Saturday, September 09, 2006

"When the Son of Man cometh, shall He find faith on the earth?" If He should now come, would He find it in us? What fruits of faith have we to show? Do we look upon this life only as a short passage to a better? Do we believe that we must suffer with Jesus Christ before we can reign with Him? Do we consider this world as a deceitful appearance, and death as the entrance to true happiness? Do we live by faith? Does it animate us? Do we relish the eternal truths it presents us with? Are we as careful to nourish our souls with those truths as to maintain our bodies with proper diet? Do we accustom ourselves to see all things in the light of faith? Do we correct all our judgements by it? Alas! The greater part of Christians think and act like mere heathens; if we judge (as we justly may) of their faith by their practice, we must conclude they have no faith at all.
... François Fénelon photo

Ex-Gay Group Releases Guide on Handling Homosexuals in Church
Audrey Barrick
Christian Post Reporter
Sat, Sep. 09 2006

"To most heterosexual Christians, the idea of being attracted to your own sex is mystifying. Unimaginable. Not natural," starts a new book released by Exodus International, a major ex-gay ministry.

Exodus came out with its first book, God's Grace and the Homosexual Next Door, this week to help evangelical churches and individuals practically demonstrate compassion to gay men and women.

The comprehensive guide written by Exodus President Alan Chambers and the ministry staff, addresses the behavioral complexities and roots of homosexuality; how to deal with the topic and the hurting individuals affected by it; the fear and ignorance within the church; how to lead gay men and women to Christ; and how to mentor repentant homosexuals in the church. It also offers tips on what "not to do when reaching out to gays."
the rest

African Bishops Call for Unity amid Anglican Gay Split Threat
Bishops within the Anglican Communion in Southern Africa have called for the worldwide Church to “choose to remain united” as the threat of a split looms over the issue of homosexuality.
Posted: Saturday, September 9 , 2006

Bishops within the Anglican Communion in Southern Africa have called for the worldwide Church to “choose to remain united” as the threat of a split looms over the issue of homosexuality.

A statement was released Friday following a gathering in Johannesburg, South Africa, in which the bishops said, “As bishops, we remain convinced that within the Anglican Communion what unites us far outweighs what divides us.”

The split over homosexuality was ignited globally when an openly gay clergyman, Gene Robinson, was consecrated as a bishop in the Episcopal Church in the USA in 2003.

Despite continued efforts to reconcile the two warring factions, the divide over the issue between the new liberalist wing of the Church, and those that remain with the traditional biblical interpretation has been ever-widening.
the rest

Q&A with Archbishop Desmond Tutu: 'We are made for harmony'
Archbishop Tutu says he'll bear message of peace on Dallas visit
Friday, September 8, 2006

Desmond Tutu, the Anglican archbishop emeritus of Cape Town, South Africa, will speak at the Episcopal Church of the Transfiguration in Dallas on Wednesday. The 74-year-old bishop won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984, a recognition of his struggles against apartheid. In Dallas, he said, he will bring a message of peace and reconciliation.

In a phone interview with Staff Writer Jeffrey Weiss, Archbishop Tutu explained why he sides with the Episcopal Church in America in its dispute with some Anglican leaders over homosexuality and the role of women; why the Anglican Communion should stay intact; and what lessons other nations can take from his experience in South Africa. Here are excerpts:

What do you plan to talk about in Dallas?

One of the most important things is reminding people that we are actually made for goodness. We are so, I think, overwhelmed. The media tend to inundate us with rather unpleasant news. We have the impression that evil is on the rampage, is about to take over the world.

We need to keep being reminded that there is a great deal of good happening in the world. Ultimately, good prevails. We seem in a way made for alienation, for disharmony. And the message of our religion, of the Bible, is that contrary to all appearances, we are in fact made for harmony. We are made for togetherness. Ultimately, we are really family.
The rest

Posted At : September 8, 2006
Posted By : Kevin Kallsen

By the Bishops of Central Florida, Dallas, Fort Worth, Pittsburgh, San Joaquin, South Carolina, and Springfield (20 July, A.D. 2006)

The Situation

There are effectively two churches under one roof. The common roof is called the (Protestant) Episcopal Church in the United States of America. Separation of the two churches became all but inevitable and irreversible at the General Convention of 2006. Both hold principled, but irreconcilable, religious views. Both claim to be the Episcopal Church where they are.

One church has a revolutionary character. The other church has the character of evangelical and catholic via media. One church leads the way in Anglican Communion innovation. The other church seeks submission to the common mind of world Anglicanism. Significant parts of one church seek elimination of its conserving minority and confiscation of that minority's patrimony. The other church would gladly negotiate fair and graceful terms of co-existence, or in a worst-case scenario, disengagement.

Seven dioceses are seeking to reshape their life together as dioceses — faithful to what the Episcopal Church has been and submitted to what the Anglican Communion has taught - under the oversight of a Canterbury appointed Commissary, temporarily exercising some of the responsibilities normally assigned to the American primate. Some of these dioceses have requested "alternative primatial oversight." One has requested "a direct pastoral relationship." One has requested "alternative primatial relationship and, as appropriate, oversight." While worded differently, what these requests seek in common is a special relationship of pastoral care and accountability under the Archbishop of Canterbury described more fully below. We anticipate that these seven dioceses may be joined in this request by at least two other dioceses in September.

The rest at Connecticut Six-please read it all!

CNY Diocese: Church Warden's Response to Syracuse Newspaper editorial

On the day of the September 1st court appearance in the lawsuit against St. Andrews, Syracuse, NY by the Episcopal Diocese of Central New York, the local newspaper ran a
story about how the diocese spent $25,000 to bring a young girl from El Salvador to central New York for surgery. Less than a week after the court appearance, the newspaper’s lead editorial was about the Episcopal diocese and the girl’s surgery, but also mentioned the lawsuit by the diocese against the parish. In response, the senior warden of St. Andrews wrote a commentary. To date the commentary has not been published by the newspaper. That commentary is reprinted here in its entirety:

Your editorial in the Syracuse Post-Standard on September 6, 2006 about the actions of the Episcopal Diocese of Central New York and its bishop, the Rt. Rev. Gladstone “Skip” Adams, illustrates one of the odder things about the Episcopal Church these days. With one hand it spends lots of money to bring a 10-year old girl from El Salvador to Syracuse for a highly publicized operation to cure her case of rickets. With its other hand it spends lots of money to sue me and other members of my church and its priest to seize our property.

I am on the board of St. Andrews in the Valley in Syracuse which for years has proclaimed the Biblical Gospel of Jesus Christ rather than the diocesan message of inclusion which accepts sin without the need for repentance and change. In doing so it has departed from the historic faith of Christianity. When we recently split from the Episcopal Church and this diocese because of this, they sued us. They hired the largest and most expensive law firm in Syracuse and sued not only our church, but also us personally, as well as our priest, and sought a temporary injunction to close us down. Fortunately the judge on the case threw out the lawsuit of the diocese against me and the others and denied them an injunction. But our church and our priest are still dealing with this lawsuit just to keep our property and to keep holding our Sunday worship services.

The irony of the diocese loudly proclaiming its good deed for this little girl while it persecutes us for our adherence to the faith is astonishing. It reminds me of that saying of Jesus to

"Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you."

I’m glad the little girl can now walk without pain. I wish the diocese would let us pray and worship without the pain of their lawsuit against us.

Peter Iannotta is the senior warden of St. Andrews in the Valley at 5013 South Salina Street in Syracuse, New York.

Friday, September 08, 2006

When we look out towards this love that moves the stars and stirs in the child's heart and claims our total allegiance, and remember that this alone is Reality and we are only real so far as we conform to its demands, we see our human situation from a fresh angle; and we perceive that it is both more humble and dependent, and more splendid, than we had dreamed. We are surrounded and penetrated by great spiritual forces of which we hardly know anything. Yet the outward events of our life cannot be understood, except in their relation to that unseen and intensely living world, the Infinite Charity which penetrates and supports us, the God whom we resist and yet for whom we thirst; who is ever at work, transforming the self-centred desire of the natural creature into the wide spreading, outpouring love of the citizen of Heaven. ... Evelyn Underhill photo

The Criminalizing of Christianity in Great Britain
Albert Mohler
Posted: Friday, September 08, 2006

The case of Stephen Green, a Christian arrested for passing out pamphlets featuring Bible verses at a homosexual rally, prompts influential columnist Melanie Phillips of the
Daily Mail to wonder if Christianity is fast becoming a crime in Great Britain. She asks:

How long will it be before Christianity becomes illegal in Britain? This is no longer the utterly absurd and offensive question that on first blush it would appear to be.

An evangelical Christian campaigner, Stephen Green was arrested and charged last weekend with using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour.

So what was this behaviour? Merely trying peacefully to hand out leaflets at a gay rally in Cardiff.
the rest

NBC slices and dices "Veggie Tales"
By Brent Bozell III
Friday, September 8, 2006

Just what is this entertainment media obsession with Tom Cruise's baby pictures? Is there nothing else of interest out there in Hollywood? Actually, there is -- and they're ignoring it, proving just how disconnected the Hollywood press is from the American mainstream.

Maybe you're familiar with the computer-animated cartoon "Veggie Tales," a video series targeted at children ages 2 to 8, and which features moral and religious tales hosted by Bob the Tomato and Larry the Cucumber. Beginning in 1993, the series was distributed on VHS tapes, telling biblical stories like the Battle of Jericho, David and Goliath and the tale of the Good Samaritan. Each show ended with a Bible verse.

And it's been a marketing phenomenon. Without any broadcasting or syndication on television, "Veggie Tales" has sold more than 50 million "Veggie Tales" DVDs and videotapes -- primarily, but quietly, through big chain stores like Target, Wal-Mart and Family Christian Stores. As their popularity spread, so did "Veggie Tales" T-shirts, plush toys and other products.
the rest

Bishop hopeful is ready for election
Controversy, anxiety sure to follow vote for gay candidate
Friday, September 08, 2006
Star-Ledger Staff

The Rev. Canon Michael Barlowe knows that if he wins election Sept. 23 as Newark's next Episcopal bishop, he'll face months of anxiety and international attention because of his sexual orientation.

But Barlowe, one of six candidates for the post, said he believes he and the liberal Newark diocese can handle any potential problems that would result from his election -- namely, a national confirmation battle and the prospect of punitive action by the Anglican Communion, the Episcopal Church's world body.

"I would never have allowed my name to go forward in this process had I not felt that God wanted me to be in this process," Barlowe, who has been in a 24-year relation ship with his partner, Paul Burrows, said at a news conference yesterday in Newark. "I reached that not just (from) my own personal perspective, but through consultation with folks who I find are wise and spiritually oriented and are able to assess things in ways that bring clarity to me.

"In my experience, when God asks me to do something, God never gives me something that is impossible to do," he said.
the rest

Polygamy -- The Next Civil Right
by Paul Hollrah
September 08, 2006

Growing up in small-town Missouri during the 1940s and 50s, I knew of just one homosexual in our town of 15,000 people. And since he’d inherited enough money to live comfortably, he kept to himself and didn’t bother anyone else. There were undoubtedly other gays and a smattering of lesbians in our town but they chose to remain "in the closet."

Upon graduating from high school I was drafted into the U.S.
Army. And in my two years of military service, stateside and overseas, I cannot recall a single instance of homosexual behavior by any of the four hundred or five hundred men that I served with.

The point is, in the world we knew in the 1940s, '50s, and before, homosexuality was rare; it was essentially a non-issue. Those afflicted with an abnormal sexual orientation simply kept it to themselves. They didn’t flaunt their sexuality, nor did they attempt to convince others that they were as "normal" as everyone else.
the rest

New form of Anglican evangelism?
Friday, September 8, 2006

Chasing a comment from a reader that led to a
blog down under, it certainly seems that there’s another bizarre angle in the already hot story of the forced conversions of those Fox News journalists, American Steve Centanni and New Zealander Olaf Wiig, to Islam.

It appears that the leaders of the so-called Holy Jihad Brigades did not come up with this gunpoint conversion idea. No, this concept came from the Rev. Canon Andrew White (pictured), an Anglican leader at the Foundation for Reconciliation in the Middle East. Here’s a slice of the story:

President of the foundation, Canon Andrew White, says his organisation negotiated with the kidnappers and eventually located them with the help of Palestinian groups. He says the kidnappers appear to be a break-away faction of a larger terrorist organisation, and probably staged the kidnapping to give themselves credibility.

Before the pair were released, a video was shown in which they converted to Islam. White says this was his suggestion.

the rest

As Christianity Grows in India, Believers Face Increased Persecution
By Allie Martin
September 8, 2006

(AgapePress) - Attacks against Christians continue throughout India, where last month militant Hindus broke into a Christian pastor's rented house, accusing him of not bowing before Hindu gods. The 50-year-old pastor was forced from his home in the middle of the night as the militant mob threw out all of his personal belongings.

Todd Nettleton is a spokesman with
Voice of the Martyrs, a ministry to the persecuted Church around the world. He says the Indian pastor, who has led 18 families for three years at his church, was taken to a local police station by the same Hindu throng that had broken in and ransacked his house.

"The police took him into custody," Nettleton notes. "They later did release him, but they didn't ever do anything against this militant Hindu mob that had broken into his house," he says. "This is yet another example of the persecution of Christians in India, a country which has really increased the level of persecution in recent years."
the rest

Judge Lets Calif. Christian School Group's Land-Use Lawsuit Proceed
By Jim Brown
September 8, 2006

(AgapePress) - A judge says a California county can be sued for barring a Christian education group from building a new school on property it owns in the area.
Redwood Christian Schools (RCS) has been waiting for its day in court for years, and now the wait is finally over.

Judge Samuel Conti has ruled that RCS can proceed with its lawsuit against Alameda County. For years, the county has sided with neighbors and others who do not want the Christian group to build its new school near them on its own 45-acre parcel of land. RCS has reported a 25 percent decline in enrollment while the county's efforts have blocked construction of the new campus.

Derek Gaubatz is director of litigation for the
Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which is representing RCS. He says the group's claim against Alameda County is based on the free-exercise clause of the First Amendment and on the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, or RLUIPA. And now that a federal judge has rejected the county's arguments to dismiss the case, RCS intends to press forward with its suit. the rest

Catholic-Anglican first for Wales

The first shared faith school in Wales is about to open its doors.

St Joseph's Catholic High School in Wrexham is now known as St Joseph's Catholic and Anglican High School.

The school is opening a week later than most others in Wales while refurbishments are completed. The merger decision two years ago after an agreement between the denominations.

Pat Jeffers of Wrexham Council said it was "a very big step forward for the two faiths and the school".
the rest

Episcopal bishops hit 'inappropriate' speech
By David R. Sands
September 8, 2006

Some leading Episcopal bishops have sharply criticized the decision to invite former Iranian President Mohammed Khatami to speak at the Washington National Cathedral, the seat of the presiding bishop of the church's American branch.

Citing the Iranian regime's stance on women's rights, homosexuality and Israel, Bishops John Lipscomb of Florida, Edward Little of Indiana and Geralyn Wolf of Rhode Island said in a statement earlier this week that the event was "ill-conceived and inappropriate" and should be called off.

The Rev. Keith Roderick, an Episcopal priest and secretary-general of the Coalition for the Defense of Human Rights, which focuses on the plight of religious minorities in the Islamic world, said cathedral officials should have invited critics of Iran's Islamic regime to speak alongside Mr. Khatami.
the rest

+Lipscomb: Take a 40-day Fast from Blogs' "Half-Truths and Outright Lies"

Excerpt: "The damage inflicted by half-truths and outright lies has taken a far greater toll on the mission of the Church than any erroneous teaching, according to the Rt. Rev. John B. Lipscomb, Bishop of Southwest Florida. In his monthly column for the diocesan newspaper, The Southern Cross, Bishop Lipscomb encouraged members of his diocese to join him in a 40-day fast from reading weblogs, which Bishop Lipscomb cited as being a primary source of misinformation."

Bishop's letter here

Comments at Stand Firm

Comments at Titusonenine

Episcopal church departs diocese
September 8, 2006

OCEAN BEACH – Holy Trinity Church in Ocean Beach has become the latest casualty in the Episcopal Church theology wars, voting Wednesday to leave the San Diego diocese and remain in its building as an Anglican church.

That makes three congregations and six priests locally, and more nationally, seeking alignment with the more conservative quarters of the worldwide Anglican Communion. The Episcopal Church is the U.S. branch of the Anglican Communion.

Last weekend, the Rev. Eric Menees resigned from Grace Episcopal Church in San Marcos to start an Anglican congregation at Community Christian Church.
the rest

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Prayer is the one prime, eternal condition by which the Father is pledged to put the Son in possession of the world. Christ prays through His people. Had there been importunate, universal, and continuous prayer by God's people, long ere this the earth had been possessed for Christ. EM Bounds

Network Requests Daily Prayer for September Meetings

Pittsburgh, PA — Canon Daryl Fenton, chief operating officer of the Anglican Communion Network, has called for disciplined daily prayer during September for the outcomes of three important meetings.

Two of the meetings involve Network bishops and other bishops of the Episcopal Church. The third is the gathering of Global South Anglican leaders in Rwanda.

The first meeting, beginning on September 11, brings together Network bishops, “moderate” Episcopal bishops, Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold, Presiding Bishop-elect Katharine Jefferts Schori and Canon Kenneth Kearon, Secretary General of the Anglican Communion Office. Called by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the meeting is a critical opportunity for an agreement to be reached within the Episcopal Church on how to honor the requests for Alternative Primatial Oversight made by seven Network dioceses.

Network bishops will also be joining a much broader group of “Windsor-affirming” bishops at Camp Allen in Texas Sept. 19–22. Called by Bishop Don Wimberly of Texas, the group is made up of an estimated two dozen bishops who believe the Windsor Report marks the “way ahead” for the Communion and accept the Primates’ Communiqué from Dromantine, as well as recognize that General Convention’s response to the report was not sufficient and that Lambeth 1.10 is the teaching of the Anglican Communion on sexuality. During their meeting, they will be working “to arrive at a common response to the current circumstances of the Episcopal Church – one that will ensure an unimpaired relationship with the Anglican Communion.”

Finally, the primates of 20 or so provinces of the Global South will be meeting in Kigali, Rwanda, Sept. 19–22. “When these leaders meet, as they regularly do, they bring together many different languages, different cultural contexts for the purpose of working together for the advancement of the Gospel,” said The Rt. Rev. Martyn Minns, newly consecrated missionary bishop for the Convocation for Anglicans in North America (CANA) who will attend the meeting as part of the secretariat under The Most Rev. John Chew, secretary of the Global South Primates. “Please pray that they will be faithful to keep their eyes clearly on making the Gospel real as they deal with the difficult issues of war, poverty, the spread of militant Islam, and building an Anglican covenant in the midst of it all.”

Rose Marie Edwards, a parishioner of St. Luke’s in Akron, Ohio, who leads the Network’s intercessory prayer team, offered some advice to those who decide to offer daily prayers for these meetings and their outcomes. Intercessory prayer, she said, is simply the process of bringing people, places or situations before God and listening to his will for them. Edwards also advised those praying to make a point to pray for, and not against, those involved. “We become what we hate, don’t we? It occupies our mind and spirit. So stay in the positive vein of blessing instead of cursing,” she said, “Our hope should not be in the people who are in these meetings, our hope is in the Lord. The question is not what will these people produce, but will these men and women allow Christ to move in them. That is the cry of our hearts, that the Lord would be present in these meetings,” she concluded.

Lent and Beyond

Prayer involves transformed passions. In prayer, real prayer, we begin to think God's thoughts after Him: to desire the things He desires, to love the things He loves, to will the things He wills. Richard J. Foster

Court asked to declare Baton Rouge church, not PCUSA, owns its property
September 7, 2006
By Craig M. Kibler
The Layman Online
Thursday, September 7, 2006

The trustees of First Presbyterian Church in Baton Rouge are asking a state district court to declare that it, and not the Presbyterian Church (USA), owns the congregation's property.

Pending a court hearing on that issue, a state district judge granted the trustees a temporary restraining order that bars the Presbytery of South Louisiana from any action designed to take over the congregation's property.

The temporary restraining order was signed by District Judge Timothy Kelley on Wednesday.
the rest

Churches Concerned as Scotland Hits Highest Suicide Rate in UK
According to figures released by the Office for National Statistics, the suicide rate among Scottish men between 1991 and 2004 was 50 percent higher than amongst the rest of the UK.
Posted: Thursday, September 7 , 2006

The Catholic Church in Scotland has recommended that the government should stop indulging in the growing culture of materialism, following the release of figures showing that Scotland has the highest rate of suicide in the whole of the UK.

According to figures released by the Office for National Statistics, the suicide rate among Scottish men between 1991 and 2004 was 50 percent higher than amongst the rest of the UK.

The suicide rate among Scottish men for the assessed period was 30 per 100,000 compared with 22.4 in Wales, 18.3 in Northern Ireland and 16.7 in England. For Scots women the rate was 10 per 100,000 compared with 5.4 in England.
the rest

Biblical scholar is endorsing some sympathy for the devil
Satan isn't pure evil, Henry Ansgar Kelly says -- he's just one of God's employees.
Manya A. Brachear
Chicago Tribune
Posted September 2, 2006

For centuries, popular culture has treated Satan as God's nemesis -- an angel consumed by pride and cast out of heaven to run his own evil empire.

But Henry Ansgar Kelly says Satan has gotten a bad rap. For decades, Kelly has pleaded the devil's case, arguing Satan is simply one of God's celestial agents with the dirty job of gauging humanity's virtue.

Though that job has made Satan cynical and jaded, Kelly says, it doesn't make him the mastermind of evil.

"Christian tradition has laid a lot of blame on Satan for things they're causing themselves," says Kelly, 72, a former Jesuit exorcist and now a medieval scholar at the University of California at Los Angeles. "I am pessimistic about human nature. I think we are totally capable of doing what we have done. You can blame it on psychosis if you want.

"But you can't blame it on Satan, he says.
the rest

Americans' faith unchanged by 9/11
Barna study says Americans used religion as Band-Aid, threw it away
Posted: September 7, 2006

Americans are no more religious now than in the weeks and months leading up to the worst terrorist attacks ever in the U.S., those of Sept. 11, 2001, when more than 3,000 innocent civilians died, a new report says.

The study by
The Barna Group looked at interviews from more than 8,600 adults from right before the attacks and at regular internals since.

While there was an "intense surge" in religious activity and expression immediately after the attacks that destroyed the twin towers in New York and damaged the Pentagon, those sentiments have not continued, the study said.
the rest

Students Not Excused From Transsexual's Class
September 7, 2006

BATAVIA, N.Y. -- Five parents who asked to transfer their children out of Batavia High School classes with a transsexual teacher have been denied, according to city schools Superintendent Richard Stutzman.

The written requests did not meet the guidelines set out by the district, Stutzman said Tuesday without providing specifics.

"That's all between the school, the teacher, the parents," he said.

Other students were allowed to adjust their schedules because their requests were based on changes in their academic programs, Stutzman said.

Fall classes began Wednesday in Batavia, 31 miles southwest of Rochester.
the rest

Parish founder takes issue with bishop
By Emily Aronson

PORTSMOUTH -- This December will mark the fourth Christmas Wendy Stanley Jones and other Anglicans have been at their new parish since leaving local Episcopalian churches.

The Anglican Church of the Resurrection is one of many parishes across the country that formed after V. Gene Robinson was elected bishop of New Hampshire, making him the first openly gay bishop in the U.S. Episcopal Church.

Jones is a founder of the Anglican church located at Pease International Tradeport, where between 35 and 100 people attend Sunday services.

The Durham resident and former Exeter selectwoman said her move had less to do with Robinson's sexual orientation and more to do with changes within the church under his leadership.
the rest

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Do you long to know how you may always experience deliverance from the sin of prayerlessness? Here you have the secret. Believe in the Son of God, give Him time in the inner chamber to reveal Himself in His ever present nearness, as the Eternal and Almighty One, the Eternal Love who watches over you.... It has not entered into the heart of man what God can do for those who love Him. Andrew Murray photo

Anglican Leaders: Conservatives, Liberals 'Cannot Go Together'
Lillian Kwon
Christian Post Reporter
Wed, Sep. 06 2006

Talks should continue within the divided Anglican Communion over homosexuality, a conservative Anglican bishop said this week, but the dissenting groups "can't necessarily walk in the same direction."

"I think a division is inevitable," the Rt. Rev. John H. Rodgers, a bishop with the conservative Anglican Mission in America, told The Christian Post. "I think the division is already there, but it will be expressed institutionally."

Rodgers, also chairman of the Society for the Propagation of Reformed Evangelical Anglican Doctrine (SPREAD), recently helped draft and sign a petition letter addressed to the Global South Primates to clarify the current state of the Anglican Communion and to advise what actions are needed to defend the Anglican faith. The letter was released on Aug. 30 and is currently being sent out to all bishops in the worldwide communion.
the rest

Ruth Gledhill Weblog: Archbishop and Israeli Chief Rabbis do Lambeth talk

I hardly dared hope I would one day be writing this, but I find that the Archishop of Canterbury improves with scrutiny. Heaven knows it is easy enough to criticise, particularly in a Church newsaper, and I was among his fiercest critics when he personally backed the controversial General Synod motion on disinvestment from companies with interests in Israel last year. But now he has not merely gone a long way towards repairing the damage. By
signing this week's declaration with the Ashkenazi and Sephardi Chief Rabbis of Israel, he has taken a characteristically courageous step which could have far-reaching consequences, not just in rebuilding broken bridges between the Anglican Church and Israel, but helping to broker that impossible peace many of the other countries of the Middle East and the Jewish state as well.

The declaration signed at the meeting coincides with the 350th anniversary of the resettlement of the Jewish community in Britain after its expulsion centuries before. In it, the three religious leaders express concern about the present rise of anti-Semitism in Britain and the rest of Europe. They recognise, rightly, how complicit the Church has been in this. They speak of their longing for peace and justice in the Holy Land and 'condemn without reserve those who deny a place for Israel and especially those who engage in the evil work of seeking to bring about its destruction.' It is a long declaration, and you can read it all for yourselves on the Lambeth Palace website. It represents a new bridge between the Church and Israel that it is hoped the Muslims will be able to walk over also. The aim is of course not conversion. The declaration contains a firm commitment to eschew proselytism. the rest

'Virtually untreatable' TB found

A "virtually untreatable" form of TB has emerged, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Extreme drug resistant TB (XDR TB) has been seen worldwide, including in the US, Eastern Europe and Africa, although Western Europe has had no cases.

Dr Paul Nunn, from the WHO, said a failure to correctly implement treatment strategies was to blame.

TB experts have convened in Johannesburg, South Africa, to discuss how to address the problem.
the rest

New Virtual Source Defends Christian Student Rights
Lillian Kwon
Christian Post Reporter
Mon, Sep. 04 2006 11:22 AM ET

Georgia Tech proscribes what is appropriate speech in various speech codes on campus, limiting students from expressing views that may seem "intolerant," according to the Alliance Defense Fund.

The University of Mary Washington denies recognition to any student group that is religious or political in nature. And Georgetown University now bans evangelical Christian ministries and other outside religious groups from its campus. Amid the escalating attacks on religious freedom, Christian students are now being backed with an online source to help defend their rights on college campuses.

The Alliance Defense Fund recently launched a virtual ministry called the Center for Academic Freedom to provide Christian college students an understanding of their constitutional rights and to ensure that "faith has a voice."
the rest

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

"What the Church needs today is not more machinery or better, not new organizations or more and novel methods, but men whom the Holy Ghost can use -- men of prayer, men mighty in prayer. The Holy Ghost does not flow through methods, but through men. He does not come on machinery, but on men. He does not anoint plans, but men, men of prayer." ...EM Bounds art

Pedophile Professors
by: Malcolm A. Kline,
August 31, 2006

Apparently, it’s getting easier to find pedophiles in the faculty lounges of colleges and universities than it is in Catholic churches. “Why would any self-respecting boy want to attend one of America’s increasingly feminized universities?,” economist George Gilder asked in a column. “Most of these institutions have flounced through the last forty years fashioning a fluffy pink playpen of feminist studies and agitprop ‘herstory,’ taught amid a green goo of eco-motherism and anti-industrial phobia.”

“They routinely showcase such trendy trumperies as The Vagina Monologues, while sacrificing thousands of men’s athletic teams at the altar of Title IX.” There may be another reason why All American boys don’t want to look for tenured mentors.

“An Ivy League professor has been arrested for the third time in 11 years on child sex charges, in this case over video that allegedly shows him engaging in sex acts with boys,” the Associated Press reported this month. “Because of the charges, L. Scott Ward, a professor emeritus at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business, was being stripped of his teaching assignments, spokeswoman Lori N. Doyle said Tuesday.”
the rest

Jewish-Anglican pact upsets Arab clerics
Sep. 5, 2006

The chief rabbis of Israel and the archbishop of Canterbury have endorsed a joint statement that denounces anti-Semitism and creates a formal dialogue between Judaism and the 81 million-member Anglican Communion.

The agreement, modeled upon the current Roman Catholic-Jewish dialogue, has drawn protests, however, from Arab Anglican leaders, who argue that now is not the time to begin talks between the two faith groups.

The September 5 concordat, endorsed by Archbishop Rowan Williams and Rabbis Shlomo Amar and Yona Metzger before 70 British Jewish and Christian leaders at Lambeth Palace in London, condemned the "rise of anti-Semitism in Britain and the rest of Europe, in the Middle East and across the world at the present time. This is a scourge that we are committed to struggle against." the rest

Numbers Grow for Camp Allen Consultation

Nearly two dozen diocesan bishops currently are scheduled to discuss the relationship of The Episcopal Church to the Archbishop of Canterbury and other primates within the Anglican Communion at a consultation to be held this month at Camp Allen in Texas. The number of bishops who support the objectives of the meeting is expected to grow rapidly after details become public, according to several people involved in planning.

The Sept. 19-22 consultation is being organized for diocesan bishops by the Bishop of Texas, the Rt. Rev. Don Wimberly. In a
statement recently posted on the diocesan website, Bishop Wimberly said the purpose of the consultation is to provide individual bishops and their dioceses with a way to maintain an “unimpaired relationship” with the Archbishop of Canterbury and the other primates of the Anglican Communion.

“Since this summer’s General Convention, I have sought a way in which I might help lead our diocese and, with other bishops, The Episcopal Church through the circumstances facing our Church today,” Bishop Wimberly said. “My intention is to stay within The Episcopal Church and remain a part of the Anglican Communion even though I don’t believe General Convention’s response to the Windsor Report was sufficient.”
The rest at The Living Church

Archbishop of Canterbury and Chief Rabbis sign historic agreement
September 5, 2006

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams and the Chief Rabbis of Israel, Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar and Chief Rabbi Yonah Metzger today signed a joint Declaration which sets out a framework for continuing dialogue between them. Dr Williams described the agreement as historic:

“This is a most significant step in developing better mutual understanding and trust between the Anglican Communion and the Chief Rabbinate and worldwide Judaism.”

The Archbishop was supported in the meeting by the Coadjutor Bishop in Jerusalem, The Rt Revd Suheil Dawani and by Bishops Michael Jackson and John Stroyan. The Chief Rabbis were supported by Rabbi David Rosen and by the Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations, Sir Jonathan Sacks. The Archbishop paid tribute to Sir Jonathan and to Bishop Suheil for their constructive roles in the discussions leading to this meeting.

The agreement adds to the growing network of bilateral and multilateral dialogues between religious leaders in the Middle East and in the wider world. This network of dialogue is a major contribution to a world in which religious faith is an increasingly important dimension of people’s lives and of national policies.
the rest @ ACNS

Democrats launch religion-friendly site
Effort to show Christians can belong to either party.

WASHINGTON - Democrats want Christians to know that they don't have to be Republicans to stay true to their faith.

They say a new Web site will help them see that Christianity and the Democratic Party are compatible. is being launched by former Democratic Party Chairman David Wilhelm. It will feature theologians, party strategists, political leaders and bloggers in hopes of countering the belief that the Democratic Party is not friendly to religion. the rest

First Things: Wesley J. Smith on Assisted Suicide as a Women's Issue

Robert T. Miller’s
entry about Jenni Murray’s suicide pact is indeed worth noticing, but primarily I think because of a point he does not explore. In addition to not wanting to be a burden, Murray groused about not wanting to be burdened by having to care for her aging parents. Publicity material from a documentary about her support for euthanasia described “Jenni” as “angry that, having fought so hard to become liberated and independent, women are now being trapped into caring for dependent parents.” Her answer, of course, is their euthanasia.

This is indeed a major reason why, historically, some (although I would hope not all) feminists embrace the legalization of assisted suicide as a women’s issue. Women get “stuck” caring for a family’s elderly and ill, don’t you see, and this interferes with their freedom. Hence, it is better to kill, er, provide death with dignity, to the sick, elderly, and disabled than be burdened with their care. After all, they don’t have lives worth living anyway, and such menial “women’s work” would just drag the good liberationist away from her important career and avocations.
the rest

How to Create Cynics
Everybody knows when we're covering up our confusion with God-talk
by David P. Gushee
posted 09/05/2006

Are christians also human beings? Are we permitted to talk about our lives the way other humans do? Can we admit mistakes, confess uncertainty, and be honest about conflicts? Is it okay not to have an airtight spiritual explanation for everything that happens?

One of the greatest causes of cynicism among Christians is the way we lather God-talk over our lives in order to obscure realities we consider too painful to discuss directly.

Consider this example from church life (though such situations are not confined to local churches). A minister is not happy in his place of service. He wonders whether he was right in accepting this call in the first place. He has dealt with painful personality conflicts, constant power struggles, and criticism. Now he is leaving. He is leaving because he can't take it anymore. His future is most uncertain.

But he believes that he can't say any of these things. There is an unwritten Code in the church (and not just this church) that dictates how a minister says goodbye. So he says, "God spoke to me and is leading me to a different place of service at this time. I appreciate the opportunity to be your pastor. I now must move on to wherever God leads me next."
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Has Any People Heard the Voice of God Speaking . . . And Survived? Part One
Albert Mohler
Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Deuteronomy chapter four is one of the great touchstone passages in all of Scripture. As we come to this passage, my heart and soul are absolutely struck by the question--a rhetorical question, but a very real question--asked in verse 33: "Has any people heard the voice of the Lord, the voice of God speaking from the midst of the fire, and survived?"

What brings us here? What brings us to this institution, to this campus, to this hour, ready for learning and study? Something summons us here. There is some mandate, some basis, some foundation. This is a theological seminary and college. We dare to speak of God. We even dare to define what we do here as Christian education. What an audacious claim! We actually say that here we teach what God has taught.

This would be a baseless and foundationless claim, an incredible claim, if God had not spoken from the midst of the fire and allowed us to hear. On what authority are we here? To dare to speak of these things, we must speak invoking the authority of God, who alone could speak these things, reveal Himself, and tell us what we must know. This is the answer to the question that haunts the postmodern mind--on what basis can we claim to know anything?
the rest

Christian college ready to start fresh after Bible battle
By Gary Emerling
September 4, 2006

A Christian college in Northern Virginia hopes this semester will be a new start, after a dispute last year over the Bible's place in academics resulted in the departure of nearly one-third of its full-time faculty.

"There was a period of one to three weeks where a good chunk of the student body couldn't even do school," said Joshua Dispenza, a junior at Patrick Henry College in Loudoun County. "It was hard. It was very hard."

Patrick Henry, in Purcellville, Va., has attracted widespread attention since opening in 2000 as a Christian school with Ivy League aspirations. Most of the students come from home-schooling backgrounds, and many secure prestigious internships at the White House.
the rest

Gov. Arnold urged to cancel sexual indoctrination
Family groups say plan would teach homosexuality in kindergarten
Posted: September 5, 2006

With the "hearts and minds" of 6.5 million schoolchildren on the line, a pro-family group has called a news conference today to protest a series of bills approved by the Legislature that would turn the California public school system into "sexual indoctrination centers."

The event is being held by the Campaign for Children and Families, which has been active in lobbying against the changes in state law, at the state Capitol in Sacramento.

"The simple message for (Gov. Arnold) Schwarzenegger will be: Veto these bad bills or turn off family-values voters," the group said in its announcement Monday.
the rest

Christian Zionists angry over slur

The leaders of three Jerusalem-based Christian Evangelical organizations on Monday voiced distress over a recent proclamation by the Latin Patriarch and the heads of three other churches in Jerusalem issuing a stinging and virtually unprecedented public criticism of Christian Zionism and their unflinching support for the State of Israel.

The bitter inter-Christian tiff followed an August 22 "Jerusalem Declaration on Christian Zionism" signed by the outgoing Latin Patriarch Michel Sabbah, Archbishop Swerios Malki Mourad of the Syrian Orthodox Patriarchate, Bishop Riah Abu El-Assal of the Episcopal Church and Bishop Munib Younan of the Lutheran Church, was indicative of the deep discord and resentment within the Christian Church over the Evangelicals' support for Israel.

The declaration lambasted Christian Zionism as a "false teaching" that "condemn[s] the world to the doom of Armageddon."

"It is with concern that we note the negative opinions about Christian Zionism voiced by certain church clerics in Jerusalem... using inflammatory language they have expressed views that are far from the truth," read a joint response by the heads of the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem, Bridges for Peace and Christian Friends of Israel.
The rest

Ads, money lure young women to become egg donors, but there are drawbacks
By Nancy McVicar
South Florida Sun-Sentinel Health Writer
Posted September 5 2006

Young women headed to college will see the ad in their school newspapers and on the papers' Web sites: "SEEKING SPECIAL EGG DONORS. Red/Blonde/Brunette Hair.
Blue/Green/Brown/Hazel Eyes. Young, Tall, Athletic. High Compensation!! Make a real difference!!"

The ad includes the toll-free number and Web address for Loving Donation, a Florida agency that matches couples who want babies with young women willing to provide the eggs to help make it happen. About 70 agencies provide similar services around the country, and some have offered $50,000 and more for eggs from women with specific physical attributes and intelligence criteria sought by couples trying to have babies.

But medical ethicists and women's health advocates say offers of high compensation can lead some women to make a decision without considering the possible health and psychological risks of egg donation.
the rest

Christian Coalition Is Splintering
The national grass-roots political group has been expanding its mission -- and, say breakaway chapters, it's `drifting to the left' and losing focus.
By Jenny Jarvie, Times Staff Writer
September 5, 2006

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — When Congress was debating bills on embryonic stem-cell research and same-sex marriage back in May, an e-mail from the Christian Coalition of America appeared in activists' inboxes.

"Christian Coalition Announces Support for 'Net Neutrality' to Prevent Giant Phone and Cable Companies From Discriminating Against Web Sites," it said.

For John W. Giles, president of the Christian Coalition of Alabama, the e-mail was yet another sign that the famous political powerhouse of the religious right had strayed from its founding mission: defending marriage, strengthening the family and protecting unborn human life.

"The Christian Coalition is drifting to the left," Giles said. "There's a new vision — and we're not part of it."

Last month, the Christian Coalition of Alabama announced that it was severing ties with the national organization. It's one of a growing number of chapters to express frustration as the Christian Coalition broadens its mission to include issues such as so-called Internet neutrality, the minimum wage and the environment.
the rest

Monday, September 04, 2006

as Paul saw it, was a living, flaming thing
leading to surrender and obedience
to the commandments of Christ.
AW Tozer

Episcopal bishop ordination Saturday
Angela E. Lackey,
Midland Daily News

The Rev. S. Todd Ousley said he's ready to take on the responsibilities as bishop of The Episcopal Diocese of Eastern Michigan.

"Just in the last couple of days I have felt a sense of calm," he said.

His ordination and consecration as a bishop will be at 11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 9, at Horizons Conference Center, Saginaw. The Rt. Rev. Wendell Gibbs, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Michigan, will be the chief celebrant.

Ousley, 44, was elected at a special convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Eastern Michigan in May and will replace the current diocesan bishop, the Rt. Rev. Edwin M. Leidel, when the bishop retires within the next year.

Ousley has been the diocese's missioner for congregational development and clergy deployment. Ousley will be the diocese's second bishop of since it was created in 1995.
the rest

Kentucky University Students Who Vandalized Abortion Display Apologize
by Steven Ertelt Editor
September 4, 2006

Highland Heights, KY ( -- Three pro-abortion students who took part in vandalizing a pro-life display set up by a campus group to memorialize those babies who have died from abortions have apologized. The Northern Kentucky University students wrote letters to the editor in the student newspaper expressing their views.

Though they say they are sorry for vandalizing the display but at least two of the students wrote that they still believe the cross memorial was inappropriate.

"Regarding the events of this past spring, I am regretful and sorry for any discomforting emotions my actions may have aroused," NKU student Michelle Lynn Cruey wrote, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer. "To the group who built the display, I do admire you for your convictions and apologize for taking down what you worked so hard to construct."

Yet Cruey disclaimed her apology with a warning to the campus pro-life group Northern Right to Life saying they shouldn't use "religious views" to promote "turning our backs" on women.
the rest

Leisure and Labor -- Two Gifts from God
Albert Mohler
Posted: Monday, September 04, 2006

Christians understand labor as a duty, but miss the fact that it is a gift. In the first place, God has made us able to work -- to manipulate things, to cultivate the ground, to manage herds, and to invent microprocessors. Secondly, He has allowed us through labor to understand at least part of our purpose in life -- to fulfill a vocation. Furthermore, we can often see the result of our labors. The farmer takes pride in his orderly rows of crops; the carpenter sees the beauty of his cabinet; the doctor is fulfilled in his recovering patient; the mother sleeps content after a day of unceasing work with children. Still, many people have difficulty seeing labor as the gift that it is.

Most of us have an even harder time with leisure. Some of us make work of leisure time, even as we are supposed to be served by a myriad of appliances and technologies that "save" us time. But leisure is one of God's gifts too. Leisure is not laziness or sloth, but a gift to those who labor. As Joseph Pieper argued years ago, leisure is the very foundation of civilization, for leisure allows attention to art, music, play, and the development and enjoyment of culture.
the rest

Parents, Listen Up!
September 04, 2006
by Marsha West

This is no longer a nation where kids can be kids anymore. The secular humanists have seen to that. Children have been robbed of their innocence because liberals see them as fair game in their struggle to promote their anti-God agenda. Thanks to groups like the ACLU and People for the American Way, youngsters are literally inundated with sex and violence everywhere they turn. The barbarians are no longer at the door; they’ve kicked it down and have taken over the house.

“This is why we ought to continue fighting the culture war—restricting pornography and protecting marriage—because to do so is good for our society. But fighting these battles will help us in another way, as well. As Charles Krauthammer noted in, one of the reasons Islam is fighting ‘the great jihad’ against America has to do with sexual depravity. The jihadists claim that wherever freedom travels—‘especially in America and Europe—it brings sexual license and corruption, decadence and depravity.’” – Charles Colson

the rest

Archbishop Conti Dismayed After Firefighters are Punished for Refusing to Attend Gay March
Posted on September 04, 2006

By The Universe: The Archbishop of Glasgow has condemned the decision to discipline nine firefighters for refusing to hand out safety leaflets at a gay pride march.

Archbishop Mario Conti described the disciplinary action against the Strathclyde Fire and Rescue Service (SFR) staff as "dismaying." The nine officers were rapped by SFR after disobeying orders during the Pride Scotia rally in June. Some of the crew involved argued at the time of the gay march that it would be embarrassing for them to turn up in uniform to the event, while others claimed it would contradict their moral beliefs.

Bosses have ordered the group, from Glasgow's Cowcaddens station, to undergo intensive "diversity training" as part of their punishment. One of the men involved, a watch manager, was reduced to the rank of crew manager, losing an estimated £5,000 in salary.

The others have all received official written warnings about their behaviour. But Archbishop Conti said he understood the firefighters' concerns about appearing at the march dressed in uniform.
the rest

Adult cells are behind much of stem cell success so far
By Jean Peduzzi-Nelson
Posted: Sept. 2, 2006

The great potential moral controversies and political party alignments associated with stem cell issue makes the subject a hot topic.

Human stem cells can be obtained from human embryos, produced either by in vitro fertilization of human eggs or cloning via somatic cell nuclear transplant, or adults.

The often stated advantages of embryonic stem cells are 1) their great promise, 2) their potential to form every cell type, 3) their rapid proliferation, 4) their lack of rejection and finally, 5) their usefulness in drug testing and disease models.

However, from a scientific and medical point of view these advantages are less clear.

The "great promise" of embryonic cells is often stated by scientists that either hold key patents or are strongly supported by biotech companies pursuing embryonic cells commercially.
the rest

Pharmacists Don't Want to Sell Morning After Pill Despite FDA Approval
by Steven Ertelt Editor
September 4, 2006

Washington, DC ( -- The Food and Drug Administration may have approved sales of the morning after pill over the counter, but some pharmacists are reluctant to sell the drug. The agency's move to sell Plan B without a prescription may expand the nationwide debate about a conscience clause for pharmacists to allow them to opt out of dispensing the drug.

In Washington state, Jim Ramseth, the owner of Covington Pharmacy, doesn't want to sell the morning after pill because he believes it can work as an abortion drug.
the rest

Sunday, September 03, 2006

And ye shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves. (Ezekiel 37:13)

Indeed it must be so: those who receive life from the dead are sure to recognize the hand of the Lord in such a resurrection. This is the greatest and most remarkable of all changes that a man can undergo—to be brought out of the grave of spiritual death and made to rejoice in the light and liberty of spiritual life. None could work this but the living God, the Lord and giver of life.

Ah, me! How well do I remember when I was lying in the valley full of dry bones, as dry as any of them! Blessed was the day when free and sovereign grace sent the man of God to prophesy upon me! Glory be to God for the stirring which that word of faith caused among the dry bones. More blessed still was that heavenly breath from the four winds which made me live! Now know I the quickening Spirit of the ever-living Jehovah, Truly Jehovah is the living God, for He made me live. My new life even in its pinings and sorrowings is clear proof to me that the Lord can kill and make alive. He is the only God. He is all that is great, gracious, and glorious, and my quickened soul adores Him as the great I AM. All glory be unto His sacred name! As long as I live I will praise Him. ...CH Spurgeon

AAC summary of General convention 2006-Don't Miss!

New Task Force Will Re-examine Title IV

Bishops and deputies to the 75th General Convention rejected the proposed revision to the Title IV disciplinary canons. That same convention also called for the formation of a new task force without making provision to fund it. Money is just one of an array of variables which Bonnie Anderson, the new
president of the House of Deputies, has factored into making nearly 150 appointments to the interim committees and commissions that help carry out the work of convention when it is not in session.

“I think it is necessary for the Title IV task force to meet,” she told The Living Church. “We will simply have to be creative in how we go about finding funds.”

A153 called for creation of a 12-member task force with three members to be appointed by the Standing Commission on Constitution and Canons; three members to be appointed by the Standing Commission on Ministry Development, and six members to be appointed jointly by Presiding Bishop-elect Katharine Jefferts Schori and Mrs. Anderson. Three of the six members to be appointed jointly must come from the previous task force.
the rest at The Living Church

Mere Comments: Baby's Got Her New Genes On

My wife and I are expecting our fourth child in March. Friends will often ask, "How much longer till you can find out if it is a boy or a girl?" They know I'm hoping for my first daughter, while my wife would like a fourth boy. They know we'll be thrilled either way. No one has yet asked me, "How much longer till you find out if he'll have heart disease or pancreatic cancer or Alzheimer's disease?" These days will be soon upon us as genetic technology is giving us the ability to turn every child into a Mister Potato-Head toy, assemble the parts to get the desired outcome.

The September 3 New York Times glances at the ethical implications of the new technology of preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), a process where through in vitro fertilization (IVF) parents are able "to detect a predisposition to cancers that may or may not develop later in life, and are often treatable if they do." Embryos that do show a predisposition to such disorders may be "discarded," and the couple tries again. the rest

Presbyterian Megachurch Becomes Largest to Leave Denomination over Gay Policy
Joseph Alvarez
Christian Post Reporter
Thu, Aug. 31 2006

Members of a Presbyterian megachurch in Tulsa, Okla., have decided overwhelmingly to withdraw from the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), agencies reported this week, making it the largest congregation to do so.

Just over one-thousand members of Kirk of the Hills Presbyterian Church turned out and voted 967-to-36 to affirm a vote by church elders to leave, the Associated Press reported Thursday.

The group then voted to request affiliation with the Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC) – a smaller denomination with less than 200 churches and about 70,000 members. The members also affirmed the Revs Thomas W. Gray and Roger Wayne Hardy as co-pastors of the 2,700-member church.

The decision to change affiliations comes after the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) adopted a policy that some pastors say will allow gay pastors in the church.
the rest

Desperate Coeds
By Regis Nicoll

The Confusion of Campus Romance

On a recent to visit Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee, I picked up a copy of the student newspaper and read with interest an op-ed by Michelle Hope, “Is Rhodes too sexually conservative?” What prompted Michelle’s article was a conference she attended the previous weekend for college editors. The topic? Sex and relationships on college campuses. The host? Trojan, the condom manufacturer.

Little surprise, then, at Michelle’s embarrassment to learn that her small liberal arts school in the buckle of the Bible Belt was the only college (among Princeton, UNC, Harvard, Duke, Rutgers, and others) without condom machines in the dorms. Rhodes also had the distinction of being one of only two schools without a sex column in their student publications.

Upon reflection, Michelle felt this explained the “shallow culture” in which many of her peers found it “hard to meet new friends” and had difficulty reaching “closure on failed relationships.” “Huh?” you twitch. More in a moment.
the rest

Christian Pakistani teen escapes death
Family planned her demise after she refused to recant her faith
Posted: August 30, 2006

A Pakistani teen who embraced Christianity has escaped death at the hands of her family, who unsuccessfully demanded she recant her faith, an international ministry group says.

Voice of the Martyrs said the girl, identified only as Diana, now is in hiding for her life.

She grew up in a strict Islamic family in Pakistan, the group said, and her life was "typical" until she met a girl named Mary who was a Christian, and Diana decided to embrace the faith.
the rest

Evangelicals intensify calls for parents to pull kids from public schools
Posted 9/2/2006

NEW YORK (AP) — Public schools take a lot of criticism, but a growing, loosely organized movement is now moving from harsh words to action — with parents taking their own children out of public schools and exhorting other families to do the same.

Led mainly by evangelical Christians, the movement depicts public education as hostile to religious faith and claims to be behind a surge in the number of students being schooled at home.
"The courts say no creationism, no prayer in public schools," said Roger Moran, a Winfield, Mo., businessman and member of the Southern Baptist Convention executive committee.

"Humanism and evolution can be taught, but everything I believe is disallowed."

The father of nine homeschooled children, Moran co-sponsored a resolution at the Southern Baptists' annual meeting in June that urged the denomination to endorse a public school pullout. It failed, as did a similar proposal before the conservative Presbyterian Church in America for members to shift their children into homeschooling or private Christian schools.

Still, the movement is very much alive, led by such groups as Exodus Mandate and the Alliance for Separation of School and State. One new campaign aims to monitor public schools for what conservatives see as pro-gay curriculum and programs; another initiative seeks to draw an additional 1 million children into homeschooling by encouraging parents already experienced at it to mentor families wanting to try it.
the rest

Witches call up magic in Mexico's Los Tuxtlas
Hexes and blessings are muttered in the same breath where witchcraft is a way of life
Houston Chronicle

CATEMACO, Mexico - The witch is cloaked in a black gown with a Chinese yin-and-yang sign, representing the moon and sun. Dark and light.

Through lace curtains, a shaft of light casts an eerie glow onto the altar. A spindly, wooden red devil dominates the table, towering over the potbellied Hindu elephant deity Lord Ganesha and statuettes of Merlin, Buddha and Shiva.

This is the room where Ignacio Cobix casts spells of life and death, love and spite.
the rest

Backpacks Filled With a Message: Area Religious Centers Ring In The School Year With Activities To Prepare, Reach Out to Youths
Sandhya Somashekhar Washington Post Staff Writer

(September 6, 2006) At the Loudoun County home of Tim and Shally Stanley, four sturdy backpacks stuffed full of notebooks, binders and pencil boxes sit in the hallway, ready for the first day of school.

But they won't make their debut Tuesday, the first day of classes at Harmony Elementary School in Hamilton. The four Stanley boys will hoist them onto their shoulders today and take them to church, where they will pray for a productive and spiritually fulfilling school year during a special ceremony called the "blessing of the backpacks." the rest

Theology used to justify opposition to women priests
Posted by the
Asbury Park Press on 09/3/06

By coincidence, a potentially historic speech about women that received little media fanfare was made two weeks before America's Episcopal Church elected Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori as its leader, the first female to head a branch of the international Anglican Communion.

The speaker was Cardinal Walter Kasper, the Vatican's top official on relations with non-Catholic Christians, addressing a private session with the Church of England's bishops and certain women priests.

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, spiritual leader of the 77 million Anglicans, invited Kasper to discuss the English church's projected move to allow women bishops. To date, only the United States, Canada and New Zealand have female Anglican bishops.

Official Catholic and Anglican negotiators have spent four decades working toward shared Communion and full recognition of each other's clergy and doctrine. Mincing no words, Kasper said that goal of restoring full relations "would realistically no longer exist" if Anglicanism's mother church in England consecrates women bishops.
the rest