of sensitivity.”

Other plans to distribute condoms and anti-Catholic literature at WYD are still in place however. The group, Catholics for a Free Choice, has said it will not back off and is going ahead with an expensive advertising campaign pushing sexual immorality to WYD pilgrims.


The Hobby that Sparked a National Prayer Movement
Karen Randau

Many people take up a hobby after they retire. But unlike most post-career hobbies, retired Navy Captain Bill Hunter’s love for bronze sculpting sparked a unique online ministry that today inspires millions of people worldwide to pray daily for America and its leaders.

After the contentious 2000 election, Hunter knew that President Bush and the government would need a lot of prayer. He made a coin depicting America’s first president, George Washington, kneeling in prayer at Valley Forge, and he gave a coin to everyone in his Sunday school class to remind them to pray daily.


Dateline Says Porn is 'Legal,' Christians Beg to Differ
''I can't help wondering whether the hosts and reporters on 'news programs' like Dateline just don't do their homework or are so driven by ideology that they knowingly say things that aren't true.''
-- Robert Peters
Thursday, Aug. 11, 2005 Posted: 2:54:28AM EST

On Aug. 5, NBC TV's Dateline aired a segment "On The Hunt" that looked at the invasion of unwanted ads for Internet pornography, where Dateline reporter John Hockenberry said the porn invasion is "legal."

Porn spam is not legal, however, and the Can Spam Act of 2003 was enacted to control the flow of non-solicited pornography and marketing.

Robert Peters, president of Morality in Media, a ministry that works to curb pornographic content, said in a statement, "I can't help wondering whether the hosts and reporters on 'news programs' like Dateline just don't do their homework or are so driven by ideology that they knowingly say things that aren't true.

"The Act prohibits emails with false or misleading information, and deceptive subjects headings, without a functioning return electronic mail address, and without a valid physical postal address. Messages cannot be sent to recipients whose addresses were obtained in a manner prohibited by the Act, sent using an unauthorized computer, or sent to those who never requested the emails. Porn spammers violate all of these provisions.

The rest

Leadership Summit Begins; Over 53,000 Registered
The world's largest Christian leadership conference started today and is being broadcasted from the Willow Creek Church in Chicago into some 110 churches, seminaries, universities, and ministries across North America.
Thursday, Aug. 11, 2005 Posted: 3:28:51PM EST

The world's largest Christian leadership conference started today and is being broadcasted from the Willow Creek Church in Chicago into some 110 churches, seminaries, universities, and ministries across North America.

What began with “a whisper from God” in 1995 eventually became The Leadership Summit – a gathering of 2,000 church leaders who were interested in leadership. This year, as the Summit celebrates its 10th Anniversary, more than 53,000 Christian leaders from ministry and the marketplace have registered to recalibrate, recommit, and renew their passion to "lead with all diligence."

After seven years of hosting the event, Pastor John Westfall of Walnut Creek Church in the San Francisco Bay Area, still believes, the Summit is “the best leadership conference that I've ever been participating in.”

The rest

Novel Stirs Imagination With Sci-Fi -- or Is It Truth?The Ahriman Gate by Thomas and Nita Horn
Book Review by Randall Murphree
August 11, 2004

(AgapePress) - It's fascinating fiction and I sincerely hope it is just that -- fiction! Genetically modified creatures, spiritual alien forces, a clandestine government research project and a sinister kidnapping -- somehow, it all sounds too much like today's headlines.

The storyline in The Ahriman Gate (VMI Publishers, 2005) is, indeed, science fiction. However, Thomas and Nita Horn, the husband-wife co-authors, assure us that the scientific technology and the spiritual speculation woven into their harrowing tale reflect the realities of advancing sciences and the incalculable possibilities of biblical prophecy. The Horns' credentials give the reader cause to pay attention.

For Sci-fi fans

A la 'Matrix,' vocations recruitment poster shows priest as hero
Catholic Online ( United States) - July 25, 2005

Washington (CNS) -- "Just as Keanu Reeves fought against the powers of evil, a priest comes to help people fight against sin. There is a battle out there," explained Father Jonathan Meyer, associate director of youth and young adult ministry for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.

He made the comments in an interview with Catholic News Service about a new vocations recruitment poster being distributed by his archdiocese.

The poster, which is modeled after an advertisement for the movie "The Matrix," is the brainchild of Father Meyer. It features a priest in full cassock -- and the requisite Roman collar -- holding a cross in one hand and a rosary in the other. And he is wearing sunglasses.

That simple juxtaposition provides the mood Father Meyer said he was aiming for when creating the poster -- he wanted to say something about today's seminarian.

"Today's seminarian," he said, "is engaged with the world but is also committed to orthodoxy, like (Pope) John Paul II."

Father Meyer said the poster, on which he is featured as the "Matrix"-style priest, had its origins in a skit that he saw during his first year at the North American College, the U.S. seminary in Rome. The skit, put on by a group of older seminarians, was based on the film. In it, a group of priests fought Satan in a series of mock martial-arts confrontations.


One takes a risk when one invites the Lord
Whether to dine, or talk the afternoon
Away, for always the unexpected soon
Turns up: a woman breaks her precious nard,
A sinner does the task you should assume,
A leper who is cleansed must show his proof:
Suddenly you see your very roof remove
And a cripple clutters up your living-room.

There's no telling what to expect when Christ
Walks in the door. The table set for four
Must often be enlarged, and decorum
Thrown to the winds. It's His voice that calls them,
And it's no use to bolt and bar the door:
His kingdom knows no bounds of roof, of wall or floor.

... Marcella M. Holloway

Re-inventing Rural Churches
Gary Farley

Fifty years ago most rural Baptist churches were very different from what they are today. Most shared a preacher with one or more other congregations. Most did not have worship services every Sunday. Most met in a one-room building. Most drew their membership from the immediate neighborhood. This has changed, as even a casual observer will notice.

Again, delve into the old records of rural Baptist churches in the antebellum era, and a very different picture of church life emerges. Worship one weekend per month, close attention to dealing with moral lapses within the church membership, no Sunday school and bi-racial membership are among the most obvious differences.

So, for example, when Mineral Springs Baptist Church in McShan, Ala. celebrates its 150th anniversary next month it will be in its third manifestation and seeking to morph into a fourth.

The point is that every couple of generations, due to changes in the cultural and social environment, rural churches have had to re-invent themselves. Typically, there have been some who have resisted the process of re-invention. Many that have resisted successfully have since died.

the rest

This year ’particularly good’ to view annual meteor shower
By Jake Palmateer
Staff Writer

If you look to the night sky this week, you might be treated to a celestial light show.
The best view of the Perseid meteor shower will be in the country away from light pollution, Hartwick College physics Professor Charles Hartley said Tuesday.

The shower, which started July 17 and can be seen until Aug. 24, is expected to peak Friday, and meteors might be seen throughout the weekend.

According to, prime viewing of the shower — weather permitting — will be in the predawn hours of Friday and Saturday. The quarter moon will set before midnight, leaving a 5½-hour viewing period before sunrise.


Kansas Schools Approve of Evolution Criticism
The Kansas State Board of Education voted yesterday in favor of new state science standards that could lessen the role evolution plays in teaching about the origin of life. However, there will be an external review of the policy before the final vote
Thursday, Aug. 11, 2005
Posted: 2:48:52AM EST

The Kansas State Board of Education voted yesterday in favor of new state science standards that could lessen the role evolution plays in teaching about the origin of life. However, there will be an external academic review of the policy before the final vote later this year.

Although the 10-member board voted 6-4 on Tuesday in favor of the new curriculum that has been advocated by supporters of “intelligent design,” the draft of standards will first be sent to a Denver-based education consultant before the board will make its final decision in September or October. If approved, Kansas will be the fourth state to adopt a critical view of evolution in the past four years. Other states include Minnesota, Ohio, and New Mexico.

The rest

Starbucks: A habit easily broken
Posted: August 10, 20051:00 a.m. Eastern
By Meghan Kleppinger© 2005

It's been two weeks since my last Starbucks coffee.

Admittedly, I am one of those who don't think twice about dropping $4 for a cup of coffee that costs less than $.50 to make. I am a self-proclaimed coffee house junkie and need that wonderful yuppie, intellectual "atmosphere" and freshly brewed aroma as much as the caffeine.
When I moved to D.C. right out of college, I encountered my first Starbucks drink, or should I say "experience"? Growing up in a military family, I loved chain restaurants because of the sense of familiarity they offered in every new town we moved to. So, to be able to get the same type of specialty coffee – grande, iced, skim, sugar-free vanilla, latte – everywhere, was an addiction waiting to happen.

Fast forward four years, and about 800 lattes later – I'm a Starbucks addict!
When a report came out earlier this year showing that none of Starbucks' charitable contributions went to conservative causes, I didn't blink -- I bought a latte. When I walked by a liquor store in Northeast D.C. with a big advertisement for Starbucks liquor, I kept walking, stopped in at Starbucks and bought a latte! When I was at work a couple weeks ago, reading an e-alert from our California organization (yes, latte in hand), I finally had a wake-up call.
The alert described the annual "gay" pride events which are scheduled in San Diego each year:
San Diego's annual "Pride" events include dangerous "circuit" parties, a parade with sexual content and sponsors along the route, including one advertising anal lubricants, a festival with sexually oriented venues.

OK, yes, that is all pretty disturbing, but daily, I read, write about and edit papers dealing with the homosexual agenda, so I was not at all shocked that this was going on. I was a little upset when I read that Starbucks was a sponsor. I took a sip of my latte as I read on:
In addition, the "festival" includes a "Youth Hangout Space" and a "Children's Garden." Not only is there concern about young people being part of sexually oriented events and venues, but two members of San Diego's Gay Pride organization's volunteer staff have been exposed as registered sex offenders who committed sex crimes against children.


Not only is Starbucks sponsoring "Pride" week, but an event that places innocent children in the middle of sexually explicit materials ... and registered child molesters will be there running the show? If Starbucks is doing this knowingly, it is blatant irresponsibility, and if they are doing it unknowingly, it is irresponsible of them not to have done their homework. I started pacing back-and-forth, and all I could think was "Starbucks hates children."
For the first time, I stepped away from my latte, faced my denial about this company and started to do some serious soul searching – I needed to find out what they really supported. Fortunately, I didn't have to search very long because I have the Internet at my fingertips and one of the nation's top experts, Robert Knight, just down the hall from me.

Less than 30 minutes of research revealed the following:

Robert Knight told me that about 10 years ago, Starbucks started sponsoring these types of events, but backed off when conservatives started putting on the pressure. He explained that it is apparent they are slowly working their way back into the "gay" movement.

Starbucks is listed on the Planned Parenthood website under this introduction:
The following companies all generously match employee donations to Planned Parenthood Federation of America. If your employer is on this list, then you can make your gift go as much as twice as far.

Seattle, Wash., held "Gay Pride" events last month where, according to the newspaper, Seattle Post Intelligence Reporter:
About 75 Starbucks employees will march in the parade and will wear T-shirts in rainbow colors with the word "PRIDE" on the front ... A van from the coffee company will follow them. On Capitol Hill tomorrow, Starbucks employees at the company's three stores there will pass out samples of Mint Mocha Chip Frappuccino.

The marketing director for Starbucks in Washington explained: "We're committed to supporting things that matter to our employees and our customers."

The rest!

Judge Roberts Has a Right to Say No
—Hugh Hewitt
August 11, 2005

Given the impeccable credentials of President Bush's nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court, Judge John Roberts, the opposition to Roberts from the left will have to invent some reason to justify obstructing his quick confirmation.

Hard left Democratic Senators immediately signal that they will be asking questions of the nominee that are inappropriate for a member of a separate but equal branch of government and which would compromise the judiciary's independence if answered. Whenever Judge Roberts refuses to answer, these left-wing senators will claim that his non-responsiveness justifies opposition to his confirmation.But they will have a problem. When Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg was nominated to become a justice in the summer of 1993, Patrick Leahy told Judge Ginsburg that he understood her refusal to answer many questions--and every Republican accepted Ginsburg's refusal.

Americans should know such refusals are the tradition of all Supreme Court nominees who appear before the Senate, one we should not now depart from.


Wednesday, August 10, 2005

My Nature Is Fire
In Your nature,
eternal Godhead,
I shall come to know my nature.
And what is my nature, boundless love?
It is fire,
because You are nothing but a fire of love.
And You have given humankind
a share in this nature,

for by the fire of love
You created us.
And so with all other people
and every created thing;
You made them out of love.
O ungrateful people!
What nature has your God given You?
His very own nature!
Are you not ashamed
to cut yourselves off from such a noble thing
through the guilt of deadly sin?
O eternal Trinity,
my sweet love!
You, light,
give us light.
You, wisdom,
give us wisdom.
You, supreme strength,
strengthen us.
Today, eternal God,
let our cloud be dissipated
so that we may perfectly know and follow Your Truth
in truth,
with a free and simple heart.

God, come to our assistance!
Lord, make haste to help us!

St Catherine of Siena

Breast Cancer Incidence is Highly Correlated with Abortion Incidence – Researcher

MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota, August 10, 2005 ( – A British breast cancer researcher will present evidence Wednesday, revealing that abortion is the best phenomenon to explain three distinct breast cancer trends in the UK population.

Patrick Carroll, director of the Pensions and Population Research Institute in London, will present his evidence today at the Joint Statistical Meetings at the Minneapolis Convention Center. Carroll reports the following trends in breast cancer incidence, associated with abortion, according to a Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer release.

The rest

Disability and Anti-Euthanasia Groups Outraged at Biased Dutch Study
August 10, 2005

( - A new study appearing in the August 8 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine claims that the ‘careful patient evaluations and official practice guidelines’ followed by physicians in the Netherlands is adequate protection for those disabled people who fear for their lives in Dutch hospitals.

The study surveyed all general practitioners in 18 of 22 Dutch general practice districts. Researchers found that 44% of all requests for euthanasia or physician assisted suicide were granted. The conclusion of the study is that the safeguards are working just fine, that doctor compliance is high and that those who ask to be killed by their doctors are doing so ‘safely.’

These numbers, however, are misleading and amount to a whitewash, say opponents of euthanasia. Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director of Ontario’s Euthanasia Prevention coalition said that a study like this fails to ask specific questions to uncover the possible abuses related to euthanasia.


From: Timesonline

The oldest complete copy of the New Testament will soon be accessible online. The Codex Sinaiticus, written in Greek in the fourth century at the monastery of Saint Catherine in Sinai, Egypt, is held at the British Library.

The power and attraction Jesus Christ exercises over men never comes from him alone, but from him as Son of the Father. It comes from him in his Sonship in a double way, as man living to God and as God living with men. Belief in him and loyalty to his cause involve men in the double movement, from world to God and from God to world. Even when theologies fail to do justice to this fact, Christians living with Christ in their cultures are aware of it. For they are forever being challenged to abandon all things for the sake of God; and forever being sent back into the world to teach and practice all the things that have been commanded them.
... H. Richard Niebuhr, Christ and Culture

High Schoolers Cheat, But Want More Demanding Work
By Monisha Bansa Correspondent
August 10, 2005

( - American high school students generally want more difficult coursework, but are willing to cheat in order to handle the pressure that accompanies the more challenging work, according to the Horatio Alger Association, which released a report Tuesday on the "State of Our Nation's Youth."

"The state of America's youth provides invaluable insight into the attitudes, perspectives, and goals of America's young people," said Anthony Hutcherson, communications specialist for the Horatio Alger Association.

"There is no sense that the status quo is acceptable. What students are saying is that we want to raise the bar. We want to do things differently," said Peter D. Hart, president of the firm that conducted the survey.

Eighty-eight percent of students aged 13 to 19 said schools weren't doing enough, and that they would work harder if expectations were higher, the survey results demonstrated. They called for more real-world learning opportunities, earlier advice about careers and more opportunities for advanced placement courses.

The rest

Michael Schiavo: 'Distinguished Guardian of the Year'
By Jeff Johnson Senior Staff Writer
August 10, 2005

( - The Florida State Guardianship Association has chosen Michael Schiavo as its "Distinguished Guardian of the Year" for 2005, outraging many in the pro-life community. Schiavo is the former husband of Terri Schiavo, the brain-injured Florida woman whose life ended March 31 by court-ordered dehydration at her husband's request.

While admitting that Schiavo was a "controversial choice," Michelle Kenney, president-elect of the association told the Associated Press that her group decided to bestow the honor on Schiavo because of his "commitment" to honoring what he claimed was his wife's wish "not to be kept alive artificially."


Legal Groups File Amicus Briefs in Support of Abortion Parental Notification Law
Melanie Hunter
Senior Editor

( - Two legal groups filed amicus briefs Monday in the U.S. Supreme court case on the parental involvement laws regarding abortion.

The Liberty Counsel and the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) are both asking the court to overturn an appeals court decision in Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, declaring a New Hampshire law that requires parental notification prior to an abortion performed on a minor unconstitutional.

"Laws like this are extremely important for protecting vulnerable children against coercion, deception, and the damaging emotional and physical consequences of abortion," said Jay Sekulow, chief counsel of ACLJ, in a statement.

The rest

There is nothing capricious about religion. We do not get the soul in different ways, under different laws, from those in which we get the body and the mind. If a man does not exercise his arm, he develops no biceps muscles and if a man does not exercise his soul, he acquires no muscle in his soul, no strength of character, no vigour of moral fibre, nor beauty of spiritual growth. Love is not a thing of enthusiastic emotion. It is a rich, strong, manly, vigorous expression of the whole round Christian character -- the Christ-like nature in its fullest development. And the constituents of this great character are only to be built up by ceaseless practice.

... Henry Drummond, "The Greatest Thing in the World"

Civil Partnerships - CEEC Response to Bishops
10th August 2005

We are concerned at some of the implications of the recent Pastoral Statement issued by the House of Bishops in response to the Civil Partnerships Act. This recent Act presents the House of Bishops with an unenviable task in responding to morally flawed and societally confusing legislation. Clearly this Act confronts the Church with a challenge to its teaching, practice and discipline to do with matters of human sexuality.

In sexual matters, as in other areas, our culture is in moral decline. All Christians are called not to compromise in their behaviour but to counter-cultural living. In this, and in the current crisis affecting the Anglican Communion, it is essential that the Bishops give a clear lead in upholding traditional, orthodox and biblical teaching and its application to life.

Anglican Mainstream

Ministry Groups Tend to Pastors' Needs
Pastoral care makes up a large part of ministries, according to one who works with pastors and oftentimes counsels them on a telephone hotline.
Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2005 Posted: 7:20:47AM EST

Pastoral care makes up a large part of ministries, according to one who works with pastors and oftentimes counsels them on a telephone hotline.

Roger Charman is on staff with, a ministry of Focus on the Family. He says "A number of years ago, we realized that a lot of the crisis mail that we were receiving here at Focus on the Family were from pastors and their families, and we realized that we may need to do something to help them."

"Contemporary pastors are caught in frightening spiritual and social tornadoes which are now raging through home, church, community and culture," wrote H.B. London & Neil B. Wiseman in their book, Pastors at Risk, just published in 2003.

"Something has to be done. Overwork, low pay and desperation take a terrible toll as pastors struggle to make sense of crammed calendars, hectic homes, splintered dreams, starved intimacy and shriveled purpose.

"A number of pastoral care ministries have sprung up in Church over the past decade or so as churches realized the stress and burnout that pastors suffered from.

The rest

Anybody care to dissect the problematic themes here?
Worldviews blog

Showtime is launching two new comedies in hopes that it can gain ground on HBO. Of course, the shows are supposed to be edgy and offbeat. One is Weeds, about a widow supporting her family on the income she makes from selling pot. The other is Barbershop, which is much like the film of the same name.

I was most intrigued by the characterizations of Weeds:
Nancy Botwin (Mary-Louise Parker in her usual top form) lost her husband to a heart attack and is trying to raise her two boys, 8-year-old Shane (Alexander Gould) and 15-year-old Silas (Hunter Parrish) in the middle-class style to which they are accustomed. So Nancy has become a dealer, a job that allows her to make money while still being an at-home mom.


Research reveals spiritual journey of Tolkien fans
Donald MacLeod
Saturday August 6, 2005

Tolkien fans do not just watch the films and read the books again and again - they are on a spiritual journey and doing their best to forget the ending, says an international study that voyaged to many lands to bring back wisdom and understanding.

Led by a wizard from out of the west, Martin Barker, of the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, the team explored reactions to the film Lord of the Rings III in 20 countries.

They found devotees reread the books, but tried to convince themselves they were seeing the story for the first time (although not knowing one of the most drawn-out and self-indulgent endings in cinema history must be a plus in the case of Lord of the Rings).

The rest: For Tolkien fans

Commentary: Two Canadian Straight Men Will ‘Marry’ – It’s a Hoot!
By John Jalsevac

Two self-professed straight (that is, heterosexual) Canadian men have made public their decision to get ‘married’ to one another. It was only a matter of time of course.

The Ottawa citizen reported on Sunday that, while sitting in a bar last week it occurred to Bill Dalrymple, 56, and Bryan Pinn, 65, that what with both of them being single, apparently without any serious opposite-sex marriage prospects on the line, it wouldn’t be such a bad tax-saving idea to get hitched…to each other. Thanks to the newly instated civil marriage act, extending “marriage” rights to same-sex couples, that’s not a problem. And since the new act doesn’t include any discriminatory restrictions on ‘sexual preference’ (as if that could be measured anyway) the two thoroughly straight men seem to have a clear path to the altar.

“I think it’s a hoot,” said Bryan Pinn. And you can’t help agree that really, it is, as he says, ‘a hoot’. In fact, what’s really amazing is that in the context of new legislation it all makes a whole lot of sense, and that proves to be the funniest thing of all.

Oh dear!

Campus Crusade Mourns Murdered Bangladeshi Christian Workers
Ed Thomas
August 9, 2005

(AgapePress) - Natives from the South Asian nation of Bangladesh recently held a rally in sympathy for the families of two Christians who were martyred for their work with a Campus Crusade for Christ affiliate group in that country.

The two slain Christian workers, Lipial Marandi (21) and Tapan Kumar Roy (27), were locals who taught health awareness programs and showed The Jesus Film while working with Christian Life Bangladesh. The young men had been in place in Faridpur, Bangladesh, for eight months but had received two sets of death threats only a week prior to their deaths, warning them that they would be killed if they continued with their work.

The rest

Breaking News: 200 Held In Underground Church Raids
August 9, 2005

The Standard, a Chinese paper, is reporting the following news:
Authorities recently detained more than 200 members and clergy of underground churches in several provinces, closed down a Shanghai church and harassed two US tourists in a renewed campaign against unauthorized religious activity, a US-based activist says.

The two Americans, both theological students, were detained August 2 while attending a church service with 41 Chinese churchgoers at a home in Lutou, a village in Hubei province, Bob Fu, a church monitor based in Midland, Texas, said Tuesday. The two students were later released but complained of mistreatment, Fu said.

The rest

A matter for prayer!

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Teach me, O Lord, Thy way of truth
And from it I will not depart;
That I may steadfastly obey,
Give me an understanding heart.

In Thy commandments make me walk,
For in the law my joy shall be;
Give me a heart that loves Thy will,
From discontent and envy free.

Turn Thou my eyes from vanity,
And cause me in Thy ways to tread;
O let Thy servant prove Thy Word,
And thus to godly fear be led.

Turn Thou away reproach and fear,
Thy righteous judgments I confess;
To know Thy precepts I desire,
Revive me in Thy righteousness.

England - Government to change Canon Law on Civil Partnerships
9th August 2005

Anglican Mainstream has been given legal advice that the Government proposes to change Church law by order, having obtained consent of the Archbishops’ Council and the House of Bishops, to add the term ‘civil partner’ wherever the term ‘spouse’ occurs. The result is that Church law is about to be changed to embed the notion of civil partner without a single discussion by General Synod, dioceses or parishes of the Church.

This is because the Civil Partnership Act 2004 contains provisions (sections 255 and 259) enabling the Government to amend and even repeal other legislation in order to give full effect to the purposes of the Act. This includes even amending and repealing church law. The power in relation to church law is exercised by statutory instrument approved by both Houses of Parliament.

the rest at Anglican Mainstream

Pastor Contends Christians Have Obligation to Warn Homosexuals
By Allie Martin
August 9, 2005

(AgapePress) - An Ohio pastor says Christians who are silent on the issue of homosexuality are not practicing Christ's love. In his new book, Silent No More, Rod Parsley tackles many issues facing concerned Christians, including the homosexual agenda.

Parsley, senior pastor of
World Harvest Church in Columbus, Ohio, insists that Christians have a responsibility to address and confront homosexual activism. He says being tolerant toward homosexuals does not mean remaining silent while radical homosexual activists attempt to force their lifestyle on the rest of America.


The Right Frame of Mind
God's Name Is Not to Be Misused
By Rev. Mark H. CreechAugust 1, 2005

(AgapePress) - "Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain." It's the third of God's Ten Commandments and Bill Grantlin, a retired insurance salesman of Raleigh, North Carolina, takes it seriously.

Grantlin already questioned the morality of the comic strip, The Boondocks. But he believed something ought to be done about it because it recently "crossed the line," as he put it, by "using the Lord's name in vain."

The edition of The Boondocks that captured Grantlin's attention made a spoof of Oprah Winfrey's latest visit to Paris. Winfrey's trip received national attention when she was denied entry to an upscale Paris store after hours. Poking fun of Winfrey and all of the hoopla over her not being able to get into the establishment, Aaron McGruder, the comic strip's creator, drew a picture of Winfrey on a ticket that could be placed with store clerks that essentially says if you see this woman, "for Christ's sake let her in."

The rest

We do not very often come across opportunities for exercising strength, magnanimity, or magnificence; but gentleness, temperance, modesty, and humility, are graces which ought to color everything we do. There may be virtues of a more exalted mold, but... these are the most continually called for in daily life.
... François de Sales

Prayer Before Reading the Holy Scriptures

Make to shine in our hearts, O Master who lovest man, the incorrupt light of Thy divine knowledge, and open the eyes of our mind to the comprehension of the preaching of Thy Gospel. Implant also in us the fear of Thy blessed commandments that, trampling down all carnal desires, we may pursue a spiritual way of life, both thinking and doing all things well-pleasing unto Thee. For Thou art the enlightenment of our souls and bodies, O Christ God, and unto Thee do we send up glory, together with Thy Father, who is without beginning, and Thine all-holy, and good, and life-creating Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.


World Health Organization Classifies Contraceptives as Highly Carcinogenic
GENEVA, Switzerland,
August 8, 2005

( - A press release issued on July 29th of this year by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a division of the World Health Organization (WHO), declared the little publicized classification of combined estrogen-progestogen oral contraceptives (OCs) as carcinogenic. The IARC placed the contraceptives into their Group 1 classification, the highest classification of carcinogenicity, used only "when there is sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in humans." (emphasis theirs)

Combined estrogen-progestogen OCs are the most commonly prescribed forms of contraceptives. According to the IARC "worldwide, more than 100 million women - about 10% of all women of reproductive age - currently use combined hormonal contraceptives."

This outright declaration by the World Health Organization of the proven dangers of combined OCs comes as an unexpected surprise to many who have been working for years to publicize their dangers. "I'm stunned that they would come out and say that, because they've been denying this for years," said Toronto area MD and medical adviser to Campaign Life Coalition, Dr. Shea. But he added, "They're really only admitting something that's been known."

The rest

Black pastors seek'gay marriage' ban
Posted: August 9, 20051:00 a.m. Eastern
© 2005

I've been in Dallas for the last few days attending a conference on the state of the black family convened by the Not On My Watch Coalition and the Cornerstone Baptist Church. The coalition is a group of 40 black pastors, representing congregations numbering in the tens of thousands throughout the state of Texas, who support the Federal Marriage Amendment.

The conference concluded with a 10-point resolution pointed toward encouraging behavior in our communities aimed at the task of reconstituting the black family unit.

Nine of the 10 points aim exclusively at an internal re-focusing in communities on education and mentoring on the importance of traditional moral behavior in matters of sex and marriage. We are talking here about moral ABCs such as discouraging pre-marital sex and cohabitation, emphasizing the importance of marriage fidelity and the role of the community in providing support, such as male mentoring for our many fatherless children.

The rest

Biblical Pool Uncovered in Jerusalem
The reservoir served as a gathering place for Jews making pilgrimages and is said in the Gospel of John to be the site where Jesus cured a blind man.
By Thomas H. Maugh II,
Times Staff Writer

Workers repairing a sewage pipe in the Old City of Jerusalem have discovered the biblical Pool of Siloam, a freshwater reservoir that was a major gathering place for ancient Jews making religious pilgrimages to the city and the reputed site where Jesus cured a man blind from birth, according to the Gospel of John.The pool was fed by the now famous Hezekiah's Tunnel and is "a much grander affair" than archeologists previously believed, with three tiers of stone stairs allowing easy access to the water, said Hershel Shanks, editor of the Biblical Archaeology Review, which reported the find Monday.

"Scholars have said that there wasn't a Pool of Siloam and that John was using a religious conceit" to illustrate a point, said New Testament scholar James H. Charlesworth of the Princeton Theological Seminary. "Now we have found the Pool of Siloam … exactly where John said it was." A gospel that was thought to be "pure theology is now shown to be grounded in history," he said.


Evangelical Lutherans gather
Tuesday, August 09, 2005
By Ren´e K. Gadoua Staff writer

Representatives of the Upstate New York Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, including Bishop Marie Jerge, will vote this week on the denomination's policies on ordaining gays and blessing same-sex unions.

"I have no idea how that's going to play. If you look across the whole church, we don't agree on it," Jerge said last week, a few days before traveling to Orlando, Fla., for the ELCA's Churchwide Assembly, which began Monday.

In June,Upstate Lutherans voted to support recommendations that the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America ordain homosexual pastors in some circumstances and be open to blessing same-sex couples. More than 1,000 voting members of the Assembly, including 15 local elected voting members, the bishop and the synod's vice president, will consider those resolutions this week.

the Rest

Touchdown! Shuttle has landed
Lucy Sherriff
Tuesday 9th August 2005

The Space Shuttle Discovery has touched down safe and sound - much to the relief of NASA engineers and space fans everywhere. Mission control congratulated commander Eileen Collins and her crew on the successful test flight, and welcomed them home.


Thank You Lord for answering the prayers of your people for the safe return of the astronauts!

Sen. Frist, listen to these doctors
August 09, 2005

The 17,000-member Christian Medical Association (CMA) is reiterating its support for adult-stem-cell research, which has so far led to treatments for more than 65 ailments, including -- drum roll for heart specialists such as the majority leader -- heart disease: Brazil reportedly is about to begin an adult-stem-cell experiment involving 1,200 heart patients. With billions already spent on embryonic stem cell research that destroys human embryos, the number of successful treatments so far resulting from that approach: Zero.

Posted by Olasky on Aug 9, 05 07:20 AM

Barna: Americans Are Spiritual But Postmodern
American born-again Christians are likely to feel accepted by God, but deny the Bible as the source of truth. Few make decisions based on the Bible and few believe absolute moral truth exists, a new Barna poll found.
Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2005 Posted: 7:39:39AM EST

American born-again Christians are likely to feel accepted by God, but deny the Bible as the source of truth. Few make decisions based on the Bible and few believe absolute moral truth exists, according to a new national study of 1002 adults conducted by The Barna Group.

Most Americans say they are “deeply spiritual,” feel “accepted by God,” and say they have a clear understanding of the purpose of their life, the survey, released August 9, found.

About half of all adults (54 percent) claim that they make moral decisions on standards they believe in. Another 24 percent make moral choices based on what feels right or comfortable, doing whatever makes the most people happy or causes the least conflict (9 percent), and pursuing whatever produces the most positive outcomes for the person (7 percent).

According to Barna, this is a reflection of the postmodernist belief that reality is subjective, and therefore, there is no absolute truth.

Very interesting read

Pro-Abortion Planned Parenthood Video Depicts "Superhero for Choice" Killing Pro-Lifers

August 8, 2005

( - Sleazy Dude" and "Senator." These are two pro-life characters in a new animated video released by Planned Parenthood Golden Gate (San Francisco). Titled "A Superhero for CHOICE," the video follows a female "superhero," named "Dianisis," whose sole mission is to protect "choice."

Dianisis first encounters "Sleezy Dude," as Sleezy tells a group of teenagers that "the only way to prevent pregnancy is to practice abstinence." One teen responds, "But Mister, we learned at school that there are other ways to practice safe sex and protect ourselves." Sleezy responds: "Those are instruments from the devil's toolbox!" Dianisis interrupts the conversation and throws Sleezy into a trash can. "Now you kids know where to go for all your healthcare needs and reproductive advice, don't you?" she asks. "We sure do, ma'am! Planned Parenthood Golden Gate! Because we have a choice!" they respond. Before departing Dianisis throws a "safe sex kit" to the teens as she yells, "Remember, safe is sexy!"

The rest of the story

Indians Warned Not to Carry Scriptures into Saudi Arabia

Indians traveling to Saudi Arabia have been warned not to carry religious scriptures, photographs or icons.Monday, Aug. 8, 2005 Posted: 9:47:46AM EST Indians traveling to Saudi Arabia have been warned not to carry religious scriptures, photographs or icons, local news agencies reported this week.

An official statement issued Wednesday in India that religious activities in private residences or undertaking missionary or preaching activities are banned in Saudi Arabia and could invite stringent punishment, according to the Indo-Asia News

The rest


"Father, I thank Thee that Thou hast heard Me." John 11:41

When the Son of God prays, He has only one consciousness, and that consciousness is of His Father. God always hears the prayers of His Son, and if the Son of God is formed in me the Father will always hear my prayers. I have to see that the Son of God is manifested in my mortal flesh. "Your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost," i.e., the Bethlehem of the Son of God. Is the Son of God getting His chance in me? Is the direct simplicity of the life of God's Son being worked out exactly as it was worked out in His historic life? When I come in contact with the occurrences of life as an ordinary human being, is the prayer of God's Eternal Son to His Father being prayed in me? "In that day ye shall ask in My name. . . ." What day? The day when the Holy Ghost has come to me and made me effectually one with my Lord.

Is the Lord Jesus Christ being abundantly satisfied in your life or have you got a spiritual strut on? Never let common sense obtrude and push the Son of God on one side. Common sense is a gift which God gave to human nature; but common sense is not the gift of His Son. Supernatural sense is the gift of His Son; never enthrone common sense. The Son detects the Father; common sense never yet detected the Father and never will. Our ordinary wits never worship God unless they are transfigured by the indwelling Son of God. We have to see that this mortal flesh is kept in perfect subjection to Him and that He works through it moment by moment. Are we living in such human dependence upon Jesus Christ that His life is being manifested moment by moment?

Oswald Chambers

Monday, August 08, 2005

"All things are possible to him that believeth."
—Mark 9:23.

Many professed Christians are always doubting and fearing, and they forlornly think that this is the necessary state of believers. This is a mistake, for "all things are possible to him that believeth"; and it is possible for us to mount into a state in which a doubt or a fear shall be but as a bird of passage flitting across the soul, but never lingering there. When you read of the high and sweet communions enjoyed by favoured saints, you sigh and murmur in the chamber of your heart, "Alas! these are not for me." O climber, if thou hast but faith, thou shalt yet stand upon the sunny pinnacle of the temple, for "all things are possible to him that believeth." You hear of exploits which holy men have done for Jesus; what they have enjoyed of Him; how much they have been like Him; how they have been able to endure great persecutions for His sake; and you say, "Ah! as for me, I am but a worm; I can never attain to this." But there is nothing which one saint was, that you may not be. There is no elevation of grace, no attainment of spirituality, no clearness of assurance, no post of duty, which is not open to you if you have but the power to believe. Lay aside your sackcloth and ashes, and rise to the dignity of your true position; you are little in Israel because you will be so, not because there is any necessity for it. It is not meet that thou shouldst grovel in the dust, O child of a King. Ascend! The golden throne of assurance is waiting for you! The crown of communion with Jesus is ready to bedeck your brow. Wrap yourself in scarlet and fine linen, and fare sumptuously every day; for if thou believest, thou mayst eat the fat of kidneys of wheat; thy land shall flow with milk and honey, and thy soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness. Gather golden sheaves of grace, for they await thee in the fields of faith. "All things are possible to him that believeth."

C.H. Spurgeon

American Red Cross Fires Employee for Refusal to Celebrate “Gay and Lesbian Pride Month”
August 5, 2005

( – A Christian employee working at the American Red Cross, after expressing his concerns to senior staff about an e-mail from the diversity office notifying him that June was “Gay and Lesbian Pride Month,” was fired from his job last month.

Concerned Women for America (CWFA) reported that Michael Hartman, who had worked at the Red Cross for eight months, received an e-mail in late May distributed by Chief Diversity Officer David Wilkins which declared, “It is my pleasure to announce that June will be recognized as Gay and Lesbian Pride Month at national headquarters . . .”

Hartman told CWFA that his immediate supervisor did not care that, as a Christian, Hartman was concerned; thereafter he voiced his consternation to senior officials. Hartman’s e-mail to senior management stated, “I would like to start by stating that I am a Christian not willing to compromise my beliefs to promote the agenda of the homosexual community. I would also like to say that I think it’s disgraceful that while most of us [at the Red Cross] are trying to save lives, a select few are using this organization to promote their own lifestyles which in my opinion are unacceptable.”

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