Saturday, August 20, 2005

Thou art the Lord who slept upon the pillow;
Thou art the Lord who soothed the furious sea.
What matter beating wind and tossing billow
If only we are in the boat with Thee?

Hold us in quiet through the age-long minute
While Thou art silent, and the wind is shrill:
Can the boat sink while Thou, dear Lord, art in it?
Can the heart faint that waiteth on Thy will?

Amy Carmichael

Gospel Dream 2005 Dallas Auditions Underway
Saturday, Aug. 20, 2005

Posted: 5:42:24PM EST

The drive is an hour long from Anna to Dallas, Texas, and Worship Pastor Eliezer Da Silva had to be at the Irving Arts Center by 9 a.m. But there are other reasons why the 37-year-old music minister is got up at 5 o'clock on Friday morning.

"The morning time is a difficult time for me to sing because I’m a baritone,” says Da Silva. “My voice is down to the gutter in the morning, and until about 2 o’ clock in the afternoon I’m singing double bass. So I got up early to give my voice a chance to warm up.”

And while singing is a regular routine for Da Silva at First Baptist Church in Red Oak, Texas, the native Brazilian was “warming up the pipes” yesterday morning for a very special (and very short) performance – his audition for the Gospel Dream 2005 talent competition.

The nationwide talent search, which began auditions yesterday in Atlanta, will select 21 contestants from seven regional auditions in Atlanta (Aug. 12-13), Dallas (Aug. 19-20), New Orleans (Aug. 26-27), St. Louis (Sept. 9-10), Chicago (Sept. 16-17), Detroit (Sept. 23-24), and Memphis (Sept. 30–Oct. 1) to compete in the national finals in Atlanta, which will air on the Gospel Music Channel on Nov. 30 (semi-finals) and Dec. 1 (finale).


Rocking to the converted
Christian musicians aim to capture a mainstream audience
Rachel Sa
National Post
Saturday, August 20, 2005

Can Christian music ever go mainstream in Canada? Organiz-ers of the Encounter Ontario festival have faith that it will.

"Christian music makes up 6% of the market share in entertainment in Canada," festival organizer Michelle Dunk said. "The fate of Canada's Christian musicians will depend on whether or not Canadians are willing to give them a chance," she said.

Encounter Ontario, the largest Christian Music Festival in the country, runs today in Toronto at Ontario Place and features 23 bands on three stages, with music styles ranging from hard rock and adult contemporary to gospel and hip hop.

Christian music is a billion-dollar industry in the United States and Ms. Dunk says its popularity is poised to explode north of the border. Christian music is already popular in Western Canada, but she is confident it can break into the East.

The rest

Lectionary readings for August 21,2005

Isaiah 51:1-6
Psalm 138
Romans 11:33-36
Matthew 16:13-20

Grant, O merciful God, that your Church, being gathered together in unity by your Holy Spirit, may show forth your power among all peoples, to the glory of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Romans 11:33-36
O the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!
"For who has known the mind of the Lord?
Or who has been his counselor?"
"Or who has given a gift to him,
to receive a gift in return?"
For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever. Amen.

Court rules atheism a religion
Decides 1st Amendment protects prison inmate's right to start study group
Posted: August 20, 20051:00 a.m. Eastern
© 2005

A federal court of appeals ruled yesterday Wisconsin prison officials violated an inmate's rights because they did not treat atheism as a religion.

"Atheism is [the inmate's] religion, and the group that he wanted to start was religious in nature even though it expressly rejects a belief in a supreme being," the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals said.
The court decided the inmate's First Amendment rights were violated because the prison refused to allow him to create a study group for atheists.

Brian Fahling, senior trial attorney for the American Family Association Center for Law & Policy, called the court's ruling "a sort of Alice in Wonderland jurisprudence."
"Up is down, and atheism, the antithesis of religion, is religion," said Fahling.


So it behoves us, if we would have Christ for a frequent guest, to fill our hearts with faithful meditations on the mercy He showed in dying for us, and on His mighty power in rising again from the dead. To this David testified when he sang, ‘God spake once, and twice I have also heard the same; that power belongeth unto God; and that Thou, Lord, art merciful (Ps. 62.11f). And surely there is proof enough and to spare in that Christ died for our sins and rose again for our justification, and ascended into heaven that He might protect us from on high, and sent the Holy Spirit for our comfort. Hereafter He will come again for the consummation of our bliss. In His Death He displayed His mercy, in His Resurrection His power; both combine to manifest His glory.

St Bernard of Clairvaux

An Act of Subversion, Carried by Balloons
A Korean Missionary Sends Aerial Messages of Faith Over Border to North
By Anthony Faiola
Washington Post Foreign Service
Wednesday, August 10, 2005; Page A11

GANGHWA ISLAND, South Korea -- Lee Min Bok stared across a narrow inlet at the Korean shoreline, using his compass to gauge the gusting wind's direction. Nodding, the gaunt, soft-spoken missionary then said a prayer with his three assistants and began launching hundreds of helium balloons across the world's most heavily fortified border.

The balloons carried plastic bags containing pamphlets of Bible scripture and pairs of nylon stockings to entice wary North Koreans. Lee's aerial evangelism was part of a broader campaign by Christian groups in East Asia and beyond against North Korean leader Kim Jong Il and his government.


Young Catholics want Pope to uphold Church sex stand
Thu Aug 18, 2005 9:01 PM IST
By Tom Heneghan, Religion Editor

COLOGNE, Germany (Reuters) - They're full of life, brimming with raging hormones and Catholic. So what do young people at the World Youth Day want to hear from their 78-year-old Pope about sex?

The hundreds of thousands gathered in this Rhineland city all know that Pope Benedict staunchly upholds the Church's ban on pre-marital sex, contraception, gay marriage and other aspects of what he rejects as a modern "anything goes" morality.

Clearly not all of them follow this to the letter -- and their bishops know it. But that doesn't mean the Catholic youths who've flocked here from around the world don't want Benedict to preach what he believes.

"We don't want to hear only what pleases us," said Pascal Straszewski, 21, a Frankfurt law student. "Faith means holding fast to ideals."

"Nobody wants to hear a lie," added Felicity Elvis, 18, a journalism student from Brisbane, Australia. "Politicians lie to us all the time. We're tired of being lied to."

"Why should the Church change with the times?" asked Mexico City student Ibanez Monserrat, 19. "What it says works for all kinds of people."

The rest

Anglicans have betrayed the Jews
Irene Lancaster is alarmed by the anti-Semitism that she finds in the C of E

THE CHIEF RABBI, Dr Jonathan Sacks, stated three years ago that: “Anti-Semitism exists . . . whenever two contradictory factors appear in combination: the belief that Jews are so powerful that they are responsible for the evils of the world, and the knowledge that they are so powerless that they can be attacked with impunity” (lecture to the Inter-Parliamentary Committee against Anti-Semitism, 28 February 2002).

How prophetic these words have become. The Jewish community in Britain is alarmed by the increasing anti-Semitism in the Anglican Church, much of it based on ignorance. For instance, many people outside the Jewish community really believe that Israel, a country the size of Wales, is, as Dr Sacks said, “responsible for the evils of the world”, while Jewish people know only too well that, as 0.5 per cent of the population, “they are so powerless that they can be attacked with impunity”.

To many British Jews, segments of the media, including the BBC, The Guardian and The Independent, constantly misrepresent Israel. These misrepresentations then affect other organisations.

First, there was the Association of University Teachers (AUT), which called for a boycott of two Israeli universities. Now the Anglican Consultative Council, in what the journalist Melanie Phillips has called “the Church’s AUT moment”, said that it “welcomes” the Anglican Peace and Justice Network’s statement on Israel (News, 1 July; 5 August).

The rest at CANN

Jesus, Thou Joy of loving hearts,
Thou Fount of life, Thou Light of men,
From the best bliss that earth imparts,
We turn unfilled to Thee again.

Thy truth unchanged hath ever stood;
Thou savest those that on Thee call;
To them that seek Thee Thou art good,
To them that find Thee all in all.

We taste Thee, O Thou living Bread,
And long to feast upon Thee still;
We drink of Thee, the Fountainhead,
And thirst our souls from Thee to fill.

Our restless spirits yearn for Thee,
Wherever our changeful lot is cast;
Glad when Thy gracious smile we see,
Blessed when our faith can hold Thee fast.

O Jesus, ever with us stay,
Make all our moments calm and bright;
Chase the dark night of sin away,
Shed over the world Thy holy light.

words: Bernard of Clairvaux

Friday, August 19, 2005

Teach me, O God, to use all the circumstances of my life to-day that they may bring forth in me the fruits of holiness rather than the fruits of sin.
Let me use disappointment as material for patience:
Let me use success as material for thankfulness:
Let me use suspense as material for perseverance:
Let me use danger as material for courage:
Let me use reproach as material for longsuffering:
Let me use praise as material for humility:
Let me use pleasures as material for temperance:
Let me use pains as material for endurance.

... John Baillie, A Diary of Private Prayer

Salt, History, and Bush
A book President Bush is reading on vacation can teach us what Jesus meant about being salty Christians.
by Rob Moll
posted 08/18/2005 09:00 a.m.

While President Bush vacations at his Crawford, Texas, ranch, he's chosen a few books to enjoy perhaps while sipping lemonade on his back porch. One book, Salt: A World History, by Mark Kurlansky, has seemed to catch the
media's attention. After all, how much is there to read, or write, about a rock? We put it on our food and our frozen sidewalks. What more is there to say?

Well, for Christians, there's a lot more to say. And for the President, there may be a lot he can learn about his responsibility as a self-identified follower of Christ in the Oval Office.

The rest

5 American Christians detained in China
Most picked up in raid on
underground church meeting
Posted: August 19, 20051:00 a.m. Eastern
© 2005

Five American church workers were detained by authorities in northern China in raids on underground Protestant groups.

A church meeting was broken up in Luoyang in Henan province Monday, resulting in the detention of four Americans, including a married couple, and 27 Chinese citizens, reported the Texas-based Christian-persecution monitor
China Aid Association.

In the nearby city of Yichuan, police detained another American, according to a local pastor, Wan Dagan.
The Texas group said it did not have the names of the Americans.

The rest

This way of seeing our Father in everything makes life one long thanksgiving and gives a rest of heart, and, more than that, a gayety of spirit, that is unspeakable. Some one says, "God's will on earth is always joy, always tranquility." And since He must have His own way concerning His children, into what wonderful green pastures of inward rest, and beside what blessedly still waters of inward refreshment is the soul led that learns this secret. If the will of God is our will, and if He always has His way, then we always have our way also, and we reign in a perpetual kingdom. He who sides with God cannot fail to win in every encounter; and, whether the result shall be joy or sorrow, failure or success, death or life, we may, under all circumstances, join in the Apostle's shout of victory, "Thanks be unto God which always causeth us to triumph in Christ!"

Hannah Whitall Smith Online Books

SD Hearing Will Address Unconstitutional Treatment of In-School Bible Clubs
By Allie Martin
August 19, 2005

(AgapePress) - A federal judge will be asked today (Friday) to allow a Christian after-school club to meet in San Diego city schools free of charge.

Six years ago,
Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF) of Greater San Diego requested to use district facilities to hold meetings of the Good News Club after school hours. School officials said CEF would have to pay "fair rental value" for use of those facilities because the organization is "a church conducting religious services." So from 1999 through the 2004-2005 school year, CEF was charged those fees -- which the district increased each year. Recently CEF had to stop meeting in San Diego city schools because the cost was becoming prohibitive.


New Artists Who Are Motivated by Christianity
Published: August 19, 2005

There have certainly been great modern fiction writers who have identified themselves as Christians - Flannery O'Connor, for example. But it is hard to think of many great contemporary visual artists who have made Christian faith central to their work. This thought is prompted by a less-than-inspirational exhibition, on view now at the Museum of Biblical Art, of works by 44 artists who explore Christian themes.

"The Next Generation: Contemporary Expressions of Faith" is a result of a juried competition that was open to an international 1,500-member group called Christians in the Visual Arts. A founder of the group, Sandra Bowden, is a trustee of the Museum of Biblical Art. The jurors were Ena G. Heller, the museum's executive director; Patricia C. Pongracz, the museum's chief curator; and Wayne Roosa, a professor of art at Bethel University in St. Paul.

Including traditional still-life painting, sculpture, installation, photographs documenting a performance, and an interactive video projection, the show reflects the range of techniques found in contemporary art in general. In many cases, you would not know that Christian faith had anything to do with the work were it not for accompanying statements by the artists.

the rest

Spiritual reading is a regular, essential part of the life of prayer, and particularly is it the support of adoring prayer. It is important to increase our sense of God's richness and wonder by reading what his great lovers have said about him.

Evelyn Underhill Evelyn underhill Association

FIRST-PERSON: Should raunchy be the fourth R?
Aug 18, 2005
By Warren Throckmorton
Baptist Press

GROVE CITY, Pa. (BP)--School is starting around the country. Awaiting anxious students are new schedules, new teachers, new challenges and in some school districts, old controversies about what books should be read in school. Wow, where did the summer go?

School districts have been facing challenges over what should be in the library as long as there have been libraries, but recent changes in the world of children's literature and our society have focused the debates on matters of teen sexuality.

A recent MSNBC article regarding adolescent reading material describes growing parental concern over the explicit nature of books aimed at young teens. Correspondent Janet Shamlian reports on some recent hot selling teen titles: "In ‘Claiming Georgia Tate,’ a father has sex with his daughter. In ‘Rainbow Party,’ teens make plans for a sex party. And in ‘Teach Me, due out in late August and seemingly ripped from the day's headlines, there's a student-teacher affair."

The rest

Episcopal Church Congregations Appeal to Rowan Williams in Gay Bishop Row
Six congregations in America have appealed directly to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams regarding the views of their bishops towards the consecration of gay clergy.
Posted: Friday, August 19 , 2005, 12:38 (UK)

Six congregations in America have appealed directly to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams regarding the views of their bishops towards the consecration of gay clergy.

The congregations are extremely upset that their respective leading bishops have not spoken out firmly against the consecration of Bishop Gene Robinson in New Hampshire, USA in 2003; an issue that has brought the worldwide Anglican Communion to the brink of a complete schism.

The head of the Anglican Communion, Dr Williams has been asked by the congregations to find them a new leader, one that will reflect their beliefs and the traditional Church stance of not allowing homosexual bishops in the Church.

The rest

...and what am I, to know
your promises, your mercies, your grace, your love?
Suppose my heart is (as I can only too well believe)
hard, unfruitful, deep deceitful: is that beyond the power
of the fingers that made the heavens?

O, majestic Lord, you care for me,
you have me in your mind and heart. In that I rest. Amen.

... Timothy Dudley-Smith

Persecution of Kosovo Christians Reveals Larger Threat
Sherrie Gossett
August 19, 2005

( - International intervention to halt the persecution of Christians in Kosovo is a "complete failure," according to a former diplomat and other political analysts who briefed Capitol Hill staff late last week, pointing to the destruction of 150 churches and the simultaneous construction of 200 mosques.

Cybercast News Service obtained video of the burning and desecrating of the churches by ethnic Albanians, most of them Muslim.

The new mosques are funded by "Wahhabist nations," the diplomats said, raising the specter of radical Islam incubating on the doorstep of Europe in a province rife with illegal arms and narcotics trafficking.

The rest

Christian Worker Sues Allstate in Free Speech Case
Friday, Aug. 19, 2005
Posted: 7:30:27AM EST

The Allstate Insurance Company is being sued by a former worker in Illinois who has alleged he was fired for writing articles opposing same-sex marriage and the gay lifestyle.

Matt Barber, of Villa Park near Chicago, was fired from his job as a manager in the corporate security division of the company three days after meeting with supervisors in December 2004 who confirmed that he wrote the articles.

Barber, 35, and a Christian, says he had written the opinion articles on his own time, which were later posted on conservative websites. The titles of the writings included "Intolerance Will Not Be Tolerated!" and "The Gay Agenda vs. Family Values.

"In his suit, filed in May of this year, Barber claims that his firing is in violation of his free speech rights. He is seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.


What If There Are No Adults?
Albert Mohler
Author, Speaker, President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

Friday, August 19, 2005

The transition to adulthood used to be one of the main goals of the young. Adulthood was seen to be a status worth achieving and was understood to be a set of responsibilities worth fulfilling. At least, that's the way it used to be. Now, an entire generation seems to be finding itself locked in the grip of eternal youth, unwilling or unable to grow up.

Concern about this phenomenon has been building for some time. Baby-boomer parents are perplexed when their adult-age children move back home, fail to find a job, and appear to be in no hurry to marry. Though the current generation of young adults includes some spectacular exceptions who have quickly moved into the fullness of adult responsibility, the generation as a whole seems to be waiting for something--but who knows what?--to happen.

Excellent essay

Have a Loved One Struggling With Substance Abuse? Author Well Qualified to Advise
I Love You, But ... by Patricia Kramer
Book Review by Rev. Austin Miles
August 18, 2005

(AgapePress) - In the midst of a time when newspaper writers spontaneously seem to recognize that drug and alcohol addiction now occurs in the least likely of families, a book was quietly published -- "I Love You But ...." The author, Patricia Kramer, offers a simple solution to release the addicted from his or her bondage. It worked with a member of her own family, it has worked for others who have failed drug and alcohol programs -- and it will work for you.

I Love You, But ... -- When a Loved One Has a Problem With Substance Abuse (Xulon) could not have been published at a better time. Most readers will be able to immediately identify with its contents. In this turbulent 21st century, no family is immune from the scourge of addiction that has crossed all lines and boundaries, reaching epic proportions. This is truly the era of the unexpected addict.

This includes those in stable families and homes that are anything but breeding grounds for destructive addictions, leaving a sense of helplessness to all concerned in its wake. It is that feeling of helplessness that this slim little volume (54 pages) addresses by pointing readers to a proven way of victory for the addict in the family.

The author is well qualified to write this book. She lived in an alcoholic marriage for 21 years, and then lost her 15-year-old son in a tragic accident at the same time her marriage ended. So she knows well the depths of suffering and helplessness.

the rest

Revelation TV Combats London’s Fear
By George Thomas
CBN News Sr. Reporter – LONDON, England - A massive bomb ripped through the number 30 double-decker bus at Tavistock Square in London.

David Conder, the head of London’s Christian television program, "Revelation TV," recalled, “We were three blocks away from the bus explosion…when I heard the explosion, at just 10 minutes to 10, I knew something major had happened. As I came out of the house, there were thousands and thousands of people in the streets.”

Minutes later, Conder sprung into action. “I said to my children,…’come on,’ and to my wife, ‘come on!’” he stated. “Let's go to the studio... something's happening - we need to go live!”

Conder said he knew that this was the moment God had been preparing him for since 1997.
“The Lord had said to me, that time in 1997 when he took me to my window,” Condor explained, “[that] a great time of trouble was coming, and people will need a message of hope - they will need an interpretation of the signs of the times, and because of [the] fears that would come upon them, you need to be able to reach to them and interact with them.”

Conder and a small team of producers and cameramen hit the streets to report live on the series of blasts that had ripped through central London.


Churches appeal for new bishop
But Episcopal congregations say they're willing to negotiate futures with Bishop Howard.

By JEFF BRUMLEY, The Times-Union

Six North Florida Episcopal congregations are willing to negotiate their futures with Bishop John Howard but are also asking international church leaders to help them secure a different bishop to oversee them.

A spokesman for the bishop welcomed the churches' willingness to talk but regretted to hear they appealed their case to the archbishop of Canterbury, spiritual leader of the worldwide Anglican Communion.

"It's disappointing that political tactics are being used -- real disappointing," said the Rev. Canon Kurt Dunkle, the bishop's chief of staff.

The congregations and their priests are at odds with Howard for not distancing himself and his Jacksonville-based Episcopal Diocese of Florida from the Episcopal Church USA. The churches say the denomination violated Scripture by electing an openly gay bishop in New Hampshire in 2003.

On Friday, Howard rejected the congregations' June request that he temporarily assign them another bishop, saying it amounted to a "divorce" between the churches and the diocese. But Howard said he was open to discussing a less comprehensive form of alternative oversight for them.

The Rev. Sam Pascoe, rector at Grace Church in Orange Park, said the churches' only concern is that the oversight allow them to conduct their ministries "with a clean conscience."

The rest

John P. Richardson: Bishop Tom Wright may be Right
August 19th, 2005

A recent… [article] in the Guardian from Bishop Tom Wright criticised the declining quality of debate in the councils of the Church of England. ‘Reason,’ he wrote, ‘is in short supply right now,’ adding, ‘When someone says in a debate, ‘What I feel is…’ the chair ought to intervene. What people feel is neither here nor there in a debate.’ Wright is undoubtedly correct, but the rot has been allowed to go on for too long, encouraged by our educational system, not least in the area of theological ‘equipping’.

As a philosophical movement, post-modernism is both hard to define and already passé. However, as Francis Schaeffer observed, it is the tendency of intellectual systems to transfer into popular culture in an attenuated but significant form. The impact of post-modernism on our culture is thus ‘incoherent’, yet massive and likely to be enduring.

One of the key features of post-modernism is the rejection of ‘meta-narrative’ – ‘a grand overarching account, or all-encompassing story, which is thought to give order to the historical record’ (Wikipedia). The post-modern philosopher could give reasons for this which the person in the street may not share. At the popular level, nevertheless, the effect is seen in the way that all statements which might express absolute truths are reduced to the status of personal opinions. ‘This is true,’ becomes ‘I believe this is true.’ The difference is enormous.

Excellent esssay at titusonenine

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Faith is not an opinion, but a certitude. "The substance of things hoped for," says the Apostle--not the phantasies of empty conjecture. You hear the substance. You may not dispute on the faith as you please; you may not wander here and there through the wastes of opinion, the byways of error. By the name, "substance," something certain and fixed is placed before you; you are enclosed between boundaries, you are restrained within unchanging limits.

... St. Bernard of Clairvaux, Treatise on the Errors of Abeilard

Franciscans Offer Virtual Pilgrimage to Holy Land
posted by
Peggie Bohanon on August 17, 2005

The Franciscan Foundation provides a fascinating
virtual pilgrimage of the Holy Land. Let the places of the Bible come alive in text and photos as you virtually visit Bethany, Bethlehem, Jericho, Jerusalem (Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Church of St. Peter and Tomb of Lazarus), the Galilee region (Cana, Capernaum, Sea of Galilee, Tabgha, Mount of Beatitudes) and other biblically-historical sites. Enjoy this educational and informative tour without ever leaving your PC! Then dig deeper to learn more about the ministry of the Franciscans and their concern for Christians in this volatile area of the world.


Umbilical Cord Blood Found to Yield Embryo-Like Stem Cells
August 18, 2005

( - The hope of curing diseases using stem cells derived from umbilical cord blood has just received another boost. Scientists from the UK’s Kingston University and the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, have discovered a type of cell in the umbilical cord that shares the same properties as embryonic stem cells. Called “cord-blood-derived embryonic-like stem cells” (CBE), are not as flexible as the cells derived from embryos but much more so than cells from bone marrow, the usual source of ‘adult’ stem cells.

Colin McGuckin of Kingston University, calling his team’s discovery a “first,” said, “We have found a unique group of cells that bring together the essential qualities of both types of stem cells for the first time.”

CBE cells combine the medical advantages of adult and embryonic cells having some of the characteristic proteins or “markers,” considered as identifiers of embryonic stem cells. The CBE’s also do not require a “feeder” layer of animal cells as a growth medium which has been found to contaminate stem cell lines.

The method used to culture the cells, using zero gravity technology first developed by NASA, has made it possible to create CBE cells at a much faster rate and in much greater quantities than is possible with embryo-derived cells.

the rest

Myanmar cracks down on churches
Houses of worship closed due to residents converting from Buddhism
Posted: August 17, 20051:00 a.m. Eastern
© 2005

Myanmar's repressive government has cracked down on Christian churches in recent weeks, closing 28 houses of worship after residents had converted from Buddhism in large numbers.

According to
Voice of the Martyrs sources working in the Asian nation formerly known as Burma, the action is taking place in the Mandalay area.

The closed fellowships were "unofficial" evangelical churches that did not belong to mainline denominations. Sources said military officials forced pastors to sign documents saying they would stop holding Christian meetings.

According to the report, the pastors have begun a 40-day fast during which they will consume only juice and water while they pray for God's intervention.


Christian Philly Group Going to Bat for Jesus Again This Year
Ministry Members Plan to Display Banner at Phillies' Homosexual Promotion
By Jim Brown
August 18, 2005

(AgapePress) - A Philadelphia-based Christian ministry plans to protest the third annual "Gay Community Night" hosted by the Phillies Major League Baseball team.

Members of the group
Repent America (RA) will be displaying signs and distributing literature tonight (Thursday) at Citizens Bank Park, notifying fans that the Phillies continue to promote the homosexual agenda by hosting Gay Community Night. RA members have been ejected from the ballpark two consecutive years for holding up a banner declaring: "Homosexuality is sin. Christ can set you free."

Repent America president Michael Marcavage says he plans to take the banner into the ballpark again this year and to peaceably display it, with no intentions of provoking any disorder. But Marcavage says a major difference this year is that RA's attorney has contacted the attorney for the baseball team.

According the RA spokesman, the Phillies' attorney has conveyed in a letter his belief that the wording of the banner would not violate the content requirements of signs brought into the stadium because it does not constitute "fighting words, per se." However, the team acknowledges the wording may "provoke breaches of the peace."

The rest

Outreach And Drop-in Center Flourishes as an ‘Oasis’ in Hollywood
August 18, 2005 edition

A Christian outreach and drop-in center in Hollywood's inner city is shining a different kind of light in a city filled with stars. Founded in its current location by pastors Ron and Judy Radachy in 1993, Oasis of Hollywood is located six blocks away from the famous Walk of Fame sidewalk and the Kodak Theater, site of the Academy Awards and the crowning episodes of "American Idol. "

But within another 10 minutes' walk is an area that's a haven for male, female or transsexual prostitutes of almost any age and drugs of all kinds. Two blocks farther is a supermarket for occult shoppers and spiritual home to local Satanists.

"This is a very oppressive area," Ron Radachy told "Charisma" magazine in the August issue, out now. The full article on Oasis of Hollywood can be found in the magazine.

"It's like someone handed you a 10-pound weight to carry around and you carry it easily for a while, but then it starts to wear you down," he added. "There's obviously a spiritual influence on the kids here."


Getting Wise to the Lies
Why Young Women are Choosing Life
August 18, 2005

The numbers have abortion advocates running scared.

Twelve years ago, 49 percent of all women between age 18 and 29 thought unrestricted abortion should be the law of the land. Today, just 28 percent of young women hold this view.
Those who promote—and profit from—abortion are trying to figure out what’s going on.

Alexander Sanger, chairman of International Planned Parenthood, complains that the numbers are “unbelievably shocking.” And he warns: “It’s not just the numbers that are down . . . It’s the enthusiasm.” When Sanger visits colleges, he finds that many no longer have an abortion rights group. But, as he told Glamour magazine, he “has yet to visit one that doesn’t have a strong, vocal faction of pro-life women.”

Abortion advocates are astonished because, after all, these are the very women who are supposed to want abortion rights the most. A story in Glamour magazine, titled “The mysterious disappearance of young pro-choice women,” came up with several possible answers. Among them are three reasons. First, young women now take abortion rights for granted. Second, they think good birth control will make abortion obsolete. And third, they’ve seen ultrasound pictures of unborn babies.

the rest

If on our daily course our mind
Be set to hallow all we find,
New treasures still of countless price
God will provide for sacrifice.

The trivial round, the common task
Will furnish all we ought to ask;
Room to deny ourselves -- a road
To bring us daily nearer God.

... John Keble

Opposition Delays Approval for Proposed Internet Porn Domain
Thursday, Aug. 18, 2005
Posted: 1:19:57AM EST

Approval for establishing a ".xxx" Internet domain name for pornography has been delayed for a month due to "unprecedented" opposition, a spokesman for the U.S. Commerce Department said.

Assistant secretary for communications and information Michael D. Gallagher stated that the department had received almost 6,000 letters and e-mail messages expressing concern over the effects the new domain would have on families and children.

"The volume of correspondence opposed to creation of a ‘.xxx’ TLD (Top Level Domain) is unprecedented," Gallagher said in a letter to the chairman of key Internet oversight agency, ICANN.

According to the Associated Press, the U.S. Commerce Department has power to veto ICANN decisions because of its involvement in funding early internet development and selecting the Internet agency to oversee domain name registration.

The Family Research Council, a conservative Christian pro-family group, issued a statement expressing "thanks" to the Bush administration for opposing the new domain.

The rest

California Students Win Right to Wear Pro-Marriage T-shirts to School

ROHNERT PARK, CA, August 17, 2005 ( - Students in a northern California city recently won the right to wear pro-marriage t-shirts after school officials were warned against restricting their free speech.

Tired of the constant barrage of messages contrary to their beliefs, student members of the Conservative Club at a high school in Rohnert Park decided to express their own traditional values for a change. Working with staff attorneys at Pacific Justice Institute, as well as PJI affiliate attorney Bill Trask, the students selected a t-shirt message which clearly stated the students’ support for traditional marriage, including a quote from the Bible, in a manner which was respectful, non-threatening and legally defensible.


Settlement Vindicates Use of Historical Religious Documents in Classroom
By Jim BrownAugust 17, 2005

(AgapePress) - A settlement has been reached in a case involving a California elementary school teacher who was barred from distributing American history documents because they contained references to God and religion.

Alliance Defense Fund and the Cupertino School District have reached a settlement in which the district has agreed to no longer censor teacher Steven Williams because he is a Christian. Officials at Stevens Creek Elementary had prohibited Williams from providing fifth-grade students with supplemental readings such as William Penn's Frame of Government and excerpts from the Declaration of Independence.

Williams' attorney, Kevin Theriot, says the district has agreed Williams did not violate school policy when he handed out the materials. Theriot says he is hopeful that school officials now understand that religion can be discussed in schools.
"And, incidentally, the school district also agreed that teachers can talk about religion in schools, even their religious beliefs that they may subscribe to, as long as it's done objectively and as long as the teachers are not trying to convert students to their particular religious beliefs," the attorney explains.


Fears for father's role in fertility review
from The Church of England Newspaper
Date: Aug 19 2005

Christian charities have expressed fears that the role of the father is likely to be downplayed in controversial new laws making it easier for single women and lesbians to undergo fertility treatment. After an announcement this week that the government will review the current fertility laws, leading social concern charity CARE said parliament risked legislating “in the name of cheap and cheerful 'equality'.”

The Department of Health's consultation paper follows last year's report from the House of Commons Science and Technology committee. The report criticised the part of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act, which requires account to be taken of the welfare of the child, specifically the need for a father, before IVF treatment is needed. Now, the government will seek to update the Act, which dates from 1990. Currently IVF clinics are required to consider the child's need for a father and they have the option to refuse single women and lesbians for treatment. However, the report has branded the rule “offensive” to unconventional families, with officials fearing that it could be discriminatory.

the rest

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

"The mercy of God."
—Psalm 52:8.

MEDITATE a little on this mercy of the Lord. It is tender mercy. With gentle, loving touch, He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds. He is as gracious in the manner of His mercy as in the matter of it. It is great mercy. There is nothing little in God; His mercy is like Himself—it is infinite. You cannot measure it. His mercy is so great that it forgives great sins to great sinners, after great lengths of time, and then gives great favours and great privileges, and raises us up to great enjoyments in the great heaven of the great God. It is undeserved mercy, as indeed all true mercy must be, for deserved mercy is only a misnomer for justice. There was no right on the sinner's part to the kind consideration of the Most High; had the rebel been doomed at once to eternal fire he would have richly merited the doom, and if delivered from wrath, sovereign love alone has found a cause, for there was none in the sinner himself. It is rich mercy. Some things are great, but have little efficacy in them, but this mercy is a cordial to your drooping spirits; a golden ointment to your bleeding wounds; a heavenly bandage to your broken bones; a royal chariot for your weary feet; a bosom of love for your trembling heart. It is manifold mercy. As Bunyan says, "All the flowers in God's garden are double." There is no single mercy. You may think you have but one mercy, but you shall find it to be a whole cluster of mercies. It is abounding mercy. Millions have received it, yet far from its being exhausted; it is as fresh, as full, and as free as ever. It is unfailing mercy. It will never leave thee. If mercy be thy friend, mercy will be with thee in temptation to keep thee from yielding; with thee in trouble to prevent thee from sinking; with thee living to be the light and life of thy countenance; and with thee dying to be the joy of thy soul when earthly comfort is ebbing fast.

CH Spurgeon

It's Not About Interpretation
from Stand Firm

Many people who support the innovations of the National Episcopal Church, claim that theological differences are simply a matter of interpretation; that both sides believe in and love the Scriptures. This is simply not true! The following public statements are from some leading clerics and theologians who all support ECUSA’s new teachings. Decide for yourself if these people really believe in the Bible or not . . . . Are they even Christian!?!?

"Just simply to say that it goes against tradition and the teaching of the church and Scripture does not necessarily make it (homosexual behavior) wrong."
Gene Robinson, openly homosexual Bishop of NH
Washington Post, August 5, 2003

The rest-don't miss this if you still have any doubts
that the Episcopal church is in serious trouble!

U.S. Court Okays Men in Dresses, Showering With Women at Work
Even the openly homosexual Rep. Barney Frank is opposed to this one.

( A Pennsylvania court has opened the door for men who believe they are women to come to work in a dress and to use the women's restroom and shower facilities.

The decision by the Commonwealth Court, which upheld a lower court ruling mandating that "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" be added to the Allentown (Pennsylvania) human relations ordinance, is being decried as an "outrage" by a traditional values group.

According to the American Family Association of Pennsylvania (AFA of PA), this is not something that the majority of citizens in Allentown want and is additional evidence of judicial activism, as state law does not extend this type of special protection to homosexuals.

The rest here

Youth Ministers Say Kids -- Including Evangelicals -- Are Dabbling in Wicca
These beliefs encourage "sexual chaos, inter-generational conflict and violence."

BP) I recently had the opportunity to meet with several youth ministers from Southern Baptist churches in Missouri.

Each impressed me as having a deep commitment to biblical authority and personal passion for Jesus Christ. As we discussed the challenges facing current youth ministers, a concern all shared was the fact that many youth, including youth in evangelical churches, are dabbling in Wicca.

So, what is Wicca? The word "wicca" was an old English word which meant "shaman." The word was reintroduced into popular usage by Englishman Gerald Gardner (1888-1964), who is widely considered to be the father of the modern religion known as Wicca.

During the late 1940s and early 1950s, Gardner began publicly advocating a revival of ancient pagan ideals. Gardner claimed to have received much of his belief system from a secret coven of witches which had continued a clandestine existence since pre-Christian times, a claim rejected by scholars today. More likely, Gardner simply combined various non-Christian beliefs he gathered from multiple sources into his own neo-pagan system, not the least of which included ideas from the notorious Aleister Crowley.

Wicca is pantheistic in its worldview. This means that it denies the Creator/creature distinction mandated by the Bible. Thus, at the core of Wicca is a form of nature worship. Gardner himself was a polytheist who advocated two gods: a male "horned god" and a female goddess. The number of devotees to Wicca has increased exponentially in the last two decades. As this has happened, more emphasis has been placed on the goddess of Wicca, especially among neo-pagan feminists who believe worshipping a goddess leads to more freedom for women. Some followers of Wicca self-identify as witches. It is not accurate to say that Wiccans are Satanists, though the religion is certainly unholy.

the rest

Green Hands Dipped In Blood: The DDT Genocide
"Over 50 million people have died in the 20th century because of the gratuitous recklessness of eco-extremists."

The Worst Crime of the 20th Century( "Which kills more: ideology or religion?" asks author Andrew Kenney in the title of what is certainly one of the more startling pieces I've read in some time.

What makes Kenney's article startling is not that the self-professed atheist necessarily concludes that the reds (communists) and the browns (fascists) have contributed much more heartily to history's flow of blood than any religion, but that, of the three available ideological colors, it is the extremists of the green standard whose hands are perhaps guiltiest for the last century's outpouring of crimson.

According to Kenney over 50,000,000 people died in the 20th century because of the gratuitous recklessness of eco-extremists; this estimate is actually quite conservative in comparison to's claim that over 80,000,000 have dropped at the hands of the tree-huggers.
"In purely numerical terms," says Kenney about the alleged murderous scheme,"it was the worst crime of the 20th century."

But what was the worst crime?

"The banning of DDT," says Kenney.

Fascinating story-the rest

Hindu Extremists Attack Prayer Meeting in Rajasthan, India
Nine Christians seriously injured; situation tense.
by Vishal Arora

NEW DELHI, August 15 (Compass) -- Hindu extremists violently attacked a prayer meeting in Rajasthan state last night, seriously injuring nine Christians, including one woman.
The mob struck at midnight on August 14, during an all-night prayer vigil held in a private home in Pathda village, Banswara district, near the border between Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. The Christians had gathered for a three-day prayer meeting to mark India’s Independence Day on August 15.

“There were about 50 people from Pathda and Piploda villages at the prayer meeting, in which prayers were offered for the nation,” Patras Habil, a member of the Madhya Pradesh State Minorities Commission, told Compass.

The assailants delivered an axe blow to the head of Jeeva Badar, in whose house the prayer meeting was organized. The resulting wound required nine stitches.


Elementary schools shouldn't be teaching homosexuality
By Al Kinght
Denver Post Columnist

A controversy in Lexington, Mass., over when and how elementary school children should be taught about homosexuality has, for good reason, begun to attract national attention.
The dispute occurred in the only state that allows for same-sex marriage, but the elements of the underlying cultural and educational controversy could easily be duplicated in hundreds of American school districts.

On April 27, David Parker, the father of a kindergarten student in Lexington's Joseph Estabrook Elementary School, was arrested on a trespassing charge and jailed overnight. Parker had gone to the school to meet with administrators after his son had brought home a book titled "Who's in a Family?" The book ostensibly teaches the young about "multicultural contemporary family units," a category that prominently includes gay and lesbian arrangements.

Parker objected and sought assurances he would be notified before the school attempted to teach his child about homosexuality or related topics. The school officials first indicated a willingness to do so, but later refused. Parker insisted and refused to leave.

He was then arrested, and will be tried Sept. 21.

the rest

Praying school board likened to terrorists
ACLU boss compares officials to 'people who flew the airplanes into the buildings'
Posted: August 17, 20051:00 a.m. Eastern
© 2005

A local ACLU director equated al-Qaida terrrorists with members of a Louisiana school board seeking to open their meetings with prayer.

Joe Cook of the ACLU of Louisiana spoke on camera with WAFB-TV, Baton Rouge, La., while staff and teachers of the Tangipahoa Parish district in New Orleans were at a seminar being informed of their free-speech rights by a member of the Alliance Defense Fund.

Referring to the school board, Cook said, "They believe that they answer to a higher power, in my opinion. Which is the kind of thinking that you had with the people who flew the airplanes into the buildings in this country, and the people who did the kind of things in London."


Bible Bashing 101: How the Media Controls the Message
By Stephen M Crampton, Esq.
August 17, 2005

(AgapePress) - A group of humanists calling themselves the "
Texas Freedom Network" (TFN) recently released a "report" attacking the curriculum of the National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools (NCBCPS). TFN opposes anything remotely connected to the "religious right," including local control of schools, vouchers, and even the National Day of Prayer. It zealously supports such issues as the legalization of same-sex marriage and the teaching of evolution to the exclusion of intelligent design or anything else that would possibly raise doubts about the scientific basis for evolution. That is to say, in the words of TFN itself, it "advances a mainstream agenda." (I have always wondered why one must be left of Josef Stalin before being considered "mainstream" by groups like TFN.)

As is routine for such "mainstream" organizations, when they talk, the "mainstream" media listens. So, TFN's report bashing the Bible curriculum received international attention. The New York Times and USA Today couldn't wait to give it prominent coverage; CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, and even the International Herald Tribune and a news outlet in Istanbul, Turkey, ran the story.

But when the NCBCPS issued its own press release a few days later, none of those major media outlets even bothered to call. What happened? Had the story lost all appeal? Was the public suddenly bored of the topic? Certainly the issue had not been resolved; the two organizations were as adverse as ever. But the mainstream media was no longer concerned. And when the media refuses to report it as news, well, it must not be newsworthy.

The rest

I cannot think that God would be content
To view unmoved the toiling and the strain,
The groaning of the ages, sick and spent,
The whole creation travailing in pain.
The suffering God is no vast cosmic force,
That by some blind, unthinking, loveless power
Keeps stars and atoms swinging in their course,
And reckons naught of men in this grim hour.
Nor is the suffering God a fair ideal
Engendered in the questioning hearts of men,
A figment of the mind to help me steel
My soul to rude realities I ken.
God suffers with a love that cleanses dross;
A God like that, I see upon a cross.

... Georgia Harkness

Jay Sekulow on John Roberts
August 16, 2005 07:44 PM PST

I interviewed Jay Sekulow from the
American Center for Law and Justice today about Judge John Roberts, an exchange which should be very reassuring to those who have been raising questions about whether Judge Roberts is another Justice Souter

Hugh Hewitt Interview here

Christian world mourns stabbed Taize leader
By Ruth Gledhill for Times Online
August 17, 2005

The Christian world went into mourning today for Brother Roger, founder of the Taize religious group, who was stabbed to death during the daily evening service at at his community in France.
His death in front of 2,500 young pilgrims at the Reconciliation Church turned a man many already believed to be a saint into a martyr. A 36-year-old Romanian woman, known to be mentally disturbed, is being held by police.

Tributes from around the world poured in for Brother Roger, the 90-year-old son of a Swiss protestant pastor, who founded Taize during the Second World War when he was just 25. His motto, if he had one, was: "Love, and express that with your life.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, said: "This is an indescribable shock. Brother Roger was one of the best loved Christian leaders of our time, and hundreds of thousands will be feeling his loss very personally, and remembering him in prayer and gratitude.

"But the shock and trauma for the community at Taizé will be heavy - and it will be for all the young people who witnessed this event. All of them are in our prayers."


European Christians Accused of being Caught in State of Self-Pity
Posted: Wednesday, August 17 , 2005, 9:05 (UK)

Pope Benedict XVI has warned that Europe’s Christians are in a state of “self-condemnation” in a historic interview in the run up to World Youth Day.

The interview with Eberhard von Gemmingen, confidant and head of Vatican Radio’s German service is the first of his pontificate but also the first full-length interview given by any sitting pontiff.

In the interview the Pope said the aim of this week’s World Youth Day in Cologne, Germany, was to create “a wave of new faith among young people, especially the youth in Germany and Europe.”

He also addressed some of the problems facing the Catholic Church, saying that in “modern western society” there were many “lead weights” turning people away from the Christian faith.

The Pope said that despite the existence of numerous large Christian organisations in Germany there was still “a great fatigue and we are so concerned with structural questions that the zest and the joy of faith are missing”.

Around 800,000 Catholic youths from 192 countries around the world are expected to attend the event, with the Pope due to join the celebrations on Thursday. This will be the first visit foreign visit of his pontificate.

The rest

Judge Allows Christian Prayer in Delaware School Board
Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2005 Posted: 2:04:15AM EST

A judge in Delaware ruled that a Christian prayer before the start of local school board meetings is legal, quoting a legal precedent that the practice is "deeply embedded in the history and tradition of this country."

The Christian prayer issue was just a small part of a civil rights lawsuit brought on by a family with a son in the Indian River School District. The prayer matter was dismissed early this month by the judge, though the suit against members of the district alleging other religion related issues will continue. The case is still in the pre-trial phase.

U.S. District Judge Joseph J. Farnan Jr. quoted the opinion from the 1983 Supreme Court decision of Marsh v. Chambers, which concluded that the opening of a session of the legislature and other deliberative public bodies with prayer is not a violation of the Establishment Clause.


Open Doors Impacting Suffering Christians In Nigeria
Jerry Dykstra

According to Jerry Dykstra of Open Doors International, some 1,500 Nigerian Christians were massacred by Islamic fundamentalists last year. In addition, 173 churches were burned to the ground and 75,000 people were displaced.In the states of Plateau and Bauchi, more than 1,000 widows and 9,000 fatherless or orphaned children were left without hope as a result of the massacres.

Open Doors, an international Christian ministry that supports and strengthens persecuted believers, is delivering relief aid, offering trauma counseling, providing Bibles and rebuilding churches for suffering Christians. Open Doors is also mobilizing churches in Nigeria to assist persecuted brothers and sisters in their congregations.



By David W. Virtue

America's mainline denominations are in the midst of their greatest struggle for survival.

The lead candidate for death by a thousand cuts is the Episcopal Church USA.

The number of Episcopalians who practice their faith is about 800,000 (and dropping) and not the 2.3 million registered on the books. That figure declines almost weekly with fleeing congregations and priests who are either being inhibited and deposed, or people leaving in disgust at the promotion of an unbiblical pansexual agenda.

Furthermore people are starting to believe that something is rotten in the state of Denmark and it is not the smell of an acrid aristocracy, but an array of spiritually dead men and women dressed in purple who are leading them away from the one true gospel and toward a universalist 'faith' that is neither salvific nor truthful to the faith once delivered to the saints.

The departure from biblically-faithful doctrine is ruining ordinary parishioners and they perplexingly don't understand why, says the Rev. Dr. Earle Fox, priest, author and apologist.

The equally sad truth is that the vast majority of Episcopalians either don't care or don't know that their souls are endangered and they somehow believe that God's all embracing love winks at sin with a 'boys will be boys' attitude, while a presiding bishop espouses the notion that biblical standards for sexual sin, namely homoerotic behavior, doesn't fit the more enlightened and sophisticated minds of the 21st century. Tens of thousands of Episcopalians are sleep walking to a Christ less eternity.


Many Going to College Aren't Ready, Report Finds

Only about half of this year's high school graduates have the reading skills they need to succeed in college, and even fewer are prepared for college-level science and math courses, according to a yearly report from ACT, which produces one of the nation's leading college admissions tests.

The report, based on scores of the 2005 high school graduates who took the exam, some 1.2 million students in all, also found that fewer than one in four met the college-readiness benchmarks in all four subjects tested: reading comprehension, English, math and science.

"It is very likely that hundreds of thousands of students will have a disconnect between their plans for college and the cold reality of their readiness for college," Richard L. Ferguson, chief executive of ACT, said in an online news conference yesterday.

ACT sets its college-readiness benchmarks - including the reading comprehension benchmark, which is new this year - by correlating earlier students' ACT scores with grades they actually received as college freshmen. Based on that data, the benchmarks indicate the skill level at which a student has a 70 percent likelihood of earning a C or better, and a 50 percent chance of earning a B or better.

Among those who took the 2005 test, only 51 percent achieved the benchmark in reading, 26 percent in science, and 41 percent in math; the figure for English was 68 percent. Results from the new optional ACT writing test, which was not widely taken this year, were not included in the report.

the rest

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

God's Will
Mrs. Charles E. Cowman

"Thou couldst have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above" (John 19:11).

Nothing that is not God's will can come into the life of one who trusts and obeys God. This fact is enough to make our life one of ceaseless thanksgiving and joy. For "God's will is the one hopeful, glad, and glorious thing in the world"; and it is working in the omnipotence for us all the time, with nothing to prevent it if we are surrendered and believing.

One who was passing through deep waters of affliction wrote to a friend: "Is it not a glorious thing to know that, no difference how unjust a thing may be, or how absolutely it may seem to be from Satan, by the time it reaches us it is God's will for us, and will work for good to us? For all things work together for good to us who love God. And even of the betrayal, Christ said, "The cup which my Father gave me, shall I not drink it?" We live charmed lives if we are living in the center of God's will. All the attacks that Satan, through others' sin, can hurl against us are not only powerless to harm us, but are turned into blessings on the way.--H. W. S.

In the center of the circle
Of the Will of God I stand:
There can come no second causes,
All must come from His dear hand.
All is well! for 'tis my Father
Who my life hath planned.

Shall I pass through waves of sorrow?
Then I know it will be best;
Though I cannot tell the reason,
I can trust, and so am blest.
God is Love, and God is faithful,
So in perfect Peace I rest.

With the shade and with the sunshine,
With the joy and with the pain,
Lord, I trust Thee! both are needed,
Each Thy wayward child to train,
Earthly loss, did we but know it,
Often means our heavenly gain.
--I. G. W.


Pro-Lifers Worry as British Scientists Create Nerve Stem Cells
British scientists have created the world’s first nerve stem cells in Edinburgh, Scotland, in a development which has been met with mixed reactions.
Posted: Tuesday, August 16 , 2005, 17:08 (UK)

British scientists have created the world’s first nerve stem cells in Edinburgh, Scotland, in a development which has been met with mixed reactions.

Some have touted the announcement as a major breakthrough in the race to treat diseases such as Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s. The cells were developed at the Edinburgh University Institute for Stem Cell Research, led by Professor Austin Smith.

It is the first time ever that scientists have been able to grow and successfully sustain pure brain cells. Until now, scientists across the globe had been unsuccessful in sustaining the ability of neural stem cells to produce replicas of themselves when grown in a dish. However, in Edinburgh, by altering the growth conditions, pure stem cells divisions have taken place.

The rest

Unintelligent Design
Hostility toward religious believers at the nation’s museum.
By David Klinghoffer
August 16, 2005, 8:26 a.m.

The Smithsonian Institution is a national treasure of which every American can legitimately feel a sense of personal ownership. Considering this, I'd imagine widespread displeasure as more Americans become aware that senior scientists at the publicly funded Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History have reportedly been creating a "hostile work environment" for one of their colleagues merely because he published a controversial idea in a biology journal.

The controversial idea is Intelligent Design, the scientific critique of neo-Darwinism. The persecuted Smithsonian scientist is Richard von Sternberg, the holder of two PhDs in biology (one in theoretical biology, the other in molecular evolution). While the Smithsonian disputes the case, Sternberg's version has so far been substantiated in an investigation by the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC), an independent federal agency.


Gays Using World Youth Day Platform to Demand Church Acceptance – Again COLOGNE,
August 16, 2005

( - Since the elevation of Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger to the papacy, homosexual groups with the generous assistance of mainstream media, have been clamouring for the Pope to “relax restrictions” on homosexual behavior in Catholic discipline. In the latest bid for Church acceptance of homosexual deviancy, a number of gay activist groups have called for the Pope to announce at World Youth Day his acceptance of sexual immorality into the canon of Catholic moral teaching.

The groups, Germany's Lesbian and Gay Association (LSVD) and the Cologne Lesbian and Gay Day (KLuST), issued a statement to an eager press corps on Monday giving their demands for “dialogue” with the Pope. “Our goal is to ensure that people whose sexual orientation has been given by God are morally supported by the Catholic Church.”

Ironically the Pope and the Catholic Church already do “morally support” everyone who suffers from sexual temptations of any kind, calling for all people to live chaste lives in any situation either married or single. In recent times, the Church has expressed its deep compassion for those who suffer from homosexual difficulties and groups such as Courage have been formed in which people can seek help to live according to the natural and moral law.


Lutherans Go Gender-Neutral for Worship
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America gave the green light to a new prayer and hymnal book that would give more options for contemporary worship and less emphasis on the masculine images of God.
Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2005
Posted: 5:07:42PM EST

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America gave the green light to a new prayer and hymnal book that would give more options for contemporary worship and less emphasis on the masculine images of God.

During the 2005 Churchwide Assembly in Orlando, Fla., delegates approved 740 -250 to develop the hymnal, which is due in October 2006.

The hymnal was one of several controversial topics tackled at this year’s assembly, which ended last Sunday, but was overshadowed by the louder debate over homosexual ordinations. Nonetheless, conservatives had warned about the gender-neutral text of the hymnal, and had rallied against it even before going into the assembly.

Mark Chavez, director of Word Alone Network, explained that the hymnal could be misused in many different ways because of its elimination of the male imagery of God.

“There is a radical feminist agenda behind it,” explained Chavez. “Some of the marriage services could be used for same-sex couples because the new version never instructs a ‘man’ or ‘woman,’ but rather ‘this couple’ and ‘that couple.’ If you believe in homosexual unions, you can use this for that kind of service.”


Culture Clash: Muslims in Europe
By Dale Hurd
CWNews – The most common name for baby boys in Brussels is Mohammed. There are as many as 15 million Arabs and Muslims living in Europe. Europe needs babies and immigrants, because its birthrate has imploded, but Europe's not sure it wants these immigrants, because it fears the rise of Islam.

The political temperature is rising in Europe. Arabs and Muslims already felt like outsiders before France banned the headscarves in schools. The Dutch parliament voted to expel 26,000 asylum seekers, many of them from the Third World. Some are wondering if it is the beginning of an anti-immigrant backlash.

Many Europeans are nervous. They like to think that they are more enlightened and tolerant than the rest of the world, but that tolerance is being tested by a wave of immigration that could change the face of Europe.


Bank Freezes Accounts of St. John’s, Bristol

The first lawsuit between the Bishop of Connecticut and the vestry of St. John’s, Bristol, was filed in early August when Farmington Savings Bank lodged an interpleader with the New Britain Superior Court, asking it to determine ownership of the parish checking accounts.

Around Aug. 1 a representative of the diocese contacted the Farmington Savings Bank asking that new signature cards be prepared for the parish bank account giving nominees of the diocese control of the funds. At approximately the same time, St. John’s vestry contacted the bank asking that new account numbers be assigned and that the bank statements be mailed to a new address.

Farmington Savings Bank responded to the conflicting requests by placing the funds in court hands by asking for an interpleader. An interpleader is a legal proceeding that allows someone to compel parties making the same claim against him to litigate the matter between themselves.

A spokesman for the diocese told The Living Church the Rt. Rev. Andrew D. Smith was on vacation and unavailable for comment.

The rest

ABC’s “Book of Daniel” features Episcopal angle
By Pat McCaughan

[ENS] A new television drama featuring the struggles of an Episcopal priest with family, church politics and Jesus, his mentor and friend, and even his own nagging reliance on painkillers, is planned for the NBC 2005-2006 mid-season line-up.

“This challenging new series is our first announced drama for mid-season as we continue to seek different, out-of-the-box projects,” said Kevin Reilly, President, NBC Entertainment, when announcing the new series.

“The Book of Daniel’ is bold and surprising storytelling told by a great cast led by Aidan Quinn,” Reilly added.

The new series also offers the Episcopal Church a rare product placement opportunity at a time when TIVO devices make it possible to excise paid commercials from home viewing. In 2004, the value of television product placements (a product or brand name inserted formarketing purposes into entertainment fare) increased by 46.4 percent over the year before, to $1.88 billion, according to the researchfirm PQ Media.

A pilot episode for “The Book of Daniel,” was filmed at All Saints Church in Pasadena, where Quinn portrays Daniel, a young, liberal priest and father who clashes frequently with his conservative bishop, Dr. Beatrice Congreve, played by Ellen Burstyn.

The series, set in upstate New York, would also feature Quinn’s frequent conversations with Jesus, played by actor Garrett Dillahunt. Among his parishioners is long-time actress and comedienne Phyllis Diller.

The Rev. Susan Russell, an associate rector at the Pasadena parish, said the plot for the series is hopeful.

“It is one more indicator of how much issues of faith and religion are ‘in,’ right now,” said Russell, who is also national Integrity president.

The rest at titusonenine

"A church in the land without the Spirit is rather a curse than a blessing. If you have not the Spirit of God, Christian worker, remember that you stand in somebody else's way; you are a fruitless tree standing where a fruitful tree might grow."