Saturday, January 07, 2006

The Church has no mission of its own. All we can have by ourselves is a club or a debating society; and our only hope, left to ourselves, is to win as many members for our own club and away from other clubs as we can. And whatever this is, it is not Mission. Mission belongs to God. The Mission was His from the beginning; it is His; it will always be His. He has His purposes from the foundation of the world, and the means to fulfill them; and the only part the Church has in this is obedience -- a share in the eternal and life-giving obedience of the Son of God... And the most terrible judgment on the Church comes when God leaves us to our own devices because He is tired of waiting for our obedience -- leaves us to be the domestic chaplains to a comfortable secular world -- and goes Himself into the wilderness of human need and injustice and pain. This judgment does come on churches and nations, when they forget that God is in command, that He does the choosing. Stephen F. Bayne, Jr., An Anglican Turning Point

Dear Readers,
I will be taking a bit of a blog break for about a week to get some rest and refreshment! I commend to you all my favorite sites for Episcopal/Anglican news:
titusonenine
Cann
Drell's Descant's
Connecticut Six
Virtueonline

For prayer and meditation, please go to:
Lent and Beyond
MannaWord

It is so important to keep informed-you can then pray very effectively and with understanding for your Church.

Thanks and blessings to all who check in on this blog!

Pat Dague

Friday, January 06, 2006


Star of Wonder
Betsy Childs

Many of our nativity scenes symbolically show a star hovering a few feet above a stable. This star, though a recorded part of Jesus' early narrative, is a great mystery to us. We are told in the second chapter of Matthew that Magi, that is, pagan astrologers, saw the star and somehow divined from it that the king of the Jews had been born. Some have posited that these easterners may have been interpreting prophecies left over from Daniel's exile in Babylon. However, we really have no information about how the Magi connected the star with the king of the Jews, nor how it led them first to Jerusalem, then to Bethlehem. We also don't know how soon after the birth of Jesus the Magi's journey occurred.

The rest of the Meditation here

Bishop Lee: Relations with Uganda Strained, Not Broken
01/06/2006

The decision by the Anglican Church of Uganda to exercise episcopal care uninvited inside the Diocese of Virginia has strained relations, said the Rt. Rev. Peter James Lee, Bishop of Virginia. But Bishop Lee added that as far as he is concerned, the licensing of a Virginia priest who left the Episcopal Church has not created a state of broken communion between the two.

Story

Christians are called to draw others to faith, pope says
By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- With their witness of love, a reflection of the light of Christ, Christians are called to draw others to faith, Pope Benedict XVI said.


The light of the star of Bethlehem, which led the Magi to the baby Jesus in the manger, is the light of God, who is love, the pope said Jan. 6 as he celebrated the feast of the Epiphany of the Lord with a Mass in St. Peter's Basilica."

The light that dawned at Christmas and today is manifest to the peoples, is the love of God revealed in the person of the Incarnate Word," the pope said.

In celebrating Christ revealed to the world as the one who reconciles everyone to God, the papal celebration of the Epiphany is also the occasion for the formal announcement of the date Easter will be celebrated, the pope said.

Sung in Latin by a deacon, the announcement proclaimed: "As we have rejoiced at the birth of Our Lord Jesus Christ, so we announce with joy the resurrection of our savior ... on April 16 we will celebrate with joy the holy Easter of Our Lord Jesus Christ." The rest

Evangelical Rev John Stott Celebrated in Queen’s New Year Honours List
Rev Dr John Stott, the distinguished Bible teacher, and leading British evangelical Anglican has received a CBE in the Queen's New Year Honours List, “for services to Christian scholarship and the Christian world”.
Posted: Thursday, January 5 , 2006, 18:55 (UK)

Rev Dr John Stott, the distinguished Bible teacher, and leading British evangelical Anglican has received a CBE in the Queen's New Year Honours List, “for services to Christian scholarship and the Christian world”.

The celebrated Biblical scholar and Rector emeritus of All Souls Church, Langham Place, received his CBE from the Queen after an illustrious career serving God.

John Stott was born in London in 1921, and was educated at Rugby School, where he became head boy, and Trinity College Cambridge.

John Stott trained for the pastorate at Ridley Hall, Cambridge. He was awarded a Lambeth doctorate in divinity in 1983 and has honorary doctorates from schools in America, Britain and Canada.
The rest

Atheist Sues Catholic Church in Challenge to Christ's Existence
An atheist from the US, Michael Newdow had his day in court but failed to remove God from American Pledge of Allegiance. Now, a vocal atheist may be given a chance in Court to take Christ out of Italy by suing the Roman Catholic Church.
Posted: Friday, January 6 , 2006, 14:05 (UK)

An atheist from the US, Michael Newdow had his day in court but failed to remove God from American Pledge of Allegiance. Now, a vocal atheist may be given a chance in Court to take Christ out of Italy by suing the Roman Catholic Church.Luigi Cascioli, a one-time seminary student, is suing fellow septuagenarian Enrico Righi, a priest writing for the parish newspaper, on claims that Jesus did not exist. "I started this lawsuit because I wanted to deal the final blow against the Church, the bearer of obscurantism and regression," Cascioli told Reuters.
The rest

Priest Announces During Mass He is Gay and leaving Priesthood for "Loving Relationship"
Bishop has been aware of Gale's situation for at least 2 years yet kept him in parish and refuses to criticize
By John-Henry Westen and Hilary White
MARATHON, ON, January 6, 2006

(LifeSiteNews.com) - The pastor of Holy Saviour Catholic parish in Marathon, Ontario, Rev. Scott Gale, announced to his parishioners during Masses on New Years day that he is a homosexual and can no longer stand the Church's requirement that he remain celibate. Citing his "longing for a loving relationship," Gale told his parishioners that he was quitting. "It has become increasingly difficult for me to be an official representative of a Church which does not accept and value my sexual orientation," he said reading from a 2 page letter.
Story

Planned Parenthood Abortion Business Has over 800 Centers Across U.S.
WASHINGTON,
January 6, 2006

(LifeSiteNews.com) - "Planned Parenthood, America's largest abortion chain, continues to push its abortion agenda through a network of more than 800 facilities nationwide," said Jim Sedlak, executive director of American Life League's STOPP International. "An exclusive new survey of all Planned Parenthood facilities in the United States reveals that the controversial abortion organization now operates 173 surgical abortion centers, 57 additional medical abortion facilities, and 595 other locations that distribute products that cause early chemical abortions."

The rest

Barbie Website Rewords Its 'Gender Confusing' Poll
Friday, Jan. 6, 2006 Posted: 10:17:15AM EST

The Barbie website recently changed an online poll that asked visitors for their gender, offering three choices to choose from – "I am a Girl," "I am a Boy,” and “I don't know."

On Wednesday, the third option was changed to "Don't want to say."

Mattel, the toy company that manufactures Barbie, was criticized for allowing children the original third option, which conservative Christian groups such as Concerned Women for America say only promotes gender confusion.

"It's the idea that well, maybe people aren't born a particular biological sex, or they are but that shouldn't determine their gender identity," said Bob Knight, director of CWA’s Culture & Family Institute. "And that's a very big component of the homosexual activist agenda now."

Mattel released a statement Wednesday stating that they had meant the third option to be "Don’t Want to Say" all along.
Story

Graham T.V. Ministry Makes Unprecedented Impact through Int'l Broadcasts
Friday, Jan. 6, 2006
Posted: 1:27:55PM EST

Worldwide television evangelism has become a staple ministry of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.

The expected impact is astounding when compared to Billy Graham's personal ministry. In 55 years of BGEA’s ministry, Graham preached to 210 million worldwide, more live audiences than anyone else in history. But the organization’s My Hope television project recorded millions of decisions in just four years.

"Our worldwide television project, My Hope, has quickly become a powerful and strategic way to reach entire nations with the Gospel," said BGEA President Franklin Graham in a letter to supporters.

Since 2002, more than two million people watching the telecasts have made recorded commitments to Christ, said Preston Parrish, executive vice president of BGEA. Unrecorded decisions, meanwhile, could rival that number.
Story

A Tale of Two Kitties
Lovers of Aslan should heed the warnings from the creator of Hobbes.
by E.J. Park
posted 01/06/2006

Which cat do you like better," I asked my friend, "Aslan or Hobbes?" He hemmed and hawed for a bit, then replied, "Probably Hobbes." He explained that Aslan inspires his faith, but Hobbes—he paused, finding it hard to articulate his appreciation—"I mean, I love who he is to Calvin. He's just, you know; he's just awesome."

If you're a fan of Narnia, comparing Aslan to Hobbes may seem incongruous, if not sacrilegious. After all, Aslan is the Creator and ruler of Narnia, an obvious Christ-figure who sacrifices his life to save the undeserving Edmund. Hobbes is a stuffed tiger with a weakness for tummy rubs. As feline characters go, Aslan is far more serious than Hobbes.

Or so you would think. the rest

'Shake it out for Jesus': Churches co-opt hip-hop
By Nate Herpich
Contributor to The Christian Science Monitor

NEW YORK – Rapper Kurtis Blow stands in the front of the church wearing a black do-rag, scratching records old-school, accompanied by a drummer in a hooded sweatshirt and a keyboardist in a New York Jets jersey. The congregation is on its feet, dancing.

"Shake it out," says the Rev. Stephen Pogue of the Greater Hood Memorial A.M.E. Zion Church in Harlem. "Shake it out for Jesus. On your feet for 90 seconds."

Hip-Hop Church has been electrifying Greater Hood on Thursday nights for the past year. Pastor Pogue himself was a fan of Blow some years back, when the musician helped rap emerge on the national scene. Since then, however, Pogue has become dismayed by what he sees as industry moguls pushing artists into ever-edgier realms. Indeed, rap is often known for glorifying violence and using misogynistic lyrics. Yet now, Pogue's church is offering a cleaner version of rap, even putting it in a spiritual dimension.
The rest here

Gay 'marriage' splits tribe
REUTERS NEWS AGENCY
January 6, 2006

The top court of the Cherokee Nation has declined to strike down a homosexual "marriage" in a pioneering case in American Indian country, the couple and officials say.

Kathy Reynolds, 29, and Dawn McKinley, 34, "married" in May 2004 in Oklahoma, just weeks after San Francisco ignored state law by giving marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Because tribal law at the time did not bar same-sex "marriages," a tribal clerk gave them a wedding certificate.
The rest

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Give me an open ear, O God,
that I may hear Thy voice calling me to high endeavor.

Give me an open mind, O God, a mind ready to receive and to welcome such new light of knowledge as it is Thy will to reveal to me.

Give me open eyes, O God, eyes quick to discover Thine indwelling in the world which Thou hast made.

Give me open hands, O God, hands ready to share with all who are in want the blessings with which Thou hast enriched my life.
... John Baillie

I have discovered a wonderful blog called Dave's pics. It can be found here. He has kindly given me permission to use some of his photos from time to time. Please go there and be blessed by his gift!

Pope Benedict XVI Named 2005 "Anti-Gay Person of the Year"
By Gudrun Schultz

WASHINGTON, DC, United States, January 4, 2006 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Pope Benedict XVI has been labeled the most anti-gay person of 2005 by the Washington Blade, one of the most prominent homosexual newspapers in the United States.

The paper bypassed the few groups which promote hatred of persons with homosexual tendencies to target the leader of the Roman Catholic Church, stating he has "unilaterally targeted gays as moral threats to society," and "aggressively lobbied against gay rights across the globe."

By ignoring perpetrators of violence and aggression against homosexuals and instead targeting the Holy Father, homosexual activism reveals it is not simply seeking freedom from persecution and violence. The goal of the movement is to force worldwide acceptance and support of the gay lifestyle.
The rest

Rediscovering Chivalry
Honorable Behavior in a Lax Age
By Stephen McGarvey
January 4, 2006

Excerpt:
"Chivalry has not been a widely used term in the last century. Its usage today is likely to conjure up the mental picture of a stuffy Victorian or an armor-clad knight astride his noble steed. Both caricatures contrast with the average man of popular culture. As mentioned in a recent “BreakPoint” commentary, media constantly portray contemporary men as perpetual adolescents, preoccupied with nothing more than sports, booze, and sex—“mooks,” one New York University professor describes them."

The rest

Raising Ebenezer
We are misguided when we modernize hymn texts.
by Gary A. Parrett
posted 01/05/2006

One of my mini-crusades recently has been trying to help raise Ebenezer. I seize every opportunity to publicly lament modern revisions of that beloved hymn, "Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing," written by Robert Robinson in 1758. The revisions all seem to agree on deleting "Ebenezer" from the hymn's second verse, which begins, "Here I raise mine Ebenezer." Some of the "improvements" offered through the years include: "Hitherto thy love has blest me," "Here by grace your love has brought me," and "Here I raise to thee an altar."

Why protest such efforts to make the great hymn's message more accessible to very-likely-to-miss-the-point worshipers today? After all, the word Ebenezer likely calls to mind that old curmudgeon Ebenezer Scrooge.

But protest I must, for several reasons.
The rest

Plans for Holy Land theme park on Galilee shore where Jesus fed the 5,000
Evangelical groups and Israel on brink of deal· Some Israelis fear motives of US Christian right Conal Urquhart in Tel Aviv
Wednesday January 4, 2006
The Guardian

The Israeli government is planning to give up a large slice of land to American Christian evangelicals to build a biblical theme park by the Sea of Galilee where Jesus is said to have walked on water and fed 5,000 with five loaves and two fish.

A consortium of Christian groups, led by the television evangelist Pat Robertson, is in negotiation with the Israeli ministry of tourism and a deal is expected in the coming months. The project is expected to bring up to 1 million extra tourists a year but an undeclared benefit will be the cementing of a political alliance between the Israeli rightwing and the American Christian right.
Story

The Challenge of Homosexuality—How Important Is It?
Thursday, January 05, 2006

In every generation, the church is faced with a certain test-case, a certain issue which is the clearest barometer of the conviction and biblical commitment of the people of God. The church in Germany, for example, faced this sort of question with the rise of Hitler in the 1930s. Today, the church in America faces a secular regime of unrestrained moral revisionism, especially on the issue of homosexuality.

In 1997, the historian Paul Berman made an interesting argument in A Tale of Two Utopias. Looking back at what he called "the gay awakening," he said this: "We seem to be hearing: 'There are no marshals today--not on the question of heterosexuality versus homosexuality. On that most crucial and personal of questions, you, each and every one of you, are responsible for yourselves.' We are hearing: 'Concerning homosexuality, it is forbidden anymore to forbid.'" Then as now, the general moral principle regarding the issue of homosexuality that rules in the larger culture is this--It is forbidden to forbid. Today, that principle can be applied to almost every dimension of life. It is forbidden to forbid--except in the areas ruled by political correctness. For it is not forbidden to forbid when it comes to the sex codes adopted by so many colleges and universities. That aside, it is forbidden to forbid that which the historic Christian faith has opposed.

the rest-Albert Mohler

Howard Stern Ads 'Disrespectful,' Priest Says

A Chicago priest took on radio megastar Howard Stern, bringing down a pair of billboards that promoted the shock jock's widely publicized switch to satellite radio. The priest claimed the ads were insensitive to African-Americans.

According to The Chicago Defender, the billboards featured a confrontational black fist raised in the air against a white background along with the caption, "Let freedom ring. And let it be rung by a stripper."

The billboards infuriated the Rev. Michael Pfleger, pastor of Chicago's St. Sabina's Church. Father Pflegler protested the ads, claiming they were an improper attempt to connect Stern to the late Rev. Martin Luther King.

"As we prepare to celebrate Dr. King's birthday, we will not tolerate this kind of disrespect ... we should not have to tolerate it in our communities, " Rev. Pfleger told NBC News.
the rest

Two NBC affiliates throw book at 'Daniel'

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Two NBC affiliates in Arkansas and Indiana are turning the page on upcoming series "The Book of Daniel," which has been drawing criticism for its portrayal of Christianity. The series depicts an Episcopalian minister, played by Aidan Quinn, struggling with an addiction to Vicodin, among other problems in his diocese. Jesus is actually a character on the series, depicted in imagined conversations with the minister.

Last month, the conservative American Familuy Assn. began calling on affiliates and advertisers to bail out of "Daniel." Many stations have been flooded with e-mails and calls from viewers objecting to the series.


Story

Only when a man tries to live the divine life can the divine Christ manifest Himself to him. Therefore, the true way for you to find Christ is not to go groping in a thousand books. It is not for you to try evidences about a thousand things that people have believed of Him, but it is for you to undertake so great a life, so devoted a life, so pure a life, so serviceable a life, that you cannot do it except by Christ, and then see whether Christ helps you. See then whether there comes to you the certainty that you are a child of God, and the manifestation of the child of God becomes the most credible, the most certain thing to you in all of history. ... Phillips Brooks, The Law of Growth


God has created me to do him some definite service; he has committed some work to me which he has not committed to another. I have my mission - I never may know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next.John Henry Newman Biography

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

2005 in Review: The Church Begins to Take New Shape
01/01/2006

The often-predicted, much-discussed realignment of the Anglican Communion began to take place during 2005, even though no official division of the opposing factions has been made. As the year drew to a close, various segments of Episcopal churches had separated themselves from the national structure, aligning themselves with Anglicans in other parts of the world.
Former Episcopalians found themselves in the jurisdictions of bishops from such places as Rwanda, Bolivia, Nigeria, Uganda, South East Asia, and elsewhere. Some churches simply declared themselves independent and decided to wait for an official separation to take place. This seemingly unorganized departure highlighted news of the Episcopal Church during 2005.

The majority of disaffected Episcopalians were waiting to see how the 75th General Convention will respond to the recommendations of the Windsor Report when it gathers next June in Columbus, Ohio. They were joined in waiting by Anglicans from the southern hemisphere, who seemed anxious to take the lead in declaring some sort of separation. The action was a follow-up to the 74th General Convention, held in Minneapolis in 2003, which gave consent to the consecration of a non-celibate homosexual person as Bishop Coadjutor of New Hampshire.

The Living Church: The rest

Evangelical Christians Give More, New Survey Reveals
A recent survey has shown that evangelical Christians give nine times as much to charity as the average householder, giving more than 12 per cent of their net income in donations each year.
Posted: Wednesday, January 4 , 2006, 16:53 (UK)

A recent survey has shown that evangelical Christians give nine times as much to charity as the average householder, giving more than 12 per cent of their net income in donations each year.

The survey also revealed that evangelicals in Britain are also more generous than their American counterparts, who give 10 per cent of their income to charity each year, reports The Times.

Evangelical Christians in Britain also have three times the average household savings, the survey showed, as well as either only a tiny fraction of the debt or no debt at all.

The survey was conducted by Christian Research for the Kingdom Bank, set up by Assemblies of God, an international Pentecostal church, to offer banking with a “Christian ethos”.

“This survey shows that the more people are taught about giving, the more they give,” wrote Bill Lattimer, of Christian Research, in the report.
The rest

Indecency Proposal
Á la carte cable pits wholesomeness against evangelism.
by Brad A. Greenberg
posted 01/04/2006 9:45 a.m.

A coalition of conservative Christian organizations wants the federal government to regulate the cable industry. To protect children from obscenity and violence, they want consumers to select only the channels they want. But some Christians say this would prevent millions from hearing the gospel.

The issue has driven a wedge between anti-indecency activists and Christian broadcasters. Concerned Women for America and the Family Research Council have been lobbying Congress against the pleas of broadcasters, who worry that offering à la carte cable would cut fatally into their programs.

"It limits what they believe is their fulfillment of the Great Commission," said Colby May, attorney for the Faith and Family Broadcasting Coalition, which includes Trinity Broadcasting Network's Paul Crouch, Christian Broadcasting Network's Pat Robertson, and pastor Jerry Falwell. "If you don't go into all the highways and the byways, where the hurt are located, you won't reach them." Few non-Christians would order religious stations, May said.
the rest

Abortion raises depression risk, say NZ researchers
04.01.06
By Greg Tourelle

Young women who have had an abortion may be at increased risk of developing mental health problems, a Christchurch study suggests.

The study, the largest of its type internationally, poses challenges to the grounds on which abortions are granted in New Zealand and some other countries.

The leader of the Canterbury Health and Development study, David Fergusson, said his researchers had followed the progress of 1265 children born in Christchurch in mid-1977 from infancy to adulthood.

Its latest research found 41 per cent of the women studied had become pregnant by age 25, and 14.6 per cent of the women studied had had an abortion. By the age of 25, the study found, 42 per cent of those who had had an abortion had also experienced major depression during the previous four years.
Story

Prove Christ exists, judge orders priest
From Richard Owen in Rome

AN ITALIAN judge has ordered a priest to appear in court this month to prove that Jesus Christ existed.

The case against Father Enrico Righi has been brought in the town of Viterbo, north of Rome, by Luigi Cascioli, a retired agronomist who once studied for the priesthood but later became a militant atheist.

Signor Cascioli, author of a book called The Fable of Christ, began legal proceedings against Father Righi three years ago after the priest denounced Signor Cascioli in the parish newsletter for questioning Christ’s historical existence.

Yesterday Gaetano Mautone, a judge in Viterbo, set a preliminary hearing for the end of this month and ordered Father Righi to appear. The judge had earlier refused to take up the case, but was overruled last month by the Court of Appeal, which agreed that Signor Cascioli had a reasonable case for his accusation that Father Righi was “abusing popular credulity”.

Signor Cascioli’s contention — echoed in numerous atheist books and internet sites — is that there was no reliable evidence that Jesus lived and died in 1st-century Palestine apart from the Gospel accounts, which Christians took on faith. There is therefore no basis for Christianity, he claims.
the rest

Wedding couples rush for 666 date
Officials notice 'sinister' surge in June 6 bookings to tie knot
Posted: January 4, 20061:00 a.m. Eastern

While June is traditionally a popular month for marriage ceremonies worldwide, officials in the Netherlands are noticing an unusual number of couples setting their wedding date for June 6, 2006, giving them an anniversary of 666, a number often associated with an end-time beast power of the Bible.

June 6 this year falls on a Tuesday, which is usually less busy for weddings than Saturdays and Sundays.

Expatica reports 17 couples have already applied to marry in the Dutch city of Enschede on June 6 so far, though normally there are only two to three weddings in the city on a Tuesday.

Rotterdam usually sees six to eight weddings on June Tuesdays, but 14 have already been slated. In Arnhem, nine couples have signed up for 666, far more than on any other Tuesday.
Story

Standing Where Moses Stood
By
VIRGINIA HEFFERNAN
Published: January 4, 2006

Bruce Feiler is the author of what the blogger Mickey Kaus has called the Feiler Faster Thesis: something about the velocity of news cycles being matched by the pace of actual events. But tonight, on the first installment of "Walking the Bible," a three-part PBS documentary created to complement his book of the same name, Mr. Feiler, a journalist, moves slowly, even ponderously. This long and winding documentary chronicles an extremely self-conscious case of Jerusalem syndrome, in which Mr. Feiler ambles around the places of the Old Testament and asks himself questions like "Would I have been willing to sacrifice my son for God?"

The rest-TV review


Walking the Bible
WCNY/Channel 24

January 5, 2006 3:00AM
January 19, 2006 8:00PM

The Reign of the Therapeutic--Someone's Asking Questions
Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Something's going on at The Los Angeles Times. On New Year's Day, the paper ran not one, but two articles questioning America's therapeutic culture and addiction to the latest psychological or psychiatric fads. When a major American newspaper publishes two articles in one issue making this essential point, we ought to take notice.

In "Psychiatry's Sick Compulsion: Turning Weaknesses into Diseases," psychiatrist and philosopher Irwin Savodnik of UCLA argues that his own field of psychiatry is infected with a preoccupation that focuses on illusory diseases. Referring to the holiday season, Savodnik explains that the American Psychiatric Association [APA] has now identified a new disease--seasonal affective disorder, or SAD--and this may explain why some people feel depressed, frustrated, or elated during and after the Christmas season.

The rest-Albert Mohler

Why Believers Aren't as Healthy as They Should Be
Jordan Rubin
Author

The Church has its fair share of sick and hurting people. These days when I speak at churches, I can’t help but hear about the substantial number of people seeking prayer for cancer treatments, heart ailments, arthritis, and liver problems. Ill health is now the number-one prayer request for churches and ministries. I’ve also taken notice of prayer requests for “tough cases”: children fighting diabetes, thirty-year-olds battling Parkinson’s disease, and fifty-something schoolteachers exhibiting the first stages of neurological disorders such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Don’t we know that we’re setting ourselves up for debilitating disease and/or early death by making poor choices in what we eat and how we live? Of course, we do. You and I live in the Information Age, when our knowledge reportedly doubles every four to five years. To put things in a modern-day perspective, a weekday edition of the New York Times newspaper offers more information than the average person living in 17th-century England would come across in a lifetime. Although more and more information is available than at any other time in human history, I can’t say we’re any healthier in the 21st century. In fact, the research shows that we’re becoming less healthy.
The rest

Christians Can Use Lessons from The Lion, Movie Ministry Leader Says
By Allie Martin and Jenni Parker
January 3, 2006

(AgapePress) - The founder of an Internet-based ministry, which helps church leaders and spiritual educators use modern movies as teaching tools, says the recent release of the blockbuster movie The Chronicles of Narnia: the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe has a strong biblical message. Dr. Marc Newman, founder of
MovieMinistry.com, believes that message is one that should be drawn out rather than downplayed.

Newman started the website as a way to provide pastors and lay leaders with tools and insights to help reach others with the gospel message, an often challenging objective in a media-saturated and entertainment-obsessed culture. He says Christians can use movies in the same way the New Testament parables were used, to present truth that engages people's hearts with the illustrative power of stories.
The rest


Films to Watch for 2006
by Marc T. Newman, Ph.D.


Many critics are busily compiling their “best of” lists for 2005. But ministry-minded people who want to use films as a springboard for discussing the Gospel need to look ahead. DVD releases of last year’s films can help to plan Bible Study and teaching illustrations, but there is nothing like a trip to a film in current release to spark talk at the diner afterward.With that in mind, the following list represents MovieMinistry’s Thirteen Films to Watch in 2006. Some films still lack a firm release date -- and those dates are always subject to change as studios jockey for position.

In most cases, these films have not yet been made available for preview, so these recommendations are based on what we know about the films, or can glean from past performance, plot synopses, or trailers. Highlighting these films does not represent an endorsement -- just an acknowledgement that they appear to contain some potent material.

The rest-movie previews

Fascism, Islamism, and Anti-Semitism
The president of the Islamic Republic is guided in word and deed by the most vicious of ideologies.
by Joseph Loconte
01/03/2006 12:00:00 AM

Hardly anything has infuriated certain critics of the Bush Administration more than the president's vocabulary to describe the war on terrorism. Bush warns of an "axis of evil," in which rogue nations collude with Muslim extremists to acquire nuclear weapons. He regards Osama bin Laden and his cadre of suicide bombers as "evildoers." He compares the theology of radical Islam to that of European fascism and "all the murderous ideologies" of the twentieth century. Intellectuals and others reject this talk as sophomoric and supremely arrogant-just another manifestation of Bush's cowboy diplomacy. Zbigniew Brzezinski, National Security Advisor in the Carter Administration, voices a typical note of contempt: "We have increasingly embraced at the highest official level what I think can fairly be called a paranoiac view of the world."
The rest

Book of Daniel' Called 'Bigotry'
Dave Eberhart, NewsMax.com
Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2006

NBC's kick-off this Friday of its new sitcom "The Book of Daniel" has some Christian groups outraged with the show and what some believe is a blasphemous portrayal of Jesus Christ.

Though the show has yet to air, Christian groups are getting "Daniel's" take on traditional Christianity, and they don't like it.

For example, the star of the series, actor Aidan Quinn (the serious politician brother to Brad Pitt's wilder character in "Legends of the Fall"), recently described his latest venture to the Associated Press:

"I'm an Episcopalian priest who struggles with a little self-medication problem, and I have a 23-year-old son who's gay, and a 16-year-old daughter who's caught dealing pot, and another son who's jumping on every high school girl he sees, and a wife who's very loving but also likes her martinis."

Quinn, who plays the Episcopal Rev. Daniel Webster, defended the show, saying the series is "a pretty down-the-middle, wholesome show."
The rest

'Professor of the Year' Challenges Christians Academes to Support One Another
By Jim Brown
January 3, 2006

(AgapePress) - A conservative, pro-life college professor and bioethicist has won a national award that some say is the equivalent of the Nobel Prize. Former Goodwin College Science Department chairman Lawrence Roberge was recently named the "
2005 Connecticut Professor of the Year" by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education.

Roberge developed the science program at Goodwin by organizing the construction of science labs and setting up the entire curriculum for chemistry, anatomy and physiology, microbiology and human biology. The professor, a lifelong Catholic and a pro-life advocate, says he was "stunned but pleasantly surprised" to be named "Professor of the Year" for 2005 in his state.
Story

No hate clerics expelled
By GEORGE PASCOE-WATSON
Deputy Political Editor

BRITAIN has failed to expel a single Muslim hate cleric since the 7/7 bombings, figures reveal.
The news is a huge embarrassment to PM Tony Blair, who promised a crackdown.

Britain is bottom of a European league for the number of extremist preachers expelled.

Germany is top with more than 20 imams forcibly removed.

Spain, Italy and France have each deported four and Holland three.

Yet only Omar Bakri Mohammed has gone from Britain — and he went abroad of his own accord. He has merely been banned from returning.
Story

Windows Vulnerability Allows Malicious Code In Graphics
January 04, 2006 05:42 AM EST

On December 27, a discovered flaw in Microsoft Windows operating systems was made public. This flaw in the handling of Windows meta Files (.wmf), an older graphics format, allows malicious code to be inserted into graphics images, which will then infect the target upon viewing the image.

Microsoft has issued an advisory on the vulnerability and its exploit at http://www.microsoft.com/technet/security/advisory/912840.mspx but has yet to release a patch – currently slated to release on January 10th, provided it passes microsoft's rigorous pre-release testing. The patch will appear on Windows Update and Windows download websites. Machines configured to obtain critical updates automatically will receive this patch. All others should visit the Microsoft Update site once the patch is released to download and install it.Fortunately, the known exploits of this vulnerability are being effectively mitigated by up to date antivirus and antispyware software, though the vulnerability remains open until patched.
The rest

Intelligent Design: What We’re Really Banning
January 04, 2006 12:32 AM EST
by Nathan Tabor

The verdict is in in Pennsylvania: it is now ‘unconstitutional’ to teach Intelligent Design as an alternative to the theory of evolution in a public school classroom. It cannot be mentioned, studied or discussed by students or faculty.

Apparently, the only constitutionally acceptable explanation for our existence is Darwin’s Theory of Evolution, which of course is taught freely in every public school’s biology curriculum.

If one studies Darwin’s theory, it becomes clear that there are indeed some gaps and areas that aren’t explained. That’s what gives it the label of ‘theory’ and not ‘fact’. Darwin himself admitted that he did not claim to understand how we’ve become the complex beings that we are. He merely studied the process of change that has occurred within our species, noting how we have ‘evolved’. His theory is sound, it is based on rigorous research and tangible findings. Yet there is still no evidence of how, or why these changes have taken place, it offers nothing more than the speculation of ‘natural selection’ to try and explain the force behind the changes noted. There are more answers to be found.
Commentary

America's first Islamic sorority formed
By Julia Duin
The Washington Times
Published January 4, 2006

WASHINGTON -- America's first Islamic sorority is more about God than being Greek. There will be no beer at Gamma Gamma Chi functions, in obedience to Islamic law, nor will there be group fraternizing with the opposite sex.

"Partying is allowed in Islam, but it's how you party," said Althia Collins, an Alexandria businesswoman who has helped create it. "You can have fun with girls and it doesn't have to include men."

Thirteen women at the University of Kentucky will form the sorority's first college chapter this spring, and another group is waiting to start at the University of Maryland's Baltimore campus. A citywide chapter in the District, made up of women from several local universities, is also in the works.
The rest

Scientists May Have Found Mozart's Skull
Jan 4, 10:16 AM (ET)
By WILLIAM J. KOLE

VIENNA, Austria (AP) - Have scientists found Mozart's skull? Researchers said Tuesday they'll reveal the results of DNA tests in a documentary film airing this weekend on Austrian television as part of a year of celebratory events marking the composer's 250th birthday.

The tests were conducted last year by experts at the Institute for Forensic Medicine in the alpine city of Innsbruck, and the long-awaited results will be publicized in "Mozart: The Search for Evidence," to be screened Sunday by state broadcaster ORF.

Past tests were inconclusive, but this time, "we succeeded in getting a clear result," lead researcher Dr. Walther Parson, a renowned forensic pathologist, told ORF. He said the results were "100 percent verified" by a U.S. Army laboratory, but refused to elaborate.
The rest

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

New Lausanne Report Highlights Global Shift of Christianity
Monday, Jan. 2, 2006 Posted: 5:31:54PM EST

A report released this month by the Lausanne Researchers’ Network highlights the profound southern geographical shift of global Christianity over the past hundred years.

USA Evangelicals/Evangelicals in a Global Context by Todd Johnson, Ph.D., Director of the Center for the Study of Global Christianity at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, offers new data on the southern shift in the evangelical movement from its roots in the United Kingdom and the United States.

According to the study, over 80 percent of all Christians in 1900 were from Europe and North America, yet by 2005 it was under 45 percent. This statistic correlates with the finding that out of the estimated number of evangelicals worldwide – from 250 million to 688 million – most are increasingly found outside of the Western world.
Story

Abortion Drug Adverse Events Reported
Reports Include Infection and Severe Bleeding
By
Salynn Boyles
WebMD Medical News

Dec. 29, 2005 -- The FDA received reports of 607 adverse events involving the abortion drug RU-486 over a four-year period, it was reported this week.
The adverse events included five reported deaths and 68 cases of severe bleeding that required transfusions.

Late last month, federal officials confirmed that five women who died of toxic shock syndrome within a week of taking the drug to induce abortions had the same rare bacterial infection. Four of the deaths occurred in California and one in Canada. Three of these deaths were not among those included in the FDA's 607 events.

The news set off a new round of calls by abortion opponents for the FDA to remove the drug, also known as Mifeprex, from the market. Danco Laboratories -- the maker of Mifeprex -- did not respond to a request for comment in time for the publication of this story.
the rest

Important lesson in stem-cell fraud case

The scientific community was skeptical about claims by a South Korean researcher who claimed a major breakthrough. That helped expose him.

Perhaps the lesson in the case of the fabricated stem-cell research by a South Korean scientist is the need for healthy skepticism by editors of scientific publications and peer-review committees that check the research studies ahead of time.

The scientific community was skeptical all along, and that uncertainty helped expose the deception before too much damage was done. But lawmakers in this country and elsewhere used the work of South Korea's Hwang Woo-Suk to make their case for more research dollars. In Congress, some lawmakers used the South Korean's supposed breakthrough to argue national pride and the importance of U.S. scientists' having adequate funding in a key medical research field.

Commentary

Forum: Islamist state in Europe
January 1, 2006

Jeffrey T. Kuhner's Commentary column asked about the prospect for an "Islamist state in Europe" (The Washington Times, Dec. 18). It is not a question of "if," but of "when."

We need only look at what is happening in Europe. Today there are more practicing Muslims than practicing Anglicans in England. In one demonstration in front of British Parliament, signs were carried reading, "Islam, our religion today, your religion tomorrow." France is a basket case, plagued with riots between Muslim youths and the government. Young non-Muslims girls there are accosted on the streets for not covering their hair.

In The Washington Times (Culture, et cetera) on April 14, 2003, in "La France, c'est morte," Guy Milliere was reported saying, "In fact, the only things that are growing in France right now are crime and Islamism." Germany invited Turkish guest workers (gastarbeiter) when they were needed but today faces high unemployment. Even financial incentives are not enough to entice the "gastarbeiter" to return to Turkey. They know they live better in a Christian than in a Muslim country.
The rest

Some S. Florida Latinas converting to Islam for emphasis on family, women's roles
By Tal Abbady Staff Writer
Posted January 3 2006

Melissa Matos slips into an easy communion with her newest circle of friends.

At regular meetings, they invoke their families' native towns in Cuba or the Dominican Republic, or recipes for arroz con pollo. English is interspersed with Spanish. And, posing no incongruity to the women, hijabs, or Muslim head scarves, frame their faces.

When she converted to Islam in May, Matos, a Dominican-American raised as a Seventh-day Adventist, expected the passage to be lonely."I said to myself, `Great, I'm going to be the only Muslim Latina in the whole world,'" said Matos, 20, a student at Florida International University who recently joined a group of Latina converts to Islam.
the rest

Two Mormon missionaries shot in Virginia
Monday, January 2, 2006

CHESAPEAKE, Va. -- A Mormon missionary going door-to-door was fatally shot Monday night and a fellow missionary was wounded by an assailant who fled, police said.

The attacks happened just after 6 p.m. when a man approached the 21- and 19-year-olds, shot them and ran away, police said.

Both victims were taken to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital, where the older victim died and the other was listed in serious condition Monday night.

The identities of the victims were not released.

Police shut down part of the neighborhood while searching for the man. It was not immediately known what prompted the shootings.link

‘Unlikely’ Primates will be added to Anglican Council
The chair of the Anglican Consultative Council has said it is not likely that member provinces and churches of the Anglican Communion will approve a motion to allow 38 primates across the world to become members of the ACC.
Posted: Monday, January 2 , 2006, 18:39 (UK)

The chair of the Anglican Consultative Council has said it is not likely that member provinces and churches of the Anglican Communion will approve a motion to allow 38 primates across the world to become members of the ACC.


Bishop John Paterson, chair of the ACC and Bishop of Auckland, told members of the Council of General Synod (CoGS), that there was “a great deal of unease” expressed by ACC members over the possibility the Council could become dominated by primates.

“What happened in Nottingham was that there was deep-seated anger from some members of the ACC of primates acting on their own towards ACC,” said Bishop Paterson.

“The primates decided on an action against two churches who are members of a body (ACC) mandated by the constitution to be consultative. How can it be consultative if two important churches are not able to take part?”
The rest

Chaplain 'starves himself' over Navy no-Jesus zone
Episcopal priest continues fast in protest of policy banning prayers in Lord's name
Posted: January 3, 20061:00 a.m. Eastern
By Ron Strom

The chaplain who has gone without food for two weeks in protest of the Navy's policy against praying in Jesus' name says Americans are giving the
White House switchboard a workout each time he appears in the media, as supporters urge President Bush to sign an executive order allowing military clergy to pray according to their own faith traditions.

Lt. Gordon James Klingenschmitt says he will not eat until the president takes action to allow him and other chaplains the freedom to pray and preach without diluting God to a one-size-fits all deity.
Story

California Tells Christian Club it Must Admit Non-Christians and Homosexuals
Jan 2, 2006
by
Brendan Steinhauser

A new Christian club at California State University--San Bernardino was recently denied official recognition by the university because it required its members to adhere to Biblical principles of morality. Some of these principles, as explained by the student organizer, Ryan Sorba, include abstaining from premarital sex and homosexual relations. Sorba says that in order to join his Christian group, a student must adhere to the teachings of Jesus Christ and strive to avoid sinful behavior.

According to Cal-State San Bernardino President Albert Karnig, these membership restrictions violate Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations. This law states, “No campus shall recognize a student organization which discriminates on the basis of race, religion, national origin, ethnicity, color, age, gender, martial status, citizenship, sexual orientation, or disability.”
The rest

Courts, Not Spying, Real Threat to Liberties
January 03, 2006 12:16 AM EST
by Doug Patton

Liberals can barely contain their glee as they feign concern for the nation’s security, even as they compromise it. Meanwhile, President Bush claims that recent leaks published in The New York Times are a much greater threat than any perceived violations of civil liberties resulting from domestic spying on Americans known to be communicating with terrorists.

Both miss the point that the courts continue to be the worst abusers of our rights. From abortion to homosexual marriage, from infringement of religious freedoms to abuses of eminent domain, for the last four decades, the erosion of our constitutional liberties has come not from the executive branch but from the judiciary. A few examples:

The courts foisted upon America a holocaust of abortion with 1973’s Roe vs. Wade decision. In 2000, in a 5-4 ruling in Carhart vs. Stenberg, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Nebraska’s ban on the gruesome procedure known as partial birth abortion. In 2003, President Bush signed a federal ban into law, but federal judges immediately barred its implementation.

commentary

Are Newspapers Doomed?
Posted: Tuesday, January 03, 2006 at 1:17 am ET

Joseph Epstein, one of my favorite literary essayists, offers a fascinating look at the decline of daily newspapers in "
Are Newspapers Doomed?," published in the current issue of Commentary. A sampling:

Much cogitation has been devoted to the question of young people's lack of interest in traditional news. According to one theory, which is by now an entrenched cliché, the young, having grown up with television and computers as their constant companions, are "visual-minded," and hence averse to print. Another theory holds that young people do not feel themselves implicated in the larger world; for them, news of that world isn't where the action is. A more flattering corollary of this is that grown-up journalism strikes the young as hopelessly out of date. All that solemn good-guy/bad-guy reporting, the taking seriously of opéra-bouffe characters like Jesse Jackson or Al Gore or Tom DeLay, the false complexity of "in-depth" television reporting à la 60 Minutes--this, for them, is so much hot air. They prefer to watch Jon Stewart's The Daily Show on the Comedy Central cable channel, where traditional news is mocked and pilloried as obvious nonsense.
The rest-Albert Mohler

Monday, January 02, 2006

WILL YOU GO OUT WITHOUT KNOWING?
"He went out, not knowing whither he went." Hebrews 11:8

Have you been "out" in this way? If so, there is no logical statement possible when anyone asks you what you are doing. One of the difficulties in Christian work is this question - "What do you expect to do?" You do not know what you are going to do; the only thing you know is that God knows what He is doing. Continually revise your attitude towards God and see if it is a going out of everything, trusting in God entirely. It is this attitude that keeps you in perpetual wonder - you do not know what God is going to do next. Each morning you wake it is to be a "going out," building in confidence on God. "Take no thought for your life, . . . nor yet for your body" - take no thought for the things for which you did take thought before you "went out."

Have you been asking God what He is going to do? He will never tell you. God does not tell you what He is going to do; He reveals to you Who He is. Do you believe in a miracle-working God, and will you go out in surrender to Him until you are not surprised an atom at anything He does?

Suppose God is the God you know Him to be when you are nearest to Him - what an impertinence worry is! Let the attitude of the life be a continual "going out" in dependence upon God, and your life will have an ineffable charm about it which is a satisfaction to Jesus. You have to learn to go out of convictions, out of creeds, out of experiences, until so far as your faith is concerned, there is nothing between yourself and God.
Oswald Chambers

Coming in 2006: Group marriage TV?
Dec 30, 2005
by
Brent Bozell

As another year turns, we're reminded that the more things change, the more they stay the same. As our popular culture pushes ever further into anything goes, we're reminded that anything-goes has certainly gone before.

Pick up St. Augustine's "
Confessions," and find him traveling to Carthage in the year 371, where "I found myself in a hissing cauldron of lust." Looking back, he regretted how in his desperate search for love, "I muddied the stream of friendship with the filth of lewdness and clouded its clear waters with Hell's black river of lust."

This was not the way Augustine saw it in the dissolute days before he found God, and it is certainly not the way our entertainment elite sees love and sex today. But it's interesting how at that time, Augustine found his sorrows drowned at the theater, "because the plays reflected my unhappy plight and were tinder to my fire." He was amazed how no one actually wanted to experience sadness and tragedy firsthand, but many were thrilled to watch it faked before them. They wanted the vicarious experience of risky emotional highs and tragic emotional lows without the actual, nonfictional pain. Curiosity could drag them anywhere, to spy on the ribald and disastrous ways "the other half lived."
The rest

Integrity’s Convention Agenda
— Brad Drell @ 11:26 am
Hat tip to the Washington AAC:

INTEGRITY’S PLAN: A GOSPEL AGENDA??????

The following post taken from Integrity’ website 12/30/05(Ed.)

From the 13th to the 21st of June 2006, the Episcopal Church will meet in General Convention in Columbus, Ohio. And, as it has for the last ten of these triennialgatherings, Integrity will be there too.

What Is at Stake: Moving Forward versus Turning Back the Clock
Truly remarkable progress has been made in the Church over the past three decades toward realizing its commitment (made in 1976) to fully include ALL the baptized in its life and ministry. Over the past two conventions particularly, we have seen this progress accelerate dramatically, as exhibited in 2003 by the confirmation of Gene Robinson’s election to the episcopate and the permission for dioceses and congregations to bless same-sex relationships.


The rest at Drell's Descants

Archbishop of Canterbury says Comfort One Another in 2005 Reflection
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has looked back on the major disasters and tragedies of 2005 in his New Year speech.
Posted: Sunday, January 1 , 2006, 15:05 (UK)

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has looked back on the major disasters and tragedies of 2005 in his New Year speech.

Dr Williams said in his speech that the tragic events of 2005 underline the fact that human suffering affects everyone, before urging everyone to help others to feel less alone, reported the BBC.

“The challenge for us is to close the gap…to be there alongside the lonely and the suffering,” he said in his message which he delivered while visiting the 999 Club, a drop-in centre in Deptford, south-east London.

"When disasters and tragedies come on us thick and fast - and this last year has seen so many horrors of suffering, natural and man-made - it's painful to accept that we can't just do something straight away to set it all right," he said.
Story

Worldviews at Work -- "Happy to Have Evolved"
Posted: Monday, January 02, 2006 at 3:54 am ET

With this posting, we begin a new feature for 2006 -- Worldviews at Work. These articles will draw attention to the impact of worldviews on the way people think about the issues of the day. We'll be looking for examples of what happens when people actually draw the necessary conclusions that their worldviews would require -- and what happens when they do not.

The January 1, 2006 issue of
The New York Times featured an opinion column by Olivia Judson, an evolutionary biologist at London's Imperial Hospital. In "Why I'm Happy I Evolved," she gushes about her pleasure in being the product of purely natural and material forces and processes.

She argues:
Some people want to think of humans as the product of a special creation, separate from other living things. I am not among them; I am glad it is not so. I am proud to be part of the riot of nature, to know that the same forces that produced me also produced bees, giant ferns and microbes that live at the bottom of the sea.


The rest-Albert Mohler

Bible's history explored
January 2, 2006

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- Written, assembled and translated over many centuries, the Holy Bible is the most printed and most read book in human history, influencing everything from art and music to politics and pop culture.

Regardless of whether its first scribes were touched by a divine hand as Christians believe, the Bible's evolution from ancient Hebrew text to the English language is a rich lesson in the history of civilizations, origins of the written word and the revolution of printing.

The tale is recounted in an exhibition opening at the Florida International Museum on Jan. 13 that boasts artifacts as rare and priceless as they come, among them bits of the Dead Sea Scrolls, a fragment of the Gospel of John dating to about 250 A.D., a 1455 Gutenberg Bible and a first edition of the King James version from 1611.
Story

Shuafat dig reveals first sign of Jewish life after destruction of Second Temple
By Amiram Barkat

Recent archaeological excavations near the Shuafat refugee camp in northern Jerusalem indicate the existence of a Jewish community in Jerusalem after the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 C.E.


The findings - said to be the first indication of an active Jewish settlement in the area of Jerusalem after the city fell in 70 C.E. - contradict the common wisdom that no Jewish settlement survived the Roman destruction of the city. However, some Israeli archaeologists have argued that Jewish settlement revived and continued to exist even after the destruction.

The Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) began a salvage dig at the site, on the main road from Ramallah to Jerusalem, within the Jerusalem city limits, in 2003, in preparation for the construction of the light-rail system in the capital. The rest

Pentacostalists to mark centennial
By Julia Duin
THE WASHINGTON TIMES
January 1, 2006

This year marks the 100th anniversary of a Los Angeles-based revival that emerged from humble beginnings to become one of the 20th century's most significant religious events.

The Azusa Street Revival, a series of prayer meetings that began in the spring of 1906 in a former stable in downtown Los Angeles, will be commemorated this April at much more glamorous venues: the Faith Dome, the Angelus Temple, the Los Angeles Convention Center and West Angeles Cathedral.

"A handful of people in Los Angeles, led by a one-eyed black man who was the son of former slaves, has turned into a movement of over 600 million people around the world who claimed to be filled with the Holy Spirit," said Billy Wilson, executive officer for the Azusa Street Centennial.
The rest

Artifacts with links to Bible unearthed
By Jay Bushinsky
THE WASHINGTON TIMES
January 2, 2006

JERUSALEM -- Israeli archaeologists, screening tons of rubble scooped out of this ancient city's sacred Temple Mount, have discovered hundreds of artifacts and coins, as well as jewelry, some with biblical links dating back more than three millennia.

Most of the stones and earth originally were taken to an organic garbage dump in nearby Bethany, the New Testament town known in Arabic as Al-Azariya, and could not be retrieved. But a substantial portion was diverted to the Valley of Kidron, mentioned in the Old Testament and located just outside the Old City's massive walls.

This ambitious archaeological project, known as the Temple Mount Antiquities Operation, was started in November 2004, when Muslims excavated the sector north of Solomon's Stables to build the massive underground Marwani Mosque. Its second season, now under way, will last until February.
the rest

Converts take on larger roles in militant Islam
Trial of French radical sheds light on latest recruits to terror organizations
By Craig Whitlock
Updated: 3:02 a.m. ET Jan. 1, 2006

DOUAI, France - Despite his history as a convicted killer and radical Islamic fighter, Lionel Dumont had a real knack for charming the ladies.

Flashing a tender smile and soft brown eyes, the former French Catholic schoolboy seduced women in many parts of the world, using them as unwitting accomplices as he dodged arrest warrants and met clandestinely with Islamic radicals in at least 10 countries.

Two female German tourists whom he wooed separately on the beaches of Thailand served as cover for his travels as he secretly developed plots to transfer weapons and launder money, according to court testimony and European terrorism investigators.
The rest


Radical clerics ignore decree on madrassas
By Massoud Ansari

LONDON SUNDAY TELEGRAPH
January 2, 2006

KARACHI, Pakistan -- Radical Muslim clerics have ignored an edict to expel all foreign students from Pakistan's madrassas, heightening fears that the Islamic schools will continue to be recruiting grounds for young Western-born suicide bombers.

After the July 7 London bombings, in which three of four suicide bombers were of Pakistani origin, President Pervez Musharraf pledged to the West that foreigners would be excluded from the schools.

Two of the bombers, Shehzad Tanweer and Mohammed Sidique Khan, are thought to have visited madrassas. Story

Gloating E-Mails Reveal Power of Abortion Advocates in European Union
Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute ^
January 1, 2006
Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute
Posted on 01/02/2006

Copies of e-mails obtained by the Friday Fax reveal some of the world's leading pro-abortion advocates gloating over their powerful influence on a recent European Community committee ruling.

E-mail comments from officials with International Planned Parenthood, Catholics for a Free Choice and the Center for Reproductive Rights concerned a 40-page opinion from the EU Network of Independent Experts on Fundamental Rights. The opinion was critical of a proposed treaty between the Vatican and Slovakia which would provide strong protection for medical professionals who to refuse to participate in abortions and other morally objectionable procedures because of their faith.

In one e-mail Irene Donadio of International Planned Parenthood wrote, "The Conclusions reflect all the arguments presented by the SRHR [sexual and reproductive health and rights] community!!!! [sic]" Donadio especially praised the work of the Center for Reproductive Rights. "The Center for Reproductive Rights has done a marvellous [sic] job to support the work of the network of independent experts and it has been quoted in the study." CRR, a non-governmental organization of pro-abortion lawyers, was approvingly cited three times in the EU report, illustrating the close relationship between the EU and radical NGOs. In fact the report included as an appendix a legal brief by CRR arguing against Poland's abortion laws.
Story

Swiss Hospitals Agree to Help Kill Patients
MEDIA ADVISORY, Jan. 2 /
Christian Wire Service/ --

Lausanne University hospital, Switzerland has decided to permit assisted suicides starting from January 1, 2006. Assisted suicide has always been considered a form of active euthanasia . In addition to Lausanne, other leading Swiss hospitals are now actively discussing permitting the procedure. Though Swiss law initially did not allow doctors to kill their patients the practice of euthanasia has been gradually extended from private groups into the public health systems.

Extensive experience with euthanasia laws in other countries has revealed a consistent pattern. Assisted suicide is presented to the public as a last resort necessary to alleviate human suffering. Once this becomes acceptable to the public, the categories of people deemed expendable steadily expands to include those perceived to have a diminished value to society or to themselves.
The rest

The Coming Day of the Blog
January 01, 2006 10:48 PM EST
by Adam Graham

"I envision a future where there'll be 300 million reporters, where anyone from anywhere can report for any reason. It's freedom of participation absolutely realized."-Matt Drudge in his 1998 Speech to the National Press Club

The future is not yet. Despite the talk about the influence of blogs, the medium is still in the process of change and growth. According to a study published in early 2005 by the Pew Research Center, 62% of Internet users don't even know what a blog is. 27% are Blog Readers and 7% have published their own blogs. Even big blogs like Glenn Reynolds' Instapundit or Michelle Malkin don’t approach the readership of the Drudge Report, Worldnetdaily, or Newsmax.

A technology that's not completely understood and is growing in influence scares a lot of movers and shakers in traditional media and politics. In a recent piece, syndicated newspaper columnist Kathleen Parker painted bloggers as the mad boys from "The Lord of the Flies", and begged people to ignore them. While the tactic of smearing the blogosphere to the ignorant may work for a time, you can't fight progress. Change is coming, the only question is what form it will take.
The rest

Pope urges unified effort for peace
Sunday, January 1, 2006

VATICAN CITY (AP) -- Pope Benedict XVI warned Sunday that terrorism, nihilism and "fanatic fundamentalism" threatened world peace and called for individuals, governments and institutions to work together to combat them.

Benedict made the appeal during a Mass in St. Peter's Basilica to mark New Year's Day, which the Catholic Church celebrates annually as its World Day of Peace. January 1 is also a Holy Day of Obligation for Catholics.

In his homily, the pope said a "shock" of courage and faith in God was necessary to spread peace, and that everyone must work together to combat the threats to it.

"It becomes ever more important to work together for peace when confronting the situations of injustice and violence that continue to oppress various parts of the world, those that are the new and most insidious threats to peace: terrorism, nihilism and fanatic fundamentalism," he said.
Story

Congregation finds a new church home
By
Deitrich Curry
Montgomery Advertiser

MONTGOMERY -- When Judy Stewart worshipped with ChristChurch on Sunday, she was able to sit in pews, kneel during prayers and worship inside a traditional church building.

She was having church service in Dexter Avenue United Methodist Church for the first Sunday instead of at St. James United Methodist school.

An agreement between ChristChurch and Dexter Avenue United Methodist Church allows both congregations to worship in the same building.

"I think we have been so blessed to come to this point," Stewart said. "We have been kind of patient. This is just the answer to prayers."

ChristChurch is a congregation that formed after members of Church of the Ascension split from the national Episcopalian church because they felt the church had deviated from the authority of scripture. Instead, the group decided to become Anglican.
Story

"Euthanasia" in Israel - Part 3: Know the Facts

For the past several weeks, information about Israel and euthanasia has been circulating based on reports about a new law allowing terminal patients to discontinue certain life support.

The main news source cited frequently is from the Telegraph. The content of the Telegraph "news" story is so misleading, it has resulted in undue criticism of Israel and its policy makers, as much as the legislation itself.

Not one to rely solely on the media, I sought out parties knowledgeable about euthanasia and also professionals with working knowledge of Jewish law, care of the terminally ill and, of course, those with first hand information as to how this law developed.
The rest here


This article is in response to the news story found in this post:
Israelis to be Allowed Euthanasia by Machine

Thanks to Chana for her work in the prolife arena!