Saturday, January 21, 2006

Grant me, O Lord, to know what I ought to know,
To love what I ought to love,
To praise what delights thee most,
To value what is precious in thy sight,
To hate what is offensive to thee.
Do not suffer me to judge according to the sight of my eyes,
Nor to pass sentence according to the hearing

of the ears of ignorant men;
But to discern with a true judgment between things

visible and spiritual,
And above all, always to inquire
what is the good pleasure
of thy will.

Thomas a Kempis (1380-1472)

Woman feels ‘Christianity is a little too limiting’

Church affiliation: “I am a member of St. Thomas Episcopal Church, though I’m a kind of Episco-Pagan. I was raised Presbyterian, but I was confirmed in the Episcopal Church and have been a member of St. Thomas for about 20 years.”

Q: Can you talk more about your pagan side? “I don’t think my psychic abilities have anything to do with religion. I simply use this gift given to me by God to help other people. I talk with my guardians and to other people’s guardians when I do readings, but that isn’t really religious. I believe in reincarnation and that people ‘cross over’ so you can still communicate with them. I don’t know that that has led to my psychic ability, but it allows me to be more open to it and more accepting of it….”
Very interesting! See article and comments over at titusonenine

From the American Thinker - The Passion of the Left: Hating Christians
Found at Drell's Descants
January 21st, 2006

If viewers happened to be tuned into CSPAN several weeks ago, they were in for quite a spectacle. CSPAN was re-airing a conference that took place in May of 2005 with the ominous title, “Examining the Real Agenda of the Far Religious Right.”

Sponsored by the New York Open Center, the conference was anything but open-minded. Instead, participants launched into a litany of complaints against the so-called Christian Right that bordered on bigotry. I half expected it to end with a pitchfork armed mob breaking down the doors of a local church.

Perusing the Open Center’s website, one will find the sort of New Age psychobabble melded with eastern mysticism and apocalyptic environmentalism that is common on the left these days. Having been taught by multiculturalism to hate their own western religious background, they turn instead to the east. It just goes to show you that people need to believe in something.
The rest

Pro-Lifers Rally, March on 'Roe' Anniversary Weekend
Saturday, Jan. 21, 2006

Posted: 1:33:00PM EST

Pro-life groups, including Protestant and Catholic organizations, will be reminding the nation of their affirmation of life in marches across the country this weekend and Monday with the anniversary of the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that nationalized abortion falling on Sunday.

One of the larger events Monday will be the March for Life in Washington, D.C. Nellie Gray, President of the March for Life, has organized the event every year since 1973.

"We pledge support to stop this home-grown terrorism of persons and public and private officials participating in the intentional killing of an estimated 4,000 pre-born humans each day,” Gray said on Saturday in a statement, adding that President Bush has been invited to attend. On Friday, the President issued a statement declaring June 22, National Sanctity of Human Life Day.

Pro-life groups point out that since abortion was nationalized, nearly 50 million abortions have taken place.
The rest

Germans urged to be more fruitful
By Karin Strohecker
January 21, 2006

BERLIN -- Ursula von der Leyen, a medical doctor and the mother of seven, wants Germans to have more babies.

Since taking the family affairs portfolio in Chancellor Angela Merkel's Cabinet, she has been making proposals that have put the family high on Germany's political agenda.

Her calls for free child care and extensive tax breaks for families with small children have put the spotlight on Germany's low birthrate.

The Federal Statistics Office said yesterday that Germany's population fell for a third straight year in 2005, adding impetus to the new minister's determination to halt the decline by encouraging families to have more children.
The rest

Judge: Daytona anti-nudity laws violate Constitution
By JOHN BOZZO Staff Writer

DAYTONA BEACH -- Adult dancers may be clear to take it all off after a federal judge Friday struck down the city's anti-nudity laws.

City ordinances prohibiting public nudity and nudity in places that sell alcohol violate the First and 14th amendments to the U.S. Constitution, U.S. District Judge John Antoon concluded in his ruling.
"We won on every single issue," said Daniel Aaronson, a Fort Lauderdale attorney representing Lollipops Gentleman's Club on Grandview Avenue.

The victory entitles Aaronson to press for the city to pay attorney fees for Lollipops, which he said exceed $100,000.

Daytona Beach failed to prove its claim that adult nightclubs create secondary negative impacts on crime, prostitution and illegal drug activity in neighborhoods, Antoon said in his ruling.

Fact vs. fiction?
Saucy TV show creates P.R. dilemma for church
January 21, 2006

The Episcopal Church, in a bid to double its Sunday attendance by 2020, has revamped its Web site, updated its logo and tried to bill itself as open to all at any point in their spiritual journeys.

So you'd think that a prime-time television drama about an Episcopal priest - with vestments, bishops, sermons and stained glass - would be a welcome gift worth millions in free advertising.

Except the Vicodin-popping Rev. Daniel Webster and his dysfunctional family in NBC's saucy new "The Book of Daniel" drama isn't exactly what the church's public relations department had in mind. Some Episcopalians, embarrassed by Hollywood's image of a mainline Protestant denomination where the theology is lukewarm and a philandering bishop rummages through Webster's desk in search of drugs, wish the show would simply go away.

But others, sensing that the only thing worse than bad publicity is no publicity, say the show should be used as a vehicle to introduce people to the real church, warts and all.
The rest

Friday, January 20, 2006

Dear Jesus, help us to spread your fragrance
everywhere we go.
Flood our souls with your spirit and life.
Penetrate and possess our whole being so utterly
that our lives may only be a radiance of yours.
Shine through us and be so in us
that every soul we come in contact with
may feel your presence in our soul.
Let them look up and see no longer us, but only Jesus.
Stay with us and then we shall begin to shine as you shine,
so to shine as to be light to others.
The light, O Jesus, will be all from you.
None of it will be ours.
It will be you shining on others through us.
Let us thus praise you in the way you love best
by shining on those around us.
Let us preach you without preaching,
not by words, but by our example;
by the catching force -the sympathetic influence of what we do,
the evident fullness of the love our hearts bear to you.

prayer of mother teresa

Executive Council Affirms Church’s Membership in Abortion Rights Group

The Executive Council of the Episcopal Church has approved the Church’s membership in the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (RCRC), an organization whose
literature states its “primary role is educating the public to make clear that abortion can be a moral, ethical, and religiously responsible decision.”

The vote during the Jan. 9-12 meeting held in Des Moines, Iowa, came upon a recommendation from the Executive Council’s Committee on National Concerns. John Vanderstar, an Executive Council member from the Diocese of Washington who proposed the resolution, said it was intended to clarify the Church’s relationship to the organization.

The rest-The Living Church

Nigeria to Outlaw Same-sex Marriage
The Nigerian government has moved to introduce a complete ban on homosexual marriage.
Posted: Friday, January 20 , 2006, 8:15 (UK)

The Nigerian government is taking the “pre-emptive step” of introducing a specific ban on same-sex marriages as Europe and the U.S. become increasingly pro-gay marriage.

Nigeria’s Information Minister Frank Nweke told the BBC the government was taking the “pre-emptive step” because of developments elsewhere in the world.

"In most cultures in Nigeria, same-sex relationships, sodomy and the likes of that, is regarded as abominable,” said Nweke.

It is already illegal to engage in gay sex in Nigeria. Now under the new ban gay couples who join in a wedding ceremony, as well as anyone who officiates at one, will risk five years in jail.

Texas Baptists Disaffiliate Church over Gay Row
Friday, Jan. 20, 2006 Posted: 2:32:51PM EST

The Southern Baptists of Texas Convention has severed ties with a small Texas church over its relation to a ministry that welcomes and affirms homosexuals. The church is the first to have been disaffiliated from the Convention.

In a statement to the Associated Press on Thursday, SBTC Spokesman Gary Ledbetter explained that the executive board voted unanimously this month to "disaffiliate" Faith Harbour Church in Baytown, Texas, because it believed the church violated a constitutional provision against endorsing homosexual behavior.

Ledbetter said investigations began after convention members heard that a website linked with Faith Harbour contained welcoming and affirming language toward homosexuals.
The rest

Making Do with More
In an age of abundance, how do we survive with our souls intact?
by Tim Stafford
posted 01/20/2006 09:30 a.m.

Susan represents a phenomenon so new that most people—including her parents—misunderstand it. She's 18 years old, bright, attractive, and could have won college athletic scholarships. Sometime during her senior year of high school, however, Susan dropped out of sports, took leave from school, and told her parents she wanted to finish via the GED.

That fall, she started at a small local college and then dropped out in the first semester. At the moment, she works in a fast-food restaurant and says she is saving money to move to Peru, a place she knows little about. According to her father, she spends astronomical sums on her cell phone. She has no real plans.

Her parents want their daughter to take advantage of opportunities and work hard in a steady direction. They want to see frugality, discipline, humility, and risk awareness. They're frustrated that nothing they say seems to penetrate.
The rest-excellent!

Choice, decency and Cable TV
By Beverly LaHaye
January 19, 2006

At the end of every month, millions of Americans find themselves writing out a check to their cable provider. As the pen rolls across the paper, one cannot help but wonder, "Why am I paying this kind of money for channels I barely watch?" Welcome to the antithesis of America's free market ideals. You can choose to have cable, but you cannot choose what comes with it.

In every part of this country, the cable companies have a virtual lock on our home televisions. The current franchising rules have allowed one cable company to control nearly every local market in the country without any alternatives. Because of these agreements and outmoded laws, cable television offers only a "take it or leave it" proposition. Either you subsidize every channel included in the offered package or you simply choose not to have cable at all. With this kind of power lorded over our television viewing, cable companies have no need to be more responsive to consumers.
The rest

Imitators of Christ: Why You Need to See
End of the Spear
by Marc T. Newman, Ph.D.

I can't wait until the end of the article so I'll just say it: End of the Spear portrays Christians in a better light than any other Hollywood film since Chariots of Fire. I have been following cinematic clergy for decades. They are usually window dressing -- handy to have at a christening, wedding, or funeral, but otherwise disposable. Often they are anachronistic, troubled, demon-possessed or worse. There is the odd sympathetic portrayal, like Jeff Daniels' Preacher in last year's Because of Winn-Dixie, but none that captured the key characteristic present in the portrayal of Eric Liddell Christ-likeness.

End of the Spear dramatizes the true story of the Waodani, a fierce tribe living in the rainforests of Ecuador. Their culture of revenge spearings translated into a homicide rate of 60%. A missionary team, led by Nate Saint and Jim Elliot, are desperate to make contact with the tribe so that they can show the Waodani a better way of life in Christ before they drive themselves to extinction. After a friendly series of gift exchanges, the team decides to meet with the Waodani in person. What follows is probably one of the best-known stories of Christian sacrifice in the modern church. The Waodani slaughter the mission team on the beach, but the relatives of the slain men choose to continue their work, moving to the Waodani village to minister.

The word Christian literally means "little Christ." Jesus commanded His disciples to take up their own crosses and follow in His steps. End of the Spear invites viewers to visualize the sacrificial lives of Christians. These missionaries are not Christ in disguise, as is Aslan, but Christ writ small enough for even the most jaded theater patron to recognize, sympathize, and connect. The consistency of their witness - in death and in life - shines a light into the darkened space of a cinema near you. The rest

What Were They Thinking? The Controversy Over The End of the Spear
Albert Mohler
Friday, January 20, 2006

The controversy over the casting of actor
Chad Allen in the lead role of the movie The End of the Spear continues to grow -- and rightfully so. The End of the Spear is a retelling of the story of the martyrdom of missionaries Nate Saint, Jim Elliot, Peter Fleming, Roger Youderian, and Ed McCully by Waodani tribesmen in Ecuador in 1956 -- and many Christians have been eagerly awaiting the film's release.

This is one of the classic narratives of Christian missions. Eventually, the widows of these five missionaries led the majority of the Waodani to faith in Christ, ending decades of tribal killings. Steve Saint, the son of Nate Saint, maintains a ministry among the Waodani even now, after having been "adopted" by Mincaye, the very tribesman who killed his father.

The story of the five missionary martyrs and their families has been recounted in several books and films -- most famously Elisabeth Elliot's two books, Shadow of the Almighty and Through Gates of Splendor. Generations of young evangelicals have drawn courage and inspiration from these testimonies, and the larger story of the evangelization of the Waodani people.
The rest

'Porn on the Pod' Just Around the Corner
Former Federal Prosecutor, Gov't Consultant Warn Parents: Porn Industry Targeting iPod Users
By James L. Lambert
January 20, 2006

(AgapePress) - According to reports inside the porn industry, parents who already have to compete against earbuds pumping music directly into their children's ears may soon be facing an even more frightening opponent: pornographic images on video-capable iPods.

Parents are being warned of the smut industry's effort to make hard-core pornographic imagery available to users of Apple Computer's iPod and similar portable video devices. The popularity of Apple's new video-capable portable technology has driven porn industry providers to introduce iPod-compatible video content. Already there are at least three companies with divisions dedicated solely to adult content for these portable players. According to MacWorld magazine, Apple "already hosts an [adult-oriented] radio show on its own podcast directory."
The rest

Planned Parenthood Identity Crisis
January 20, 2006 12:48 PM EST
By Jim Sedlak

I almost feel sorry for the people at Planned Parenthood Federation of America. It’s obvious that they are in the middle of an identity crisis and their affiliates are acting schizophrenic.

Although this crisis has been going on for years, the incidents that have occurred within the last 12 months have brought it to full view of the public.

It all seemed to start in February 2005 when the head of Planned Parenthood’s Clergy Committee released a new book, Sacred Work. The thrust of this work was that Planned Parenthood is really doing the work of God – the work of social justice. The author told how Planned Parenthood had succeeded in its early years largely through the cooperation of many Christian pastors –clergy who could see God’s work in all that Planned Parenthood does, including its chemical, medical and surgical abortions.

At about the same time this book was released, Planned Parenthood Federation of America removed its ‘holiday’ card from its web site. It was the same card that had been used for years to purposely offend Christians by loudly proclaiming “Choice on Earth.”

The message from Planned Parenthood at the beginning of 2005 was that it was an organization whose ideas and programs were in synch with Christian teaching. It sought to begin rebuilding bridges with the Christian community.

Meeting could have lasting impact
Rev. John Richardson: 'It gives us a great deal of assurance how Anglican we are.'
Friday, January 20, 2006
GREG GARRISON News staff writer

When the Anglican Mission in America met in Birmingham last week, nine Anglican archbishops from Africa and Asia arrived in Alabama to show their support.

Anglicans in America say the conference could have a long-term impact for their movement, which has drawn many conservatives who left the Episcopal Church.

"It gives us a great deal of assurance how Anglican we are,"said the Rev. John Richardson, one of the host priests and rector of St. Peter's Anglican Church in Mountain Brook. St. Peter's formed after a split from St. Luke's Episcopal Church in 2002.
The rest

Fury over embyros
By Nick Weinberg

The chairman of a bio-ethics think-tank has condemned proposals for the creation of hybrid embryos — by fusing human cells with rabbit eggs —as amounting to “ British leadership in the depressing journey towards the brave new world.” Nigel Cameron, chairman of the Centre for Bioethics and Public Policy (CBPP), has expressed deep concern over plans by British scientists to create embryos by combining rabbit eggs with human cells.

Scientists, if granted consent, aim to fuse human cells with rabbit eggs in a bid to further stem cell research into incurable diseases and providing them with a plentiful supply of eggs to experiment with. Dr Cameron said: “It’s no surprise that the hottest news today is that British scientists want to avoid the need for women’s eggs at all by using rabbits. “But this would neatly take us out of the frying pan and into the fire. Creating human-rabbit hybrids for our embryo experiments is worse.” Claire Foster, Church of England Policy Adviser on Science, Medicine, Technology and Environmental Issues, said: “The Church is opposed to the creation of rabbit-human hybrid cloned embryos.”
The rest

Guildford report proposes TEA and sympathy
By Glyn Paflin

THE MAJORITY of the House of Bishops supports the exploration of a proposed "middle way" through problems the Church of England faces if it ordains women bishops.

The proposal has been made by the House of Bishops’ working group on women bishops, chaired by the Bishop of Guildford, the Rt Revd Christopher Hill.

A mixture of leak and rumour about the proposal has circulated since the autumn (
News, 6 January). Bishop Hill confirmed at a press briefing on Monday that "TEA" was indeed on the table: "transferred episcopal arrangements", for which parishes unable to accept women bishops would be able to petition.

It would leave the rest of the C of E, the Bishop said, "entirely clear of all that can be called discriminatory against women’s ministry at all levels. So Resolutions A and B, potentially against acceptance of women priests in any parish of the Church of England at the moment, would be abolished."

The General Synod will debate the Guildford report next month; and the Archbishop of Canterbury will move that it explore further, and decide the next steps in July.
The rest

Thursday, January 19, 2006

In your heart God has excavated an immense space where he has placed a precious treasure. From now on you have the twofold duty of receiving and giving: sharing the treasure of the kingdom you bear within you and stretching the area of your tent for those around you. Anonymous

In all moods and in all seasons pour out the soul in prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, and if the Spirit groans in intercession do not be afraid of the agony of prayer. There are blessings of the Kingdom that are only yielded to the violence of the vehement soul. Bruce Wilkinson Photo

£60m needed to Prevent Church Closures, warns Bishop of London
The Bishop of London has warned that hundreds of churches across the country could close if urgently needed funding is not found soon.
Posted: Thursday, January 19 , 2006, 9:51 (UK)

The Bishop of London has warned of a spate of church closures across the country if an emergency cash injection of around £60 million is not found.

The Rt. Rev. Richard Chartres urged the Government earlier in the week to increase grants to repair and maintain “some of our most medieval jewels”, as some of England’s oldest churches continue to fall into such disrepair that they face the threat of closure, reports The Telegraph.

“There is a real question whether the achievements of the tens of thousands of volunteers who help to maintain our churches are sustainable,” he said.

"If no extra money is forthcoming we will see a spate of church closures and losses to whole communities of buildings that cannot be sustained."

Bishop Chartres will present a paper to the General Synod in February on the crisis facing the Church of England following a cutback in repair grants from English Heritage and the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The rest

Canada Opens First “Hogwarts” Witchcraft School
By Terry Vanderheyden

EDMONTON, January 18, 2006 ( – It would seem there is truth to the warnings against the Harry Potter series if the opening of an honest-to-goodness witchcraft school in Canada is any indication of increased interest in the occult that has resulted from the books.

The new school, Northern Star College of Mystical Studies, is compared to the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry from the Harry Potter books by a CanWest News Service report. The school offers diploma and two-year certificate programs, open to adults only. The school teaches potions, astrology, tarot, hypnotherapy, divination, magic and other occult practices, among other subjects.

Some Abortion Foes Forgo Politics for Quiet Talk
Published: January 16, 2006

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The eight women sat in a semicircle facing a wooden cross, reflecting on the abortions they said they had never gotten over.

Though they now opposed abortion, they criticized the demonstrators who protest outside clinics.

"They think they're helping these women," said Mendy Mason, 34, who described being suicidal and depressed after her abortion. For women like her, she said, the demonstrators only inflict more pain.

"The pro-life movement wants to demonize the mother and concentrate on protecting the innocent child," Ms. Mason said. "But you can't rip a baby from a woman's womb without ripping out her heart. My babies are in a much better place than I am."
The rest

Emir Caner: What Christians Need to Know about Muslims
Janet Chismar
Senior Editor for Faith

Put aside, for a moment, any fears or suspicions you may have regarding national security. The simple fact remains that our Muslim neighbors do not know Christ. And that, says Emir Caner, should break our hearts and compel us to reach out in love.

The youngest of three brothers, Caner was raised by his Turkish father to be a devout Sunni Muslim. Upon arrival in America, the Caner family settled in Columbus, Ohio, where Emir’s father soon became one of the leaders of the Islamic Center. But, in 1982, young Emir took a different route and surrendered his life to Christ after attending a revival at the Stelzer Road Baptist Church.

The rest-Excellent!

A Gay Easter?
Gay-rights groups make covert plans to crash the annual White House Easter egg roll.
by Mark D. Tooley
01/17/2006 2:40:00 PM

FOR OVER A HUNDRED YEARS children have gathered on the South Lawn of the White House on the Monday after Easter to roll Easter eggs across the yard and meet the Easter Bunny. Seemingly few (if any) Washingtonians have ever tried to exploit the annual White House Easter Egg Roll for political purposes. Until now. A church-based homosexual rights group is planning to crash the event with a "family visibility action" to spotlight their non-traditional families.

"On April 17, 2006, when the White House lawn is opened to families for the Annual Easter Egg Roll, imagine if the first 1,000 families onto the lawn were LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender] families," enthused a January 4 email alert from Soulforce. Once America sees the White House lawn awash in LGBT families, "there will be no going back," Soulforce promised.
The rest

Infiltration by the book
By Cal Thomas
January 18, 2006

Beginning with the Revolutionary War when British agents and sympathizers attempted to derail independence, there have been people who have tried to infiltrate the United States to undermine and destroy it.

In modern times, communism and fascism have sent agents among us, but we discovered their plans and defeated them here and abroad.

Now comes what may be the greatest threat: radical Islam, whose "agents" may have established a base more solid and more dangerous than anything we've encountered before. The good news is they speak openly of their intentions. The bad news is many of us do not take them seriously.

British Doctors Use Euthanasia to Kill Nearly 3,000 Patients
by Steven Ertelt Editor
January 17, 2006

London, England ( -- A new survey finds British doctors used euthanasia to kill nearly 3,000 patients in 2004. The poll also found that British doctors do not want to see the legalization of assisted suicide despite a campaign to do that.

Brunel University surveyed 857 doctors and found that thousands of deaths in 2004 were the result of illegal euthanasia.

According to a BBC report, the survey found that, of the 584,791 deaths in the UK in 2004, 936 were by voluntary euthanasia and 1,930 involved the doctor killing the patient without the patient's consent.

Court Avoids Abortion Issue in N.H. Case
Jan 19 2006
By GINA HOLLAND Associated Press Writer

The Supreme Court gave New Hampshire a chance to salvage its restrictions on abortion Wednesday, sidestepping for now an emotional subject that is likely to be revisited when a new justice joins the court.

New Hampshire's victory may be short-lived because the justices ordered a lower court to consider how to fix problems with the 2003 law requiring a parent to be told before a minor daughter ends her pregnancy.

ACC Funding Increased in Proposed Budget

The Executive Council, meeting in Des Moines, Iowa, Jan. 9-12, put forth a proposed 2007-2009 budget which, if approved by General Convention in June, would increase the church’s budget by three percent compared to the previous triennium.

Before being presented to General Convention in June, the proposed budget of $152 million goes to General Convention’s Joint Standing Committee on Program, Budget and Finance Committee for hearings and possible revision.

The most contentious matter in the proceedings concerned funding for the Anglican Consultative Council. After much debate, council voted to meet an ACC request for increased giving from all members of the Anglican Communion. While a draft budget kept ACC funding at $1.8 million, the version of the budget that came to the council from its Administration and Finance Committee contained an unallocated line item of $550,000. The intention was for General Convention to decide whether the church should comply with the ACC’s full request.

Story-The Living Church

Church may leave Episcopal diocese
By Jennifer Portman

Episcopal Church of the Advent on Piedmont Drive is poised to become the latest Tallahassee church to split from its denomination in the wake of the 2003 ordination of a gay bishop.

The Revs. Robert Coon Jr. and Travis Boline have informed Episcopal Diocese of Florida Bishop S. Johnson Howard they plan to leave the church.

"We do not have a date yet," Coon said. "We are kind of building the plane as we fly it."

A representative of the bishop's office in Jacksonville plans to be at Advent on Sunday to deliver a message to the pastor and congregation: Please stay.
The rest

Love should not be confused with lust, says Pope
By Hilary Clarke in Rome
(Filed: 18/01/2006)

Pope Benedict XVI's first encyclical, expected in the next few days, warns believers not to confuse love with lust or degrade it "to mere sex".

The encyclical, a papal letter to bishops that sets out Roman Catholic policy, discusses the relationship between "eros", or erotic love, and "agape", a Greek word referring to unconditional, spiritual and selfless love.

The rest

Vicar preaches the word of goth
Colin Blackstock
Thursday January 19, 2006
The Guardian

Clad in black, heavily painted with pale make-up and dark eyeliner, the goth's way of life is not usually associated with a church service unless, that is, it is being conducted by the Rev Marcus Ramshaw.

The associate vicar at St Edward King and Martyr church in Cambridge, himself a goth, holds a 45-minute service complete with candles and a specially written liturgy for members of the goth community. There are no hymns but goth music is played instead, including artists such as Depeche Mode, Joy Division and the Sisters of Mercy, said Mr Ramshaw, 34.
The rest

US mayor regrets 'God comments'

New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin has apologised for comments suggesting that the savage hurricanes of 2005 were divine retribution for the war in Iraq.

On Monday, Mr Nagin had said God must be "mad at America... for being in Iraq under false pretences".

However, outrage forced a retraction, and he described some of his remarks as "totally inappropriate".


Gay weddings for priests 'unbiblical'
By Jonathan Petre and Jonathan Wynne-Jones
(Filed: 19/01/2006)

A senior Church of England bishop has broken ranks with his colleagues over gay "weddings" by denouncing their policy on the issue as "unbiblical" and unworkable.

The Bishop of Rochester, the Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali, said that the guidance issued by the House of Bishops last year in response to civil partnerships had undermined Church teaching and unity.

He also criticised his fellow bishops for failing to consult with the wider Church before releasing their statement, which he predicted would be a "recipe for confusion".
the rest

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

The text of the letter from the Wardens of
St. Andrew's Church, Syracuse, NY
to Bishop Skip Adams

January 2, 2006

Dear Bishop Adams:

We have your letter of December 20, 2005 and are surprised and dismayed at the things which you write. It appears as if the position on St. Andrews Church is unclear to you. Equally troubling is the reaffirmation in your letter that your “vote to confirm New Hampshire’s election of Gene Robinson as their bishop was fully in line with the intent of Scripture.” The Anglican Communion and the Episcopal Church are on the verge of destruction over your decision to abandon the 2000 year old Christian understanding of biblical Christian morality. Make no mistake: this is not merely a disagreement about human sexuality—it is a profound divergence of the fundamental way we understand the authority of Scripture and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Apparently the Windsor Report, the reaction of the Primates, and the resolution of the Lambeth Conference on human sexuality mean nothing to you, since you seem bound to ignore them and most of the Anglican Communion. Indeed you said as much in your letter before the Camp Allen house of bishops meeting when you said that being a part of the Anglican Communion is “not of the essence” of your understanding of being a Christian in the church. For us it is of the essence.

Perhaps the most disturbing thing which you said in your letter is your being “surprised” at our perception that you have never responded to our letter of September 8, 2003. You had no meetings with us as wardens when you visited, and there was no vestry meeting with you. Now you tell us that something written in The Messenger over the last two and a half years is your response to our letter. We wrote you directly on an issue which has split the church and has created a state of impaired and broken communion between this parish and their bishop, and got no answer--a fact which you now implicitly acknowledge. Now we discover that we were supposed to sift the old copies of The Messenger for your reply to us. On top of this you flatly told the diocesan convention that you did respond to our letter. Was this not disingenuous? Given this, is it any wonder that there is mistrust between this parish and the bishop?

We at St. Andrew’s have been straight forward with our decision to suspend payment of our assessment. We have never said we didn’t have the money to pay, rather, as stewards of the Lord’s treasure, we have certain criteria to follow in how we use it. It is not within the authority of the vestry of St Andrews church to support any mission that is based upon a revision of theology such as the actions of General Convention 2003 reflect.

We find your timetable for your acknowledgment of Fr. Hackendorf as our rector quite disturbing. He tells us that he has read all of the books your committee wanted him to read. When we started this process over a year ago in the Fall of 2004, you said that you would expedite the process. You received the Letters Dimissory of Archbishop Kolini almost a year ago, and have not acted on them within the 90 day period provided under canon law. Now you tell us that the six month period has not even started. Explaining your process to our congregation is at this point near impossible.

While we do not agree with your interpretation of the canons regarding Fr. Bob’s reception in your diocese, we find it unimaginable to think that, with the time you have spent with him and the 10 months you have had to review his credentials, there remains doubt in your mind that this is the man that the Lord called to head our parish. Our congregation doesn’t understand it either.

On one hand you say there is no linkage between the payment of the assessment and your acknowledging Fr. Bob as our rector, yet you then say that “our actions (or non-actions) in these areas are clearly putting Bob’s leadership capabilities in jeopardy.” Make no mistake here: Fr. Bob is our rector, and clearly the leader of this parish. Fr. Bob is not some unwilling follower of our actions in opposing the innovations of GC 2003, and is most definitely leading us in this and in all respects.

As far as the St. Matthias Society is concerned (which you and others from the diocese mention constantly), that is a lay-lead organization which was formed in 2003 in the aftermath of GC2003. It is dedicated to supporting those parts of the Anglican Communion which are faithful to the Gospel. St. Matthias Society has been very supportive of us at St. Andrew’s, but the parish does not control or influence its actions. None of our vestry serves on its board of directors, so we cannot speak for that organization. We would direct you to those who run that organization if you want more information about it.

Frankly the monies paid, or not paid, to the diocese are of far less concern than the general direction of the diocese and the Episcopal Church. Our diocesan convention has ignored the Windsor Report for two successive conventions. Provinces representing well over half of the World’s Anglicans have declared themselves to be in broken or impaired communion with you and the other Bishops who voted to upturn the Church’s teaching regarding human sexuality.

This issue will tear our Communion apart unless those who are breaking apart from the majority of the Anglican Primates repent and return to the “faith once delivered.”

We urge you to repudiate the actions of the previous General Convention before the Episcopal Church (USA), by her arrogant disregard for the Worldwide Communion, commits schism by walking away from the Anglican Family. We are determined not to walk away. Won’t you join us?

Our letter of September 8, 2003 stands. We will be glad to meet with you to talk about those matters, but frankly, we see little movement on your part to mend the fence which was broken by your actions over GC2003. We prayerfully await General Convention 2006 and its impact on our Anglican Communion worldwide. We will steadfastly remain a part of that portion of the Anglican Communion which is faithful to the Gospel and resists the grievous errors of GC2003. On this matter, Father Hackendorf, we as Wardens, the Vestry and the entire congregation at St. Andrew’s in the Valley are firmly and resolutely united.

Yours in Christ,

Mr. Peter Iannotta,
Senior Warden, St. Andrew’s in the Valley

Mr. David Moorhead,
Junior Warden, St. Andrew’s in the Valley

Put on the full armor of God so you can resist in the evil day and we would think it would end there. However, it doesn't end there. There is a great emphasis in the last part of the verse when it says "and when you have done all, stand firm." ......... In other words, we need to use all the diligence and effort we can muster to stand in the Christian life.
Christian Fellowship Devotionals Website

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

A Man Without Fear
And he said, Certainly I will be with thee. (Exodus 3:12)

Of course, if the Lord sent Moses on an errand, He would not let him go alone. The tremendous risk which it would involve and the great power it would require would render it ridiculous for God to send a poor lone Hebrew to confront the mightiest king in all the world and then leave him to himself. It could not be imagined that a wise God would match poor Moses with Pharaoh and the enormous forces of Egypt. Hence He says, "Certainly I will be with thee," as if it were out of the question that He would send him alone.

In my case, also, the same rule will hold good. If I go upon the Lord's errand with a simple reliance upon His power and a single eye to His glory, it is certain that He will be with me. His sending me binds Him to back me up. Is not this enough? What more can I want? If all the angels and arch-angels were with me. I might fail; but if He is with me, I must succeed. Only let me take care that I act worthily toward this promise. Let me not go timidly, halfheartedly, carelessly, presumptuously. What manner of person ought he to be who has God with him! In such company it behoveth me to play the man and, like Moses, go in unto Pharaoh without fear.CH Spurgeon

The unholy lust of scientists
It may be time to curtail public financing of scientific research
David S. Oderberg
Sunday, January 15, 2006

In our secular, post-religious society, the figure of the cassock-clad priest has been replaced by that of the white-coated scientist. Dispensing wisdom from the laboratory -- the secular sanctuary -- his every word is awaited breathlessly by a world thirsting for knowledge.

In Britain, the BBC has a weekly ritual of broadcasting the leading Big Discovery, whatever it may be, from the current issue of the Lancet. Dr. Robert Winston, in-vitro fertilization pioneer, has lately been on our screens "in search of God." The last time I looked he did not have any theological qualifications, but what does that matter? After all, he's a scientist, all glasses and gravitas, therefore qualified -- as he has shown during the past few years -- to tell the masses about, well, just about anything.
The rest

Cuban Churches Face Destruction

Cuban church leaders are increasingly concerned about the repercussions facing Christians in Cuba as the repression of the country's house churches appears to be on the rise. In September 2005, the government put forth new directives which required all house churches to be registered. Since then, government oppression appears to be intensifying.

A news release from Christian Solidarity Worldwide on January 9, 2006 reported on the pressure facing three churches in western Cuba. In August 2005, members of the Baptist Church of El Recreo in Guantánamo Province were evicted from their building that the government is now converting into a school. In December, the Yamaniguey Baptist Church was threatened with demolition. While the destruction has been delayed to this point, the order has not been rescinded. Then, on December 14, the church building of the Pentecostal Church of Alamar, a suburb of Havana, was destroyed by government officials. The official reason for the destruction is that the building was an "illegal construction."
the rest

In no god they trust
Atheists, agnostics and secular humanists build a community of like-minded people
By Robert King

In a state where lawmakers pray to Jesus before doing business, Reba Boyd Wooden finds herself leading a group that she says frequently feels marginalized -- the nonbelievers.

Wooden's Center for Inquiry Community of Indiana includes atheists, agnostics and secular humanists, the term for nonbelievers with which Wooden most closely identifies.

Their profound skepticism about God may be how most people define them. But Wooden said the secular humanists and others who are members of the center shouldn't be viewed so narrowly. They treasure science and reason, value common decency toward others and believe people must solve their own problems.

Anglican Communion Group on Theological Education Meets in South Africa
The Anglican Communion Working Group on Theological Education (TEAC) will focus on development at its meeting this week.
Posted: Tuesday, January 17 , 2006, 9:01 (UK)

Around 35 members of the Anglican Communion Working Group on Theological Education (TEAC) are currently gathered in South Africa for a major week-long meeting.

The second plenary meeting of the Working Group, which includes representatives from most of the Anglican Provinces, will develop the work it has done since its first meeting in June 2004 and make specific proposals with suggestions for implementation.

The meeting will also have a special focus on theological education in Africa and will include some joint sessions with ANITEPAM, the African Network of Institutions of Theological Education Preparing Anglicans for Ministry.
the rest

Supreme Court Upholds Oregon Suicide Law

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court, with Chief Justice John Roberts dissenting, upheld Oregon's one-of-a-kind physician-assisted suicide law Tuesday, rejecting a Bush administration attempt to punish doctors who help terminally ill patients die.

Justices, on a 6-3 vote, said the 1997 Oregon law used to end the lives of more than 200 seriously ill people trumped federal authority to regulate doctors.

That means the administration improperly tried to use a federal drug law to prosecute Oregon doctors who prescribe overdoses. Then-Attorney General John Ashcroft vowed to do that in 2001, saying that doctor-assisted suicide is not a "legitimate medical purpose."

Anglicanism in Canada

One of our frequent contributors, the Canadian law professor and writer Ian Hunter, has sent me his latest article for the National Post, with permission to post it here. He has written for us an essay on Malcolm Muggeridge, whose first biographer he was,
Seeing Thro' the Eye and a short essay on Alexander Solzhenitsyn, The Last Prophet. Other articles of his (online and not) can be found here.

Here is his National Post article:
Canadian Anglican Bishops will be ruing the day they commissioned Keith McKerracher, a retired marketing executive, to study church growth. No doubt they anticipated the kind of sentimental fantasy that the Bishops usually spin out for parishioners, whether the topic be residential schools, or same-sex “marriage”, or whether it was not, perhaps, four or seven wise women, and not three wise men, who first followed a star to the birthplace of Jesus.

The rest-Mere Comments

Former Muslim Claims 'Deception' Key in Rise in European Converts to Islam

By Chad Groening
January 16, 2006

(AgapePress) - A Christian evangelist who was involved with Islam for 15 years says she understands why a growing number of European women are converting to the false religion. Speaking from experience, she claims it is primarily because the women are being deceived -- by Muslim men.

A recent article in
The Christian Science Monitor said that European women are being attracted to Islam because they like "the sense of belonging and caring and sharing that Islam offers" amidst the "moral uncertainties of Western society." According to a researcher quoted in the article, many women are attracted to the Muslim faith because "there is more space for family and motherhood in Islam -- and women are not sex objects." Story

Survey Shows Many Pastors Misread Congregants' True Priorities
By Allie Martin

January 16, 2006

(AgapePress) - Two national surveys conducted by the
Barna Research Group show that, while pastors claim members of their congregations are deeply committed to God, lifestyles and actions of the congregants indicate otherwise.

The Barna surveys asked pastors what their congregational members are most passionate about. On average, the church leaders' responded that 70 percent of adults in their churches considered their personal faith in God above all other priorities. In fact, as many as one out of every six pastors believed that 90 percent or more of the adults in their churches hold their relationship with God as their top priority in life.
the rest

Challenge to 'Secular Intolerance' Defends Rights of Christian Schools
Univ. of Calif. System Asking for Suit to Be Dismissed
By Jim Brown and Jody Brown
January 16, 2006

(AgapePress) - A judge will soon decide whether to toss out a lawsuit that alleges the University of California system engages in viewpoint discrimination against Christian students and schools.

On behalf of a Christian school in California and several student plaintiffs, the
Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI) has filed a federal lawsuit challenging the University of California's prohibition on high school students receiving academic credit for courses that are taught from a strictly Christian perspective. According to the lawsuit, a Christian school in Murrieta -- the Calvary Chapel Christian School -- was informed that its courses were rejected because they used textbooks printed by two conservative Christian publishers: Bob Jones University Press in South Carolina and A Beka Books in Pensacola, Florida. The UC system has asked that the suit be thrown out. (See earlier article) The rest

Pastor Calls for Boycott of Microsoft, HP

A pastor on Monday called for a national boycott of Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard and other companies that support a gay civil rights bill, saying the corporations have underestimated the power of religious consumers.

The Rev. Ken Hutcherson, pastor of Antioch Bible Church in the Seattle suburb of Redmond, said he would formally issue the boycott Thursday on the conservative radio show Focus on the Family.

The rest

Three More NBC Affiliates Drop 'Daniel'

Three more NBC affiliates have dropped "The Book of Daniel," bringing the number of stations not airing the program to 11.

KNWA in Fayetteville and KFTA in Fort Smith, both in Arkansas, and WTVE in West Monroe, La. have joined stations in Nashville, Tenn.; Terre Haute, Ind.; Little Rock, Ark; Amarillo, Beaumont and Tyler, Texas; and Meridian and Tupelo, Miss. in canceling the controversial program.


Administering Stem Cells To Patients With Myocardial Infarction Leads To A Reduction Of The Infarct

Doctors at the Catholic University of Leuven, connected with the University Hospital - Gasthuisberg, the
Stem Cell Institute Leuven (SCIL), and the Flanders Interuniversity Institute for Biotechnology (VIB), recently publishing a major breakthrough in the treatment of patients with acute myocardial infarction. Their research shows that the administration of a patient's own stem cells has a significant positive effect on the heart's recovery: in the patients studied, the size of the infarct was clearly reduced. The use of stem cells appears to be safe, and to date no side effects have occurred that can be attributed to the stem cells. This study is a world-first − its exciting results are being published in the prominent medical journal The Lancet.


January 16, 2006 10:59 PM EST
by Thomas Sowell

The Senate confirmation hearings for Judge Samuel Alito told us more about the Senators than it did about Judge Alito. First, there were those long-winded preambles to "questions" for the judge. Then there were the Mickey Mouse maneuvers and insinuations, spiced here and there with outright lies.

The ridiculousness of the charges was classically illustrated by Senator Joseph Biden's claim that Alito had been part of a group that was trying to keep minorities and women out of Princeton. Apparently wanting everyone to meet the same admissions standards is considered to be the same as being against minorities and women.

To dramatize his position, Senator Biden said, "I don't even like Princeton." Unfortunately for him, a radio talk show host played that back on the air -- along with a speech that Biden gave at Princeton, praising it to the skies.
the rest

Teens' Bold Blogs Alarm Area Schools
Uninhibited Online Remarks Full of Risks, Officials Warn
By Tara Bahrampour and Lori Aratani
Washington Post Staff WritersT
uesday, January 17, 2006

No one under 18 would be surprised to hear that teenagers like to post their intimate thoughts and photographs online -- they've done it for years. But school administrators have begun to take notice, and some are warning students that their online activities may affect not only their safety, but also their academic and professional lives.

In recent weeks, several Washington area schools have taken action against the use of blog sites, in particular but also the sites and, which allow teenagers -- and sometimes younger children -- to post details of their lives for all to see.

The rest

Monday, January 16, 2006

Paul's exhortation to "do all to the glory of God" is more than pious idealism. It is an integral part of the sacred revelation and is to be accepted as the very Word of Truth. It opens before us the possibility of making every act of our lives contribute to the glory of God. Lest we should be too timid to include everything, Paul mentions specifically eating and drinking. This humble privilege we share with the beasts that perish. If these lowly animal acts can be so performed as to honor God, then it becomes difficult to conceive of one that cannot.
AW Tozer: The Pursuit of God

Bishop Decides To Oust Priest
Denies Any Link To Gay Cleric Issue
Staff And Wire Reports
January 15 2006

The bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut on Saturday defrocked a priest, citing concerns about the financial condition of a Bristol church and the priest's decision to take an unauthorized sabbatical.

Connecticut Bishop Andrew D. Smith deposed Mark H. Hansen, formerly of St. John's Church in Bristol. The action is the final step that an Episcopal bishop can take toward a priest because it effectively ends his priesthood.

The rest at Connecticut Six Website

Canadian Anglicans Face Extinction
By Ian Hunter
National Post
January 13, 2006

Canadian Anglican Bishops will be ruing the day they commissioned Keith McKerracher, a retired marketing executive, to study church growth. No doubt they anticipated the kind of sentimental fantasy that the Bishops usually spin out for parishioners, whether the topic be residential schools, or same-sex "marriage", or whether it was not, perhaps, four or seven wise women, and not three wise men, who first followed a star to the birthplace of Jesus.

Alas, this time the Bishops miscalculated. They reckoned without an honest man. Mr. McKerracher completed his Report and his main finding, made after studying actual parish membership rolls instead of suspect census data, is that the last Canadian Anglican will turn out the lights in the last church sometime around mid-century.

The rest at Virtueonline

Deacon Gene Koprowski: Top 10 Reasons Not To Be In ECUSA
Brad Drell @ 11:17 am

Here’s a top 10 list of reasons never to go an an ECUSA church again.
1. Does not believe the Bible is the Word of God — but, rather, a misogynistic, homophobic document.
2. Thinks that those who believe that the Bible is the Word of God (even though Jesus says so in the NT) are angry, uneducated “fundamentalists”
3. Promotes homosexuality as a “godly” lifestyle in church
4. Promotes abortion as “family planning” in church

The rest at Drell's Descants

Diocese of Central New York: Priest sues bishop, diocese
Monday, January 16, 2006
By Renée K. Gadoua

A Central New York Episcopal priest is suing the local Episcopal bishop and diocese for $4.35 million, saying the bishop tried to silence his efforts to investigate alleged sexual abuse that occurred in the 1970s.

"I reported accurate information to him and I was punished for it," said the Rev. David Bollinger, rector of St. Paul's Church in Owego.

"I deny that completely," Bishop Gladstone "Skip" Adams said Sunday. "Any actions taken concerning Father Bollinger have been done completely independently."
The rest

Canadian Government Study Suggests Legalizing Polygamy
By Terry Vanderheyden

OTTAWA, January 13, 2006 ( – A study conducted for the Canadian federal Justice Department has recommended that Canada ditch its laws banning polygamy.

“Criminalization does not address the harms associated with valid foreign polygamous marriages and plural unions, in particular the harms to women,” the report states, as reported by The Canadian Press, who obtained the research through the Access to Information Act. “The report therefore recommends that this provision be repealed.”

The Liberals commissioned the polygamy study last winter, driven by the fear that opening the door to same-sex “marriage” would also pave the way for legalization of polygamy. The study was paid for by the Justice Department and by Status of Women Canada, and conducted by three law professors from Queen’s University in Kingston.

More Stations Take NBC's 'Book of Daniel' Off Air
Sunday, Jan. 15, 2006
Posted: 1:03:54PM EST

Two more NBC affiliates announced last week that they would no longer air the controversial new series “The Book of Daniel,” which has sparked criticism from media and television viewers across the nation for its "edgy" content.

Nashville’s WSMV-TV and Amarillo, Texas-based KAMR-TV chose to discontinue the series last week after receiving numerous complaints, sources reported, bringing the total number of NBC affiliates not airing “Daniel” to seven. A station in Hattiesburg, Miss., has also considered dropping the show.According to the Tennessean, WSMV’s general voice mailbox shut down within 20 hours after airing the two hour premier of “Daniel” on Jan. 6 because 137 complaint messages jammed the machine. The station also received complaints via e-mail and regular mail.
The rest

D.C. church's 'Daniel' blog seizes preachable moment
By Julia Duin
January 16, 2006

"The Book of Daniel," an NBC show about a pill-popping Episcopal priest who works for an adulterous bishop and must contend with a drug-dealing daughter, a boozing wife, a homosexual son and a bisexual sister-in-law, has an unexpected fan -- the Episcopal Diocese of Washington.

The diocese -- spotting an evangelism opportunity -- has set up a blog. dissects the show and the Rev. Daniel Webster, its conflicted priest/hero played by Aidan Quinn. A second episode aired Friday night.
The rest

For Muslim women, a deadly defiance
'Honor killings' on rise in Europe
By Colin Nickerson, Globe Staff
January 16, 2006

BERLIN -- Life was just starting to look up for 23-year-old Hatun Surucu when the bullets cut her down.

After four years of grueling courses in vocational school, coupled with the demands of single motherhood, she was only weeks away from receiving certification as an electrician, a trade that would give her the independence she desperately craved.

It had been a rough road: Eight years earlier, her parents, Turkish immigrants, had yanked Surucu from eighth grade, bundled her off to Istanbul, and forced her to marry an older cousin. Miserable in Turkey, she had fled her husband and returned to Berlin with her infant son, determined to make her own way as a modern woman in a secular society, according to friends.
For a Muslim barely out of girlhood, it was an act of extraordinary defiance against her family. And it cost Surucu her life.
The rest

Churches could face IRS probe
Pastors Parsley, Johnson exploited pulpits to play politics, ministers’ complaint alleges
Monday, January 16, 2006
Mike Harden and Joe Hallett

More than 30 local pastors last night officially accused two evangelical megachurches of illegal political activities.

In a rare and potentially explosive action, the moderate ministers signed a complaint asking the Internal Revenue Service to investigate World Harvest Church of Columbus and Fairfield Christian Church of Lancaster and determine if their tax-exempt status should be revoked. Story

New Church report on women bishops
Press Association
Monday January 16, 2006 7:44 AM

The Church of England will unveil a new report assessing the choices it faces over the consecration of women bishops.

The Bishop of Guildford, the Rt Rev Christopher Hill, will introduce the Guildford Group Report at a news conference in London.

The document comes after the General Synod last year voted to begin the process which could eventually lead to the consecration of women bishops.

And here: Compromise plan on women bishops

A working party of Church of England bishops is hoping to head off a potential split with a compromise plan on the ordination of woman bishops.

Its report suggests a group of male bishops - so called "flying bishops" - could work in parishes unwilling to accept the authority of a woman.
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