Saturday, September 02, 2006

"He that believeth in Me . . out of him shall flow. . . ." John 7:38

Jesus did not say - "he that believeth in Me shall realize the blessing of the fulness of God," but - "he that believeth in Me out of him shall escape everything he receives." Our Lord's teaching is always anti-self-realization. His purpose is not the development of a man; His purpose is to make a man exactly like Himself, and the characteristic of the Son of God is self-expenditure. If we believe in Jesus, it is not what we gain, but what He pours through us that counts. It is not that God makes us beautifully rounded grapes, but that He squeezes the sweetness out of us. Spiritually, we cannot measure our life by success, but only by what God pours through us, and we cannot measure that at all.

When Mary of Bethany broke the box of precious ointment and poured it on Jesus' head, it was an act for which no one else saw any occasion; the disciples said it was a waste. But Jesus commended Mary for her extravagant act of devotion, and said that wherever His gospel was preached "this also that she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her." Our Lord is carried beyond Himself with joy when He sees any of us doing what Mary did, not being set on this or that economy, but being abandoned to Him. God spilt the life of His Son that the world might be saved; are we prepared to spill out our lives for Him?

"He that believeth in Me out of him shall flow rivers of living water" - hundreds of other lives will be continually refreshed. It is time now to break the life, to cease craving for satisfaction, and to spill the thing out. Our Lord is asking who of us will do it for Him? Oswald Chambers

Matt Kennedy
Sermon: The Wind and Waves of False Teaching

Now, no one thinks they are rejecting the good and accepting the evil. Satan doesn't launch frontal attacks. He masquerades as angel of light. When he presents a false teaching, he makes it look and sound good and loving and smart and intellectually sound. He calls killing babies, reproductive "choice". He calls sexual immorality, "free love". He calls greed, "good business". He calls pagan idolatry, new-age "spirituality". He calls selfishness, "self care". He calls divorce, "liberation". He calls embracing lies about God and the bible, "moderation".

Sermon here

Polygamy Persists Despite Opposition
The Associated Press
Friday, September 1, 2006

COLORADO CITY, Ariz. -- Ben Bistline chuckles when asked to explain why the practice of polygamy persists. The outside world, he says, just doesn't get it.

"We just grew up in polygamy," said Bistline, a 70-something former polygamist and local historian. "It's part of our life. I don't know how else to say it."

Bistline has lived along the Utah-Arizona border since the neighboring towns of Colorado City, Ariz., and Hildale, Utah _ home of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints _ were still known as Short Creek. He was there when Arizona authorities raided the community in 1953 in an attempt to stop plural marriages and has seen dozens of men and women jailed for their beliefs.
the rest

The Fight
for Pluto
Rages On
Sept. 1, 2006
by the Editors of Sky & Telescope

It's not over yet.

In the past week a small but growing group of scientists made their first formal attack against the International Astronomical Union's August 24th
resolution that left the solar system with eight planets and downgraded Pluto to a new class of objects known as "dwarf planets."

On Thursday two heavy hitters in the planetary-science community — Mark Sykes, director of the Planetary Science Institute, and S. Alan Stern, an executive director of the Southwest Research Institute and leader of the Pluto-bound New Horizons mission — unveiled a petition formally disputing the new definition. The petition, signed by more than 300 of the world's leading space scientists, states, "We, as planetary scientists and astronomers, do not agree with the IAU's definition of a planet, nor will we use it."

The signatories call for a "better definition" of a planet and ask that the method to determine that definition includes more input from the global astronomical community. According to the petitioners, only about 4% of the IAU's nearly 10,000 members were present in Prague to vote on the resolution. In a prepared statement Sykes wrote, "A more open process, involving a broader cross section of the community engaged in planetary studies of our own solar system and others, should be undertaken."
the rest

What Do You Have to Do to Get Kicked Out of a Pulpit Around Here?
Albert Mohler
Posted: Friday, September 01, 2006

David Jenkins has been one of Britain's most controversial figures for some time. From 1984 to 1994 he served as Bishop of Durham -- a post that gave him quite a platform for his radical theology. In more recent years, he has been known as an ardent defender of civil partnerships for homosexuals and he defied Anglican policy by "blessing" a homosexual union betwen two men.

He once incited an infamous controversy over the nature of Christ's resurrection and has repeatedly outraged the faithful. Still, he kept his post at Durham until retirement and has been an active preacher ever since. Until recently, that is.

The Times [London] reports, Bishop Jenkins has finally crossed a line. He has been banned from preaching in two Durham-area churches. Why? For swearing. the rest

Home School Group Has Answer for eBay's Teacher's Edition Textbook Ban
By Jim Brown and Jenni Parker
September 1, 2006

(AgapePress) - The
Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) is expressing concern that eBay has banned the sale of teacher's guides through its online auctions, a move that could drive up the cost of instructional materials for home-schooling families.

The new eBay policy prohibits "the sale of teacher's editions of textbooks and solutions manuals that are intended solely for use by teachers." The online auction site says the policy is designed to prevent people from making illegal copies of the teacher's guides. However, the ban has drawn the ire of many home educators.
the rest

Wal-Mart joins 'gay' chamber of commerce
Company says it's just another routine business outreach
Posted: August 31, 2006

Wal-Mart has confirmed to WorldNetDaily that it has joined a "gay" chamber of commerce, but describes it as just another routine business outreach and says other major corporations are doing the same types of things.

However, conservatives and Christians see it differently, and Tony Perkins of the
Family Research Council in Washington, D.C., already has launched a citizens protest of the move.

the rest

Court rules schools, not parents, control sex subjects
Contributing columnist
Friday, Sep 1 2006

Honestly, the nerve of some people.

Like that group of parents in nearby Palmdale who believe that they, not the California school system, are the ultimate moral authority when it comes to their kids.

These parents were stunned to discover otherwise five years ago when they learned their children, ages seven to 10, had participated in a Mesquite Elementary School survey that included questions of an explicit sexual nature.

Outraged, they turned to the state’s legal system, where their case made its way to the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The court’s ruling? No harm, no foul — the role of parent doesn’t include an inherent or constitutional right to control what their kids are taught in public school, not even when it comes to sex.
the rest

Virginia bishops hit impasse
By Julia Duin
September 1, 2006

Virginia Episcopal Bishop Peter J. Lee announced yesterday that he and the newly consecrated Anglican Bishop Martyn Minns have failed to reach an agreement on allowing the new bishop to minister in the Virginia diocese.

Consecrated on Aug. 20 in Abuja, Nigeria, Bishop Minns continues to lead Truro Episcopal Church in Fairfax, one of several parishes considering leaving the diocese over the Episcopal Church's 2003 decision to consecrate the openly homosexual V. Gene Robinson as bishop of New Hampshire. On Sept. 17, Truro starts a "40 Days of Discernment" process on whether to leave the diocese.

Bishop Lee indicated in a letter to the 90,000-member diocese that he and Bishop Minns are at an impasse.

"Our discussions are continuing," Bishop Lee wrote. "While I could wish for a more timely resolution to this situation, I am mindful that the Holy Spirit requires much of us, including patience."
the rest

Religion enters Russian schools

The Orthodox Christian religion is being made a compulsory school subject in four of Russia's regions.

Pupils in the Belgorod, Bryansk, Kaluga and Smolensk regions will be taught the basics of Orthodox Christianity.

It will also be included as an optional subject in the school curriculum in 11 other regions across the country.

Supporters say the move will help protect traditional spiritual values in Russia. Critics say it violates the constitution of the secular state.

In the Soviet Union the teaching of religion was strictly outlawed in schools and elsewhere.
the rest

Exodus Ministry Applauds Anglican Head's 'Stand for the Truth'
Lillian Kwon
Christian Post Reporter
Sat, Sep. 02 2006

One of the world's largest Christian referral ministry addressing homosexual issues and helping individuals "recover" from homosexuality applauded the Archbishop of Canterbury who recently said homosexuals must change their behavior to be welcomed in the church.

Lauding the Rt. Rev. Rowan Williams, one-time liberal advocate of same-sex relationships, Exodus International president, Alan Chambers, said "We applaud the archbishop's courageous stand for the truth."

"The lack of biblical clarity on the issue of homosexuality is rampant in far too many congregations. Ours is a passionate call to the global church to extend the love and kindness of Jesus Christ, the hope of freedom for those who seek it and the steadfast truth of the Scriptures," he added.

Like many mainline denominations, the Episcopal Church, USA, remains divided over homosexuality in the church since the 2003 consecration of New Hampshire Bishop V. Gene Robinson – an active homosexual. Opposing homosexual ordination, more than 900 parishes now constitute the Anglican Communion Network and conservative leaders have appealed to Williams for an "alternative primatial oversight," or a new overseer of the Episcopal Church.
the rest

The pro-life generation?
By Kathryn Jean Lopez
Friday, September 1, 2006

One day last January, Jonathan Tonkowich was sitting in math class at Thomas Aquinas College in southern California, daydreaming about how to do something constructive for the pro-life cause. What he came up with was Wash for Life (, which will make its debut on Sept. 16.

His idea: Local pro-life youth groups in all 50 states will help raise money for the local crisis-pregnancy centers. The Wash for Lifers already have over 137 groups in 35 states set to wash cars that Saturday morning. "Car washes are the classic way that youth groups raise money for anything," Jon tells me. "It made sense to make it a national day with thousands of youth participating so that youth would get excited, and we could make it into a story that tells that this generation is pro-life."

Is he right? Is his generation pro-life? It could be trending in that direction. In 2004, UCLA's annual poll of U.S. college freshmen found student support for legal abortion at its lowest level (54 percent) since the poll began in 1977. "Glamour" magazine last year noted the "mysterious disappearance of young pro-choice women," pointing to a 2003 CBS/New York Times poll that found only 35 percent of women 18-29 responded that "abortion should be available to anyone who wants it"; in 1993, it had been 50 percent.
the rest

Choosing Life
How pro-lifers become pro-lifers.
by Fred Barnes

HOW DO PEOPLE BECOME PRO-LIFERS? What turns people into passionate foes of abortion and related issues like euthanasia and embryonic stem cell research? I'm not referring to those who supported the pro-life position because of their family upbringing or religious faith or because of a political requirement as, say, a Republican candidate in a red state. I'm talking about people who, as adults or mature teenagers, were either pro-abortion or basically indifferent to the issue. Then something changed their mind, prompting them to take up the anti-abortion cause. Perhaps they began defending the pro-life position without realizing they'd flipped. In any case, what caused the change? What happened?
the rest

Left and Christian Right Take Lumps in Poll
Liberals go too far to exclude religion from public life while conservatives overreach in imposing their values, the survey finds.
By K. Connie Kang, Times Staff Writer
September 2, 2006

Americans are critical of both the political left and the Christian right when it comes to their approaches to religion in the public square, according to a new national poll.

Liberals have gone "too far to keep religion out" of public life while conservatives have gone "too far in imposing their religious values," said the study by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life and the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press.

These findings from the two Pew organizations — nonpartisan, Washington, D.C.-based research groups — were just two of many indicators of public opinion contained in polls and reports released in August on religious life in the United States. The surveys varied widely. Gays, politics and even attendance at Jewish summer camps were among the topics covered.
the rest

A church in crisis
With the Episcopal Church on the brink of schism, here's a look at the denomination's past, present and future
Special to the Star-Telegram

Some say that the Episcopal Church is in a spiritual crisis.

If this is the case, it will have an effect on the 2.3 million Americans who are members.
Since 2003, the Episcopal Church has experienced a loss of more than 72,000 members, according to the American Anglican Council.

Tensions within the U.S. denomination have increased since its top policymaking body, the General Convention, met in June. Leaders had asked delegates for a moratorium on confirming openly gay bishops. This was in response to the 2003 consecration of New Hampshire Bishop V. Gene Robinson, who lives with his longtime male partner. But Episcopal delegates could not agree on the wording of the resolutions. Instead, the convention adopted a nonbinding measure asking church leaders to "exercise restraint" in electing future bishops. The same convention elected Katharine Jefferts Schori, who supports gay relationships, presiding bishop.
the rest

CNY Diocese: Syracuse Newspaper Article on Court Proceedings Against St. Andrew's

Court Roundup
Saturday, September 02, 2006
By Jim O'Hara Staff writer

Syracuse Post-Standard

The Episcopal Diocese of Central New York can proceed with its lawsuit against dissident St. Andrew's Church and its rector but not against the individual members of the church vestry, state Supreme Court Justice James Murphy ruled Friday.

Murphy also dismissed the diocese's lawsuit against St. Matthias Society Ltd., the nonprofit the diocese claims is benefiting from assets being diverted from St. Andrew's.

Additionally, the judge rejected a request by the diocese for an injunction against St. Andrew's that sought to prevent the expenditure of assets without diocesan approval. But Murphy rejected the church's request to dismiss the diocese's lawsuit.

The judge Friday said it appeared "prolonged litigation" was ahead. But he offered his assistance as a mediator, noting he had some suggestions.

The rift between the diocese and the church in the 5000 block of South Salina Street in the Valley section of Syracuse stems from the parish leaders' rejection of the denomination's policy on homosexuality. But the court fight is over actual ownership of the church property itself.

The diocese filed a lawsuit in July seeking a financial accounting from the church and court recognition that the law grants the diocese title to all of the church property. The diocese says the leadership at St. Andrew's did not have legal authority to secede from the overall Episcopal church and take the actual church building with it.

St. Andrew's leaders' position is that the diocese and the Episcopal Church USA have betrayed traditional church values and that the diocese has no legal right to the church building, rectory or parish assets.

On Friday, Murphy ruled the diocese could not pursue the lawsuit against the individual members of the vestry running St. Andrew's absent some allegations of specific individual wrongdoing. He also concluded there were no grounds to issue an injunction because the diocese would be able to collect damages for any losses in the event it wins its suit.

But he left Robert Hackendorf as a defendant in the case because the diocese is seeking to oust him as the church leader and evict him from the rectory.

Friday, September 01, 2006

God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea
And rides upon the storm.

Deep in unfathomable mines
Of never failing skill
He treasures up His bright designs
And works His sovereign will.

Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break
In blessings on your head.

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.

His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flower.

Blind unbelief is sure to err
And scan His work in vain;
God is His own interpreter,
And He will make it plain.
William Cowper
“You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” John 13:7

CNY Diocese: St. Andrew’s Vestry Members Dismissed From Lawsuit By Episcopal Diocese; Diocese Denied an Injunction Against the Parish

September 1, 2006

Contact: Raymond J. Dague

A lawsuit brought by the Episcopal Diocese of Central New York against the individual members of the St. Andrews vestry was dismissed by a state supreme court judge today. They had been named as co-defendants in a civil lawsuit against the parish brought by the Diocese to seize the property of the Syracuse, New York church. In addition, Judge James Murphy also denied the request of the lawyers for the Diocese for an injunction against the parish which would have shut the church down. The bishop’s lawyers had sought to prevent any “property transfers” at the parish, which would have frozen their bank accounts.

The judge also threw out the Diocese’s lawsuit against St. Matthias Society, LTD. St. Matthias is an independent not-for-profit corporation which aids parishes faithful to the historic faith of the church and the Anglican Communion. It has been supporting the work of St. Andrews.

The lawsuit against the parish will continue in what the judge said is likely to be "protracted litigation."

Bishop Gladstone “Skip” Adams sued the parish in July after St. Andrews declared the Anglican Archbishop of Rwanda to be its spiritual authority rather than the bishop of Central New York. The diocese claims a so-called “Dennis Canon” trust on the parish property, even though the deeds are in the name of St. Andrews, and the people of the parish put up the money to buy and maintain the property.

The Dennis Canon is a church law which asserts that no parish leaving the Episcopal Church can keep its church property. St. Andrews never accepted that unilateral action by the national church and the diocese, and disputes that these canons were properly adopted.

“It’s a lot like telling my employees that if they leave my employment, that they forfeit their houses to me,” Dague argued to the court today. “A court should laugh at any employer who pulled that kind of stunt. But this is effectively what the Episcopal Church is trying to do to St. Andrews.”

The bishop and the parish were on the opposite sides of a controversy over homosexual bishops and the authority of Scripture which has engulfed the Episcopal Church for the last few years. St. Andrews adheres to the traditional teaching of the church that sex outside of marriage is prohibited by the Bible, while the Bishop and the leaders of the diocese have been outspoken supporters of the homosexual bishop of New Hampshire who divorced his wife to live with his male partner.

St. Andrews Church is a member of the Anglican Communion Network which seeks to be faithful to the traditional teachings of the Church. In the weeks following the Episcopal Church’s General Convention in June of 2006, seven entire dioceses (also Anglican Communion Network members) have disavowed the leadership of the national church and of the newly elected presiding bishop of the church, and have appealed to the archbishop of Canterbury over the same issue.

Over the last three years, twenty-two of 38 primates of the World Wide Anglican Communion have declared broken or impaired communion with The Episcopal Church (TEC) because of this issue, and the vast majority of the Anglican Communion believes TEC has abandoned the faith and practice of Anglicanism as well as historic Christian teaching.

As sure as ever God puts His children in the furnace,
He will be in the furnace with them.
CH Spurgeon

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Dear Readers,

Today is a day of prayer and fasting for the people of St. Andrew's Church, Syracuse, NY ending with a prayer vigil at the church tonight at 7:00 pm.

Tomorrow, at 10:00 am there will be a court appearance before Judge James Murphy where lawyers for the Episcopal Diocese of Central New York and Bishop Skip Adams will be attempting to stop the transfer of all monies within the church, effectively shutting the church down. Attorneys Raymond Dague and Robert Genant will present oral arguments to counter these motions and are seeking to dismiss the bishop's lawsuit to seize St. Andrew's Church.

Please be at prayer for us today and tomorrow! -Pat Dague

"Our prayers lay the track down by which God's power can come. Like a mighty locamotive His power is irresistable, but it cannot reach us without rails." Watchman Nee

A Roundup of Links from Central NY

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written,

“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:31-39

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Prayer opens the understanding to the brightness of Divine Light, and the will to the warmth of Heavenly Love -- nothing can so effectually purify the mind from its many ignorances, or the will from its perverse affections. It is as a healing water which causes the roots of our good desires to send forth fresh shoots, which washes away the soul's imperfections, and allays the thirst of passion. ... François de Sales photo

Rwanda: Anglican Archbishops to Visit Rwanda
The New Times (Kigali)
Posted to the web August 30, 2006
Grace Mugabe

Over twenty five Anglican Archbishops from different churches in Africa, Latin America, Europe and Asia are expected to arrive in the country on September 19, for a three-day visit.

According to Archbishop Emmanuel Kolini, the prelates' visit is to placate Rwandans following the 1994 genocide.

Kolini, who was August 28, addressing a team of church planners charged with community activities at the Anglican Church headquarters in Remera, Gasabo District said the clerics were inspired by the prevailing peace in the country.

He added that they also intend to learn the strategies used to attain reconstruction, peace, unity and reconciliation.

"I would like to tell you that Rwanda is loved and blessed, so that's why the world puts its attention here," Kolini said, adding that the achievements registered by Rwanda have attracted global attention.
the rest

New US Seminary Guidelines Insist on Total Acceptance of Full Teaching on Sexuality
Document Shows Bishops Getting Serious About Sexual Abuse
By John-Henry Westen
WASHINGTON, August 30, 2006

( - Officially promulgated on August 4, a new 98-page Program of Priestly Formation has been issued by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) after being approved by the Vatican. Replacing the fourth edition of the norms guiding priestly formation in all seminaries published in 1992, the fifth edition has taken seriously the scandal of priestly sexual abuse. Speaking of a proper formation in sexuality, the document states, "As we have recently seen so dramatically in the Church, when such foundations are lacking in priests, the consequent suffering and scandals are devastating."

In the section on "Norms for the admission of candidates" to the priesthood, the Program states explicitly that "Any evidence of criminal sexual activity with a minor or an inclination toward such activity disqualifies the applicant from admission."

And in the very next clause the document addresses persons with homosexual tendencies. "With regard to the admission of candidates with same sex experiences and/or inclinations, the guidelines provided by the Holy See must be followed," says the document.
the rest

A 500% Increase in the Cost of Going to College
Newt Gingrich
Posted Aug 28, 2006

If you find yourself also worrying about the cost of educating your children and grandchildren, you're not alone. As I reported in the Fox special, the price of a public four-year college education increased by more then 500% from 1981 to 2003. Five hundred percent! All other consumer prices rose by 140% in that same time period.

When I was a college professor 25 years ago, the average cost of attending a private college was about $3,600 a year and the cost of a public university was about $1,600 a year. Today, a year at a public university will cost an American family more than $12,000. And a private school? That will cost on average $29,000 a year, and for some schools, much, much more.

So what does that mean for a family like the Pattersons? It means that Jenna's dad, Joey Patterson, took a second job on weekends and still couldn't save enough to send her to college. And the same is true for most Americans. A family that earns the median income of $44,000 a year has to plan on spending a third of its annual income just to put one kid through school -- and that's before taxes.
the rest

ACLU files religious discrimination lawsuit against Mumme, NMSU
By Geoff Grammer/Sun-News Sports Editor

The American Civil Liberties Union on Monday filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against New Mexico State University head football coach Hal Mumme, alleging three former football players were discriminated against because they are Muslim.

Monday's filing comes just three days prior to Thursday's season opener for Mumme and the Aggie football team. The timing, according to one of the attorneys representing the ACLU and the players, has nothing to do with the start of the season.

“We finally got it done,” said attorney Joleen Youngers of Las Cruces. “... There is no calculated effort to time this with the start of the season.”

The complaint was filed on behalf of former players Mu'Ammar Ali, Anthony Thompson and Vincent Thompson.
the rest

Doubt cast over brain 'God spot'

There is no single "God spot" in the brain, Canadian scientists say.

A University of Montreal team found Christian mystical experiences are mediated by several brain regions.

Researchers asked 15 nuns to recount mystical experiences while studying them on MRI scanners, the journal, Neuroscience Letters reported.

There has been much debate about how the brain reacts during connections with God among religious followers.
the rest

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world. ...C.S. Lewis
photo-Orion nebula

Matt Kennedy: Has the Episcopal Church been "Falsely Accused" Part III

If you were to walk into any given parish on Sunday morning and question the average Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican or evangelical believer regarding the official doctrines of his or her denomination, no doubt you would come away with at least some mistaken ideas. It would be unfair not to mention illogical to use this very particular and anecdotal evidence as a basis for judgment for or against his or her entire denominational body. The only fair way to measure or consider the faith of a given denomination is to examine the official teachings of that body.

yesterday’s article I argued that that the “accusations” of heresy and apostasy against the Episcopal Church do not rest on the presence and/or influence of John Shelby Spong or Dr. Marcus Borg, but on the historical fact of the election, consent and consecration of V. Gene Robinson to the office of bishop in the state of New Hampshire. By this official legislative and sacramental act, the Episcopal Church crossed the boundary between right and false doctrine, orthodoxy and heresy. The transgression was confirmed, officially, at GC2006.

Why is nailing this fact down important to the debate?

If you were to walk into any given parish on Sunday morning and question the average Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican or evangelical believer regarding the official doctrines of his or her denomination, no doubt you would come away with at least some mistaken ideas.

the rest at Stand Firm

Leaders are Lost
By Robert Hancock

Who would have ever thought that The Episcopal Church could have arrived at the place it now finds itself? Other Christian churches are finding themselves in similar straits, but maybe not quite so publicly.

It is my opinion that Christians the world over are in great jeopardy because church leaders have become totally lost and, despite the obvious markings on the path of righteousness, are leading us astray. We must decide if that is true and, if so, get ourselves back on the right track.

At this point, our bishops are not declaring themselves in opposition to scriptural truth, just spinning scripture to accommodate their message so as to claim a remote scriptural validity. You and I, far removed from theological rhetoric and biblical exegesis (critical interpretation), find it difficult to separate truth from fiction. I am personally convinced that we have been set on a strategic path to reject biblical teaching altogether, a la Jack Spong. Like any chess game, it may take several moves.
the rest at The Living Church

Hitler and Stalin were possessed by the Devil, says Vatican exorcist

Adolf Hitler and Russian leader Stalin were possessed by the Devil, the Vatican's chief exorcist has claimed.

Father Gabriele Amorth who is Pope Benedict XVI's 'caster out of demons' made his comments during an interview with Vatican Radio.

Father Amorth said: "Of course the Devil exists and he can not only possess a single person but also groups and entire populations.

"I am convinced that the Nazis were all possessed. All you have to do is think about what Hitler - and Stalin did. Almost certainly they were possessed by the Devil.

"You can tell by their behaviour and their actions, from the horrors they committed and the atrocities that were committed on their orders. That's why we need to defend society from demons."
the rest

Academics May Be Easiest Part of College Life
Today’s College Students Not Prepared for Life Outside of Classroom
DENVER, Colo., Aug. 29

Christian Newswire As colleges and universities across the country open their doors for another academic year, students face a challenging paradigm on the modern campus. Where morals, ethics and leadership were once a focus of university education, students are now often left to find their own way amidst growing social pressures.

In today’s complicated society, college students in their teens and early twenties are away from their parents for the first time and forced to make many tough decisions, particularly when it comes to social issues. Students routinely come in contact with moral and ethical dilemmas where they have to make a choice in this age of quick fixes and one-step solutions.

Some of the problems on today’s college campuses include dealing with relationships, promiscuous sex, binge drinking, drug use, credit card debt, depression and gambling, just to name a few. The
Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS), a national student outreach organization, asserts that colleges and universities are not allocating enough resources to help students make the adjustment to collegiate life and to becoming moral and ethical leaders in society upon graduation. the rest

Jerusalem Gay Pride Set for September 21
By Gudrun Schultz

JERUSALEM, Israel, August 28, 2006 ( –The International Gay Pride Parade has been rescheduled to take place in Jerusalem on September 21, Israel National News Arutz Sheva reported today.

The weeklong homosexual celebration was originally planned for August, but was postponed due to the outbreak of violence in Lebanon.

The homosexual activist organization Open House announced the date for the planned event in defiance of concerted international opposition from Jewish and Islamic religious leaders, and the Vatican. The event has been condemned as an affront to the millions of faithful worldwide who consider Jerusalem to be a holy city.

“The event is scheduled to take place literally days before the Jewish New Year, a time of deep spiritual introspection for all Jewish people,” Rabbi Yehuda Levin, with the organization Jews for Morality, told “It is inappropriate, so inappropriate, for them to flaunt their disrespect for thousands of years of Jewish tradition.”
the rest

First Things: Michael Linton writes:

The Episcopal cathedral in Chicago is hosting a display of the “
Keiskamma Altarpiece.” Made by artists in Hamburg, South Africa, the altarpiece is a monumental needlework, combining fabric, beads, wire work and photographs, and reproduces the form and dimensions of Matthias Grüenewald’s circa 1515 “Isenheim Altarpiece.”

Described as a “message of hope for people who are contending with the devastation that AIDS has wrought in their lives in the midst of poverty and other hardships,” the work was first shown in North America last month in Toronto as part of the sixteenth International AIDS Conference. From Chicago it travels to UCLA, where it will be displayed in the university’s Prosser Museum of Art as part of
the UCLA AIDS Project.

The cathedral has posted
photographs of the altarpiece on its website. And although a good friend of mine at the cathedral tells me that the photos come nowhere near to doing the work justice, even on my computer screen it looks splendid.

the rest-read it all

Bygone Protests
Operation Rescue transforms clinic
by John W. Kennedy
posted 08/28/2006

Operation Rescue (OR) has taken over a former Wichita abortion facility as its national headquarters. The organization announced June 30 that it had secured a $112,000 loan to buy the Central Women's Services building after the center fell behind on rent.

OR's new headquarters will have a chapel and a memorial to the estimated 50,000 pre-born babies who died in the building during the past 23 years, according to OR president Troy Newman. Part of the facility will remain untouched to show the squalid conditions that existed there, he says. Last year, OR successfully lobbied the Kansas legislature to pass a bill requiring abortion facilities to report injuries and deaths, and to adhere to cleanliness and safety standards. Gov. Kathleen Sebelius vetoed the bill.

the rest (Thanks Kevin K.)

The State of Preaching Today
August 28, 2006

Albert Mohler

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity. . ." With those famous words, Charles Dickens introduced his great novel A Tale of Two Cities. Of course, Dickens had the two cities of London and Paris in mind, and much of his story revealed that the tenor of the times depended upon where one lived.

In some sense, that remains true as we consider the state of preaching today. To a large degree, this depends upon where one chooses to look.

On the one hand, there are signs of great promise and encouragement. On the other hand, several ominous trends point toward dangerous directions for preaching in the future.
the rest-Excellent!

Monday, August 28, 2006

Feast of St. Augustine
August 28

There is a joy which is not given to the ungodly, but to those who love Thee for Thine own sake, whose joy Thou Thyself art. And this is the happy life, to rejoice to Thee, of Thee, for Thee; this it is, and there is no other. Augustine

Lord God, the light of the minds that know you, the life of the souls that love you, and the strength of the hearts that serve you: Help us, following the example of your servant Augustine of Hippo, so to know you that we may truly love you, and so to love you that we may fully serve you, whom to serve is perfect freedom; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
art and biography

Matt Kennedy: Has the Episcopal Church really been "Falsely Accused"? Part II

...the elevation of a divorced man living in a sexual relationship with another man, represented a clear, deliberate, officially sanctioned change in the doctrine of the Episcopal Church. What scripture, tradition, communion, and reason forbid, we chose to bless. And on that day the Episcopal Church stepped outside the limits and boundaries of orthodoxy.

This morning’s article is the second installment in a series of articles responding to Fr. Tom Woodward’s article Falsely Accused.

In the introductory installment I provided a rough summary of Fr. Woodward’s assertion: that the AAC, Network, and Church of Nigeria (why just those three I wonder?) have falsely accused the Episcopal Church of heresy and apostasy by (mis)representing the marginal teachings of marginal teachers, Dr. Marcus Borg and John Spong, as though they were the mainstream teachings of official voices.

Both teachers, as most readers know, deny essential doctrines: the virgin birth, bodily resurrection, and the bodily ascension.

If indeed the Episcopal Church were the healthy, well-balanced, orthodox Church Fr. Woodward claims, you would expect to see widespread opposition to Spong and Dr. Borg originating not just from the traditionalist wing, but from the “diverse center” as well. You would expect Spong to be brought up on presentment charges and men like Borg to be ostracized by the ecclesial leadership. the rest

First Things: Joseph Bottum writes "Georgetown University has rediscovered its Catholicism" [not!]

Excerpt: You always have to be a little wary of campus fights. American colleges invariably have their infighting—and when it spills over into public view, conflicts of personality and battles over turf can clothe themselves in grand claims of principle. Still, there was something odd going on last year when Campus Ministries demanded that the evangelical groups sign a statement promising not to “proselytize nor undermine another faith community.” And there was something even odder when it was done in the name of the school’s Catholic tradition—by the Protestant chaplains in the official Georgetown office.

The problem, of course, finally boils down to this: The evangelical groups represent only a few hundred students, but they are strongly pro-life and opposed to homosexual marriage. The mainline Protestant employees of Campus Ministry find such things embarrassing, and so they kick the evangelicals off campus, employing the power of the officially Catholic chaplain’s office and the rhetoric of the school’s Catholic identity.

There’s an obvious irony here—employed too often to be surprising—in which people begin by protesting in the name of diversity against centralized authority, and later discover, once they’re in charge, how useful those old forms of authority can be in controlling diversity.

But it also represents a tactic we’re likely to see more of: claims of old-fashioned Catholicism, used by people who are far from old-fashioned Catholics, to maintain control of officially Catholic institutions and to ban the people whose political opinions they don’t like. Watch for it at Boston College, and Marquette, and Notre Dame, and Loyola Marymount, and on and on.

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Study Finds Aborting Brings Teens More Problems Than Giving Birth
Research Proves Adolescents Who Abort Face Higher Mental Health Risk
By Mary Rettig and Jenni Parker
August 28, 2006

(AgapePress) - An assistant professor at Bowling Green State University says even in the event of an unintended teen pregnancy, giving birth is better for teenagers than abortion. A study conducted by BGSU research psychologist Dr. Priscilla Coleman determined that abortion can cause severe mental health problems in young women.

Coleman says she took data from a longitudinal survey of more than 1,000 women to find out the difference between teens who gave birth and teens who aborted an unexpected pregnancy. Her study, published in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence, evaluated adolescent girls with unintended pregnancies and found that those who aborted their babies were five times more likely to seek help for psychological and emotional problems afterward than those girls who carried their pregnancies to term.
the rest

When is it OK for boys to be girls, and girls to be boys?
Many kids want to look and act like the other sex. For some, it's a phase; for others, it's not. Parents and schools are adjusting.
Ilene Lelchuk, Chronicle Staff Writer
Sunday, August 27, 2006

Park Day School is throwing out gender boundaries.

Teachers at the private Oakland elementary school have stopped asking the children to line up according to sex when walking to and from class. They now let boys play girls and girls play boys in skits. And there's a unisex bathroom.

Admissions director Flo Hodes is even a little apologetic that she still balances classes by gender.
Park Day's gender-neutral metamorphosis happened over the past few years, as applications trickled in for kindergartners who didn't fit on either side of the gender line. One girl enrolled as a boy, and there were other children who didn't dress or act in gender-typical ways. Last year the school hired a consultant to help the staff accommodate these new students.
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Professor: BlackBerry Addiction Lawsuits Likely in Future
Friday, August 25, 2006

TORONTO — Keeping employees on electronic leashes such as laptops,
BlackBerries and other devices that keep them constantly connected to the office could soon lead to lawsuits by those who grow addicted to the technology, a U.S. academic warns.

In a follow-up to an earlier paper on employees'
tech addictions, Gayle Porter, associate professor of management at the Rutgers University School of Business in Camden, N.J., has written a paper that states workers whose personal lives suffer as a result of tech addictions could turn their sights on their employers.
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Canadian Film on Same-Sex Marriage Causes Deeper Thinking on Issue
“C-38, the search for marriage” unlike any other media treatment of subject
By Steve Jalsevac

EDMONTON, Alberta, - When Bill C-38, Canada’s law that extended marriage to same-sex couples, was passed June 28 last year, pro-marriage leaders were dismayed the public hearings process was cut very short and its report never presented. Even before the bill was passed though, a young Alberta film maker and his brother were already producing a unique video that would fairly present the views of numerous ordinary citizens and experts on both sides of the marriage issue.

“C-38, the search for marriage”, is now an astonishing, 77 minute professional exploration of 19 key aspects of the marriage and same-sex issues. It tackles what it calls “the most controversial issues of our century” head on in such a manner that objective viewers can’t help but be led to a deeper understanding of them. Although the title refers to a Canadian bill the discussion in the film would be just as helpful to viewers in other nations.
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Hindu temple consecrated in Europe
Aug. 27, 2006

Europe's largest Hindu temple was consecrated Sunday in Tividale, England, the Press Trust of India reported.

Fifteen priests were flown in from India to perform what is known as the "Kumbhabhishekam" of Shri Venkateswara Balaji Temple in Sanskrit to sanctify the temple, said Joginder Sangar, trustee and chief treasurer of the temple.

The temple imitates the famous Tirupati-Tirumala Temple, one of the holiest sites in South India, the news agency said. Elegant carvings of Hindu deities are sculpted along the walls, ceilings and roof of the temple.

"This is the fulfillment of a long cherished dream, the end of a long road and the beginning of a new era," said VP Narayan Rao, founding chairman of the temple.
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Cancer cell 'executioner' found

Cancer cells keep dividing because the cell suicide process failsScientists have developed a way of "executing" cancer cells.

Healthy cells have a built-in process which means they commit suicide if something is wrong, a process which fails in cancer cells.

The University of Illinois team created a synthetic molecule which caused cancer cells to self-destruct.

Cancer experts said the study, in Nature Chemical Biology, offered "exciting possibilities" for new ways of treating the disease.
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S. Dakota Becomes Abortion Focal Point
Voters to Decide Fate of State Ban
Peter Slevin
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, August 28, 2006

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. -- Kayla Brandt had an abortion three years ago and instantly hated having done it. Now, hoping to stop other women from making the same choice, she is a public advocate for the most severe abortion ban in the nation.

"I don't want anyone to feel what I did," Brandt says.

Maria Bell is a Sioux Falls obstetrician-gynecologist who also joined the political fray for the first time, but on the opposite side. Appalled by the attempt to shut the state's only abortion clinic, she says she would not be able to live with herself unless she worked to overturn the law.

"To think passing a law will stop abortion is incredibly naive," Bell said.
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Sunday, August 27, 2006

To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable, because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you. This is hard. It is perhaps not so hard to forgive a single injury. But to forgive the incessant provocations of daily life -- to keep on forgiving the bossy mother-in-law, the bullying husband, the nagging wife, the selfish daughter, the deceitful son -- how can we do it? Only, I think, by remembering where we stand, by meaning our words when we say in our prayers each night, "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us." We are offered forgiveness on no other terms. To refuse it means to refuse God's mercy for ourselves. There is no hint of exceptions and God means what He says. ... C. S. Lewis photo

When the Heart Gets What It Wants
Life Lessons from Woody Allen
by Chuck Colson

“The heart wants what it wants.”

You may remember those words. They’re the excuse Woody Allen offered in 1992 for leaving his longtime lover to run off with her daughter. Even many of Allen’s fans were repulsed by the affair and by Allen’s cavalier attitude.

Cut to 2006. Allen is married to Soon-Yi Previn, the young woman at the center of the scandal, and they now have two children. His film career, after a slump, is again going strong. The scandal has more or less faded into a dim memory.

So Allen’s heart got what it wanted. According to the unwritten laws of our culture—and according to the philosophy he expressed in that infamous sentence—he ought to be happy.

Only he’s not, according to a new interview in the Washington Post. Interviewer David Segal quips that Allen’s worldview “is so bereft of meaning, so godless and absurd, that the only proper response is to curl up on a sofa and howl for your mommy.”
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Amid increased competition, Christian book stores shift focus
The (Scranton) Times-Tribune

TUNKHANNOCK, Pa. - Books filled with lessons of faith and Christian values once filled an entire room of Patti St. Clair's shop.

Now customers at Paradise Book and Gift Shop have just one wall's worth of titles to peruse.
Like many Christian retailers, St. Clair has moved away from books and more toward gifts and specialized items as bigger chains have cut into her niche market.

"I just know that people are not going to be coming back to me for books," said St. Clair, who with her husband, Tom, bought into the shop a dozen years ago.

"If I carry different gifts that the big stores don't carry and a bigger variety, that's probably where my money will come in."

No longer able to ignore a multibillion dollar industry, big box stores and mass merchandisers are carving out a chunk of Christian retailing.
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Protestant ministries booted by university
'After much dialogue with the Lord,' Georgetown severs ties with long-established religious groups
August 26, 2006 7

Protestant ministries with long histories of serving students at
Georgetown University were told last week they are no longer welcome and have been banned from holding on-campus events and using the school's name.

The decision, which will affect the few hundred students belonging to six Christian groups, was announced during a meeting of leaders of the campus's Affiliated Ministries in a
letter from the Rev. Constance C. Wheeler, a Georgetown Protestant chaplain.

"As a result of our new direction for the upcoming academic year, we have decided not to renew any covenant agreements with any of the Affiliated Ministries," she wrote. "While we realize this comes as a great disappointment, please know we are moving forward with this decision only after much dialogue with the Lord."
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Company Making Millions on Fake Embryonic Stem Cell Research Announcement
by Steven Ertelt Editor
August 27, 2006

Alameda, CA ( -- Just two days after it claimed to have come up with a new technique for obtaining embryonic stem cells that doesn't involve the destruction of human life, California-based Advanced Cell Technology says investors have given it commitments to raise millions of dollars in new funds.

The company had plans to try to raise $11.3 million in private placements but it said that most holders of debentures and warrants to purchase its stock agreed to exercise their options to buy more.

That will provide ACT with $8.5 million, according to a San Francisco Business Times news report and the company will exercise some of its outstanding warrants and raise another $5 million that way.

ACT has come under fire for lying about the new method and making a bundle on the stock market as a result.

Though the biotech firm said it obtained embryonic stem cells without killing any human embryos, it appears all of the 16 human embryos Advanced Cell Technology used to come up with the process died during the procedure.

"I have checked this out. The actual paper published in Nature states that all 16 embryos were destroyed and 4-7 cells taken from each 8-10 cell embryo," leading bioethics watchdog Wesley J. Smith explained.
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Father Cantalamessa on Marital Submission
Pontifical Household Preacher on This Sunday's Gospel

ROME, AUG. 25, 2006 ( Here is a translation of a commentary by Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa, preacher to the Pontifical Household, on this Sunday's second reading.

Husbands, Love Your Wives

This time I would like to focus attention on the second reading of the day (Ephesians 5:21-32) because it has a theme of great interest for the family.

Reading Paul's words with modern eyes, one immediately sees a difficulty. Paul recommends to husband that they "love" their wives (and this is good), but he also recommends to women that they be submissive to their husbands, and this -- in a society strongly (and justly) conscious of the equality of the sexes -- seems unacceptable.

In fact, it's true. On this point St. Paul is conditioned in part by the mentality of his age. However, the solution is not in eliminating from relations between husbands and wives the word "submission," but, perhaps, in making it mutual, as love must also be mutual.

In other words, not only must husbands love their wives, but wives must also love their husbands. Not only must wives be subject to their husbands, but also husbands to their wives, in mutual love and mutual submission.

In this case, to be subject means to take into account the wishes, opinion and sensitivity of one's spouse; to discuss, not to decide on one's own; to be able to give up one's own point of view. In short, to remember that both are "spouses," that is, literally, persons who are under "the same yoke," freely chosen.

The Apostle gives Christian spouses as model the relationship of love that exists between Christ and the Church, but he explains immediately in what such love consisted: "Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her." True love is manifested in "giving" oneself to the other.

There are two ways of expressing one's love for the beloved. The first is to give presents, to fill the other with gifts; the second, much more demanding, consists in suffering for one's spouse.

God loved us in the first way when he created us and filled us with goods: Heaven, earth, flowers, our bodies, everything is a gift of his. But then, in the fullness of time, in Christ, he came to us and suffered for us, unto death on the cross.

This is also true in human love. At the beginning, the newly married express their love with gifts. But the time comes for all when presents are not enough. It is necessary to be able to suffer with and for the beloved. One must love despite the limitations one discovers in the other, and despite the moments of poverty and illnesses.

This is true love which is like Christ's.

In general, the first kind of love is called "seeking love" (with a Greek word, eros); the second kind, "giving love" (with the Greek word agape).

The sign that a couple is passing from seeking to giving love, from eros to agape, is this: Instead of saying "What more could my husband do for me (respectively, my wife) which he still does not do?" one begins to ask: "What more could I do for my husband (or my wife) which I still have not done?"


Ernesto upgraded to hurricane status
By Howard Campbell, Associated Press Writer
August 27, 2006

KINGSTON, Jamaica --Ernesto became the first hurricane of the Atlantic season Sunday with winds of 75 mph, and forecasters said it would strengthen as it headed toward the Gulf of Mexico, where it could menace a wide swath of coastline including New Orleans.

The storm could grow into a Category 3 hurricane by Thursday, said the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami. Category 3 Hurricane Katrina struck the city a year ago Tuesday.

"It's over nice warm Caribbean waters, and far enough off the coast of Haiti that it is still strengthening now," said Ron Goodman, a forecaster at the center.

The storm, moving northwest at 10 mph, was projected to make landfall in Haiti on Sunday afternoon, dropping heavy rain that could cause deadly mudslides in the heavily deforested country. Ernesto was expected to cross west-central Cuba on Tuesday night before continuing into the Gulf of Mexico.
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Gays must change, says archbishop
Jonathan Wynne-Jones
(Filed: 27/08/2006)

The archbishop of Canterbury has told homosexuals that they need to change their behaviour if they are to be welcomed into the church, The Sunday Telegraph can reveal.

Rowan Williams has distanced himself from his one-time liberal support of gay relationships and stressed that the tradition and teaching of the Church has in no way been altered by the Anglican Communion's consecration of its first openly homosexual bishop.

The declaration by the archbishop - rebutting the idea that homosexuals should be included in the church unconditionally - marks a significant development in the church's crisis over homosexuals. According to liberal and homosexual campaigners, it confirmed their fears that the archbishop has become increasingly conservative - and sparked accusations that he has performed an "astonishing" U-turn over the homosexual issue.
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