Thursday, April 20, 2006

Death is destroyed.

The cross has triumphed over it. It no longer has any power but is truly dead. This is why all of Christ's disciples despise death and no longer fear it. They take the offensive against it. And by the sign of the cross and by faith in Christ, they trample it down as dead.

Before the Savior came, death was terrible to the saints. Everyone wept for the dead as though they perished. But now that the Savior has risen, death isn't terrible amymore. For everyone who believes in Christ tramples over death. They would rather die than deny their faith in Christ. For they know that when they die they aren't destroyed but actually begin to live. Through the Resurrection they become incorruptible. For the devil, who once maliciously rejoiced in death, is the only one truly dead now that we are relieved of death's pains. Anthanasius

Dear Readers, I will be on retreat this weekend and will resume blogging on Monday. May you continue to rest and rejoice in the Risen Christ!
Pat Dague

Canadian Union Refuses Member’s Right to Oppose Gay “Marriage”
By Gudrun Schultz

OTTAWA, Ontario, April 19, 2006 ( – One of Canada’s largest unions is refusing to recognize a member’s right to freedom of conscience, when that freedom involves opposition to same-sex marriage.

The Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) has denied the request of Treasury Board employee Susan Comstock to divert her dues to a charity, a request she made on the grounds that PSAC’s open support of Bill C-38, the bill to legalize gay marriage, went against Ms. Comstock’s personal beliefs.

Although PSAC’s collective agreement contains a clause allowing a member to divert their dues to charity for reasons of religious or conscience, the union refused to grant Ms. Comstocks’ request, saying the clause did not apply to her.
the rest

PCUSA May Allow Homosexual Clergy, UMC Group Sympathetic With Pro-Homosexual Cause
By AFA Journal
April 20, 2006

(AgapePress) - The Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA) may be on the verge of allowing the ordination of homosexual clergy, despite the wishes of the majority of its members. That's the disturbing claim being made by
Presbyterians for Faith, Family and Ministry (PFFM), a group of Presbyterian clergy and laity who hope to work within the denomination to restore biblical and confessional fidelity.

The group says that in June, the General Assembly -- the denomination's highest court -- will consider the recommendations of the "Peace, Unity and Purity Report," which deals with the issue of homosexuality in the PCUSA. A PFFM letter concerning the report states that, "if approved, [it] will permit the ordination of practicing, unrepentant homosexuals in our denomination."
the rest

The Serpent of Porn
Feature by Steve Gallagher
Pure Life Ministries
April 20, 2006

(AgapePress) - Solomon intimately understood how powerful sexual temptation can be for a young man. It was with him in mind that he wrote the fifth chapter of Proverbs. "My son, give attention to my wisdom, incline your ear to my understanding .... For the lips of an adulteress drip honey and smoother than oil is her speech" (Proverbs 5:1-3).

Those two sentences perfectly describe both the power of sexual temptation and its antidote. The wise king understood that, if a young man is to successfully withstand the charms of the temptress, he must be prepared ahead of time. Time spent in the Word every day builds up a man's immune system against the poison of pornography. The scriptures are simply the thinking and perspectives of the Lord. As a man continually immerses himself in the Bible, he will gradually take on God's mindset toward life, people and, yes, even sexuality. a man who devotes daily time to the Word is given spiritual insight into the power of temptation and how it works.
the rest

Judge Blocks Law to Report Sex Under 16
Published: April 19, 2006

A federal judge ruled yesterday that
Kansas law did not require health care workers to report to the authorities sexual activity by people under age 16, invalidating a 2003 opinion by the state's attorney general.

The judge, J. Thomas Marten of Federal District Court in Wichita, said the reporting of consensual sex among similarly aged teenagers would deter young people from seeking medical care and overwhelm the state authorities.

The ruling blocks the attorney general's advisory opinion from guiding the enforcement of Kansas' law requiring the reporting of abuse that causes injury. The opinion suggested that any
pregnancy, sexually transmitted disease or request for contraception fell under the law.

The decision by Judge Marten came in a class-action lawsuit on behalf of doctors, nurses, therapists and sex educators. It was the second legal setback in as many months for the attorney general, Phill Kline, and his efforts to restrict
abortions in the state. the rest

Sudan's extreme poverty almost beyond words

It's been about a month since they returned from the dirt-poor desert of Sudan, and only now have they begun to talk about what they saw there.

The Rev. Al Johnson, pastor of St. Michael's Episcopal Church in Barrington, and two parishioners, Jackie Kraus of Barrington and Laurie Michaels of North Barrington, sometimes struggled to put the experience into words.

"It is so overwhelming," Johnson said.

Their speechlessness was rendered by the good and the bad, the faith and hopefulness of the local people, and their extreme poverty.

For Kraus, who made her third trip to Sudan, and Michaels, it was the woeful conditions at a makeshift medical clinic. For Johnson, it was local women honoring four fellow missionaries by placing on them traditional tribal dresses called lawas.

They were invited by Bishop Daniel Deng Bul of the Renk Diocese in Renk, Sudan, to celebrate the dedication of a newly built Anglican cathedral, which was consecrated by Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams on Feb. 28, in a ceremony attended by more than 4,000 people.
the rest

Nigerian Archbishop Demands Justice
Peter Akinola affirms warning to government and Muslims, fires back on the Western press.
posted 04/20/2006 09:30 a.m.

Peter Akinola, Anglican archbishop and president of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) issued some controversial warnings during February's deadly violence between Christians and Muslims. A couple weeks after the clashes he explained his concerns for the church and his nation to CT associate editor Collin Hansen.

Interview here

Parents rip school over gay storybook
Lesson reignites clash in Lexington
By Tracy Jan, Globe Staff
April 20, 2006

In a controversy with a familiar ring, parents of a Lexington second-grader are protesting that their son's teacher read a fairy tale about gay marriage to the class without warning parents first.

The teacher at Joseph Estabrook Elementary School used the children's book, ''King & King," as part of a lesson about different types of weddings. A prince marries another prince instead of a princess in the book, which was on the American Library Association's list of the 10 most challenged books in 2004 because of its homosexual theme.

''My son is only 7 years old," said Lexington parent Robin Wirthlin, who complained to the school system last month and will meet with the superintendent next week. ''By presenting this kind of issue at such a young age, they're trying to indoctrinate our children. They're intentionally presenting this as a norm, and it's not a value that our family supports."
the rest

Judge Says Ten Commandments Can Stay
Apr 19, 10:22 AM EDT

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) -- A Ten Commandments monument that has stood on the courthouse lawn for almost 50 years does not promote religion and can remain in place, a federal judge ruled.

U.S. District Judge James Carr said Tuesday that the monument can stay because the motives for placing it outside the Lucas County courthouse were secular and not an endorsement of a specific belief.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio sued Lucas County in 2002 to have the display removed, saying it was unconstitutional and promoted religion.

Carr's decision followed a ruling last year by the U.S. Supreme Court that addressed displays of the Ten Commandments.
the rest

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Our end and His beginning

At the empty tomb, we come to the end of our own efforts, and encounter the new beginning that is only God’s to give:
Moses’ mother concealed him until she could no longer , then set him adrift. The boy was “drawn out” to fulfill God’s plan. (Exodus 2)

Arise, shine, for your light has come,*

and the glory of the Lord has dawned upon you.
For behold, darkness covers the land;*

deep gloom enshrouds the peoples.
But over you the Lord will rise,
*and his glory will appear upon you.

The Israelites grew weary under centuries of slavery. When God’s time was right, That very day the LORD brought the Israelites out of the land of Egypt, company by company. (Exodus 12:51)

In the tender compassion of our God

the dawn from on high shall break upon us,
To shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death,*
and to guide our feet into the way of peace.

Jesus’ first followers came to the end of their faithfulness and deserted him. But God raised him from the tomb to make them new:
“…he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him. This is my message for you.” (Matthew 28:7)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.

By Tim Fountain+ at Lent and Beyond

Taking the Tube Underground
Anne Marie Waters on Removing the Television from the Family Hearth

"Mom, there is something I want to tell you.” My usually thoughtful, and occasionally lucid, little boy waited dramatically with a grave expression on his pink, sweaty five-year-old face as I unpacked the recently delivered moving boxes. Jack had been playing outside in the August heat and meeting the other young residents of our new neighborhood.

“It’s something I’ve noticed, about us, that is different from the other kids,” he said somberly. Here goes, I thought. We homeschool. We say grace. We go to church. Well, it was bound to come up sometime. “Mom, everyone else has their TV on the main level in the family room. And, mom,” he paused once more for effect, “ours is in the basement.”

the rest at Touchstone

“Moving Slowly with Caution Isn’t Stopping”
American Anglican Council (AAC) Commentary on
“One Baptism, One Hope in God’s Call”

The Report of the Special Commission on the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion
(Found here)


The Special Commission on the Episcopal Church USA (ECUSA) and the Anglican Communion has released its report, “One Baptism, One Hope in God’s Call,” which includes 11 resolutions recommended for consideration at General Convention. The commission was charged with “preparing the way” for General Convention 2006, which will discuss “maintaining communion” in light of decisions at General Convention 2003 and the ensuing crisis. Recent suggestions in some of the media, blogs, and communication from various bishops that ECUSA might change course appear to be unfounded based on the commission report. ECUSA’s compliance with the stated expectations of the Anglican Communion, including the Windsor Report (issued by the Lambeth Commission, October 2004) and Primates’ Communiqué (issued at the Primates’ Meeting, Dromantine, February 2005), would incorporate a call to repentance for decisions and actions that are contrary to Scripture and Christian teaching; a strong affirmation of Christian tenets of faith and an acknowledgement that Anglicanism upholds Scripture as the central authority on matters of doctrine; a recommendation for the immediate cessation of ordination and consecration of non-celibate homosexuals as well as for same-sex blessings; and a clear call for the Episcopal Church to embrace Lambeth 1.10 as the appropriate consensus for the Communion.

The rest at the AAC

Book-banning 'gay' profs forced to drop allegations
Librarian accused of 'sexual harassment' after recommending 'Marketing of Evil'
Posted: April 19, 2006

After the entire faculty voted, with no dissenters, to brand their head librarian as a sexual harasser because he recommended the bestselling book
"The Marketing of Evil" as required reading for freshmen, Ohio State University has finally dropped its controversial charges in the glare of national media attention.

But, warns the librarian's attorney, who calls this one of the most "astonishing" and "shameful" instances of campus persecution he's ever seen, the damage to his client's reputation and career has been done. They've already filed a complaint against three professors for false accusations of harassment and are discussing a more "substantial" response – including possible litigation – to "deter any future tyranny or bullying of others."
the rest

Why Such a Hard Time with Miracles?
April 19, 2006 09:11 AM EST
by Rev. Mark H. Creech

Over the years a number of explanations have been given to explain away Jesus’ walking on the water. Some have argued Jesus wasn’t actually walking on the water but was standing at the lake’s edge in a shallow place. Because the night was cloudy and dark, the disciples only thought they saw Jesus stride across the sea, when actually He didn’t. Others have fancifully argued Christ actually walked across a series of stones in the middle of the lake.

Nevertheless, not to be outdone among the skeptics, Professor Doron Nof of Florida State University claims it may have been ice Jesus stood on and not water. According to a recent article by Reuters, “Nof used records of the Mediterranean Sea’s surface temperatures and statistical models to examine the dynamics of the Sea of Galilee, which Israelis know now as Lake Kinneret. Nof’s study found that a period of cooler temperatures in the area between 1,500 and 2,600 years ago could have included the decades in which Jesus lived. A drop in temperature below freezing could have caused ice — thick enough to support a human — to form on the surface of the freshwater lake near the western shore … it might have been nearly impossible for distant observers to see a piece of floating ice surrounded by water.”

It’s hard to believe any such theories are ever taken seriously. Yet they often are. Why? Why is it so incredibly hard for some to believe the obvious — a miracle took place?
the rest

Christian Revival in Baghdad as Iraqis Find Comfort in Faith
Canon Andrew White has declared that the attendance at his church in Baghdad, Iraq is booming, as more and more seek God to cope with the extreme difficulties of living in the violent country.
Wednesday, April 19 , 2006

Canon Andrew White of The Foundation for Reconciliation in the Middle-East (FRME) has declared that the attendance at his church in Baghdad, Iraq is booming, as more and more seek God to cope with the extreme difficulties in their lives amidst car bombings, kidnappings and poverty.

Also regarded as the 'Vicar of Baghdad', Rev White has worked in the Middle-East region since before the Gulf War, and the FRME is the only evangelical body in the world, which is running both the religious track of the Middle-East Peace Process, as well as working on the complex search for peace in Iraq.

Canon White is the leader of St George’s Church in Baghdad, where earlier this year in September, the entire lay leadership of the church are feared dead after going missing. Canon White said he had been told on 13 September that the Anglican team was attacked while returning from Jordon on the notoriously dangerous road linking the Iraqi cities of Ramadi and Fallujah.
the rest

Exercising, Religiously
Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Could weekly religious attendance extend your life nearly as much as regular exercise or statins? That's one way to view some new research by a University of Pittsburgh Medical Center physician, published in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine. The study jockeys numbers from life expectancy tables and mortality studies to suggest that weekly worship may add two to three years to life. That compares to three to five years for regular exercise and 2.5 to 3.5 years for cholesterol-lowering statin drugs. Study author Daniel Hall, who also happens to be an Episcopal priest, goes on to conduct a cost/benefit analysis. According to his estimate of the costs of tithing, gym membership and statins, while exercise is the best buy, religious attendance trumps statins in terms of years gained per dollar spent.

Not So Fast Tom Denberg, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center and a member of the Society of General Internal Medicine, faulted the peer-reviewed study for failing to account for other behaviors that may explain churchgoers' relative longevity. For instance, religious people may be less likely to smoke. That, rather than religion, might extend their lives.
the rest

The Pastor As Theologian, Part Two
Albert Mohler
Wednesday, April 19, 2006

The pastoral calling is inherently theological. Given the fact that the pastor is to be the teacher of the Word of God and the teacher of the Gospel, it cannot be otherwise. The idea of the pastorate as a non-theological office is inconceivable in light of the New Testament.

The pastor's stewardship of the theological task requires a clear sense of pastoral priority, a keen pastoral ear, and careful attention to the theological dimensions of church life and Christian discipleship. This must be foundational to the ministry of the local church, and ministry must emerge from a fundamentally theological foundation.

In a very real sense, Christians live out their most fundamental beliefs in everyday life. One essential task of the pastor is to feed the congregation and to assist Christians to think theologically, in order to demonstrate discernment and authentic discipleship.
the rest

Women cite experience to support abortion ban
By Amy Fagan
April 19, 2006

Women who have had abortions but are now fighting to outlaw the practice say their numbers are growing and so will their influence, especially after many of them stepped forward to support South Dakota's new abortion ban law.

"The women are coming forward. They're feeling like there's hope," said Leslee Unruh, president of the Abstinence Clearinghouse and a key homestate player in the approval of the law, which was signed last month by South Dakota Gov. Michael Rounds, a Republican.

Before approving the law, which bans abortion, except to save the life of the mother, a state task force on abortion took testimony and collected nearly 2,000 statements from women nationwide, 99 percent of whom said their abortions caused them pain, emotional damage and health problems and shouldn't be legal.
the rest

Rescuing the Faithful from the Episcopal Church?
On the Church and Society
April 17, 2006
By Raymond J. Keating

Over the past year or so, I visited two local Episcopalian churches, with the experiences as different as night and day.

The contrast was not about church architecture. While distinct, both buildings were beautiful and inviting. Nor did a large chasm exist in liturgical styles.

Instead, the disturbing difference was over the foundations of the faith. One parish clearly subscribed to orthodox Christianity, while the other adopted a revisionism straying from Holy Scripture and church tradition. This, of course, reflects the current strife within the Episcopal Church USA (ECUSA) at large.

But as the ECUSA leadership has taken a sharp theological left turn, an announcement last week reminded one that an orthodox laity stands willing to fight for a traditional Christian voice from the U.S. within global Anglicanism. On April 13, a group called Lay Episcopalians for the Anglican Communion (LEAC) launched a national petition drive to bring 35 bishops to trial over the installation of V. Gene Robinson, a non-celibate homosexual, as Bishop of New Hampshire.

In a statement, LEAC declared: "We believe our church judicial system should determine just where we stand canonically, for there is no doubt where our Episcopal rank-and-file in the pews stand spiritually. We have been and are a traditional church."
the rest

For Episcopalians, faith in the power of compromise was almost doctrinal—until a diocese elected a gay bishop.
Issue of 2006-04-17

In the late summer of 1965, a high-school valedictorian named Gene Robinson anxiously set off from Lexington, Kentucky, for college. He was the first in his family to come so far, and the school he’d chosen, the University of the South, in Sewanee, Tennessee, was not an obvious fit. Sewanee, as the school is known, was conceived, by an Episcopal bishop turned Confederate general, as an élite institution of learning for the sons of the landed class. A century later, when Gene Robinson arrived on campus, Sewanee remained an insular place, a mountaintop sanctuary known for its academic rigor, its cultivated airs, and a full measure of that particular Southern regard for tradition. A Sewanee man, dressed always in jacket and tie, was a gentleman of breeding, who had likely attended a preparatory school. Gene Robinson had grown up on a dirt farm, the son of tobacco sharecroppers, and had gone to Sewanee on a scholarship after graduating from public school.

The rest-don't miss this!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

“Dwell in peace. Your feelings of devotion to God and your enthusiasm to serve Him do not depend on your own ability. The only thing that you can control at all is your will. Give God your will without reservation. The important question is not “Do I enjoy being a Christian?” but rather, “Do I want what God wants?” Confess your faults. Do not be too attached to things of this world. Trust God. Love Him more than yourself. Love His glory more than your life. If you do not want these things, ask to want them. God will come to you with His love, and put His peace in your heart.”
Fenelon The Seeking Heart

Reports to the 75th General Convention, otherwise known as the Blue Book
(yes, it's green this year)

Found: here

comments at titusonenine

Network Parish-in-Focus Series: St. Luke’s Church, Akron, Ohio
A Mid-western Anglican Church with a Big Heart for the World

One thousand sheets of drywall are loaded onto tractor trailers headed for Pearlington, Mississippi to rebuild churches and homes. Is this the loading dock of a FEMA warehouse?
One hundred and fifty donated bicycles are repaired and loaded onto a container bound for Liberia to provide transportation for pastors and workers. Is this a project of Schwinn International?

Hundreds of pounds of donated formula, medical supplies, clothing and food are collected for shipment to the Children’s Infectious Disease Hospital in Kharkov, Ukraine. Is this a Compassion International offering?

No, these are typical scenes you can see in the parking lot of St. Luke’s Church in Akron, Ohio, a Network parish with a missions ministry that reaches around the globe. St. Luke’s, a 40-year-old parish of 500 congregants, commits one-third of its annual budget to support missions in countries like Ukraine, Mexico, Brazil, Kenya, Liberia, Uganda, and Afghanistan as well as supporting ongoing local and domestic outreach.
the rest

Artist makes Christian story a presence in Chinese culture
By John Franklin

IT IS a common lament of mine that seminaries in Canada pay little or no attention to the arts. Oh, there are some exceptions; but by and large, art makes no appearance in these hallowed halls and classrooms of theological study.

So I must note that the two Anglican colleges at the
Toronto School of Theology -- Wycliffe and Trinity -- partnered in hosting Chinese Christian artist He Qi this spring.

He Qi is a quiet man with a broad smile and that gentle Chinese demeanour. He is a professor at
Nanjing Union Seminary in China and serves as an adjunct professor in the philosophy department of the university. His doctoral dissertation compared the presence of Buddhist art and Christian art in China.

He was one of the first scholars to take up the subject of religion and art after the Cultural Revolution in China. For He Qi, it is very important that Christian art and the Christian story be a presence in Chinese culture.
the rest

Check out his painting: "Supper at Emmaus"

Major TV Networks Sue Government for Indecency Crackdown
By Gudrun Schultz

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 18, 2006 ( – Four major television networks have filed lawsuits against the Federal Communications Commission’s recent rulings on the use of profanity and sexually explicit material during prime time viewing.

Fox, CBS, NBC and ABC networks have filed two joint appeals against fines imposed by the FCC on a total of 123 stations for airing, among other concerns, a scene depicting group sex among teenagers.

Concerned Women for America issued a press release today expressing their outrage over what they call “frivolous lawsuits” that are “out of touch with American families.”
the rest

Aloha State Set to Become Abortion State
“If the Republican Governor of Hawaii fails to veto this radical abortion bill Hawaii’s image will suffer irreparable damage…”

FRONT ROYAL, Va., April 18 /
Christian Wire Service

-- The Rev. Thomas J. Euteneuer, President of Human Life International issued the following statement regarding Hawaii House Bill 1242 HD 1 (Relating to Abortion).

“The abortion industry and its water carriers in the Hawaii State Legislature are set to destroy Hawaii’s image as the Aloha State. Hawaiian culture is world renowned for its respect for the dignity of human life and celebration of family, Ohana in Hawaiian.

“A small group of powerful elites are pushing the most radical abortion legislation in world history on the beautiful people of Hawaii.

“HB 1242 would allow late term abortions in ‘a clinic or physician’s office.’
the rest

Christian Activist Outs Ford's Connection with 'Gay Rodeo' Events
By Mary Rettig
April 18, 2006

(AgapePress) - A Christian activist in California says despite what top officials with the Ford Motor Company may state about not giving money to support pro-homosexual social activities, a Ford dealership in Los Angeles is a major supporter of a homosexual rodeo organization in that city.

The International Gay Rodeo Association (IGRA) claims member associations in 31 states, the District of Columbia, and Canada. James Hartline, a Christian activist in Southern California, notes that Ford has sponsored many IGRA events around the United States -- and that a prominent Ford dealership in L.A., Galpin Ford, is a corporate sponsor of the Greater Los Angeles Chapter of the Golden State Gay Rodeo Association (GSGRA), an IGRA member.
The rest

Two Christian women arrested and charged with conversion
The arrest followed a report filed by someone who remained anonymous. The two women were distributing flyers about the Bible.

Bhopal (AsiaNews/ICNS) – Indian police have arrested two Christian women in Madhaya Pradesh, accusing them of “attempting to convert people by distributing pamphlets on the Bible”. The women were arrested on Friday 14 April, Good Friday.

Mariamma Mathew, 36, and B. Godwil, 65, were arrested after a person, who remained anonymous, reported them for “explaining to people how they can have a peaceful life following Bible teachings”.

Local police sources said there was a state law barring religious propaganda by individuals or organizations without authorization from district officials. “The women had no such permission for their action. So they are in prison now,” added the sources.
the rest

Court OKs access to church records
But rejects case of two Muslims at Guantánamo
By Charlie Savage, Globe Staff
April 18, 2006

WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court yesterday cleared the way for prosecutors to obtain sex-abuse records from the Catholic Church, a decision that could affect hundreds of cases in which priests have been accused of molesting children.

Also, in a Boston-related case, the court rejected a request that it hear an appeal by two Chinese Muslim prisoners at Guantánamo Bay who maintain they should be freed, saying the case should be heard by a lower court first.

The Catholic Church and Guantánamo cases headlined a slew of cases the Supreme Court rejected yesterday as it did some spring-cleaning of its inbox.

In the child molestation case, the court turned down an appeal by the archbishop of Los Angeles, Cardinal Roger Mahony, and two unnamed priests who wanted to block a subpoena for internal church records.
the rest

Professor Put on Leave After Abortion Spat

HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. (AP) - A college professor has been put on leave and will retire at the end of the semester after admitting she told students to destroy an anti-abortion display on campus.

Sally Jacobsen, a professor in the literature and language department at Northern Kentucky University, will not return to the school, President James Votruba said.

"I believe what she did was outside the scope of her employment," Votruba said Monday.
the rest

Traditional marriage group seeks a few liberal allies
By Amy Fagan
April 18, 2006

The Alliance for Marriage (AFM) is assembling broad left-right coalitions, including many black and Hispanic pastors, in several key states to convince senators to support a constitutional amendment against homosexual "marriage," which is set for a June vote in the Senate.

The House is also expected to vote this year on the contentious amendment, and both sides are already lobbying members.

The amendment -- which defines marriage as the union of a man and a woman -- failed in both chambers in 2004, losing 50-48 in the Senate. This year, Matt Daniels, AFM president, said his side has picked up at least four new Senate votes and perhaps more, which would still leave the amendment well shy of the 67 senators, or two-thirds majority, needed to pass the measure.

IDF arrests father of TA suicide bomber

IDF troops raided a West Bank village near Jenin early Tuesday and arrested the father of a suicide bomber who killed nine people and wounded near 70 others in a terror attack at the entrance to a fast food stand in southern Tel Aviv.

The family of the bomber, Samer Hammad, had emptied the home of all furniture overnight for fear the army would demolish the building, as it often does to the homes of attackers, witnesses said. According to reports however, the army was not immediately preparing to destroy the building.

Islamic Jihad took responsibility for the bombing on Monday and identified Hammad as the attacker soon after the explosion at the Tel Aviv falafel stand. The group said that this terror attack was the first of 70, Israel Radio reported.
the rest

Anti-gay church hounds military funerals
· US states pass laws to try to limit demonstrations
· Preacher damns soldiers defending 'fag nation'
Julian Borger in Washington
Tuesday April 18, 2006
The Guardian

New laws have been passed in the United States to counter the activities of a bizarre church that has been disrupting military funerals with anti-gay protests on the grounds that the soldiers died fighting for a land that tolerates homosexuality.

Since last year, the Westboro Baptist church, based in Topeka, Kansas, has been picketing funerals of soldiers killed in Afghanistan and Iraq, waving signs saying, "Thank God for Dead Soldiers", "Thank God for IEDs [improvised explosive devices - roadside bombs]", and "God Hates Cripple Soldiers", while yelling that dead US troops will rot in hell.
the rest

Replacing “Lord, help me trust in You” with “Lord, I trust in You”
Andrée Seu

Starting next Tuesday I'm going to praise the Lord like gangbusters. That's when my meeting in Harrisburg is over and I can exhale. How wonderful it will be then, the white-knuckling behind me and the joy in Christ before me. For now, I need to worry.

I'm going to rejoice in the Lord, I really am, but I cannot rejoice today. Today, all sleep-deprived, my goal is just to muddle through till bedtime when I'll catch a solid eight and be in shape to "reign in life" tomorrow.

Woe is me! The same old sin has snared my soul again. I have repented copiously, but how could I, vile sinner that I am, come to His gates with joyful praise without a proper pause (of several days) to beat my breast and stay away and suffer for my wretchedness? Psalm 51 pleads, "blot out my transgressions" and "restore to me the joy of Your salvation," but surely David doesn't mean today. Must keep respectable delay of time betwixt the two.
The rest!

Monday, April 17, 2006

Have you ever had a crisis in which you deliberately and emphatically and recklessly abandoned everything? It is a crisis of will. You may come up to it many times externally, but it amounts to nothing. The real deep crisis of abandonment is reached internally, not externally. The giving up of external things may be an indication of being in total bondage.

Have you deliberately committed your will to Jesus Christ? It is a transaction of will, not of emotion; the emotion is simply the gilt-edge of the transaction. If you allow emotion first, you will never make the transaction. Do not ask God what the transaction is to be, but make it in regard to the thing you do see, either in the shallow or the profound place.

If you have heard Jesus Christ's voice on the billows, let your convictions go to the winds, let your consistency go to the winds, but maintain your relationship to Him.Oswald Chambers

CENTRAL NEW YORK: Judge reserves decision in $4.35 million lawsuit against bishop
By David W. Virtue

OWEGO, NY: New York State Supreme Court Judge, Jeffrey A. Tait declined on Good Friday to dismiss charges brought by an Episcopal priest against Central New York Bishop Gladstone "Skip" Adams III, the diocese and former controller and administrator Gael Sopchak.

Fr. David G. Bollinger, rector of St. Paul's church in Owego who was inhibited by Bishop Adams for alleged financial irregularities, outing an alleged pedophile priest and for invading his personal bank account by the controller, is suing the bishop, diocese and Sopchak for $4.35 million.

Named in the lawsuit was the alleged pedophile priest Fr. Ralph Johnson now living in Gibson, Pennsylvania. According to an eyewitness report the judge showed considerable interest in the now resigned diocesan administrator's breaking into Bollinger's personal accounts.

the rest at Virtueonline

Abortion has caused Need for Millions of Illegal Aliens says Evangelical Leader Colson
By John-Henry Westen

WASHINGTON, April 13, 2006 ( - In his BreakPoint Commentary which is carried by nearly a thousand outlets in the United States, reaching about a million listeners, Chuck Colson said Tuesday that abortion is the cause for the shortage of workers which has necessitated a flood of immigration, while the country is struggling to assimilate the foreign influx.

Colson asked rhetorically, "But what's the root of the problem? Why do we have a shortage of workers?" He answered, "Aha, that's the unspeakable 'A' word that the elite dread the most: abortion."
the rest

Lord Carey Denies Rift with Archbishop of Canterbury
Former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey has denied being unsupportive of Dr Williams, the current spiritual leader of the Anglican Communion.
Posted: Monday, April 17 , 2006, 9:03 (BST)

Former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey has denied being unsupportive of Dr Williams, the current spiritual leader of the Anglican Communion.

This Easter has seen a supposed “personal feud” between the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, and his predecessor Lord Carey emerge into the open, with the release of a letter demanding that the former figure-head of the worldwide Anglican Communion end his “disloyalty”, reports Virtue Online.

The blunt letter rebukes Carey for what it suggests have been his efforts to set himself up as an “alternative leader” to Dr Williams.

The debate, which adds further controversy to the already strained Anglican Communion, has come about after Lord Carey has been seen to have intervened with Dr Williams’ guidance in a number of greatly sensitive issues currently taking place in the Church.

In speaking out a number of times on issues such as women bishops, gay clergy, and relations with Muslims, Carey has quickly become a figure-head for those that are opposing Dr Williams and are attempting to halt the liberal direction the Communion seems to be taking. the rest

The Pastor As Theologian, Part One
Albert Mohler
Monday, April 17, 2006

Every pastor is called to be a theologian. This may come as a surprise to some pastors, who see theology as an academic discipline taken during seminary rather than as an ongoing and central part of the pastoral calling. Nevertheless, the health of the church depends upon its pastors functioning as faithful theologians--teaching, preaching, defending, and applying the great doctrines of the faith.

The transformation of theology into an academic discipline more associated with the university than the church has been one of the most lamentable developments of the last several centuries. In the earliest eras of the church, and through the annals of Christian history, the central theologians of the church were its pastors. This was certainly true of the great Reformation of the sixteenth century as well. From the patristic era, we associate the discipline and stewardship of theology with names such as Athanasius, Irenaeus, and Augustine. Similarly, the great theologians of the Reformation were, in the main, pastors such as John Calvin and Martin Luther. Of course, their responsibilities often ranged beyond those of the average pastor, but they could not have conceived of the pastoral role without the essential stewardship of theology.
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Top Anglican Head Slams Da Vinci Code, 'Gospel of Judas' in Easter Sermon
Monday, Apr. 17, 2006
Posted: 9:14:25AM EST

CANTERBURY, England (AP) – The huge public appetite for revisionist stories like "The Da Vinci Code" should not weaken the truth of the Gospel, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams said.

Williams, leader of the world's Anglican Communion, used his Easter sermon to comment on the spread of conspiracy theories about religion.

He mentioned in particular Dan Brown's "The Da Vinci Code," a fictional thriller based on theories that Jesus married Mary Magdalene and had a child. It has sold more than 40 million copies since it was published in 2003.

"One of the ways in which we now celebrate the great Christian festivals in our society is by a little flurry of newspaper articles and television programs raking over the coals of controversies about the historical basis of faith," Williams told worshippers at Canterbury Cathedral Sunday.

Williams, who is the spiritual head of 70 million Anglicans around the globe, said "saturation coverage of the 'Da Vinci Code' literature" and the recent rediscovery of a 1,600-year-old "Gospel of Judas" were part of a widespread desire to expose conspiracies.

Behind the throne of the iPod pope
After a year in office, Benedict is proving a surprise, both in his relaxed politics and in the exotic couple he relies on to control his private life, writes John Cornwell

Meeting the late Pope John Paul II in his heyday I was transfixed by his sturdy tan shoes. Popes traditionally wear scarlet slippers fit for the sanctuary. Papa Wojtyla went heavily shod for the outdoors. A year ago we saw him laid out in death in St Peter’s Basilica still wearing those scuffed clodhoppers, the toes pointing heavenwards. His would be hard shoes to fill.

John Paul was a superstar pope, credited with prompting the downfall of the Soviet system and pressing home staunch values to combat global moral decline. Yet he bequeathed to his successor a church in disarray: not least the aftermath of the paedophile priest scandal.

Dwindling congregations of Catholics in the prosperous north, moreover, have for years been at each other’s throats. Conservative Catholics, for example, insist that even Aids victims should not use condoms: liberals argue that such strictures are lunacy. Meanwhile, the preponderant Catholic populations, 70% of the 1.1 billion faithful, reside in the south where their preoccupations are survival amid conflict, poverty and natural disasters.
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Dig aims to unearth miracle of Jesus
By Jay Bushinsky
April 17, 2006

KAFR CANA, Israel -- Cana, the village in Galilee where the Bible says Jesus changed water into wine, has been excavated by archaeologists in a crash effort to uncover its ruins before they are pulverized by local building contractors.

The site is situated at Karm-a-Ras, a picturesque slope dotted by olive trees planted in the 14th and 15th centuries. It overlooks a lush agricultural expanse, part of which may eventually become an archaeological park.

Many of Cana's houses contained ritual baths and stone vessels indicating its inhabitants were Galilean Jews at the time of the miracle described in the Gospel of John. No imported or glass vessels were found, a factor that attests to its Jewish identity and economically modest circumstances.
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Finding Religion
Democrats try to talk like God-fearing folk.
by Joseph Lindsley
04/17/2006 12:00:00 AM

IMAGINE a Republican congressman defending traditional marriage by saying, "I am inspired in my public service by St. Paul's admonition against sodomy in his first letter to the Corinthians." Surely, many liberals would raise the alarm of impending theocracy. But House minority leader Nancy Pelosi--a self-described "conservative Catholic" despite her status as a pro-gay marriage, pro-choice San Francisco lefty who as a young girl thought she would rather be a priest than a nun--has lately been encouraging members of her party to couch their political arguments in Biblical terms so as to appeal to the God-fearing.

In a St. Patrick's Day speech on the genocide in Darfur, a topic that unites religious conservatives and liberals, Pelosi said, "The gospel of Matthew is something that drives many of us in our public service." In September of last year, she gave a speech in favor of strengthening the Endangered Species Act, in which she said, "In Isaiah in the Old Testament, we are told that to minister to the needs of God's creation--and that includes our beautiful environment--is an act of worship." And Pelosi, who could be speaker of the House next January, was one of 55 Catholic Democrats in the chamber who signed a "Statement of Principles" in which they expressed union with the "living Catholic tradition." In the statement, released in February through the office of Connecticut's Rosa DeLauro, the signers admit the "undesirability of abortion," without actually committing to changing their party's pro-choice agenda.
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Cardinal Egan: Jesus theories 'science fiction'
Posted April 17 2006

Edward Cardinal Egan used his Easter homily Sunday to rail against alternative theories about the life of Christ that he said were undermining Catholicism.

A standing-room-only crowd of at least 2,500 ticketed parishioners packed St. Patrick's Cathedral for the Cardinal's 10:15 a.m. Mass.

Egan took issue with a U.S. News & World Report magazine story on a controversial new book called "The Jesus Dynasty: The Hidden History of Jesus, His Royal Family, and the Birth of Christianity," by a religious studies professor at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte.

The book by James Tabor claims that Jesus was the son of a Roman soldier and that he wanted to establish a worldwide dynasty led by 12 tribal leaders, with his brother James, rather than Peter, as its leader.
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Old rite gets new welcome

HUDSON-Christ Church Episcopal is offering "open baptism" as part of its Easter Vigil service, Saturday, April 15, at 7:30 p.m. It's an unorthodox approach, because the only requirement for people wishing to be baptized is that they show up a half hour ahead of the ritual and join a relatively brief baptismal recitation.

The rector of Christ Church, Father John Perry, acknowledges that this type of baptism is a departure from Church practice, but he sees it as a gesture of welcome intertwined with one of the oldest and important events in the Episcopal Church, the Easter Vigil.

"We feel strongly that the church should do all it can do to remove any barriers, real or imagined, that keep people from finding and expressing spirituality in church," says Fr. Perry.

'Roe v. Wade': The divided states of America
By Susan Page,

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Two hours after South Dakota Gov. Mike Rounds signed an abortion ban last month, NARAL Pro-Choice America blasted an e-mail to its supporters: "Is your state next?"

The South Dakota legislation and the abortion rights group's warning are early skirmishes in a battle over what states would do if the landmark Roe v. Wade decision were overturned — though both sides concede that may never happen.

If it does, a fight that for three decades has focused on nine members of the Supreme Court would be waged instead among more than 7,000 legislators in 50 state capitals.

"Now is the time to get moving on this in Ohio," says Tom Brinkman, a state legislator who has introduced a bill to ban almost all abortions. Meanwhile, Kellie Copeland of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio is braced. "Our supporters feel the fight is coming back to the states," she says.

What would states do?
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