Saturday, February 25, 2006

The Law Through Moses,
Grace and Truth Through Jesus
St. Leo the Great

The Lord reveals his glory in the presence of chosen witnesses. His body is like that of the rest of mankind, but he makes it shine with such splendor that his face becomes like the sun in glory, and his garments as white as snow.

The great reason for this transfiguration was to remove the scandal of the cross from the hearts of his disciples, and to prevent the humiliation of his voluntary suffering from disturbing the faith of those who had witnessed the surpassing glory that lay concealed.

With no less forethought he was also providing a firm foundation for the hope of holy Church. The whole body of Christ was to understand the kind of transformation that it would receive as his gift. the members of that body were to look forward to a share in that glory which first blazed out in Christ their head.

The Lord had himself spoken of this when he foretold the splendor of his coming: Then the just will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Saint Paul the apostle bore witness to this same truth when he said: I consider that the sufferings of the present time are not to be compared to the future glory that is to be revealed in us. In another place he says: You are dead, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, your life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory.
Meditation continues Art

Indian Christians Face More Persecution than Ever
Saturday, Feb. 25, 2006 Posted: 11:28:52AM EST

Christians in India are facing more persecution now than any other time in their history, according to the head of a mission organization.

"Our leaders on the mission field tell me that it has become such a regular, daily event that they now report only the worst cases," said Gospel for Asia President K.P. Yohannan.

Yohannan accounted a battle for economic power and control to be the cause of the growing wave of persecution with a group of extremists, holding the supremacist ideology "Hindutva" (Hindu-ness), attempting to control the low-caste majority.

Tracing the power rage back to the Crusaders who tried to control the Holy Land, Yohannan said "without Christ, the human heart never changes – it is always hungry for power."What is happening now in India is a radical minority attempting to “Hinduize” a nation of over a billion people, he continued.
The rest

'Da Vinci Outreach' Launched in Wake of Upcoming Film
Saturday, Feb. 25, 2006
Posted: 11:36:13AM EST

With the upcoming Ron Howard/Tom Hanks motion picture The Da Vinci Code less than three months away from bringing what some have called a literary “assault on the person of Jesus Christ” to the big screen, a coalition of Catholic organizations has formed an online initiative called Da Vinci Outreach to help readers and moviegoers navigate through what they’ve referred to as a “web of bogus history and outright lies.”

The Da Vinci Outreach website offers a number of free resources including study guides and “action plans” designed to educate church members about the Da Vinci Code, as well as a link for purchasing The Da Vinci Deception - a 144 page Q & A book from Ascension Press that is being referred to as a “powerful antidote to the spiritual poison found in The Da Vinci Code.”
The rest

Revival Fire
Christian colleges are among the few places left where traditional revival occurs, and Asbury is the most recent example.

Interview with Timothy Larsen
posted 02/24/2006 09:30 a.m.

Earlier this month, students at
Asbury College in Kentucky arrived for their morning chapel service—but they didn't leave. In fact, it was days before everyone left the building. In the meantime, the chapel was filled with singing, prayer, and worship. One participant said, "Those days and nights in Hughes [Memorial Auditorium] provided a catalyst for renewal, for freedom, for seeking the heart of God."

Christian colleges provide the tight-knit community that many revivals require, says Timothy Larsen, associate professor of theology at Wheaton College. Larsen is most recently the co-editor of
Reading Romans Through the Centuries: From the Early Church to Karl Barth and author of Contested Christianity: The Political and Social Contexts of Victorian Theology. CT online associate editor Rob Moll spoke with Larsen about revival and what brings it about.
The rest

Christian Leaders in Nigeria Condemn Cartoon Protests, Killings
Christian leaders in Nigeria have condemned the killings that have taken place in the country following the publication of controversial cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammad in several European newspapers.
Posted: Saturday, February 25 , 2006, 12:45 (UK)

Some of the most senior Christians in Nigeria have condemned the violent protests over the publication of controversial cartoons which have seen riots and killings now spread to the east of the country.

The Archbishop of the Methodist Church of Nigeria, the Most Rev. Sunday Ola Makinde, described it as unfortunate that what happened in Denmark, a country so far away from Nigeria, could have led to the destruction of churches and human lives in the country, reports AllAfrica News Agency.

“Christians all over the world do not even know anything about the incident and yet they are the ones receiving the knocks in Nigeria," he lamented.

Are Stay at Home Moms “Letting Down the Team?”
Albert Mohler
Friday, February 24, 2006

Are stay at home moms a threat to civilization? Those of you who are shocked by this question should take note of the fact that ABC's "Good Morning America" program devoted segments to this question on two successive days, featuring the arguments of Linda Hirshman, a prominent feminist thinker.

"I am saying an educated, competent adult's place is in the office," Hirshman told "Good Morning America." In other words, moms who stay at home with their children have given themselves to a calling that no educated or competent adult should desire or accept.

Hirshman threw herself into the debate over motherhood last year, when she responded to a spate of media reports that indicated an amazing trend--large numbers of highly educated young women on elite college and university campuses indicated that they did not intend to pursue a career outside the home, but to give themselves to being wives and mothers.

Hirshman's response was vehement and verbose. Writing in the pages of The American Prospect, Hirshman argued that "feminism has largely failed in its goals." As she explained, "There are few women in the corridors of power, and marriage is essentially unchanged. The number of women at universities exceeds the number of men. But, more than a generation after feminism, the number of women in elite jobs just doesn't come close."
The rest

AFA Warns Sponsors to Separate From 'Desperate Housewives'
Pro-Family Group Will Target ABC Show's Advertisers for Future Boycott
By Allie Martin
February 24, 2006

(AgapePress) - A pro-family media watchdog group has announced it will monitor advertisers on ABC's popular program "Desperate Housewives" and plans to call for a yearlong boycott of the series' sponsors.

One will be monitoring weekly episodes of "Housewives" during the months of April, May and June to identify which companies sponsor the show. After compiling the list of advertisers, will launch a year-long boycott of one or more of the leading "Desperate Housewives" sponsors. and the related website are projects of the
American Family Association (AFA), which seeks through the Internet groups to mobilize grassroots family values consumers to speak out against media indecency and take organized action to combat it. AFA Chairman Don Wildmon says "Desperate Housewives" has been targeted by because of the show's extreme content.

Wildmon calls the show "one of the trashiest programs on television." He says, "Many people consider it to be the most offensive, so we decided to take on the worst of the worst."
The rest

Change arrives at Advent
By Janie Nelson

This Sunday will be the last that members of some families will worship together at the Episcopal Church of the Advent.

The church's minister, the Rev. Robert Coon Jr., nine of its 12 vestry members and around half the congregation are breaking from the Episcopal Church and forming a new church, Holy Cross Anglican Church.

Departing church members will begin holding services at a temporary location on Martin Hurst Road on Ash Wednesday.

“We have families that are splitting up,” said Coon. “Parents, sons, daughters, grandchildren.”
The split, which has been in the works for several months, comes with both emotional and financial challenges.

But, he said, he saw no way around it.
The rest

[ENS] Anglican women arrive in New York for U.N. gathering
Date Fri, 24 Feb 2006

More than 100 Anglican women representing 37 provinces of the Anglican Communion arrived in New York City on February 24 for the opening of the 50th United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (UNCSW) meeting. It is the largest-ever gathering of Anglican women to convene in New York.

The focus of the 2006 event, which continues through March 8, will be on gender equality, the advancement of women in the fields of education, health, and employment, and increased participation of women and men in decision-making processes at all levels.

A 4 p.m. Eucharist service held in the U.N. Chapel officially marked the opening of the UNCSW event.

Delegates will partake in an all-day orientation on February 25 at the Millennium Hotel in New York. On February 26, the women are invited to attend an NGO consultation at New York University School of Medicine to hear about this year's themes and to learn about issues and advocacy strategies. Speakers will include Jackie Shapiro, chair of Zonta International and the NGO Committee on the Status of Women, and Rachel Mayanja, assistant secretary general and special adviser to the U.N. secretary general on gender issues and the advancement of women.

Throughout the two weeks, delegates will attend daily worship, U.N. briefings, plenary sessions and caucuses.

A celebration of the 50th anniversary of the founding of UNCSW, sponsored by Anglican Women's Empowerment (AWE), will be held from 3 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, March 4, at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City. The program and panel discussion will feature women from across the Anglican Communion sharing hopes and concerns for a world in which Christian faith calls them to action.
The rest

6 Months Later, New Orleans Far From Whole
Feb 25 2006
By RUKMINI CALLIMACHI Associated Press Writer

They're throwing Mardi Gras beads again _ so many strands, they're landing in tree branches and getting snagged on the trellised balconies of the French Quarter.

You'll find them adorning the arms of Spanish statues. Tourists are wearing them, but these days so are contractors and the National Guard. It's hard to walk on Bourbon Street without stepping on them. You're likely to crunch them underfoot, long necklaces of plastic pearls brightening the asphalt.

At the corner of Bourbon and St. Peter, Pat O'Brien's is once again serving its syrupy, yet potent Hurricane cocktail. At Tropical Isle, you can get an equally potent Hand Grenade in a tall, plastic go-cup.

But walk to the end of Bourbon Street, take a left on Esplanade Avenue, a right on Rampart Street and head east. At first, the debris comes in bits: A small pile of siding. A rusted box spring. One taped-up refrigerator. At first, you find them in neat piles, in the front yard or outside on the curb.

There's still a semblance of order. But keep going. It gets worse.
The rest

Rep. Sodrel: Allow 'Jesus' in the House
Friday, Feb. 24, 2006 12:44 a.m. EST

Rep. Mike Sodrel, R-Ind., has introduced legislation to counteract a recent federal court ruling that prohibited individual legislators and religious ministers invited to lead prayer in the Indiana House of Representatives from making any reference to Jesus or Christianity.

The decision in Hinrichs v. Bosma, said Sodrel "imperils the foundation principles of our representative republic.

"If federal courts can regulate any speech of the members of a legislative body," he continued, "then those courts can regulate all speech."

Red-Blue Divide Hits DVD Clubs
Friday, Feb. 24, 2006 4:51 p.m. EST

The red-blue divide has come to DVD clubs.

On one hand there is Ironweed, which appeals to left-leaning film buffs with shorts and features having a liberal bent. A recent offering explored Iraqis' perceptions of the U.S. presence in that country.

On the other side of the "aisle, the Conservative DVD Club, an arm of Eagle Publishing, offers films by conservative filmmakers, including a popular biopic of columnist Ann Coulter.

"To serve increasingly fragmented interests, subscription clubs now cater to ideologies and specialties, according to the Christian Science Monitor.

Future of the Internet Highway Debated
AP Technology Writer

NEW YORK (AP) -- On the Internet, the traffic cops are blind - they don't look at the data they're directing, and they don't give preferential treatment.

That's something operators of the Internet highway, the major U.S. phone companies, want to change by effectively adding a toll lane: They want to be able to give priority treatment to those who pay to get through faster.

Naturally, consumer advocates and the Web companies that would be paying the toll are calling it highway robbery.

"Allowing broadband carriers to control what people see and do online would fundamentally undermine the principles that have made the Internet such a success," Vinton Cerf told a Senate committee recently. Cerf, who played a key role in building the Internet, is now the "Chief Internet Evangelist" at Google Inc.
The rest

Cartoons depict Jesus, cause stir at Radford University
University officials will meet with students to discuss balancing free speech and good taste.
By Greg Esposito

Cartoons depicting Jesus in a Radford University online student magazine have created controversy just weeks after Danish cartoons of the prophet Muhammad touched off violent protests throughout the Muslim world.

In his "Christ on Campus" comic strip, sophomore Christian Keesee has satirized the hypocrisy of some churchgoing students, the greed of some televangelists and the commercialization of Christmas, among other things, in 12 cartoons he's published on Radford's Whim Internet Magazine.

He's made his points with images of a cartoon Jesus being stabbed by Santa Claus, playing poker with other religious figures (including Muhammad), punching a heckler who referred to him as a "glorified Easter bunny" and wondering if he has the requisite male body part during a sexual encounter with a woman.

Those depictions have sparked anger among many students, both Christians and non-Christians, and concern among administrators.
The rest

Anthrax Traces Found at 3 Sites as Victim Worsens
Published: February 25, 2006

The Greenwich Village home of a man infected with inhalation anthrax after working with unprocessed animal skins tested positive for the deadly germ, city officials said yesterday. Tests on the van and workplace used by the man, Vado Diomande, also tested positive for traces of anthrax.

At the same time, Mr. Diomande's health worsened. Officials at a Pennsylvania hospital where he is being treated said he was having trouble breathing and have downgraded his condition to serious from stable.

Mr. Diomande is the only person found to have been infected with anthrax in this case, which he is thought to have contracted while working with goatskins to make traditional African drums. However, since Thursday investigators have expanded their search to include two new locations as they tried to pinpoint the exact origin of the anthrax.

Ricin Powder Discovered in Texas Dormitory
Saturday, Feb. 25, 2006

AUSTIN -- A University of Texas student found a substance that has tested positive for ricin, a potentially deadly poison, in a roll of quarters she was using to do laundry in her dormitory, officials said.

The student and her roommate were being treated for potential exposure to the poison, although neither has exhibited symptoms, said Dr. Theresa Spalding of UT Student Health Services.

The student told university police she found the chunky powder Thursday as she was doing her laundry at the Moore-Hill dormitory, Spalding said. Preliminary tests for ricin came back positive Friday.
The rest

S.D. House Approves Abortion Ban Bill

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) - The state House of Representatives has given final legislative approval to a bill that would ban nearly all abortions in South Dakota.

The measure now goes to Republican Gov. Mike Rounds, who said he is inclined to sign the bill if it has no technical defects.

The measure is intended to prompt a legal fight on the legality of abortion. It would become law July 1 if Rounds signs it.

The bill already had passed both houses of the Legislature, but the House had to agree to a Senate amendment before it could go to the governor. It passed 50-18.

"I've indicated I'm pro-life and I do believe abortion is wrong, and that we should do everything we can to save lives," Rounds said. "If this bill accomplishes that, then I am inclined to sign the bill into law."
The rest

Friday, February 24, 2006

February 24: Feast of St Matthias

Collect: Almighty God, who in the place of Judas chose your faithful servant Matthias to be numbered among the Twelve: Grant that your Church, being delivered from false apostles, may always be guided and governed by faithful and true pastors; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

St. Benedict

St. Benedict's advice still resounds today.
Around the middle of the sixth century, an Italian monk wrote some guidelines for people interested in the monastic life. The result was a small book that he described as "advice from a father who loves you."

The monk's name was Benedict, and his modest little book came to have an impact out of all proportion to its size. Known as the "Rule of St. Benedict," it sparked a revolution in the church that is still going on today. That's because it became the foundation for the whole of Western monasticism, as well as a source of guidance for countless lay people seeking a closer relationship with the Lord.

Lent is a good time to explore the time-tested way of holiness that Benedict presented in his "little rule for beginners." In fact, his Rule even includes a special chapter on how to observe Lent. As we might expect, it urges readers to undertake extra acts of self-denial. But in a bit of a surprise move, Benedict makes a point-twice-of stressing that this is meant to be a time of joy. Just as Jesus taught that those who fast should be careful not to look glum (Matthew 6:16-18), Benedict called his readers to enter into Lent "with the joy of the Holy Spirit" (Rule, Chapter 49).

The rest of the meditation here Art

The posting below is found at
Lent and Beyond: I want to urge the readers of this blog to go to this site and take advantage of the prayer and meditations found there. You will be blessed and find encouragement for your spiritual journey! The entire rule of St. Benedict found here .

The gladness of spiritual desire

Summa Minutiae quotes St. Benedict on Lent:
"Let us devote ourselves to tearful prayers, to reading and compunction of heart, and to abstinence.
During these days, therefore, let us add something to the usual amount of our service, special prayers, abstinence from food and drink, that each one offer to God “with the joy of the Holy Ghost” (1 Thes 1:6), of his own accord, something above his prescribed measure; namely, let him withdraw from his body somewhat of food, drink, sleep, speech, merriment, and with the gladness of spiritual desire await holy Easter. "

Compunction of heart with the joy of the Holy Spirit. Withdrawal from merriment with gladness.
The canonical story is that the fast of Lent is followed by the feast of Easter. St. Benedict shows that Lent itself can be a time of feasting, if you do it right.
May the Lord grant us grace that this Lent will indeed be a time of feasting on the Word and in the joy of the Lord’s presence.
-Lent and Beyond

Growing Opposition to Affiliation with Abortion Rights Group

The 75th General Convention will be asked for an up-or-down vote on the recent
decision by the Executive Council to approve membership for the Episcopal Church in an abortion rights organization.

On Feb. 11, clergy and lay delegates to convention in the Diocese of San Diego asked General Convention, which meets June 13-21 in Columbus, Ohio, “to confirm or deny” the Executive Council decision to join the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice
(RCRC) on behalf of the Episcopal Church. That decision was made during a regularly scheduled Jan. 9-12 meeting in Des Moines, Iowa. Although the resolution approved by delegates in San Diego took no position on abortion itself, debate on whether to disassociate from the Executive Council decision is under consideration in at least two other dioceses.

The Rev. Patrick Allen, rector of St. Joseph’s, Hendersonville, Tenn., told the annual convention in the Diocese of Tennessee that he was “profoundly troubled” to learn he was supporting an organization “which promotes an act we believe to be gravely contrary to Christian morality.” Speaking on a point of personal privilege, Fr. Allen said the Executive Council decision to join on behalf of the Episcopal Church served to “preempt dialogue, further dividing an already polarized Church by taking away one more plot of middle ground upon which we could meet and seek in charity to persuade one another.”
The rest at The Living Church

Williams Opposes Shortlist of Gay Candidates for Next Bishop of California
The controversy over homosexuality that has engulfed the Anglican Communion is set to be reignited with the announcement that two openly homosexual candidates have been included in the nominations for the next bishop of California.
Posted: Friday, February 24 , 2006, 8:39 (UK)

The Diocese of California has opened the way for the appointment of a homosexual bishop in the future, after shortlisting an openly gay man and lesbian woman to be its next bishop.

The move is likely to reignite the controversy over homosexuality in the Anglican Communion and has prompted the opposition of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, who expressed his ‘deep unease’ over the announcement, said the Church of England Newspaper.

The inclusion of the Very Rev Robert Taylor, the openly gay Dean of Seattle, and the lesbian Rev. Bonnie Perry, Rector of All Saints’ Church in Chicago, on the list of nominees up for election in May breaches the recommendations of the Windsor Report, which called for a moratorium on the appointment of gay bishops in the Anglican Communion.

The shortlist of the two homosexual candidates was welcomed by the gay church pressure group, Integrity, which said that, “Whether or not Robert or Bonnie is elected by the Diocese of California, it is inevitable that another gay or lesbian person will eventually be elected, confirmed, and consecrated,” to the episcopate in America.
The rest

Chaplain Rebels at Prayer Censorship, Then Removed From Assignment
By Chad Groening
February 23, 2006

(AgapePress) - Another military chaplain has gotten into trouble with his superiors because he has refused to go along with orders not to pray in the name of Jesus.

Captain Jonathan Stertzbach is an Army chaplain assigned to the 10th Mountain Division in Iraq. He was recently removed from his chapel after he commented to the Washington Times about how chaplains of all faiths are being told to offer up only non-sectarian prayers.

Chaplain Stertzbach is now under orders not to talk to the media -- but his representative, Dr. Billy Baugham of the International Conference of Evangelical Chaplain Endorsers, is under no such restrictions. According to Baugham, Stertzbach was upset at having a prayer censored.

"He was told to write out his prayer," Baugham explains, "and when they saw 'In Jesus' name. Amen,' his brigade chaplain struck through it and said, 'You're going to have to change it.'"
The rest

Intern fired for sharing faith
Cited for religious discussion during lunch, after hours
Posted: February 23, 20061:00 a.m. Eastern

A former graduate student who lost an internship for discussing her Christian faith with co-workers has filed a federal lawsuit.

Jacqueline Escobar was completing a master's degree in social work at California State University Long Beach when she interned with the Department of Children and Family Services, or DCFS.

A straight-A student, Escobar was complimented regularly by the DCFS for her work. But she came under scrutiny for sharing her faith with co-workers during lunch breaks and after-hours, and for changing into a shirt with a religious message – "Found" – after signing out for the day, according to the
Pacific Justice Institute, which is representing her. The rest

Vatican presses Muslims on rights
By Tom Heneghan
February 24, 2006

PARIS -- After backing calls by Muslims for respect during the furor over cartoons of the prophet Muhammad, the Vatican is urging Muslim countries to reciprocate by showing tolerance toward their Christian minorities.

"Enough now with this turning the other cheek. It's our duty to protect ourselves," Monsignor Velasio De Paolis, secretary of the Vatican's supreme court, thundered in the daily La Stampa.

"The West has had relations with the Arab countries for half a century, mostly for oil, and has not been able to get the slightest concession on human rights," he said.

Five days of violence by Nigerian Christians and Muslims kill 150
By Christian Allen Purefoy in Lagos
Published: 24 February 2006

Clashes between Nigeria's Muslim and Christian communities have left nearly 150 people dead and thousands displaced after five days of violence sparked originally by the publication of cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohamed.

In the southern city of Onitsha, where the worst of the killing took place, Christians yesterday burnt the corpses of their victims and defaced mosques in revenge for attacks on Christians in the north of the country earlier this week.

As several bodies burnt on pyres of flaming tyres and the stench of charred flesh filled the air, police began to clear away the dead lying at the sides of Onitsha's dirt roads.
The rest

Update: Religious mobs rampage again in Nigeria
By Ijeoma Ezekwere
Friday, February 24, 2006; 8:30 AM

ENUGU, Nigeria (Reuters) - Muslim and Christian mobs took to the streets of three Nigerian cities on Friday and killed at least four people, extending a week of tit-for-tat religious riots that have claimed at least 150 lives.

Uncertainty over Nigeria's political future is aggravating regional, ethnic and religious rivalries ahead of elections next year.
The rest

Rabbis set to snub Archbishop
By Ruth Gledhill

THE rift between the Church of England and the Jewish community deepened last night after a planned meeting between Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and the two Chief Rabbis of Israel was thrown into jeopardy.

Rabbi Shlomo Amar, head of the Sephardi Jews, and Rabbi Yona Metzger, head of the Ashkenazi Jews, had been planning a visit to London in May for talks with Dr Williams at Lambeth Palace.

But today’s Jewish News reports that the rabbis could snub the meeting, after the Church’s divestment decision. The Israeli religious leaders are concerned about the vote by the General Synod to sell shares in Caterpillar and other companies whose products are used by Israel in the West Bank.
The rest

Dialogue is not optional, says Williams
By Pat Ashworth

CHRISTIANS were not called to win competitions or arguments in favour of their "product" in some religious marketplace, the Archbishop of Canterbury told the WCC Assembly in his opening address.

Speaking on "Religious Identity and Religious", Dr Williams reflected on what was essential to Christian identity. The claim of Christian belief was not that first and foremost it offered "the only accurate system of thought, as against all competitors", he suggested.

To be a Christian was not to lay claim to "absolute knowledge", but to lay claim to "a perspective that will transform our most deeply rooted hurts and fears, and so change the world at the most important level", he said. Such a claim could in one way be nothing except exclusive, but the exclusivism of a "system of ideas and conclusions that someone claims to be final and absolute" was impossible.
The rest

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Unbroken Fellowship Essential
lf ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. (John 15:7)

Of necessity we must be in Christ to live unto Him, and we must abide in Him to be able to claim the largesse of this promise from Him. To abide in Jesus is never to quit Him for another love or another object, but to remain in living, loving, conscious, willing union with Him. The branch is not only ever near the stem but ever receiving life and fruitfulness from it. All true believers abide in Christ in a sense; but there is a higher meaning, and this we must know before we can gain unlimited power at the throne. "Ask what ye will" is for Enochs who walk with God, for Johns who lie in the Lord's bosom, for those whose union with Christ leads to constant communion.

The heart must remain in love, the mind must be rooted in faith, the hope must be cemented to the Word, the whole man must be joined unto the Lord, or else it would be dangerous to trust us with power in prayer. The carte blanche can only be given to one whose very life is, "Not I, but Christ liveth in me." O you who break your fellowship, what power you lose! If you would be mighty in your pleadings, the Lord Himself must abide in you, and you in Him. CH Spurgeon

ACN and Diocese of Singapore Advance Mission Partnership

The Anglican Communion Network (ACN) and the Diocese of Singapore have taken the next new step in their mission partnership which began last spring. The partnership is intended to spur on mission work in Nepal, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Thailand and Indonesia. The idea was originally presented by then Bishop John Chew, Diocese of Singapore, while attending the Annual ACN Council meeting and received the enthusiastic support of the Council to move forward.

A more formal agreement was drawn up in early February 2006 by representatives of the Network and the Diocese during meetings held in Singapore just before the installation of the Most Rev. John Chew as the new Archbishop of Southeast Asia. Bishop Robert Duncan, Network Moderator, and the Rev. Canon Daryl Fenton, Chief Operating Officer, were in attendance as the invited representatives of the Network.

“The vision for this partnership is to assist the diocese in extending the missionary enterprises it has already begun in these countries,” said Canon Fenton, “We’re not imposing a program, but rather responding to the leadership of Archbishop Chew by joining in this missionary work which has enormous potential.”

Canon Fenton expects the Anglican Global Mission Partners (AGMP) will be heavily involved in the implementation of the plan to support Anglican mission efforts in Southeast Asia. “There are many details to be worked out, but in the AGMP, we have the expertise of some 30 active mission agencies and ministries to draw on,” he explained.

The rest at ACN website

Learning From How The Reformers Preached
23 February, 2006

In the 19th century, R.L. Dabney wrote - "All the leading Reformers, whether in Germany, Switzerland, England or Scotland were constant preachers, and their sermons were prevalently expository"; the purpose was to explain the meaning of Scripture. So he says, "We can assume with safety that the instrumentality to which the spiritual power of the great revolution of the Reformation - was mainly due to the restoration of scriptural preaching".

the rest-excellent!

Archbishop Makes Reconciliation Visit to Leeds Area of London Bombers
The Archbishop of York has visited the area of Leeds that was home to two of the bombers in last year's suicide attacks on London.
Posted: Thursday, February 23 , 2006, 9:25 (UK)

The Archbishop of York was in the area of Leeds this week, where two of the London July bombers lived, as part of a move to further reconciliation in the community in the aftermath of last year’s terrorist attacks.

Dr John Sentamu met with Christian leaders and a group of young people who live and work in the area at St Mary’s Church in Beeston.

He then went on to meet leaders from different religions represented by the Yorkshire and Humber Faiths Forum at the Hamara Healthy Living Centre, a £1million Muslim-based community project opened in November 2004, reports Ekklesia.
The rest

British Pol Advises American Christians to Get Involved in Politics
By Allie Martin
February 22, 2006

(AgapePress) - A member of the British House of Lords has told the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) convention in Dallas that biblical preaching could be outlawed unless Christians become more politically active.

Recently the British Parliament nearly passed legislation that would have amended that nation's Racial and Religious Hatred Bill and outlawed incitement to religious hatred. The measure lost by a single vote -- the vote of Prime Minister Tony Blair, who left early, confident that the bill would pass without him.

John Taylor, a member of the House of Lords, spoke at this week's NRB gathering in Texas. Taylor said passage of the bill could have led to pastors being arrested for so-called "hate speech." Unless Christians take action, says Taylor, clergy in his country -- as well as in the United States -- could fall victim to such statutes, should they be enacted.

Raid on Christian Copts Exposes Egypt's Secular Paradox

ODAYSSAT, Egypt -- Christians called the flat-top mud and brick building in this little farming community a guest house. But inside, big crucifixes adorned an altar chamber separated from two dozen rows of pews by a wooden screen. A baptismal font was hidden in a side room.

Pictures of a resurrected Jesus, saints and patriarchs gazed from the walls.

For 35 years, the congregation and priests labeled the place a guest house to avoid restrictions on church construction in Egypt. But on Jan. 17, a police official, tipped off that the Christians were trying to have the building officially recognized, stopped by to inspect.

"This is not a guest house," he said with surprise. "It's a church."
According to residents and officials who described the incident, the monks, priests and worshipers answered, in effect: That's right. What of it?

The next day, a mob of Muslim rioters invaded the neighborhood, set fires to palm trees and stables and tried to burn down the building. Only a frantic defense by the Christians and heavy smoke from the flaming trees kept the mob at bay. Police officers who had already surrounded the building stood idly by. One Christian man was killed by a blow to the head with a hoe.
The rest

'Gospel of Judas' to Be Published
By Stacy Meichtry Religion News Service

The first translation of an ancient, self-proclaimed "Gospel of Judas" will be published in late April, bringing to light what some scholars believe are the writings of an early Christian sect suppressed for supporting Jesus Christ's infamous betrayer.

If authentic, the manuscript could add to the understanding of Gnosticism, an unorthodox Christian theology denounced by the early church. The Roman Catholic Church is aware of the manuscript, which a Vatican historian calls "religious fantasy."

The rest

Christian mob kills dozens of Muslims
By Dave Clark in Onitsha, Nigeria
February 23, 2006

AN enraged mob of Nigerian Christian youths has slaughtered dozens of Muslims in two days of rioting in the southern city of Onitsha, witnesses said.

Rioting broke out in the lawless trading town on the banks of the Niger River yesterday when members of the Igbo tribe launched revenge attacks in response to an earlier massacre of Christians in the north of the country.

Nineteen corpses were seen scattered by the side of the main road into the city across the Niger River bridge, where a contingent of soldiers had set up a roadblock to hold back hundreds of rioters armed with clubs and machetes.

The bodies had been beaten, slashed and in some cases burnt. Around the bloodied corpses lay scattered the caps and Islamic prayer beads associated with the northern Hausa tribe.

Christians kill Muslims, ignore Archbishop's plea
At least 20 people were killed in revenge attacks on Muslims in Nigeria yesterday as religious riots intensified
Thursday, February 23, 2006

At least 20 people were killed in revenge attacks on Muslims in Nigeria yesterday as religious riots intensified a day after the country's leading Anglican archbishop
warned Muslims that they did not have a "monopoly on violence".

The Christian retaliation came after a widely publicised statement by Archbishop Akinola, who heads the Christian Association of Nigeria, and warned that the Association might be unable to contain its "restive youths".
The rest

Castro invites pope to Cuba

Havana.– Cuban President Fidel Castro has invited Pope Benedict XVI to visit the Caribbean island, a source at the Cuban bishops' conference revealed .

Castro issued the invitation during a meeting on Friday with Cardinal Raffaele Martino, who spent two days in Cuba as part of a regional tour to present the Catholic Church's new 'Compendium' on social teaching .

News of the invitation follows last week's call by Benedict for the Communist nation to "open its heart" to God and the world. That call came in a message to the head of the Cuban bishops’ conference, which was celebrating the 20th anniversary of the first meeting of bishops allowed following the Cuban revolution.

In Vietnam, Christianity gains quietly
Roman Catholicism takes hold, especially among the young and urban.
By Simon Montlake Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor

PHAT DIEM, VIETNAM – Last Christmas, the Rev. Peter Phuc fulfilled a lifelong dream: He went to Rome. With nine other priests he spent three weeks visiting churches and museums, though he didn't make an official visit to the Vatican, with which Vietnam has no diplomatic relations.

His eyes sparkle with the memory of his first foreign trip, which speaks to the lighter touch exerted by Vietnam's communist rulers on his faith. In 1980, when he was ordained at a closed-door ceremony, Roman Catholic priests ran the risk of being labeled subversives and sent to labor camps. None were permitted to travel overseas to study.
the rest

Shrine bombing rocks Iraq
By Ziad Khalaf
February 23, 2006

SAMARRA, Iraq -- Terrorists detonated bombs inside one of Iraq's holiest Shi'ite shrines yesterday, destroying its golden dome and triggering more than 90 reprisal attacks on Sunni mosques. The president warned that extremists were pushing the country toward civil war.

With the gleaming dome of the 1,200-year-old Askariya "Golden" Mosque reduced to rubble, leaders on both sides called for calm. Many Shi'ites said the United States was partly to blame.

The unprecedented spasm of sectarian violence seemed to push Iraq closer to all-out civil war than at any point in the three years since the U.S.-led overthrow of dictator Saddam Hussein.
The rest

Iranian president says US, Israel attacked shrine

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad blamed the United States and Israel on Thursday for the blowing up of a Shi'ite shrine's golden dome in Iraq, saying it was the work of "defeated Zionists and occupiers."

Speaking to a crowd of thousands on tour of southwestern Iran, the president referred to the destruction of the Askariya mosque dome in Samarra on Wednesday, which the Iraqi government has blamed on insurgents.

"They invade the shrine and bomb there because they oppose God and justice," Ahmadinejad said, referring to the US-led multinational force in Iraq.

Iraqi Gunmen Kill 47 People in Assault on Workers
Thursday, February 23, 2006

BAGHDAD, Iraq — Gunmen shot dead 47 civilians and left their bodies in a ditch near Baghdad Thursday as militia battles and sectarian reprisals followed the bombing of a sacred Shiite shrine. Sunni Arabs suspended their participation in talks on a new government.
The rest

State considers issuing birth certificates for stillborns
By Andrea Fanta The Associated Press
Posted February 23 2006

TALLAHASSEE Eight months into her pregnancy, on Mother's Day, Beth Logullo's baby stopped moving. Two days later, her baby, Katherine, was born still and silent.

"There wasn't a dry eye in the room," husband Daryl Logullo said. "I call her an angel baby because she was born perfect and sleeping."

Katherine was wrapped, weighed, footprinted and cremated. But when Daryl Logullo went to collect his child's remains and request her birth certificate, he learned there would be none.

On Wednesday, the House Health Care committee unanimously approved the "Missing Angels" bill (HB 439) to create birth certificates for pregnancies that last 20 weeks and end in the natural delivery of stillborn infants. Last week, a Senate committee unanimously approved similar legislation (SB 746). Daryl Logullo supports the legislation.

Other bills have been unsuccessful in past sessions, and this year's legislation has a long road ahead, with five House and Senate committee hearings still scheduled.

Villagers claim church fresco is lost Michelangelo
Parishioner's confession leads to discovery of monogram behind altar John Hooper in Rome
Thursday February 23, 2006

No one else knows what the pensioner told the priest about what he got up to when he was a naughty altar boy. But his confession holds out the tantalising possibility that there could be a lost Michelangelo on the wall of a village church in Chianti.

For centuries the inhabitants of Marcialla have handed down the legend that a fresco above the altar was painted by the great Florentine artist in his youth. And the claim has sometimes been referred to in scholarly texts.
The rest

Church to allow 'gay weddings'
By Ruth Gledhill

CLERGY in the Church of Scotland are to be given permission to carry out “gay weddings”.

The Presbyterian Church is expected to bow to the legal situation of civil partnerships and give its blessing to civil partnership ceremonies. The Presbyterian Church, the national church in Scotland, will in May become the first mainstream Christian denomination to authorise same-sex blessing services if its General Assembly approves a recommendation in a legal report.

Such a move would increase pressure on the Church of England to do likewise.
The rest

Pope nominates 15 new cardinals

Pope Benedict XVI has named 15 new cardinals, his first nominations since taking over the papacy last year.

The men will be appointed during a ceremony at the Vatican on 24 March.

Among those nominated are Hong Kong's archbishop, an outspoken campaigner for religious freedom in China, and several from the developing world.

Correspondents say the nominations have been keenly awaited in Rome because they are seen as a leading indicator of the Pope's intentions.
The rest

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Why is it so important that you are with God and God alone on the mountain top? It's important because it's the place in which you can listen to the voice of the One who calls you the beloved. To pray is to listen to the One who calls you "my beloved daughter," "my beloved son," "my beloved child." To pray is to let that voice speak to the centre of your being, to your guts, and let that voice resound in your whole being. Henri J. M. Nouwen

Are you weak? Weary? Confused? Troubled? Pressured? How is your relationship with God? Is it held in its place of priority? I believe the greater the pressure, the greater your need for time alone with Him. Kay Arthur

Letters and Follow up from the Times Union on the Diocese of Albany

Link to titusonenine

A Travesty of Justice in Los Angeles
Tuesday, February 21, 2006

One of the hardest things about this dreadful state of affairs in which we find ourselves in the Episcopal Church today, is to watch godly Christian men and women, whose lives have been totally yielded to the service of the Gospel, being misused and mistreated by those who hold the staff of shepherd of the flock, but seem incapable of acting like a true shepherd. Just this afternoon I heard from my friend, Eddie Gibbs, that he is under imposition in the Diocese of Los Angeles because he is one of the clergy of St. Luke's Church, La Crescenta, that has decided it in all conscience can no longer remain in ECUSA.

So, here is a man who has faithfully served the global church on several continents for more than four decades as a priest, being inhibited in preparation for eventual deposition. The reason is not heresy or immoral behavior, but because the congregation of which he is part cannot accept the plethora of sub-Christian innovations that the left-leaning leadership of his former diocese believe to be just fine and dandy. Quite honestly, this kind of thing is enough to make the angels weep.

The rest at The Kew Continuum

Archbishop Williams: Episcopal Church Should Maintain Consecration Moratorium

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams has cautioned the Episcopal Church not to end the House of Bishop’s moratorium on consecrating non-celibate homosexual priests to the episcopate, until the Communion is of common mind.

“I believe if there is ever to be a change in the discipline and teaching of the Anglican Communion on this matter it should not be the decision of one Church alone,” Archbishop Williams said on Feb. 17 at the World Council of Churches assembly in Porto Alegre, Brazil.

The actions of the 74th General Convention in affirming the election of the Bishop of New Hampshire and recognizing rites for the blessing of same-sex unions as within the bounds of Church life had violated the tenets of the catholic faith and are “seen in the Communion as the decision of one Church which has consequences and repercussions for others that they have not fully owned themselves,” Archbishop Williams said.
The rest at The Living Church

Mob attacks Bishops family
Date: Feb 24

A MOB stormed the house of the Bishop of Jos in Nigeria at the weekend, beating the Bishop’s children and assaulting his wife. The attack came during a weekend of anti-Christian rioting in northern Nigeria with Muslim mobs killing 18 Christians and burning churches in protest at the publication of cartoons in a Danish newspaper caricaturing the Prophet Muhammad.

Press reports and eyewitness accounts of the attack from Nigeria report that approximately 20 men stormed Bishopscourt, the home of the Rt Rev Benjamin Kwashi. Armed with clubs, knives and guns, the mob attacked and bound Bishopscourt’s porter and then broke down the door.

Thinking they were thieves, Mrs Gloria Kwashi offered money. However the mob demanded to know where Bishop Kwashi was, saying they were there to kill him. The bishop’s two sons, Nanminen and Rinji, were beaten. Nanminen was struck unconscious and Rinji’s jaw broken. The mob then turned on Mrs Kwashi and assaulted her, not believing her protestations that the bishop was in London.

Magnitude 7.5 Earthquake Hits Mozambique
The Associated Press
Feb. 22, 2006, 6:25PM

WASHINGTON — An earthquake with an estimated magnitude of 7.5 struck Mozambique, the U.S. Geological Survey said Wednesday. There was no immediate word on injuries or damages.

The quake hit at 12:19 a.m. Thursday local time. Its epicenter was 140 miles southwest of Beira, on Mozambique's Indian Ocean coast, USGS spokeswoman Clarice Ransom said. She said the initial reading had been 6.9 but was adjusted upward.

The earthquake was felt as far away as Durban, South Africa, and Harare, Zimbabwe.

Burma Army Attacks Karen Villages, Thousands Flee
Added: Feb 22nd, 2006 12:10 AM
By BosNewsLife News Center

(BosNewsLife) -- Predominantly Christian Karen villagers were believed to be on the run Tuesday, February 21, amid reports that Burma's government forces launched a new offensive against them.

Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), a religious rights group investigating the situation, told BosNewsLife it had learned of that Karen villagers in Taungoo district were killed, and others detained and used for forced labor. The rest

Christians Upset Over Plans to Stage
Massive Gay Pride Parade in Jerusalem
Christians have reacted with dismay to plans to stage this year's WorldPride event in Jerusalem, home to Christianity, Islam and Judaism.
Posted: Wednesday, February 22 , 2006, 8:22 (UK)

Homosexual activists are planning to stage one of the year’s biggest ‘gay pride’ events in Jerusalem in the summer. The move has met with upset from Christians, however, reports Agape Press.

The organisers are hoping that Jerusalem WorldPride, to take place from Aug. 6. to 12. will be a “massive demonstration of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) pride and human rights” and an opportunity to make a “global statement of pride and tolerance,” the event’s website states.

The event was due to be held in 2005 but was postponed until this year following a massive protest sparked by American pastor Rev. Leo Giovinetti which resulted in petitions being distributed and signed by numerous members of the Knesset and many representatives from Christian and orthodox Jewish faith communities.
The rest

Muslim Cartoon Protests Claim Over 100 More Lives in Nigeria
The furore over cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad may have claimed over one-hundred more lives, following violence this week in northern Nigeria.
Posted: Wednesday, February 22 , 2006, 8:08 (UK)

The furore over cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad may have claimed over one-hundred more lives, following violence this week in northern Nigeria.Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) reports that over thirty churches and 250 houses and shops have been destroyed in Borno State. The violence began as a peaceful protest in the state capital Maiduguri, but soon degenerated.

A mob armed with sticks, machetes and iron bars went rampaging through the town destroying Christian property and targeting the clergy, reports CSW. The priest of St’ Rita’s Catholic Church, Father Gajere, as well as his domestic staff, were all burned to death in his home. The residence of the Catholic Bishop of Maiduguri was also burned.

Putin: Offending believers 'unacceptable'
Feb. 22, 2006 at 5:38AM

Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned against insulting religious feelings and has called on government bodies to be highly responsible in such matters.

Meeting with heads of religious communities Tuesday while on a visit to Azerbaijan, Putin said, "Any insult to feelings of believers is unacceptable and illegal." The president said ill-thought words or actions may have grave consequences, ITAR-Tass reported.

The president was referring to the publication in European newspapers of cartoons depicting Mohammed, the founder of Islam, and to ensuing protests -- some of them violent -- in many parts of the Islamic world.
the rest

Shrine Attack Brings Reprisals and Fear

(AP) - A large explosion Wednesday heavily damaged the golden dome of one of Iraq's most famous Shiite shrines, sending protesters into the streets and triggering reprisal attacks against Sunni mosques. It was the third major attack against Shiite targets in as many days.

Shiite leaders called for calm, but militants attacked Sunni mosques and a gunfight broke out between Shiite militiamen and guards at a Sunni political party in Basra. Army Capt. Jassim al-Wahash said about 500 soldiers were sent to Sunni neighborhoods in Baghdad to prevent clashes between Shiites and Sunnis.

A leading Sunni politician, Tariq al-Hashimi, told reporters 29 Sunni mosques had been attacked nationwide. He urged clerics and politicians to calm the situation "before it spins out of control."

Christian movement moving in
Emigrant group seeks to shape politics in S.C.
By Ron Barnett

GREENVILLE, S.C. From his rural home near Lodi, Calif., Cory Burnell keeps close watch over the news from South Carolina, and he likes what he sees.

Turning the state into a promised land for conservative Christians will be easier than he had thought, he says.

Burnell, a 30-year-old financial adviser and founder of Christian Exodus, believes thousands of religious conservatives across the USA agree with him when he says their influence on government is diluted by liberals and Republicans who have failed to do what mainstream Americans elected them to do.

The answer he came up with in late 2003: Move like-minded Christians to one state: South Carolina.
The rest

California opens door to electing gay bishop
By Jonathan Petre, Religion Corresponden
t(Filed: 22/02/2006)

The Anglican Church faced a fresh crisis yesterday after the diocese of California included a homosexual man and a lesbian in a five-strong shortlist to become its next bishop.

The move will delight liberals but dismay the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, who has backed calls for a moratorium on the election of gay bishops.

The two are the Very Rev Robert Taylor, the dean of St Mark's Cathedral in Seattle, and the Rev. Bonnie Taylor, the rector of All Saints church, Chicago.

Justices to Review Federal Ban on Disputed Abortion Method
Published: February 22, 2006

WASHINGTON, Feb. 21 — The Supreme Court, at full strength with Justice
Samuel A. Alito Jr. on the bench for the first time, opened the next chapter in its long-running confrontation with abortion on Tuesday by agreeing to decide whether the first federal ban on a method of abortion is constitutional.

The court accepted, for argument next fall, the Bush administration's appeal of a decision invalidating the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003. The law makes it a crime for a doctor to perform an abortion during which a part of the fetus, either the "entire fetal head" or "any part of the fetal trunk past the navel," is outside the woman's uterus at the time the fetus is killed.

While supporters of the law maintain that this technique is used only late in pregnancy, and that the law therefore does not present an obstacle to most abortions, abortion-rights advocates say the statute's description applies to procedures used to terminate pregnancies as early as 12 or 13 weeks.
The rest

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

What is the reason that some believers are so much brighter and holier than others? I believe the difference in nineteen cases out of twenty, arises from different habits about private prayer. I believe that those who are not eminently holy pray little and those who are eminently holy pray much. J.C. Ryle photo

Outcome-based Episcopal Math: Are 11 Conservatives Less Diverse than 5 Liberals?
Douglas LeBlanc

The Diocese of Albany will elect a
bishop coadjutor on March 25, and Albany Via Media's website has claimed that the process "severely limits the roles of the clergy and laity," producing "no candidates who are of a more moderate, Episcopal positioning."

For a superior way of nominating a bishop, Albany Via Media cites the work of what it calls a "real diocese":

The Diocese of California will elect the successor to Bishop William Swing on May 6, and comments already have begun at

Albany Via Media vice president
Robert Dodd wrote early on that Albany's "fast track" would not allow time for electors to meet the candidates in person. (As Via Media's site now acknowledges, Albany's standing committee somehow found time to schedule [PDF] two "meet the candidates" days). The rest

South East Asia: New Archbishop
The Installation of the Rt Revd Dr John Chew Hiang Chea as the 3rd Archbishop of the Province of the Anglican Church in South East Asia

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Bishop John Chew will succeed Archbishop Datuk Yong Ping Chung as the third Archbishop of the Province of South East Asia. He will be installed in St. Andrew’s Cathedral, Singapore, on Sunday 5th February 2006 at the 5.00 pm Service. In April 2000 he was consecrated and installed as the 8th Bishop of Singapore by Archbishop Yong, being the first Chinese educated Bishop of Singapore. The term of office of the Primate of South East Asia is 4 years. As the Primate of South East Asia, the Archbishop-elect, like his predecessors, will provide leadership for the Anglican work and mission in the Dioceses of Kuching and Brunei, Sabah, Singapore and West Malaysia. The Province has ecclesiastical jurisdiction in Malaysia and Singapore as well as in Brunei, Indonesia, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and Nepal. Altogether these have a population of 450 million consisting of many races, languages, cultures, religions and customs.

Over 30 Anglican Primates (Archbishops) and Bishops from countries of ASEAN and Asia, Africa, Melanesia, England, USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand will be arriving for the Installation Service and other related events. It is by far one of the largest gatherings of global senior Anglican clerics for a Primatial Installation in this part of the world. Altogether they represent over 50 million Anglican members in the world. The Archbishop of Canterbury, The Rt Revd Dr Rowan Williams, will be represented by the Rt Revd Jonathan Gledhill (Bishop of Lichfield). Also present will be another senior Anglican cleric, the Most Revd Dr Peter Akinola, the Primate of All Nigeria and Chairman of the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa as well as the Global South Movement in the Communion. Archbishop-Elect John Chew is the General Secretary of the Global South Movement, a grouping of non-Western Provinces within the Anglican Communion.
The rest

Warnings of anti-Muslim violence by Christians in Nigeria

Nigeria's main Christian body has said that Christians may retaliate after Muslim rioters killed dozens of Christians and torched churches.

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), which says 50 people died in anti-Christian rioting in the northern city of Maiduguri at the weekend, described the violence as part of a Muslim plan to turn Nigeria into an Islamic state.

Rioting also broke out in two other predominantly Muslim northern cities in the past days. In Katsina, the Red Cross said seven people were killed, while in Bauchi a Reuters eyewitness saw 10 dead bodies on the streets and several burnt churches.

In a statement, the controversial Anglican Archbishop Peter Akinola,
known to many across the world for his outspoken statements about homosexuality said; "May we at this stage remind our Muslim brothers that they do not have the monopoly of violence in this nation". The rest

Mandatory abortion proposed in Holland
Official calls for debate to deal with issue of unwanted children
Posted: February 21, 200611:44 a.m. Eastern

A health official in the Netherlands has called for a debate on the idea of forced abortion and contraception to deal with what she sees as a crisis of unwanted children.

Alderman Marianne van den Anker of the Leefbaar Rotterdam Party wants specifically to target communities of Antilleans and Arubans where she sees the biggest problems of unwanted children.

Her comments have stirred protest by a health foundation working with those communities in Rotterdam. The group, which called the comments degrading, is asking Mayor Ivo Opstelten and other politicians to distance themselves from Van den Anker's views.
The rest

New Barna Survey Finds Most Americans Baffled by 'Holiness'
Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2006
Posted: 10:31:56AM EST

A new nationwide survey released Monday by The Barna Group indicates that most adults are unclear on the concept of holiness, with Evangelicals faring slightly better than the national average.

The telephone survey of 1,003 Americans in January finds that only one-third of Americans contend that “God expects you to become holy,” and 46 percent believe God has called them to holiness. Young adults (39 years old or younger) are less likely to believe that God expects holiness.

Seventy-three percent of all adults believe that it is possible for someone to become holy, regardless of their past, and 21 percent believe themselves to be holy. Approximately half say they know someone they consider to be holy. Born again Christians average a few more percentage points higher on all three measures of holiness.

Latest Pew Study Notes Link between Church Attendance, Happiness
Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2006
Posted: 11:28:53 AM EST

The latest study from the Pew Research Center has found that people who attend religious services weekly are happier than those who attend monthly or less. Other factors contributing to happiness were also explored.

Forty-three percent of weekly churchgoers are very happy, while 31 percent of those who attend church monthly or less are very happy, according to the new study conducted by the nonpartisan "fact tank" based in Washington D.C. And of those who attend church seldom or never, only 26 percent say they are very happy.

Majority of births will soon be out of wedlock
By Jonathan Petre, Religion Correspondent
(Filed: 21/02/2006)

Half of all babies will be born to unmarried mothers by 2012 if present trends continue, says new research that suggests the rapid erosion of moral and religious taboos.

Moreover, fewer than half of families will consist of married couples and up to a third could be lone parents, said Dr Peter Brierley, a former Government statistician now specialising in religious trends.

Dr Brierley's projections followed the publication of official figures yesterday showing that the number of births outside marriage has almost quadrupled in recent decades.

The Office for National Statistics' Social Trends report, an annual snapshot of Britain, said that the figure rose to 42.3 per cent last year.

In 1994, the figure was 32 per cent and in the early 1970s it was less than 10 per cent.
The rest

Orthodox church sees gap with Protestants growing
21 February 2006

PORTO ALEGRE: Liberal reforms allowing female clergy and same-sex marriage are creating a widening gulf within world Christianity, a leading Russian Orthodox bishop said.

That growing divide may prompt Orthodox churches to consider a tactical alliance with Roman Catholicism to defend traditional Christian values, Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev said on the sidelines of the global assembly of the mostly Protestant World Council of Churches (WCC).

While Orthodox churches, with some 220 million members, are members of the WCC, now holding its global assembly in Brazil, Alfeyev – the chief Russian Orthodox delegate – said they have less in common with fellow members than they once had.

"The gap between the traditional wing, represented mainly by Orthodox churches and the Roman Catholic Church, and the liberal wing, represented by many Protestant churches, is only growing day by day," he said.

"We (Orthodox and Catholics) are on the same side of the divide." "Traditional Christianity's very survival is in jeopardy. We have no right to delay this strategic alliance, because in 20-40 years it will be too late," he said in an interview, citing threats like "warrior secularism, warrior Islam or warrior liberalism present in Protestantism."
The rest

Preventive Maintenance For the Brain
Can Exercise or Mind Games Help? A Look at the Evidence
Alicia Ault
Special to The Washington Post
Tuesday, February 21, 2006

If it seems you're forgetting more as you grow older, you are. Like most other organs in the body, the brain gets smaller as we age, leading to a decline in memory, decision-making ability and verbal skills. That doesn't necessarily mean that you're on a steep downhill slide toward certain dementia, say experts. Growing evidence suggests there are steps you can take to better the odds of preserving your brainpower and protecting it against disease.

Two avenues for boosting cognition -- challenging your brain and exercising your body -- have drawn considerable scientific research.
The rest

Justices to Weigh Late-Term Abortion Ban
Feb 21, 10:39 AM (ET)

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court said Tuesday it will consider the constitutionality of banning a type of late-term abortion, teeing up a contentious issue for a newly-constituted court already in a state of flux over privacy rights.

The Bush administration has pressed the high court to reinstate the federal law, passed in 2003 but never put in effect because it was struck down by judges in California, Nebraska and New York.
The outcome will likely rest with the two men that President Bush has recently installed on the court. Justices had been split 5-4 in 2000 in striking down a state law, barring what critics call partial birth abortion because it lacked an exception to protect the health of the mother.

But Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who was the tie-breaking vote, retired late last month and was replaced by Samuel Alito. Abortion had been a major focus in the fight over Alito's nomination because justices serve for life and he will surely help shape the court on abortion and other issues for the next generation.
The rest

Drives to ban gay adoption heat up
In 16 states, laws or ballot votes proposed
By Andrea Stone

Efforts to ban gays and lesbians from adopting children are emerging across the USA as a second front in the culture wars that began during the 2004 elections over same-sex marriage.

Steps to pass laws or secure November ballot initiatives are underway in at least 16 states, adoption, gay rights and conservative groups say. Some, such as Ohio, Georgia and Kentucky, approved constitutional amendments in 2004 banning gay marriage.

"Now that we've defined what marriage is, we need to take that further and say children deserve to be in that relationship," says Greg Quinlan of Ohio's Pro-Family Network, a conservative Christian group.
The rest