Saturday, July 15, 2006

"The fire shall ever be burning upon the altar; it shall never go out."—Leviticus 6:13.

KEEP the altar of private prayer burning. This is the very life of all piety. The sanctuary and family altars borrow their fires here, there-fore let this burn well. Secret devotion is the very essence, evidence, and barometer, of vital and experimental religion.

Burn here the fat of your sacrifices. Let your closet seasons be, if possible, regular, frequent, and undisturbed. Effectual prayer availeth much. Have you nothing to pray for? Let us suggest the Church, the ministry, your own soul, your children, your relations, your neighbours, your country, and the cause of God and truth throughout the world. Let us examine ourselves on this important matter. Do we engage with lukewarmness in private devotion? Is the fire of devotion burning dimly in our hearts? Do the chariot wheels drag heavily? If so, let us be alarmed at this sign of decay. Let us go with weeping, and ask for the Spirit of grace and of supplications. Let us set apart special seasons for extraordinary prayer. For if this fire should be smothered beneath the ashes of a worldly conformity, it will dim the fire on the family altar, and lessen our influence both in the Church and in the world.

The text will also apply to the altar of the heart. This is a golden altar indeed. God loves to see the hearts of His people glowing towards Himself. Let us give to God our hearts, all blazing with love, and seek His grace, that the fire may never be quenched; for it will not burn if the Lord does not keep it burning. Many foes will attempt to extinguish it; but if the unseen hand behind the wall pour thereon the sacred oil, it will blaze higher and higher. Let us use texts of Scripture as fuel for our heart's fire, they are live coals; let us attend sermons, but above all, let us be much alone with Jesus. CH Spurgeon

Sarah Hey: Strategery 101: Surveying the Landscape -- The Achilles Heel of Leadership
Passing the buck on leadership and other sometime delights of Roistering Episcopal Adventurers

Today is the last day that we will "survey the landscape" . . . In following days we will move away from theory and dive into "practice", examining precisely what activities we can take as laypeople and clergy within the Episcopal church. Although the upcoming weeks of practical action-steps will be the focus of this series, we will also have occasional "rabbit trail" essays that offer a few more broader principles and theories, as they come up in conversations.

I'll begin with a little personal experience. Back in late August of 2003, I was engaging in dialogue . . . [oops, sorry about that, just a little slip there] . . . I was commiserating and engaging in mutual ranting with a friend by phone about the situation within the Episcopal church. Both of us were rapidly being tranformed from "Beloved Moderates" to "More Informed and More Depressed" Episcopalians.

We made a lot of bold pronouncements and promises. Yes sir, whatever our fearless leaders wanted us to do, we were going to do it.

We were going to sign right up on whatever volunteer sheet was circulating around and report for duty. We would be willing to work very hard -- turn all of the many talents and abundant energy that we had formerly used in other volunteer areas -- towards whatever it was that our leaders wanted.

Yes sir.
the rest-Excellent!

Appellate Division of New York Supreme Court Unanimously Dismisses Lawsuit Against the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America
July 6, 2006

New York, NY – On June 22, 2006, the New York Appellate Division, First Department, unanimously affirmed the decision of Justice Ira Gammerman dismissing a lawsuit brought against the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America by several individuals concerning the granting of the Archdiocese's 2003 Charter.

"It must be dismissed," the Court wrote referring to the lawsuit, "because it involves a question of internal governance of a hierarchical Church." The ruling of this Appellate case firmly supports long-established decisions and is consistent with recent judgments on the hierarchical nature of the Greek Orthodox Church by appellate courts in Pennsylvania and Texas.

The Court ruled that the First Amendment of the United States Constitution prohibits courts from interfering with doctrinal and ecclesiastical affairs of a hierarchical church, including matters of internal church governance. The Court relied on two United States Supreme Court decisions, Serbian Eastern Orthodox Diocese for the USA. v Milivojevich, 426 US 696 (1976) and Maryland & Virginia Eldership of the Churches of God v. Church of God at Sharpsburg, 396 U.S. 367 (1970). The Court reasoned that if the suit were allowed to continue, the trial court would be required to decide whether the Ecumenical Patriarch had the authority unilaterally to grant the 2003 Charter, which is "clearly a religious matter." The Court further stated, "on the very basis of the charter on which the plaintiffs rely, they cannot successfully dispute the hierarchical character of the Greek Orthodox Church."

The complaint was originally brought against the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America on September 16, 2004. The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese has incurred costs in excess of $320,000 for its legal defense.

The Court's memorandum decision is posted at the Archdiocese website at
Contact: Fr. Frank MarangosTel: 212-570-3547Email:


Homosexuality wasn't the only biblical issue on the Episcopal Church's agenda
By: RICHARD N. OSTLING - Associated Press

People were so riveted on the homosexual issue at the Episcopal Church's June convention that other actions involving biblical teachings got little attention.The most dramatic was approval of Barry Beisner as bishop of the Sacramento-based Diocese of Northern California. A minority of six on the committee handling nominations commended Beisner's ministry, but objected because he's twice divorced and in a third marriage.

Thus, his consecration Sept. 30 will be precedent-setting. One delegate noted that in some dioceses Beisner would be ineligible to be a priest, much less a bishop.
the rest

Committed to the new agenda
Traditionalists say Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori is part of a liberal movement that is splitting apart the U.S. Episcopal Church and larger Anglican Communion. Their position is unlikely to dampen her desire for change

To visit the Episcopal parishes across her huge but sparsely populated Nevada diocese, Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori pilots a small airplane. She often bumps down on tiny airstrips, but wherever her single-engine Cessna 172 lands, she is welcome.
That's about to change.

On June 18, the Episcopal Church's General Convention elected Jefferts Schori to a nine-year term as the denomination's presiding bishop, making her the first woman to head any branch of the Anglican Communion, the worldwide family of churches descended from the Church of England.

Although she will not take up her new role until November, six U.S. dioceses already have rejected her authority and that number is rising.
the rest

Anglicanism at the Crossroads
Changes Put Future of Church in Doubt
NEW YORK, JULY 15, 2006

( Recent decisions by the Anglican Church in Britain and the United States have raised the specter of further splits. Last weekend, the Church of England's Synod voted in favor of allowing women to be ordained bishops.

Already 14 out of the 38 autonomous Anglican churches in other countries have approved women bishops, reported the BBC on Monday. The British decision, however, was important given the status of England as the home of Anglicanism.

During the Synod debate the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, told participants that bishops had a special leadership role in the Church, and that just because it had women priests, it did not mean that women bishops were legitimate, the BBC reported. In the end the vote was 288 in favor of women bishops and 119 against.

The vote in favor of women bishops came shortly after data revealed the increasing presence of women clergy. Fourteen years after the go-ahead for women priests in the U.K., 283 women were recommended for the seminary last year, compared with 295 men, reported the London-based Times newspaper, June 24.

The experience of the Anglican Church in Britain was recently analyzed by Hilary De Lyon, chief executive of the Royal College of General Practitioners. She contributed a chapter to the study "Production Values: futures for professionalism," published June 22 by the U.K. think-tank Demos.

The first women deacons were ordained in 1987, and women were permitted to enter the full priesthood in 1994, explained De Lyon. Although it has been only 12 years since women were first ordained, they already make up over 20% of clergy, and hold 50% of the unpaid posts held by priests. In addition, they hold only one in six of the paid posts and one in five of the chaplaincy posts.
the rest

Friday, July 14, 2006

If the Lord sets you to guard a lonely post in perfect stillness from all active work, you ought to be just as content as to be in the midst of the active warfare. It is no virtue to love the Master's work better than the Master's will. Hannah Whitall Smith photo

Video: Interview with Fr Mark Hansen (pt II): Panel of Reference
Posted At : July 14, 2006

Here Connecticut Six

Episcopal bishop seeks new direction
Wants Springfield diocese overseen from outside U.S.
Published Friday, July 14, 2006

What he calls the Episcopal Church's "decline," based in part on its acceptance of homosexuality, is the reason the bishop of the Springfield diocese is pushing for permission from the Anglican faith's world leader to be overseen by someone outside the United States.

Bishop Peter Beckwith is one of more than a dozen nationwide to look into that possibility after the election in June of Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori of Las Vegas as the head of the Episcopal Church.
Beckwith made the request June 30 after getting unanimous approval from the diocese's standing committee, its governing body.

"What we're doing is distancing ourselves spiritually from the direction of the Episcopal Church in general and the national office specifically," he said Thursday.

He and his allies have been asked to determine whether they would all report to the same province or to different provinces, Beckwith said, but he would like to report to the head of the Church of England himself, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams.
the rest

Courts Restore Neb. Gay Marriage Ban, Keep Proposed Ban on Tenn. Ballot
Another Double Victory for Traditional Marriage Advocates
By Kevin O'Hanlon
Associated Press Writer
Fri, Jul. 14 2006

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - Supporters of banning gay marriage won two major court rulings Friday, with a federal appeals court reinstating Nebraska's voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage and the Tennessee Supreme Court dismissing an effort to keep a proposed ban off the November ballot.

Last week, the highest courts in two others states also dealt gay rights advocates setbacks. The New York court rejected a bid by same-sex couples to win marriage rights, and the Georgia court reinstated a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage there.

In the Nebraska case, the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a judge's ruling last year that the ban was too broad and deprived gays and lesbians of participation in the political process, among other things.

The amendment "and other laws limiting the state-recognized institution of marriage to heterosexual couples are rationally related to legitimate state interests and therefore do not violate the Constitution of the United States," the appeals court ruled.

Seventy percent of Nebraska voters had approved the ban in 2000.
the rest

"You Are Bringing Strange Things to Our Ears:"
Christian Apologetics for a Postmodern Age, Part 3
Albert Mohler
Friday, July 14, 2006

The postmodern age is a very strange time to proclaim and defend the Christian faith. In an age when the reality of truth itself is denied, the church finds itself faced with several distinct challenges. In Acts 17:16-34, we find Paul standing at the very center of apologetic ministry in the first century. As we considered
yesterday, a Christian apologetic begins in a provoked spirit, is focused on Gospel proclamation, and assumes a context of spiritual confusion.

Fourth, a Christian apologetic is directed to a spiritual hunger. [Acts 17:22-23] Paul's observation convinced him that the Athenians were a religious people. A deficit of religiosity was not the problem. The Athenians seemed to be fearful lest they miss any new philosophy, or neglect any unknown deity.

American culture is increasingly secularistic. The past century has seen the agenda of secularism accomplished in the courts, in the schools, in the marketplace, and in the media. And yet Americans are among the most religious people in the world. The emptiness of the secular wasteland haunts most postmodern persons. They long for something more.
the rest

Thanking Jesus in court lands man in jail
Friday, July 14, 2006

Junior Stowers raised his hands and exclaimed, "Thank you, Jesus!" in court last month when he was acquitted by a jury of abusing his son.

But his joy was short-lived when Circuit Judge Patrick Border held him in contempt of court for the "outburst" and threw him in jail.

Stowers, 47, sat in the courtroom and a cellblock for about six hours until the judge granted him a hearing on the contempt charge and released him.

The judge at a July 7 hearing dropped the contempt charge, a petty misdemeanor that carries up to 30 days in jail.

Stowers couldn't be reached for comment. But his attorney in the contempt case, Deputy Public Defender Susan Arnett, said he wasn't treated fairly.

"I don't think there's anything about saying 'Thank you, Jesus' that rises to the level of contemptuous behavior in this case," she told The Honolulu Advertiser. the rest

Ruth Gledhill weblog: Anglican leaders 'are losing their way'

The head of the Church Army has launched a surprise attack on the Church of England, accusing it of losing faith in the fundamentals of the Christian faith. Capt Philip Johanson said it was increasingly the case that people converting to Christianity were not going to church on Sundays. Some new converts had never been to church at all, he said, and preferred to their new-found faith with friends they met in the pub, or on the internet.

The Church of England, he warned, was seen as increasingly irrelevant, led by people who no longer appeared to believe in the Gospel tenets of their faith. He is pictured here making his address at a commissioning service.
the rest

Can There Be Peace With Islam?
By Barbara J. Stock
Jul 14, 2006

The suicide bombers continue and now public executions are beginning. Iraqis continue to kill Iraqis in alarming numbers. Shia Muslims want revenge against Sunni Muslims. Sunni Muslims want their power back. Iraq has a serious problem.

The problem in Iraq isn't the people in general. The problem isn't the new government or even the presence of coalition forces. The problem in Iraq is Islam.

Islam, the self proclaimed "religion" of peace and love cannot stop killing its own people in the name of Islam and Allah. Islam is a religion that proclaims murder is wrong, and the killing of a fellow Muslim absolutely forbidden. Despite that, Muslims seem to have no problem killing a fellow Muslim if it is convenient or will lead to one sect having more power than another.

Recently in Iraq, Shia Muslims stopped buses and cars and anyone who was not a Shia Muslim, was executed. Over 40 Sunni Muslims were murdered by their fellow Muslims. Apparently, this was done in retaliation for the bombing of a Shia mosque by Sunni Muslims. This week, a funeral procession was stopped and all the mourners were executed. Muslims are killing Muslims and there isn't an American soldier in sight to blame.
the rest

A new intolerance visits Provincetown
Police say gays accused of slurs
By Adrienne P. Samuels, Globe Staff
July 14, 2006

PROVINCETOWN -- Town leaders here are holding a public meeting today to air concerns about slurs and bigoted behavior. And this time, they say, it's gay people who are displaying intolerance.

Police say they logged numerous complaints of straight people being called ``breeders" by gays over the July Fourth holiday weekend. Jamaican workers reported being the target of racial slurs. And a woman was verbally accosted after signing a petition that opposed same-sex marriage, they said.

The town, which prizes its reputation for openness and tolerance, is taking the concerns seriously, though police say they do not consider the incidents hate crimes.
The rest

Presentment Against Bishop of San Joaquin Likely

The bishops of California, Los Angeles and San Diego are preparing presentment charges which may be filed as early as next week against the Rt. Rev. John-David Schofield, Bishop of San Joaquin, according to three persons who attended a diocesan meeting July 8 at St. John’s Church, Los Angeles.

The announcement was made by the Bishop of Los Angeles, the Rt. Rev. J. John Bruno, according to the three, who requested anonymity because they are not authorized to speak on behalf of the bishop.

“There is a [presentment] in the works,” said one of those who attended the meeting. “I got the sense that it was going to happen very soon. [They said] this will cost a lot of money, but they are prepared to pay the price. Property was the main thing.”

Bishop Schofield maintains a theological belief that God has not called women to ordained orders. On June 28 he and San Joaquin’s standing committee appealed to the Archbishop of Canterbury for alternate primatial oversight. In recent years the diocesan convention in San Joaquin “tightened” its bylaws regarding ownership of diocesan property, and approved a change to its constitution which qualifies its submission to the Constitution and Canons of the General Convention of The Episcopal Church.

the rest at The Living Church

Thursday, July 13, 2006

To praise God fully we must suppose ourselves to be in perfect love with God, drowned in, dissolved by that delight which, far from remaining pent up within ourselves as incommunicable bliss, flows out from us incessantly again in effortless and perfect expression. Our joy is no more separable from the praise in which it liberates and utters itself than the brightness a mirror receives is separable from the brightness it sheds. (Clive Staples) C. S. Lewis photo

Network to Consider Common Cause Theological Statement, Covenant

Among the most significant considerations before the upcoming Annual Council of the Anglican Communion Network (July 31 – August 2 in Pittsburgh) are a “Theological Statement” and a “Mission Covenant Declaration,” proposed by the Common Cause Roundtable. The Common Cause Roundtable chaired by Bishop Robert Duncan in his role as Moderator of the Anglican Communion Network, and composed of two leaders each from eight major Anglican entities, has proposed these documents for adoption by each of the partner bodies.

“If accepted, these documents formalize a foundation for our shared faith and ministry as orthodox Anglicans in North America,” said Bishop Duncan, “They represent one more step toward a ‘biblical, missionary and uniting’ Anglicanism that is the Network’s defining vision.”

The rest of the ACN statement here

AAC-Oregon Chapter Responds to General Convention
Source: Email from AAC-Oregon


“Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut.” (Rev. 3:7b)

Dear Friends of AAC Oregon,

The American Anglican Council, Oregon Chapter, responds to recent events in TEC, including the election of the new Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts-Schori; former assistant rector of the Episcopal Church of the Good Samaritan in Corvallis, Oregon, and a graduate of Oregon State University:

It is not for us to expound on the analysis and summaries of events from key orthodox leaders of the faith. If you have been following the news articles and web blogs, you have more than likely accumulated an archive of printed material inches deep. With decisions made at GC03 and confirmed at GC06, the Episcopal Church as we have cherished it has chosen to “walk apart” and is disintegrating. We are deeply troubled by TEC’s insistence on pursuing unilateral agendas at the expense of communion with the majority of the Anglican World. The middle ground between the revisionists and the orthodox has disappeared. The AAC Oregon Chapter intends to move now directly into the mission field to build up the Church. To quote the Rev. Canon David C. Anderson, “The war is over; it is time to build the Church.”

As a chapter of the American Anglican Council, we are committed to the vision and goals of the national organization led by the Rev. Canon David C. Anderson and his staff. As to our specific goals in Oregon, we have at least two choices. We can continue to commiserate the state of affairs brought on by TEC that is tearing the fabric of the Anglican Communion, or we can roll up our sleeves and focus on the ministry opportunities at hand; we choose the latter the rest.

Video: Interview with Fr Mark Hansen (part I)
Posted At : July 13, 2006
Posted By : Kevin Kallsen

One year anniversary: the Rt. Rev. Andrew D. Smith, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut, inhibits the rector of St. John's Episcopal Church in Bristol, the Rev. Mark H. Hansen.

Connecticut Six: video here

Norwegian Paper on Homosexual Objection to Letter: “We must dare to print opinions that we don’t like.”
By Peter J. Smith

FARSUND, Norway, July 13, 2006 ( – A Norwegian newspaper and politician are facing charges for “promoting discrimination on the basis of sexual preference” reports Aftenposten, a Norwegian news source.

Odd Djøseland, a member of Norway’s Progress Party (Fremskrittspartiet) and member of the local healthcare commission, submitted a letter to the editor of Farsunds Avis, in which he pined for a community beach that heterosexuals could enjoy without homosexuals “drooling” over them.

“I therefore want a beach in our community that’s free of gays and lesbians, a place where we normal, heterosexual people can sunbathe and swim in peace and quiet,” said Djøseland in a letter he maintained was written in a “humorous vein,” according to Aftenposten.
the rest

Group Says Presbyterian 'Plunge into Apostasy' Cannot Be Reversed
By The Associated Press
Thu, Jul. 13 2006

LENOIR, N.C. (AP) – A major organization of lay members says the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) "crossed a critical line of demarcation" last month by allowing local congregations and regional bodies some leeway to install openly gay clergy or lay officers who live with same-sex partners.

The Presbyterian Lay Committee's board said in a statement that fellow conservatives "are not capable of reversing the denomination's plunge into apostasy" any longer - so now they must find a way forward.The long-standing committee, which has a mailing list of 450,000, objected to the actions in June of a national assembly of the 2.3 million-member denomination.

the rest

"You Are Bringing Strange Things to Our Ears:"
Christian Apologetics for a Postmodern Age, Part 2
Albert Mohler
Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The church is faced in the postmodern age by several distinct apologetic challenges. Internally, the church must defend the faith against ignorance, against compromise, against doctrinal apathy, and against denial. The church now suffers from a breathtaking deficit of doctrinal instruction and biblical truth. In some churches, the great truths of the Christian faith are unknown, and in others, these truths are left dormant and untaught. Beyond this, the very real dangers of doctrinal corrosion and heresy threaten.

Externally, the Gospel must be defended against secular atheism, postmodern relativism, naturalistic scientism, materialism, and current syncretisms. The Gospel must be proclaimed in the face of rival systems of belief and alternative worldviews, new and old.

This is where the task of Christian apologetics begins. In the Apostle Paul we find a model of Great Commission proclamation matched to an apologetic argument--an argument in defense of Christian truth. In Acts 17:16-34, we find Paul standing at Ground Zero of apologetic ministry in the first century.
the rest

Why Are More Americans Lonely Today?
by Janice Shaw Crouse
Posted Jul 13, 2006

Rarely has news from an academic paper struck such a responsive nerve with the general public. The National Science Foundation (NSF) reported in its General Social Survey that unprecedented numbers of Americans are lonely.

Published in the American Sociological Review (ASR) and authored by Miller McPhearson, Lynn Smith-Lovin and Matthew Brashears, sociologists at Duke and the University of Arizona, the study featured 1,500 face-to-face interviews, where more than a quarter of the respondents -- one in four -- said that they have no one with whom they can talk about their personal troubles or triumphs. If family members are not counted, the number doubles to more than half of Americans who have no one outside their immediate family with whom they can share confidences. Sadly, the researchers noted that the number of “socially isolated” Americans has doubled since 1985.

These dramatic statistics from ASR parallel similar trends reported by the Beverly LaHaye Institute -- that over the 40 years from 1960 to 2000 the number of people living as “unrelated individuals” increased from 6 to 16 percent of all persons. Additionally, about 70 percent of those classified as “unrelated individuals” lived alone.
the rest

Book Review: Grand Illusions
Too many suburban Christians are in the world—and also of it.
Caleb Stegall reviews David Goetz's Death by Suburb
posted 07/13/2006

From Thoreau's description of men who lead "lives of quiet desperation" to James Howard Kuntsler's recent castigation of our landscape as a "geography of nowhere" to critics such as Russell Kirk, John Lukacs, and Wendell Berry, dissidents have argued that the American suburban experiment is toxic to the human soul. Joining this tradition is David Goetz.

Raised on a windswept prairie of North Dakota—Goetz once thought he would take over his grandfather's farm only to be told that his grandfather would not "wish that on you"—Goetz ended up in Wheaton, by reputation that most evangelical of suburbs, and his wife's hometown. In his telling, suburban life revolves around competing for what Goetz calls "immortality symbols"—"the four-bedroom home with the Pottery Barn colors, the L.L. Bean underwear and outerwear, the fuel-guzzling truck, the purebred dog, the family pilgrimage to Disney World, and the athletic and scholarship-bedecked college-bound freshman."

For Goetz, the defining ethos of suburbia is catering to "the overindulged self" in an "environment of security, efficiency, and opportunities," all of which create a faux spirituality among Christians who live there. According to Goetz, their faith is really little more than busy avoidance of reality. The false image of the "good life" offered by the suburbs creates what Goetz calls a "bloated, tiny soul." Goetz's harsh judgment is tempered by his admission of his own acute sensitivity to what others think of him and his guilty joy in finally getting that SUV.
the rest

Harvard Loses $390 Million After Summers Flap

The resignation of Harvard President Lawrence H. Summers has led three more major donors to cancel or put on hold huge contributions to the university.

Summers, who announced his resignation in February, had been embroiled in controversy after he suggested at a closed meeting in January 2005 that women in general have less aptitude than men in science and math.

As NewsMax reported earlier, Oracle Corp. CEO Larry Ellison rescinded a $115 million gift to Harvard this past June due to Summers' resignation.
the rest

No scientific basis for 'born gay' theory
By David Clarke Pruden

Although the simple "born gay" theory has faded from the science scene, activists continue to misrepresent scientific findings. When you assert that individuals are born gay and cannot change, people naturally jump to the conclusion that same-sex marriage is the only rational choice for same-sex attracted individuals.

However, the innate-immutable theory of homosexuality has no basis in science. The simplistic biological theory has been dismissed by all of the researchers whose studies have been cited to support the notion that homosexuality is so deeply compelled by biology that it cannot change.

Let's examine the words of just one of those often incorrectly cited as providing evidence for a "gay gene." Simon LeVay notes, "It is important to stress what I didn't find. I did not prove that homosexuality was genetic, or find a cause for being gay. I didn't show that gay men were born that way, the most common mistake people make in interpreting my work."

A new research study by a University of Illinois team, which has screened the entire human genome, reported that there is no one gay gene. Writing in the journal Human Genetics, lead researcher Dr. Brian Mustanski noted that environmental factors were also likely to be involved.

Of the innate-immutable argument, Dr. Richard C. Friedman and Dr. Jennifer Downey, noted, "At clinical conferences one often hears . . . that homosexual orientation is fixed and unmodifiable. Neither assertion is true . . . The assertion that homosexuality is genetic is so reductionistic that it must be dismissed out of hand as a general principle of psychology."
the rest

India's 7/11
Clinton W. Taylor
Published 7/13/2006

This one is not just going away. A final death toll has not emerged at this writing, but it has
reached 200. Mumbai (Bombay), a city already battered by terrorism, is slowly coming to grips with the enormity of what happened.

The horrific imagery of the blast rivals that of 9/11, and the
comparisons have already begun:

"Gruesome scenes from Tuesday's attacks dominated Indian television, which began referring to the day as 7/11. Images of a middle-aged man, his body severed
in two, crying for help as his fellow passengers carried him away, were broadcast repeatedly."If the "falling man" who jumped from the World Trade Center is the signature image of that awful day, then the broken body of that man may take on a similar grim importance in India. One suspects the Indian media will not be so shy as ours is about showing such an awful reminder as the hunt for the suspects begins. the rest

State rule sought on doctors, new abortion laws
An official asks if physicians can be criminally charged for performing banned procedures
July 13, 2006
Houston Chronicle Austin Bureau

AUSTIN - Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has been asked to rule whether laws passed in 2003 and 2005 could subject doctors to capital murder charges for performing late-term abortions or abortions on minors without their parents' consent.

State Affairs Chairman David Swinford, R-Amarillo, asked for the opinion, citing an analysis by a state prosecutors group that said murder prosecutions of doctors could be an "unintended consequence" of the law changes.
the rest

Christian group to advocate more support for Israel
By Julia Duin
July 13, 2006

More than 3,000 pro-Israel evangelical Christians will be in town next week for a "Washington/Israel summit" to push the Bush administration toward stronger support for the Jewish state.

Starting with a banquet July 18 at the Hilton Washington and visits to Capitol Hill the next morning, the inaugural gathering of Christians United for Israel (CUFI) will showcase a deeper cooperation between evangelical Christians and Jews in the face of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's suggestion in October, often reiterated since, that Israel "be wiped off the map."
the rest

Top dean attacks gay 'witch-hunt'

The Dean of St Paul's Cathedral in London has attacked traditionalists in the Anglican church for conducting a "witch-hunt" against homosexuals.

"The thought that anybody should be shown the door by the Church, I just find deeply offensive," said the Very Reverend Dr John Moses.

The Dean made the comments on the eve of his last service at St Paul's before his retirement in August.

the rest

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

He has great tranquillity of heart who cares neither for the praises nor the fault-finding of men. He will easily be content and pacified, whose conscience is pure. You are not holier if you are praised, nor the more worthless if you are found fault with. What you are, that you are; neither by word can you be made greater than what you are in the sight of God.

Thomas a Kempis photo

Awaiting an Episcopal Revolution
By Allan Dobras



When the final gavel sounded on the 2006 General Convention of the Episcopal Church, the death rattle of the Episcopal Church could be heard throughout the Anglican Communion. The legislative decisions made by the convention included:

Refusing to consider a resolution that would affirm the exclusive Lordship of Jesus Christ as “the only name by which any person may be saved,” with the admonition: “This type of language was used in 1920s and 1930s to alienate the type of people who were executed. It was called the Holocaust.”

Opposing any state or federal constitutional amendment that prohibits same-sex civil marriage or civil unions and pledging to include openly gay and lesbian persons on every committee, commission, or task force developed for the specific purpose of discussing issues of sexuality.

Affirming that global warming threatens the future of God’s good creation.

Affirming that God is Creator, though stating that “an acceptance of evolution is entirely compatible with an authentic and living Christian faith.”

Urging the church to call upon Congress and the American people to support legislation initiating study of and dialogue about the history and legacy of slavery in the United States, and of proposals for monetary and non-monetary reparations to the descendants of the victims of slavery (i.e., reparations).

Recognizing that the Bible has sometimes been used to justify oppressive institutions and practices and supporting efforts to foster methods of Biblical interpretation that do not lend support to oppressive systems.

Reiterating opposition to the war in Iraq and calling on Congress and the president to immediately develop a plan to stabilize Iraq that will allow U.S. troops to come home. All Episcopalians are called on, “as an act of penitence, to oppose and resist through advocacy, protest and electoral action the continuation of the war in Iraq.”
the rest

Gordon-Conwell to Launch Anglican Degree Program

Seeking to attract students who feel alienated from The Episcopal Church, Gordon-Conwell, an evangelical protestant seminary with headquarters in South Hamilton, Mass., announced recently that it will begin an Anglican degree program.

“We really are being opportunistic here,” said Barry H. Corey, academic dean in an interview with the Boston Globe.

Gordon-Conwell, which currently has just a few Episcopalians among its faculty and a few dozen students among a student body of 2,000, is planning to add courses in Anglican prayer, liturgy and governance. Upon completion of the program, students will receive a master’s degree in divinity. In developing and implementing the degree program, Dean Corey said Gordon-Conwell will collaborate with two Episcopal seminaries: Nashotah House in Nashotah, Wis., and Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry in Ambridge, Pa.
the rest

Ephraim Radner: How does the ACI see the present challenge in the Communion?

Matt Kennedy, over at StandFirm, has raised important questions and arguments about American Anglican strategy in response to General Convention, all which need to be placed on the table and discussed. Since I am unable to access his site properly, let me respond here to just a few points he raises.

1. There is no doubt that people at certain and varying points feel the need to leave the Episcopal Church – most likely because of the burden they have to protect their spiritual and emotional health. This is all quite appropriate. It is not, however, a “strategy”. It is a matter of individual discernment for the moment. On the other hand, “separation” of Christian bodies requires, well, a “body” to act and to act in a corporate fashion. Our concern is that this is not happening well at present, and that there are signs that it will not happen well in the near future. The result will in fact not be the protection of our Anglican corporate gifts, but their squandering.

the rest with comments at titusonenine

House Approves Internet Gambling Bill
By Melanie Hunter Senior Editor
July 11, 2006

( - In a vote of 317 to 93, the House Tuesday approved a bill that would prevent people from using credit cards online to gamble. The bill, sponsored by Reps. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Jim Leach (R-Iowa), makes it clear that gambling online is illegal, with the exception of horse racing and state lotteries.

"This legislation provides real protection to American families from destructive and unlawful Internet gambling," said Family Research Council Vice President for Government Affairs Tom McClusky in a statement.

"With the new authority granted and the additional clarity brought to federal law, financial institutions and law enforcement authorities will be able to hold accountable the gambling interest that circumvent state and federal law," said McClusky.
the rest

The New Gay Times
By Brent Bozell III
Wednesday, July 12, 2006

There was the expected wailing and gnashing of teeth from the left when New York's state Court of Appeals ruled against installing so-called "gay marriage" by judicial fiat, as they had in the People's Republic of Massachusetts. The New York Times, as expected, was stunned that the judges could find a "rational basis" for traditional marriage, and that judges would defer to elected legislators.

This outrage was plastered at the top of the Times with two "news" stories. One was a front-page editorial (they call it a "news analysis") by Patrick Healy, who focused on the "gay-rights advocates" and their disappointment. "Nowhere did gay marriage seem more like a natural fit than New York," he complained, where "a history of spirited progressivism" should have made the victory of the marriage-manglers inevitable.

Inside the Times, the slant continued, with two large photographs of gay activists protesting and consoling one another, arm in arm, about the court decision. Why not a photo of a traditional marriage supporter celebrating the ruling? Because it seems to be in every national-media rulebook that the "gay marriage" story must be accompanied by gay activists protesting, kissing, cheering or "marrying." Only one side matters.
the rest

Faiths in Jerusalem United Over Gay March
July 12, 2006

JERUSALEM (AP) - Christian leaders condemned it. Jewish radicals put a bounty on participants. Muslim clerics threatened to flood the streets with protesters. Jerusalem's conflicting religions have found rare common ground: opposition to an international gay pride parade next month.

"We consider this offensive and harmful to the religious integrity of the city," said Sheik Taissir Tamimi, head of the Islamic court in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

"This group of homosexuals, we consider them impure," he said, calling on Palestinians to take to the streets to prevent marchers from entering east Jerusalem, where the holy sites are located. They "must not be allowed to enter Jerusalem."

Prisons’ porn ban hit
Inmates sue to restore explicit-material access
By Ken Kusmer
Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS – Two inmates are suing the Indiana Department of Correction to overturn a new policy that bars magazines and other printed materials that depict nudity or sexual conduct.

The lawsuit filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Indianapolis seeks class-action status on behalf of more than 20,000 state prisoners and challenges a policy that went into effect July 1 barring adult magazines such as Playboy and Hustler and the motorcycle magazine Easyriders.

The policy could prohibit sexually explicit letters and general circulation publications such as National Geographic magazine and daily newspapers, according to the complaint, which said the new rule violates the plaintiffs’ civil rights.
the rest

Episcopal chief to again protest Israeli actions
Wants Gaza withdrawal
By Michael Paulson
Globe Staff
July 12, 2006

Bishop M. Thomas Shaw of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts, who five years ago jolted local Christian-Jewish relations by joining a pro-Palestinian demonstration in front of the Israeli Consulate in Boston, plans to reprise his performance today with another protest at the same location.

Saying that his Christian faith does not allow him to remain silent in the face of Israel's incursions into Gaza, Shaw said he feels a moral obligation to call attention to the plight of Palestinians, both Christian and Muslim, and especially to an Episcopal hospital in Gaza, Al Ahli Arab, that he said is operating on a generator and is days from running out of electricity to care for its patients.

``I want to draw as much attention to the situation as I possibly can, because I'm concerned about what's happening there," Shaw said yesterday, explaining his decision to join the protest, which is organized by groups supportive of Palestinian rights and critical of Israeli conduct.
the rest

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

The beauties of nature come after the storm. The rugged beauty of the mountain is born in a storm, and the heroes of life are the storm-swept and the battle-scarred.

You have been in the storms and swept by the blasts. Have they left you broken, weary, beaten in the valley, or have they lifted you to the sunlit summits of a richer, deeper, more abiding manhood and womanhood? Have they left you with more sympathy with the storm swept and the battle-scarred?

from Streams in the Desert photo

St. Andrew’s Anglican in KY Places Ad

The following word of encouragment was placed as an ad in the Lexington Herald Leader on July 8, 2006. The parish secretary reports that there have been calls from Episcopalians wanting more information and also calls to express thanks to Fr. David Brannen for the message.

A Message to Kentucky Episcopalians

Recent news reports on the controversy in the Episcopal Church (ECUSA) could mislead people into thinking the fuss is about homosexuality. This is not true. ECUSA’s departure from historic Christian teaching about sex is a symptom of far more serious matters.

Before we get to this, however, we must admit the church has not always treated homosexuals with compassion. Christians have sometimes been harsh and unloving. Further, the church has sometimes focused on homosexuality while saying little about heterosexual sin. We deeply regret this and emphatically say this is a departure from the message and example of Jesus Christ. To be faithful to scripture, the church must evenhandedly uphold all Biblical standards for sexual expression.

the rest at Drell's Descants

Bishop Jefferts Schori: Open to the Spirit's Leading

The Rt. Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori was elected June 18 by the House of Bishops on the fifth ballot as the next Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church. She spoke recently with a reporter from The Living Church.

TLC: How do you think that Anglican women in other parts of the world--and how do you think the other primates--will receive the news of your election as Presiding Bishop?Bishop Jefferts

Schori: I think Anglican women will receive the news with rejoicing. I already know a few of the primates, having met them at General Convention, so it will not be a matter of walking into a room of unfriendly faces.

the rest at The Living Church

A Baptist Preacher's Abortion

Donna Schaper says she's a grown-up, a pastor, and a murderer. She claims all three labels, and is not apologizing for any of them.

Rev. Schaper, pastor of
Judson Memorial Church in New York City, wrote a recent article for the liberal Jewish monthly Tikkun about the abortion she had nineteen years ago. She says she's "neither bragging nor apologizing."

Schaper says that her abortion was the right choice, since she and her husband had young twins at the time. "Because women are mature sexual beings who make choices," she writes. "Birth control and abortion are positive moral forces in history. They allow sex to be both procreational and recreational, for both men and women." As a matter of fact, as Schaper sees it, abortion doesn't have anything to do with babies. "The drama of the abortion battle is not about unborn babies at all," she writes. "Instead it is about women and sex."

the rest at Touchstone

How Catholicism fell from grace in Ireland
Country doesn't even have enough priests
By Tom HundleyTribune fo
reign correspondent
Published July 9, 2006

DUBLIN -- For the 8:30 a.m. daily mass at St. Mary's Pro-Cathedral, an imposing old church just off O'Connell Street in the heart of Dublin, you might expect to see Father O'Sullivan at the altar. Or perhaps Father O'Reilly or Father O'Flaherty.

Father Owuamanam comes as a bit of a surprise.

But Remigius Owuamanam, a priest from Nigeria, is a good reflection of the changes that have overtaken both church and society in Ireland during the last 20 years.

Like most of its continental neighbors, Ireland is undergoing a severe crisis of faith. Religious belief in this island bastion of Roman Catholicism is under siege by the twin forces of secularization and modernization. In addition, the recent exposure of a deeply ingrained culture of sexual abuse and cover-up by the clergy has dealt a staggering blow to the church's prestige.

PC(USA) Assembly Blasted for Trashing the Trinity, Other 'Crazy' Decisions
By Jim Brown and Jenni Parker

July 10, 2006

(AgapePress) - A conservative minister says the Presbyterian Church (USA) did more than alter a major doctrine of the Christian faith at its recent convention. According to one Presbyterian Lay Committee member, a number of "crazy" actions took place at the denomination's meeting last month in Birmingham, Alabama.

At the recent 217th General Assembly meeting, PC(USA) commissioners voted to allow the denomination's churches to use the phrase "compassionate mother, beloved child, and life-giving womb" instead of "Father, Son, and Holy Spirit" when referring to the Trinity. This was just one of the 12 phrases approved by the Assembly as permissible substitutions for the traditional names of the Godhead, another being "rock, cornerstone, and temple."story

House could nix online gambling
Some oppose the bill because it exempts horse racing and lotteries. The Senate has yet to weigh in.
By Nancy Zuckerbrod
The Associated Press

Washington - Gamblers who prefer their laptops to blackjack tables won't like what Congress is doing.

Today, the House plans to vote on a bill that would ban credit cards for paying online bets and could padlock gambling websites.

The legislation would clarify existing law to spell out that it is illegal to gamble online.

To enforce that ban, the bill would prohibit credit cards and other payment forms, such as electronic transfers, from being used to settle online wagers. It also would give law enforcement officials the authority to work with Internet providers to block access to gambling websites.
the rest

SAN FRANCISCO: Court arguments begin on same-sex marriage Panel to decide constitutionality of state's ban
Bob Egelko, Chronicle Staff Writer
Tuesday, July 11, 2006

A state appeals court that will decide whether California's ban on same-sex marriage is constitutional focused Monday on whether preserving the historic definition of marriage and promoting child-rearing by fathers and mothers are legitimate reasons for upholding the law.

Lawyers for the state and two conservative organizations, appearing before a three-judge Court of Appeal panel in San Francisco, agreed that California's definition of marriage as the union of a man and a woman is constitutional and that a judge's March 2005 ruling to the contrary should be overturned. But they gave sharply contrasting arguments to a court that also seemed divided.

the rest

Court: Illinois U. Must Reinstate (Christian) Group

CHICAGO (AP) - A federal appeals court ruled Monday that an Illinois university must reinstate a student group that had its status revoked over its requirement that members pledge to adhere to Christian beliefs.

The ruling reverses a lower court decision that denied the group a preliminary injunction re-establishing its status while the lawsuit proceeds.

The Christian Legal Society sued Southern Illinois University in 2005 after the school revoked the group's registered status, meaning it no longer could use the university's facilities or name and was ineligible for school funding. The group claimed the university's decision violated its First Amendment rights to free speech and free exercise of religion.

The university said the society's requirement that members adhere to basic Christian beliefs violates the school's affirmative action policy as well as a Board of Trustees policy stating that student organizations must follow all "federal or state laws concerning nondiscrimination and equal opportunity."

But in its ruling Monday, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals said the university "failed to identify which federal or state law it believes (Christian Legal Society) violated." the rest

Gay-marriage opponents get SJC go-ahead
Amendment effort is constitutional
By Scott Helman, Globe Staff
July 11, 2006

The Supreme Judicial Court delivered a major victory yesterday to opponents of same-sex marriage, validating a proposed constitutional amendment that seeks to outlaw gay weddings in a 2008 ballot measure.

In a unanimous decision, the court rejected a claim by gay-rights advocates that Attorney General Thomas F. Reilly erred last year in deciding that the proposed amendment was constitutional. The court ruled that voters had a right to decide whether such a ban belongs in the state constitution.
the rest

Challenges continue over women bishops
By Robert Pigott

BBC religious affairs correspondent

The Church of England has taken a bold step away from a 2,000 year tradition - interpreting the Bible as teaching that only men can serve as bishops.

A majority of the Church's ruling body, meeting in York, has decided that it is theologically justified to ordain women as bishops.
the rest

70 killed in Mumbai train blasts
Tuesday, July 11, 2006;
Posted: 11:40 a.m. EDT

MUMBAI, India (CNN) -- At least 70 people have been killed by seven bombs in what police described as a well-coordinated attack on rush-hour commuter trains in the Indian financial capital of Mumbai.

The Associated Press put the death toll at up to 100. Officials said more than 300 people were injured in the blasts, which took place between 6:20 and 7 p.m. (1250 and 1330 GMT) when the trains were packed with commuters making their way home.

A senior Bombay police official, P.S. Pasricha, told The Associated Press the explosions were part of a well-coordinated attack.

Vilasrao Deshmukh, the chief minister of Maharashtra state, where Bombay is located, said bombs caused all seven blasts, AP added.

Monday, July 10, 2006

"Beware in your prayers, above everything else, of limiting God, not only by unbelief, but by fancying that you know what He can do. Expect unexpected things, ‘above all that we ask or think’. Each time, before you Intercede, be quiet first, and worship God in His glory. Think of what He can do, and how He delights to hear the prayers of His redeemed people. Think of your place and privilege in Christ, and expect great things!"
Andrew Murray photo

Study Claiming Biological Basis for Homosexuality “Absolute Rubbish”: NARTH Psychiatrist
By Gudrun Schultz
TORONTO, Ontario,
July 10, 2006

( – A recent study suggesting that homosexual orientation results from biological factors in the prenatal environment is based on severely flawed research and biased assumptions, a leading Canadian psychiatrist has charged.

Researchers at Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario, conducted the study entitled “Biological versus nonbiological older brothers and men’s sexual orientation.” The study suggested that male same-sex attraction results from an immune reaction on the part of the mother to the presence of the male child in her womb, a reaction the study’s authors suggest stems from the gestation of previous male children. In other words, the study suggests, having biological older brothers leads to the development of homosexuality.

That suggestion is “absolute utter rubbish,” said psychiatrist Joseph Berger of the University of Toronto.
the rest

Bringing the Church to the Courtroom
Christian Group Becomes Force in Major Legal Battles
Peter Slevin
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, July 10, 2006

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- A 29-foot war memorial shaped like a cross should be allowed to remain on public land. A teacher should be able to emphasize references to God in the Declaration of Independence. Protesters should be permitted to approach women near the doors of an abortion clinic.

These courtroom fights and dozens of others pending across the country belong to the portfolio of the ambitious Alliance Defense Fund, a socially conservative legal consortium. It spends $20 million a year seeking to protect what it regards as the place of religion -- and especially Christianity -- in public life.
the rest

Feed the soul, trim the fat
With bestsellers and networking, the Christian weight-loss movement is creating believers.
By Elena Conis, Special to The Times
July 10, 2006

When the First Place Christian weight-loss program came to his church in 1998, Chino computer programmer Mark Gutierrez — who weighed 310 at the time — was skeptical. The 44-year-old father of two had tried numerous high-profile weight-loss programs, starting as far back as age 13.

"I had lost weight many times, but always put it back on and more," he says.

Fear and doubt, he says, delayed him from committing to the program for a year. But once he signed on, in early 1999, he met with rapid success — dropping 120 pounds in the first 12 months.
The program's spiritual component made all the difference to him.

"You draw your encouragement and strength from God and Bible study, from prayer and the prayers of others in the room with you," he says of the First Place program.
the rest

Archbishop of York Calls for Unity & Love to Defeat Terrorism
The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, has called for England to fight potential suicide bombers with love.
Posted: Monday, July 10 , 2006

The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, has called for England to fight potential suicide bombers with love. Speaking at his presidential address to the Church of England Synod at the weekend, he told that it cannot be enough to rely simply upon the security services and laws alone.

Dr Sentamu called for the country to “out-imagine, out-plan and out-think” those that might take the path to becoming suicide bombers, and that this could be done by building an “inclusive circle of love”, he told the General Synod at York University.

Focusing on neighbourhood development, the archbishop said that they had to be turned over and renewed to become safe, flourishing, clean and generous.
the rest

"You Are Bringing Strange Things to Our Ears:"
Christian Apologetics for a Postmodern Age

Albert Mohler
Monday, July 10, 2006

Christians today are called to serve the cause of Christ at one of the crucial turning points in human history. The generations now living have witnessed an explosion of knowledge, the collapse of distance, the rising and falling of empires. Cultures and societies have been radically transformed, and expansive wealth has brought great material comfort even as the most basic structures of society are undermined. Families are fractured, lawlessness abounds, violence invades, and the media bring a constant stream of chaos into our lives.

The reality of truth is itself denied. Postmodern Americans accept meaning as a replacement for truth, and exchange worldviews as quickly as they try on new clothes.

This is a very strange time to proclaim and defend the Christian faith. Evangelism is difficult in an age when most persons think their most basic problems are rooted in a lack of self-esteem, and when personal choice is the all-determining reality of the marketplace. In the same way, the task of apologetics is complicated by the postmodern condition. How does one defend the faith to persons unwilling to make any judgment concerning truth?
the rest

Matt Kennedy: Time: 10 Questions For Katharine J. Schori [or...Jesus: Our Magic Bus to "The Divine"]

Is belief in Jesus the only way to get to heaven?
We who practice the Christian tradition understand him as our vehicle to the divine. But for us to assume that God could not act in other ways is, I think, to put God in an awfully small box.

[note...unless, of course, God reveals through his Word that, in fact, Jesus Christ is the only way to the Father (John 14:6) and there is no other (Acts 4:12). In that case, to assert otherwise is to re-fashion God to fit our preferred cultural whims...a small box indeed...matt]

Comments at Stand Firm

Time magazine

Episcopalians meet with bishop, debate separation
Sunday, July 9, 2006
The Dallas Morning News

Hundreds of Episcopalians from across North Texas gathered at St. Matthew's Cathedral in Dallas on Sunday afternoon with one question in mind: What is the future of their church?
Dallas Bishop James Stanton hosted the meeting amid widespread debate over whether the diocese and its 77 member churches should dissociate from the national Episcopal Church.

On the one side are traditionalists who believe national leaders have moved too far to the left on divisive topics including their support of female priests and gay clergy members. On the other side are those who support the changing direction.

Bishop Stanton, responding to calls for separation, said he plans to meet with each parish in coming weeks to discuss the issue, which has divided the 40,000 members of the diocese. He said a decision could be reached in October at the diocese's annual convention.
the rest

Japan Considers Strike Against N. Korea
Jul 10, 8:58 AM (ET)

TOKYO (AP) - Japan said Monday it was considering whether a pre-emptive strike on the North's missile bases would violate its constitution, signaling a hardening stance ahead of a possible U.N. Security Council vote on Tokyo's proposal for sanctions against the regime.

Japan was badly rattled by North Korea's missile tests last week and several government officials openly discussed whether the country ought to take steps to better defend itself, including setting up the legal framework to allow Tokyo to launch a pre-emptive strike against Northern missile sites.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

He said not Thou shalt not be tempested, thou shalt not be travailed, thou shalt not be distressed; but He said, Thou shalt not be overcome.
Juliana of Norwich

Liberal Christianity is paying for its sins
Out-of-the-mainstream beliefs about gay marriage and supposedly sexist doctrines are gutting old-line faiths.
By Charlotte Allen

Charlotte Allen is Catholicism editor for Beliefnet and the author of "The Human Christ: The Search for the Historical Jesus."
July 9, 2006

The accelerating fragmentation of the strife-torn Episcopal Church USA, in which several parishes and even a few dioceses are opting out of the church, isn't simply about gay bishops, the blessing of same-sex unions or the election of a woman as presiding bishop. It also is about the meltdown of liberal Christianity.

Embraced by the leadership of all the mainline Protestant denominations, as well as large segments of American Catholicism, liberal Christianity has been hailed by its boosters for 40 years as the future of the Christian church.

Instead, as all but a few die-hards now admit, all the mainline churches and movements within churches that have blurred doctrine and softened moral precepts are demographically declining and, in the case of the Episcopal Church, disintegrating.

the whole story

O Church of God, arise!
Reach out thy helping hand,
And like a trumpet let thy voice
Go forth to ev’ry land;
Lay not thine armor down,
Nor cease by day or night,
To lift the sword of Gospel truth,
And wield it for the right.

O Church of God, arise!
Thy borders wide extend,
And o’er the earth’s remotest bounds
Thy heralds quickly send;
Thine armies now are great,
But greater they must be,
For ev’ry nation, ev’ry clime
Shall yet rejoice in thee.

O Church of God, arise!
The grand old choral strain
Of peace on earth, good will to man,
That rang on Judah’s plain,
O’er all the world shall ring,
And echo far and wide,
And then the King, thy Lord, shall come,
And claim His faithful bride.

Murder and Redemption
Paroled after 20 years in prison for his role in killing, 38-year-old starts new life as Albany priest
By Kristin Bender

BERKELEY — James Rusty Tramel was just 17 years oldwhen he went to prison for murder. When released four months ago he was a man of 38, determined to make amends for his crime and carve out a new life.

So far he has done just that, after finding redemption through the death of a prison inmate.

Tramel, still in prep school when he and a friend killed a man in a Santa Barbara park just because they could, became an Episcopal priest in prison and today takes over as head priest at St. Alban's Episcopal Church in Albany.

"I feel like I'm finally in my own skin. ... I love this," he said. story

Church of England Backs Women Bishops
By Daniel Blake
Christian Post Correspondent
Sun, Jul. 09 2006

LONDON – The Church of England General Synod officially approved the concept of women bishops as "theologically justified" by 288 votes to 119 in York this weekend.

The vote by the Church of England ruling body, which resulted from a two-and-a-half-hour debate led by the Archbishop of York, sees the introduction of women bishops move one step closer.

Dr John Sentamu called for the Synod to “welcome and affirm” the views of the majority of the House of Bishops that women bishops should be accepted to the episcopate. In answer to this call, more than two-thirds of the Synod supported him.

The Synod also approved the statement that it would be a “proper development in proclaiming afresh, in this generation, the grace and truth of Christ.” Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams will address the Synod on Monday to support setting up a legislative drafting group to tackle the issue.

Already in 2005 it was decided in principle that the obstacles to the ordination of women as bishops should be removed, and during this weekend’s Synod just 119 members, including the Bishop of London, the Rev Richard Chartres, voted against the move.

Currently 14 of the 38 worldwide Anglican Churches have already decided to give their consent to women bishops.

the rest