Saturday, December 16, 2006

Come unto me."—Matthew 11:28.

The cry of the Christian religion is the gentle word, "Come." The Jewish law harshly said, "Go, take heed unto thy steps as to the path in which thou shalt walk. Break the commandments, and thou shalt perish; keep them, and thou shalt live." The law was a dispensation of terror, which drove men before it as with a scourge; the gospel draws with bands of love. Jesus is the good Shepherd going before His sheep, bidding them follow Him, and ever leading them onwards with the sweet word, "Come." The law repels, the gospel attracts. The law shows the distance which there is between God and man; the gospel bridges that awful chasm, and brings the sinner across it.


From the first moment of your spiritual life until you are ushered into glory, the language of Christ to you will be, "Come, come unto me." As a mother puts out her finger to her little child and woos it to walk by saying, "Come," even so does Jesus. He will always be ahead of you, bidding you follow Him as the soldier follows his captain. He will always go before you to pave your way, and clear your path, and you shall hear His animating voice calling you after Him all through life; while in the solemn hour of death, His sweet words with which He shall usher you into the heavenly world shall be—"Come, ye blessed of my Father."

Nay, further, this is not only Christ's cry to you, but, if you be a believer, this is your cry to Christ—"Come! come!" You will be longing for His second advent; you will be saying, "Come quickly, even so come Lord Jesus." You will be panting for nearer and closer communion with Him. As His voice to you is "Come," your response to Him will be, "Come, Lord, and abide with me. Come, and occupy alone the throne of my heart; reign there without a rival, and consecrate me entirely to Thy service."
...CH Spurgeon icon

CBS Mocks Christ on Charlie Sheen Show; Christians Want Apology
By
Nathan Black
Christian Post Reporter
Sat, Dec. 16 2006

Some Christians have called for an apology from CBS for actor Charlie Sheen's mocking of Christ, Christmas and Christians on a program shown earlier this week.

On the Dec. 11 program of Two and a Half Men, Sheen gave a "vulgar adaptation," as the American Family Association described it, of a few favorite Christian Christmas carols, including "Joy to the World." The Monday episode opened with Sheen singing about his sexual activity to the Christmas tunes.

"CBS approved Sheen's adaptation of the favorite Christmas carol, making it into a vulgar sex song," said Donald E. Wildmon, Chairman of AFA, in a statement. "The network and sponsors paid Sheen to mock Christ, Christmas and Christians. Many in the Christian community are growing tired of this bigotry by the networks and Hollywood."
the rest

Congress slams Smithsonian's anti-religious attacks
Report documents 'invidious discrimination' in campaign against Darwin dissenters
Posted: December 16
By Bob Unruh
2006 WorldNetDaily.com

A
new report from the U.S. House of Representatives has condemned officials at the Smithsonian Institution for imposing a religious test on scientists who work there. And it suggests their attacks on a scientist who just edited an article on intelligent design are just the tip of the iceberg of an industry-wide fear of anything that suggests man might not have come from a puddle of sludge.

the rest

Survey: Faith doesn’t determine spending habits for Christmas
By Hannah Elliott

Dec 15, 2006

DALLAS -- Christians won’t spend as much money this Christmas as their non-religious counterparts, but the Christian retail industry continues to expand exponentially, according to recent reports.

Researchers who conducted a recent Gallup Poll said no relationship exists between “one's depth of religious commitment and one's Christmas budget.” The results are surprising in light of the fact that Christmas is one of the holiest days on the Christian calendar.

“In fact, less religious Americans may spend more on Christmas gifts than do active practitioners,” the Nov. 9 report said.

According to the survey, people who seldom or never attend a place of worship said they will spend an estimated average of $853 on gifts this year, compared with roughly $800 for those who worship either weekly or nearly weekly.

But Christmastime restraint on the part of Christians hasn’t hurt the bottom line in the Christian retail industry, which makes $4.5 billion annually. Experts say the market for Christian books, trinkets and décor will grow to $9.5 billion by 2010.
the rest

Pope's Preacher Calls for Abuse Penance
The Associated Press
By VICTOR L. SIMPSON
December 15, 2006

Pope Benedict XVI's personal preacher asked the pontiff Friday to declare a day of fasting and penance to publicly declare repentance and express solidarity with the victims of clerical sex abuse.

In a strongly worded lecture, he denounced the 'abominations' committed inside the Roman Catholic Church 'by its own ministers and pastors' and declared that the church 'paid a high price for this.'

'The moment has come, after the emergency, to do the most important thing of all: to cry before God,' the Rev. Raniero Cantalamessa said in the first of a series of pre-Christmas lectures in the presence of the pope in a Vatican chapel.
the rest

India Has Killed 10 Million Girls in 20 Years
By PALASH KUMAR

Dec. 15, 2006 — Ten million girls have been killed by their parents in India in the past 20 years, either before they were born or immediately after, a government minister said on Thursday, describing it as a "national crisis".

A UNICEF report released this week said 7,000 fewer girls are born in the country every day than the global average would suggest, largely because female foetuses are aborted after sex determination tests but also through murder of new borns.

"It's shocking figures and we are in a national crisis if you ask me," Minister for Women and Child Development Renuka Chowdhury told Reuters.

Girls are seen as liabilities by many Indians, especially because of the banned but rampant practice of dowry, where the bride's parents pay cash and goods to the groom's family.
Men are also seen as bread-winners while social prejudices deny women opportunities for education and jobs.

"Today, we have the odd distinction of having lost 10 million girl children in the past 20 years," Chowdhury told a seminar in Delhi University.
the rest

Will California embrace Marriage Lite?
Debra J. Saunders
December 16, 2006

The latest trend from California could be non-marriage marriage — thanks to a new bill sponsored by state Sen. Carole Migden to expand civil unions to heterosexual couples.


You've heard straight supporters of same-sex marriage quip before: How can same-sex marriage affect their heterosexual unions? Unwittingly, Migden has given ammunition to those who argue that same-sex unions will change the institution of marriage for everyone, as she works to offer all heterosexuals Marriage Lite.

Migden is the author of the 1999 civil union bill that allowed same-sex couples to register with the state as domestic partners. Unfortunately, no state bill can offer same-sex couples all the protections of marriage, such as Social Security survivor benefits — and that should change.

The 1999 bill also allowed heterosexual couples with one partner older than 62 to register as domestic partners — in order to allow seniors to protect their pensions while enjoying some benefits of marriage. Migden had wanted civil unions to apply to straight and same-sex couples of all ages, but agreed to the over-62 compromise. Now with Senate Bill 11, she is pushing to extend the benefit of having it both ways to all heterosexual couples.

Migden's rationale? More than half of couples in the United States are living together without getting married. Migden, in a telephone interview, cited a New York Times article that reported on heterosexual couples who say they will not marry until homosexual couples can do the same. "It's not just Angelina Jolie and Brad," Migden noted. Brad, being Brad Pitt, who wrote in Esquire, "Angie and I will consider tying the knot when everyone else in the country who wants to be married is legally able."
the rest

Anglican keys in Northern Virginia
December 16, 2006
GetReligion

Tomorrow is a giant news day in the Anglican wars, which is a global story that also has an American angle, a new York City angle, a Virginia angle and a Washington, D.C., suburban angle.
That’s some story.

I am referring, of course, to the fact that a circle of conservative, and in some cases historic, Anglican parishes have been
voting all week on motions to withdraw from the Diocese of Virginia and, thus, the Episcopal Church, which is currently the Canterbury-recognized branch of Anglicanism here in the United States of America.

It is a giant, complex story and a very hard one for reporters to cover. There are all kinds of people
— left, right and center — who would prefer that the entire drama play out behind closed doors.

the rest

Episcopal Rift Drawing Near Point of Revolt
By
LAURIE GOODSTEIN
Published: December 17, 2006

For about 30 years, the
Episcopal Church has been one big unhappy family. Under one roof there were female bishops and male bishops who would not ordain women. There were parishes that celebrated gay weddings and parishes that denounced them; theologians sure that Jesus was the only route to salvation, and theologians who disagreed.

Now, after years of threats, the family is breaking up.

As many as eight conservative Episcopal churches in
Virginia are expected to announce today that their parishioners have voted to cut their ties with the Episcopal Church. Two are large, historic congregations that minister to the Washington elite and occupy real estate worth a combined $27 million, which could result in a legal battle over who keeps the property.

In a twist, these wealthy American congregations are essentially putting themselves up for adoption by Anglican archbishops in poorer dioceses in Africa, Asia and Latin America, who share conservative theological views about homosexuality and the interpretation of Scripture with the breakaway Americans.
the rest

Ideas about religion's role in European life back in the spotlight
By BRIAN MURPHY
Associated Press
Dec. 16, 2006

ATHENS, Greece — In 1905 France passed a landmark law declaring a clean break between church and state. Riots erupted and a papal encyclical denounced the act as a "most pernicious error."

Such extreme passions cooled long ago, but the core questions remain as strong as ever. Debates over religion, politics and civic life — and how much they should overlap and interact — are demanding more attention across Europe than at any time in recent decades.

It's no longer just about whether to untangle or preserve the old relationships between secular and spiritual— often only symbolic these days, but still an important stream of revenue for churches.

New fronts are emerging: Traditionalist groups seeking a closer embrace of Europe's Christian heritage, and others predicting that efforts to better integrate Muslim communities will also require new models for religion's role in public life.

"Religion — for good and bad — is reasserting itself as a force in Europe," said Gerhard Robbers, a professor of political and religious studies at Germany's University of Trier. "The period of secularism is coming to an end. A new landscape is emerging."
the rest

Diocese faces exodus of flock
By Julia Duin

THE WASHINGTON TIMES
December 16, 2006

Virginia Bishop Peter J. Lee, head of the nation's largest Episcopal diocese, could lose almost 10 percent of his flock tomorrow if several conservative parishes carry out their threats to leave the church.

He is denying reports that pressure from denominational leaders in New York is forcing him to take a hard line with the nine churches that want to leave the denomination over questions of biblical authority and the 2003 consecration of New Hampshire Bishop V. Gene Robinson, an active homosexual.

"The diocese owns their property," he said in an interview with The Washington Times. "It was developed by generations of people who were faithful Episcopalians and who are buried with these churches. We have a fiduciary responsibility not to let a current generation of leaders -- who are mistaken -- to take away the property of the church."

But, he added, "I do not want to go to court if we can avoid that."
the rest

Kentucky: 2 former Episcopal groups are prospering
Now Anglican, both are acquiring buildings
By Frank E. Lockwood
HERALD-LEADER RELIGION WRITER

When it severed ties with its denomination, Church of the Apostles forfeited more than its "Episcopal" label. It also gave up its buildings, its bank accounts, its furniture, even its name tags.

For nearly two years, the Lexington congregation met in an elementary school cafeteria, but now the church has a home of its own again.

Apostles Anglican Church bought Chevy Chase Baptist Church's building earlier this month for $1.8 million.

On Sunday, they gathered for their first morning worship service. The Rev. Martin Gornik, pastor of Apostles, says churchgoers contributed $1.5 million in cash and pledges in about six weeks to make the purchase possible.
the rest

Anglican website invites people to share faith stories
TORONTO (Dec 16, 2006)

The Anglican Church of Canada has a new website where members can share their own faith stories.

The website,
http://www.storiesoffaith.ca/ was created by General Synod, the church's governing body, for people to discuss themes and issues that they feel strongly about.

In 2007, the Stories of Faith website will start a discussion of issues that will be before General Synod when it meets in Winnipeg next summer. Anglicans will be invited to respond to a series of introductory essays.
link

Friday, December 15, 2006

What we need very badly these days is a company of Christians who are prepared to trust God as completely now as they know they must do at the last day. For each of us the time is coming when we shall have nothing but God. Health and wealth and friends and hiding places will be swept away, and we shall have only God. To the man of pseudo faith that is terrifying, but to real faith it is one of the most comforting thoughts the heart can entertain. ...AW Tozer photo

Anglican bishop who aided PCUSA in Mideast debate faces 'mushrooming' charges
By John H. Adams
The Layman Online
Friday, December 15, 2006

Bishop Riah Abu El-Assal of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem – whom Presbyterian Church (USA) leaders have frequently called upon to shore up their pro-Palestinian arguments against Israel – is facing "mushrooming" charges of nepotism and graft as a result of an Anglican inquiry, according to
The Jerusalem Post.

PCUSA photo of El-Assal El-Assal, who was a prominent and long-time member of the Progressive List for Peace, an organization of Arab and Jewish peace activists, was a resource to the PCUSA in the workup of the 2004 General Assembly resolution that called for divestment of denominational funds in corporations that do business with Israel.

That recommendation was modified substantially by the 2006 General Assembly after both Jewish and Christian groups said the PCUSA was anti-semitic in its Mideast partisanship.

According to The Post, opponents of the bishop want him to resign immediately. The newspaper said it had received a copy of a 35-page report that "concluded that El-Assal arranged to have a tender for the insurance policy of employees of the church's two schools here issued to a company that promised to give half the commission to his son-in-law."
the rest

ENS: Multimedia: Njongonkulu Ndungane on the Millennium Development Goals
Friday, December 15, 2006

Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane of Cape Town, Primate of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, has been one of the leading voices on issues of peace and justice throughout the Anglican Communion and is steadfast in his endorsement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). In an interview with the Episcopal News Service, Ndungane offers an overview of the MDGs and speaks about ways in which people can become involved in the fight against global poverty.

Video and audio streams of Ndungane's interview are available
here.

the rest

Americans will devote half their lives to forms of media next year
By Janet Kornblum
USA TODAY

Americans love their media — so much that next year they'll spend nearly half their lives watching TV, going online, listening to the radio (or music) and reading. That's what the U.S. Census Bureau is predicting in its "Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2007," out today.

The annual report uses data from several sources, including private industry and non-profits. It has statistics on everything from elections to transportation to finances.

In 2000, Americans each spent an average of 3,333 hours consuming media — and most of that time (1,467 hours) was spent in front of the TV, according to Veronis Suhler Stevenson, a media-oriented money management company that supplied much of the media data used in the report.

Next year, Americans will spend 3,518 hours with their beloved media, including 1,555 in front of the TV, says Veronis Suhler Stevenson. That means the average American will spend roughly 146 days, or five months, consuming media.
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U.S. Iraqi Christians Seek Help
By ALLISON HOFFMAN
ASSOCIATED PRESS

EL CAJON, Calif. (AP) - For the past three years, Raad Khalaf has worried that every phone call to his suburban San Diego home would bring bad news about his sister in Baghdad.

Last week, the phone rang with good news instead: his sister had reached Dubai on a temporary visa, joining the growing flight of Christians from the relentless violence in Iraq.

"Now the question is what happens when the visa expires," said Khalaf, an insurance broker who arrived in San Diego decades ago by way of Paris. "This is a remedy, but it's not a permanent solution."
the rest

Ireland rejects lesbian marriage

Ireland's High Court has rejected a lesbian couple's attempt to have their marriage legally recognised.

Katharine Zappone and Ann Louise Gilligan said that failure to recognise their marriage breached their rights.

The two were married in 2003 in British Columbia, Canada, after that province legalised same-sex marriage.

They live in Ireland and have been a couple for 25 years. They are the first homosexual couple to go to court over the issue after being married abroad.

The couple had argued that failure to recognise their marriage breached their rights under the Irish constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights.
the rest

The Doctrine of the Virgin Birth Under Attack--Again
Albert Mohler
Friday, December 15, 2006

Nicholas Kristof must be a very smart man -- but a very slow learner. A columnist for The New York Times, Kristof is a Harvard graduate and was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University. But when it comes to something as significant as the nature of Christianity, Kristof and his columns are dumb and dumber.

Back in March [2003], Kristof wrote a very strange column suggesting that his liberal media colleagues ought to give evangelical Christians a closer look. Not that they would like what they saw, mind you, but that the rising public influence of the evangelicals demanded media attention.

His argument came down to this: Evangelicals are strange people with radical religious beliefs that will do great harm to the nation, but they mean well and so let's be nicer in opposing them to the death.
the rest

Conservative Evangelicals lay their cards on the table
December 15, 2006


A COALITION of Evangelical and Charismatic Anglicans this week produced a covenant promoting “new, informal networks” among churches that are unable to maintain fellowship with Anglicans with whom they disagree.

The coalition includes Anglican Mainstream, Reform, the Church of England Evangelical Council, New Wine, and Crosslinks. It was said by Canon Chris Sugden of Anglican Mainstream to represent, in all, about 2000 congregations.

The coalition had “warm support” from traditional Anglo-Catholics, and was also hoping to attract other “solid, central Church of England people”, he said.

Canon Sugden is looking forward to a meeting in the new year with the Archbishop of Canterbury: “real discussions with real proposals and a real commitment to work on this together to find a good solution”.

He described the covenant as “a series of principled statements about what will need to be done in certain circumstances — not across the nations, but as individual situations require.”
the rest

Temporary Property Agreement Reached in Olympia
12/14/2006

The Bishop and standing committee in the Diocese of Olympia have reached an agreement which respects the independence of two congregations that voted to leave in 2004 and allows them to remain in their buildings for the next 7 ½ years without paying rent or assessments.

“We have all tried to take a gospel approach,” said Canon Betsy Greenman, Canon to the Ordinary. “Everyone involved tried to approach this from a perspective of remaining in relationship. It was a faith journey for everyone involved.”

A preamble states that the agreement has been undertaken in a “spirit of reconciliation and to provide a time for the worldwide Anglican Communion to address serious issues over which its members are not in agreement. It is the intention of all parties to remain members of the Anglican Communion.”

Under terms of the covenant, St. Stephen’s Anglican Church in Oak Harbor, Wash., and St. Charles’ Anglican Church in Poulsbo will maintain their current worship schedules. St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church will have use of the property occupied by St. Stephen’s Anglican for Sunday worship at a mutually agreed upon time. The covenant also provides for a means of resolving potential disputes.


The Living Church: the rest

STATEMENT FROM THE CONVOCATION OF ANGLICANS IN NORTH AMERICA (CANA)

We have made it clear that CANA exists, at this time, as a constitutionally and canonically established expression of the Anglican Communion as a gracious initiative of the Church of Nigeria. Indeed, we have not sought a separate free standing existence.

The language of the announcement, however, seems to acknowledge such a move may be made in the future in the phrase “CANA has not petitioned the Anglican Consultative Council for any official status within the Communion’s structures” We do not anticipate making any such an application apart from the growing coalition of orthodox Anglicans in North America who can no longer function within The Episcopal Church.

We understand that the need for a “separate ecclesiastical structure of the Anglican Communion in the USA” will be a topic that will be discussed by the Primates when they meet in Dar Es Salaam next February and we will await the result of their deliberations.

We recognize the complexity of the situation that confronts the Archbishop of Canterbury and continue to hold him and all of the faithful leaders of the Anglican Communion in our prayers.

Comments at titusonenine

From the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion
15 DECEMBER 2006

'In response to a number of queries, and following consultation with The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion has issued the following statement:

"The Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA) is, to my knowledge, a "mission" of the Church of Nigeria. It is not a branch of the Anglican Communion as such but an organsation which relates to a single province of the Anglican Communion. CANA has not petitioned the Anglican Consultative Council for any official status within the Communion's structures, nor has the Archbishop of Canterbury indicated any support for its establishment." '

The Revd Canon Kenneth Kearon

ACNS

Happy Birthday!
Raymond Dague


He has shown you, O man, what is good. What does Yahweh require of you, but to act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?...Micah 6:8

May the Lord bless and strengthen you as you strive to live out this verse in your life!

Love, Pat

Thursday, December 14, 2006

These affections of human infirmity, even as the human body itself and death, the Lord Jesus put on not out of necessity, but freely out of compassion so that He might transform in Himself His body, which is the Church of which He deigned to be the Head, that is, His members who are among the faithful and the saints, so that if any of them in the trials of this life should be saddened and afflicted they should not therefore think that they are deprived of His grace. Nor should they consider this sorrow a sin, but a sign of human weakness. Like a choir singing in harmony with the note that has been sounded, so should His Body learn from its Head. ...Augustine art

The Most Rev. Henry Luke Orombi: A Pastoral Letter from the Archbishop of the Church of Uganda

Dear Christians of the Church of Uganda,

Greetings in the name of our risen and reigning Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ!

I am writing with a heavy heart to share with you sad news about our beloved Anglican Communion. On Saturday, 4th November, the Episcopal Church in the United States of America (ECUSA) enthroned as their Presiding Bishop a leader who has permitted the blessing of same-sex unions and who also denies that Jesus is the only way to the Father. Her name is the Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori.

Our problem with ECUSA is not that they have enthroned a woman as their Presiding Bishop. We in the Church of Uganda do support the ordination of women and women in all levels of leadership in our church. In fact, I am very pleased to report that the House of Laity elected Dr. Sarah Ndyanabangi to serve as the next Chairperson of the Provincial House of Laity.

Our problem with the new Presiding Bishop of ECUSA is that she has publicly denied what the Bible teaches about faith and morality. And now she is in the position of Archbishop of one of the most influential and wealthiest Provinces in the Anglican Communion, even though it is one of the smallest in number.
the rest at titusonenine


Video at Stand Firm: This Christmas . . . Whom Will KJS Worship?

Study: New Visitors to Church Prefer Anonymity
By
Lillian Kwon
Christian Post Reporter
Thu, Dec. 14 2006

Holiday services are typically the largest Sundays for many churches as they draw the unchurched and the formerly churched. With Christmas approaching, a recent study is warning churches how to welcome new visitors to encourage their return.

The majority of formerly churched adults who want to go back to the pews want to return to a new church with new faces, LifeWay Research found. But only a few want to be identified as a newcomer during their first visit.

Only 11 percent said they would be willing to identify themselves as a visitor when visiting a church for the first time and 63 percent said they would prefer to wait until at least the second visit to let anyone know they are visiting. Wanting a less formal introduction, 26 percent of formerly churched adults said they desire to slip in and casually introduce themselves after the service.
the rest

A Nation of Christians, Not a Christian Nation
Albert Mohler
December 13, 2006

Is America a "Christian nation?" The question is not as simple as might first appear. Better to say that this is a nation whose citzens are overwhelmingly Christian. This is a distinction with a difference

Christian nation or nation of Christians? Some Christians imagine a version of history in which the republic was established as a Christian nation in something like a constitutional sense. An honest look at the historical record indicates that this was not the case. Christianity has never been an established religion in any official sense at the national level. The establishment clause of the First Amendment forbids a national church.

Yet, even at the time of the ratification of the Constitution, some states still had established churches. Congregationalism was the established church of Connecticut until 1818. Furthermore, several of the colonies and settlements had been established with explicitly Christian identities.

The founders were themselves a mixture of devoted Christians, apparent Deists, and some freethinkers. An honest look indicates that some, like Jefferson, were fairly radical in their skepticism. Others, like Franklin, were eccentrics of one sort or another. Washington was probably a committed Christian marked by some reticence to speak of his personal beliefs. Others included explicitly evangelical Christians.
the rest

Williams warned of Church anarchy
By Jonathan Petre, Religion Correspondent
14/12/2006

The Church of England was plunged into a fresh crisis yesterday after evangelical leaders representing 2,000 churches told the Archbishop of Canterbury to allow them to
bypass liberal bishops or face widespread anarchy.

The group, whose supporters include the Bishop of Rochester, the Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali, warned Dr Rowan Williams that the crisis over
issues such as gay clerics was escalating fast and could descend into schism.

At a confidential meeting at Lambeth Palace on Tuesday, they urged Dr Williams to create a parallel structure to free them from the interference of liberal bishops or risk a revolt against his authority.

The group, an unprecedented coalition of evangelical organisations and networks, is powerful because it represents about a fifth of all the Church of England's churches.
the rest

Sen. Johnson in Critical Condition After Surgery
Control of Chamber Could Be in Question if He Cannot Serve
By Charles Babington, Jonathan Weisman and Debbi Wilgoren
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, December 14, 2006

Sen.
Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) underwent emergency surgery overnight to repair bleeding inside his brain and was "recovering without complication" this morning, according to the U.S. Capitol physician.

Johnson, 59, who is in the critical unit at George Washington University Hospital, fell ill at the Capitol yesterday, introducing a note of uncertainty over control of the Senate just weeks before Democrats are to take over with a one-vote margin.
the rest

Same-sex marriage foes sue lawmakers
By Megan Tench, Globe Staff
December 14, 2006

Lawyers from a group opposing gay marriage filed a $5 million federal lawsuit against 109 state lawmakers yesterday accusing them of violating the US Constitution when they refused to decide whether to put a ban on gay marriage on the 2008 ballot.

Proponents of the same-sex marriage ban collected a record 170,000 signatures in December 2005 in hopes of getting the amendment on the ballot. But to qualify for a statewide referendum, the measure requires the support of at least 50 legislators in two consecutive sessions.

On Nov. 9, when the Legislature met in joint session as Constitutional Convention lawmakers voted, 109 to 87, to recess before taking a vote on whether to put the proposed amendment on the ballot.
the rest

Jerusalem's Anglican Bishop Accused of Corruption
Dec 14, '06

(IsraelNN.com) The chief pastor of the Anglican community in Israel, Bishop Riah Abu El-Assal, is facing mushrooming allegations of nepotism and graft which have clouded the end of his tenure in office, church officials said Wednesday. The corruption charges, the subject of a four-month internal church committee investigation, have prompted long-time opponents of the bishop to call for his immediate resignation.

An internal church inquiry committee examined the allegations, and concluded in its 35-page report that El-Assal arranged to have a tender for the insurance policy of employees of the church's two schools located in Jerusalem and Nazareth issued to a company that promised to give half the commission to his son-in-law. The bishop's actions constituted a "dramatic combination" of nepotism and violation of trust, the report stated.
the rest


Also here: The Jerusalem Post:J'lem bishop accused of corruption

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The divine awakening
produces in the soul of the perfect a flame of love which is a participate of that living flame which is the Holy Spirit Himself...this is the operation of the Holy Spirit in the soul that is transformed in love, that His interior actions cause it to send out flames...This flame wounds the soul as it is given, but the wound is tender, and, instead of causing death, it increases life; for the soul is holiest that is most wounded by love. .
..John Of The Cross art

Bishop eyes sanctions at All Saints
BY GLORIA LaBOUNTY
SUN CHRONICLE STAFF
Wednesday, December 13, 2006

ATTLEBORO - A strongly-worded letter from their bishop has led the Rev. Lance Giuffrida and parishioners of All Saints on North Main Street to face the possibility that they may have to leave their parish property if they continue to operate as a separated Anglican congregation.

In a letter sent to Giuffrida and mailed to individual parishioners, Bishop Thomas Shaw of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts said Giuffrida has violated his ordination vows and parishioners have violated their covenant with the diocese by recently voting to align with the Anglican Mission in America and the Province of Rwanda, which in effect separated them from the diocese and the national Episcopal Church.
the rest

Holocaust denial outrages Europe
December 13, 2006
From combined dispatches

VIENNA, Austria -- A gathering of Holocaust deniers in Iran touched off a firestorm of indignation yesterday across Europe, where many countries have made it a crime to publicly disavow the Nazis' systematic extermination of 6 million Jews.

The European Union's top justice official condemned the conference as "an unacceptable affront" to victims of the World War II genocide. British Prime Minister Tony Blair denounced it as "shocking beyond belief" and proof of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's extremism.

"I think it is such a symbol of sectarianism and hatred toward people of another religion. I find it just unbelievable, really," Mr. Blair said in London.

"I mean, to go and invite the former head of the Ku Klux Klan to a conference in Tehran which disputes the millions of people who died in the Holocaust ... what further evidence do you need that this regime is extreme?" he added.
the rest

Doctors turn to aborted fetus to save boy's life
Experimental procedure transplanted stem cells into 6-year-old's brain
Dec 11, 2006

SAN FRANCISCO - Daniel Kerner’s parents knew the experimental brain surgery was risky, but without it the 6-year-old surely would die.

Last month in Portland, Ore., doctors for the first time transplanted stem cells from aborted fetuses into his head in a desperate bid to reverse, or at least slow, a rare genetic disorder called Batten disease. The so-far incurable condition normally results in blindness and paralysis before death.

Doctors don’t know if the neural stem cells taken from fetuses — donated to a nonprofit medical foundation by women aborting early-stage pregnancies — will save Daniel’s life. But the boy has sufficiently recovered from his 8-hour surgery to be expected to return to his Orange County, Calif., home Friday — the first day of Hanukkah.
the rest

Harvard drops religion course requirement
Wed Dec 13, 2006
By Jason Szep

BOSTON (Reuters) - Harvard University has dropped a controversial proposal that would have required all undergraduates to study religion as part of the biggest overhaul of its curriculum in three decades, the university said on Wednesday.

Efforts to revamp Harvard's curriculum, which has been criticized for focusing too narrowly on academic topics instead of real-life issues, have been in the works for three years.

A proposal for a "reason and faith" course requirement, which would have set Harvard apart from many other secular universities and made it unique among its peers in the elite Ivy League, was made public in a preliminary report in October.
the rest

Episcopal leaders discriminate against adulterers
Posted: December 13, 2006

How often in the history of the Washington Post has the Episcopal Church been at the top of Page One?

Not often, if at all. And rarely with such grim headlines as: "Episcopal churches to vote on departure."

This was due to the fact that two of this nation's largest and most historic Episcopal parishes – in one of which George Washington was a director, or vestryman – The Falls Church, for which an entire suburban Virginia city is named – along with Truro Church in Fairfax, Va. – will vote this week on whether or not to leave the U.S. denomination and affiliate instead with Nigerian Anglican Archbishop Peter Akinola, leader of 17 million.

That, in a nation so much smaller than the United States, is notable. For the U.S. Episcopal Church – the denomination of so many of the founders of the United States – has now shrunk to 2.3 million – from what was in the 1960s 3.5 million.


the rest

Maker of Christian games launches social-networking site
By
Caroline McCarthy Staff writer, CNET News.com
Published: December 13, 2006

Left Behind Games, an evangelical Christian software corporation spun off the best-selling book series, has launched a social-networking site that it promotes as a safe and profanity-free alternative to services like MySpace that have largely unregulated content.

The site, called
DreamWebSpace.com, was released in a beta test form today.

MySpace and other social networking sites have indeed come under fire, and not just from religious groups: secular parent organizations and the U.S. government have targeted the wildly popular MySpace as
a danger to child safety. In response, DreamWebSpace is touting safety features designed to appeal to a religious audience: live monitoring, filters for profane language, and extra security features. the rest

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Advent Journey

It is natural for travelers to hasten toward their native land, and natural too that they should have trouble on the way and safety at home. So let us who are on the way to it hasten toward our native land; for our whole life is like a single day's journey.

And therefore let us devote ourselves to divine rather than human affairs, and like exiles be always sighing for our native land and longing for it. For the journey's end must always be wished and longed for by travelers, and so because we ourselves are travelers and exiles in the world we should always be thinking of the journey's end, that is, the end of our life, for our journey brings us to our native land. But, there, all who have been traveling the world get different lots according to their merits. The good travelers come home because they love the journey. Let us not love the journey to our native land, so that we do not lose our eternal home for that is the kind of home we have, and which we must love. Let this, then, be our constant aim: to live our way like travelers, exiles, visitors to the world, without clinging to any worldly ambitions or longing to fulfill any worldly desires, but to fill our minds entirely with heavenly and spiritual images, singing in thought and deed: When shall I come and appear before the face of my God? For my soul thirsts for the strong and living God. And saying with Paul: I long to die and be with Christ.

Let us realize that although We are exiles from the Lord as long as we are in the body, we are present in the sight of God. Therefore spurning all laziness, putting away all lukewarmness, let us do our best to please him who is present everywhere. Then, with a good conscience, we may pass happily from our journey in this world to the holy and eternal home of our eternal Father, from the present to the absent, from sorrow to joy, from transitory to eternal, from earth to heaven, from the region of the dead to that of the living. And then we shall see, face to face, the world of heaven and the king of kings, our Lord Jesus Christ, ruling his kingdom with right government, to whom be glory for ever. ...St. Columban
photo

Ukraine babies in stem cell probe
By Matthew Hill
BBC Health Correspondent

Healthy new-born babies may have been killed in Ukraine to feed a flourishing international trade in stem cells, evidence obtained by the BBC suggests.

Disturbing video footage of post-mortem examinations on dismembered tiny bodies raises serious questions about what happened to them.

Ukraine has become the self-styled stem cell capital of the world.

There is a trade in stem cells from aborted foetuses, amid unproven claims they can help fight many diseases.

But now there are claims that stem cells are also being harvested from live babies.
the rest

War against baby girls going global, expert tells United Nations
Dec 11, 2006
By Tom Strode
Baptist Press

WASHINGTON (BP)--The war against baby girls is not limited to certain localities but has developed into a global event, a specialist in demographics said recently at the United Nations.

Nicholas Eberstadt, a scholar at the Washington-based American Enterprise Institute and a member of the President’s Council on Bioethics, told U.N. delegates there is an increasing birth imbalance that favors males because of sex-selection abortions and prenatal technologies, the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute (C-FAM) reported Dec. 8. He described the development as a “Global War Against Baby Girls,” according to C-FAM.

The imbalance also is not based only on forced population control programs, Eberstadt said. His research shows the increase in “son preference” has several elements at its root: The expanding use of technologies that expedite sex selection in the womb; a decline in fertility, and a prevailing inclination toward boys.
the rest

Pastor Quits After Revealing Same-Sex Relations
By
NEELA BANERJEE
Published: December 12, 2006

The senior pastor of a suburban Denver evangelical church resigned Sunday after admitting to having had sexual relations with men. The move apparently came after the pastor was confronted by another minister in his church who had been alerted by an anonymous caller, The Denver Post reported.

The resignation of the pastor, the Rev. Paul Barnes, from the pulpit of the 2,100-member Grace Chapel megachurch in Englewood came by way of a tearful, 32-minute videotaped address to his congregation.

His departure occurred a month after the Rev.
Ted Haggard quit as president of the National Association of Evangelicals and senior pastor of New Life Church in Colorado Springs when a former male prostitute disclosed that Mr. Haggard had had a sexual relationship with him.

Dave Palmer, the associate pastor of Grace Chapel, told The Post that the church received a call last week from a person who had overheard someone speak of “blowing the whistle” on other evangelical ministers in clandestine homosexual relationships, among them Mr. Barnes. Mr. Palmer then spoke with Mr. Barnes.
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Episcopal Church sees first defection
By Julia Duin
THE WASHINGTON TIMES
December 12, 2006

All Saints Episcopal Church in Dale City, whose members voted 402-6 on Sunday to leave the Episcopal Church, has become the first Northern Virginia church to flee the denomination out of several expected defections.

The 500-member church was one of nine churches to vote last weekend whether to leave the Episcopal Church over disagreements on biblical authority and the 2003 consecration of New Hampshire Bishop V. Gene Robinson, a practicing homosexual.

All Saints' vote ratified an agreement its leaders had struck last month with the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia to cede their property to the diocese, then rent it back for five years until the church completes a new 800-seat sanctuary near Potomac Mills Shopping Center in Prince William County.

"We are heartened by the congregation's vote to move forward with our mission to be a church overflowing with God's love and healing power," said the Rev. John Guernsey, rector of All Saints. "We are grateful to the diocese that we were able to reach an amicable settlement and we pray that this may be a model for others in the [Episcopal] Church."
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Not All San Joaquin Parishes Plan to Leave
12/11/2006

At least four congregations in the Diocese of San Joaquin will probably remain with The Episcopal Church if clergy and lay delegates to the 2007 annual convention in the Diocese of San Joaquin approve a second reading of constitutional changes that would effectively remove the California diocese from the denomination.

Holy Family, Fresno; St. Anne’s, Stockton; St. John the Baptist Church, Lodi; and St. Francis, Turlock have taken official decisions not to leave. Other clergy and congregations in the diocese are likely to remain loyal to The Episcopal Church, but have chosen not say so publicly, according to the Rev. Rick Matters, rector of St. John the Baptist.

“Some feel intimidated,” Fr. Matters told The Living Church. “For Christians there is a unity that from my perspective a diocesan convention cannot undo. If you live in Lodi, you are automatically a resident of California and the United States. It’s no different being part of this diocese and The Episcopal Church.”

the rest at The Living Church

Is Morality Relative When It Comes to Relatives?
Albert Mohler
Posted: Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Office of the Vice President of the United States announced last week that Mary Cheney, daughter of
Vice President Dick Cheney, is expecting a baby. The official word came from Lea Anne McBride, a spokeswoman for the Vice President.

The spokeswoman also told reporters that Mr. and Mrs. Cheney were "looking forward with eager anticipation" to the baby's birth. The baby will be the Cheney's sixth grandchild.
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Statement from The House of Bishops, Tanzania
12 DECEMBER 2006

A statement concerning the current situation in the Episcopal Church (USA), in light of their June 2006 General Convention.

1. Mindful of the fact that the Anglican Church of Tanzania issued statements in 2003 following the election, confirmation and eventual consecration to the Episcopate of Gene Robinson a practising homosexual clergyman, whereby we declared that henceforth we are not in communion, namely, communio in sacris, with:

i. Bishops who consecrate homosexuals to the episcopate and those Bishops who ordain such persons to the priesthood and the deaconate or license them to minister in their dioceses;


ii. Bishops who permit the blessing of same sex unions in their dioceses;

iii. Gay priests and deacons;

iv. Priests who bless same sex unions;

2. And because in their June 2006 General Convention, the Episcopal Church (USA) did not adequately respond to the requirement made to them by the Anglican Communion through the Windsor Report by their failure to register honest repentance for their actions that were contrary to the dictates of the Holy Scripture and the teaching of the Anglican Church as expressed in Resolution 1.10 of the 1998 Lambeth Conference and thereby indicating that they were deliberately choosing to walk apart from the rest of the Anglican Communion;

3. Therefore after its meeting on 7th December 2006 in Dar es Salaam, the House of Bishops of the Anglican Church of Tanzania hereby declares that its communion with the Episcopal Church (USA) is severely impaired but the Anglican Church of Tanzania remains in communion with those who are faithful to Biblical Christianity and authority of Scripture who remain in the Episcopal Church (USA) or have left or are considering leaving that church body for the same reasons that we have stated above.

4. Further to the consequent state of the severely impaired communion, the House of Bishops of the Anglican Church of Tanzania declares that henceforth the Anglican Church of Tanzania shall not knowingly accept financial and material aid from Dioceses, parishes, Bishops, priests, individuals and institutions in the Episcopal Church (USA) that condone homosexual practice or bless same sex unions.

5. The House of Bishops of the Anglican Church of Tanzania declares that we are committed to concerted prayer for renewal in the Anglican Communion that will further the mission of Jesus Christ and will render greater glory to God.

6. Finally, the House of Bishops of the Anglican Church of Tanzania hereby mandates the Primate of the Anglican Church of Tanzania to forward this statement to the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church (USA), to the Archbishop of Canterbury and to all the Primates of the Anglican Communion.

Dar Es Salaam
From The Anglican Church of Tanzania
ACNS

Church faces issue of land in split from Episcopalians
By STEVEN G. VEGH,
The Virginian-Pilot
December 12, 2006

CHESAPEAKE - Every parish that quits the Episcopal Church has to deal with the same question facing breakaway Church of the Messiah in Chesapeake: Who owns the church building and grounds?

Messiah, a 220-member congregation, left the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Virginia this fall, citing "irreconcilable" theological differences with the denomination.

Rob Bruner, a senior parish leader, said the status of Messiah's land and church at 816 Kempsville Road seems clear to members.

'"We believe that we own the property, the building," Bruner said.

But Bishop John C. Buchanan, the diocese's interim bishop, disagreed just as forthrightly.
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Dale City Church Breaks With Episcopal Diocese
Tuesday December 12, 2006 8:24 am

A Dale City Episcopal Church has become the first northern Virginia church to break with the denomination over disagreements related to the installation of a gay bishop.

Members of All Saints Episcopal Church [Rev. John Guernsey] voted 402-to-6 on Sunday to leave the Episcopal Church.


The Washington Times reports that church leaders plan to rent the building from the Virginia Episcopal Diocese for five years while they build a new church near Potomac Mills Shopping Center.
the rest

Excommunicated Cleric Defies Vatican
The Associated Press
December 10, 2006

An excommunicated Roman
Catholic archbishop continued to defy the Vatican when he installed two married priests as bishops on Sunday.

In front of a sea of reporters and photographers and several dozen congregants, Raymond A. Grosswirth of
Rochester, N.Y., and Dominic Riccio, of the Newark Archdiocese, were installed by Zambian Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo at the Trinity Reformed Church. The ceremony concluded a two-day convention of Milingo's advocacy group, Married Priests Now!

In a visible break from tradition, the wives of both men helped their husbands on with their vestments before each man was anointed.
the rest

OAS Treaty Would Grant Human-Rights Protection to Sexual Orientation
by Pete Winn, associate editor

Members of the Organization of American States (OAS) begin work this week on a treaty that would make sexual orientation "an inalienable right" worthy of human-rights protection.

"The document before the OAS this week mentions sexual orientation 15 times," according to Thomas Jacobson, Focus on the Family Action's representative to the United Nations. "In addition, it contains terms like 'hate crimes' and veiled pro-abortion language."

He said the nation behind the proposed language -- Brazil -- first tried to get the U.N. to go along in 2003.

"They failed in that attempt," Jacobson said. "They pushed again in 2004, and again failed, and, by 2005, they came to the Organization of American States."

The OAS is a 34-nation organization that includes the U.S., Canada and Mexico, as well as nations in Central and South America and the Caribbean.
the rest

Experts Puzzle Over Halt of Bird Flu
By MARIA CHENG
ASSOCIATED PRESS


LONDON (AP) - Earlier this year, bird flu panic was in full swing: The French feared for their foie gras, the Swiss locked their chickens indoors, and Americans enlisted prison inmates in Alaska to help spot infected wild birds.

The H5N1 virus - previously confined to Southeast Asia - was striking birds in places as diverse as Germany, Egypt, and Nigeria, and a flu pandemic seemed inevitable.

Then the virus went quiet. Except for a steady stream of human cases in Indonesia, the current flu epicenter, the past year's worries about a catastrophic global outbreak largely disappeared.
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Trees Being Returned to SeaTac Airport
By GENE JOHNSON
ASSOCIATED PRESS

SEATAC, Wash. (AP) - Christmas trees are going back up at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

Pat Davis, president of the Port of Seattle commission, which directs airport operations, said late Monday that maintenance staff would restore the 14 plastic holiday trees, festooned with red ribbons and bows, that were removed over the weekend because of a rabbi's complaint that holiday decor did not include a menorah.
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Atheists demand removal of church bells owned by municipality
December 12, 2006

GRISWOLD, Conn. --Local officials vow that the bells of a Baptist church will continue to peal above the complaints of atheists.

A sound system owned by the borough of Jewett City and the town of Griswold and housed in a church has prompted the Connecticut chapter of American Atheists Inc. to demand that the governments cut their ties with the bells. The group also wants the volume turned down.

More than 75 residents pushed back Monday, demanding that the borough's Board of Warden and Burgesses not silence the sound system that plays the chimes heard throughout the area.
the rest

Lunar New Year set to become school holiday
Jill Tucker, Chronicle Staff Writer
Tuesday, December 12, 2006

San Francisco schoolchildren will likely get an extra day off every few years to recognize the Lunar New Year -- a $207,000 holiday the district's school board is expected to approve tonight.

Currently, the city's schools are closed for the holiday only if it falls on a weekday.

A resolution before the board this evening would make the holiday an annual event even if the Lunar New Year falls on a weekend. The schools would then close either on Monday or Friday, depending on the day closest to the actual celebration.

School board President Norman Yee, who sponsored the resolution, said this is "a big deal" despite the cost.
the rest

Italy police seek 'Satan squad'
By Mark Duff
BBC News, Milan

Italian police want to set up a special unit to tackle the growth of new religious sects, particularly a violent new breed of home-grown Satanists.

The new police squad would include psychologists, as well as a priest who is an expert on the occult.

It would co-ordinate - nationwide - investigations into potentially dangerous religious movements.

The move follows a spate of high profile, gruesome murders blamed on a new generation of Satanists.
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Monday, December 11, 2006

He comes to us
in the brokenness of our health,
in the shipwreck of our family lives,
in the loss of all possible peace of mind,
even in the very thick of our sins.
He saves us in our disasters, not from them.
He emphatically does not promise to meet
only the odd winner of the self-improvement lottery:
He meets us all in our endless and inescapable losing.
Robert Farrar Capon
art

How White Was My Savior?
Why has the portrayal of Jesus in art drifted far from the likelihood he was a brown-skinned Semitic Jew?
By Matthew Philips
Newsweek

Dec. 9, 2006 - Shopping for nativity scenes? At Macy’s you have two options to choose from: "The Vatican Edition" and "The Byzantine Edition." The first comes with a set of white figurines, including a red-headed Mary, a brown-haired Joseph and a blue-eyed baby Jesus. In the second, all three are black, as are the shepherd and three wise men. Both cost $10, and more than likely, both are historically inaccurate.

While we can never be exactly sure of what Jesus, Mary and Joseph actually looked like, we know they were not fair-skinned, flaxen-haired Europeans. And, though an emerging fringe of historians would argue otherwise, it’s fairly certain they weren’t black Africans. In all likelihood, what they were was something in between: olive-skinned, dark-featured Semitic Jews living in Israel. Yet depictions of them as such are exceedingly rare compared to the countless number of images that have proliferated through the millennia portraying them as Caucasians.
the rest

Inquiry Sought Over Evangelical Video
Defense Department Asked to Examine Officers' Acts Supporting Christian Group
By
Alan Cooperman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, December 11, 2006

A military watchdog group is asking the Defense Department to investigate whether seven Army and Air Force officers violated regulations by appearing in uniform in a promotional video for an evangelical Christian organization.

In the video, much of which was filmed inside the Pentagon, four generals and three colonels praise the Christian Embassy, a group that evangelizes among military leaders, politicians and diplomats in Washington. Some of the officers describe their efforts to spread their faith within the military.
the rest

Tennessee: Church schism hits hard
All Saints loses many members to St. Patrick's
By COLLEEN CREAMER
December 11, 2006

SMYRNA — Remnant members of what is now a small All Saints Church were led in service Sunday by Bishop Bertram Herlong of the Diocese of Tennessee just as members of the newly formed St. Patrick's Anglican Church met there early and then packed a room at Bob Parks Realty deliberating over a new place to worship.

The two congregations, once one but now divided over theology, had to pass each other between services as they shared the 10-year-old church on Lee Victory Parkway for the first and last time.
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TANZANIA: Bishops declare 'impaired communion' with Episcopal Church
Monday, December 11, 2006

[Episcopal News Service] The House of Bishops of the Anglican Church of Tanzania (ACT) issued a statement December 7 saying that its "communion with the Episcopal Church (USA) is severely impaired" in light the 75th General Convention's response to the Windsor Report.

The bishops also declared that ACT "shall not knowingly accept financial and material aid from dioceses, parishes, Bishops, priests, individuals and institutions in the Episcopal Church (USA) that condone homosexual practice or bless same-sex unions."

Meeting in Dar Es Salaam, where the next Primates' Meeting will be held in February 2007, the bishops noted that the Episcopal Church did not "adequately respond to the requirement made to them by the Anglican Communion through the Windsor Report by their failure to register honest repentance for their actions."

During the past three years, leaders of at least 14 out of the 38 Anglican provinces have issued statements saying that they are in a state of "impaired" or "broken" relationship with the Episcopal Church. It is unclear how many provincial synods have ratified the statements.
the rest

Young Adults Find Community on the Internet
By
Lillian Kwon
Christian Post Reporter
Mon, Dec. 11 2006

Every day, tens of thousands of new profiles are added to MySpace.com – a growing phenomenon that seems to parallel with the widespread exodus of young believers from the Church.

A recent survey by LifeWay Research revealed that young adults have the greatest need for community. But a lot of times, the Church does not offer that sense of community when they move into young adulthood.

With reportedly more than 74 million users on MySpace.com alone, more young adults are signing on to the virtual network of friends that offers the community that many are looking for. Meanwhile, youth leaders estimate that up to 94 percent of youth stop attending church after high school graduation.

"MySpace obviously does offer a certain sense of community," said Danny Burns, who directs the online ministry of Fellowship of Christian Athletes. "There are ways you can find people who live close to you on MySpace."
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Thank God for Testosterone? Confusion About Christian Manhood
Albert Mohler
Posted: Monday, December 11, 2006

The Christian church is experiencing a crisis with men. The statistics tell the story. The church has been feminized in style and the manly virtues are depreciated. Christianity -- a faith predicated on truths for which brave men were willing to die -- has been transformed into a spirituality of mere feeling. Men are leaving in droves.

In many liberal Protestant churches the pews are filled with females, many of them aging. Sermons are vapid and boring. Feminist ideologies have taken hold and the context is ideologically hostile to the XY chromosome. Men stay away and boys see the church as something men avoid.

Among the evangelicals, the picture is often only slightly healthier. Even as many (but not all) of the ideological strains are attenuated or opposed, the mood of latent hostility to manly virtues often remains. Even among the evangelicals, ministries to men often look more like invitations to play than invitations to get serious about taking up the challenge of biblical manhood.

Then comes the report in
The Los Angeles Times about "GodMen," a ministry that seeks to introduce men to rugged Christianity. Nevertheless, the movement looks more rugged than Christian when it comes to a vision of manhood. the rest

Bp Lee: Unity through Diversity
Posted At : December 10, 2006
Posted By : Kevin Kallsen

A statement from the Rt. Rev. Peter James Lee, Bishop of the Diocese of Virginia

Unity through Diversity

With voting in several congregations commencing today on the question of separation from the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia and alignment with Archbishop Akinola of the Church of Nigeria, I remain concerned for all involved in this most delicate matter. Most especially, I am concerned for those within these congregations whose will is not to leave the Episcopal Church, who will remain Episcopalian and who, with the care and nurturing of all the faithful in the Diocese of Virginia, will form the core of the Episcopal Church in these places as we move forward.

The rest at Connecticut Six

National Church May ‘Retain Interest’ in Virginia Church Properties
12/10/2006

Beginning Dec. 10, eight congregations representing slightly less than 10 percent of communicants in the 90,000-member Diocese of Virginia began voting on whether to leave The Episcopal Church and previously cordial relations between the diocese and the parishes have grown acrimonious.

Last week both sides traded accusations of bad faith and it looks increasingly likely that a Virginia court will be asked to determine who owns title. Churches with congregational votes scheduled are: The Falls Church, the Falls, Truro Church and Church of the Apostles, Fairfax, St. Margaret’s and All Saints’, Woodbridge, St. Stephen’s, Heathsville, Church of the Word, Gainesville and Potomac Falls Church in Sterling.

For the past year, a larger number of congregations, representing as much as 20 percent of communicants, have been following the work of a six-member task force appointed by Virginia Bishop Peter James Lee “to help churches continuing in conflict over the decisions of the 74th General Convention in 2003 to get on with their mission in as close a union as possible with the Diocese.” Last September the task force released its report which acknowledged that some congregations may choose to leave and included a protocol.
the rest

Canada: Waterford Anglican church splits off
Mon, December 11, 2006
By DANIEL PEARCE, SUN MEDIA

Parishioners and the minister at Waterford's Anglican church have become the first congregation in Ontario to break away from the Canadian synod because of what they say is the church's liberal drift.

About 30 people from Trinity Anglican have moved across town to a new space in protest of the church's stance on same-sex unions.

The group has joined the Anglican Coalition in Canada, a group of 10 churches aligned with the more conservative diocese of Rwanda in Africa.

Rev. Paul Carter of Vancouver, who heads up the national group, said he expects more congregations to follow suit.
the rest