The breaking of the alabaster box and the anointing of the Lord filled the house with the odor, with the sweetest odor. Everyone could smell it. Whenever you meet someone who has really suffered; been limited, gone through things for the Lord, willing to be imprisoned by the Lord, just being satisfied with Him and nothing else, immediately you scent the fragrance. There is a savour of the Lord. Something has been crushed, something has been broken, and there is a resulting odor of sweetness. ...Watchman Nee art
Welcome to Transfigurations! This blog is intended to serve the orthodox Anglican community and the wider Christian community. We pray that all that is posted here will be faithful to the Scriptures as the inspired word of God, speak the truth in love, edify, bless and transform this local body of Christ, and be an impetus for revival, repentance, prayer and intercession!
Saturday, October 14, 2006
It's John Paul II, the cartoon hero
By NICK PISA
14th October 2006
The Vatican will make history this week when it releases a cartoon
film about the life of Pope John Paul II.
Lasting just over an hour, it charts the life of the man born Karol Wojtyla, from his humble beginnings in Poland to his death last year aged 84. John Paul II - The Friend Of All Humanity is the first cartoon account of a Pope's life.
It was made by Cavin Cooper, a firm based in Barcelona, and is directed by esteemed producer Jose Luis Lopez-Guardia.
"It is a fascinating story that works well as a cartoon,' he said. The Vatican has given its 'full backing' to the film, which has been dubbed into seven languages. Last night a source said it had been felt a cartoon 'would appeal to all'. the rest
BEARING THEIR CROSS
Gay bishop’s ordination blamed in congregation’s decline
By PAUL ASAY
October 14, 2006
They filed in by twos and threes, greeting old friends with smiles and hugs and tears. St. Francis Episcopal Church was full for the first time in years. But this was no celebration.
The 100 gathered had come to say goodbye to their church.
“This is the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” the Rev. Marty Pearsall told the congregation. He paused, staring down at the pulpit, struggling to find composure. A flat wooden crucifix, carved with a shallow image of Jesus, hung on the whitewashed wall behind him as it had for years. the rest
Don Miller: False prophets: Why polygamists believe they're doing God's will
I'm mostly and blissfully ignorant of strange religious offshoots that seem to occur in out-of-the-way locales, usually featuring a few seemingly crazed fanatics putting their own particular, often legalistic, spin on some religious doctrine or tenet.
That's why I've passed right by recent headlines about the arrest of a notorious polygamist sect leader, Warren Jeffs, who had been a fugitive for nearly two years, and is currently in a Utah jail cell awaiting trial.
Jeffs is charged with two counts of rape for forcing a teenage girl to enter a "spiritual marriage" with an older man and to submit to sex in order to give birth to children.
When the girl told Jeffs she didn't want to marry or have sex, the fundamentalist leader told her it was her duty as a church member to submit to his authority because the marriage was ordained by God. the rest
Anglican Panel of Reference Submits 'Reconciliation' Report to Church of Canada
The Anglican Communion Panel of Reference has submitted its report to the Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, Archbishop Andrew Hutchison this week.
by Daniel Blake
Posted: Saturday, October 14, 2006
The Anglican Communion Panel of Reference has submitted its report to the Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, Archbishop Andrew Hutchison this week.
Archbishop Hutchison has commented that the report’s contribution is important to the process of reconciliation in Canada.
The Canadian leader spoke about the report, which was released early yesterday: “I want to thank the panel for the careful and professional manner in which they carried out their work.
“This is the first report the panel has issued and their diligence in seeking the truth and their concern that all voices be heard is an important model for the Communion. I am also very appreciative of the panel’s clarity over matters of jurisdiction and oversight and I am pleased that they have supported the understanding of those concepts that is shared throughout the communion.” the rest
Cross row stokes Christian anger
British Airways has asked a Christian member of staff to conceal her cross necklace because it contravenes the company's uniform policy. But has it added to a sense of unease among Christians?
Crosses may be a fixture around the necks of many Christians, and have even become a fashion accessory for A-list celebrities, but not everyone is happy to see them on display.
Heathrow check-in worker Nadia Eweida is on unpaid leave after refusing to cover up her cross necklace. the rest
Panel of Reference Issues Recommendations for New Westminster
See the full document here (PDF)
Comments at Stand Firm
Comments at titusonenine
Archbishop Gomez responds to POR Report-Connecticut Six
Anglican Network in Canada writes about POR-Connecticut Six
Friday, October 13, 2006
Holy Spirit of God, Who prefers before all temples the upright heart and pure, instruct us in all truth; what is dark, illlumine; what is low, raise and support; what is shallow, deepen; that every chapter in out lives may witness to Your power and justify the ways of God to men. In the name of Jesus, giver of all grace. Amen. ...John Milton photo
Biblical Esther Movie Opens in Theatres Tonight
By Nathan Black
Christian Post Reporter
Fri, Oct. 13 2006
"One Night With The King," a story based on the biblical tale of Esther, opens in more than 950 theaters in select cities tonight.
Based on the best-selling novel Hadassah: One Night With The King, the new film by Gener8Xion Entertainment has received both praise as a movie from a Christian company and criticism for its loose script.
Christianity Today said it "may well be the best-looking movie from a Christian company to date, with sumptuous visuals that are both artistic and authentic."
The Hollywood Reporter praised the film's "sumptuous costumes and design elements recreating the Persian empire in breathtaking splendor," but called the movie "inert."the rest
Child Molestation and Homosexuality
By Paul Cameron, Ph. D.
Ann Landers (1) says the statement "Homosexuals are more inclined to molest children sexually than heterosexuals" is false. The American Psychological Association has sponsored a work that asserts: "Recognized researchers in the field on child abuse,... almost unanimously concur that homosexual people are actually less likely to approach children sexually." (2)
Why is it, then, that we read about sex between boys and men in every newspaper? Does it merely reflect sensationalist journalism? We know that heterosexual molestation also occurs. But since there are so many more heterosexuals than homosexuals, which kind of child molestation – homosexual or heterosexual – is proportionately more common? the rest
John Stott on Christ and the Bible
Posted: Friday, October 13, 2006
Christianity Today magazine offers an important interview with evangelical leader John R. W. Stott in its current issue. Now 85, Stott was for many years pastor of All Souls Church, Langham Place, in London. He is also one of evangelicalism's most prolific authors.
In the interview with Tim Stafford, Dr. Stott stated:
An evangelical is a plain, ordinary Christian. We stand in the mainstream of historic, orthodox, biblical Christianity. So we can recite the Apostles Creed and the Nicene Creed without crossing our fingers. We believe in God the Father and in Jesus Christ and in the Holy Spirit.
Having said that, there are two particular things we like to emphasize: the concern for authority on the one hand and salvation on the other. the rest
It Is Time for FoxFaith
Analysis by Dr. Marc T. Newman
October 13, 2006
(AgapePress) - Two weeks ago I issued an open letter to FoxFaith providing my unsolicited advice on what I perceived to be the challenges and opportunities before them in creating "Christian movies." Usually "open letters" are viewed as a chance for critics to carp, and serve more as a spleen vent than an actual dialogue. When you issue an "open letter" you rarely expect a response from your intended addressee.
Within days of the appearance of the article I was contacted by the executive vice-president and general manager of 20th Century Fox's Home Entertainment division, Simon Swart, who graciously set up a teleconference for me with Jeff Yordy, the vice-president of marketing for FoxFaith and the person in charge of theatrical releases, and Steve Feldstein, senior vice-president of corporate and marketing communications for 20th Century Fox. The overriding sense I received from our conversation was that if these guys are not really intending to ultimately create and distribute quality, thoughtful, spiritually provocative films, then they are on the wrong side of this business -- they should be actors instead. I was assured by everyone at this meeting that acting was out of the question -- their faces, they said, were made for radio.
In order to grasp the meaning of the emergence of a brand like FoxFaith, it is useful to invoke a couple of theological terms: chronos and kairos. Both words refer to time. Chronos is what we all experience as chronological time. Kairos has in it the sense of timeliness, the right time, or a special time. Chronologically, FoxFaith may have a bumpy start, but it is headed in the right direction. More important is the kairos of FoxFaith and others who are entering the film market, and what their arrival on the entertainment scene could mean for the Church. the rest
Policy Analyst Hails Recent European Court Ruling Protecting Religious Liberty
By Allie Martin
October 13, 2006
(AgapePress) - The president of a U.S.-based think tank on religion and public policy is applauding a decision by a European court regarding the Salvation Army's activities in Russia. Government officials in Russia claimed the Christian charity and social services ministry was a paramilitary organization and had barred it from registering with the government.
Now, however, in a unanimous ruling, a European court has found that the Russian authorities' actions with regard to the Salvation Army violated the European Convention on Human Rights. The court, having determined that the government officials treated the Salvation Army unfairly by classifying it as a paramilitary group, awarded the Christian organization 10,000 euros. the rest
The Abstinence Shtick, Minus Jesus
Assembly Attended by 1,000 Students Watched Warily by ACLU
By Michael Alison Chandler
Washington Post Staff
WriterFriday, October 13, 2006
Christian comedian Keith Deltano did a lot of things at Loudoun County High School yesterday to encourage teenagers to stay away from sex. He sang bad hip-hop, told stories about oozing diapers, read from a government report on how condoms can fail and waved a cinder block over one unfortunate male student's genital zone.
But he never once talked about Jesus. Although he often delivers one-liners tailored to his faith, Deltano gave a routine expunged of religion to more than 1,000 students at the public high school in Leesburg. the rest
Over 35,000 Christians have fled Iraq
By ASSOCIATED PRESS
More than 35,000 Iraqi Christians have fled to Syria to escape the violence in their country, the leader of an Iraqi Christian group said Thursday.
Christians, who make up three percent of Iraq's 26 million people, are leaving because of individual threats from Muslim extremists and the general deterioration of security in Iraq, said Emmanuel Khoshaba, the Syrian head of the Assyrian and Democratic Movement.
His figure indicates an increase of 75% from the 20,000 Iraqi Christians who were said to have moved to Syria in 2004, the year after US-led forces invaded Iraq and began the conflict. the rest
For Gays, a Loud New Foe
Sacramento's large enclave of immigrant Slavic evangelicals is becoming a force on social issues. Their actions shock many.
By Rone Tempest, Times Staff Writer
October 13, 2006
SACRAMENTO — Organizers of the annual Rainbow Festival were prepared for trouble.
The Q Crew, a local "queer/straight alliance," distributed cards telling people what to do if approached by hostile demonstrators. Sympathetic local church groups formed a protective buffer along the festival ground's cyclone fence. Mounted police were on patrol.
Jerry Sloan manned a table for Stand Up for Sacramento, a recently formed gay self-defense organization."So far, so good," he said. "No Russians."
The festival, held last month amid the gay bars, restaurants and shops of midtown's "Lavender Heights" neighborhood, went off without conflict. But the elaborate security preparations reflected growing tensions between Sacramento gays and the city's large and vociferous community of fundamentalist Christians from the former Soviet Union.
Over the last 18 months, Sacramento Russian-language church members have picketed gay pride events, jammed into legislative committee meetings when gay issues were on the agenda and demonstrated at school board meetings. the rest
Snow Hits Western New York; 3 Dead, 350,000 Without Electricity
Friday, October 13, 2006
BUFFALO, N.Y. — Buffalo lay all but paralyzed Friday after a record-breaking early snowstorm whited out the brilliant colors of fall, buried pumpkins and apples and caught this city famous for its wintry weather flat-flooted. At least three deaths were blamed on the storm.
The heavy, wet snow snapped tree limbs all over western New York, leaving some 380,000 homes and businesses without power.
A state of emergency was in effect across the region, banning all nonessential travel. Branches and power lines lay draped across cars and houses, and normally busy downtown streets were still, blanketed by up to 2 feet of snow. the rest
Parents say school undermines their authority over kids
Katherine Kersten, Star Tribune
Last update: October 11, 2006
The scene last Saturday at the Interdistrict Downtown School in Minneapolis was straight out of the civil rights struggles of the 1960s. A group of black mothers and their supporters stood shoulder to shoulder, demanding what they called a decent education for their kids.
But the story has a 2006 spin.
Gena Bounds, a mother of three, described it this way: "On September 15 I gave my kids a big hug after school, but something was clearly wrong."
Bounds' 7-year-old daughter, Darriell, explained the situation to her mother. "She told me that her teacher had read the class a book about a girl with two moms," says Bounds. "Then he told them that he's gay and that he and his partner are adopting a child, and the child will have two dads. Now Darriell thinks the school is telling her she needs to believe that two daddies or two mommies is the same thing as a mom and a dad." the rest
Thursday, October 12, 2006
It does not matter where He places me or how. That is rather for Him to consider than for me. For the easiest positions He must give grace; and in the most difficult His grace is sufficient. So, if God places me in great perplexity, must He not give me much guidance? In positions of great difficulty, much grace? In circumstances of great pressure and trial, much strength? As to work, mine was never so plentiful, so responsible, or so difficult; but the weight and strain are all gone. His resources are mine, for He is mine. ...James Hudson Taylor photo
Californians Bring Worms to Work
By Noaki Schwartz
posted: 12 October 2006
LOS ANGELES (AP) ─ Next to a copy machine on the 10th floor of the city's public works building sits a plastic bin filled with worms wriggling in rotting lettuce. Public servants walk by without even glancing at the box or the note above it: “Quiet please. Worms at work.''
Always on the cutting edge of all things environmental, California is encouraging public and private-sector employees to bring worms to work so that the creatures can chew up apple cores, sandwich scraps and other lunch leftovers and produce compost.
The employees are then invited to take the stuff home and use the all-natural fertilizer in their gardens and on their houseplants.
The state's Integrated Waste Management Board is so serious about this that it has posted on its Web site a list of top 10 ways to recycle on the job, and No. 2 is: “Keep worms in your office.'' the rest
Train Wreck Coming
Why homosexual marriage threatens free expression of religion.
In 2004, Swedish Pentecostal pastor Åke Green preached a sermon in which he denounced homosexuality as a "cancerous tumor" on society. A Swedish court subsequently sentenced him to one month in prison for hate speech (a charge that was eventually dismissed). Americans were shocked by the incident, but not alarmed. After all, those poor Swedes have no First Amendment protection of even the most eccentric religious beliefs, a protection Americans have as a matter of course.
Or do we?
Federal judge declares city ordinance barring distribution of religious literature unconstitutional
Christians no longer subject to fines for expressing faith in public
Thursday, October 12, 2006
EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. — People sharing their faith through use of religious literature in Granite City will no longer have to fear a citation from police. A federal judge ruled Oct. 5 that a city ordinance banning placement of handbills and other literature on vehicle or private property without consent of the owner violated the Constitution.
“Under the U.S. Constitution, religious speech is not second-class,” said ADF-allied attorney Jason Craddock. “The judge ruled rightly in upholding the First Amendment rights of those who wish to share their views, including religious views, by means of the printed page.”
Donald Horina filed suit against the city in 2005 after he was ticketed by police for offering a pro-life tract through a vehicle’s window two years earlier. The incident occurred outside an abortion clinic. Horina was ticketed under a Granite City ordinance which forbade any public distribution of handbills or other literature except advertising. Horina was fined $100 after the citation was applied under a different city ordinance. U.S. District Judge Michael Reagan granted Horina’s motion for a preliminary injunction in May 2005, temporarily prohibiting Granite City from enforcing that ordinance. the rest
Another Liberal Fairy Tale
October 12, 2006
by Nathan Tabor
The nation of Norway has now given us the first museum exhibition that claims that the birds, the bees, and other animals may be homosexuals.
The Oslo Natural History Museum exhibit is just one more example of propaganda invading the scientific world. Based on its assessment of same-sex attraction in the animal kingdom, the museum draws the conclusion that homosexuality cannot be considered “unnatural.”
The exhibit’s project leader, Geir Soeli, was quoted as saying, “The sexual urge is strong in all animals…It’s a part of life, it’s fun to have sex,” Soeli made this statement in trying to explain the bizarre conclusion that homosexuality is rampant among animals. the rest
Catholic Church Still Opposed to Cohabitation Rights Despite Anglican Approval
Posted on October 13, 2006
By The Universe: The Catholic Church and the Church of England have found themselves on opposite sides of the fence on the debate over Government proposals to offer cohabiting couples the same rights as married ones.
Responding to recommendations from the Law Commission, which proposed to offer cohabiting couples the same legal rights as married couples are offered in the event of a break-up in the relationship, the Church of England backed the proposals and said it was "sympathetic" to law reform for couples where children were involved, and that in some cases reform was necessary "to prevent manifest injustice."
The Bishop of Southwark, the Right Reverend Tom Butler, who heads the Anglican Church's mission and public affairs council, said: "We're saying we will look, we will look at legislation that the government puts forward to help vulnerable children, who are caught up in relationships which break down, but the test will be that this does not downgrade the position of marriage.
"However, that is not the line being towed by the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales, who have urged Government advisers to discard proposals saying that they send out a "powerful signal that the state had no interest in the institution of marriage." the rest
Four Bishops Head Lay Episcopal Group's 'Faculty of Proven Doers' for Conference to Train Parish Leaders to Teach 'The Middle 80%' Why to Choose Anglicanism Over Revisionism
WASHINGTON, Oct. 12 /Christian Newswire/ -- As the Episcopal church’s Scriptural schism from the Anglican Communion deepens, the denomination’s most aggressive national orthodox lay group today announced a faculty of four bishops and 20 other leaders for an educational event in Orlando Nov. 20-21. “One Christian Question for Episcopalians” is the theme, with the objective of preserving “a robust Anglican presence instead of a remnant.”
“We are blessed with an outstanding faculty of proven doers and great teachers,” the conference underwriter said. “They will train cadres of parish leaders to go back to their churches and finally reach ‘The Middle 80%’ in the pews who do not identify openly or strongly with any of the other 20% who are often activists at the ends of the liberal-orthodox spectrum. the rest
Priest Still Seeking 'Relief' From Bishop
By Brian J. Foster
In a recent ruling that was dismissed by a federal judge involving the role of gays in the Episcopal church, the six priests who filed the lawsuit against Connecticut Bishop Andrew D. Smith are appealing the decision.
The Rev. Christopher Leighton, of St. Paul's Episcopal Church on Mansfield Avenue, said the "Connecticut Six"—a group he is apart of and is a term used to designate the opposing priests—feel they are continuing to be "marginalized and pushed aside" in wake of the court's decision.
"Nobody wanted it to go this far," Leighton said. "We're not trying to punish the bishop by appealing the decision; we just want relief from under his leadership."
U.S. District Judge Janet Bond Arterton dismissed the lawsuit against the bishop "without prejudice," concluding that the state had no business in the priests' concerns. However, Leighton and the rest of the group contend that the decision is in no way final, and after contemplating filing another lawsuit in a state courtroom the "Connecticut Six" decided to make the appeal in a second circuit federal court. the rest
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
Look at the candle. What is it used for? It is not for giving light? If it is to give light, it must burn and make itself less and less. But if the candle were to protest and say, "I will not burn and become less and less; I cannot suffer hurt, neither can my form be changed," then what would be its value? In the same way, those who determine not to put self to death will never see the will of God fulfilled in their lives. Those who ought to become the light of the world must necessarily burn and become less and less. By denying self, we are able to win others. ...Sadhu Sundar Singh photo
'Curia' Model Would Be Disastrous, Welsh Primate Says
The Most Rev. Barry Morgan, Archbishop of Wales, has endorsed the Archbishop of Canterbury’s call for an Anglican Covenant, but said any attempt to impose a “curia” on the Communion would be “disastrous.”
Archbishop Morgan, a member of the primates’ standing committee and Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams’ four-person covenant advisory panel, told the Church in Wales synod held at University College of Wales, Lampeter, recently that he endorsed a covenant that would set “out our mutual inter-dependence” as Anglicans.
However, the “kind of covenant that some people want–-a kind of prescriptive one, setting up an inter-provincial constitution that would set out theological boundaries and perimeters for individual provinces in both belief and behavior, policed by a central curia of the primates or Archbishop of Canterbury--would cut at the root of the Anglican Communion as it has been traditionally understood with, to my mind, disastrous consequences,” he said. the rest
A Lunchtime Sanctuary
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
By Heather Bremner
Aaron Moon's voice and the soft strums of his guitar echo gently across the room.
"God is bigger than the air I breath. God will save the day," sings the 17-year-old.
The audience soon joins in, humming the tune and singing along with the lyrics. One teen whispers, "I love this song."
When he wraps up, Rachel Whiteside, 17, leads the group in a prayer.
Sure, the above is commonplace in a church or youth group gathering, but this meeting occurred in a place where Bibles, group prayer and religious hymns aren't often found: a public school classroom.
Every Thursday afternoon, members of Gilroy High School's Grace Club head to Mark Rose's classroom for a little lesson on Christianity and to discuss the dilemmas we all face in our day-to-day lives. the rest
Catholic Hospital Succeeds In Defense Against Wiccan's Title VII Claim
In Saeemodarae v. Mercy Health Services-Iowa Corp., (ND IA, Oct. 6, 2006), an Iowa federal district court held that the religious organization exemption in Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act could be invoked by a hospital founded by the Sisters of Mercy to defend against Title VII religious discrimination and retaliation claims. Plaintiff , a telemetry technician, alleged that the hospital fired her because of her Wiccan religious beliefs and activities, including her reading Wiccan literature while at work. The court held that the exemption applied to preclude the lawsuit even where plaintiff's work for the religious organization was secular in nature. The court declined to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over plaintiff's discrimination claim brought under state law, and so refused to decide whether the religious institution exemption in the Iowa Civil Rights Act is narrower than that in federal law.
Aircraft Crashes Into Manhattan Building
NEW YORK (AP) - A small aircraft crashed into a high-rise on the Upper East Side, setting off a fire and startling New Yorkers, police said. There were conflicting reports on whether the aircraft was a small plane or a helicopter.
Fire Department spokeswoman Emily Rahimi said an aircraft struck struck the 20th floor of a building on East 72nd Street. Witnesses said the crash caused a loud noise, and burning and falling debris was seen. Flames were seen shooting out of the windows. Video from the scene showed at least three apartments in the high rise fully engulfed in flames.
"There's huge pieces of debris falling," said one witness who refused to give her full name.
"There's so much falling now, I've got to get away."
Whether anyone was injured was not known, and it was unclear if the crash was an act of terrorism.
The address of the building is 524 E. 72nd Street - a 50-story condominium tower built in 1986 and located nearby Sotheby's Auction House. It has 183 apartments, many of which sell for more than $1 million. the rest
Update: Cory Lidle's plane crashes into building
By COLLEEN LONG
NEW YORK — A small plane carrying New York Yankee Cory Lidle slammed into a 50-story skyscraper Wednesday, apparently killing the pitcher and a second person in a crash that rained flaming debris onto the sidewalks and briefly raised fears of another terrorist attack.
Instructor who doubts 9/11 compares Bush to Hitler
BY CARRIE ANTLFINGER
MILWAUKEE — A University of Wisconsin-Madison instructor who has come under scrutiny for saying that the U.S. government orchestrated the Sept. 11 attacks compares President Bush to Adolf Hitler in an essay that his students are being required to buy.
The essay, "Interpreting the Unspeakable: The Myth of 9/11," is part of a $20 book of essays from 15 authors called "9/11 and American Empire: Muslims, Jews, and Christians Speak Out," according to an unedited copy first obtained by WKOW-TV in Madison and later by the Associated Press.
The book is on the syllabus for the twice-a-week course, "Islam: Religion and Culture," being taught by part-time instructor Kevin Barrett, but only three of the essays are required reading, not including Barrett's essay. the rest
Pope Set to Ease Latin Mass Restrictions
The Associated Press
By VICTOR L. SIMPSON
October 11, 2006
Pope Benedict XVI has decided to loosen restrictions on use of the old Latin Mass, making a major concession to ultraconservatives who split with the Vatican to protest liberalizing reforms, a Vatican official said Wednesday.
The pope's intent is to 'help overcome the schism and help bring (the ultraconservatives) back to the Church,' said the official, who asked that his name not be used because the papal document has not yet been released.
It was not immediately clear when the pope will make his decision public, but the Vatican official said it was expected soon. The Times of London, in a report Wednesday, said the pope had already signed the order and it could be published in the next few weeks. the rest
Iowa Diocese Files for Chapter 11
The Associated Press
By TODD DVORAK
October 11, 2006
After paying out more than $10.5 million to resolve dozens of sex abuse claims and now facing a new set of lawsuits, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Davenport has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
The move Tuesday makes the diocese _ with more than 105,000 parishioners _ the fourth in the nation to seek financial protection to deal with priest sex abuse cases.
Bishop William Franklin said the diocese was left with no other alternative and the move would ensure the financial health of the church. the rest
First Things: The Family Vs. the State
October 11, 2006
Ryan T. Anderson
Last month, Britain’s Telegraph ran stories telling of two elderly sisters who brought the British government before the European Court of Human Rights. The sisters, both in their eighties, lived and worked on their family farm all their lives, caring for their parents and aunts as they grew older. When their parents passed away, the sisters inherited the property. And now, as the sisters look toward their own passing, they know that when one sister passes away, the other sister will inherit the property, and a resulting tax. The problem? The house, which was built at a price tag of £7,000 in 1965, is now valued at £875,000, which means there will be an estimated £236,000 inheritance tax levied upon the surviving sister. Neither sister has that kind of money. To pay the tax, the surviving sister will be forced to sell the entire property.
According to the Telegraph, the sisters have feared this result for some time now and for the past thirty-one years have been fighting to change the law so that it excludes family members from the inheritance tax (or death tax, as it is often called). This tax is not paid by spouses or civil union partners, but is paid by siblings and other familial descendants. the rest
Across Europe, Worries on Islam Spread to Center
By DAN BILEFSKY and IAN FISHER
Published: October 11, 2006
BRUSSELS, Oct. 10 — Europe appears to be crossing an invisible line regarding its Muslim minorities: more people in the political mainstream are arguing that Islam cannot be reconciled with European values.
“You saw what happened with the pope,” said Patrick Gonman, 43, the owner of Raga, a funky wine bar in downtown Antwerp, 25 miles from here. “He said Islam is an aggressive religion. And the next day they kill a nun somewhere and make his point
“Rationality is gone.” the rest
Europeans Awakening to the Islamic Threat?
Posted: Wednesday, October 11, 2006
Will Europe become the heart of a new Islamic civilization? A growing number of Europeans are waking up to the threat.
In "Across Europe, Worries on Islam Spread to Center," reporters from The New York Times trace the growing consensus in Europe that Islam cannot be reconciled with "European values." As the reporters explain, "Europe appears to be crossing an invisible line regarding its Muslim minorities: more people in the political mainstream are arguing that Islam cannot be reconciled with European values." commentary here
A piece of Hollywood is converted into a call to Christianity
By Rick Klein, Globe Staff
October 11, 2006
It started as a box-office bust, a true-to-the-Gospel account of the life of Jesus Christ that earned just $4 million when it was distributed by Warner Bros. under the title ``Jesus" in 1979 -- less than the film's $6 million cost.
But ``The Jesus Film" has enjoyed unparalleled success in the years since. Propelled by missionaries who have made it a central part of their conversion efforts, the film has become the most-watched movie of all time, shown in 235 countries, translated into nearly 950 languages, and viewed by a worldwide audience of perhaps 3 billion.
``Jesus" has motivated about 200 million conversions to Christianity, according to the Jesus Film Project, the $34 million-a-year division of Campus Crusade for Christ that's dedicated to spreading the film's reach. The claim, which can't be independently verified, reflects the seeming ubiquitousness of the film among Christian missionaries. the rest
Abortion opponents energized in key U.S. state
By Carey Gillam
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
SIOUX FALLS, South Dakota (Reuters) - Kim Shemon crooks an elbow around her four-month-old daughter and keeps a wary eye on her four-year-old son as she puts a donation on the table and picks up a "Vote Yes for Life" sign for her yard.
The busy mother is part of a surge of support for South Dakota's new ban on abortion, rallying to defend the law in a referendum on November 7.
"I'm just very passionate about the right to life" Shemon said. "I've adopted both my kids. I'm thankful their birth mom chose life."
Widely seen as the most restrictive abortion law in the United States, the South Dakota law has shaken abortion rights groups and emboldened their opponents, making this wind-blown farm state ground zero in the U.S. war over abortion. the rest
Church backs co-habiting rights
The Church of England has backed proposals to give thousands of co-habiting couples similar legal rights to married people.
Responding to recommendations from the Law Commission, the Church said it was "sympathetic" to law reform for couples where children were involved.
In other cases, the Church said more limited reform may be necessary "to prevent manifest injustice".
But it stressed marriage was central to the stability of society. the rest
No dilution of Christian identity in dialogue: Pope
Wed Oct 11, 2006
VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Benedict said on Wednesday Christians could not allow their beliefs and identity to be diluted for the sake of dialogue with other religions.
"We have to remember that this identity of ours calls for strength, clarity, and courage in the world in which we live," he told pilgrims and tourists at his weekly general audience.
Since he made controversial comments on Islam a month ago, the question of how much dialogue Catholics should have with other religions has become a point of debate in the Church.
Some Catholics feel they have compromised too much of their Christian identity in the four decades since the 1962-1965 Second Vatican Council called for increased dialogue with Muslims, Jews and members of other religions. the rest
Episcopal parish seeking new leadership
Springfield bishop's oversight contested
By Manya A. Brachear
Tribune staff reporter
Published October 11, 2006
Unable to reach an accord with their conservative bishop, a progressive parish in the Episcopal Diocese of Springfield asked for temporary alternative pastoral leadership this week.
If the request is granted, St. Andrew's Episcopal Church in Edwardsville would become the second progressive parish in the U.S. to take advantage of an option originally designed to allow conservative congregations to seek alternatives to liberal leadership.
Episcopal bishops fashioned the plan in March 2004 to quell tensions that threatened to divide the American church. Of the 7,600 Episcopal parishes in the U.S., 22 are overseen by bishops in other dioceses, said national church spokesman Bob Williams.
St. Andrew's rector, Rev. Virginia Bennett, the first and only female parish priest to serve in the southern Illinois diocese, said the request seemed like the only option left for her parish to function. After Bennett asked to bring a lesbian into the church, Springfield Bishop Peter Beckwith refused to confirm any newcomers at St. Andrew's, she said. the rest
Episcopal panel to examine gay rights
By Jean Torkelson, Rocky Mountain News
October 11, 2006
The ongoing culture war among America's Episcopalians has spurred Colorado Bishop Rob O'Neill to create a task force to examine gay rights issues "in light of the changing landscape of our church."
O'Neill announced the panel during last weekend's state convention, in Denver, which he described Tuesday as a "positive experience," but which one prominent conservative priest/theologian said was marked by a "screaming match" as liberal and conservative forces squared off.
It became apparent that underneath the surface there is a deep, deep division," said the Rev. Ephraim Radner, a Pueblo pastor, Yale educated theologian and author of books on the future of the church.
Unrest, lawsuits and division have dogged the Episcopal Church USA since 2003, when it approved the naming of an openly gay bishop in New Hampshire and OK'd the development of same-sex blessings. the rest
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
Abortion Clinics Close, Re-Open as Pro-Life Centers
by Josh Montez
In the early ‘90’s there were more than 2,000 abortion clinics in America. Today there are a less than 750.
From retiring abortionists to women simply choosing life, abortion clinics are closing their doors and some pro-life groups are working to re-open them as pro-life centers. But, redeeming an abortion clinic means tearing down a few walls. When Central Women’s Services in downtown Wichita closed, Troy Newman of Operation Rescue purchased it, then gutted the building.
“We’re thrilled by the prospect of being in this building – having a chapel here where women can come and even mourn the loss of their baby.”
He wants to build a prayer garden behind the building so women can leave flowers for the babies they lost to an abortion. Next door to the clinic is a pregnancy resource center called A Better Choice. Director, Vallarie Eads, reflects on the journey that resulted in restoration. the rest
Court Rejects Roe V. Wade Companion Case
The Associated Press
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court on Tuesday turned aside the case of Sandra Cano, one of the women behind the legalization of abortion, who had sought to reverse the victory she won 33 years ago.
Cano says she never wanted an abortion and that her difficult early life resulted in her becoming the anonymous plaintiff in Doe v. Bolton, the lesser-known case which the justices ruled on the same day in 1973 as the landmark Roe v. Wade. the rest
African Dust Storms Stifle Hurricanes, Study Suggests
Westward swirling clouds of dust from the Sahara Desert might be putting a damper on Atlantic Ocean hurricanes, a new study suggests.
Researchers analyzing satellite data from the past 25 years found that during years when the dust storms rose up, fewer hurricanes swept across the Atlantic, while periods of low dust storm activity were followed by more intense hurricane activity. Hurricanes are fueled by heat and moisture, and it's thought the dust storms help muffle the storms before they fully develop.
By doing so, however, the dust storms could shift a hurricane's direction further to the west, the researchers say, increasing the likelihood that it would hit the United States and Caribbean Islands.
"These findings are important because they show that long-term changes in hurricanes may be related to many different factors," said study team member Jonathan Foley of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. "While a great deal of work has focused on the links between [hurricanes] and warming ocean temperatures, this research adds another piece to the puzzle." the rest
Regents’ gay marriage stance defends UW interests
by Bassey Etim
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
As UW System regents voted to formally oppose a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage in Wisconsin, critics accused them of partisan meddling. These detractors ignore the responsibility of UW leaders to protect the interests of Wisconsin universities and promote stances based on sound academic research. The regents had no choice but to oppose regressive policy founded on false conclusions.
It is unusual for an academic body to take an official stance on a polarizing political issue, and at first glance it is easy to claim the university has crossed the line into campaigning. A joint release from state Representatives Steve Nass and Mark Gundrum accuses regents of providing political cover to Jim Doyle. They note that UW has made this stand despite “poll after poll” indicating Wisconsin support for the amendment. This is a deceptive argument because the question at hand is not what polls indicate, nor is it the responsibility of academics to abide by them. Rather, the UW System has a unique responsibility to promote decisions based on sound academic research, especially when it will impact UW’s ability to recruit and retain key faculty and staff. the rest
'Five pillars of Islam' taught in public school'
Education practice wouldn't last 10 seconds if kids told to dress as priests'
Posted: October 10, 2006
By Bob Unruh
Another school has been "teaching" Islam by having students study and learn Muslim prayers and dress as Muslims, and a lawyer who argued a previous dispute over this issue to the U.S. Supreme Court said such methodologies wouldn't "last 10 seconds" if it were Christianity being taught.
"Would it have been 'just cultural education' if students were in simulated baptisms, wearing a crucifix, having taken the name of St. John and with praise banners saying 'Praise be to Jesus Christ' on classroom walls?" asked Edward White III, of the Thomas More Law Center.
Archbishop of Canterbury Preaches First Sermon on China Tour
The spiritual head of the 77 million-member worldwide Anglican Communion, Dr Rowan Williams has begun his first journey to China by delivering a sermon to an invitation-only congregation of 300 people in Shanghai.
by Daniel Blake
Posted: Tuesday, October 10, 2006
The spiritual head of the 77million-member worldwide Anglican Communion, Dr Rowan Williams has begun his first journey to China by delivering a sermon to an invitation-only congregation of 300 people in Shanghai.
At the Moore Memorial Church, the Archbishop told worshippers that “peace was only possible through the power and harmony of God”.
The visit, which commenced on Sunday, has been formed with the intention “to provide a deeper understanding of the Christian communities in China and the varied context in which it is developing," the Archbishop’s office announced last week. the rest
Believers preach gospel of green
October 10, 2006
IN Hollywood, the white knight in the fight against global warming is Al Gore, whose film, "An Inconvenient Truth," was received with great media hoopla when it arrived in theaters earlier this year. But in much of the rest of America, the man spearheading the battle against catastrophic climate change is someone you'd never see at the Ivy, hobnobbing with the Bush-hating, abortion-allowing, carbon footprint calculating nabobs of Hollywood elitism.
In fact, when it comes to broadening the reach of the environmental movement to red state America, the real savior turns out to be the Rev. Richard Cizik of the National Assn. of Evangelicals, America's most influential Christian lobbying group, representing 45,000 churches and roughly 30 million believers across the country. According to two new documentaries, it is evangelicals like Cizik who may do more to make global warming a front-and-center issue than hundreds of white-wine fundraisers in Bel-Air and Manhattan's Upper West Side. the rest
Schizophrenic Subterfuge: Why Abortion Became Legal
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness." (Declaration of Independence).
But wait: if these words are true, and if this nation was founded to preserve these rights, how is it that some men--the preborn--lack protection and thus are precluded from pursuing Liberty and Happiness, precisely because their Life has been involuntarily extinguished in the womb?
How did this happen? It happened because of an intentional paradigm shift, but it was a shift that occurred by subterfuge and in spite of--not on account of--the facts.
Is this conclusion simply pro-life rhetoric? Is it hot hyperbole? No, instead it is simply the truth as related by abortion advocates themselves. With refreshing candor, listen to the abortion advocates explain. They recognize that abortion flatly rejects the Declaration's "equality principle" and instead invokes another rationale, one contrary to science:
The process of eroding the old ethic and substituting the new has already begun. It may be seen most clearly in changing attitudes toward human abortion. In defiance of the long held Western ethics of intrinsic and equal value for every human life regardless of its stage, condition or status, abortion is becoming accepted by society as moral, right and even necessary. It is worth noting that this shift in public attitude has affected the churches, the laws and public policy rather than the reverse. . . . .the rest
ADF attorneys file appeal of federal judge’s decision to restrict free speech of Montana church
Court ruled state can require church to report to the government when speaking out on social issues
Monday, October 09,
HELENA, Mont. — Attorneys with the Alliance Defense Fund filed a notice of appeal today in federal court for a case involving a Baptist church accused of violating Montana election law because it did not report to the government when it spoke out on the state’s marriage amendment.
“Churches should not be punished for speaking out on important social issues of the day. After all, that’s a big part of what churches do,” said ADF Legal Counsel Dale Schowengerdt. “We are appealing the district court’s decision in this case because the Constitution should never be construed to require cumbersome reporting requirements in order to exercise First Amendment rights.”
Montana’s commissioner of political practices, Gordon Higgins, asserted that because the church decided to support the state’s marriage amendment initiative, the church “became an incidental political committee under Montana law, with corresponding reporting obligations” (www.telladf.org/news/story.aspx?cid=3702). The leftist group Montanans for Families and Fairness, which filed the complaint against the church, apparently disbanded, and the complainant left Montana. the rest
Monday, October 09, 2006
The more a man hath unity and simplicity in himself, the more things and the deeper things he understandeth; and that without labour, because he receiveth the light of understanding from above. The spirit which is pure, sincere and steadfast, is not distracted though it hath many works to do, because it doth all things to the honour of God, and striveth to be free from all thoughts of self-seeking. ... Thomas à Kempis photo
Spitzer would push for gay marriage
BY JULIET CHUNG
Newsday Staff Writer
October 7, 2006
Attorney General Eliot Spitzer has reiterated that he would push to legalize gay marriage, setting the stage for what could be a battle with state legislators.
The overwhelming front-runner in New York's gubernatorial race, Spitzer on Thursday told a gathering of the state's major gay rights group that every New Yorker should be free to marry the person of their choice, regardless of their gender.
"This is not about forcing any religion to perform or recognize gay marriage. It's simply about permitting gay and lesbian couples the right to live in stable, long-term married relationships," Spitzer said, according to a transcript of his remarks to the Empire State Pride Agenda. the rest
Reversed rhetoric in an abortion debate
Any communications pro will tell you that co-opting your oppenent's languages and ideas can be a very effective strategy - and we're seeing that in use right now in South Dakota, where the state's toughest-in-the-nation abortion ban will be put to a voter referendum next month. The Los Angeles Times reports on the campaign:
In the fight to preserve the toughest abortion ban in the nation, the talk is not of a fetus' right to life. It's of a woman's right to motherhood.
Antiabortion activists here deliberately avoid the familiar slogans of their movement. They don't talk about the "murder of innocent babies" or quote the Bible on the sanctity of life. Instead, campaign manager Leslee Unruh has taken what she calls a feminist approach, arguing that legalized abortion exploits women and -- for their sake -- must be stopped.
The bumper stickers and T-shirts that fill campaign headquarters spell out her message, in pink and blue: "Abortion Hurts Women." the rest
California Bishop Clarifies Same-gender Union Policy
California Bishop Marc Andrus has clarified existing diocesan policy to require that clergy seek his approval before solemnizing a gay union.
In an Oct. 4 letter to the clergy, Bishop Andrus said his decision to institute a formal policy on same-sex blessings arose from his desire to affirm his “commitment to the full inclusion of gay and lesbian persons in the life of the Church.”
Gay blessings in California were permitted under the rubric of pastoral care, he explained. “The decision to bless a holy union is, in the first instance, a discernment made by the couple in consultation with their priest.”
Same-sex couples were asked to submit to “the same careful counseling and preparation required of other couples.” the rest
Behind him lay the gray Azores,
“My men grow mutinous day by day;
They sailed and sailed, as winds might blow,
They sailed: they sailed. Then spake the mate:
Then, pale and worn, he kept his deck,
Lesbian couple reportedlywed at PCUSA seminary
By John H. Adams
The Layman Online
Monday, October 9, 2006
Two prominent lesbian activists were reportedly "married" Saturday afternoon during a service performed in Caldwell Chapel of Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary.
Dean K. Thompson, president of the seminary, told The Layman Online on Monday that he did not know whether the couple were actually married or whether it was a "union" service, but that, in either event, the seminary forbids discrimination that would limit the use of the chapel.
"I do know that a same-sex union service was requested," Thompson said. "We did not sanction the service. That's the responsibility of the denominations and the officiants."
The Layman Online was unable to reach the participants in the "wedding" or "union" service, which was conducted the same day the seminary hosted an all-day retreat for people interested in effective youth ministry. the rest
Billy Graham's Grandson to Lead Evangelistic 'Celebration'
Will Graham will speak each night for the Oct. 9-11 Greater Gaston Celebration at Sims Legion Park in Gastonia, N.C.
By The Associated Press
Mon, Oct. 09 2006
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - The Rev. Will Graham, the grandson of evangelist Billy Graham, will lead his first U.S. crusade this week.
The 31-year-old's appearance at the three-day Greater Gaston Celebration is a first step for a man whose grandfather has led more than 400 crusades worldwide, and whose father, Franklin, has preached in 33 states and several countries.
He insists his calling is not a family legacy.
"You've just got to be your own person," Graham told The Charlotte Observer for a story published Sunday. "There's no replacing Billy Graham. I don't want to be Billy Graham."The Rev. Austin Rammell, a former classmate from Liberty University who is now pastor of a church in Gaston County, extended the invitation. the rest
Massachusetts Episcopal Diocese to Give Up on Marriages?
Posted: Monday, October 09, 2006
Here is an interesting take on the crisis in the Episcopal Church -- the church's Massachusetts diocese may just quit marriage altogether.
As The Boston Globe reported Sunday:
In a novel approach to the tensions that have accompanied the same-sex marriage debate in many religious denominations, the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts this month will consider getting out of the marriage business.
Replacing 'Mom and Dad'
Does It Matter How We Define Marriage and Family?
Feature by Ed Vitagliano
October 9, 2006
(AgapePress) - Kanab, Utah, is a mostly Mormon town of about 3,500 people, beholden to the roughly quarter-million tourists who come through the county on their way to nearby Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks. So why have some people called for a boycott of Kanab?
Simply put, the mayor and town council had the audacity to unanimously pass a non-binding resolution calling for government to support and uphold the "natural family." The reason for government support, the resolution said, is that the natural family is a boon to its members and a protection against the "most serious public pathologies," such as crime, substance abuse and poverty. the rest
Drive for multi-faith Britain deepens rifts, says Church
By Jonathan Wynne-Jones
The Church of England has launched an astonishing attack on the Government's drive to turn Britain into a multi-faith society.
In a wide-ranging condemnation of policy, it says that the attempt to make minority "faith" communities more integrated has backfired, leaving society "more separated than ever before".
The criticisms are made in a confidential Church document, leaked to The Sunday Telegraph, that challenges the "widespread description" of Britain as a multi-faith society and even calls for the term "multi-faith" to be reconsidered. the rest
Yariguies Brush Finch
8th October 2006
A brightly coloured bird has been discovered on a remote mountain range in South America. The previously unknown species, the Yariguies Brush Finch, has striking black, yellow and red plumage.
A British expert co-led the team which made the find during the first biological expedition to the Yariguies mountains in northern Colombia.
Ms Blanca Huertas, a curator at the Natural History Museum in London, said: "The description of a new bird is a rare event in modern times." the rest
Sunday, October 08, 2006
National Coming Out Day Mass to be Celebrated at Catholic Basilica?
By Hilary White
ST. PAUL-MINNEAPOLIS, October 6, 2006 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Yesterday, United Press International reported that Dignity Twin Cities, a homosexual organization that lobbies the Catholic Church to change its teachings on sexual purity, would be sponsoring "National Coming Out Day" with a Mass at the Basilica of St. Mary in the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis. The report said that the event is being co-sponsored with Dignity Twin Cities and the notoriously pro-homosexual parish of St. Joan of Arc, with the festivities to be presided over by St. Mary’s pastor, Fr. Michael O'Connell.
LifeSiteNews.com contacted St. Mary’s Basilica and spoke with Janice Andersen, the parish Director of Christian Life. She flatly denied the story, saying that there was no such service scheduled at St. Mary’s for either Sunday or Tuesday, October tenth. She said that the parish does not co-sponsor events with Dignity Twin Cities or St. Joan of Arc parish. Neither Dignity Twin Cities nor Joan of Arc parish could be reached for comment.
The parish of St. Mary’s does, however, have a lively and active homosexual organization that has in the past sponsored National Coming Out Day Masses featuring the pastor, Fr. Michael O’Connell. the rest
Southern Baptists lack consensus on speaking in tongues
By ROSE FRENCH Associated Press Writer
October 7th, 2006
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- The first time the Rev. Dwight McKissic ever spoke in tongues, he was a seminary student, praying on his knees in his dorm room.
"Strange sounds begin to come out of my mouth," McKissic said. "The only thing I could think of was, I was either losing my mind or this is what the Bible calls speaking in tongues. I wasn't trying to do it. It just happened.
"It's this sense of being intimate with God," said McKissic, who is now a Southern Baptist minister in Arlington, Texas. "It's different, but not necessarily a better way to pray."
Southern Baptists have long viewed speaking in tongues with ambivalence, not exactly condemning a practice that's mentioned in the Bible, but not allowing it from its pastors and churches. the rest
Teen failed for stand on gays
October 08, 2006 12:00am
A 13-YEAR-OLD student was failed after she refused to write an assignment on life in a gay community, because of her religious and moral beliefs.Her outraged mother, Christian groups and the State Opposition want an investigation into the treatment of the Year 9 student at Windaroo Valley State High School, south of Brisbane.
"It's no wonder our kids are struggling with the basics when the Government is allowing this sort of rubbish to be taught in the classroom," Opposition Leader Jeff Seeney told The Sunday Mail yesterday.
The uproar came as Federal Education Minister Julie Bishop this week announced plans for Canberra to take control of school curriculums from the states, accusing "ideologues" of hijacking the education system .
The girl was among a class of 13 and 14-year-olds asked to imagine living as a heterosexual among a mostly homosexual colony on the moon as part of their health and physical education subject. the rest