Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Dear Readers,

This will be my last posting till next Sunday or Monday. My husband and I will be attending the
Hope and a Future conference in Pittsburgh.

Here is the schedule of events for the next few days -courtesy of titusonenine.
Please be at prayer for all the leaders and participants.

Check at
Lent and Beyond for beautiful prayer and Scripture meditations.

Some favorites sites for news concerning this gathering:
titusonenine
Cann
virtueonline
Drell's Descants

In Christ,
Pat Dague

What is Christ's joy in us, but that He deigns to rejoice on our account? And what is our Joy, which He says shall be full, but to have fellowship with Him? He had perfect joy on our account, when He rejoiced in foreknowing and predestinating us; but that joy was not in us, because we did not then exist; it began to be in us, when He called us. And this joy we rightly call our own, this joy wherewith we shall be blessed; which is begun in the faith of them who are born again, and shall be fulfilled in the reward of them who rise again. ... St. Augustine, The City of God

The Killing Fields of Holland: Next It's the Kids
From the Netherlands to California, from stem cells to nanotechnology, how we treat life matters.
by Nigel M. de S. Cameron
posted 11/09/2005 09:00 a.m.

For nearly a generation, a small country with a long (and often profoundly Christian) history has been making a name for itself in a whole new way. The Dutch, famed for tulips, windmills, and heroic resistance to the Nazis, have made a fateful choice—to put their nation back on the map flying the death's head. The land that a century ago produced Abraham Kuyper, journalist, prime minister, theologian, and perhaps the greatest "Christian worldview" thinker of modern times, is taking a new kind of lead. While the United Kingdom ushers in the Brave New World in new technologies, the Netherlands (as Holland is also known) is dismantling the right to life of the sick and handicapped and turning its hospitals into slaughter-houses.


According to press reports, "Under the [Groningen] protocol, euthanasia would be permissible when a child is terminally ill with no prospect of recovery and suffering great pain, when two sets of doctors agree the situation is hopeless and when parents give their consent."
The Anti-Euthanasia Task Force carries this report, and gives all the depressing background you could want to read. The Groningen Protocol, named for the hospital where it was devised, is an early epitaph on the humane medical tradition that sprang from twin roots—the best of the pagan doctors, Hippocrates, and the Judeo-Christian view of human dignity. the rest

A Settled Rest
Betsy Childs

Sometimes I am amazed at what good gifts God gives us even in the midst of the radical fallenness of our world. Many expect good things in this world as if they are somehow ours by right, but I find myself surprised each time God displays his beauty or sends me an unmixed blessing. That He allows us to enjoy moments of light-heartedness, that we have the capacity to build deep and meaningful relationships, that we receive pleasure from exercising our five senses… all these are privileges that we should not take for granted.

Yet although I am pleasantly surprised when I receive good gifts from God, I find myself fighting and questioning when He takes the same gifts away. I mistakenly assume that just because they were good for me to have, they must be good for me to keep. But this is not a safe assumption.

Our natural response to good gifts is to rest in them. Although we may readily admit that happiness does not come from the abundance of our possessions, it may be harder for us to realize that lasting happiness also does not come from healthy bodies, a fulfilling vocation, peaceful relationships, or even a thriving church. Make no mistake; each of these things is a gift from God to be enjoyed. But we can never rest in these blessings because they are not permanent. God is the only thing in this life that does not change. People pass away, friendships change, and God persistently calls us to trust Him in uncharted territory. God alone is the thread of continuity we can expect to run from the beginning of our story to the end.

The rest here

Study Says There Is More Sex on TV
Nov 09 8:12 AM US/Eastern
By JENNIFER C. KERRAssociated Press Writer
WASHINGTON

Television these days is loaded with sex, sex, sex _ double the number of sex scenes aired seven years ago, says a study out Wednesday. And the number of shows that include "safer sex" messages has leveled off, it said.

There were nearly 3,800 scenes with sexual content spotted in more than 1,100 shows researchers studied, up from about 1,900 such scenes in 1998, the first year of the Kaiser Family Foundation survey.

Vicky Rideout, a vice president at Kaiser, says the number of shows that included a message about the risks and responsibilities of sex is still very small, and has remained flat since 2002.
the rest

Anglican Head Visits European Institutions in Brussels
The spiritual leader of the Anglican Communion, Dr Rowan Williams last week visited the European Institutions in Brussels.
Posted: Wednesday, November 9 , 2005, 10:11 (UK)

The spiritual leader of the Anglican Communion, Dr Rowan Williams last week visited the European Institutions in Brussels. The historic visit concluded with a meeting between the Archbishop of Canterbury and the President of the Commission, President José Manuel Durão Barrosa on Tuesday afternoon.

Archbishop Williams took part in a three day visit, in which he held various meetings and consultations with politicians and officials from the European institutions.

In addition, Dr Williams delivered a major lecture – Religion, culture, diversity and tolerance – shaping the new Europe.

The visit has come just two months after Dr Williams spoke to political and religious leaders in Lyon at a conference arranged by Sant’ Egidio. At that address, the archbishop spoke on questions raised of the European political institutions by faith communities. He also took part in a forum discussing the future of Europe.
Story

A Hard Pill to Swallow
How the tiny tablet upset my soul.
by Agnieszka Tennant
posted 11/08/2005 09:00 a.m.

Mircette and I became one shortly before my wedding day. In a way, my union with the wallet-sized green box of 28 pills was more complete than the bond I had with my husband. We devoured each other: I swallowed the little tablet daily, and its hormones penetrated the cells of my body.

There were unspoken vows in our seemingly side-effect-free union. Come sickness or health, I promised to be faithful to Mircette and take it regularly at the same time every day. In turn, the pill pledged to suppress my ovulations.

I could have sex whenever I wanted, without fearing that a pregnancy would impose on my incipient career. We spoke each other's love languages: Mircette met my needs for adventure and protection—simultaneously; I served as its interactive billboard among my friends. And the wonder drug's makers got my $20 co-pay each month. Everyone was satisfied!

That's when a more captivating lover began to turn my eye.
The rest

Should we focus just on abortion?
November 08, 2005 10:35 PM EST
by Fr. Frank Pavone

The Church is one body with many parts. The eye is not the hand, and those who focus on establishing soup kitchens are not the same as those who save babies at abortion mills.

Each individual and group has a specific vocation and has a right (indeed, a duty) to focus on it.So why belabor the obvious?Because for some, it's not so obvious. Many of us who focus on abortion are told that we can't give a pro-life talk unless we mention all the life issues, or can't hold a pro-life event if it's going to focus just on abortion.

Excuse me, but why not?
commentary

Protestant Pastor in China Convicted for Printing, Distributing Bibles
By Philip P. Pan

Washington Post Foreign Service
Wednesday, November 9, 2005;

BEIJING, Nov. 8 -- A prominent pastor in Beijing's underground Protestant church was sentenced Tuesday to three years in prison for illegally printing and distributing Bibles and other religious books, in a case that has attracted attention from Christian groups in the United States and elsewhere.

The Beijing People's Intermediate Court handed down the sentence immediately after it convicted Cai Zhuohua, 34, of conducting "illegal business practices," said his attorney, Zhang Xingshui. Two co-defendants were also convicted and sentenced to prison, he said.
Story


Book review: The Shrine Next Door
A superb study of Chinese popular religion helps to set the context for the appeal of Christianity in China today.
Reviewed by Wright Doyle
posted 11/08/2005 09:00 a.m.

Have you ever noticed a brightly colored picture of a man in traditional costume, flanked by electric red candles, in your favorite Chinese restaurant, perhaps somewhere near the cash register? Well, that's a shrine to the god of wealth, the patron deity of millions of Chinese business people. By conferring his blessing on the acquisition of riches, this popular god helps to express, and also to drive, the capitalistic impulse that has both enriched and damaged China in recent years.


Despite its foreboding title and evident academic audience, von Glahn's treatment of Chinese religion offers a wealth of information and insight to general readers as well as to students of Chinese culture. To explain the rise and transformation of one prominent cult—that of Wutong, a precursor to the smiling face we see today—the author ranges widely throughout Chinese history. The end product is a general overview of popular Chinese religion from earliest times to the present.
The rest

Maryland Catholic Bishops Identify “Coordinated Effort” in Homosexual War on the Family

ANNAPOLIS, November 8, 2005 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A Pastoral Letter from the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Maryland says that a deliberate campaign by homosexual activists, left-leaning judges and the American Civil Liberties Union has been undertaken to corrode the family and its stabilizing influence in society.

The bishops’ letter states, “There was a coordinated effort of same-sex couples applying for marriage licenses in various jurisdictions throughout Maryland. The licenses were denied and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) immediately filed suit on behalf of these couples.”
Story

Pope to Bishops: Don't Water Down Church Teachings
By John-Henry Westen


VATICAN CITY, November 8, 2005 (LifeSiteNews.com) - In a meeting with Bishops from Austria Saturday, Pope Benedict XVI warned them against the false notion that church teachings should be watered down so as to prevent people from leaving the Church. "At times, those who direct this mission fear that people may move away if they are spoken to clearly," he said. "However," added the Pope, "experience has generally shown that the opposite happens. ... Catholic teaching presented incompletely is self- contradictory and cannot be fruitful in the long term." the rest

Parents Will Ask for Rehearing of Ninth Circuit Court's Ruling on Outrageous Sex Questionnaire
Liberty Counsel joins the fight and becomes lead counsel for the parents

At the request of seven California parents, Liberty Counsel has agreed to become lead counsel in a case that shocked the nation last week. In
Fields v. Palmdale School District, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that parental rights to direct the upbringing of their children stop at the "threshold of the school door."

The parents in Fields objected to a survey given to their children at Mesquite Elementary School. The survey was administered and developed by Kristi Seymour. Ms. Seymour volunteered at the school as a "mental health counselor" while enrolled in a master's degree program at California School of Professional Psychology. The survey asked children aged seven to ten about the frequency of: "Touching my private parts too much," "Thinking about having sex," "Thinking about touching other people's private parts," Thinking about sex when I don't want to," "Not trusting people because they might want sex," "Getting scared or upset when I think about sex," "Having sex feelings in my body," and "Can't stop thinking about sex."
the rest

Ex-Lesbian: WNBA Star's Coming Out Stems From Sex-Saturated Society
By Jim Brown
November 8, 2005

(AgapePress) - A former lesbian activist who became a Christian says she is saddened but not surprised by Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) star Sheryl Swoopes' decision to announce her homosexuality.

Swoopes, a three-time Olympic gold medallist and four-time WNBA champion, currently plays for the Houston Comets. The all-star athlete, who came out of the closet about her homosexuality to The Advocate and ESPN The Magazine last month, admits she was not born a lesbian but simply fell in love with a close female friend who advised and supported her during a time when her marriage was on the rocks.

Swoopes told ESPN The Magazine that she considers herself a Christian but resents it when people use religious arguments to judge her behavior. The Houston Comets forward's decision to declare her lesbianism has become a much publicized source of concern for some pro-family observers, who fear her announcement could prompt some young female athletes to think their strong feelings for their girl friends should be expressed sexually.

The rest

Christian girls shot near church
Attack follows beheadings of 3 high school students
Posted: November 9, 20051:00 a.m. Eastern

Two 17-year-old Christian girls were shot in the second recent attack of its kind in Indonesia.
Washington, D.C.-based
International Christian Concern said two armed men shot the girls – Siti Nuraini and another identified only as Ivon – at close range with pistols near a Pentecostal church in Poso, Central Sulawesi.

Both girls are in critical condition, in a coma.
The attacks followed the beheadings of three Christian high school students in the area late last month.
ICC said the new attack took place as 10 national police officials of the Muslim-majority nation were in Central Sulawesi probing the beheadings.
the rest

Pittsburgh archeologist discovers ancient alphabet in Israel
Find will add fuel to biblical debate
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
By Anya Sostek, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

A "spectacular find" unearthed this past summer by a Pittsburgh archeologist is the most concrete evidence of written education in Israel in the 10th century B.C.

The discovery -- an inscription of a complete alphabet on a tablet dated to the 10th century B.C. -- is expected to feed a hot debate between biblical skeptics and proponents, who disagree on the extent to which the Bible represents historical truth.

"This could be one of the more important discoveries in the last decade in Israel because it plays into a continuing controversy," said William Dever, a professor emeritus at the University of Arizona who is now living in Bedford Hills, N.Y., upon hearing a description of the discovery.

The archeological find will be officially announced at a news conference this morning at the
Pittsburgh Theological Seminary in East Liberty. Seminary professor Ron E. Tappy conducted the archeological dig.
Story

Civilization Under Siege—The Riots in Paris
Wednesday, November 09, 2005

"Civilization is hideously fragile," argued C. P. Snow. "There's not much between us and the horrors underneath, just about a coat of varnish."

Snow's statement takes on ominous overtones in light of the raging riots in and around Paris. Over the past nearly two weeks, demonstrations, rioting, car burnings, and various other acts of violence have spread throughout the suburban enclaves where the city's ethnic minorities--mostly immigrants from North Africa--are congregated. The violence is not limited to France. Similar violence has erupted in Brussels and other European cities. Clearly, something has gone horribly wrong.

Even as many in the Western media attempt to downplay the extent and nature of this violence, the smoke is spreading, and the debris is mounting. The world has watched as France has been thrown into a state of emergency, with riots, street fighting, and arson enveloping entire neighborhoods. The weak, slow, and confused response of the French government has only exacerbated the problem. Even as the government declared a state of emergency, French authorities still deny the extent of the disorder.

the rest: Albert Mohler

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Tell God all that is in your heart, as one unloads one's heart, its pleasures and its pains, to a dear friend. Tell Him your troubles, that He may comfort you; tell Him your joys, that He may sober them; tell Him your longings, that He may purify them; tell Him your dislikes, that He may help you conquer them; talk to Him of your temptations, that He may shield you from them: show Him the wounds of your heart, that He may heal them; lay bare your indifference to good, your depraved tastes for evil, your instability. Tell Him how self-love makes you unjust to others, how vanity tempts you to be insincere, how pride disguises you to yourself and others.

If you thus pour out all your weaknesses, needs, troubles, there will be no lack of what to say. You will never exhaust the subject. It is continually being renewed. People who have no secrets from each other never want for subjects of conversation. They do not weigh their words, for there is nothing to be held back; neither do they seek for something to say. They talk out of the abundance of the heart, without consideration they say just what they think. Blessed are they who attain to such familiar, unreserved intercourse with God.

... François Fénelon

Praying for the Network gathering in Pittsburgh
From Lent and Beyond

All, I expect to be posting prayers all week for the “Hope and a Future” gathering taking place in Pittsburgh. Today and tomorrow, prior to the conference which begins on Thursday, there is a church planting workshop/consultation taking place. That fact has drawn me back to a prayer from the Lambeth Conference in 1930, something which I originally posted here in Feb. 2005.

Eternal Father, Who wouldest make the Church of Thy dear Son a city great and fair, the joy of the whole earth; we beseech Thee, by the sending of Thy Holy Spirit to direct its counsels in all manner of wisdom, love, and might; remove perplexity, establish concord, kindle flame; and gather a people single and strong of faith, to the praise of Him who with Thee and the same Spirit liveth and reigneth, one God, world without end. Amen

Pray that these meetings in Pittsburgh this week will be to the praise and glory of Christ, and for the building up of His people, for the strengthening of the Church.

Lent and Beyond

Pastors and Worship Leaders are on the Same Team
Bob Kauflin
Sovereign Grace Ministries

It takes wisdom, effort and humility on both sides of the pastor-worship leader relationship to ensure a smoothly functioning team that can serve the church effectively. Here are a few other thoughts to consider.

Where there have been misunderstandings or disagreements, it's wise to set aside time to talk through the reasons. If you've sinned against your pastor or worship leader, specific confession and repentance are vital to working together. Acknowledge where you've sought your own way, or your own recognition. Seek to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
the rest

The Moral Education of Physicians--Why It Matters
Albert Mohler
Author, Speaker, President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

Tuesday, November 8, 2005

"Modern medicine is one of those extraordinary works of reason: an elaborate system of specialized knowledge, technical procedures, and rules of behavior," explains Paul Starr. "By no means are these all purely rational: Our conception of disease and responses to it unquestionably show the imprint of our particular culture, especially its individualist and activist therapeutic mentality. Yet, whatever its biases and probably because of them, modern science has succeeded in liberating humanity from much of the burden of disease."

In The Social Transformation of American Medicine, Starr documents the amazing revolutions in medical practice that have forever changed the face of medicine. As he recognizes, these transformations are largely dependent on scientific expertise and technology.
the rest

Saudi Arabia Still Persecuting People for Their Faith
By Patrick Goodenough
CNSNews.com International Editor
November 08, 2005

(CNSNews.com) - Just days before Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is due to visit Saudi Arabia, the State Department on Tuesday will release a report naming the oil-rich Islamic kingdom as one of eight violators of religious freedom around the globe.

For the second consecutive year, the department's annual report will designate Saudi Arabia as a "country of particular concern" (CPC) because of its restrictions on the freedom to worship.

the rest

A library at your fingertips
Nov 4th 2005

From The Economist Global Agenda

Big technology companies have pledged to make many thousands of books available online. The commercial prospects look shaky, but this new front in the battle between the world’s leading internet portals will yield a valuable resource for all.

A FEW years ago, at the height of the dotcom boom, it was widely assumed that a publishing revolution, in which the printed word would be supplanted by the computer screen, was just around the corner. It wasn’t: for many, there is still little to match the joy of cracking the spine of a good book and settling down for an hour or two of reading. But a recent flurry of activity by big technology companies—including Google, Amazon, Microsoft and Yahoo!—suggests that the dream of bringing books online is still very much alive.
Story

Paris Burning: How Empires End
November 07, 2005 10:54 PM EST

The Romans conquered the barbarians -- and the barbarians conquered Rome. So it goes with empires. And comes now the final chapter in the history of the empires of the West.

This is the larger meaning of the ritual murder of Theo van Gogh in Holland, the subway bombings in London, the train bombings in Madrid and the Paris riots spreading across France. The perpetrators of these crimes in the capitals of Europe are the children of immigrants who were once the colonial subjects of the European empires.

At this writing, the riots are entering their 12th night and have spread to Rouen, Lille, Marseille, Toulouse, Dijon, Bordeaux, Strasbourg, Cannes and Nice. Thousands of cars and buses have been torched, and several nursery schools firebombed. One fleeing and terrified woman was doused with gasoline and set ablaze. French police are now being shot at and wounded.
Commentary


Unrest spreads from Paris to the provinces
Nov 7th 2005
From The Economist Global Agenda

Rioting that began almost two weeks ago in run-down suburbs of Paris intensified and spread to other French cities at the weekend. The unrest, led by the disaffected children of immigrants, could be the biggest challenge to the government's authority since the student riots of the 1960s.


WHEN riots erupt in one of the biggest countries of the supposedly super-stable European Union (EU), it can be embarrassing for the government concerned. When those riots go on night after night for the best part of two weeks, only to continue getting worse, it starts to become truly alarming. On Sunday November 6th, the eleventh night in a row of unrest in France, the violence intensified and spread to new areas, despite promises from the country’s president and prime minister to stamp it out. What started with a few disaffected, mostly Muslim youths throwing rocks and burning cars on the outskirts of Paris is fast turning into a national crisis.
More


French intifada targets churches
Posted: November 8, 20051:00 a.m. Eastern

The definitive French newspaper, Le Monde, reported deep in its headline Nov. 7 story that for the first time French street terrorists have turned their "colere" (anger) on "eglises" (churches). Overnight, they attacked one church in the town of Sete in the south of France, and another in the town of Lens in the north.

In Arabic, "intifadňa" means "shudder, awakening, uprising." A mounting, 11-day long attack on policemen, institutions of state, and now Christian churches by bands of angry, Arabic-speaking youth would seem at least as worthy of that term in Paris as it is in Jerusalem.

The rest-analysis

Liberal Church May Lose Funds Over Sermon
Tuesday November 8, 2005 5:16 AM

LOS ANGELES (AP) - The Internal Revenue Service has warned a prominent liberal church that it could lose its tax-exempt status because of an anti-war sermon a guest preacher gave on the eve of the 2004 presidential election, according to church officials.

The Rev. George F. Regas did not urge parishioners at All Saints Episcopal Church to support either President Bush or John Kerry, but he was critical of the Iraq war and Bush's tax cuts.
The IRS warned the church in June that its tax-exempt status was in jeopardy because such organizations are prohibited from intervening in political campaigns and elections.
Story

Monday, November 07, 2005

THE UNDETECTED SACREDNESS OF CIRCUMSTANCES
"All things work together for good to them that love God." Romans 8:28

The circumstances of a saint's life are ordained of God. In the life of a saint there is no such thing as chance. God by His providence brings you into circumstances that you cannot understand at all, but the Spirit of God understands. God is bringing you into places and among people and into conditions in order that the intercession of the Spirit in you may take a particular line. Never put your hand in front of the circumstances and say - I am going to be my own providence here, I must watch this, and guard that. All your circumstances are in the hand of God, therefore never think it strange concerning the circumstances you are in. Your part in intercessory prayer is not to enter into the agony of intercession, but to utilize the common-sense circumstances God puts you in, and the common-sense people He puts you amongst by His providence, to bring them before God's throne and give the Spirit in you a chance to intercede for them. In this way God is going to sweep the whole world with His saints.

Am I making the Holy Spirit's work difficult by being indefinite, or by trying to do His work for Him? I must do the human side of intercession, and the human side is the circumstances I am in and the people I am in contact with. I have to keep my conscious life as a shrine of the Holy Ghost, then as I bring the different ones before God, the Holy Spirit makes intercession for them.

Your intercessions can never be mine, and my intercessions can never be yours, but the Holy Ghost makes intercession in our particular lives, without which intercession someone will be impoverished.


Oswald Chambers

Religious Liberties Dying in Sulawesi
November 07, 2005
David Aikman

It’s often hard to keep track of seemingly small events in distant countries when so many dramatic headlines continue to dominate the international scene. But Americans ought to be paying close attention to Indonesia, with 212 million people the world’s largest Muslim country, but where Christians are under serious attack.

For the past five years, persistent violence has plagued the island of Sulawesi. Last week, three Christian schoolgirls were attacked by machete-wielding bandits and beheaded, with one girl’s head left near a local church. In the past, such attacks have almost all been initiated by Islamic radicals. Unfortunately, violence throughout Sulawesi seems to have increased since Saudi Arabian money started funding Muslim radical groups.

Religious liberties throughout the world are under increasing threat, but Indonesian Christians are paying an especially devastating price for their faith, and need America’s support.

Beyond the News

Anglican Bishop Bans Faithful Christian Publication from Parishes
“As bishop, I do not endorse any such material”
By Hilary White


BRANDON, November 7, 2005 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A Manitoba Anglican bishop has banned a publication supportive of traditional Christian moral and doctrinal truths from his diocese. Bishop Jim Njegovan of Brandon Manitoba has said that the magazine, The Anglican Planet, is "sowing the seeds of distrust and disdain within the Church," and that the publishers "have no respect for those in authority over them.”

Ironically, the publication that has so offended this ostensibly Christian bishop is one that promotes the traditional Christian worldview in which sexual relations are reserved for a man and a woman in marriage and that homosexual activity is sinful. The rest

The Anglican Planet

Homosexual Activists Invade Pro-Family Group Headquarters En Route to White House
By Terry Vanderheyden
WASHINGTON, November 7, 2005

(LifeSiteNews.com) - Homosexual activists chained themselves to a display in the foyer of the Family Research Council (FRC) headquarters in the US capitol today in an attempt to disrupt work there.


A FRC employee said that about 12 homosexual activists, some wearing "ACT UP" t-shirts - an acronym for AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power - followed a single member who gained admittance through a keyed security door by posing to be there for an interview. Once the door was opened, the dozen forced their way in, strewing condoms and fliers, chanting "condoms work, abstinence kills." The group also stuffed pamphlets into books in the main-floor FRC library.


The group then chained themselves to a display, while FRC employees waited for police to escort them away. Meanwhile, another 30-40 homosexual activists waved placards and protested outside the building. The FRC employee said the group had planned a similar demonstration for the White House for later that day.
Story

Trumping Moses and Matthew
By Suzanne Fields
November 7, 2005

What do the Bible and the "The Vagina Monologues" have in common? Not much. But surely we can all agree that both are covered by the First Amendment, guaranteeing freedom of religion and freedom of expression.

Well, that's not so at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. At UW-EC you can live in a dorm and watch a performance of "The Vagina Monologues," but you can't join a Bible Studies group. Any resident assistant, or R.A. as the live-in student counselors are called, can put on a performance of the play, and one has, but leading a Bible studies class in his or her own room and on his or her own time, is forbidden. Many students want such a class, but they're out of luck.

The director of university housing says the ban is necessary to enable the RAs to "share" the perspectives of the students, to make RAs "approachable." Vagina perspective trumps the perspectives of Moses and Matthew in behalf of "approachability." That certainly sounds postmodern enough.
The rest here:
Commentary

Another perspective:
Saying "no" goes to college
The birds and the bees are off-limits, but a new CU abstinence group adds a sexy twist: The focus is on “relationship education,” and you just might find a date there
By Douglas Brown
Denver Post Staff Writer

Sarah MacIntyre, 19, doesn't have sex - nothing beyond kissing, holding hands and an embrace now and again. So she's excited about the new abstinence group at the University of Colorado at Boulder.


"Half of me sees it as a dating breeding ground," says the sophomore French and linguistics major. "It's like, wow, there are these guys and gals who are abstinent." The rest

FIRE Lawsuit Charges Alabama School With Stifling Free Speech
By Jim Brown
November 7, 2005

(AgapePress) - Troy University in Alabama is being sued over policies that allegedly stifle free speech on campus. The lawsuit being coordinated by the
Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) targets a speech code at the university -- a policy banning age- or religion-related jokes, "derogatory" comments about gender, gossip, and "insulting" or "suggestive" remarks.

The lawsuit against Troy University is the fifth in FIRE's campaign to overturn restrictive university speech codes in every federal circuit in the U.S. The group's legal director, Greg Lukianoff, believes the school's speech code is wildly "unconstitutional" as well as unduly restrictive in an academic environment.
the rest

An early church found in Israel
By Cynthia Johnston
REUTERS NEWS AGENCY
November 7, 2005

MEGIDDO PRISON, Israel -- Israeli archaeologists working in a maximum-security prison just down the road from Armageddon have unearthed what they think is the oldest church to be discovered in the land where Jesus was born.

"This is one of the most important finds of early Christianity," archaeologist Yardena Alexandre of the Israel Antiquities told journalists on a tour of the excavation yesterday.

Remains of the church, which archaeologists date to the mid-third or early fourth century, were found during a dig for artifacts before the planned construction of a new prison wing.

The ruins of the church include a mosaic tile floor with inscriptions in ancient Greek containing a reference to "The God Jesus Christ" and could shed light on early Christian practices.
Story

More here and here

Jimmy Carter's Endangered Values
Albert Mohler
Author, Speaker, President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

Monday, November 7, 2005

Former president Jimmy Carter has written yet another book -- his twentieth -- and he has hit the media circuit in order to promote his latest project. Our Endangered Values: America's Moral Crisis represents the former president's return to familiar themes, even as it will add new layers of confusion concerning his actual beliefs and values.

Jimmy Carter makes one central argument in this new book, and that is that America (indeed civilization itself) is under attack by a sinister force. In effect, he argues that a new specter now haunts civilization -- the specter of Christian fundamentalism.

After tracing a series of crises faced by the United States and the larger world, Mr. Carter places the blame squarely upon conservative Christians: "The most important factor is that fundamentalists have become increasingly influential in both religion and government, and have managed to change the nuances and subtleties of historic debate into black-and-white rigidities and the personal derogation of those who dare to disagree. At the same time, these religious and political conservatives have melded their efforts, bridging the formerly respected separation of church and state." That's quite an argument, but those familiar with Jimmy Carter's mode of public engagement will understand that this is merely the expansion (and repetition) of what the former president has been saying ever since the American people denied him a second term in the Oval Office.
The rest

Bennetts Delivering the Straight Story About Homosexuality
By Allie Martin
November 7, 2005

(AgapePress) - A radio show that deals with the homosexual agenda from a conservative Christian viewpoint is on the air.

Straight Talk Radio
is hosted by Stephen and Irene Bennett, founders of Stephen Bennett Ministries. For more than ten years, Stephen lived as a homosexual -- until he was delivered from that lifestyle when he accepted Christ as his Savior. Now Bennett's ministry helps those who want to leave the homosexual lifestyle.
The new radio program featuring the Bennetts kicked off on October 31. According to Stephen, the show will tackle many issues. "We're going to have the most intriguing guests on there [and] very lively debates with many gay activists," he promises. "It's going to be something you're going to want to tune in [to] and listen."
The rest

Methodist Bishops: Homosexuality No Obstacle to Church Membership
By Fred Jackson and Jody Brown
November 7, 2005

(AgapePress) - The leadership of the United Methodist Church has declared that the sin of homosexuality is not to be a barrier to membership in its churches.

The denomination's bishops issued the statement late last week,
just two days after the UMC's highest court supported a pastor's refusal to allow an unrepentant homosexual man to join. In their statement -- approved by a unanimous vote -- the Council of Bishops says "while pastors have the responsibility to discern readiness for membership, homosexuality is not a barrier."
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France PM: Curfews to stem riots
Monday, November 7, 2005

PARIS, France (CNN) -- Following 11 days of violence that have rocked France, Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin said Monday that the government will deploy more police and will take the unprecedented step of allowing mayors to declare curfews in French cities.

In addition, in an interview on the private TF1 channel, de Villepin said that France must do more to empower the mayors of its cities, provide training, especially for those who drop out of school, and create a climate that puts an end to discrimination.

De Villepin's remarks came on a day marked by the first death caused by the violence.
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Sunday, November 06, 2005

It frequently happens that the value of a thing lies in the fact that someone has possessed it. A very ordinary thing acquires a new value, if it has been possessed by some famous person. In any museum we will find quite ordinary things--clothes, a walking-stick, a pen, pieces of furniture--which are only of value because they were possessed and used by some great person. It is the ownership which gives them worth. It is so with the Christian. The Christian may be a very ordinary person, but he acquires a new value and dignity and greatness because he belongs to God. The greatness of the Christian lies in the fact that he is God's.

William Barclay,
The Letters of James and Peter

Advocates hold suicide fair
November 05, 2005

SAMPLE bags that doubled as suicide devices, mugs emblazoned with "I'd rather die like a dog" and a video showing a group of elderly Australians making a deadly pill were on show at a right-to-die conference, which opened in Brisbane today.

Today was the first day of Exit International's Peaceful Pill Conference, hosted by euthanasia advocate Dr Philip Nitschke.

A group of mostly elderly pro-euthanasia protesters drew attention at a publicity stunt yesterday when they were turned away from a Queensland police station after trying to apply for gun licences.
"The funny thing is, people who believe strongly in euthanasia actually love to live," said Carmel Margenburg, a visitor to the two-day conference being held at Brisbane's Convention and Exhibition Centre.
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Faith groups are split on gay marriage
Most denominations, like most states, oppose sanctioning of same-sex unions
05:40 PM CST on Saturday, November 5, 2005
By JEFFREY WEISS / The Dallas Morning News

On Tuesday, Texans will vote on a constitutional amendment that would outlaw gay marriage. This week, coincidentally, the United Methodists met in Houston and voted to defrock a lesbian minister from Pennsylvania. The Methodists also decided not to suspend a Virginia pastor who refused to let an openly gay man join his church.

The United Church of Christ, meanwhile, has launched an ad campaign to let the world know that the denomination welcomes gays and lesbians.

The confluence of politics and faith on matters dealing with homosexuality is no surprise. Figuring out what God thinks about homosexuality remains a thorny task for many denominations. And how the government treats gays and lesbians remains a prime political issue.
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Gay churchman says God called him to be a bishop
By Elizabeth Day(Filed: 06/11/2005)

Gene Robinson, the first openly homosexual bishop in the Anglican church, claimed yesterday that he had been "called by God" to become a gay bishop.

Bishop Robinson's comments, which were made during a controversial visit to Britain, were dismissed as "spiritually dangerous" by a leading evangelical organisation.

The bishop, consecrated in the American Episcopalian diocese of New Hampshire, in the United States, two years ago, said that after 13 years of a conventional, heterosexual marriage he had "begun to deal with the fact that I just could not suppress this [his homosexuality] any longer".

"I've got to be honest," he said at a church service to mark the 10th anniversary of the gay and lesbian Anglican group, Changing Attitude, in central London. "I felt God was calling me out … God is always calling us to a place of integrity."

Later, he told the congregation that God had also "pursued" him to become a bishop, flying in the face of the traditional Anglican doctrine that does not allow the ordination of practising homosexuals.
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