Saturday, March 25, 2006

Bishop Dan Herzog of Albany and his successor, Fr. Bill Love- Bishop Coadjutor-elect
March 25, 2006

picture by Raymond Dague

Fr. Bill Love of St. Mary's Lake Luzerne in the Diocese of Albany was elected Bishop Coadjutor on the fourth ballot this afternoon. He has asked us to pray that he will have the strength, courage and faith to be obedient. He said, "I need your help, your support, your prayers. We are all in this together." His election was met with thunderous applause.

*Pray that he will have the strength, courage and faith to be obedient.
*Pray that he will be approved by the General Convention of the Episcopal Church in June.

*Pray that he will receive the full measure of help, support and prayer from all parts of the diocese.
From Albany Intercessor

Michael Schiavo Caught in Serious Distortion of Truth on NBC Interview
By John-Henry Westen

CLEARWATER, FLA., March 24, 2006 ( - Michael Schiavo, who ordered doctors to withhold food and water from his severely disabled wife Terri until she died, and his current wife Jodi were interviewed by NBC's Matt Lauer. Those exclusive interviews based on Schiavo's upcoming book "Terri: The Truth," are to be broadcast on "Dateline," Sunday, March 26 at 7 p.m.. Ironically, despite claiming to speak about 'the truth' concerning Terri, NBC's Lauer catches Schiavo in a serious distortion of truth as the interview begins.

In the interview, Michael responds to Lauer asking why he would not just divorce Terri - since he was already living with another woman with whom he had fathered children - leaving Terri with her own parents who were begging to be allowed to care for her. Michael answered, "When you sit in a courtroom and you hear her father say I'll cut her arms and her legs off, just to keep her alive, why would I want to put their daughter back in their care if he's gonna (sic) do that to her."
the rest

Staver: Teacher's Bible-Based Opinion on Homosexuality No Grounds for Discipline
Attorney Suggests School Wouldn't Win a Court Case If It Comes to That
By Jim Brown and Jody Brown
March 24, 2006

(AgapePress) - A Florida-based Christian attorney says a Miami public high school was wrong to publicly reprimand a teacher for stating her biblical opposition to homosexuality while being interviewed for a student video project that was broadcast throughout the school.

Teacher Donna Reddick was one of several people at the school who were interviewed by students in a television production class who were doing a three-day segment regarding homosexuality. The students' productions are broadcast regularly over the school public address system following morning announcements.
the rest

Rome, 22 March

(AKI) - Abdul Rahman, the man condemned to death for having abandoned Islam, is just one of many Afghanis who decide to convert to Christianity, but most are forced to do so secretly, argues Arab Christian author Camille Eid. In an interview with Adnkronos International (AKI) Eid, author of "The Christians who come from Islam", said during a recent trip to Afghanistan he met many similar cases. "They are Christians who have sprung out of nowhere and it's unclear how they have decided by themselves to convert" he added. The US, Italy, Germany and Canada have all expressed concern over the fate of Rahman who converted to Christianity 16 years ago.

"I also spoke to a priest who had passed through Kabul and he said he was amazed that women sitting on the ground at the local market saw he was a foreigner and a Christian, by the cross he was wearing, and attracted his attention to them by making a sign of the cross with their fingers. He was convinced that they were trying to send him a coded message" said Eid, a Lebanese Maronite who lives in Italy.

Churches Offer Spiritual Advice In Tiny Bites, Goofy or Profound
Christian Davenport
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, March 25, 2006

On Sundays, the Rev. Debbie L. Scott preaches to her congregation inside North Bethesda United Methodist Church. The other days of the week, her message is delivered to the passing cars on Old Georgetown Road, on a sign with black, all-caps lettering.

Scott's selections can be sassy: "Pessimists need a kick in the can'ts."

Clever: "Prayer is the best wireless connection."

Stern: "Jesus turned water into wine, but He can't turn whining into anything."

Ominous: "There is a way to stay out of hell, but no way to get out."
the rest

Bishop-elect of Albany
The Very Rev. William H. Love

Fr. Bill Love is Rector of St. Mary's, Lake Luzerne, where he has served since 1992. Prior to that, he was the Dean's Vicar at the Cathedral, and an Air Intelligence Officer in the Air Force. He is the Dean of the Southern Adirondack Deanery, member of the Standing Committee, Diocesan Council, Healing Ministry Team at the SLC, and Priest Associate of the Community of St. Mary in Greenwich. Past Ministries include Happening Spiritual Director and Deputy to General Convention. He and his wife, Karen, have been married 22 years and have two teenage kids, Chris and Catie. link

Fr. Love's Responses to the Standing Committee Questions -a blessing to read!

Comments over at titusonenine

Please pray for our brothers and sisters in Albany who are electing a bishop today.

A wonderful prayer found at Lent and Beyond:

Lord, help us find our strength in your might. Clothe us with your full armor: put on us the shoes of the preparation to share the gospel of peace; gird our loins with your truth; put on us the breastplate of righteousness and the helmet of salvation; put on us the shield of faith with which to quench every fiery dart of the evil one; place in our hands the sword of your Spirit which is your word; help us speak and pray boldly as we ought to, and having stood all to stand. Amen, so be it. (From Ephesians 6:10-20)

A litany for the cleansing of our hearts (from Mark 7:20-23)

Litany here

Schism looms, Exeter warns US bishops
Ruth Gledhill

Bishop of Exeter, Michael Langrish, has delivered an extraordinary speech to Ecusa bishops which makes me believe for the first time that schism might actually be a possibility. Fundamentally, he has told the US bishops that if they consecrate another gay bishop or authorise same-sex relations, the Anglican Communion will break apart, Arcic will be finished and inter-faith dialogue with the Muslims will be at an end.

Two things give this speech added weight. One is that Langrish was speaking at the episcopal retreat of Ecusa's house of bishops in Kanuga as the representative of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams. So we can assume the views stated here are Dr Williams' own, which rather supports the inferences that many have drawn from his Guardian interview. The other significant fact is that Langrish is one of the bishops invited to the meeting at Lambeth Palace 24 April, discussed here, to discuss the "critical" stage the Anglican is at in the light of the General Convention in June. There are blogs discussing this here, here, here at Titusonenine for a really good discussion and likewise here at Thinking Anglicans for a good debate.

The Bishop of Exeter's address was long and doesn't appear to be online anywhere. It has taken me two days to get hold of it, having heard numerous reports of its significance, but I finally managed to obtain a copy a couple of hours ago. Because it is so late, and I am frankly exhausted, I am just going to post the relevant passages here and let you judge for yourselves. There really is no need on this occasion for me to add any comments of my own. I think you will see that Langrish is capable of speaking for himself.
the rest here

Comments over at titusonenine

Friday, March 24, 2006

The Scandal of "Unilateral Divorce"
R. Albert Mohler, Jr.
President, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

America's experiment with no-fault divorce -- an experiment that could well mean the virtual abolition of marriage as an institution -- has produced a massive toll of cultural destruction and personal pain. Millions of marriages have been terminated, homes have been broken, and lives have been destroyed in the wake of easy divorce.

Jennifer Roback Morse, a research fellow at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University, has been tracing the effects of no-fault divorce throughout the culture. In "Why Unilateral Divorce Has No Place in a Free Society," she argues that the nation's high divorce rate is the direct cause or a major contributor to a vast array of social problems. Furthermore, she argues that "divorce is in the background of the same-sex marriage debate because same-sex marriage is the end of the trend that no-fault divorce began." As she makes clear, "The legal innovation of unilateral divorce began to reduce marriage to nothing but a temporary association of individuals. If marriage is merely a free association of individuals, there is no principled reason to exclude same-sex couples, or even larger groupings of sexual partners. The permanence of marriage was one of the key features that distinguished it from an ordinary contract."
the rest

Pentecostals: The Sequel
What will it take for this world phenomenon to stay vibrant for another 100 years?
by Grant McClung

After 100 years of modern renewal history, we Pentecostals and our charismatic cousins have been probed and described from every possible angle—theological, sociological, historical, phenomenological, psychological, and more. We've been called a revitalization movement, a movement of social transformation, a millenarian movement, and a movement of racial integration. No doubt a Google search for "Pentecostal" would yield even more labels, thus providing fodder for endless rounds of doctoral dissertations and blog sites.

Pentecostals have endured the anathemas of adversaries ("the tongues movement" being one of the nicer of many unflattering descriptors) and enjoyed the accolades of academics. With our weakness toward self-congratulation and our breakneck pace toward upward mobility and social respectability, Philip Jenkins's words in The Next Christendom could easily become a favorite among us: "Since there were only a handful of Pentecostals in 1900 and several hundred million today, is it not reasonable to identify this as perhaps the most successful social movement of the past century?"

They now talk about us (and even to us!) on CNN and in the halls of Harvard. So it is predictable, especially during this centennial year of the Azusa Street revival, that everyone from theologians to historians to sociologists to the media are seeking to impose their preferred definitions on global charismatic Christianity.
the rest

Conservative rabbi: I'm being punished for gay marriages
Mar. 24, 2006 7:14

As the theological debate within Conservative Judaism over the status of homosexuals heats up, a Conservative Israeli rabbi has accused his movement of discrimination.

Rabbi David Lazar, of congregation Tiferet Shalom in Ramat Aviv, said Wednesday that he feels his pro-gay stand has disqualified him from running for official positions in the Masorti (Conservative) Movement's institutions in Israel.

"I feel I have been singled out as a persona non gratis by the Schechter Institute [of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem]," said Lazar, who has conducted 10 same-sex weddings in Israel since 2001, in violation of Conservative directives.

"I do not know for sure," said Lazar, "but it is strange that I have not been invited to speak to rabbinical students at Schechter since I began doing same-gender weddings."

Lazar said he felt the Schechter Institute's administration wants to prevent him from influencing rabbinical students with his opinions on homosexuality.
the rest

Researchers Look at Prayer and Healing
Conclusions and Premises Debated as Big Study's Release Nears
Rob Stein
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, March 24, 2006

At the Fairfax Community Church in Virginia, the faithful regularly pray for ailing strangers. Same goes at the Adas Israel synagogue in Washington and the Islamic Center of Maryland in Gaithersburg.

In churches, mosques, ashrams, "healing rooms," prayer groups and homes nationwide, millions of Americans offer prayers daily to heal themselves, family, friends, co-workers and even people found through the Internet. Fueled by the upsurge in religious expression in the United States, prayer is the most common complement to mainstream medicine, far outpacing acupuncture, herbs, vitamins and other alternative remedies.

American Muslims are gaining a foothold in politics
They're voting and running for Congress, local offices
By Jill Lawrence

TEANECK, N.J. The mayor of nearby Prospect Park is a 30-year-old high school business teacher with a young son. He was a volunteer firefighter at 18 and has been active in his community ever since. But when he sought the mayor's office last fall, voters received anonymous fliers calling him a "betrayer" tied to the 9/11 terrorists.

Why? Because he is a Syrian-born Muslim named Mohamed Khairullah.

the rest

Top Muslim clerics: Convert must die
Religious leaders urge courts to ignore West, hang Christian
Friday, March 24, 2006

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) -- Senior Muslim clerics are demanding that an Afghan man on trial for converting from Islam to Christianity be executed, warning that if the government caves in to Western pressure and frees him, they will incite people to "pull him into pieces."

In an unusual move, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice telephoned President Hamid Karzai on Thursday seeking a "favorable resolution" of the case of Abdul Rahman. The 41-year-old former medical aid worker faces the death penalty under Afghanistan's Islamic laws for becoming a Christian.

His trial has fired passions in this conservative Muslim nation and highlighted a conflict of values between Afghanistan and its Western backers.

MPs give backing to Bill on women bishops
Date: Mar 24

MPs backed women bishops this week in a controversial Bill pressing the Church to remove the bar on the consecration of women. Labour MP Andy Reed described as ‘spurious’ the theological arguments against women’s ministry. He said the fact that women can be archdeacons and deans but not bishops was “simply wrong”.

“How can the Church preach equality when it institutionalises discrimination,” he declared. He admitted that he while was in favour of disestablishment, Parliament had a right at the current time to make its views known to the Church of England. “We should be able to express our support for the role of women in every field of British life – to express our view, in the broadest terms, that women and men are equal, albeit different.” He said women priests believe that the Church is dragging its heels and listening to ‘ultra-conservatives’ rather than its mainstream. “That certainly smacks of the ultra conservative tail wagging the mainstream dog,” he added.
The rest

Churches unite over euthanasia threat
Date: Mar 24
By Andrew Carey

CHURCH OF ENGLAND bishops have united with the Roman Catholic Church in launching a campaign to prevent the legalisation of ‘assisted suicide’ this week. The Roman Catholic attempt to distribute half a million anti-euthanasia leaflets and DVDs to each of their parishes in England and Wales is the biggest political campaign by the Church.

Anglican leaders this week also voiced their opposition to the parliamentary move and urged Christians to lobby MPs and Peers to prevent Lord Joffe’s Assisted Dying for the Terminally Ill Bill becoming law.
the rest

Wall squeezes Bethlehem Christians
By Jon Leyne
BBC News, Bethlehem

It must be barely 10 km from Jerusalem to Bethlehem. Jesus and Mary probably took this road, as they made their way down from Nazareth 2,000 years ago.

But take the route today, and you are confronted with a new obstacle.

The barrier Israel is building around the West Bank slices through what used to be the main road. At this point it is a towering wall of concrete.

All visitors to the Palestinian town of Bethlehem must now pass through a high security checkpoint.
the rest

Pope appoints 15 new cardinals

Pope Benedict XVI has appointed 15 new cardinals - the first under his papacy - at a ceremony in the Vatican.

Among those promoted are Hong Kong's archbishop, who is an active campaigner for religious freedom in China, and several men from the developing world.

The appointments raise the total number of cardinals to 193.

On Thursday, the Pope convened the College of Cardinals to discuss the challenges facing the 1.1bn-strong Roman Catholic Church.
The rest

Thursday, March 23, 2006

"Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it." John 14: 13-14 (ESV)

Christ's life and work, His suffering and death-it was all prayer, all dependence on God, trust in God, receiving from God, surrender to God. Thy redemption, O believer, is a redemption wrought out by prayer and intercession: thy Christ is a praying Christ; the life He lived for thee, the life He lives in thee, is a praying life that delights to wait on God and receive all from Him. To pray in His Name is to pray as He prayed. Christ is our only example because He is our Head, our Savior, and our Life. In virtue of His Deity and of His Spirit He can live in us: we can pray in His Name, because we abide in Him and He in us.

Andrew Murray art

Rob Eaton: Face the Darkness, Bear the Light
This is the twenty-sixth in a series of Lenten devotionals by a
group of Anglican bloggers and friends. Today’s entry is by the Rev. Rob Eaton rector of St. John’s Tulare, CA, a regular commenter on Titusonenine and a good friend of Lent & Beyond. You can read other entries in the series here.

Excerpt: "We must see that God allows and often directs us into a place of perceived darkness, such as the dark places of our own souls, in order to bring forth fruit in our lives. This is the purpose of self-examination in the context of Lent. I must see the beauty of obediently being led into the disobediences of my life, to face them, and overcome them, in order to bear the fruit of a strengthened life as a disciple of Jesus Christ. "

the rest at Lent and Beyond

Fluff and Blather from the HOB
Matt Kennedy+

This will only be a partial commentary on the House of Bishops, Word to the Church, issued yesterday. I intended to write a full commentary but found the statement was almost entirely taken up with fluff and blather.

Nevertheless, here we go:
"….In Lent God calls us to examine our hearts and renew our companionship with the One who offered himself for the salvation of the world. We are very conscious of the larger
context in which we gather and deliberate: in a country where the disparity between rich and poor persists, where we struggle to rebuild lives and communities along the Gulf Coast, a country whose daughters and sons are serving at war overseas. Increasingly we are aware that we represent not a single national church, but one richly comprising congregations in fifteen countries. We wish to share with you something of our journey with Christ during these days of our meeting together."

One of the more interesting forms of denial in which the Episcopal hierarchy has engaged over the last few years has been the desperate head-burying in liberation theology.
The more difficult relations become Communion-wide, the more Episcopalian leaders anxiously “speak out” about war, racism, the poor etc. the rest

Osama a child of God: Desmond Tutu
By Judi McLeod
Thursday, March 23, 2006

The former Archbishop of Cape Town and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Desmond Tutu sees Osama bin Laden as just another member of “God's family”.

That's what Archbishop Tutu told the World Council of Churches (WCC) recently, but only after he called for the closure of the detention centre at Cuba's Guantanamo Bay.

Wide sweeping in naming family members on God's behalf, he threw President George W. Bush into the familial mix.

“God's family,” according to Archbishop Desmond Tutu includes, “Bush, bin Laden, all belong, gay, lesbian, so-called straight-all belong and are loved, are precious.”
the rest

Anglican leader to hold rare meeting with Pope
By Paul Majendie

LONDON (Reuters) - Anglican leader Rowan Williams is to visit Pope Benedict in the Vatican as the world's two largest organised churches battle to bridge their differences over homosexuality.
The visit later this year will mark the 40th anniversary of Archbishop of Canterbury Michael Ramsey's historic meeting with Pope Paul VI in 1966.

That was the first formal meeting between the heads of the two churches since England's King Henry VIII broke with Rome in the 16th Century.

"My visit this autumn is an opportunity to continue that rich tradition of visits between Canterbury and Rome," said Williams, struggling to avoid schism in his own church over the ordination in America of openly gay bishop Gene Robinson.
The rest

Apostles as Envoys of Christ
"Witnesses of a Person"

VATICAN CITY, MARCH 22, 2006 ( Here is a translation of the address Benedict XVI gave today at the general audience, which he dedicated to the theme "The Apostles, Witnesses and Envoys of Christ."

* * * Dear Brothers and Sisters, The Letter to the Ephesians presents the Church as a structure "built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone" (2:20). In [the Book of] Revelation, the role of the apostles, and more specifically of the Twelve, is clarified with the eschatological perspective of the heavenly Jerusalem, presented as a city whose wall has "twelve courses of stones as its foundation, on which were inscribed the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb" (21:14). The Gospels coincide in narrating that the call of the apostles marked the first steps of Jesus' ministry, after the baptism received by the Baptist in the waters of the Jordan.

According to Mark's (1:16-20) and Matthew's (4:18-22) accounts, the Lake of Galilee is the scene of the call of the first apostles. Jesus had just begun to preach the Kingdom of God, when his gaze turned to two pairs of brothers: Simon and Andrew, James and John. They were fishermen, dedicated to their daily work. They lowered their nets and repaired them. However, another catch was awaiting them. Jesus calls them with determination and they follow him with promptness: Henceforth they will be "fishers of men" (cf. Mark 1:17; Matthew 4:19).
the rest

Allies Troubled by Afghan Threat to Christian Convert From Islam
Published: March 23, 2006

The case of an Afghan man who could face the death penalty in his country for converting to Christianity from Islam has prompted a swift international outcry. President Bush said yesterday that he was "deeply troubled," and leaders of three other nations with troops in
Afghanistan also voiced objections.

The convert, Abdul Rahman, has been accused of apostasy and jailed, but not formally charged. In the
United States this week, Christian talk shows and advocacy groups rallied their supporters, who flooded the White House and the Afghanistan Embassy with complaints.

The embassy released a statement yesterday saying that it was "too early" to draw conclusions, and that a judge was now "evaluating questions raised about the mental fitness of Mr. Rahman." The embassy said the results of that evaluation "may end the proceedings."
the rest

Lutheran: Church to install gay pastor
by Rob Akers

St. Francis Lutheran Church in San Francisco will be the site this Sunday for installation of the Reverend Robert Goldstein as the church's new lead pastor.

The ceremony will officially combine the efforts of Goldstein and St. Francis' history of pioneering equal rights for LGBT people on a community level and within the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

St. Francis was one of two congregations expelled from the ELCA in 1995 because it ordained a gay man and a lesbian couple as pastors against church officials' wishes. By assuming the pastorate at St. Francis, Goldstein, who is openly gay, is chancing the same consequence. "I, too, am in conflict with the official ELCA clergy roster and may be removed after my third year," said Goldstein.
the rest

What the increase of monastic vocations in Italy could mean for European secularism.
by Christopher Levenick
03/23/2006 12:00:00 AM

IT IS BY NOW a commonplace that the state of Europe hovers between dire and grave. Sclerotic economies, plummeting birthrates, and moribund militaries all appear symptomatic of imminent collapse. Exacerbating its condition is the widespread decline of the continent's ancestral faith. Europe, it seems, has lost its faith, and with it, its will to live. But lest early drafts of the continent's obituary prove premature, it is worth noting the occasional indication of European renewal.

Italy, for instance, is often viewed as a case study in secularization. Yet across the peninsula, weekly attendance at Catholic Mass has been
steadily climbing for two decades. In 1980, roughly 35 percent of Italians regularly attended the Mass; by 2000 that figure had climbed to nearly 50 percent.

But even more pregnant with possible significance is Italy's sudden surge in new monastic vocations. A
recent conference organized by the Vicariate of Rome and the Unione Superiore Maggiori D'Italia revealed that in the last year, no fewer than 550 women entered cloistered convents--up from 350 two years earlier. In contrast to recent trends, the new candidates were predominantly native-born and college-educated Italians. Similar gains are said to have occurred among male monastics. The Italian village of Nursia, for example, recently welcomed a small group of American monks to rehabilitate a monastery built at the birthplace of St. Benedict, the great patriarch of western monasticism. Story

Now you 'Recife' him, now you don't- Anglican crisis deepens
Ruth Gledhill weblog
Thursday, 23 March 2006

Excerpt: "The Anglican Communion is in deep crisis. The General Convention in the US could see the ratification of the election of a
gay or lesbian Bishop of California. Convention will also debate where Ecusa goes now in response to the Windsor Report. The outcome will determine whether Gene Robinson and the bishops who consecrated him are invited to Lambeth 2008. My guess is that when the invitations go out later this year, some of the US bishops and suffragans might be invited with observer status only, rather as the Ecusa delegates attended the ACC meeting in Nottingham. But beyond not inviting people and issuing public rebukes, there is very little Dr Williams can do with respect to Ecusa if the North Americans do decide to follow their liberal consience, as seems likely."

the rest here

N.H. Moves to Limit Eminent Domain

New Hampshire lawmakers gave preliminary approval Wednesday to a constitutional amendment that would limit government's ability to seize private property.

The measure was prompted by a U.S. Supreme Court ruling last year that allowed New London, Conn., to take a group of older homes along the waterfront and turn them over to a developer who plans to build offices, a hotel and convention center.

The state House and Senate voted overwhelmingly in favor of identical resolutions. For the measure to win approval, both chambers must pick one resolution and pass it.

Then the amendment would be put to a statewide vote, probably in November. Two-thirds approval would be needed for ratification.

Poll: Most Americans Love Coulter Columns!
Ann Coulter
March 23, 2006

President Bush has lost his momentum, Americans' support for the Iraq war is dwindling, and opposition to Bush policies is hardening. That's according to a recent New York Times/CBS News poll being covered as if it were a real news story.

Like callers to talk radio claiming to be Republicans angry with Republicans, liberals love to pretend public opinion is always in the process of shifting in their direction. They can't win elections – Democrats have gotten a majority vote in a national election only two times since FDR was president (Lyndon Johnson in '64 and Jimmy Carter in '76). But they're always experiencing an upswing in the polls.

Clinton could never get a majority of Americans to vote for him but, according to the polls, as soon as the public found out about his sex romps with Monica, his support shot up to above 80 percent. Bush did get a majority of the country to vote for him less than two years ago. Now we're told 70 percent of Americans hate the man.
The rest

Navy rule on prayer ignites a debate
By Eric Pfeiffer
March 23, 2006

A new Navy policy that encourages chaplains to use only "nonsectarian" language outside of divine services has prompted criticism that regulating prayer services violates the chaplains' First Amendment rights.

Under new rules signed by Secretary of the Navy Donald C. Winter, chaplains of all faiths in the Navy are asked to consider the views of their audience before invoking specific religious beliefs in prayer.

"I'm very disappointed with the secretary of the Navy," said Navy chaplain Lt. Gordon James Klingenschmitt. "He's doing the opposite of what President Bush wants."
The rest

Islamic Activism Sweeps Saudi Arabia
Cartoons of Muhammad Spur Homemakers, Students, Professionals to Organize
By Faiza Saleh Ambah
Special to The Washington Post
Thursday, March 23, 2006

JIDDAH, Saudi Arabia -- More than a dozen women in black cloaks, some with colorful head scarves, others with only their eyes visible through slits in black veils, filed into the dining room after sunset prayers. They sat around a long table set up with paper, pencils and thermoses of Arabic coffee, across from a small group of men, including that evening's guest, Sadeg al-Malki.

The women -- homemakers, physicians and college students -- had sought out Malki, a consultant at the Islamic Education Foundation, because they wanted help on a project they were embarking on: how to talk to non-Muslim co-workers and acquaintances about Islam and the prophet Muhammad.

Priest involved in Eta peace move

Belfast priest Fr Alex Reid was involved in getting Basque separatist group Eta to call a permanent ceasefire, it has been confirmed.

The group will begin the ceasefire on Friday "to start a new democratic process in the Basque country".

Fr Reid, who was a witness to IRA decommissioning in Northern Ireland, said they were influenced by the peace process in the province.

He said they had taken "courage and inspiration" from the NI peace process.
The rest

Episcopal chief concerned by gay candidates on California bishop
AP Religion Writer

The head of the U.S. Episcopal Church said Wednesday it would create "definite difficulty" between the denomination and fellow Anglicans worldwide if the Diocese of California elects an openly gay bishop.

The diocese announced additional candidates for the job last week. Three of the seven candidates in the May 6 balloting have same-sex partners.

The Episcopal Church caused an uproar in the Anglican Communion when it consecrated New Hampshire Bishop V. Gene Robinson in 2003. Robinson lives with his longtime male partner.

"I do think it would be fair to say that a bishop in a same-sex relationship would create definite difficulty in the life of the Communion," Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold said in an interview.

However, he noted church governance allows each diocese to choose its leader, and he said it would be inappropriate for him to interfere.His comments came as Episcopal bishops ended a closed-door retreat in Hendersonville, N.C., and released a statement emphasizing their desire to remain within the 77 million-member Communion.
The rest

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Our lives are full of supposes. Suppose this should happen, or suppose that should happen; what could we do; how could we bear it? But, if we are living in the high tower of the dwelling place of God, all these supposes will drop out of our lives. We shall be quiet from the fear of evil, for no threatenings of evil can penetrate into the high tower of God. Even when walking through the valley of the shadow of death, the psalmist could say, will fear no evil; and, if we are dwelling in God, we can say so too. Hannah Whitall Smith

Israel May Be Next al-Qaida Battleground
Mar 22 2:29 PM US/Eastern
Associated Press Writer

JERUSALEM Signs are mounting that al-Qaida terrorists are setting their sights on Israel and the Palestinian territories as their next jihad battleground.

Israel has indicted two West Bank militants for al-Qaida membership, Egypt arrested operatives trying to cross into Israel and a Palestinian security official has acknowledged al-Qaida is "organizing cells and gathering supporters."

Al-Qaida's inroads are still preliminary, but officials fear a doomsday scenario if it takes root.

Palestinians in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and Lebanon have established contacts with al-Qaida followers linked to Abu Musab al- Zarqawi, the leader of al-Qaida in Iraq, according to two Israeli officials.
the rest

Televangelism Outreach to Millions in India Dispells Doubts
Wednesday, Mar. 22, 2006

In the second most populous nation in the world, only 2.3 percent are Christian. Hope, however, penetrated the mainly Hindu population of India and brought an amazing two million people to Jesus Christ through an unprecedented televangelism outreach of the Billy Graham ministry.

The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association launched an extensive outreach called "My Hope India," delivering the Gospel message through about 100 television channels to millions of homes in 14 different languages during this past Christmas. Dispelling the many doubts that preceded the telecasts throughout India, 150 hours of Gospel programming turned the lives of millions toward Christ.

"We stand 'utterly amazed' at what the Lord has done," the BGEA told supporters in its spring 2006 newsletter.

The landmark Gospel telecasts involved more than 61,000 churches and nearly 800,000 households that helped bring light into the hearts of the Indian people. Recently released reports indicated that groundbreaking televangelism brought two million to Christ, thousands of churches have seen their attendance swell with new believers, and new congregations are springing up.
the rest

Massive Poll Shows Majority of Americans Support Abortion Restrictions
59% say abortion ends a human life
By Gudrun Schultz

LOS ANGELES, United States, March 22, 2006 ( - A recent U.S. poll shows a clear majority of Americans believe abortion ends a human life.

The poll was designed to gauge the climate towards abortion rights among the U.S. population. Conducted by pollster John Zogby, 30,117 respondents in 48 states were questioned in the poll March 10-14, 2006. The results are considered accurate to within +/- 0.6 percentage points.

The results showed the majority of respondents indicated a pro-life position. On 16 of the 20 questions relating to abortion, the clear majority of answers were anti-abortion.

When questioned on whether or not abortion ends a human life, almost two thirds of Americans said yes (59%). Only 29% said abortion did not end a human life.
the rest

Biblical Authority: Must We Accept the Words of Scripture?
Albert Mohler
Wednesday, March 22, 2006

The most contentious debates among Christians are arguments over biblical authority. While Christians who accept the full authority of Scripture--even the inerrancy and infallibility of the biblical text--may debate issues ranging from baptism and church government to eschatology and spiritual gifts, the issues of greatest debate in our time fall along the fault line of biblical authority.

This is especially true when dealing with the issue of sexuality, and the question of homosexuality in particular. Those who argue for the acceptance of homosexual behavior and the blessing of homosexual relationships have to deal with the fact that the Bible straightforwardly condemns homosexual behavior. In light of this, some attempt to subvert the text by arguing that these texts have actually been horribly misunderstood for over two thousand years. Increasingly, however, some now concede that the Bible condemns homosexuality in every relevant text, but that Christians are no longer bound by the authority of these texts as we deal with the present moral crisis.
the rest

Lawsuit Targets 'Onerous' Student Speech Codes at Georgia Tech
By Jim Brown
March 22, 2006

(AgapePress) - A federal civil rights lawsuit accuses the Georgia Institute of Technology of censoring the speech of religious and conservative students by enforcing "draconian" speech codes. The suit claims students at the school "are less free to speak and express themselves at the Institute than they are in downtown Atlanta."

Alliance Defense Fund has filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of a speech code at Georgia Tech that prohibits "acts of intolerance." ADF senior legal counsel David French says on one hand, Georgia Tech bans students from saying anything that would be subjectively deemed "intolerant" -- and on the other hand withholds lawful funding to religious student groups.

In the meantime, French alleges, the school is engaging in explicit religious instruction on the issue of homosexual behavior through a training program called "Safe Space."

"Georgia Tech has put together a training program that teaches students, administrators, and employees of Georgia Tech ... that those who believe that homosexual behavior is unbiblical can and should be compared to those who used the Bible to justify slavery," the attorney explains.
The rest

'Diversity Day' canceled over 'gay' speakers
Homosexual couple didn't want Christian viewpoint represented
Posted: March 22, 2006

Amid controversy over a homosexual speaker, a high school in Wisconsin has canceled its "Diversity Day" event scheduled for tomorrow.

Speakers at
Viroqua High School in Viroqua, Wisc., for the biannual event were to include Hmong, Jewish, Muslim, American Indian, African American, Latino, Buddhist, physically handicapped and poor people, the La Crosse Tribune reported.

The paper said, however, the event was called off late last week after the Florida-based public-interest legal group
Liberty Counsel raised a potential challenge, insisting the program include the viewpoint of a former homosexual. the rest

Episcopal church faces another showdown over gays
By Michael Conlon
Wed Mar 22, 8:18 AM ET

CHICAGO (Reuters) - The U.S. Episcopal Church is headed for another showdown over homosexuality in a rift that has already shaken the worldwide Anglican church family to which it belongs, and threatens even more division.

The next flashpoint will occur in an unlikely place -- Columbus, Ohio -- where the Episcopal Church's triennial general convention will have to confront the issue again, and may even have to decide whether a second openly gay person should be made a bishop. While the meeting does not take place until June, developments have already begun to play out.

Rowan Williams, the archbishop of Canterbury, said in a recent BBC interview his church "is not just going to settle down quietly into being a federation. My anxiety about it is that if (the church family) is broken we may be left with even less than a federation."
the rest

Canada Refusing to Offer Asylum to Persecuted Christians
By Gudrun Schultz
TORONTO, Ontario,
March 21, 2006

( - Canadian immigration frequently fails to recognize the claim of refugee status from Egyptian Coptic Christians, reported CTV news yesterday. In at least half the cases, claimants are sent back to Egypt to face increased persecution.

The 2005 Country Report on Human Rights from the U.S. State Department said Egypt is responsible for "numerous human rights abuses," in particular against religious minorities. The report lists numerous cases of "religious discrimination" against Coptic Christians and says there is widespread "torture and abuse" in Egyptian prisons.

Christians who have made refugee claims in the west will almost certainly be imprisoned and possibly tortured if they are sent back to Egypt.

"Just being detained in a prison is probably intimidation enough," said Paul Rowe, one of Canada's top experts on Christians in the Middle East and political science professor at Trinity Western University.

Group Seeks to Censure Jimmy Carter
By Susan Jones Senior Editor
March 22, 2006

( - They're angry, they're motivated, and they say their voices are going to be heard: A conservative, pro-military group has launched an effort to have former President Jimmy Carter censured by Congress.

That effort includes a CensureCarter website, which includes photos of Carter with various dictators and terrorists. Next week, Move America Forward said it will unveil a television ad campaign to spread the word about the effort to censure Carter.

The campaign is a response to Sen. Russ Feingold's resolution calling for the censure of President Bush. Feingold, a Wisconsin Democrat, has accused President Bush of undermining the Constitution and breaking the law with his terrorist surveillance program.
The rest

Ecstasy-related memory impairment can be permanent
Wed Mar 22, 2006 12:33 PM ET
By Anne Harding

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Taking the drug Ecstasy can impair memory and learning, but giving up the drug can stop the slide in mental capacity, a new study shows. However, researchers also found evidence that in heavy Ecstasy users, the effects on memory may persist even after they quit.

"The message should be loud and clear that if you're using a lot, you're not going to recover learning and memory," Dr. Konstantine K. Zakzanis of the University of Toronto at Scarborough, the study's lead author, told Reuters Health.

Zakzanis and his colleagues had previously shown that people who used Ecstasy, also known by the chemical name MDMA, experienced a decline in their memory over a one-year period. The 15 study participants' reported using the drug from 3 to 225 times over the course of the year.
The rest

Deep divisions in a revisionist diocese: Pennsylvania

From the very beginning of his election as bishop of Pennsylvania, Charles Bennison has long been known for his innovative way of looking at the Christian faith.

From Touchstone:

"Charles Bennison, the new bishop of Pennsylvania, told one of his Evangelical parishes a few months ago that he believed the Episcopal Church should celebrate homosexual marriages, and he was asked how he could say that when the Bible clearly forbade it.

Bennison—who before his election a year ago taught pastoral theology at the Episcopal Divinity School, perhaps the Episcopal Church’s most exotic institution, in which covens of witches flourish and professors write books suggesting sado-masochistic sexual acts as a way of arousing the god within—responded by saying, “Because we wrote the Bible and we can rewrite it. We have rewritten the Bible many times.”

“The text of the Bible is a conveyance of the word of God but is not itself the word of God,” he continued. Therefore we read the Scriptures “for evidence of how our forebears in the faith have struggled with some of the same issues,” but our context is so different that we cannot simply accept their answers." here

This is also the bishop and diocese which had two rectors who were practicing druids, but no discipline was ever commenced against either of them. The bishop even made public comments in support of them. here Other conflicts such as the one between the bishop and the Church of the Good Shepherd have caused a deep division between the Bishop and the rest of the diocese. Here

Troubles continue. The Standing Committee has lost confidence in Bp. Bennison's ablility to lead the diocese and has called for his resignation. Bp. Bennison's autocratic leadership style and budget deficits in the millions of dollars have led to complete meltdown between him and his standing committee. Such is the fruit of revisionist theology and practice. Read about it in the links below.


Standing Committee of the Diocese of Pennsylvania website

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

"Canst thou bind the sweet influences of Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion?"—Job 38:31.

IF inclined to boast of our abilities, the grandeur of nature may soon show us how puny we are. We cannot move the least of all the twinkling stars, or quench so much as one of the beams of the morning. We speak of power, but the heavens laugh us to scorn. When the Pleiades shine forth in spring with vernal joy we cannot restrain their influences, and when Orion reigns aloft, and the year is bound in winter's fetters, we cannot relax the icy bands. The seasons revolve according to the divine appointment, neither can the whole race of men effect a change therein. Lord, what is man?

In the spiritual, as in the natural world, man's power is limited on all hands. When the Holy Spirit sheds abroad His delights in the soul, none can disturb; all the cunning and malice of men are ineffectual to stay the genial quickening power of the Comforter. When He deigns to visit a church and revive it, the most inveterate enemies cannot resist the good work; they may ridicule it, but they can no more restrain it than they can push back the spring when the Pleiades rule the hour. God wills it, and so it must be. On the other hand, if the Lord in sovereignty, or in justice, bind up a man so that he is in soul bondage, who can give him liberty? He alone can remove the winter of spiritual death from an individual or a people. He looses the bands of Orion, and none but He. What a blessing it is that He can do it. O that He would perform the wonder to-night.

Lord, end my winter, and let my spring begin. I cannot with all my longings raise my soul out of her death and dullness, but all things are possible with Thee. I need celestial influences, the clear shinings of Thy love, the beams of Thy grace, the light of Thy countenance, these are the Pleiades to me. I suffer much from sin and temptation, these are my wintry signs, my terrible Orion. Lord, work wonders in me, and for me. Amen.
CH Spurgeon photo

Fr. Patrick Allen: Recalled to the Ordinary Things
This is the twenty-fourth in a series of daily Lenten devotionals by a
group of Anglican bloggers and friends. Today’s entry is by Fr. Patrick Allen of the Mine Iron Heart blog. You can read other entries in the series here.

Excerpt: "Self-examination and repentance; prayer, fasting, and self-denial; reading and meditating on God’s holy Word. The thing that takes me aback is that these disciplines enjoined upon us as special emphases for Lent are not actually “special” at all. In fact, they are normal aspects of a normal Christian life, the bread and butter elements of Christian devotion. Or at least all previous generations of Christian believers would have recognized them so to be. Keeping a holy Lent is more a matter of getting back to basics than adding on spiritual booster rockets. And if these basics have become foreign and strange to us – well, that is something to ponder."

The rest at Lent and Beyond

Absence of Parental Boundaries Key Factor in Cyber-Sex Boom Among Youth
By Jim Brown
March 21, 2006

(AgapePress) - A well-known Internet safety expert says staggering numbers of young people are involved in the dangerous world of cyber-sex -- but most parents are not even aware it's an issue affecting their children.

Eighty-seven percent of more than 2,500 university and college students polled across Canada admit to having virtual sex over Instant Messenger, web cams, or the telephone. The 20-question survey was conducted by Toronto-based, an online dating community for students.

Internet safety expert and advocate Donna Rice-Hughes, president of the group
Enough Is Enough, says results among American students are no different. The rest

'Twin Bills of Destruction' Threaten Family Values in California Schools
By Jim Brown
March 20, 2006

(AgapePress) - A California pro-family activists is warning against two education bills in the state legislature that advance a radical pro-homosexual agenda. One of the bills would make school textbooks gender-neutral, while the other threatens schools financially if they choose not to promote homosexuality.

Assembly Bill 606 would allow the state schools chief to defund schools that do not support the homosexual agenda in textbooks, presentations, and instructional materials. The measure also calls for school districts to "establish and publicize an anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policy" that prohibits discrimination and harassment based on specified characteristics, "including, but not limited to, actual or perceived gender identify and sexual orientation." Introduced by State Assemblymember Lloyd Levine, AB 606 has already passed the California Assembly.
The rest

Presbyterians Consider Triune 'Mother, Child, and Womb'
Tuesday, Mar. 21, 2006
Posted: 11:11:42AM EST

Presbyterians this June will be asked to ratify a new report on Trinitarian theology that describes the cornerstone doctrine in various metaphorical terms, including a controversial description of the triune God as “Mother, Child and Womb.”

"The report] aims to assist the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in reclaiming the doctrine of Trinity in theology, worship and life,” the introduction to the 40-page report, “God’s Love Overflowing,” states.

The report, which has been underway since 2000, includes theological and liturgical sessions that are meant for use in study sessions on the doctrine.

“The doctrine is widely neglected or poorly understood in many of our congregations,” the statement reads. “The members of our work group are convinced that the doctrine of trinity is crucial to our faith, worship, and service.”

Describing the Trinity has often proved contentious in mainline denominations, with some adhering to the classical Biblical description of the Triune Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and others adopting more liberal terms such as the Triune “Creator, Redeemer, Sanctifier.”
The rest

Majority of Unchurched Claim Christian Faith, Says Barna Survey
Tuesday, Mar. 21, 2006
Posted: 1:10:12PM EST

A new Barna survey found that 76 million adults in America do not attend church although more than half of the unchurched say they are Christian.

Having more than two decades of studies on the unchurched population, the Barna Group surveyed 1,003 adults from across the nation for the latest study and found that 34 percent of the adult population has not attended any type of church service or activity, other than a special event such as a funeral or wedding, during the past six months. And nearly one-quarter say that a person's faith in God is meant to be developed mainly through involvement in a local church.

Denominationally, Catholics made up the largest share of unchurched adults with 29 percent and Baptists followed with 18 percent.
The rest

More 'High-Tech' Churches Emerging in America
Tuesday, Mar. 21, 2006
Posted: 10:00:35AM EST

WASHINGTON – With more and more churches powering up technology for worship, ministry, fellowship, discipleship, and even evangelism and prayer in recent years, it seems America’s faith communities have embraced modern technology with open arms.

With many churches going high-tech, some say the marriage of spirituality and technology is a match made in heaven,” noted anchor and reporter Eun Yang from News4 in Washington, D.C.

Studies of Protestant churches by the Phoenix-based Ellison Research firm and the Barna Group of Ventura, Calif., have revealed how congregations are increasingly “plugged in” when it comes to media-savvy ministry.

According the research groups, between 47 percent and 57 percent of Protestant churches have their own Web sites; more than six out of ten Protestant churches use large-screen projection systems to highlight their weekly announcements, song lyrics and sermon presentations; sixty-one percent of congregations incorporate video clips into their worship services; and one-fifth of churches e-mail their newsletter to church members, though only 4 percent offer an online member directory.
The rest

Pastors' Get-Out-the-Vote Training Could Test Tax Rules
Published: March 21, 2006

WASHINGTON, March 20 — Weeks after the
Internal Revenue Service announced a crackdown on political activities by churches and other tax-exempt organizations, a coalition of nonprofit conservative groups is holding training sessions to enlist Pennsylvania pastors in turning out voters for the November elections.

Experts in tax law said the sessions, organized by four groups as the Pennsylvania Pastors Network, could test the promises by the tax agency to step up enforcement of the law that prohibits such activity by exempt organizations.

Such a test could define the boundaries for churches and other groups.

Although the tax agency has often overlooked political activity by churches, it has repeatedly warned the clergy and religious groups that it intends to enforce its rules with new vigor this year, in part to correct what it considers to have been too much political intervention by churches and charities in 2004.
The rest

Italy and Germany defend Afghan Christian convert
21 Mar 2006 18:27:57 GMT

ROME, March 21 (Reuters) - Italy and Germany, NATO countries with troops in Afghanistan, expressed urgent concern to the Kabul government on Tuesday about reports that an Afghan convert to Christianity faced the death penalty there.

Italy called in the Afghan ambassador in Rome and its former President Francesco Cossiga suggested withdrawing Italian troops unless the man is spared. Two Berlin cabinet ministers spoke out and Germany's top Catholic cardinal demanded his freedom.

The protests present a dilemma for President Hamid Karzai, a key ally in the U.S.-led war on terrorism, who needs foreign troops to defend against al Qaeda and Taliban remnants. Germany has 2,700 soldiers in Afghanistan and Italy 1,775.

An Afghan judge said on Sunday a man named Abdur Rahman had been jailed for converting from Islam to Christianity and could face the death penalty if he refused to become a Muslim again. Islamic Sharia law stipulates death for apostasy.
The rest

The Islamization of America
Phyllis Chesler
March 21, 2006

As Americans, we have a long and legendary history of welcoming and assimilating immigrants. This includes granting political asylum to those in flight from political persecution. But, as Americans, we must also ensure that what has gone wrong in Europe—or what some are now calling “Eurabia”—does not happen here.

At this moment in history, we cannot allow a large influx of Arab and Muslim immigrants who have no intention of assimilating into a western, modern, and democratic American way of life. Please note that I am saying a "large" influx of immigrants who do not wish to "assimilate." I am not talking about Arabs and Muslims who not only want to assimilate but are actively in flight from repressive Islamist regimes. How we might do this is the subject of another piece.

Here, I want to focus on those things that specifically endanger America in the absence of a massive influx of Arab and Muslim immigrants bent on jihad. I am talking about the ways in which a small but organized number of Muslim-Americans and Muslim immigrants, aided by their many Christian- and Jewish-American supporters, are currently seeking to begin the Islamization of America.
The rest

Jews wary of becoming fall guy for Iran's woes
By John R. Bradley
March 21, 2006

TEHRAN -- Members of Iran's Jewish community fear they are being set up to take the blame if President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's drive to establish a nuclear program ends badly for the country.

Members of the 30,000-strong community say they already are being viewed as a potential fifth column after a series of speeches in which the firebrand president has spoken of a "Holocaust myth" and heaped scorn on Europe for its defense of the "Zionist entity."

"Ahmadinejad has decided to pick on the easiest victim, Israel," said Meir Javedanfar, a specialist on Iran and director of the Middle East Economic and Political Analysis Co. "Every time Ahmadinejad has internal problems, he will attack Israel again, using it as a tool."
The rest

Mofaz: 'Iran gave $1.8 million to Islamic Jihad'
"Islamic Jihad in Damascus transferred $1.8 million from Iran to the organization in the West Bank last month," Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday.

The money was supposed to encourage them to
carry out attacks in Israel, according to the Associated Press.

"This money is the fuel for their terror activity," said Mofaz.

Experts Rip 'Sesame' TV Aimed at Tiniest Tots
Producers Defend DVDs As Right for Under 2's
Don Oldenburg
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, March 21, 2006

How young is too young to park a baby in front of the TV set? The American Academy of Pediatrics's rule has been steadfast: No television under age 2.

Now the venerable educational organization that pioneered "Sesame Street" is lowering that age limit with a new DVD series, "Sesame Beginnings," which targets babies and toddlers from 6 months to 2 years. Due in stores April 4, the videos feature baby versions of "Sesame Street's" most beloved characters -- Elmo, Big Bird, Cookie Monster and Prairie Dawn -- dancing and singing with their Muppet parents and other relatives.
the rest

Church recalls 'Prophet' magazine

The Church in Wales has recalled 500 copies of its magazine featuring a cartoon caricaturing the Prophet Muhammad.

The editor has resigned after the image was published in the Church's Welsh-language magazine Y Llan.

A series of cartoons sparked violent demos after appearing in European papers earlier in the year.

The Archbishop of Wales has apologised to the Muslim Council of Wales, which accepted the "unfortunate mistake".
the rest

Climbing Brokeback Mountain with the Anglicans
David C. Steinmetz
Special to the Sentinel
Posted March 21, 2006

The Episcopal Church USA, the American branch of the worldwide Anglican Communion, will hold its triennial convention in Columbus, Ohio, on June 13-21. Ordinarily a meeting of this kind would be of no interest whatever to the 295 million Americans who are not Episcopalians and only of limited interest to the 2.3 million Americans who are.

But at its last convention in 2003, the Episcopal Church caught the attention of an otherwise indifferent public by consenting to the election of an openly gay man, V. Gene Robinson, as the bishop of New Hampshire. The action represented a break with a longstanding policy in almost all Christian churches banning gay ordination.

Needless to say, the election of Bishop Robinson met with a mixed response in the 77 million-member Anglican Communion. Liberals around the world hailed his election as an important step forward in the full inclusion of gays in the life of the church.

Conservatives were not so sanguine. While they admitted that there were prohibitions in the Bible that had never been or were no longer binding on Christians, they did not think that the traditional ban on gay sex was among them.
The rest

Monday, March 20, 2006

Let us take refuge like deer beside the fountain of waters. Let our soul thirst, as David thirsted, for the fountain. What is that fountain? Listen to David: With you is the fountain of life. Let my soul say to this fountain: When shall I come and see you face to face? For the fountain is God himself. St. Ambrose of Milan photo

Letter to the editor of the Albany Times Union:
Institute on Religion and Democracy says Episcopals should welcome all
First published: Monday, March 20, 2006

In his "Gospel of intolerance," written for The Washington Post and reprinted in the Times Union, Episcopal Bishop John Chane chastised Anglican primate of Nigeria, Peter Akinola, for supporting legislation criminalizing same-sex marriage in his country.

He specifically cited the Institute on Religion and Democracy for sponsoring "so-called 'renewal' movements that fight the inclusion of gays and lesbians" within the churches.

As a staff member of IRD, I'd like to set things straight: Wrong. IRD believes the church should welcome all people. At issue is what the church teaches. Chane advocates a deconstruction of traditional mores so as to affirm gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, omnigender, and other manifestations of broken sexuality.

But the church for 2000 years has taught that sex is set apart for marriage. It also teaches that God can come into the brokenness of our lives and transform us. Most of the Anglican Primates, and orthodox Episcopal bishops, such as those you are fortunate enough to have in Albany, are rooted in this liberating truth.
The rest

By J. Grant Swank, Jr.
Mar 15, 2006

State Street Episcopal Church in Portland, near where I live, had a rector who championed the gay cause while in the pulpit. Then he retired recently, big write up in the newspaper and all that. In the article I read that he had a nice retirement home to live in with his long-time male companion.

Guess what? You got it. Enough said, right? Right!

Well no wonder the rector took to TV local news with his conviction of standing alongside gay rights in the state of Maine. Read between the blinds; even a blind person could do it this go-round. For sure.

Anyhow, what puzzles me is that so many with clout are making the Episcopal Church "the gay church". Not all take to a gay run religious institution within the Christian tradition. But if any group can attempt to bring it off, it's the zig zag liberal Episcopalians.
The rest

Church land battle over; war still on
The Associated Press

A judge has ruled partly for the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina in a land dispute with All Saints Church of Pawleys Island.

Circuit Judge Thomas W. Cooper Jr. ruled last week that All Saints could continue to occupy 60 acres of disputed land. The church left the Episcopal diocese in 2004.

Cooper said ownership of the land ultimately would have to be decided in Probate Court.

The judge also ruled that the diocese and members of the All Saints faction still aligned with the diocese have name-rights to All Saints Parish Waccamaw and the rights to cash and assets still held by the separatist church.

"The Circuit Court ruled that the diocese and the national church has no interest in the property," said Dan Stacy, senior warden for the separatist All Saints Church.

But representatives for the other side see things differently.
The rest

U.S. Episcopal Bishops Hear Preliminary Report from Inter-Anglican Commission
Monday, Mar. 20, 2006

A special commission created by the Episcopal Church to gauge the U.S. denomination’s relationship to the global Anglican Communion gave a preliminary overview of its work during the House of Bishops meeting in Hendersonville, N.C., on Saturday.

The Special Commission was created in November 2005 following an international backlash against the U.S. church’s unilateral decision to ordain an openly homosexual man as bishop of New Hampshire. Its official charge is to assist the church in “considering how to maintain the highest degree of communion within the Anglican Communion given the different perspectives held with regard to the place of homosexual persons in the life of the church.”

At the bishops’ meeting, Commission members provided a briefing of the work-to-date, but did not give any draft resolutions for consideration. The rest