Saturday, July 08, 2006

The meek man is not a human mouse afflicted with a sense of his own inferiority. Rather he may be in his moral life as bold as a lion and as strong as Samson; but he has stopped being fooled about himself. He has accepted God's estimate of his own life. He knows he is as weak and helpless as God has declared him to be, but paradoxically, he knows at the same time that he is in the sight of God of more importance than angels. In himself, nothing; in God, everything. That is his motto. He knows well that the world will never see him as God sees him and he has stopped caring. He rests perfectly content to allow God to place His own values. He will be patient to wait for the day when everything will get its own price tag and real worth will come into its own. Then the righteous shall shine forth in the Kingdom of their Father. He is willing to wait for that day. AW Tozer photo

"There are those who hate Christianity and call their hatred an all-embracing love for all religions."

Gilbert Keith G. K. Chesterton

Episcopalians on the breach
U.S. church in battle with Anglican Communion

There's a new spin on an old joke making the rounds. It's about a beachcomber who finds a bottle in the sand and opens it, freeing a genie who gratefully grants one wish. The beachcomber asks for peace in the Middle East.

The genie calls that an impossible task and asks for an alternative wish. "Okay," says the beachcomber, "restore harmony to the Anglican Communion." The genie thinks for several seconds and then says, "Let's go back to that Middle East thing."

But for millions of Anglicans, and especially Episcopalians - the American branch of the global Anglican community - it's no joke. The challenge now is to restore peace and unity or to at least keep the Episcopal Church a full-fledged member of a denomination with 77 million faithful in 160 countries.

the rest

An Interesting Essay: Tom Landess - An American Dilemma: The Episcopal Church 1976-2006

This appeared in
Chronicles magazine:

In 1976, the Episcopal Church met in General Convention to consider, among other things, two questions: the adoption of a new Book of Common Prayer and the ordination of women. Whether they knew it or not, the delegates were actually resolving a deeper, more disturbing dilemma: whether to remain orthodox or to remain respectable.From its beginnings and well into the 20th century, the Episcopal Church had enjoyed the luxury of being both. While theological debates raged in other branches of Christendom, Episcopalians agreed on the tenets of the historical creeds and quarreled instead over High Church and Low Church. Though in some locales other denominations brought social status to their membership, nationwide the Episcopal Church was the place to be if you wanted to join the country club or meet the president of the bank. At St. Albans, orthodoxy and respectability were old friends and sat in the same pew on Sunday mornings.

Then, in the second half of the 20th century, a rift occurred; and soon enough the two were no longer speaking. The nation suddenly found itself in the grip of social revolution. The Civil Rights Movement, Peace Movement, Women’s Movement, and Sexual Revolution quickly changed America from a stable traditional society into a political and cultural war zone. The media and the academy quickly sided with the revolutionaries and began to exert an ever-increasing influence on Christian churches. Soon it became unfashionable to adhere to creeds and traditional ways. The chic, educated crowd was ready for new ideas, new social arrangements, a new church.

the rest at Drell's Descants

Excerpt: Jesus Mean and Wild: The Unexpected Love of an Untamable
posted 07/07/2006

I had a chance on a recent trip to attend one of the most successful churches in America. It packs in more than 20,000 people at its weekend services. Its pastor is the author of bestselling books and is a world figure. The church is inspiring, effective, and relevant.

Fortunately, it became impossible to attend there, and instead I was blessed to end up at an irrelevant church. Our family arrived promptly at 10:00 A.M., and we were greeted by a woman who was getting up from pulling a few weeds in front of the church sign. She welcomed us warmly and escorted us into the nearly empty sanctuary. After we were greeted by two other people, as well as the pastor, a handful of people straggled in and worship began.

We were led in music by the weed-puller, who now had a guitar strapped on. She was accompanied by two singers and an overweight man on percussion. They were earnest musicians who, frankly, were sometimes flat or a little stiff, as if they were still trying to learn the music. The service, which included maybe 45 people, bumbled along—that is, by contemporary, professional, "seeker-sensitive" standards. The dress of the congregants suggested that there were some people of substance there, as well as some people on welfare. Some blacks, mostly whites. In front of me sat a woman wearing way too much makeup (at least according to my suburb's refined standards), pouffy hair, and an all-black outfit.

Communion was introduced without the words of institution—a bit of a scandal to my Anglican sensibilities. The pastor took prayer requests, and petitions were made for illnesses, depression, and a safe journey for my family.

It was during the announcements that I began to suspect I was in the midst of the people of God. The pastor sought more donations for the food closet, at which time he noted a new milestone: The church had served 22,000 people with groceries in ten years. Everyone applauded, then settled in to hear a clear and truthful sermon about God's love for us despite our sin.
The rest-Excellent!

Pope Begins Journey to Strengthen Spain’s Catholic Church
Pope Benedict XVI has travelled to Spain today to take part in a gathering on family values.
Posted: Saturday, July 8 , 2006

Pope Benedict XVI has travelled to Spain today to take part in a gathering on family values.

Arriving in Valencia, the head of the Roman Catholic Church is hoping that his visit will give strength to the Catholic Church in Spain, which has been very much pushed to the sidelines by the new liberal Spanish government.

Continuous reform has angered the Spanish Catholic Church, including the liberalisation of legislation on gay marriage, as well as abortion.

The Pope was met at the airport by King Juan Carlos, Queen Sofia and Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, and will later pray at the site of Spain’s worst underground train crash, which killed 42 people this week.

the rest

The Culture of Freedom and the Future of Marriage
Albert Mohler
Friday, July 07, 2006

"It is not controversial to contend that in the United States, constitutional law serves as a decisive battleground in the struggle over freedom's moral and political meaning," asserts Peter Berkowitz. "It is another matter to assess the impact of the battleground on the battle, to clarify the current balance of power, and to anticipate the battles to come."

Berkowitz, a professor of law at George Mason University School of Law and a fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution, addresses the future of the U.S. Supreme Court and the concept of freedom in a fascinating essay published in the current issue of Policy Review. In "The Court, the Constitution, and the Culture of Freedom," Berkowitz argues that an expansive concept of human liberty lies behind the Supreme Court's tradition of jurisprudence. He goes on to argue that this progressive understanding of human freedom is likely to mean that the nation's high court will one day decide that access to same-sex marriage is nothing less than a right guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution.

the rest

Ruth Gledhill Weblog: General Synod Day Two

At long last, General Synod has voted in favour of the principle of women bishops. A motion proposed by the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, went through unamended on Saturday morning with the bishops 31-9 in favour, the clergy 134-42 and the laity, 123-68. Canon Jane Hedges, the first woman to serve as a residentiary canon at Britain's best known former Benedictine enclave, Westminster Abbey, is one of 20 female cathedral canons in England. There are a further nine female archdeacons and two women deans. There are also dozens of able women serving as Team Rectors, Vicars and curates, in total 2,000 parish priests.

Considering it is just 12 years since Jane was among the first women ordained in 1994, this is not bad progress. But it would have started to look bad if they could not go any further. Jane
spoke to me about her work, which is as Canon Steward. This is a pastoral role dating from the Abbey's time as a monastery, when the monk steward would look after visitors and ensure they received spiritual and nutritional sustenance. No-one in the Church likes being highlighted by us in the media as potential bishop material, but with her pastoral, admin and leadership experience, Jane has got to be up there with June Osborne and Vivienne Faull, Deans of Salisbury and Leicester. She is also a role model for women in other ways. Her husband Chris was an engineer but became a house-husband when their two sons were little. When they began a school, he became a teaching assistant and enjoyed it so much he retrained as a teacher. He is about to start work next term as the new science teacher at Westminster choir school.

the rest

The revisionists publish a book:
Other Voices, Other Worlds
The Global Church Speaks Out on Homosexuality
By Terry Brown


"Leading Anglican writers from around the world challenge the assumption that the communion is split between a liberal 'north' and an orthodox 'south'.

Anglican churches worldwide are sharply divided on homosexuality. The dominant sterotype is that of a "global south" unanimously lined up against homosexuality as immoral and sinful, and of a liberal and decadent global north that, except for some 'orthodox traditionalists'. The differences between the two sides are fundamental, and irreconcilable.

Nothing is further from the truth: homosexual behavior exists across the whole Anglican Communion, whether it is openly celebrated or quietly integrated into local churches and cultures. In this extraordinary book, in development for several years, exposes this as a myth. Christians throughout Africa, Asia, and the developing world -- bishops, priests and religious, academics and lay writers -- open up dramatic new perspectives on familiar arguments and debates. Topics include biblical interpretation, sexuality and doctrine, local history, sexuality and personhood, the influence of other faiths, issues of colonialism and post-colonialism, homophobia, and the place of homosexual persons in the church. Other Voices, Other Worlds reveals the rich historical and cross-cultural complexity to same-sex relationships, and throws an explosive device into a debate that has become stale and predictable. "

Church Publishing

Women bishops approved in principle at Church of England's Synod
Saturday, July 08, 2006

[Episcopal News Service] Ending centuries of tradition, a motion that welcomes and affirms "the view of the majority of the House of Bishops that admitting women to the episcopate in the Church of England is consonant with the faith of the Church" was carried by a majority vote by houses July 8 after a two-hour debate during the Church of England's General Synod, meeting at York University, England, July 7-11.

Bishops voted 31 in favor, and 9 against; clergy voted 134 in favor, and 42 against; laity voted 123 in favor, and 68 against.

The motion deals with the principle of women bishops. Further debate on a motion that addresses the process of ordaining women to the episcopate, is scheduled for July 10.

The full text of the motion, moved by the Archbishop of York, Dr. John Sentamu, follows:

"That this Synod welcome and affirm the view of the majority of the House of Bishops that admitting women to the episcopate in the Church of England is consonant with the faith of the Church as the Church of England has received it and would be a proper development in proclaiming afresh in this generation the grace and truth of Christ."


Suit against diocese to go to court
Brian Liberatore
Press & Sun-Bulletin

OWEGO -- A lawsuit alleging the local Episcopal Diocese failed to act on an accusation of sex abuse and retaliated against the former rector who brought up the complaint will go forward in state Supreme Court.

The former rector of St. Paul's Church in Owego, David G. Bollinger, claimed in the suit that Bishop Gladstone Adams retaliated against him for raising allegations against another former St. Paul's rector, Ralph E. Johnson.

The diocese blocked Bollinger for the last year from performing his duties at St. Paul's. The diocese claimed that Bollinger misused money while rector at the church. Bollinger said the diocese invented the claim as a means of retaliation.

Supreme Court Justice Jeffery A. Tait ruled Wednesday that two of the seven complaints in the suit against the Central New York Diocese of the Episcopal Church could stand. The diocese had asked Tait to dismiss the case.

Tait dismissed several of Bollinger's complaints: breach of fiduciary duty by Adams, misuse of diocese assets, defamation, interference with the plaintiff's personal financial accounts and the improper extension of the "inhibition" that kept him from performing his duties. Tait let stand two complaints: intentional infliction of emotional distress and loss of services.
the rest

Female Episcopal bishop could strain Catholic ties
July 8, 2006

A potentially historic speech about women that received little media fanfare was made two weeks before America's Episcopal Church elected Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori as its leader in June.
The speaker was Cardinal Walter Kasper, the Vatican's top liaison with non-Catholic Christians. He addressed the Church of England's bishops and certain female priests.

Catholic and Anglican officials have spent four decades working toward shared Communion.

Mincing no words, Kasper said that goal of restoring full relations "would realistically no longer exist" if Anglicanism's mother church in England were to consecrate female bishops.
the rest

Friday, July 07, 2006


If we are going to live as disciples of Jesus, we have to remember that all noble things are difficult. The Christian life is gloriously difficult, but the difficulty of it does not make us faint and cave in, it rouses us up to overcome. Do we so appreciate the marvellous salvation of Jesus Christ that we are our utmost for His highest?

God saves men by His sovereign grace through the Atonement of Jesus; He works in us to will and to do of His good pleasure; but we have to work out that salvation in practical living. If once we start on the basis of His Redemption to do what He commands, we find that we can do it. If we fail, it is because we have not practised. The crisis will reveal whether we have been practising or not. If we obey the Spirit of God and practise in our physical life what God has put in us by His Spirit, then when the crisis comes, we shall find that our own nature as well as the grace of God will stand by us.

Thank God He does give us difficult things to do! His salvation is a glad thing, but it is also a heroic, holy thing. It tests us for all we are worth. Jesus is bringing many "sons" unto glory, and God will not shield us from the requirements of a son. God's grace turns out men and women with a strong family likeness to Jesus Christ, not milk sops. It takes a tremendous amount of discipline to live the noble life of a disciple of Jesus in actual things. It is always necessary to make an effort to be noble. Oswald Chambers art

"Enter ye in at the strait gate . . because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way. . ." Matthew 7:13-14

B$: (BlogShares) The Fantasy Blog Stock Market

What is

BlogShares is a fantasy stock market where weblogs are the companies. Players invest fictional dollars on shares in blogs. Blogs are valued by their incoming links and add value to other blogs by linking to them. Prices can go up or down based on trading and the underlying value of the blog. No actual ownership of blogs is transfered. BlogShares is purely a fictional marketplace.

Players get to invest a fictional $500, and blogs are valued by incoming links.

Transfigurations page is here. This blog is worth $1000 according to their scale.

Titusonenine is listed at $121,644.23.

CANN comes in at $60,558.10.


The history leading up to the 75th General Convention needs little introduction. It is important, however, to realize that much of the debate has been shaped by the secular media and groups within and without the Episcopal Church holding passionate views and agendas. It is important for this reason to step back. Some things can and must be clearly affirmed now. Some things will require theological reflection within the Communion which will necessarily take some more time.

The outline to that further process and its theological underpinnings is found in the recent communiqué of the Archbishop of Canterbury, entitled “The Challenge and Hope of Being an Anglican Today: A Reflection for the Bishops, Clergy and Faithful of the Anglican Communion.” The Standing Committee and Bishops receive Archbishop Rowan Williams’ Reflection enthusiastically and commend it to your prayerful and careful reading.

the rest

Archbishop of Canterbury: address to General Synod on the Anglican Communion
July 7th, 2006

I am glad to have the opportunity of offering in these few minutes a very brief update on the current situation in the Anglican Communion, particularly in the light of the recent session of the Episcopal Church's General Convention – which was, of course, attended by my brother Archbishop, who made an outstanding contribution to its discussions. The first thing to say is that the complex processes of Convention produced – perhaps predictably – a less than completely clear result. The final resolution relating to the consecration of practising gay persons as bishops owed a great deal to some last-minute work by the Presiding Bishop, who invoked his personal authority in a way that was obviously costly for him in order to make sure that there was some degree of recognisable response to the recommendations of the Windsor Report in this regard. I think that he – and his successor-elect – deserve credit and gratitude for taking the risk of focusing the debate and its implications so sharply.

However, as has become plain, the resolutions of Convention overall leave a number of unanswered questions, and there needs to be some careful disentangling of what they say and what they don't say. This work is to be carried forward by a small group already appointed before Convention by the Joint Standing Committee of the Primates and the ACC. And I have also written directly to every Primate to ask for a preliminary reaction from their province. The next Primates' Meeting in February next year will digest what emerges from all this.

You will be aware of a number of developments in the public arena in the last couple of weeks, notably the request from several US dioceses for some sort of direct primatial oversight from outside the US, preferably from Canterbury. This raises very large questions indeed; various consultations are going forward to clarify what is being asked and to reflect on possible implications. There has also been an announcement from Nigeria of the election by the Nigerian House of Bishops of an American cleric as a bishop to serve the Convocation of Nigerian Anglican congregations in the US. I have publicly stated my concern about this and some other cross-provincial activities.
the rest

comments at titusonenine

A Guide to Church Property Law

This new book which has just been published contains the chapter "Considerations Specific to Episcopalians"
by Raymond J. Dague and R. Wicks Stephens II.

Leading scholars, theologians and attorneys from the Presbyterian Church (USA), the United Methodist Church and the Episcopal Church (USA), experienced in advising on church property issues, have collaborated to create this timely and useful volume. With clarity and insight, Raymond J. Dague, Peggy M. Hedden, Robert L. Howard, Lloyd J. Lunceford, R. Wicks Stephens II, Thomas C. Oden and Parker T. Williamson furnish essential orientation and share instructive steps to help evaluate and resolve competing claims to church property.


“The Episcopal Church as it was configured at its inception looked a little like the United States under the Articles of Confederation. The parish was the most important and fundamental unit of the church. Parishes were autonomous and quite independent from the diocese. Neither the parish nor the diocese had much sense of the broader church across the country except in name.

“The Protestant Episcopal Church of the United States of America (often abbreviated PECUSA and later ECUSA) as a “national” church is very much a misnomer. While the various parishes assembled at the first General Convention to band together and adopt a constitution and canons, they did little more than establish a pattern of meetings every three years of deputies from each state, with each state being organized as a diocese. They also began the early steps to adopt a Book of Common Prayer that was an Americanized variation of the English prayer book.

“Neither this General Convention nor any diocese owned any property or laid claim to any property of any parish in these formative years, nor was there any effort to regulate parish property. Parish property was a matter of local control completely unfettered by the diocese or the ECUSA. As far as real property was concerned, the ECUSA was purely congregational, except that the elected vestry of the congregation rather than the parish congregational meeting was in control of the real estate of the parish.

“In 1821, this changed slightly when a special convention of the church was held that resulted in the New York legislature passing legislation to incorporate “The Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America,” which “Society shall be considered as comprehending all persons who are members of this Church.”

“Even after that corporation came into existence, there was no overarching national church organization. There was just this New York corporation. It was ruled by a General Convention that met every three years, and in between times by a Board of Missions to which “shall be entrusted the supervision of the general missionary operations of the Church, with power to establish missionary stations, appoint missionaries, make appropriations of money, regulate the conducting of missions, fill any vacancies in their number which may occur, and also to enact all by-laws which they may deem necessary for their own government and the government of their committees.”

“The stated purposes did not include any authority or supervision over parish property. The only purpose of this entity was to establish missions and supervise them. Once a “mission” made the jump to self-supporting “parish,” the statement of its purposes as set forth in the 1821 Constitution of the Society asserted no claim to authority over the parish, and no claim over its property. The charter of the corporation was (and to this day still is) silent concerning parish property.”

(Appearing in Chapter Six in A Guide to Church Property Law: Theological, Constitutional and Practical Considerations, © 2006 by Reformation Press. Used here with permission.)

Thursday, July 06, 2006

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)

Of all the stars in the sky, the polestar is the most useful to the mariner. This text is a polestar, for it has guided more souls to salvation than any other Scripture. It is among promises what the Great Bear is among constellations.

Several words in it shine with peculiar brilliance. Here we have God's love with a "so" to it, which marks its measureless greatness. Then we have God's gift in all its freeness and greatness. This also is God's Son, that unique and priceless gift of a love which could never fully show itself till heaven's Only-begotten had been sent to live and die for men. These three points are full of light.

Then there is the simple requirement of believing, which graciously points to a way of salvation suitable for guilty men. This is backed by a wide description—"whosoever believeth in him." Many have found room in "whosoever" who would have felt themselves shut out by a narrower word. Then comes the great promise, that believers in Jesus shall not perish but have everlasting life. This is cheering to every man who feels that he is ready to perish and that he cannot save himself. We believe in the Lord Jesus, and we have eternal life. CH Spurgeon

A perfect child
July 06, 2006

A tragedy has unfolded in Pekin, Illinois, where a 3-year old girl was suffocated by a woman who put a plastic trash bag over the child’s head. Dr. Karen McCarron, a certified pathologist, now sits in jail, facing charges of first-degree murder. That a respected medical professional is charged with such a crime is shocking enough; but you also need to know that the victim is her own daughter, and McCarron has confessed to the killing. It sounds surreal, but the numbing fact is that an innocent child’s life has been brought to an end at the hands of the woman who bore her.

When I first read the story of Katie McCarron’s death, it was hard for me to imagine how a mother could intentionally drain the life out of her three-year-old daughter. So I decided to learn as much as I could about this little girl and her mom. But what I discovered horrified me. What I found has convinced me that our nation’s 33-year history of aborting our children has spawned a variety of attitudes that can only be described as wicked.
the rest

Genocide of India's daughters
3rd July 2006

Ten million female foetuses have been illegally aborted in India by mothers desperate to bear a son. What will become of this nation of ever fewer women? ANNE SEBBA investigates:

May you be the mother of a hundred sons - this is the Sanskrit blessing given to a Hindu woman in India on her wedding day. And the minute she falls pregnant, there is the traditional chanting of mantras by the other women of the family, calling for the foetus, if female, to be transformed into a male.

Increasingly, such age-old beliefs are becoming a curse in India, as, in this deeply patriarchal society, women have become obsessed with giving birth only to sons.

‘Asking me why I need a son, instead of a daughter, is like asking me why I have two eyes and not one,’ says one woman in the northern district of Haryana, who has just had an abortion after discovering that the baby she was carrying was female.
the rest

Dallas Makes it Seven: Requests Alternate Primatial Oversight

Excerpt: "We believe the mission of this diocese, as well as the spiritual health and growth of its congregations, are both compromised and jeopardized by association with leaders and institutions that, by their words and actions, have confused, changed or contradicted the Apostles' teaching. Therefore we call upon the bishop to disassociate the work of this diocese from these actions and leadership.

The consequence of the actions of this General Convention are to lead the Episcopal Church to walk apart from the rest of the Anglican Communion and to make necessary a disengagement of those dioceses and congregations which affirm its actions from those who cannot and will not.

To this end, we call upon the bishop to appeal to the Archbishop of Canterbury for a direct primatial relationship with him for the purpose of mission, pastoral support, and accountability."

Full statement here

Rival Lambeth warning
Date: July 7
By George Conger

The Church of Nigeria will back a rival Lambeth Conference in 2008 if the Archbishop of Canterbury is unable to bring the recalcitrant American Church to account. In a statement released at the close of the Church of Nigeria’s House of Bishops meeting on June 28 in Abuja, the leaders of the largest church in the Communion stated that The Episcopal Church had rejected the key tenets of the Windsor Report. The “revisionists” had failed to grasp the “reason for repentance from the harm and stress they have caused this Communion.”

The American Church’s contumacy had impaired “the unity of the Church” the bishops argued, “by promoting teachings and practises that are alien and inimical to the historic formularies of the Church.” Holding a Lambeth Conference in 2008 was “questionable” under these circumstances. The good brought to the Communion by the gathering of Anglican bishops from across the Communion every 10 years should not be lost to the church, however, the bishops stated, calling upon the “leadership of the Global South” and the bishops of the African churches to do “everything necessary” to “put in place a Conference of all Anglican Bishops” in 2008. The call for a rival Lambeth Conference was conditional, the Nigerian bishops noted, and would be held only if “all efforts to get the apostles of ‘revisionist agenda’ to repent and retrace their steps” failed. A spokesman for Lambeth Palace told The Church of England Newspaper they were studying the Nigerian statement. While the Nigerian Bishops’ communiqué is the first formal call for a second Lambeth Conference, the exclusion of the American bishops from Lambeth has been an ongoing topic of conversation since 2003. Global South leaders have repeatedly stated they would not attend Lambeth 2008 if the Episcopal Church remained undisciplined for its actions.

the rest

Teaching 9/11 Denial at The University of Wisconsin-Madison

Ann Althouse has the scoop about the University of Wisconsin - Madison teaching 9/11 denial as an Introduction to Islam class.

Here are some comments about the class from Kevin Barrett, founder of the Muslim Jewish Christian Alliance for 9/11 truth, who will be teaching it:

"The physics of those collapses clearly could not have resulted from plane crashes and jet fuel fires with office materials.'' Barrett says jet fuel does not burn hot enough to melt steel, and says recent tests on melted steel from the building prove his theory that it was wired to collapse, by the Government.

Barrett says the Bush Administration is fooling the American public with the Adolf Hitler 'Big Lie Technique'... ''Tell them a little lie and they'll wonder about it - weapons of mass destruction in iraq was a relatively little lie - and people are getting called on it.'' Barrett says. ''Tell em a big lie like 9/11 and they have a huge resistance to questioning it.''

the rest

Population Rising in U.S., Falling in Europe, Japan
By The Associated Press
Thu, Jul. 06 2006 08:55 AM EST

WASHINGTON (AP) – As the U.S. population speeds toward 300 million, the growth is producing headaches for Americans fed up with traffic congestion, sprawl and dwindling natural resources.

But the alternatives are pretty scary, too. Just look at Europe and Japan, which are on the verge of such big population losses that several countries are practically begging women to have babies."Europe and Japan are now facing a population problem that is unprecedented in human history – declining population over time with an increase in the percentage of old people," said Bill Butz, president of the Population Reference Bureau, a Washington think tank.
the rest

Defining and Defending Conservatism
By R. Albert Mohler, Jr.
Christian Post Guest Columnist
Thu, Jul. 06 2006 08:06 AM EST

Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) admits that political conservatives have often failed to present a comprehensive vision of the underlying commitments and convictions that frame the conservative vision. Beyond this, he laments the fact that some conservatives fail to link those basic convictions with political decisions and matters of public policy. He's out to reverse that failure, and his new book It Takes a Family: Conservatism and the Common Good is one of the most important books written by a political figure in recent American history.

the rest

Madhya Pradesh: Hindu extremists burn down Pentecostal church
This is the second place of worship to be destroyed in the same district. Bibles found inside were also burned. The Catholic Church has expressed solidarity and concern about what happened.

Bhopal (AsiaNews) – A group of fanatical Hindus have set a Pentecostal Church on fire in Madhya Pradesh, destroying bibles that were inside and threatening to kill the pastor. The incident took place during the afternoon on 30 June in Shivani, in the southern district of Harda.
The extremists broke into the place of worship with torches in hand and set fire to a table which had 150 bibles and hymn books on it. The pastor of the church, Jaidi Khan, escaped unharmed, but he was powerless to stop the razing of the church, which happened shortly afterwards.

“We are worried about the number of attacks that are taking place in Madhya Pradesh. It is to be noted that in the past few months, they have increased, to the extent that extremists raped two young women to force them to abandon their Christian faith,” said Fr Anand Muttungal, spokesperson for the Catholic Bishops Conference.
the rest

Georgia's top court reinstates gay marriage ban
Thursday, July 6, 2006

ATLANTA, Georgia (AP) -- The state Supreme Court reinstated Georgia's constitutional ban on gay marriage Thursday, just hours after New York's highest court upheld that state's gay marriage ban.

New York court refuses to recognize same-sex marriage
Thursday, July 6, 2006
NEW YORK (Reuters) -- The New York State Court of Appeals refused to recognize same-sex marriage in a ruling issued Thursday, saying the issue was a question for the Legislature to decide.

Bible gets African interpretation

The first Bible commentary written exclusively by African theologians has been launched in Kenya.

Written by 70 contributors from 25 countries, the Africa Bible Commentary aims to explain the Bible from an African perspective.

It contains local proverbs and folk lore to help interpret the scriptures.

The commentary also addresses contemporary issues such as HIV/Aids, female genital mutilation, refugees, ethnic conflict and witchcraft.

Published by the Evangelical publisher Zondervan, The Africa Bible Commentary gives a section-by-section interpretation of the gospel.
the rest

Egyptians sue new church leader
By Heba Saleh

A group of Coptic Christians have started legal proceedings against a bishop who has said he is setting up an alternative orthodox church in Egypt.

Father Maximus I appointed himself the head of a holy congregation and plans to appoint bishops all over Egypt.

His opponents say he is trying to split the Coptic Orthodox Church to which most Egyptian Christians belong.

Father Maximus I says his church is an attempt to restore the church to the path set by its early founders.
the rest

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Do little things as if they were great, because of the majesty of the Lord Jesus Christ who dwells in thee.
Blaise Pascal photo

Betrayal of a sperm donor who fathered three children for lesbians
2nd July 2006

A man who donated sperm to help heterosexual couples become parents has unwittingly fathered three children for lesbians because of a fertility clinic's blunder.

He donated to the London Women's Clinic on condition his sperm would not be given to same-sex couples.

But staff ignored his wishes by giving it to four lesbian couples.

And even after the Harley Street clinic realised its error, it breached the terms of his consent again so one of the couples could produce a sibling for their earlier child. Three babies have been born to lesbian couples from the donor's sperm.

The man is unaware of what happened because the clinic cannot contact him. The couples involved also have not been told.
the rest

Court: Law doesn't elevate marriage over other relationships
Associated Press

MADISON, Wis. - A state law that hails marriage as "the foundation of the family and of society" does not elevate marriage over other relationships, an appeals court said Wednesday in a ruling that could add fuel to the debate over gay marriage.

"We do not read the legislature's recognition that marriage is an important and vital societal institution worthy of preservation and protection as a policy judgment that other intimate relationships are of lesser value or legitimacy," Judge Richard Brown wrote for the 2nd District Court of Appeals. "It does not attempt to privilege marriage over other intimate relationships."

The ruling comes as both sides of the gay marriage debate begin to campaign over a proposed amendment to the Wisconsin Constitution that would outlaw gay marriage. The amendment, which already has received legislative approval, needs only voter support in November to take effect.
the rest

Neo-Nazis hijack gala to burn Anne Frank diary
4th July 2006

German neo-Nazis tore up and burned a copy of The Diary of Anne Frank after hijacking a traditional gala.

Around 100 skinheads cheered and shouted Sieg Heil as the most poignant memoir of the Holocaust years went up in flames.

They also burned a U.S. flag and sang banned Nazi songs.

Germans were horrified by the latest outrage from the far Right, which comes as the country rides a new wave of peaceful patriotism as it hosts the World Cup.

the rest

Study: Money Does Not Buy Much Happiness
By Sara Goudarzi
LiveScience Staff Writer
posted: 29 June 2006

Your next raise might buy you a more lavish vacation, a better car, or a few extra bedrooms, but it's not likely to buy you much happiness.Measuring the quality of people's daily lives via surveys, the results of a study published in the June 30 issue of journal Science reveals that income plays a rather insignificant role in day-to-day happiness.

Although most people imagine that if they had more money they could do more fun things and perhaps be happier, the reality seems to be that those with higher incomes tend to be tenser, and spend less time on simple leisurely activities. the rest

Gay issues slowly erode Episcopal membership
By Julia Duin

Episcopalians aren't making a mass exodus from their church, but dioceses across the country are doing a slow bleed as members realize that a much-anticipated report released six weeks ago has no teeth and that the denomination's ordination of a homosexual bishop will go unpunished.

The Windsor Report, which sought to resolve the Anglican Communion's crisis over authority and homosexuality, criticizes same-sex blessings in U.S. and Canadian churches and the ordination last year of Bishop V. Gene Robinson.
the rest

Do I understand?
The Rev. Leander S. Harding, Ph.D.
July 4, 2006
More Reflections On General Convention 2006Do I understand what you are saying?An Open Letter to Bishops and Delegates Who Participated In General Convention 2006

I was able to observe the House of Bishops and House of Deputies briefly first hand during the convention and I have followed closely the proceedings on the internet and through the media. Below are some conclusions I have developed as a result of my observation both by following the official deliberations and through more informal conversations. I wonder if I have heard correctly, and I welcome remarks from bishops and delegates about whether I have an accurate take on the center of opinion in the national leadership of The Episcopal Church. What follows are statements that I believe reflect the consensus of opinion in the national leadership of The Episcopal Church, particularly as reflected in the General Convention that just met in Columbus, Ohio. Do I understand correctly? As I hear it you are saying that:

1. God is the author of same-sex attraction by an act of special providence that includes biological and social-psychological secondary causes. Because we know through reports of the spiritual experience of same-sex attracted people that God is the primary author of these experiences, inquiry into the relative contributions of nature and nurture to same-sex attraction is of no significance for the church’s moral teaching or pastoral care.

the rest-don't miss this!


President Bush's motorcade made an unscheduled U-turn and stop - at a lemonade stand - while speeding to the airport after Friday's fund-raiser in Ohio for Republican Sen. Mike DeWine.

After all, how could the president pass by a young girl sporting pink sunglasses and a sign that reads: "Lemonade, 50 cents. Bush Free."

While Bush posed for pictures, a nearby mother couldn't help but shout, "I love you," followed by this response from her son: "I am so embarrassed."

Schism on the Horizon
The Episcopal Church's general convention has aggravated relations with the larger Anglican Communion.
by Jamie Deal

After its general convention in Columbus, Ohio, which took place from June 13 to 21, the Episcopal Church is facing trouble ahead--and perhaps schism. By electing Katherine Jefferts Schori as its first female presiding bishop, and by failing to comply with the recommendations of a committee formed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the church has angered many others in the worldwide Anglican Communion, to which it belongs. With tensions already high after the 2003 election of Gene Robinson, an openly gay man, as bishop of New Hampshire, the fallout from this convention could prove disastrous.

The Episcopal Church has not faced a crisis of this magnitude since 1977, when it first allowed the ordination of women. Some Episcopalians still believe that women should not be priests, and 35 of the 38 provinces in the Anglican Communion do not ordain female bishops. Immediately after hearing that Jefferts Schori had been elected, the Diocese of Fort Worth petitioned the archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, to provide it with alternative oversight, and five other dioceses have since done the same. On July 3 the Washington Post estimated that five more dioceses may follow suit. It is possible that 10 percent of the Episcopal Church's 111 dioceses will reject Jefferts Schori's election. The Province of Nigeria, meanwhile, has expressed disappointment at the American church's decision, and other African provinces will likely do the same.
the rest

The Vatican Confronts Islam
Daniel Pipes
Posted Jul 05, 2006

Enough now with this turning the other cheek! It’s our duty to protect ourselves.” Thus spoke Monsignor
Velasio De Paolis, secretary of the Vatican’s supreme court, referring to Muslims. Explaining his apparent rejection of Jesus’ admonition to his followers to “turn the other cheek,” De Paolis noted that “The West has had relations with the Arab countries for half a century … and has not been able to get the slightest concession on human rights.”

De Paolis is hardly alone in his thinking; indeed, the Catholic Church is undergoing a dramatic shift from a decades-old policy to protect Catholics living under Muslim rule. The old methods of quiet diplomacy and muted appeasement have clearly failed. The estimated 40 million Christians in Dar al-Islam, notes the Barnabas Fund’s
Patrick Sookhdeo, increasingly find themselves an embattled minority facing economic decline, dwindling rights, and physical jeopardy. Most of them, he goes on, are despised and distrusted second-class citizens, facing discrimination in education, jobs, and the courts. the rest

"We Hate Canada"
Robert Spencer
July 5, 2006

Investigators have recently
uncovered a series of Internet postings made by the wives of a group of suspected jihad terrorists. They include these comments (all spelling and punctuation is as it was written):

“Know what you will face one day. Let them call you a terrorist, let them make you look like a savage, but know that THIS [the American military] is the filth of the earth, the uncivilised destroyer of humanity.”

“[And] if [my husband] ever refuses a clear opportunity to leave for jihad, then i want the choice of divorce.”

“All muslim politicians are corrupt. There's no one out there willing to rule the country by the laws of Allah, rather they fight to rule the country by the laws of democracy.”
the rest

North Korea draws world's scorn for tests
Wednesday, July 05, 2006

North Korea test-fired a seventh missile Wednesday, intensifying the furor that began when the reclusive regime defied international protests by launching a long-range missile and at least five shorter-range rockets earlier in the day.

The missiles, all of which apparently fell harmlessly into the Sea of Japan, provoked international condemnation, the convening of an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council and calls in Tokyo for economic sanctions against the impoverished communist regime.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton said heading into the Security Council meeting that it must send a "strong and unanimous signal" that North Korea's missile test was unacceptable. Diplomats were to discuss a draft Japanese resolution that would likely condemn the launches.

North Korea has remained defiant, with one official arguing it had the right to such launches. The tests and the impenitent North Korean attitude raised fears that further firings could follow.

Factfile: Anglican Church around the world

The Anglican church has published its long-awaited report on the ordination of an openly gay American priest, Gene Robinson, as Bishop of New Hampshire in 2003.

His appointment, and the wider issue of homosexuality, has threatened to split the Anglican Communion - the loose network of individual churches around the world.

facts here

Tuesday, July 04, 2006


Almighty God, Who has given us this good land for our heritage; We humbly beseech Thee that we may always prove ourselves a people mindful of Thy favour and glad to do Thy will. Bless our land with honourable industry, sound learning, and pure manners. Save us from violence, discord, and confusion; from pride and arrogance, and from every evil way. Defend our liberties, and fashion into one united people the multitudes brought hither out of many kindreds and tongues. Endue with the spirit of wisdom those to whom in Thy Name we entrust the authority of government, that there may be justice and peace at home, and that, through obedience to Thy law, we may show forth Thy praise among the nations of the earth. In the time of prosperity, fill our hearts with thankfulness, and in the day of trouble, suffer not our trust in Thee to fail; all which we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Book of Common Prayer

Sisters of Mother Teresa imprisoned on proselytism charges
by Nirmala Carvalho

The four Missionaries of Charity were harassed and imprisoned on proselytism and conversion charges. The archbishop of Hyderabad told AsiaNews about their complete dedication to the poor and called for an in-depth inquiry into what happened.

Hyderabad (AsiaNews) – A crowd of Hindu fanatics set upon four sisters of Mother Teresa in a hospital and had them arrested by local police on charges of proselytism and conversion of the sick.
Archbishop Oswald Gracias, President of the Catholic Bishops Conference of India told AsiaNews: “This tragic attack on the nuns of Mother Teresa is shocking and has to be condemned in the strongest terms. This is all the more so because these nuns are known all over the world for their altruism and dedication to the poor.”

The four Missionaries of Charity were attacked on 25 June as they went about their weekly visit in a hospital in the city of Tirupati – a Hindu pilgrimage place – in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh. The four sisters, all aged around 35, were in the government hospital of Ruia, where they usually spend time with patients who are terminally with AIDS. A group of around 50 fanatics of the Hindu Dharma Parirakshana Samithi [group for the defence of the Hindu religion] broke into the hospital, blocked the four sisters and accused them of trying to convert patients.

The crowd swelled rapidly and soon there were around 300 people. They forced the sisters to remain in the hospital until 8.30pm. Then police officials arrived and took the women to the local police station.
the rest

Coma Recovery After 19 Years Poses Questions About Terri Schiavo
A Tale of Two Terries
By Peter J. Smith

Mountain View, Arkansas, July 4, 2006 ( – On Monday The Journal of Clinical Investigation published new research on the recovery of a brain damaged man from his 19 years in a minimally conscious state, adding to the growing evidence that those with “hopelessly” severe brain injuries may be able to recuperate with therapy or other kinds of assistance.

The Journal’s research focuses on the sudden recovery of Terry Wallis, who experienced a car wreck in 1984 when he was 19 years old. The accident sheared the nerve connections in his brain, putting him in a minimally conscious state (MCS) and rendering him a quadriplegic. Terry, a young husband with a newborn child, was considered a hopeless case, especially considering that his family could not pay the $120,000 needed to consult a neurologist about any possibility of recovery. However in 2003, during one of the regular visits of his mother, he made what seemed a sudden recovery, and spoke “mom”, his first word in 19 years, to his mother Angilee Wallis who had regularly visited him at the Rehabilitation Centre in Mountain View, Arkansas.

The research indicates that Terry’s brain grew new tiny nerve connections over time, creating a new nerve network to replace the old one that was severely damaged in the car accident. While doctors and neurologists are still baffled as to ‘why’ Terry recovered, the doctors at the rehabilitation centre have indicated that Terry’s recovery might be attributed to the visits of his family, who took him out on weekends and special occasions. This may have acted as a mental therapy to help his brain recover.
the rest

Rick Warren to Preach to 15,000 Christians in North Korea
By Lillian Kwon
Christian Post Reporter
Tue, Jul. 04 2006

Rick Warren recently shocked thousands of Saddleback congregants with news of his invitation to preach to some 15,000 Christians in North Korea, according to several recent media reports.

The megachurch pastor and author of best-selling book The Purpose-Driven Life told about 5,000 worshipers at his church in Lake Forest that he would be embarking on a "grueling" tour to meet with presidents, business leaders and pastors of 13 foreign countries, according to Religion News Service. His nearly 40-day journey includes visits to Australia, Malaysia, Singapore, Rwanda and South Korea where he would preach at the world's largest church - Yoido Full Gospel Church which numbers around 800,000 members.

"I want to ask you to pray for me," Warren told the congregation, according to Religion News Service. He further informed the congregants that North Korea would allow him to preach in a stadium seating 15,000 but would not be limited to that crowd number. Warren was invited to preach in a larger venue if he could fill the seats.
the rest

Jerusalem: Religious leaders protest gay parade

Even as the ties between Palestinian and Israeli politicians strained against the current crises in Gaza, religious officials from the Muslim, Jewish and Christian communities united Tuesday to oppose a gay pride parade in Jerusalem.

More than 50 prominent religious figures visited the Knesset's Interior Committee to urge MKs to stop the World Pride event, scheduled to take place in Jerusalem next month. Several right-wing religious MKs brought the coalition to the Knesset, asserting that "never before has the Holy Land seen such a union of religious leaders."

Representations of the gay-rights groups, including the Jerusalem Open House and the Coalition for Gay, Bisexual, Lesbian, and Transgender Rights called the coalition "dangerous" and "ugly."

"We will have our event, and our rights as human beings will not be trampled," said Sol Lev, a gay rights activist promoting the event.
the rest

The Dark Side of Warren Buffett: He Donates $3 Billion to Pro-Abortion Groups
July 04, 2006

One of the big stories this summer is the generous donation of billions of dollars to charity by one of the world's richest men. As a result, he's received the praise of practically the entire news media.

What the news media neglected to report is that the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation, which was created by multi-billionaire businessman Warren Buffett in honor of his deceased spouse, is donating upwards of $3 billion to pro-abortion groups, not only for political campaigns but for the training of physicians on how to end the lives of unborn babies.

Buffett's first large scale donation since his announcement that the bulk his financial assets would be left to Bill Gates to disperse to charitable organizations. Buffett thus far has not explained how aborting unborn children is charitable.

During a segment on National Public Radio's "Morning Edition," a letter written by Buffett revealed that he would give stock to the foundation and he supports reproductive health and rights, family planning and college scholarship programs.
the rest

N. Korea reportedly launches 4 missiles
Tuesday, July 04, 2006

North Korea test-launched at least two mid-range missiles Wednesday that landed in the Sea of Japan, Japanese media reported, and a State Department official said the North appeared ready to launch the long-range Taepodong-2.

Japan's Kyodo news agency said they were believed to be mid-range Rodong missiles and landed about 300 miles off the western coast of Japan's Hokkaido Island.

A Pentagon official, who spoke only on condition of anonymity, identified two of the missiles as Scuds.

"The launch appears not to be the launch that has been in the news. This appears to be a launch of a lesser variety of scud missiles," the official said.

However, the State Department official said North Korea appeared ready to launch the long-range Taepodong-2 missile. The official, who also spoke on condition of anonymity, did not confirm that the Taepodong-2 had been launched. Experts believe a Taepodong 2 could reach the United States with a light payload.
the rest

Crisis? Which crisis?
Ruth Gledhill weblog
Tuesday, 04 July 2006

When I started out in journalism, "crisis" was one of the overused nouns, some would say cliches, that we students at the London College of Printing were instructed to under use. Or not use at all. But the only one of my tutors who had worked on the staff of a national paper had only worked for the Guardian, and that was subbing not reporting, and he is now living in France. (Winford Hicks, in case anybody recalls him.) It's a bit like TS Eliot says, '"That was in another country, and besides the wench is dead." It was certainly another era, the fag-end of the hippy era, and none of us challenged the injunction against crises, except me, and Winford always marked me down. But I passed the course and landed up on the Daily Mail and discovered a whole new world of superlative. "Astonished", "Extraordinary", "Amazing". It was all of those and more, and I began to forget Winford.

Now that we appear to be at the fag end of Anglicanism (to risk a possibly tasteless joke), I find myself almost wishing that Winford would return from France and somehow acquire the power to indict against the word "crisis". Or not so much the word, as the phenomenon itself. Admittedly, it is difficult to see how my profession would survive were there no more crises, but there comes a point when any observer must wonder just how many more crises the Anglican Church can survive intact. "Of schism they were made, and to schism they will return," was the other title I considered for this post. the rest

Nigeria bishops scorn US 'cancer'
Nigeria's Anglican Church says the US branch of the church is "a cancerous lump" that should be "excised".

Nigerian bishops were responding to a proposal from the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams last week.

He had suggested the introduction of a two-tier system of church membership to avoid complete disintegration over the issue of homosexuality.

The US branch, known as the Episcopal Church, outraged conservatives by consecrating gay Bishop Gene Robinson.

There have also been disagreements surrounding church blessings for same-sex couples.

the rest

If the Jesus Portrait Goes, Will the Constitution Be Redacted Next?
By Michael J. Gaynor
July 03, 2006

On June 7, 2006, Hoppy Kercheval, Talkline host of Metro News ("The Voice of West Virginia"), wrote about something the ACLU considers a danger to the Republic--the presence of a portrait of Jesus Christ in a public school (Bridgeport High School) near the principal's office--and the effort to compel its removal. Bridgeport, population 7,400, is located in north central West Virginia and home to more than a dozen churches. Mr. Kercheval pointed how how separated the ACLU is from the people: "I suspect if you asked everyone in Harrison County if they believe it’s OK for a portrait of Jesus Christ to hang in a school, most would say 'yes.' West Virginia is a place of deep religious beliefs that are mostly Christian.

"Jesus was, after all, a teacher whose messages are as applicable today as they were 2000 years ago. But the portrait of him at Bridgeport High School has raised yet another in a long series of disputes in this state and our country about the entanglements of government and religion."

the rest

And people say blogs don't matter
by Tim Chapman
June 30, 2006

Conservative political blogs this week scored a major victory by pushing Congress to introduce a resolution condemning The New York Times for outing a secret anti-terrorist financial tracking program. Indeed, as soon as the Times ran the story, the conservative blogosphere was up in arms.

Glenn Reynolds, proprietor of the popular, took Times Editor Bill Keller to task for running the story. Keller’s reasoning, wrote Reynolds, “is a manifestation of the hubris that has marked the NYT of late.” Reynolds continued, “The founders gave freedom of the press to the people, they didn't give freedom to the press.”

Hugh Hewitt, who for the better part of a week has devoted his blog almost entirely to this issue, began the call for a congressional resolution condemning the Times. “The irresponsibility of The New York Times and Los Angeles Times, combined with the arrogance of their management in refusing to be available to anyone concerning their decisions, puts the burden on Congress to act,” wrote Hewitt. A host of smaller blogs immediately picked up the call to action.

On Wednesday the congressional publication The Hill reported that GOP House leaders would indeed introduce the resolution conservative bloggers were calling for. When asked about the link between the cry of the conservative blogosphere and congressional action, Communications Director and “Spokesblogger” to Congressman Jack Kingston, David All said, “Bloggers have a great echo chamber effect throughout the nation because they are always, always on and they produce a link that can be shared virally. For example, we first read about the Dubai Port issue being a problem on a blog. This issue was the same way. It's the constant drum-beat which fires up members and constituents to react.”
the rest

Desert Prayer With Egyptian Roots
Life at North America's only Coptic Orthodox monastery is rigorous and strictly for worship. It draws those who seek a deeper insight into Christianity.
By David Kelly, Times Staff Writer
July 3, 2006

NEWBERRY SPRINGS, Calif. — Down an unpaved road, past brooding icons and swaying stands of mesquite, lies St. Antony's Monastery, a place of scorching winds and emptiness that perhaps only a holy man could love.

Little moves when the sun is high, but as the day wears on, black figures emerge from solitary rooms. These shrouded men, most from Egypt, are practicing the oldest monastic tradition in Christendom and tending its sole outpost in North America.

They spend days and night in prayer, seeking a mystical union with the divine."The desert gives you a great calmness of heart," said Father Antonious Saint Antony, one of 10 monks living here. "After a while God seems like a friend."

Despite its remoteness, this 800-acre swath of the Mojave 25 miles northeast of Barstow has become a magnet for thousands yearning to embrace a way of life far different from mainstream America — one shunning materialism, embracing poverty and denying the self.

the rest

No ‘seepage’ for us
Rev. Gary Wilde, pastor,
St. John's Episcopal Church, Moultrie

In a recent column, Cal Thomas spoke of “theological seepage,” in the Episcopal Church. He opined that conservative Episcopalians are too few in number to stop the theological drift. Yet, it's amazing what any renewal movement can accomplish in a single generation. In fact, vast numbers of traditional-value Episcopalians fill churches across this land. They are gathered together into reforming organizations such as the Anglican Communion Network, which promote preaching the Word and winning people to Christ through loving outreach.

All of this to say: Conservative Episcopalians are also alive and well here in Moultrie, Georgia. The members of historic St. John's Church, on Main Street and 7th Avenue, continue to enjoy their rich Anglican heritage. They love worshipping “in the beauty of holiness,” studying the Scriptures, and learning about the ancient church fathers and orthodox creeds - all while holding biblical teachings on sexual morality.

Yet, we conservative Episcopalians do grieve for our church hierarchy. It has often succumbed to purely cultural mores in the past half-century. We believe the church is to be counter-cultural, however. And these days, in the area of sexuality, that means holding firm to the biblical position that marriage is for a man and a woman, and that God calls all of us to live chaste lives. This is true, even if one's sexual affections or temptations pull him or her to the same gender.
the rest

Monday, July 03, 2006

I could never myself believe in God if it were not for the cross......In the real world of pain, how could one worship a God who was immune to it? I have entered many Buddhist temples in different Asian countries and stood respectfully before the statute of Buddha - - his legs crossed, arms folded, eyes closed, the ghost of a smile playing round his mouth, a remote look on his face, detached from the agony of the world. But each time, after awhile, I have had to turn away. And in imagination, I have turned instead to that lonely, twisted, tortured figure on the cross -- nails through his hands and feet, back lacerated, limbs wrenched, brow bleeding from thorn pricks, mouth dry and intolerably thirsty, plunged in God-forsaken darkness. That is the God for me ! He laid aside his immunity to pain. He entered our world of flesh and blood, tears and death. He suffered for us. Our sufferings become more manageable in light of his. There is still a question mark against human suffering, but over it we boldly stamp another mark, the cross, which symbolizes divine suffering. The cross of Christ is God's only self justification in such a world as ours.

John R. W. Stott Art

Witch School Opens in Midwestern Town
City Residents Petitioned and Prayed to Keep it Away

(June 30) - In the "Harry Potter" series, the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry sits in a mystical Scotland location, shrouded by magic that hides it from unknowing humans.

Starting Saturday, in the unlikeliest of places, a real witch school opens its doors to the public in a place known as the Sweet Corn Capital of the World.

After almost five years of existence on the Internet, Witch School is expected to operate under normal business hours in the town of Hoopeston, Ill., about 100 miles south of Chicago.

The school is dedicated to educating the public in Wicca, a neo-Pagan religion that incorporates nature and magic into its theology. Until now the school has existed almost entirely on the Internet.
the rest

Episcopalian Exit
By Raymond J. Keating

Ronald Reagan used to say he did not leave the Democratic Party; the Democratic Party left him. That sentiment can be applied today to the Episcopal Church USA.

Reagan's declaration came to mind as four dioceses and the largest Episcopal congregation in the country have announced efforts to separate from the Episcopal Church, the U.S. branch of Anglicanism, since the Episcopalian General Convention came to a close on June 21. But the dioceses of Pittsburgh, South Carolina, San Joaquin, California, and Forth Worth, Texas, along with Christ Church in Plano, Texas, are not really leaving the Episcopal Church; the Episcopal Church left them.

That was clear from the statement issued by Rev. David H. Roseberry, rector at Christ Church in Plano: "The mission of Christ Church is to make disciples and teach them to obey the commands of Christ. The direction of the leadership of the Episcopal Church is different and we regret their departure from biblical truth and the historic faith of the Anglican Communion."

The Episcopal Church has turned its back on the global Anglican Communion, traditional Christian teachings, and Holy Scripture.
the rest

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