Saturday, October 21, 2006

He is my Altar,
I His holy place;
I am His guest,
and He my living food;
I'm His by penitence,
He is mine by grace;
I'm His by purchase,
He is mine by blood;
He's my supporting elm,
and I His vine:
Thus I my Best-beloved's am;
thus He is mine.
Francis Quarles art

NBC Won't Air Madonna on Cross
By Lorenza Muñoz, Times Staff Writer
October 20, 2006

Bowing to pressure from Christian advocacy groups, NBC has decided to pull a controversial mock crucifixion scene from next month's broadcast of a Madonna concert taped last summer.

Television viewers will not see the segment in which Madonna is hanging from a cross, wearing a crown of thorns on her head and singing her 1980s hit "Live to Tell."

The 'Live to Tell' song has been revised for NBC's broadcast special," the network said in a statement. The Nov. 22 two-hour broadcast was taped during the singer's "Confessions" concert at London's Wembley Stadium.

The scene was widely criticized by Christian institutions around the world, including the Church of England, the Vatican, the Russian Orthodox Church and individual Christian groups, which saw her use of the cross as offensive and blasphemous.
the rest

October 20, 2006

-- ALBANY - Catholic and other religious social service groups must provide contraceptive coverage to their employees even if they consider contraception a sin, according to yesterday's ruling by the state's highest court.

The 6-0 decision by the state Court of Appeals hinged on defining Catholic Charities and the other nine religious groups suing the state to be social service agencies, rather than only operating as churches.

The organizations "believe contraception to be sinful," the decision states. "We must weigh against [their] interests in adhering to the tenets of their faith the state's substantial interest in fostering equality between the sexes, and in providing women with better health care."

The New York Catholic Conference is considering an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Bishop from Bolivia Defies the Rules
The Chicago Tribune

CHICAGO -- Wearing a scarlet miter and colorful vestments, Anglican Bishop Frank Lyons of Bolivia stood before an Evanston, Ill., church last Sunday and called the faithful to kneel at the altar.

"If there is anyone in the congregation of the Church of Christ the King ... who would like to come forward and reaffirm their faith, we invite you now," he said.

Lyons, 51, is not simply a visiting missionary, however. He is overseeing this and 28 other congregations from Virginia to San Diego that have broken with the Episcopal Church over their interpretations of the Bible, a dispute that was spurred by the election of an openly gay bishop in 2003.
the rest

CTSix: Bishop Smth's Convention Address:


"...First I will address our relationship with five congregations and their rectors who petitioned for what they name alternative episcopal oversight in May 2004. I have refrained from speaking publicly because I have wanted to keep the matter of our relationships and the possibility for reconciliation “in house,” and I have wanted to avoid giving occasion for the immediate public attacks that inevitably have followed any statement which does not support their cause. However, today I must take some time to speak.

The basic issues – diocesan episcopal oversight of these parishes, and the obedience of the rectors to their ordination vows -- have not changed to this day. In their letter to meof May 2004, the clergy and lay leaders of these parishes named “alternative” or “adequate” episcopal oversight as their expectation, and outlined in detail what alternative episcopal oversight would mean to them. It is clear, as I have said over and over, that their demands lie outside any possibility for the Episcopal Church. To put it another way, were a bishop to accede to their conditions, he or she would have failed to uphold the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church."

the rest at Connecticut Six

Friday, October 20, 2006

When we are spiritually free, we do not have to worry about what to say or do in unexpected, difficult circumstances. When we are not concerned about what others think of us or what we will get for what we do, the right words and actions will emerge from the centre of our beings because the Spirit of God, who makes us children of God and sets us free, will speak and act through us. ...Henri J. M. Nouwen photo

Lost boys are the forgotten polygamy victims
Daphne Bramham, Vancouver Sun
Published: Friday, October 20, 2006

It's simple arithmetic in polygamous, fundamentalist Mormon societies like Bountiful, B.C. Some men get many wives, others get none.

It's usually older men who get second, third and sometimes more wives, brides who are usually teenagers.

Left behind are angry, frustrated young men. Not only can they not choose their own mates, they've been told it's against the church's rules to date or even socialize with girls their age.

A few lucky young men do get wives. But it can feel like entrapment. One day they wake up and are told they're marrying a stranger for "time and all eternity," in the words of the faith's marriage ceremony.
the rest

Anglican confessions of child sex abuse to remain confidential
Friday, October 20, 2006

The Anglican Archbishop of Adelaide, Jeffrey Driver, has denied reports the church will abolish the confidentiality of the confessional when it comes to information relating to child sex abuse.

Newspaper reports had suggested that those who admit in confession to sexually abusing children will be reported to police by the clergy.

Archbishop Driver has rejected the reports.

But he says priests can withhold absolution if a person who confesses to child sex abuse does not turn themselves into police.

Archbishop Driver says even though confessions will remain secret, the church will be able to deal with child abuse cases promptly and properly.

"What we've done is we've put up a whole raft of measure that will go to the synod on the weekend after next," he said.
the rest

Thursday, October 19, 2006

To be like Christ. That is our goal, plain and simple. It sounds like a peaceful, relaxing, easy objective. But stop and think. He learned obedience by the things He suffered. So must we. It is neither easy nor quick nor natural. It is impossible in the flesh, slow in coming, and supernatural in scope. Only Christ can accomplish it within us. ...Charles R. Swindoll Art

Computer Manufacturing Workers Have Higher Cancer Risk
Date: 19 Oct 2006

A person who works in the manufacturing of computers has a higher risk of dying of cancer, compared to other people, according to an article published in the journal Environmental Health.

In fact, overall death rates (cancer and non cancer) are higher among computer manufacturing workers.Previous studies had indicated there was some link between computer manufacturing workers and cancer. However, they involved small numbers of people. This study is much bigger.
the rest

Statement from the Anglican Church of Burundi
19 OCTOBER 2006

The House of Bishops of the Anglican Church of Burundi received and discussed the Archbishop of Canterbury’s reflection “The Challenge and Hope of Being Anglican Today” in which he sets out his thinking concerning the future of the Anglican Communion. The Anglican Church of Burundi wishes to commend it as a working document in the process of pastoral care within the Communion so that channels for constructive dialogue and fellowship with Provinces of the Anglican Communion may be maintained in the future.

The Anglican Church of Burundi remains committed to the Anglican Communion and to endeavouring to work with all the Primates who have been entrusted with leadership of its Provinces. We are committed to the Gospel imperative to maintain unity and communion that is rooted in truth and love. We are called to be a "one, holy, catholic and apostolic" church and to affirm loyalty to the authority of Scripture and the traditional teachings of the Church. Though we recognise the principle of unity in diversity, Scripture should remain our guide in all matters of doctrine, ethics and decision-making. As has become apparent, we ignore Biblical teaching, the Apostolic Faith, and Church practice at our peril, and compromise our unity, fellowship, and communion. We must pray that we shall find ways to move forward with renewed commitment to “keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (Eph.4v3)
the rest at ACNS

Married to the minority

I've been meaning to blog this for a few days now. You probably read the recent census report that shows, for the first time in history, that
married couples now comprise a minority of U.S. households. According to the New York Times, married couples in 1930 accounted for 84 percent of households in the U.S. By 1990, that number had fallen to about 56 percent. Then in 2005 it dipped to 49.7 percent.

The census survey estimated that 5.2 million couples, a little more than 5 percent of households, were unmarried opposite-sex partners. An additional 413,000 households were male couples, and 363,000 were female couples. In all, nearly one in 10 couples were unmarried. (One in 20 households consisted of people living alone). And the numbers of unmarried couples are growing. Since 2000, those identifying themselves as unmarried opposite-sex couples rose by about 14 percent, male couples by 24 percent and female couples by 12 percent.

Much of the increase among gay and lesbian couples likely resulted from undercounting, as couples were less likely to disclose their arrangment in preceding census surveys. Meanwhile, what do you think the decline in traditional married families means for America?

the rest

Thawing the ‘Frozen Chosen’
Scholar Diana Butler Bass discovers lively, creative churches exploring spirituality in new ways.
By Anne Underwood
Updated: 6:00 p.m. ET Oct 18, 2006

Oct. 18, 2006 - For years, America’s mainline Protestant churches were in serious decline, with plummeting membership and a voice that seemed irrelevant in national politics. All the energy seemed to have drained out of them, flowing inexorably toward evangelical and Pentecostal denominations, with their burgeoning megachurches and media empires. But a new book finds hope for the mainline. In “Christianity for the Rest of Us” (HarperSanFrancisco), independent scholar Diana Butler Bass contends that a spiritual renewal is underway, and to prove it, she marshals the examples of 50 mainline churches that are anything but dead. As Butler Bass says of her own Episcopal church (the Church of the Epiphany in Washington, D.C.): “They’re not just the ‘frozen chosen’ anymore. They’re starting to thaw.” She spoke to NEWSWEEK’s Anne Underwood.

How are these churches re-engaging with spiritual practices?

In the 1960s and 1970s, churches tried to become “relevant” or “modern.” They did that through social action … and the rewriting of prayer books and hymnals. The church was cut loose from its moorings. It was as if a big cultural sledgehammer shattered their traditions. What’s happening now is that churches are picking up the pieces of glass and making new mosaics with these shards from the past. It’s coming out in new patterns.

What does that new mosaic look like?

We have Methodists who engage in Celtic spirituality, Episcopalians who walk the labyrinth and Presbyterians who do reiki. You find Protestant churches engaging in the Benedictine rule or reading the ancient Christian fathers or practicing contemplative prayer. They’re mixing elements of contemporary culture with ancient spiritual practices. A lot are engaging in the Christian practice of hospitality, which doesn’t mean serving tea and cakes. It’s a process that goes back to the heart of monotheistic religion, where Abraham and Sarah welcomed three strangers. It means not just welcoming people who are like you, but young people, homeless, gays, minorities and having them be real members of the congregation.

the rest of the interview

Catholic bishops to define gay stance
Proposal would condemn `hatred' but reject unions

By Michael Paulson, Globe Staff
October 19, 2006

The Catholic bishops of the United States, faced with ongoing controversy over the church's posture toward homosexuality, next month will vote on a proposal that would condemn ``scorn and hatred" of gays and lesbians but would also declare that gay couples should not be allowed to marry or adopt children, that baptizing the children of same-sex couples presents ``a pastoral concern," and that the church has the right to deny "roles of service" to gays and lesbians who are not celibate.
the rest

Evangelicals Broaden Their Moral Agenda
By Alan Cooperman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, October 19, 2006

Evangelical Christian leaders are tackling a growing list of domestic and international issues, such as genocide in Darfur and global warming, despite dissension in their ranks over whether this broader moral agenda will dilute their political power just before crucial elections.

Yesterday, two dozen prominent evangelicals issued a joint appeal for President Bush to take the lead in sending a multinational, U.N.-backed peacekeeping force into the Darfur region of Sudan. They included not just liberal religious leaders but also several notable conservatives, including the Rev. Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention and the Rev. Ted Haggard, president of the National Association of Evangelicals.
the rest

Conservative voters likely to stay home
By Ralph Z. Hallow
October 19, 2006

The Republican Party can stave off defeat with a strong turnout on Nov. 7, party leaders are telling the faithful -- but they are finding it tough to sell that message to some disillusioned conservative voters.

"The message hasn't gotten across because a lot of people are sick and tired of thinking the only reason for going to the polls is to vote for the Republicans because they are lesser of two evils," said Tom McClusky, vice president for government affairs at the Family Research Council (FRC), a leading social conservative group.
the rest

Chinese leader meets Britain's Archbishop of Canterbury
dpa German Press Agency
Published: Thursday October 19, 2006

Beijing- Religion has an important role to play in China's new policy of "building a harmonious society", a senior Chinese official told Britain's Archbishop of Canterbury Thursday. "China has engaged itself in building a harmonious society, during which religion can play an important role," state media quoted Jia Qingling, who is ranked fourth in the official hierarchy of China's ruling Communist Party, as telling Archbishop Rowan Williams.

Jia said the party had carried out its policy of religious freedom "soundly since China adopted the reform and opening-up policy in 1978," the official Xinhua news agency said.

He said successive archbishops of Canterbury had "played a positive role in promoting friendship" between British and Chinese people.
the rest

Oxford Study Denying Abortion-Cancer Link "Seriously Flawed" says Expert
October 18, 2006

( - Oxford scientists first covered up the abortion-breast cancer link with the publication of a 1982 study, and are at it again with another study released this week according to the Abortion-Breast Cancer Coalition (ABCC). The latest study is the fifth study by the university's scientists denying an abortion-cancer link.

In the first such study in 1982 Vessey et al., claimed, "The results are entirely reassuring, being, in fact, more compatible with protective effects (of abortion) than the reverse." The study, however, was deemed irrelevant because it included, as it admitted "only a handful of women" who'd had abortions.

The latest study, led by Gillian Reeves, conceded that childbearing reduces risk, but failed to compare the effect of having an abortion with the effect of having a full term pregnancy. "They covered up the substantial increase in risk associated with the loss of the protective effect of a full term pregnancy," says ABCC in a release.
the rest

Pope urges Italy to remain faithful to its Christian traditions
Posted 10/19/2006

VERONA, Italy (AP) — Pope Benedict XVI urged Italians on Thursday to remain faithful to their Christian traditions, saying they can be examples for the world and enable dialogue with other cultures that are deeply religious.

In an hour-long speech to Italian bishops and lay leaders, Benedict warned that a secular shift in the West had led to threats to traditional families, including "other forms of unions," a reference to gay marriage.

But overall, he praised the health of the Catholic Church in Italy, saying "the Christian traditions are often deeply rooted and continue to produce fruit." The pope was addressing a national church convention in the northern city of Verona.

Benedict has been stressing the need for dialogue between religions and cultures, which he has said was the point of his speech in Germany last month that angered the Muslim world for its references to Islam and violence.
the rest

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. (Psalm 126:5)

Weeping times are suitable for sowing: we do not want the ground to be too dry. Seed steeped in the tears of earnest anxiety will come up all the sooner. The salt of prayerful tears will give the good seed a flavor which will preserve it from the worm: truth spoken in awful earnestness has a double life about it. Instead of stopping our sowing because of our weeping, let us redouble our efforts because the season is so propitious.

Our heavenly seed could not fitly be sown laughing. Deep sorrow and concern for the souls of others are a far more fit accompaniment of godly teaching than anything like levity. We have heard of men who went to war with a light heart, but they were beaten; and it is mostly so with those who sow in the same style.

Come, then, my heart, sow on in thy weeping, for thou has the promise of a joyful harvest. Thou shalt reap. Thou, thyself, shalt see some results of thy labor. This shall come to thee in so large a measure as to give thee joy, which a poor, withered, and scanty harvest would not do. When thine eyes are dim with silver tears, think of the golden corn. Bear cheerfully the present toil and disappointment; for the harvest day will fully recompense thee. ...CH Spurgeon

Bishop Smith Rebuffs Discussions for a Negotiated Settlement
Posted : October 18, 2006

Statement from the Connecticut Six: Bishop Smith Rebuffs Discussions for a Negotiated Settlement

In an effort to avoid further canonical or civil litigation and to conserve valuable church resources, six Connecticut congregations proposed last week that the parties negotiate a settlement. When contacted on Oct. 10, 2006 and Oct. 13, 2006 by our attorney, who urged mediation and settlement exploration, the Rt. Rev. Andrew Smith’s legal counsel responded that Bishop Smith would only discuss the 2004 Diocese of Connecticut’s version of delegated episcopal pastoral oversight (DEPO). Bishop Smith declined our offer to engage in substantive, non-limited settlement discussions.

At a clergy gathering on Sept. 30, 2006, Bishop Smith accused our six churches of adopting a “win/lose mentality.” Quite to the contrary, we have repeatedly offered the possibility of settlement, including an application to the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Panel of Reference, a stay of pending litigation, and an independent arbitration panel. Also, in December 2005 we met with David Beers, the chancellor to the current Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church, to discuss a path toward resolution of the canonical charges pending against Bishop Smith, but with no success. We are saddened by Bishop Smith’s intransigence regarding the matter of a negotiated settlement given the emerging openness to such possibilities. Churches in Kansas, Texas and Rhode Island have successfully negotiated terms representing a win/win scenario for both dioceses and congregations. We do not desire to follow the examples of California and New York where state civil action has been all consuming. We had hoped Bishop Smith would join us in finding a solution.

It appears we are left with no choice but to continue to seek a resolution through civil and canonical responses to Bishop Smith’s unwarranted seizures of church assets and properties. We cannot be reconciled to leadership that has abandoned the apostolic faith and is no longer in full relationship with the worldwide Anglican Communion. However, we will continue to pray that Bishop Smith will choose to enter into sincere discussions with us, and we leave our offer to negotiate in good faith open to him.


Jenny Abel
(770) 414-1515

Connecticut Six

Matt Kennedy: Amicable Separation?
Stand Firm

Were my friend, without changing his mind about Jesus, to join my parish and claim to be a Christian and then demand to be baptized (or confirmed or ordained etc…) our love for one another would almost certainly wane. I could not accede to his demands and my refusal to acknowledge the validity of his “Christianity” would doubtless make it difficult for us to relate charitably. In the same way, were I to join his synagogue and claim to be an orthodox Jew all the while proclaiming the divinity of Christ and ignoring the requirements of the law, he would find it difficult, impossible in fact, to recognize the legitimacy of my claim and our friendship would be strained. In both cases, far from enhancing our relationship, an attempt at institutional unity would all but destroy it. Why? Because it would be a lie.

the rest

Anglican Report Episode 5

Kevin and Bill Discuss:

Panel of Reference Report on Diocese of Westminister (titusonenine)
Archbishop Venerables and Archbishop Gomez respond to POR Report (standfirmfaith)
No Marriages in MA (ctsix)
No Communion in CA (living church)
Clarification of San Jaoquin

Watertown, CT
Courtesy of AnglicanTV

North Korea neighbors shore up borders; concern grows for future of trapped believers.
October 18, 2006

North Korea (MNN)--North Korea considers United Nations'-imposed sanctions a 'declaration of war'.

Voice of the Martyrs Canada's Glenn Penner says with China's obvious distancing, the ramifications are clear. "We do know that it's going to be far more difficult for refugees to escape into China with the possible implication of a blockade." Reports indicate a massive concrete and barbed wire fence is going between the borders and that China is now inspecting what comes across.

Other sources report customs officers in the border ports have tightened inspections of ships heading for North Korea.

What does this mean for those who have been bringing aid from the South? Penner says, "We do know that for South Koreans to go into the country and to bring some aid, even very clandestinely, is likely to be more of a challenge with tensions between North and South Korea escalating."
the rest

Christian migration from Mid-East at heart of patriarchs’ meeting
by Youssef Hourany

A meeting of the seven leaders of the eastern Churches opened yesterday in Lebanon. The leaders criticized some Arab states that treated Christians as second class citizens and fundamentalist groups that portrayed them as linked to the West

Beirut (AsiaNews) – How to stop the emigration of Christians – guarantors of human rights – from the Middle East was the main topic of the first day of a meeting of the seven patriarchs of the East. The gathering opened yesterday in Bzoummar, the seat of the Armenian-Catholic patriarchate on Mount Lebanon. From the start, participants lamented conditions facing Christians in some Arab states, where they were treated as second class citizens, made to feel like “strangers in their homeland” and hence pushed to emigrate.

Significantly titled “The Church and the earth”, the Ordinary Session of the meeting of the seven patriarchs of the East started yesterday, Tuesday 17 October, with an appeal to all Christians of the East. Ending on Friday, the meeting gathers the following patriarchs: Maronite, Nasrallah Sfeir, Greek-Melchite, Gregory III Laham, Coptic, Antonios Nagib, Syrian-Catholic, Boutros VIII Abdel Ahad, Latin of Jerusalem, Michel Sabbah, Chaldean, Emmanuel III Delly, as well as the host, the Armenian Catholic patriarch, Narsis Bedros XIX.

The Apostolic Nuncio in Lebanon, Mgr Luigi Gatti, greeted the patriarchs and underlined the importance and meaning of the chosen topic. He also stressed the value of the Christian presence in this land, because “Christians must understand that their staying is the only guarantee of the survival of symbolic values of independence, pluralism, denominational balance and respect for human rights”. The pontifical representative expressed hope that dialogue would be strengthened, as it is the only means capable of fighting fear, anguish and neglect.
the rest

Buried treasure

What happened to the 50 tons of gold, silver and sacred treasures looted from Herod's Temple following the Roman legionnaires' sack of Jerusalem on Tisha Be'av in the year 70 CE?

The Arch of Titus in Rome, erected shortly after the death of Titus who reigned as emperor from 79 to 81, clearly depicts Roman soldiers bearing on their shoulders the golden candelabrum, silver trumpets and bejeweled Table of the Divine Presence which the Roman emperor Vespasian and his son Titus carted back to Rome as trophies of war. Between 75 CE and the early fifth century, the treasure remained on public display in the Temple of Peace in Rome's Forum.

Many Jews believe - almost as an article of faith - that the Temple artifacts remain there in Rome, secreted away in vaults beneath the Vatican.
the rest

Ex-astronaut talks of space, God
Monday, October 16, 2006

HARBOR SPRINGS - Holding a Bible in his hands, the same Bible that has traveled millions of miles into space, former astronaut Col. Jack Lousma said he has been a believer since he was 9 years old.

It was that belief in God that led him to his career with NASA and helped him through his 17 years as an astronaut.

“I believe my relationship with Jesus Christ and my decision to do so was the best decision I ever made,” Lousma said during the “Dinner with an Astronaut” evening hosted by the Liberty Baptist Church of Alanson. “At every juncture ... we noted that whenever there was a change it was God directed. God helped us prosper.”

Lousma, 70, was one of 19 astronauts selected by NASA in April 1966. During his 17 years with NASA, Lousma logged 6,400 hours of flight time and 1,619 hours in space. He was one of the nation's first space residents, spending 59 days aboard America's first space station, Skylab. On his second flight, Lousma commanded the third orbital test flight of the Space Shuttle Columbia.
the rest

Not it! Mass. elementary school bans tag

ATTLEBORO, Mass. (AP) -- Tag, you're out! Officials at an elementary school south of Boston have banned kids from playing tag, touch football and any other unsupervised chase game during recess for fear they'll get hurt and hold the school liable.

Recess is "a time when accidents can happen," said Willett Elementary School Principal Gaylene Heppe, who approved the ban.

While there is no districtwide ban on contact sports during recess, local rules have been cropping up. Several school administrators around Attleboro, a city of about 45,000 residents, took aim at dodgeball a few years ago, saying it was exclusionary and dangerous.
the rest

Pedophile Nation
Ben Stein
Published 10/18/2006

Obviously, it's not easy to have a lot of sympathy for Mark Foley. He did some extremely questionable things, and he's being heartily punished for it, with more to come, most likely.

But he has raised an interesting issue long overdue for national discussion. The media and the pundits are acting as if something brand new happened when a grown up discovered the sexuality of teenagers. They're acting as if teenagers are innocent little children who never heard of sex until they got e-mails from a Member of Congress.

The truth is just the opposite. This is a nation that is absolutely drenched in juvenile sex. I am not sure exactly when it happened, but it sure was going
on when I was a teenager and that was a long time ago in the days of James Dean. The problem is vastly more prevalent now.
the rest

Iran bans fast internet to cut west's influence ·
Service providers told to restrict online speeds· Opponents say move will hamper country's progress
Robert Tait in Tehran
Wednesday October 18, 2006
The Guardian

Iran's Islamic government has opened a new front in its drive to stifle domestic political dissent and combat the influence of western culture - by banning high-speed internet links.

In a blow to the country's estimated 5 million internet users, service providers have been told to restrict online speeds to 128 kilobytes a second and been forbidden from offering fast broadband packages. The move by Iran's telecommunications regulator will make it more difficult to download foreign music, films and television programmes, which the authorities blame for undermining Islamic culture among the younger generation. It will also impede efforts by political opposition groups to organise by uploading information on to the net.
the rest

New class of diabetes drugs receives approval from FDA
The once-daily tablet has fewer side effects and can be taken with existing medicines
Los Angeles Times

Federal regulators on Tuesday approved a new class of oral drugs for Type 2 diabetes that are as effective as most existing treatments and avoid common side effects, such as dangerously low blood sugar.

The Food and Drug Administration said Merck & Co.'s Januvia, a once-daily tablet, could be taken alone or in combination with the commonly used oral diabetes medicines metformin, Actos and Avandia.
the rest

Protestants seek a distinctive voice in Europe
Protestant pastor: There is a specific Protestant source of ethics, particularly towards freedom and responsibility, which could be helpful in discussing contemporary issues in Europe
Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The newly-elected general secretary of Europe's largest grouping of Protestant churches says that he wants to strengthen the "Protestant voice" in European affairs, while also stepping up dialogue with other religious traditions – reports Ecumenical News International.

"There is a specific Protestant source of ethics, particularly towards freedom and responsibility, which could be helpful in discussing contemporary issues in Europe," explained the Rev Michael Buenker, who takes over in January 2007 as general secretary of the Community of Protestant Churches in Europe.

Mr Buenker, a 52-year-old Lutheran pastor, was speaking following his election in September at the general assembly in Budapest of the coalition, which has 104 European Protestant churches in membership.
the rest

Democrats need to rethink abortion views

Kristen Day is a pro-life Democrat and she is not alone.

It used to seem that way, however.

"When I started becoming active in the Democratic Party, I almost felt like you couldn't be pro-life in the Democratic Party," she said. "I thought I was the only one."

Day got active in Democratic Party politics when she was a student at Michigan State University during in 1998. She's worked in Washington, D.C., for several years for different Democratic congressmen and she's been increasingly saddened to see activists push her party out of power and out of the mainstream of American life because of a vehement opposition to pro-life views by special interest groups.
the rest

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

"Moses went out unto his brethren, and looked on their burdens." Exodus 2:11

Moses saw the oppression of his people and felt certain that he was the one to deliver them, and in the righteous indignation of his own spirit he started to right their wrongs. After the first strike for God and for the right, God allowed Moses to be driven into blank discouragement, He sent him into the desert to feed sheep for forty years. At the end of that time, God appeared and told Moses to go and bring forth His people, and Moses said - "Who am I, that I should go?" In the beginning Moses realized that he was the man to deliver the people, but he had to be trained and disciplined by God first. He was right in the individual aspect, but he was not the man for the work until he had learned communion with God.

We may have the vision of God and a very clear understanding of what God wants, and we start to do the thing, then comes something equivalent to the forty years in the wilderness, as if God had ignored the whole thing, and when we are thoroughly discouraged God comes back and revives the call, and we get the quaver in and say - "Oh, who am I?" We have to learn the first great stride of God - "I AM THAT I AM hath sent thee." We have to learn that our individual effort for God is an impertinence; our individuality is to be rendered incandescent by a personal relationship to God (see Matthew 3:17). We fix on the individual aspect of things; we have the vision - "This is what God wants me to do;" but we have not got into God's stride. If you are going through a time of discouragement, there is a big personal enlargement ahead. ... Oswald Chambers

School Trip to Abortuary Triggers Calls for Firing of School Administrator
Students wore vests used by abortion escorts to take women in for their abortions
By Gudrun Schultz
NEW HOPE, Pennsylvania,
October 17, 2006

( - The National Pro-Life Action Center (NPLAC) in Washinton D.C. is calling for an investigation after a private school sponsored a field trip to a nearby abortuary, triggering outrage in the local community.

More than a dozen high school students from Solebury School, near Philadelphia, were taken by bus to the Planned Parenthood location in Warminster, Catholic News Service reported, where they spent several hours touring the clinic. According to CNS the students wore vests used by abortion staff when escorting women into the building.

Jason Gordon, social science teacher for the school and the trip organizer, said the outing was part of an “activism class.”

“This is outrageous,” said attorney Stephen G. Peroutka, chairman of NPLAC. “Why would somebody take children out of school and to an abortion business? Why would anybody think that was good for kids? Whoever did--shouldn’t be teaching, and the school should be investigated and the administrator fired.”
the rest

Anglican Church to elect Aboriginal leaders

The Anglican Church in Sydney will for the first time give Aboriginal people a voice on its supreme decision making body, the Synod.

The Archbishop of Sydney, Peter Jensen, is behind the move, which was debated yesterday at the church's annual Synod meeting.

The church's spokesman on Indigenous affairs, Archdeacon Geoff Huard, says two Indigenous Anglican Christians - including a minister and a lay person - will be elected.

He says it is a significant step.

"It will enable them to explain directly to one of the major denominations their views on social issues and other issues that affect them," he said.
the rest

US full of Internet addicts: study
Oct 17

The United States could be rife with Internet addicts as clinically ill as alcoholics, an unprecedented study released suggested.

Researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine in Silicon Valley said their telephone survey indicated more than one of every eight US residents showed at least one sign of "problematic Internet use."

The findings backed those of previous, less rigorous studies, according to

Most disturbing was the discovery that some people hid their Internet surfing, or went online to cure foul moods in ways that mirrored alcoholics using booze, according to the study's lead author, Elias Aboujaoude.

"In a sense, they're using the Internet to self-medicate," Aboujaoude said. "And obviously something is wrong when people go out of their way to hide their Internet activity."
the rest

Nominee by Petition for Arkansas Bishop

The Rev. Jo Ann Barker, rector of St. Mark’s Church, Jonesboro, Ark., has been nominated by petition as the fifth candidate for the election of a successor to the Rt. Rev. Larry E. Maze, who will retire as Bishop of Arkansas at the end of the year.

The previously announced candidates are: the Rev. Larry R. Benfield, rector, Christ Church, Little Rock, Ark.; the Rev. Brian N. Prior, rector, Resurrection, Spokane Valley, Wash.; the Rev. Gregory H. Rickel, rector, St. James’, Austin, Texas; and the Very Rev. John C. Ross, dean, St. John’s Cathedral, Knoxville, Tenn.

The nominees are scheduled to participate in a walkabout Saturday at St. Mark’s, Little Rock. A special electing convention will be held Nov. 11 at Trinity Cathedral, Little Rock. Pending consent from a majority of bishops and standing committees in other dioceses of The Episcopal Church, the bishop-elect will be consecrated Jan. 6 at the Episcopal Collegiate School in Little Rock.

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Cloning Doubletalk
Robert Novak
October 16, 2006

WASHINGTON -- A new video available on YouTube marks a late attempt by pro-life forces to avert serious defeat in Missouri Nov. 7, with national implications. Cathy Ruse, speaking for Missourians Against Human Cloning, declares: "Amendment 2 is a fraud. It is an attempt to trick Missourians into approving -- in their Constitution -- human cloning, the right of biotech firms to do human cloning in Missouri -- something Missourians oppose by an overwhelming majority."

But Amendment 2 is identified for many Missouri voters by the language at the beginning of the five-page, 2,000-word ballot initiative: "No person may clone or attempt to clone a human being." That explains why polls have shown a substantial margin of support for the constitutional amendment, which is also backed by key Republican politicians and business interests. It seems to offer the best of all worlds: government support of stem cell research without fear of cloning.
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Life as you've never seen it
Famed photog takes us inside the human experience

It's a journey through the human body never imagined. Here are the most stunning, detailed photos of new human life ever photographed - published in the United States for the first time.

Titled "Life," the collection of oversize color images from scientific photographer Lennart Nilsson magnifies the wonders of the human body like never before.

Nilsson is best known for his iconic 1965 Life magazine cover shot of a living human embryo - the first time that life at such an early stage was captured on camera.

Using the world's most powerful electron microscope in Sweden, Nilsson has documented everything from the inner ventricles of the brain and plaque deposits on teeth, to the HIV virus encompassing a white blood cell - all blown up to show exacting detail.

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Jesus in cyberspace - you'd better believe it
Linda Morris Religious Affairs Writer
October 18, 2006

SYDNEY Anglicans have appointed their first web evangelist to oversee a new, internet-based ministry.

David Horne, a lay pastor, has been employed by the church's media group as its first internet missionary. His job is to establish an interactive website forum for Bible studies.

The appointment, effective from January, is in response to the mission of the Archbishop of Sydney, Peter Jensen, to convert 10 per cent of Sydneysiders to the gospel by 2012. It recognises that the internet is a popular tool, especially among a new, technology-savvy generation, and that unless ways can be found to reach more people, churches might wilt and die.

Mr Horne will head a team of 35 students from Moore College who will provide question and answer sessions on, which is the Sydney Anglican web base.
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Arabs Take Epic Sahara Camel Trek to Spread Gospel
Erich Bridges
Baptist Press

NORTHERN AFRICA -- How’s this for a mission trip: Three months on camels in the scorching Sahara. No contact with family members. Beaten with metal rods. Kidnapped by renegade soldiers.

All to bring Jesus to isolated oasis camps inhabited by nomads - hostile strangers who might not give you water during your journey, much less listen to your message.

That’s what some new Arab believers did earlier this year. They intend to do it again next year - and the year after that. Why? Because they read the New Testament.

“It was the Holy Spirit,” says Luke*, the Southern Baptist worker who introduced the Arabs to stories from God’s Word.
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Secret polygamy widespread in West
Utah overlooks it, unless other crimes also are committed
Friday, October 13, 2006
Kristen Scharnberg and Manya A . Brachear

EAGLE MOUNTAIN, Utah — The neighborhood looks like any other in the upper-middleclass suburbs: sprawling homes with porch swings and manicured lawns strewn with kids’ bikes.
But beneath the all-American veneer, much is different in this upscale subdivision 40 miles south of Salt Lake City.

"Pretty much everyone who lives here is polygamous," said Mary, a woman who gave a recent tour of the area and who is herself the second wife of a Utah man. She, like other polygamists interviewed, asked to be identified only by her first name for fear of prosecution.

"There may be one or two houses that aren’t, but virtually everyone else here is one of ours," she said.
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No. 118 — a heavy-duty creation
Scientists find new metal element; some are doubtful
By Ian Hoffman, STAFF WRITER
Article Last Updated:10/17/2006

LIVERMORE — By firing atoms of metal at another metal, Russian and American scientists reported Monday, they created a new element — No. 118 on the periodic table — that is the heaviest substance known.

Ununoctium, as the new element is temporarily named, has no known use but inspired almost a decade-long pursuit by scientists on four continents. Controversy in the course of its discovery hobbled the career of one physicist and almost wrecked the world's most productive team of element hunters at Berkeley.

So far, science has gotten a fair measure of trouble out of element 118 for a substance that breaks down in a few thousandths of a second. As quickly as the discovery was announced, at least one competing team voiced doubts that it had been found at all.
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Bishops seek role in gay marriage debate
Papal scoldings renew church's commitment`We are guardians of tradition': Papal official
Oct. 17, 2006.

CORNWALL, ONT.—Spurred by papal scoldings and a Conservative government promising to reopen the same-sex marriage debate, Canada's Catholic church is positioning itself to take a much more active role in the country's politics.

"We are a big part of this society," Winnipeg Archbishop James Weisgerber, vice-president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, told the Star yesterday. "We will be a vigorous part of the debate."

Much of the conference's week-long annual meeting here is dedicated to strategizing for taking a larger role in public policy debates.
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First Muslim veil, now Christian cross: What can - or should - Britons wear?

Back to Britain for the latest development in what some see as an ongoing, perhaps worsening, clash of cultures, a confrontation of social and religious values that is playing out in an unmistakably political context:

Even as the debate rages on in the U.K. about former Foreign Secretary and current Leader of the House of Commons Jack Straw's remarks questioning the practicality of Muslim women in Britain wearing the traditional, face-covering veil in all settings, now comes the news that airline employee Nadia Eweida was sent home on unpaid leave for wearing a Christian-cross necklace.

Eweida is a British Airways check-in agent at Heathrow, in London. BA rules regarding employees' uniforms allow a worker to wear jewelry, "including religious symbols - but it must be concealed underneath [his or her] uniform. However, the airline says that items such as turbans, hijabs [Muslim head scarves] and bangles can be worn 'as it is not practical for staff to conceal them beneath their uniforms.'" (
Financial Times)

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Port Townsend: Jerusalem bishop visits partner church

PORT TOWNSEND -- An Arab Anglican bishop whose ministry is to bridge the gulf between Muslims and Jews in the Middle East brought his message of peace to a local parish last week.

Suheil Dawani is bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Jerusalem, and a founder of ``Kids for Peace,'' a program that takes groups of Muslim and Jewish children on trips together out of the Middle East to promote interfaith friendships.

On Thursday, he came to Port Townsend to share the Eucharist, a potluck dinner and a message of hope with people who share his vision at St. Paul's Episcopal Church.
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South Sudan Anglican Church rejects tribalism and homosexuality
Tuesday 17 October 2006
By Manyang Mayom

Oct 16, 2006 (RUMBEK) — The Anglican Church of Sudan said preferring to establish its own hierarchy in the country in a manner to mark its distance from other reformist churches for tribalism and their practices of homosexuality and abortion.

The Archbishop of Anglican Church of Sudan, in South Sudan Rt. Rev most Archbishop Abraham Mayom Athiaan told the Sudan Tribune “We, the bishops together with our congregation of the Anglican church of the Sudan (ACS) strongly condemn the practice of homosexuality, abortion which is being practiced in Episcopal Church of Sudan (ECS) leaderships.

“This was one of the main causes of the split”, he added in an interview from Rumbek.
The Archbishop also criticised the tribalism and the bad administration in the other reformist church.

”We left Episcopal Church of Sudan (ECS) due to bad administration, lack of equal development in all the regions and practicing of tribalism among the people of Sudan”. He further said that the luck of good governance, democracy, Church norms and good conduct motivated their decision to split.
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Monday, October 16, 2006

Military Scholar Finds Americans Woefully Ignorant of History, Geography
By Jim Brown
October 16, 2006

WASHINGTON, DC (AgapePress) - A military historian says although the study of history is the key to military success, many U.S. students -- including some of the top students at American military academies -- are seriously deficient in their knowledge of this essential subject.

Dr. Williamson Murray is Professor Emeritus of European Military History at Ohio State University and a Senior Fellow at the Institute of Defense Analysis (IDA). Recently, he spoke at the
Heritage Foundation in Washington, DC, about his latest book, The Past as Prologue: the Importance of History to the Military Profession (Cambridge University Press, 2006).

According to Murray, if a person has not read extensively in history by the time he or she arrives in a government position or reaches a senior position in the U.S. military, it may be too late. He notes that in addition to being at IDA, he is also a visiting professor at the United States Naval Academy, where he teaches plebes "Naval History and Heritage," and where he has been dismayed by what he discovered about many students' knowledge of history.
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New Book Exposes Startling Truths About America's Public School System
Public Education Against America by Marlin Maddoux, Late Founder of USA Radio Network
Book Review by James L. Lambert
October 13, 2006

(AgapePress) - The Christian world was deeply affected in March 2004 by news of the passing of
Marlin Maddoux, a pioneer in radio as well as a noted journalist and author, who also hosted the weekday radio program, "Point of View" (featured on the USA Radio Network). And at his untimely death, the author's closest friends discovered another important contribution -- the transcripts for his new book, Public Education Against America (Whitaker House Press).

The book is an expose of sorts, loaded with facts CBS News, PBS Radio or the New York Times would never disclose. In fact, Maddoux recounts numerous times in the book that the data he accessed on some of his radio programs was almost unbelievable. His skills as an investigative reporter enabled him to dig to the root of many of the issues confronting public education, and the book is packed with statistics that will alert parents to the crisis in America's public school system.
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Desensitizing abortion is a disservice to women

WASHINGTON As public relations campaigns go, proudly proclaiming “We Had Abortions” probably isn’t going to win any Addy awards.

Such is the gist of Ms. Magazine’s current campaign to thwart trends toward curtailment of abortion. The Oct. 10 issue of the feminist magazine features a cover story titled “We Had Abortions,” as well as a petition signed by thousands of women who, well, have had abortions.
And who are not one bit sorry.

The campaign was organized to put a woman’s face on abortion, as Ms. Magazine publisher Eleanor Smeal put it, and as a counterpunch to pro-life testimonials from women who regretted their abortions.

The fact that many women feel shame, guilt and loss, and are willing to say so, has created a snag in the fabric of pro-choice arguments that focus only on the technical aspect of abortion.
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Left, right and religion: A double standard
The religious right has been demonized for pursuing a political agenda aligned with its beliefs. When the religious left acts in kind, shouldn’t the same scrutiny be applied to its progressive push?

By Patrick Hynes and Jeremy Lott

Should our laws be based on the Ten Commandments? How much religion in government is too much? When does legitimate participation by the pious in civic life take on troubling theocratic overtones? These are questions that conservative religious leaders wish the press would put to them.

In our political tradition, most evangelicals and other conservative Christians today are really moderates. They want a government that is non-sectarian without being hostile to organized religion and people of faith. That's a whole lot closer to what the Founders had in mind than the officially godless public square advocated by the American Civil Liberties Union.
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Sunday, October 15, 2006

Episcopal nun begins new life
A former nurse becomes Episcopal nun, devoted to prayer in monastery she began
By Liz F. Kay
October 15, 2006

Irene Forbes Perkins has already accomplished a lot during her life. The registered nurse was the chief executive of a home health care company in Florida. She led a healing ministry and served as senior warden of her Episcopal parish.

But yesterday, she took the final step toward a new life of contemplative prayer as Sister Teresa Irene of the Heart of God, the founder and coordinator of the first Carmelite order in the worldwide Anglican community.

At a ceremony at the Episcopal Cathedral of the Incarnation in North Baltimore, the nun dedicated her life to God and to the Episcopal Carmel of St. Teresa, a monastery she has started in Rising Sun with the guidance of Roman Catholic Carmelites.
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Religious group says gay marriage threatens rights
By Brandie M. Jefferson, Associated Press Writer
October 15, 2006

BOSTON --Conservative religious and political leaders rallied Sunday in opposition of gay marriage, arguing that their rights to religious expression are being threatened.

The event, being broadcast to churches nationally, is part of a larger effort to energize conservative voters before the Congressional elections in three weeks.

Gov. Mitt Romney, a likely Republican candidate for president in 2008, was scheduled to join several members of the Massachusetts clergy and an estimated 1,000 supporters at the Tremont Temple Baptist Church.

The Washington-based Family Research Council chose Boston for the site of its annual "Liberty Sunday" because Massachusetts is the only state that has legalized gay marriage.
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Thou shalt help to save the planet, Mothers' Union tells its 3.6m flock
By Ruth Gledhill and Alan Hamilton

Leaders issue new commandments on how to fight poverty and climate change

HONOUR thy father and thy Mothers’ Union, and the meek may yet inherit some kind of Earth.
Thou shalt abhor Kenyan green beans, nor shall ye drive to the shops when you can get the bus. Thou shalt turn thy central heating down and thy television off at night, and shouldst thou fly thou shalt plant a tree of penitence to offset thy carbon emissions. Thereby might the planet be saved.

The Mothers’ Union, a powerful Christian pressure group of 3.6 million members within the worldwide Anglican Communion, has issued its own Ten Commandments in a new drive to help the world’s poor and to fight against climate change. It takes as its text the Old Testament prophet Micah, who urged the Israelites to “act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with your God”.

Instead of tablets of stone the union, founded in 1876, with 122,000 members in the UK, and not to be confused with the Women’s Institute, has produced a campaign booklet, Fair Enough?, which lists ten small but effective ways in which members can mother the Earth back to good health.
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Surprising Stats in New Church Research
Mission America Coalition

ST LOUIS, Mo., Oct. 12—Attendance at American churches is less than half of what we have believed in the past, according to Dave Olson, director of church planting for the Evangelical Covenant Church, and director of the American Church Research Project.

Olson addressed the Mission America Coalition annual conference on its closing day with groundbreaking new research about the state of the American church. Instead of relying on limited survey data which is then extrapolated to the entire population, Olson has worked for years to build a database of actual recorded attendance in over 300,000 churches across America. His vision was to present a much more accurate picture of what is really happening to the American church at both the national and local levels, and with information refined down to individual zip codes. "I'm not relying on what people say, I'm measuring their actual behavior," he told nearly 170 national church, ministry, and lay leaders gathered.

According to Olson's research, overall church attendance is virtually unchanged from 15 years ago, even though the United States population has grown by 52 million people—mostly unchurched. The northeast U.S. is the only region where the church is growing faster than the population, and no state has seen a net increase in the percentage of church attendance in the last five years. Even in the southern states, the traditional Bible Belt, the population is growing faster than the church. “Having information about actual attendance at churches in individual communities is a significant leap forward by itself,” said Jim Overholt, executive director of the Coalition, “but even more important is that we can now overlay the church data with census and other demographic information to tell us more about the dynamics of change within income, education, and other key sociological indicators that are also available by zip code.” the rest

Kim Jong-il ethnic 'cult' killing 'racially impure'
North Korean regime obsessed with purity,belief in master race, deification of leader
Posted: October 15, 2006

A growing body of testimony is vindicating President Bush's charge that North Korea is a member of the "axis of evil" – refugees are reporting the killing of disabled infants and forced abortions of babies believed fathered by Chinese men in an obsessive program based on mystical notions of Korean racial superiority.

At a forum in Seoul, South Korea, several refugees from the north described a policy of state eugenics carried out with extreme repression.

"There are no people with physical defects in North Korea," said Ri Kwang-chol, a North Korean doctor who escaped last year. Babies with defects are killed by medical staff and quickly buried, he told the London Times.

Among the "physical defects" that will get a baby killed – even one in the womb – is being half-Chinese.
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Magnitude 6.5 Earthquake Strikes Hawaii
By GREG SMALL Associated Press Writer

HONOLULU (AP) -- An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.5 struck Hawaii early Sunday morning, causing a landslide that blocked a major highway on Hawaii Island, the Pacific Tsunami Center said.

Power was out power across the state and there were unconfirmed reports of injuries, according to the State Civil Defense. Problems with communication prevented more definite reports.

Gov. Linda Lingle said in a radio interview with KSSK from Hawaii Island that she had no report of any fatalities.

The U.S. Geological Survey reported a preliminary magnitude of 6.3, along with several aftershocks, including one measuring a magnitude of 5.8. No damage reports were immediately available.
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