Saturday, June 03, 2006


Breathe in me, O Holy Spirit,
that my thoughts may all be holy.

Act in me, O Holy Spirit,
that my work, too, may be holy.

Draw my heart, O Holy Spirit,
that I love but what is holy.

Strengthen me, O Holy Spirit,
to defend all that is holy.

Guard me, then, O Holy Spirit,
that I always may be holy.


Pentecost-The Gifts and Charisms of The Holy Spirit
by: Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio

As a teen, I thought the clergy were supposed to do everything. We laity were just called to pray, pay, and obey. Oh yes, and keep the commandments, of course. The original 10 seemed overwhelming enough. Then I discovered the Sermon on the Mount and nearly passed out.

This is why many inactive Catholics (as well as Baptists) are so resentful of their upbringing in the Church. For them, religion means frustration, failure, and guilt.

Somehow they, and I, missed the good news about Pentecost. OK, we Catholics celebrate the feast every year and mention it in Confirmation class, but lots of us evidently didn’t “get it.”

Because if we “got it,” we’d be different. Bold instead of timid, energetic instead of anemic, fascinated instead of bored. Compare the apostles before and after Pentecost and you’ll see the difference the Spirit makes.
the rest

Prayer Octave for General Convention Begins on Pentecost

On Pentecost, June 4, Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold and the Very Rev. George L. W. Werner, president of the House of Deputies, will launch an octave of prayer for General Convention. Bishop Griswold will preach at the Church of St. Luke in the Fields, New York City, while Dean Werner will preach at St. James’ Church, Lancaster, Pa.

An octave is an ancient church tradition of eight days of prayer between two feast days such as the Octave of Holy Week between Palm Sunday and Easter Day. The idea for the General Convention octave was conceived at the joint meeting of the councils of advice for the Presiding Bishop and the President of the House of Deputies after the Bishop of Maine, the Rt. Rev. Chilton Knudsen, described an octave of prayer she led in her diocese.

the rest at The Living Church

Anglican Futures
Matt Kennedy+

I’m trying to gather my wits in preparation for GC2006. As part of this wit-gathering I’ve been sorting through scenarios and future possibilities for the Communion and for the Episcopal Church. As I’ve been doing this I’ve realized just how much hinges on the Archbishop of Canterbury. He is not the pope, but his decisions in the aftermath of General Convention will literally define and determine the shape of Anglicanism.

I’ve settled on four possible outcomes and I’ve ranked them in order of probability.

the rest at Stand Firm

Eat This Book -- A Review of Eugene Peterson's book
By Richard Kew+

Eat This Book -- A Conversation in the Art of Spirital Reading by Eugene H. Peterson (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2006)

The other day I heard of a large congregation in a denomination whose theology and style mean it presents itself as far more conservative and orthodox than my own. Indeed, they make great play of their willingness to place themselves under the authority of Scripture. The pastor of this congregation was discovered to have been sexually involved with a female staff person for a considerable time. When the matter came before the staff and the board there was a strong move to retain that pastor's services before it was headed off by a vigilant staff person who pointed out that this man had contravened the very fundamentals of Christian morality.

The point of this story is that it does not matter where we look today, the churches are being shaped more and more by the prevailing culture than by the mind of the God who called them into being. It is voices like that of Eugene Peterson who remind us that if we are the People of God then we cannot allow ourselves to be formed by the culture, we must put ourselves in the place where we are formed by God -- which means rediscovering how to read, nourish, and form ourselves through our drenching in God's Word. He says, "An enormous amount of damage is done in the name of Christian living by bad Bible reading" (Page 82).

Eat This Book is a slender volume by Peterson standards, a mere 180 pages, but it took me two months to get through it. Part of the reason for this was that I did not have the time to sit down and read it with a lot of continuity, but part of the reason was that even if I had had such time, I would not have been able to hurry along because there is too much in here to rush over.

the rest at The Kew Continuum

Christians to battle Feds on 'million-dollar' tracts
Lawyers advise evangelists not to turn over more 'counterfeit evidence' without warrant
Posted: June 3, 2006
By Joseph Farah

WASHINGTON – If and when the Secret Service visits the offices of
Living Waters Ministry in Southern California to collect more "counterfeiting evidence" in the form of gospel tracts disguised as $1 million bills, agents better be armed with a warrant.

Ray Comfort, the world-renowned evangelist and head of the ministry, says he is not inclined to turn over any more copies of one of his most effective tools for witnessing his faith just because some Treasury agents demand them.

Comfort was advised by his attorneys not to hand over the same gospel tracts seized Thursday in a raid on Living Waters' partner ministry in Denton, Texas.

"The thinking is that if agents show a judge a copy of the $1 million tract, he would laugh till he cried and then, after catching his breath, he would thank the agents for a good laugh and then ask them to stop wasting his time," explained Comfort.

Faith-Based Prison Program Ruled Unconstitutional
Saturday, Jun. 3, 2006

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – A judge on Friday ruled that a Bible-based prison program violated the First Amendment's freedom of religion clause by using state funds to promote Christianity to inmates.

Prison Fellowship Ministries, which was sued in 2003 by a Washington-based advocacy group, was ordered to cease its program at the Newton Correctional Facility and repay the state $1.53 million.

"This decision has national implications," said Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, which filed the lawsuit. "This calls into question the funding for so many programs. ... Anyone who doesn't stop it is putting a giant 'sue me' sign on top of their building." the rest

A Large Gift of Faith
Single Church Pledges $1 Million for Gulf Coast Recovery

By Jeff Diamant
Religion News Service
Saturday, June 3, 2006

SUMMIT, N.J. -- Fountain Baptist Church favors exuberance in worship, its members encouraging their spirited pastor with approving nods and liberal supplies of amens.

The fervor of spirit at this 108-year-old suburban African American church, about 1,900 members strong, is matched by a charitable heart -- and pocketbook.

The church, which started as a humble meeting place for a handful of gardeners and domestic workers, has turned heads with the sums it now gives to charitable causes around the world. The latest example is a $1 million pledge slated for hurricane recovery in the Gulf Coast, an amount considered quite generous for a major corporation or association, let alone a single church.
the rest

Churches blend the discipline of yoga with biblical theology
Houston Chronicle
June 3, 2006

Christian music plays in the background as the women take their places on cross-shaped mats.
For the next hour, Laura Gates gently leads them through exercises that may look like yoga but are known as "PraiseMoves: The Christian Alternative to Yoga."

Instead of referring to the "downward-facing dog," a yoga posture that encourages flexibility and helps the flow of blood to the head, Gates calls the move the "tent" and recites a portion of Isaiah 54:2 ("Enlarge the place of your tent, and let them stretch out the curtains of your dwellings").

During the class at Second Baptist Church's North campus in Kingwood, Gates' students may do as many as 23 different moves. Each posture has an accompanying Bible verse to put the focus on God. Classes begin and end with prayer.
the rest

Friday, June 02, 2006

Prayer can no more be divorced from worship than life can be divorced from breathing. If we follow his impulse, the Holy Spirit will always lead us to pray. When we allow him to work freely, he will always bring the Church to extensive praying. Conversely, when the Spirit is absent, we will find excuses not to pray. We may say, "God understands. He knows I love him. But I'm tired... I'm so busy... It's just not convenient now..." When the Spirit is absent, our excuses always seem right, but in the presence of the Spirit our excuses fade away. R. T. Kendall

MUSIC = MOTION = COLOR = MATH (Mesmerizing!)

Check this out-very cool!

(Turn sound on)

Bishop Swing: Priest's History is Damaging Church

Even though the Rev. John W. Bennison has had an honorable priestly career for the past 25 years, the Bishop of California, the Rt. Rev. William E. Swing, has asked for his resignation as rector of St. John’s, Clayton, because his previous history of sexual misconduct, including allegations involving the abuse of children from a previous parish in another diocese, is causing “exponential damage to the Episcopal Church nationwide.”

In a May 31 letter to the diocese, Bishop Swing praised Fr. Bennison and called for critics and supporters to “cross the barriers” and cooperate in a full investigation of previous behavior that led to a three-year deposition in the 1970s.

“I have glimpsed something of the power of Jesus’ resurrection in the ministry of Father Bennison in the Diocese of California,” Bishop Swing wrote. “Statistics emphatically predict that he would never change. But he has. I’ve witnessed it. I believe in his priesthood and have laid my name on the line for him. I have made the good name of the Diocese of California vulnerable because I have trusted him. And...he has not disappointed. Not once in a quarter of a century.”the rest

Homosexual Activists Target UK Faith Schools, Adoption Policies
By Gudrun Schultz

GREAT BRITAIN, June 2, 2006 ( – Faith-based schools in the UK are facing efforts by a homosexual activist group to ensure the schools’ acceptance of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender lifestyles for their students. Schools Out has called on the government to ensure the new Equality Act, which will prohibit any discrimination based on sexual orientation in the provision of goods and services, including education, will be fully enforced in the faith schools.

The organisation is also calling for changes to the education system that would emphasize the “culture and history” of LGBT people in school curricula.

Meanwhile, Catholic adoption agencies in Scotland are reacting to proposed legislation that would allow homosexual couples to jointly adopt children. The agencies are requesting an exemption allowing them to opt out of facilitating homosexual adoptions, should the measure become law. The Catholic Church has specifically condemned placing children in a homosexual environment, saying homosexual adoption must be considered “gravely immoral.”
the rest

Senior Church of England Clergyman Sent to Kenya to Resolve Gay Dispute
A leading Church of England clergyman has been sent from Sudan to Kenya in an attempt to defuse the row between the Bishop of Chelmsford and the Archbishop of Kenya.
Posted: Friday, June 2 , 2006

A leading Church of England clergyman has been sent from Sudan to Kenya in an attempt to defuse the row between the Bishop of Chelmsford and the Archbishop of Kenya. Rev David Peak, the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Secretary for International Development, has been assigned to travel to Kenya, after the Bishop of Chelmsford, Rev John Gladwin’s trip ended abruptly, reported the Church of England newspaper.

Controversy has surrounded Rev Gladwin’s journey to Kenya, after Archbishop Nzimbi refused to continue with the schedule of Gladwin’s trip when he found out about the Bishop of Chelmsford’s role as a patron of the ‘Changing Attitude’ group.

Changing Attitude is committed to changing the core teachings on Scriptures of the Anglican Church, which rejects homosexuality, into a new morality that would welcome practising homosexuality within the Church.

Mr Gladwin has told that he was “greatly surprised and saddened” by the events which saw him barred from preaching a sermon in Nairobi’s All Saints Cathedral.

The Windsor Report’s proposals for a Covenant to keep the Anglican Communion together have now become the focus in efforts to resolve the Church’s crisis over homosexuality.

Can Democracy Survive Polygamy?
Albert Mohler
Friday, June 02, 2006

Observing the landscape of America's contentious debate over marriage, scholar Stanley Kurtz of the Hudson Institute, remarks, "It has become necessary to offer a case against polygamy."

That such a claim would appear so utterly reasonable in our times is a clear sign that marriage is in big trouble. That trouble is not, for the most part, localized on the issue of polygamy, but the question of polygamy hangs over current controversies concerning same-sex marriage and the legal status of marriage as a social institution.

Stanley Kurtz is one of the nation's most prolific writers on issues related to marriage, the culture, and questions of controversy. What makes Kurtz's work especially important is the fact that he, though a stalwart defender of retaining the traditional definition of marriage, is able to write with a combination of clarity and charity. The argument Kurtz offers is, as time will tell, impossible to refute.

Kurtz's most recent essay, "Polygamy Versus Democracy," appears in the June 5, 2006 edition of The Weekly Standard. In this article, Kurtz begins by pointing to a television series about a polygamous patriarch and his complicated family. Most American readers will jump to the immediate conclusion that Kurtz is referring to the HBO miniseries, Big Love. Nevertheless, Kurtz is actually referring to a program popular in Egypt--a drama that focuses upon a polygamous family. As Kurtz indicates, the popularity of the television series set off a controversy that continues to rage through the Muslim world.
the rest

Boycott of Ford Impacting Automaker
Company Continues Promotion of Same-Sex 'Marriage'
By AFA Journal
June 2, 2006

(AgapePress) - As the boycott of the Ford Motor Company picks up steam, the automaker continues to help finance homosexual organizations pushing same-sex "marriage."

More than 20 pro-family groups are currently boycotting Ford, which also makes Jaguar, Volvo, Land Rover, Mazda, Lincoln and Mercury. The American Family Association, which initiated the boycott, has learned that Ford dealers recently met with corporate officials, and the boycott's effect on sales was the major topic of discussion.

In fact, while Ford's financial difficulties are not new, the company's woes appear to be accelerating. The automaker's sales dropped 5 percent in March and 7 percent in April, and Ford's stock has dropped more than 14 percent since the boycott began, reaching the lowest price in nearly 20 years.

"We've said all along that Ford should be concentrating on making better automobiles, rather than getting in the middle of the culture war," AFA chairman Don Wildmon says. "The latest round of bad economic news seems to bear this out."
the rest

Episcopal Church to Apologize for Slavery Support
Friday, Jun. 2, 2006

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – The Episcopal Church is poised to apologize for failing to oppose slavery, but making up for its 19th century inaction won't come without 21st century controversy.

At its national convention beginning June 13, the church is expected to approve a resolution expressing regret for supporting slavery and segregation. But the debate will likely get more heated when a second resolution comes up, calling for a study of possible reparations for black Episcopalians.

The church, already divided over the separate issue of gays' role in the church, is struggling over whether reparations would be a meaningful gesture 141 years after the Civil War ended.

"A lot of times you say, 'I'm not a racist, I didn't have slaves, no one in my family had slaves, I could not possibly be complicit in this,'" said Sharon Denton, a member of the church's National Concerns committee that deals with domestic ministry and mission issues.
the rest

World's Deadliest Epidemic May Become Deadlier
Friday, Jun. 2, 2006

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (AP) - It began innocuously, when a statistical anomaly pointed to a mysterious syndrome that attacked the immune systems of gay men in California. No one imagined 25 years ago that AIDS would become the deadliest epidemic in history.

Since June 5, 1981, HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, has killed more than 25 million people, infected 40 million others and left a legacy of unspeakable loss, hardship, fear and despair.

Its spread was hastened by ignorance, prejudice, denial and the freedoms of the sexual revolution. Along the way from oddity to pandemic, AIDS changed they way people live and love.

Slowed but unchecked, the epidemic's relentless march has established footholds in the world's most populous countries. Advances in medicine and prevention that have made the disease manageable in the developed world haven't reach the rest.
the rest

Pioneer Of Online Christian Chat Hangs Up His Mouse!
By James Cantrill
Special to ASSIST News Service

STOKE-ON-TRENT, UK (ANS) -- The founder of one of the UK’s longest established and busiest online Christian chat sites has decided to retire from the ministry after a decade of seeing the unsaved coming to Christ, backsliders being restored and broken lives being rebuilt.

These, along with the marriages of people who met online, have been just some of the daily good news stories at that have grown from a vision that Roy Clarke had in the mid 1990’s for a friendly and safe place for Christians and non-Christians to meet online.

Since then the site has grown into one of the busiest online chat site in the UK, with hundreds of people chatting everyday. However, despite its success, the site is still committed to it’s original vision and is overseen by a group of volunteer ‘monitors’ who ensure that chat is kept clean and friendly.
the rest

Gay marriage petition could divide communities
By Matthew Belson
Thursday, June 1, 2006

More than 150,000 people have signed a citizen's petition circulating throughout the Commonwealth since November, seeking to end same-sex marriage through a constitutional amendment that defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman.

The petition already has caused some controversy on the Cape, after the list of signatories was published on line at

In Truro, former Selectman Paul Asher-Best called into question chief of rescue operations Leo Childs's ability to provide equal care to gay and lesbian members of the community after discovering Childs had signed the anti-gay marriage petition. Childs was seeking reappointment to the town's fire board.
the rest

By J. Grant Swank, Jr.
Jun 2, 2006

I received an e-mail from a pro-life woman who voiced concern that she is not a public speaker or writer who can champion the anti-abortion cause. So she asked: What is it that I can do to help?

This is such a necessary question, for there are many who wonder what they can do to help rescue the unborn children. After all, it’s an overwhelming problem. The enemy is vocal and strong. Our allies are continually fighting the good fight of faith. So what can we all do to assist those babies in the womb?

We can pray. Prayer is the mighty force. It informs the heavenly Father that we depend upon Him for wisdom and strength. Prayer also unlocks our intercessory concern for another — the self-giving prayer rather than the self-serving petition.

We all can pray every day. We can pray throughout the day. We can pray with others. We can remind our believing friends to pray. Prayer moves the world — the unseen world.

the rest-Excellent!

First Batwoman-now this:

How Will a Gay Icon Fly at the Box Office?
Superman appeals to gays. Should that be a selling point? Or could it be kryptonite?
By John Horn, Times Staff Writer
June 2, 2006

STUDIOS love magazine stories that breathlessly hype their summer popcorn movies, so you would think that Warner Bros. might have been happy with Alonso Duralde's cover story about "Superman Returns," which gushed, "Superheroes — let's face it — are totally hot."

There was a twist: Duralde's "Superman Returns" story was not in Entertainment Weekly or Newsweek or Premiere. It ran in the May 23 issue of the Advocate, the prominent national gay magazine, next to the headline: "How Gay Is Superman?"
the rest

Reward offered following church fire

The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is offering a $5,000 reward for information in the arson that left an Episcopal church in Warren County a charred ruin.

Christ Church Episcopal on Route 9 in Pottersville burned Tuesday night. Police on Wednesday ruled it was a case of arson.

The Warren County Sheriff's Office said it is already investigating a string of burglaries at the church. But they aren't saying if they think the burglaries are connected to the fire.

Christ Church is part of the Episcopal Diocese of Albany.
the rest

Ancient Scroll May Yield Religious Secrets
Jun 01, 2006
Associated Press Writer
ATHENS, Greece

A collection of charred scraps kept in a Greek museum's storerooms are all that remains of what archaeologists say is Europe's oldest surviving book _ which may hold a key to understanding early monotheistic beliefs.

More than four decades after the Derveni papyrus was found in a 2,400- year-old nobleman's grave in northern Greece, researchers said Thursday they are close to uncovering new text _ through high-tech digital analysis _ from the blackened fragments left after the manuscript was burnt on its owner's funeral pyre.
the rest

Thursday, June 01, 2006

It is in vain, 0 men, that you seek within yourselves the cure for your miseries. All your insight only leads you to the knowledge that it is not in yourselves that you will discover the true and the good. The philosophers promised them to you, and have not been able to keep their promises... Your principal maladies are pride, which cuts you off from God, and sensuality, which binds you to the earth; and they have done nothing but foster at least one of these maladies. If they have given you God for your object, it has only been to pander to your pride; they have made you think that you were like Him and resembled Him by your nature. And those who have grasped the vanity of such a pretension have cast you down into the other abyss by making you believe that your nature was like that of the beasts of the field, and have led you to seek your good in lust, which is the lot of animals. ... Blaise Pascal

God is none other than the Saviour of our wretchedness. So we can only know God well by knowing our iniquities... Those who have known God without knowing their wretchedness have not glorified him, but have glorified themselves. ... Blaise Pascal

General Convention 2006

You'll want to add this site to your favorites column for news and info about the upcoming convention:

General Convention 2006

Fire Damages Rural Albany Church

Christ Church, Pottersville, N.Y., one of six churches that comprise the Adirondack Missions in the Diocese of Albany, was severely damaged by fire during the night on May 30.

The fire followed two recent acts of vandalism at the church during which crucifixes were thrown into a gully behind the church, a statue of the Virgin Mary was smashed, and the chalice and paten were removed.

The walls of the church were left standing, but the fire burned large holes in the roof. A large white cross and the bell tower also remained intact.

At press time, an arson investigation team had been summoned.

The Pottersville church and five other small congregations in the southern Adirondack Mountains have long been served by a ministry team of priests and deacons.

The Living Church

New Poll Reveals How Americans Value Marriage
Thursday, Jun. 1, 2006

WASHINGTON – A new Gallup poll found that only a third of America’s baby boomers and thirty percent of those aged 18-39 believe marriage is ''very important'' if a couple has a child together, compared to 58 percent of adults 65 and over.

"I think that’s a very troubling finding, that only 30-35 percent of people in the younger generation think marriage is very important,” said Peter Brigg, Vice President for Policy at the Family Research Council. “There is an abundance of research that shows marriage is important for adults as well as children.”

The analysis was based on telephone interviews of 1,002 randomly selected adults conducted from May 8-22, and was released on May 30.
the rest

Rivers on the bare heights
Graduates, prepare for the days when you will be parched with thirst
Marvin Olasky

May and June are full of uplifting commencement addresses. Speakers offer sentiments such as, "Today you embark on a great adventure. Endeavor to persevere."

There is nothing wrong with such sentiments. Clichés become clichés because they have a foundation in experience. But graduates, while embarking on a great adventure, will also encounter disappointment and doubt, so speakers should mix in a little reality with the inevitable exhortation.

Graduates will face disappointment with people. Sooner or later a Christian friendship will end in betrayal and a Christian organization will evidence corruption. That will be a shattering experience for those who professed Christ merely because they believed what parents or pastors or friends told them.

Sadly, some people lose confidence in Christ because of Christians. The key then is to remember what an old deacon told me 30 years ago: "Christians will often disappoint you. Christ never will."
the rest

Oprah's America -- The Centrality of the Self
Albert Mohler
Posted: Thursday, June 01, 2006

Week by week, Lee Siegel of
The New Republic offers some of the most insightful cultural analysis to be found anywhere. In this week's issue, he considers the meaning of Oprah Winfrey, arguing that Oprah represents the apex of television as a culture-shaping medium. In his words, "Oprah Winfrey is to television what Bach is to music, Giotto to painting, Joyce to literature."

The saddest commentary on that assessment is that most of Oprah's viewers would have no idea what Siegel means. But, who needs to read Finnegan's Wake, Dubliners, or Ulysses when you can just tune into Oprah?

Is Oprah basically about the centrality of the self and the cult of personality?
The rest

TV and tykes don't mix
Jun 1, 2006
by Michael Fumento

This just in! New study shows little kids watch lots of TV! Yeah, I know you’re “Shocked, shocked!” What may surprise you, though, is the extent to which these children are being exposed to television and why. Kids aren’t just gravitating to the tube; the one-eyed monster is being used as a babysitter by parents who think they’re too busy for them and by folks who see giving a child his own tube as a way of allowing them to gorge on TV.

According to the latest Media Family report conducted by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation:

* While more children read or are read to than watch TV on a typical day, the average time spent reading is 48 minutes per day while the average time watching TV is 1 hour 19 minutes.
the rest

Same-Sex Marriage: Hijacking the Civil Rights Legacy
The indiscriminate promotion of various social groups' desires and preferences as "rights" has drained the moral authority from the civil rights industry.
by Eugene F. Rivers & Kenneth D. Johnson

THE MOVEMENT TO REDEFINE MARRIAGE to include same-sex unions has packaged its demands in the rhetoric and images of the civil rights movement. This strategy, though cynical, has enormous strategic utility. For what reasonable, fair-minded American could object to a movement that conjures up images of Martin Luther King Jr. and his fellows campaigners for racial justice facing down dogs and fire hoses? Who is prepared to risk being labeled a bigot for opposing same-sex marriage?

As an exercise in marketing and merchandising, this strategy is the most brilliant playing of the race card in recent memory. Not since the "poverty pimps" of 35 years ago, who leveraged the guilt and sense of fair play of the American public to hustle affirmative action set-asides, have we witnessed so brazen a misuse of African-American history for partisan purposes.

But the partisans of homosexual marriage have a problem. There is no evidence in the history and literature of the civil rights movement, or in its genesis in the struggle against slavery, to support the claim that the "gay rights" movement is in the tradition of the African-American struggle for civil rights. As the eminent historian Eugene D. Genovese observed more than 30 years ago, the black American experience as a function of slavery is unique and without analogue in the history of the United States. While other ethnic and social groups have experienced discrimination and hardship, none of their experiences compare with the physical and cultural brutality of slavery.
the rest

Diocese gears up for General Convention
Conversations and briefings anticipate the focal issues
By Jim Naughton
Washington Window

Episcopalians in and around the Diocese of Washington gathered last month for briefings and conversation about the issues likely to dominate the agenda of the church's General Convention, which meets June 13-21 in Columbus, Ohio.

At Virginia Theological Seminary, the Rev. Canon Rosemari Sullivan, the seminary's director of alumni affairs and church relations, led some 50 convention deputies, seminary students and visitors through an examination of the 11 resolutions drawn up by the commission charged with shaping the church's response to the Windsor Report.

Meanwhile, at St. Paul's, Rock Creek, the Rev. Frank Wade, chairman of the diocesan deputation to General Convention, and seven other deputies and alternates participated in a sparsely attended forum that focused on proposed revisions to the church's canons of discipline, but touched on other issues as well.
the rest

Tomorrow's high schools likely to resemble today's colleges
Pat Kossan
The Arizona Republic
Jun. 1, 2006

American high schools are on the brink of changes that could make them nearly unrecognizable to students who just got their diplomas.

Gone may be the large campuses teeming with kids and the classmates of similar age on similar schedules that have them all graduating together.Campuses could be converted into small, specialized schools, and students could have individual learning plans built around their declared high school major.

If it sounds more like college, that appears to be the goal.

The national movement to reshape high school is being championed by educators and sought aggressively in some states, such as Florida. It is happening in small ways in Arizona but likely will pick up pace as the effort and ideas spread.
the rest

DC Comics Resurrects Batwoman As Lesbian
By LARRY McSHANE, Associated Press Writer
Wednesday, May 31, 2006

New York (AP) --
Years after she first emerged from the Batcave, Batwoman is coming out of the closet. DC Comics is resurrecting the classic comic book character as a lesbian, unveiling the new Batwoman in July as part of an ongoing weekly series that began this year.

The 5-foot-10 superhero comes with flowing red hair, knee-high red boots with spiked heels, and a form-fitting black outfit.

"We decided to give her a different point of view," explained Dan DiDio, vice president and executive editor at DC. "We wanted to make her a more unique personality than others in the Bat-family. That's one of the reasons we went in this direction."
the rest

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

If we wholly trust an interest to God, we must keep our hands off it; and He will guard it for us better than him; fret not yourself because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who brings wicked devices to pass. Things may seem to be going all wrong, but He knows as well as we; and He will arise in the right moment if we are really trusting Him so fully as to let Him work in His own way and time. There is nothing so masterly as inactivity in some things, and there is nothing so hurtful as restless working, for God has undertaken to work His sovereign will. A.B. Simpson Photo

ECUSA to consider letting bishops take action against laity
By John H. Adams

The Layman Online
Thursday, May 25, 2006

The General Convention of the Episcopal Church (USA) will be asked to radically change its disciplinary policies by abandoning the denomination's historic rule that prohibits dioceses and bishops from disciplining or excommunicating lay members.

"Bluntly put, these proposed disciplinary canons are a disaster," says Raymond Dague, a New York lawyer and the target of a bishop's ire because of a column he once wrote. "This is church discipline from hell. They are the product of a siege mentality by an institution which seeks to stomp out opposition to the agenda of the higher-ups by removing any laity who stand in their way. The very threat of this process will make all but the most stout-hearted soul acquiesce."

Lay members are subject to discipline and excommunication, but not by bishops or dioceses. That safeguard was adopted in Colonial times when the American church was "as nervous of the arbitrary power of bishops as it was of the arbitrary power of the British king," Dague says. "Since its founding in the days before the United States Constitution was written, no bishop or diocese of the Episcopal Church can discipline any layman. Only clergy are subject to a bishop's discipline."

Dague is a Syracuse lawyer and the assistant chancellor of the bishop of the Diocese of Albany. He is a member of St. Andrew's in the Valley of Syracuse.
the rest

Comments at titusonenine

Study: 1 million sex crimes by illegals
Researcher estimates more than 100 offenders crossing border daily
Posted: May 31, 2006

Based on a one-year in-depth study, a researcher estimates there are about 240,000 illegal immigrant sex offenders in the United States who have had an average of four victims each.

Deborah Schurman-Kauflin of the
Violent Crimes Institute in Atlanta analyzed 1,500 cases from January 1999 through April 2006 that included serial rapes, serial murders, sexual homicides and child molestation committed by illegal immigrants.

She found that while the offenders were located in 36 states, most were in states with the highest numbers of illegal immigrants. California had the most offenders, followed by Texas, Arizona, New Jersey, New York and Florida.
the rest

NY Court to Make Final Say on Gay Marriage Case
Wednesday, May. 31, 2006

NEW YORK - A more than two-year-long gay ‘‘marriage’’ battle will be taken up in a final hearing by the state's highest court on Wednesday. Gay marriage advocates have set their sights on this day hopeful of marriage licenses as Christians have kept up peaceful protests over the past two years.

High interest in the cases involving five New York City couples who were denied marriage licenses in 2004 is bringing the court to the Internet with live broadcast scheduled for the 2 p.m. hearing in Albany. Churches across the state were reported to have gathered the night before the Court of Appeals makes its final say.

Attorneys for the gay couples are expected to argue that the current law prohibiting same-sex marriage violates the state constitution's guarantee of "equality, liberty and privacy for all New Yorkers."
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Emerging Confusion
Jesus is the truth whether we experience him or not.
by Charles Colson with Anne Morse
posted 05/31/2006

Distressed about my widely circulated exchanges with an "emerging church" leader, a young theologian confronted me after a conference. He urged me to try to understand them. "You might be surprised by how much you agree on," he said.

Maybe I had been too harsh. After all, the theologian—we'll call him Jim—argued that emerging church leaders are trying to translate the gospel for a postmodern generation. That's a commendable goal, I agreed. Though in their effort to reach postmoderns—who question the existence and knowability of truth—I expressed fear that they are coming dangerously close to teaching that objective truth does not exist.

A lengthy e-mail exchange with Jim followed. In defense of emerging church leaders, he insisted that truth is paradoxical, simultaneously personal and propositional. It is objectively true that Jesus Christ is Lord no matter what anyone thinks, Jim wrote. But, he added, "Propositional truth is not the highest truth. Indeed, the highest truth is personal."

Like all statements that can lead us into error, those have the ring of truth. Of course, truth becomes relational when we come to Jesus, Truth himself. But our doing that isn't what makes it true. He is the truth whether or not we ever experience him. Scripture is never less than revealed propositional truth.
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Becoming a Godly Wife: Cultivate a Life of Prayer
Judy Carden

Can you remember a time in your marriage when you wondered if you had made a major mistake in your choice of a partner, or you wondered if you had grossly overestimated your love story and, even worse, the character of your husband? Think back to a time when you felt that your husband’s performance fell far short of your expectations, or when, somewhere along the way, your beautiful love story took a detour and you weren’t sure you even liked your husband any longer.

You may be reading this with a heavy heart. Your spirit is crushed. Those once-soft glances are now frightened, empty stares. Perhaps privately, you are praying for either a painless parting (which doesn’t exist) or a marriage miracle.

the rest-Excellent!

Introducing the Lohasians -- The New Face of the New Age
by Albert Mohler
Posted: Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Newsweek introduces its readers to the movement it calls the "Lohasians" in the magazine's June 5, 2006 edition. According to Steven Waldman of, "Lohasian" is an acronym for "Lifestyles of Heath and Sustainability."

Here's how the Lohasians are described:

LOHAS consumers (or Lohasians, as they're called at Beliefnet) represent 17 percent of the U.S. population, according to a report released by the Natural Marketing Institute at a LOHAS conference held in April in Santa Monica, Calif. The study said Lohasians are "dedicated to personal and planetary health." Seventy-three percent buy recycled-paper goods, and 71 percent buy natural or organic "personal care" products. They pay more to get foods without pesticides and want their cars fuel-efficient. Among the products and services offered at the conference this year were detoxifying pine oil, organic body lotion, ecofriendly spas and recycled-cashmere sweaters. A decade ago, one attendee said, the conference vendor room offered only "broccoli and tomatoes."
the rest

Church for gays launches ad blitz
$55,000 campaign asks: Would Jesus discriminate?
May 31, 2006

How would Jesus treat gays and lesbians? Would he accept them as they are, or condemn them as sinners?

Whether you're interested in engaging in the debate or not, a local gay and lesbian church's in-your-face advertising campaign could make it a difficult topic to avoid over the next few weeks.

Especially with 2,000 yard signs, which began popping up in the metro area over the weekend, an ad in Sunday's Indianapolis Star (with three more planned), 650 bumper stickers, 720 T-shirts and soon 25,000 door hangers -- all courtesy of volunteers from the Jesus Metropolitan Community Church.
the rest

Onward Christian Surfers
Dean Sabate and his wave-riding friends spread the Gospel on Waikiki, searching for the hopeless, lonely and lost in paradise.
By Tomas Alex Tizon, Times Staff Writer
May 31, 2006

HONOLULU — If Jesus were alive today, he would be a surfer. He would mingle with fishermen and beach bums and lay his mat on the sand among the scantily clad. Instead of walking on water, he would ride waves on a carved piece of fiberglass, keeping an eye out for anyone who needed saving.

This is what Dean Sabate and his friends believe.

They are surfers for Jesus. Today they are on Waikiki Beach doing what they believe Jesus would be doing. While others might see a frolicking crowd, Sabate and his group see sprinkled among the masses a few lost souls who need tending.
the rest

Are evangelicals swing voters?
May 31, 2006
Patrick Hynes

At some point in the last eighteen months, a meme was born in the mainstream press that has, so far as I can tell, no basis in fact. According to this meme, politically active evangelical Christians are an "up for grabs" swing group of voters, many of whom are ripe for the Democrats’ picking.

This bizarre idea was expressed most recently by Ruth Marcus in the Washington Post in May.

Writes Marcus:

Democrats these days are a party on a mission that might sound impossible: to persuade evangelical Christian voters to consider converting -- to the Democratic Party.Just as Republicans have worked, and to some extent succeeded, at peeling off some African American voters from the Democratic Party, evangelical voters are too big a part of the electorate (about a quarter) for one party simply to write off.Democrats have a shot at
luring some of them…

The facts do not back up this assertion.
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Getty to display religious icons from Mt. Sinai
A Byzantine monastery will loan 53 objects for a fall showing called "the experience of a lifetime" by one organizer.
By Suzanne Muchnic, Times Staff Writer

In a feat of international diplomacy and long-term planning, the J. Paul Getty Museum has arranged to bring a trove of Byzantine devotional objects from an Egyptian monastery to Los Angeles. Fifty-three objects from the Holy Monastery of St. Catherine at Mt. Sinai — home of the world's finest collection of Byzantine icons and manuscripts — will go on view Nov. 14 in an exclusive 16-week engagement at the Getty Center.

The exhibition, "Holy Image, Hallowed Ground: Icons From Sinai," will be the first to focus solely on the Greek Orthodox monastery, said Father Justin Sinaites, librarian at St. Catherine's, in an interview in Los Angeles. The museum will present 43 icons — including small, jewel-like panels; 4-foot-tall doors bearing portraits of saints; and 15-foot-long architectural beams painted with biblical narratives — along with six manuscripts, three metal pieces and a liturgical textile. The works will be installed in a setting designed to illuminate their devotional roles and evoke the ambience of the monastery, he said.
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How Children Learn About God and Science
Robert Roy Britt
LiveScience Managing Editor
17 May 2006

A new review of scientific studies supports the idea that children do not take all the teachings of parents and teachers at face value.

Most parents would hope and expect as much—nobody wants an automaton.

But the study revealed an interesting sidebar that is tougher to explain. Among things they can't see, from germs to God, children seem to be more confident in the information they get about invisible scientific objects than about things in the spiritual realm.

"We don't have a firm view on why it is they're a bit more confident on the scientific information," said Paul Harris, a professor of education at Harvard University. "But one possible plausible reason is that when we talk about things like germs or body organs, we talk in a very matter-of-fact fashion. We don't say, "I believe in germs," we simply take it for granted that they exist."

On the other hand, adults tend to assert the existence of God more strenuously, possibly raising doubts in children's minds as to the existence of an unseen deity, Harris said.
the rest

Survey bares lesbian teens-suicide link
Numbers suggest lesbian teens five times more likely to attempt killing themselves
Glenn Bohn
CanWest News Service
Tuesday, May 30, 2006

VANCOUVER -- Lesbian teens are nearly five times more likely to attempt suicide than heterosexual girls, according to a survey presented at a national conference of public health experts in Vancouver Monday.

The survey found 38 per cent of lesbian girls and 30.4 per cent of bisexual girls said they had attempted suicide in the previous year, compared with 8.2 per cent of heterosexual girls.

The results were from a 2003 survey of 30,000 students between grades 7 and 12 done by the B.C.-based McCreary Centre Society, which asked students if they had attempted suicide in the previous year. By contrast, 8.8 per cent of homosexual boys, 2.8 per cent of bisexual boys and 3.3 per cent of heterosexual boys said they had attempted suicide.
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Why Not Ban Abortion Now?
Terence P. Jeffrey
Posted May 31, 2006

Republican National Chairman Ken Mehlman doesn’t mind telling you that he sees the pro-life cause as a moral and political winner for his party.

When I asked Mehlman (during an interview he did last week with HUMAN EVENTS) whether the pro-life issue was good for Republicans, his response was instantaneous. “Absolutely,” he said.

As proof, he pointed to the 2002 Senate races in Missouri and Minnesota. In Missouri, pro-life Republican former Rep. Jim Talent defeated pro-abortion Democratic Sen. Jean Carnahan. In Minnesota, pro-life Republican former St. Paul Mayor Norm Coleman defeated pro-abortion former Democratic Vice President Fritz Mondale. In both races, abortion helped the Republican.
the rest

Homosexuality and the Bible, 'defined'
By Richard N. Ostling
The Associated Press

The increasingly stark polarization of religious groups about homosexuality is seen in new alliances that favor and oppose amending the U.S. Constitution to bar same-sex marriage.

The pro-amendment Religious Coalition for Marriage unites leaders from the Roman Catholic Church, Southern Baptist Convention, evangelical Protestantism (including blacks and Hispanics, Episcopal conservatives, Charles Colson, James Dobson, Rick Warren), Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod, Eastern Orthodoxy, Mormonism and Orthodox Judaism.

The anti-amendment Clergy for Fairness draws support from the Episcopal Church majority, United Church of Christ, Unitarian Universalist Association, liberal Judaism and the largely gay Metropolitan Community Churches, among others.
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The sound of moulds breaking
May 25th 2006
From The Economist print edition
What this year's Eurovision winners tell us about modern religion

WHO said religion was dying in Europe? On paper at least, the Finns show a devotion to their national church that resembles new-world fervour more than the old continent's jaded scepticism. More than 4.4m people, or 85% of the population, are registered with the Lutheran church. Another 60,000 adhere to the Finnish Orthodox church, whose cathedral is a Helsinki landmark. By some indicators, the Finns are pious in fact as well as in theory: as many as 43% say they pray several times a week.
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Iran's military plans for invasion by U.S.
By Iason Athanasiadis

May 31, 2006

TEHRAN -- Iran, apparently anticipating an American invasion, has quietly been restructuring its military and testing a new military doctrine that calls for a decentralized, Iraqi-style guerrilla campaign against an invading force.

Iran's military planners are acutely aware that a military confrontation with technologically more advanced U.S. armed forces would be rapid and multifronted, unlike the static and slow-paced 1980-88 war with Saddam Hussein's Iraq.

Therefore, a series of war games have been carried out since late last year to test the army's readiness.
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As gays plan parade, city's inaction in focus
Wyatt Buchanan, Chronicle Staff Writer
Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Gay and lesbian high school students and their supporters will march through idyllic downtown Los Altos at noon Sunday, an event that may be as much a protest of the city council as a celebration of gay pride.

The parade culminates more than two years of debate between the council and members of the Gay-Straight Alliance at Los Altos High School over whether the city of 27,000 should take a position on gay and lesbian rights.

In February, the council tried to forestall debate by voting to never issue any proclamations pertaining to sexual orientation, although two years ago it had proclaimed a Gay Pride Day.
That vote divided the town.
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Gillerman: World War III already begun
May. 31, 2006

Syrian and Iranian diplomats traded barbs with Israel's UN ambassador on Tuesday, as a routine Security Council meeting on fighting terrorism degenerated into insults.

At a meeting aimed at assessing the progress and work of the Security Council's three anti-terror committees, Israel's UN Ambassador Dan Gillerman said that World War III had already begun and urged the former Allied forces from World War to act against the axis of terror, consisting of Iran, Syria, Hamas and Hizbullah.

He called the four entities the "greatest state sponsor of terrorism and the largest threat to international peace and security."

Gillerman also lashed out at the oft-repeated argument by Iran and many Arab states that a distinction must be made between terrorism and armed resistance movements - namely the Palestinians' fight against the Jewish state.
the rest

Appeal rejected in Mt. Pleasant case to bar Boy Scout recruiters
May 31, 2006

The U.S. Supreme Court rejected an appeal Tuesday from a man who is an atheist over Boy Scout recruiting at his son's public school in Mt. Pleasant.

John Scalise, a former city commissioner, had asked the court to bar public schools from opening their doors to Boy Scout recruiters and promoting membership.

He argued that the group discriminates against nonreligious boys and parents by denying them membership if they don't swear to religious oaths.

Scalise's dispute with the Scouts dates to 1998, when his son was a third-grader at Fancher Elementary. He claims he and his son were barred from a Scout program at the school because they would not pledge "to do my duty to God and my country."

The Scalises are nonreligious Humanists.
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Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Little Sins

"Take us the foxes, the little foxes that spoil the vines." —Song of Solomon 2:15.

A little thorn may cause much suffering. A little cloud may hide the sun. Little foxes spoil the vines; and little sins do mischief to the tender heart. These little sins burrow in the soul, and make it so full of that which is hateful to Christ, that He will hold no comfortable fellowship and communion with us. A great sin cannot destroy a Christian, but a little sin can make him miserable. Jesus will not walk with His people unless they drive out every known sin. He says, "If ye keep My commandments, ye shall abide in My love, even as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love."

Some Christians very seldom enjoy their Saviour's presence. How is this? Surely it must be an affliction for a tender child to be separated from his father. Art thou a child of God, and yet satisfied to go on without seeing thy Father's face? What! thou the spouse of Christ, and yet content without His company! Surely, thou hast fallen into a sad state, for the chaste spouse of Christ mourns like a dove without her mate, when he has left her. Ask, then, the question, what has driven Christ from thee? He hides His face behind the wall of thy sins. That wall may be built up of little pebbles, as easily as of great stones. The sea is made of drops; the rocks are made of grains: and the sea which divides thee from Christ may be filled with the drops of thy little sins; and the rock which has well nigh wrecked thy barque, may have been made by the daily working of the coral insects of thy little sins. If thou wouldst live with Christ, and walk with Christ, and see Christ, and have fellowship with Christ, take heed of "the little foxes that spoil the vines, for our vines have tender grapes." Jesus invites you to go with Him and take them. He will surely, like Samson, take the foxes at once and easily. Go with Him to the hunting.
CH Spurgeon

Court Orders Jerusalem to Fund Homosexual Activist Organization
By Gudrun Schultz
JERUSALEM, May 30, 2006

( - A Jerusalem District Court has ordered the Jerusalem Municipality to pay over CAD$80,000 to a city organization promoting homosexuality, the Gay and Lesbian Center. The payout covers "cultural and social activities" held by the Center since 2003, when the city stopped funding the organization, reported the Jerusalem Post Monday.

Judge Yehudit Tzur accepted the organization's argument that the city was discriminating against them, saying in her ruling, "[The municipality] must treat this community with equality, out of recognition of the supreme value of equality, and out of respect for the values of tolerance and pluralism, which exist at the heart of democratic society."
the rest

Costa Rican Supreme Court says No to Homosexual "Marriage"
By Hilary White
May 30, 2006

( - The Spanish language news agency, Notivida reports that the Supreme Court of Costa Rica has ruled the whole concept of "gay marriage" unconstitutional. The suit was brought in 2003 by lawyer Yashin Castrillo Fernandez who argued that the state must comply with international agreements on human rights. The argument was rejected by the court 5-2.

The Court ruled, "the concept of marriage embraced by the political constitution stems historically from a context where it is understood to be between a man and a woman."

Chief Justice Luis Fernando Solano said the problem could be solved by legislation allowing homosexuals to form "civil unions."
the rest

Pedophilia Party Launched in the Netherlands
by Hilary White
May 30, 2006

( - The newly formed Charity, Freedom and Diversity (NVD) party of the Netherlands has introduced itself to Dutch politics as a champion of children's rights and has vowed, "We are going to shake The Hague awake!"

The NVD is Europe's first political party dedicated to promoting and legitimizing pedophilia. In a press release, the NVD's spokesman and co-founder, Ad van den Berg said among their goals is lowering the age of consent for sexual activity from 16 to 12 and eventually eliminating it completely.

"A ban just makes children curious," van den Berg told the Algemeen Dagblad (AD) newspaper. The party will also be working to decriminalize child pornography and to lower the age for which it is legal to appear in it from 18 to 16. The party suggests that in order to prevent "abuse" a governmental body be appointed to investigate whether children had been forced to appear in pornographic movies.
the rest

The Dangers of Being Christian in the Islamic World
Chuck Colson

This past Good Friday, a man entered Mar Girgis Church in Alexandria, Egypt, and stabbed one worshipper to death and wounded two others. He then went to another church and stabbed three other Christians. The events in Alexandria were a reminder of the, at best, tenuous status of Christians in the Islamic world. The Egyptian government immediately dismissed the possibility that animus toward Christians played a role in the attacks. Egypt's Interior Ministry said that the attacker suffered from "psychological disturbances." How convenient.

Egyptian Christians, known as Copts, did not buy it, and for good reason: Police officials had a different version, announcing that "three men had been arrested in four simultaneous church assaults." According to the police, these assaults had killed one and injured another seventeen.
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Modesty and Fashion -- Sworn Enemies?
by Albert Mohler
Posted: Tuesday, May 30

Is the world of fashion the implacable enemy of modesty in dress? Pia Catton considers this question in a most interesting essay published in the current edition of
In Character. In "Dressing for the Occasion: When is Allure a Fashion Slip?," she argues that modesty has been sacrificed in a head-long rush to emulate youth culture.

From her essay:
The relationship between fashion and modesty appears to be straightforward, even immutable. Fashion is the constant enemy of modesty. The former seeks to attract attention, notice, and comment. The latter, by contrast, is the rejection of such theatrics. Modesty in dress is about turning oneself out with consideration for occasion, taste, and economy.
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Travel Writing from the Afterlife
If the Bible doesn't quench your curiosity on what it's like in heaven and hell, we have two new firsthand accounts.
by Rob Moll
posted 05/30/2006

"If you died today, are you 100 percent sure you would go to heaven?" In a country where more people believe in an afterlife than believe in God, it's likely an effective opening question.

Or evangelists could, if their potential converts are patient enough, simply read Bill Wiese's account of being catapulted into hell followed by Don Piper's description of being in heaven.

Readers fascinated by the afterlife are quickly buying 23 Minutes in Hell and 90 Minutes in Heaven. And for the shy evangelist, both authors have speaking ministries which could accommodate the skeptical friend.
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Owners of Christian oriented B&Bs practise hospitality

CP) - Diane Gourluck says that having a Christian background helps her create a welcoming environment for guests at her bed & breakfast establishment in Winnipeg.

"We treat everyone who comes through the door with the love of Jesus Christ," says Gourluck, who owns and runs Banner Bed & Breakfast along with two other women. "We show them the respect and love that He would."

"I got into this business because I wanted to be a blessing to people, and use my spiritual gift of hospitality," she adds, noting that it's "uplifting" to welcome visitors to the Victorian-style home, built in 1906 and filled with antiques and "old world charm."
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Churches try karaoke
By Shelley Emling
Cox News Service

London - Karaoke bars have become trendy around the world, with countless wannabe singers mangling songs like Frank Sinatra's "My Way" while following along with lyrics displayed on a big screen.

So why not karaoke churches? With attendance plummeting and youthful organists hard to find, churches across Britain are turning to a new karaoke-like machine called Hymnal Plus as a means of jazzing up stale services - and also giving elderly organists a break.

Designed and manufactured in Britain, the new Hymnal Plus, or HT-300, from Hymn Technology Ltd. of London promises to take music accompaniment for worship to a whole new level.

Priced at $3,500, the HT-300 not only can play more than 2,750 traditional hymns and modern worship songs, but can also play imported MP3 audio files.
the rest

Modified Image on School Yearbook Cover Upsets Some Parents
'In God We Trust' Scrubbed from Image of Liberty Nickel
By Jim Brown
May 30, 2006

(AgapePress) - Parents in suburban Fort Worth, Texas, are expressing anger over an elementary school's decision to remove the phrase "In God We Trust" from its yearbook cover.

Officials at Liberty Elementary School in Colleyville deliberately omitted the words "In God We Trust" from a large image of the new "Liberty" nickel appearing on the cover of the school's inaugural yearbook. The coin features a portrait of Thomas Jefferson, the cursive "Liberty" inscription in Jefferson's own handwriting, and the national motto along the right edge -- except, that is, along the edge of the coin's image on this elementary school's yearbook.

Janet Travis, principal of Liberty Elementary School, explains that in making the determination, she wanted to avoid offending students of different religions. But for those who preferred, the yearbook came with a sticker that allowed students to put the phrase "In God We Trust" back on the Liberty nickel.
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Earth Charter Invasion
Joseph Klein
May 30, 2006

As I reported in FrontPage Magazine last February, the ACLU decided to challenge the decision of a duly elected local board of education in Pennsylvania to end a United Nations-sponsored International
Baccalaureate Program in its public schools that is closely linked to the Earth Charter. The Earth Charter is a New Age spiritual declaration of nature-worshipping principles for living in harmony with the sacred Earth. Its prime sponsors – former Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev and Maurice Strong, one of Kofi Annan’s most trusted advisors and architect of the Kyoto Protocol – have compared the Earth Charter to the Ten Commandments. The International Baccalaureate Program is run by the International Baccalaureate Organization, which has specifically endorsed the Earth Charter.

Thanks to litigation subsequently instituted by the ACLU and dissident parents against the local board of education in Upper St. Clair, Pennsylvania, and settled recently, the UN’s Earth Charter may soon return to their curriculum. Faced with mounting legal bills and exposure to personal liability, the members of the board felt they had no choice but to give in to the plaintiffs’ demands and restore the program with an offer of state help to defray its costs.
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Moscow says banned gays because "cleaner" than West
Tue May 30, 2006

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Moscow's influential mayor said on Tuesday the city banned gay activists from holding a parade because it is morally cleaner than the West, which is caught up in "mad licentiousness".

The gay activists tried to hold their protest against homophobia and discrimination at the weekend despite the ban, but were detained by police, abused by militant Christians and attacked by neo-fascists.

They had wanted to lay flowers at the grave of the unknown warrior, a monument to those who died defeating Nazi Germany, but police blocked their path.

Mayor Yuri Luzhkov said such an action would have been a desecration of the sacred monument, and rejected Western criticism of his ban as prejudiced and homophobic.
the rest

Same-sex ceasefire ends for Anglican Church
Jennifer Green
The Ottawa Citizen
Saturday, May 20, 2006
CREDIT: Bruno Schlumberger, The Ottawa Citizen

Rev. George Sinclair calls it 'tragic' that it looks like the church's battle is about Linda Privitera.

It was not supposed to be like this, not for anyone.Linda Privitera had been looking forward to practising her calling as an Anglican priest and living in peace with her spouse, Melissa Haussman.

Desiree Stedman had been looking forward to a peaceful retirement, recalling with contentment 19 years of service to the nurturing church she had grown up in.

Instead, both women have found themselves embroiled in a churchwide dispute over same-sex unions, and, more to the point, what it means to be Christian. the rest

Monday, May 29, 2006

Listen, my friend! Your helplessness is your best prayer. It calls from your heart to the heart of God with greater effect than all your uttered pleas. He hears it from the very moment that you are seized with helplessness, and He becomes actively engaged at once in hearing and answering the prayer of your helplessness. Ole Kristian O. Hallesby

No Same Sex Stuff in the Blue Book: "Report to the 75th General Convention"
Reflections from the Rev’d Dr Peter Toon, President of the Prayer Book Society
Friday, May 26, 2006

Before each General Convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church, there appears what has for a long time been called
“the Blue Book” (although in 2006 it has a green cover). The current one contains Reports of the Committees, Commissions, Agencies and Boards of the General Convention of the ECUSA, which is scheduled to meet in Columbus, Ohio, June 13-21, 2006.
This year its title is: come and grow, 2006. (all lower case)

Since the last General Convention in Minneapolis, Minnesota, three years ago, there has been unceasing talk and debate both in the USA and abroad about two of the decisions of that Convention – the blessing of same-sex partnerships and the ordaining/consecrating of a man as bishop living in such a relation. Not a few people have left the Episcopal Church over the issue and various overseas bishops and archbishops have declared themselves out of Eucharistic communion with the ECUSA because of it. Further, an official report, The Windsor Report, was commissioned by the Archbishop of Canterbury to look into the whole business and amongst it recommendations is the expressing of regret by the Convention for its advance into innovative sexual doctrine and practice.

So it seems that the whole world is watching to see whether or not the Convention does express regret and commit itself to restrain itself when it comes to innovation in Christian doctrine, ethics and liturgy in the present and future.
the rest

Scholars Ponder Same-Sex 'Marriage' Issues
Monday, May. 29, 2006

While many religious groups are lobbying against gay ''marriage,'' some scholars say they also need to look ahead and ponder the practical problems if such unions are one day widely legalized.

Their take: If gay marriage becomes recognized under law across the country, religious groups could face challenges to customary ways of doing business, even to their finances.

Although 19 states have passed anti-gay marriage amendments, Marc D. Stern, general counsel of the American Jewish Congress and an influential ally of liberals on church-state separation, thinks widespread legalization of same-sex unions is inevitable.

From his perspective, that will cause major problems for religious agencies unless they start a campaign now so their ability to dissent is guaranteed. Already, he notes, Catholic Charities Boston ended a century of adoption services because an anti-discrimination law requires placements with same-sex couples in Massachusetts, the only state where gay marriage is now legal.
the rest

Aid Arrives In Indonesian Quake Zone
Monday, May. 29, 2006

BANTUL, Indonesia (AP) - Emergency aid began arriving Monday in areas devastated by a 6.3-magnitude earthquake in Indonesia, but officials said the supplies were not reaching survivors quickly enough as victims pleaded for money on debris-filled roads to buy food.

An aid plane chartered by the U.N.'s children agency arrived in the city of Solo, about three hours from the hardest-hit district of Bantul on Java island. It was loaded with water, tents, stoves and cooking sets that officials said would be distributed later Monday.

On Sunday, three U.N. trucks brought high-energy biscuits to survivors and two Singapore military cargo planes arrived at Yogyakarta airport with doctors and medical supplies.

But officials said relief supplies remained inadequate.

Remaking Man in Our Own Image: C.S. Lewis' Conditioners and the World of X-Men 3: The Last Stand
by Marc T. Newman, Ph.D.

C. S. Lewis argued in The Abolition of Man that humans, unmoored from the restraint occasioned by fidelity to a transcendent moral order, would create a world of their own choosing. Humans think that by doing so they will be free to make of themselves what they will, but Lewis disagreed, noting "For the power of Man to make himself what he pleases means, as we have seen, the power of some men to make other men what they please." The men in charge of such a program Lewis called "the Conditioners" – and they are making a spectacular appearance this weekend at your local theater in X-Men 3: The Last Stand.Memorial Day weekend has become the kickoff point for summer popcorn flicks, and in that area X-Men 3 does not disappoint.

Summer films are dominated by action, and X-Men 3 has enough spandex-garbed mutant superheroes, battles to the death, explosions, gunfire, and other visual eye-candy to satisfy the adolescent male in many of us. And while X-Men 3 is the weakest in the series (blame the exit of director Bryan Singer, who left the franchise he built to direct Superman Returns), amidst the mayhem it still raises significant questions about the making of moral decisions in a culture that has abandoned God, the threat of Conditioners to remake humans in their own image, and the need to reassert a transcendent vision of humanity if we are ever to survive the technologizing of the West.
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