Friday, July 06, 2007

The Lord can clear the darkest skies
Can give us day for night.
Make drops of sacred sorrow rise
To rivers of delight.

Flood of pornography breaching the church
Posted on Jul 6, 2007
by Jerry Pierce/Southern Baptist TEXAN

GRAPEVINE, Texas (BP)--Divorce lawyers are noting its increasing influence.In Great Britain, it's blamed for a 20 percent jump in sexual assaults perpetrated by kids as young as 11.

In the United States, the adult film industry sees it as a $13 billion a year business -- more money than mainstream Hollywood generates.

The numbers are staggering: up to 45 million "unique" users visited adult websites in a recent month, as tracked by Nielsen Net Ratings.

With the advent of wireless handheld devices, porn is accessible via mobile phones and similar devices.
the rest

Boston man sues over gay marriage question on bar exam; says he failed for refusing to answer
The Associated Press
Published: July 6, 2007

BOSTON: A man said he failed the Massachusetts bar exam because he refused to answer a question about gay marriage, and claims in a federal lawsuit the test violated his rights and targeted his religious beliefs.

The suit also challenges the constitutionality of same-sex marriage, which was legalized in Massachusetts in 2003.

Stephen Dunne, who is representing himself in the case and seeks $9.75 million (€7.17 million), said the bar exam to qualify lawyers for a license to practice was not the place for a "morally repugnant and patently offensive" question addressing the rights of two married lesbians, their children and their property. He said he refused to answer the question because he believed it legitimized same-sex marriage and same-sex parenting, which is contrary to his moral beliefs.

Dunne, 30, was denied a license to practice law in May after scoring 268.866 on the exam, just shy of the 270 passing grade.
the rest

Anglican priests set to defy same-sex blessing ban
Richard Foot, CanWest News Service
Friday, July 06, 2007

Two weeks after the Anglican Church of Canada voted to maintain its ban on same-sex blessings, a pair of renegade parishes are publicly vowing to bless and even marry gay and lesbian couples, saying there are dozens of other Anglican parishes across the country defying the rules of the national church.

Clergy at Holy Trinity Church in downtown Toronto, and at St. Saviour’s Church in Victoria, have each declared their intention to push ahead with blessing ceremonies despite a decision by their church’s national governing body forbidding such acts.

“We also intend, when the opportunity arises, to take the next step which is a (same-sex) marriage ceremony,” said Jim Ferry, one of the priests at Holy Trinity.
the rest

Pope scraps 40-year restrictions on Latin Mass
By By Malcolm Moore in Rome and Jonathan Petre
07/07/2007

Pope Benedict XVI has moved to make it easier for Roman Catholic priests to celebrate the traditional Latin Mass, rejecting warnings that parishes would be torn apart by a decision that could "turn back the clock".

Benedict will today release an indult, or dispensation, which removes the bureaucracy required to hold the Tridentine Mass, which is spoken almost entirely in the ancient language.

The Mass has been out of use for more than 40 years, after the Church decided at the Second Vatican Council to celebrate the Mass in the vernacular.

Many Catholics hailed the Pope's decision, savouring the chance to enjoy the traditional Mass and expressing relief that decades of restrictions have been removed.
the rest

Mohler Debates Mormonism Online
By CR Staff

Jul 06, 2007

(CR) – The president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary is arguing in an online debate on Mormonism with prominent Mormon author Orson Scott Card. According to R. Albert Mohler Jr. Mormonism is not Christianity.

The debate between Mohler and Card began June 28 and will continue into the near future on Beliefnet. Both writers will post periodically in a point-counterpoint format. Beliefnet is sponsoring the “blog dialogue” on Mormonism.
the rest

Debate here

Gay pastor's bid for inclusion denied
Largest Lutheran group removes him from list, but church flock plans to petition on national level.
By
CHRISTOPHER QUINN
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 07/06/07

The Rev. Bradley Schmeling lost another skirmish with the nation's largest Lutheran denomination over the fact that he is in a gay relationship.

But he and his flock at Atlanta's St. John's Lutheran Church intend to take the battle national.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America announced Thursday it has removed Schmeling from its list of approved ministers because of his long-term relationship with a man.

Schmeling and members of St. John's in Druid Hills say they will travel to a national church conference in August to try to change the minds of delegates on gay issues.
the rest

Church of England coalition to tackle liberals
By Jonathan Petre, Religion Correspondent
06/07/2007

Senior Church of England conservatives are plotting a new coalition to mount their biggest offensive yet against their liberal opponents over issues such as gay priests.

According to insiders, they are planning talks at this week's General Synod aimed at uniting a broad spectrum of evangelicals and Anglo-Catholics to act together during crucial debates.

Supporters of the new movement believe that it could gain the backing of up to half of the Synod, the Church''s "parliament", frustrating the efforts of liberals to promote their agenda. Its leaders are expected to include prominent clergy and lay people within the Synod and the Archbishops' Council, the Church's managing body.

Although it will also have the support of a handful of sympathetic bishops, it will unsettle the majority as it is certain to challenge their leadership. There are already a number of smaller groups within the Synod but conservatives believe that this "seismic shift" will boost their power significantly.

One Synod member said that many conservatives were dismayed by the failure of the bishops to enforce their own guidelines against clergy who are openly in active gay relationships, in defiance of Church policy. "The bishops are totally pathetic. They are abject cowards. The Archbishop of Canterbury does nothing but sit on the fence," she said.
the rest

Matt Kennedy: Who is the Son?: Essays on the Articles of Religion part 2
Stand Firm
July 5, 2007


We need to be careful here to recognize what Jesus was not. He was not a ghost or an apparition He had a real body. Nor was he a “flesh puppet”. He was not an empty covering of flesh fit over a divine being. Nor, finally, was Jesus a “demi-god” or, as one of our parishioners once said, a “were-God”…by which I beleive he meant something like a werewolf. Jesus was not half man-half God. Jesus was fully God, co-equal, co-eternal, and of one being or "substance" with the Father. And he was a full man with a body, soul, spirit, will and emotions.

Essay here

Thursday, July 05, 2007

The sorest afflictions never appear intolerable, but when we see them in the wrong light: when we see them in the hand of God, Who dispenses them; when we know that it is our loving Father who abases and distresses us; our sufferings will lose their bitterness and become even a matter of consolation. ...Brother Lawrence photo

Two Dioceses Report Financial Shortfall
07/05/2007

The dioceses of Pittsburgh and Western Kansas have reported financial shortfalls of more than 15 percent recently.

At its June 5 meeting, the Pittsburgh diocesan council approved major budget adjustments due to lower than anticipated assessment income and litigation costs, both caused by renewed activity in the lawsuit initiated by Calvary Church, Pittsburgh. The diocese is now estimating legal expenses of $500,000 for 2007.

After the 75th General Convention when Pittsburgh and six other dioceses requested alternate primatial oversight, Calvary Church returned to court seeking through discovery to obtain copies of all communication between the diocesan leadership, the Anglican Communion Network and the Global South primates.
the rest

Major Texas Parish warns Presiding Bishop

Source: Chuck Collins
Rector, Christ Church
San Antonio, TXDate: July 5, 2007

An open letter to: House of Deputies President Bonnie Anderson

Dear Ms. Anderson,

I read with interest the ENS report of your visit to Albuquerque a few days ago. If the report is accurate, it's shocking the veiled and not so veiled attempts you made as a guest in the Diocese of the Rio Grande to undermine the authority of their bishop and the leadership of the Diocese of the Rio Grande.

My purpose in writing, however, it to ask you to not include me or Christ Church San Antonio in your reports about the "majority" in the Episcopal Church. The talking point that you and the Presiding Bishop continuously repeat - that only "45 of the Church's 7,500 congregations have decided to leave" - suggests that parishes like ours in San Antonio are with you. I want you to know that, even though we have not joined another Anglican body, we are emphatically not with you and we do not support the revisionist agenda that seems bound and determined to lead us away from the wider Communion.
the rest

comments at Stand Firm

Letters From Teens About Pornography
BY BISHOP PAUL S. LOVERDE
July 8-14, 2007 Issue
Posted 7/3/07

Recently I have been hearing a lot about pornography.

The mail I have received on this issue from Catholics and others around the country gives me hope, even as it confirms the gravity of the threat this scourge poses to us all.

Here is what one high school senior wrote in response to my recent pastoral letter, “Bought With a Price: Pornography and the Attack on the Living Temple of God”: “This degradation of society has been so gradual that I had become numb to the immorality that currently surrounds the teenage person. The letter allowed me to realize that I had already grown so accustomed to the material that I no longer viewed it as pornography.”

Dozens of letters like this — responding to the subtle yet aggressive rise in our culture’s permissiveness with regard to pornography — have arrived from around the country since I wrote “Bought With a Price.” Some letters have brought me to tears; others have filled me with anger at the pornography industry and sorrow at our own human condition, so prone to sin, with the result that we unfortunately even tolerate this evil.
the rest

Priest Claiming Conversion to Islam Given Pastoral Direction
07/05/2007

The priest who revealed in a diocesan newspaper interview last month that she had converted to Islam has received a pastoral direction from the Bishop of Rhode Island, where she is canonically resident.

The Rev. Ann Holmes Redding has not lived in Rhode Island for more than 20 years, according to the Rt. Rev. Geralyn Wolf, Bishop of Rhode Island. After ordination in 1983, Ms. Redding accepted a position as a consultant for communications at the Episcopal Church Center in New York City.

Her most recent Christian ministry assignment has been in the Diocese of Olympia, where she was director of faith formation for a number of years at St. Mark’s Cathedral, Seattle, until staff reductions in March. In the June issue of Episcopal Voice, the monthly newspaper for the Diocese of Olympia, Ms. Redding said she had made the Muslim profession of faith and that she saw no contradiction in remaining an Episcopal priest.
the rest at TLC


A Communication from the Bishop of Rhode Island Concerning Ann Holmes Redding
Posted by Kendall Harmon

To: Clergy, Members of Diocesan Council and Standing Committee
From: The Rt. Rev. Geralyn Wolf
Re: The Rev. Dr. Ann Holmes Redding

As many of you know, The Rev. Dr. Ann Holmes Redding is an Episcopal priest who has recently professed her faith in Islam. Dr. Redding is canonically resident in the Diocese of Rhode Island, though she has not served here for over twenty years.

After meeting with her I issued a Pastoral Direction giving her the opportunity to reflect on the doctrines of the Christian faith, her vocation as a priest, and what I see as the conflicts inherent in professing both Christianity and Islam. During the next year she is not to exercise any of the responsibilities and privileges of an Episcopal priest or deacon. Other aspects of the Pastoral Direction will remain private.

I am sending this e-mail to you because the continued web-site coverage suggests that I be as clear as possible with those exercising leadership in our diocese.
TitusOneNine

comments at Stand Firm

Baghdad Vicar Given Cryptic Warning of Terror Attacks
by Daniel Blake
Thursday, July 5, 2007

It has emerged that a warning was given to a British Anglican priest serving in the Middle East by a purported al Qaeda chief months before the failed car bombings in London and Glasgow.

"Those who cure you are going to kill you” were the words in the cryptic warning given to Canon Andrew White in Jordan, a senior Anglican priest and vicar of St George's Anglican Church in Baghdad.

Canon White described how he met a man privately with a translator and sheik following talks with Sunni Muslim tribal and religious leaders on 18 April in Amman.
the rest

Court Rules for Los Angeles Diocese in Second Case
07/05/2007

Citing a ruling last week from a California Court of Appeal as precedent, a Los Angeles Superior Court Judge ruled July 3 that the Diocese of Los Angeles and The Episcopal Church are entitled to the property of St. Luke's of the Mountains Church, La Crescenta, Calif.

In February 2006, St. Luke's
severed its relationship with The Episcopal Church and the diocese, affiliating with a diocese in the Anglican Province of Uganda. The departing members contended they were entitled to the property, which the diocese and national church disputed.

the rest at The Living Church

Yes! Study finds chocolate good for the heart
But it has to be dark, and it takes only a small amount to help

By LINDSEY TANNER
Associated Press
July 4, 2007

CHICAGO — Here's some good and bad news for chocoholics: Dark chocolate seems to lower blood pressure, but it requires an amount that is less than two Hershey's Kisses to do it, a small study suggests.

The new research from Germany adds to mounting evidence linking dark chocolate with health benefits, but it's the first to suggest that just a tiny amount may suffice.

Volunteers for the study were randomly assigned to eat just over 6 grams — equal to about 1 1/2 Hershey's Kisses — of either dark chocolate or white chocolate daily for almost five months. The people eating the dark chocolate experienced a drop in blood pressure without any weight gain, doctors found, compared with no change in blood pressure readings in the white chocolate group. the rest

First Things: A Call to Arms in Defense of Human Exceptionalism
By Wesley J. Smith
Thursday, July 5, 2007

Tearing humans off the pedestal of exceptionalism is all the rage today among academics, philosophers, and other assorted members of the intelligentsia. The war against unique human worth—of which many remain unaware—is being mounted on many fronts:

• “Personhood Theory” in bioethics claims that granting humans unique moral status based simply on being human is “speciesism,” and hence membership in the moral community should be based on being a “person”—for example, possessing certain cognitive capacities (whether animal, human, space alien, or machine), such as being self-aware over time.

• The animal rights/liberation movement also seeks to knock us off the pedestal in the cause of elevating animals to equal moral worth with people. Thus, many liberationists urge that we base a being’s value on “painience,” that is, the capacity to experience pain. Since cows feels pain just as humans do, bovines are people too, and hence ranching cattle is as evil as slavery.
the rest

Still no peace for Anglicans
By Jim Coggins
July 2007


A MEETING in late June, which was expected to provide a definitive answer on the question of same-sex unions, has left the Anglican Church of Canada (ACC) confused and still divided over gay-related issues.

Despite this, the ACC's newly-elected head still supports the approval of same-sex blessings by the Diocese of New Westminster. Archbishop Fred Hiltz told CBC.ca that, if there was a change in the status quo in B.C. churches, "it would create a pastoral crisis for that diocese and those parishes where authority has been granted for the blessing of same-sex relations. They've been given authority to proceed and it will be taken away for them. It would create a dilemma."
Hiltz was responding to the results of the ACC's General Synod, held June 19 - 25 in Winnipeg.
the rest

Genetic Screening May Endanger Fetuses
Screening Meant to Increase Chance of Pregnancy Actually Lowers It, Study Finds
By KAMAL MENGHRAJANI
ABC News Medical Unit
July 4, 2007

Screening unborn children for genetic defects appears to reduce the chances of a healthy pregnancy and live birth, new research suggests.

The findings, published in the current issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, suggest that checking embryos before using them in in vitro fertilization, and implanting the ones that seem more genetically and structurally healthy, may actually lead to lower rates of pregnancy.

Ironically, this technique -- known as preimplantation genetic screening, or PGS -- is aimed at finding the healthiest embryos. Most experts thought it would not change the odds for women trying to get pregnant, and the technique has even become routine for women over 35 who wish to get pregnant.
the rest

Death on Demand
The assisted-suicide movement sheds its fig leaf.
by Wesley J. Smith
07/05/2007

SHOULD LAWS AGAINST assisted suicide be rescinded as "paternalistic?" Should assisted suicide be transformed from what is now a crime (in most places) into a sacred "right to die"? Should assisted suicide be redefined from a form of homicide into a legitimate "medical treatment" readily available to all persistently suffering people, including to the mentally ill?

According to Brown University professor Jacob M. Appel, the answer to all three of these questions is an unequivocal yes. Writing in the May-June 2007 Hastings Center Report ("A Suicide Right for the Mentally Ill?"), Appel argues in that assisted suicide should not only be available to the terminally ill, but also to people with "purely psychological disease" such as victims "of repeated bouts of severe depression," if the suicidal person "rationally might prefer dignified death over future suffering."

Given the emphasis assisted suicide advocates and the media normally give to the role of terminal illness in the assisted suicide debate, it might be tempting to dismiss Appel as a fringe rider. But he most definitely is not. Over the last several years, advocacy for what is sometimes called "rational suicide" has been growing increasingly mainstream, discussed among the bioethical and academic elite in mental health publications, academic symposia, and books. Indeed, it is worth noting that Appel's essay appeared in the world's most prestigious bioethics journal.
the rest

New Online Church Aims to Reach Those with No Experience of God, Christianity or Church
July 5th, 2007

Church on the Net is a new and unique online church which aims to help people find out more about God, Christianity and church. It is designed for seekers, agnostics and atheists as well as people of other faiths - and even Christians who are unable to go to church. If it feels too challenging to go through the doors of a church building, Church on the Net is open 24/7 and lets you browse articles addressing common questions, difficult issues and the fundamental principles of the Christian faith in a self-directing way. Plus, there's an interactive community section.

Ripon, England, (
PRWEB) July 5, 2007 -- Holy Trinity Church Ripon has launched an online 'church' for people who are not already engaged with the Christian faith, and who are looking for answers, but may not feel ready (or be able) to walk into a church building. Its goal is to help people discover if God is of relevance to them today, providing a safe and self-directed way to find straightforward answers to questions about Christianity. Longer-term, the goal is to encourage them to find a local church where they can feel at home.

Very few churches exist purely online, and Church on the Net (
http://www.church-on-the-net.com/) is unique because it is evangelistic, rather than designed to serve believers or any pre-existing fellowship. The team behind the project says that as well as agnostics, atheists and seekers, however, the online church may be useful to new Christians afraid of asking 'silly' questions, Christians who have slipped away from an active faith, and those who find it difficult to meet together (such as the housebound, carers, and those in remote areas or who face persecution). the rest

American Anglican Council Praises Kenya’s New US-Based Bishop
by Daniel Blake
Posted: Thursday, July 5, 2007

The American Anglican Council has applauded the “sound decision” by Archbishop Benjamin Nzimbi of the Anglican Province of Kenya to appoint a suffragan bishop to oversee the province’s US-based congregations.

The announcement that the Rev Bill Murdoch will be consecrated on 30 August “serves as one more important step toward the long-anticipated realignment of North American Anglicanism”, the AAC said.
the rest

L.A. Diocese Wins Another Church Property Battle
By
Lillian Kwon
Christian Post Reporter
Thu, Jul. 05 2007

The Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Los Angeles are entitled to the property of a conservative congregation that left the diocese last year, a Los Angeles Superior Court judge ruled Tuesday.

The decision by Judge John Shepard Wiley Jr. names the Episcopal diocese the rightful owner of the property of St. Luke's of the Mountains in La Crescenta, Calif. It follows last week's California Court of Appeal's decision that also ruled in favor of the Los Angeles diocese against three other parishes that broke away.

"We're very pleased with this decision today," said Los Angeles Bishop Jon Bruno on Tuesday, according to the Episcopal News Service. "We are a people of reconciliation, and our major concern is for the people of St. Luke's, and how to bring them back into relationship with the Diocese of Los Angeles if they wish. We will pray for them. I hope they will pray for us."


Congregants of St. Luke had voted to leave the diocese and The Episcopal Church in February 2006 over differences over biblical authority and interpretation, including The Episcopal Church's 2003 decision to consecrate an openly gay bishop.
the rest

Episcopal leader urges teamwork in repairing the world
`Reconciliation and freedom go hand in hand,' the first female presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church tells Houstonians
By BARBARA KARKABI
Houston Chronicle

When one is oppressed, all are oppressed, the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church told church members Wednesday.

Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori noted the irony of holding a "reconciliation Eucharist" on the Fourth of July, a day the nation celebrates freedom.

"The reality is that reconciliation and freedom go hand in hand," she told Houstonians and members of the Union of Black Episcopalians in a morning service at downtown's Christ Church Cathedral. "The irony is that freedom, reconciliation and the reign of God are all around us, and yet none of them is fully known or experienced — not yet."

Jefferts Schori, who was elected the first female leader of the 2.3 million-member Episcopal Church in June 2006, is on her first official visit to Houston. Her sermon was a highlight of the 39th annual meeting of the Union of Black Episcopalians, many participants said. She will lead a forum today at the conference, which concludes Friday.
the rest

Report: Wealthy homosexual donors swaying local, state elections
Jim Brown
OneNewsNow.com
July 3, 2007

Peter LaBarbera says what he calls "big gay money" is becoming a huge force in state and local politics in America. The pro-family activist is urging grassroots conservatives to counter those contributions that are being used to finance the campaigns of candidates who favor same-sex "marriage."

Former Washington Times reporter Peter LaBarbera says many grassroots Americans are unaware that pro-family lawmakers who support state marriage amendments are being targeted by wealthy homosexual donors. National Public Radio (NPR) reports that last year, wealthy homosexual activists "funneled millions of dollars into dozens of carefully selected campaigns." One of those donors was Denver software mogul Tim Gill, who according to NPR, targeted 70 state-level races in more than a dozen states.
the rest


Added: "Gays" Don't Want "Marriage" After All
7/5/2007
By J. Matt Barber

Getting married isn’t even on the radar screen for the vast majority of homosexuals.
The homosexual lobby has fine-tuned its rhetoric in recent years. Through the hyperbolic and repetitive use of such concocted expressions as “marriage equality” and “gay rights,” the left has dishonestly but effectively framed the debate over homosexual behaviors.

By co-opting and misapplying the language of the genuine civil rights movement, homosexual activists — along with kindred leftists in the media, government and elsewhere — are making considerable strides toward reshaping our culture. They’ve enjoyed much success in attaining official government recognition of a disordered and empty, though
demonstrably mutable, sexual lifestyle.

They yearn for a society created in their own secular humanist image wherein all are compelled to not only accept, but to celebrate high-risk, unnatural and fruitless homosexual behaviors as both normal and equal to natural expressions of human sexuality. Their ideal is a society in which inherent gender distinctions are eliminated and God’s express design for human sexuality is replaced by morally relative and surreal notions of sexual androgyny.
the rest

New Wineskins Yearn to be Filled with the Spirit
Janet Chismar
Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer

They left because they were tired – tired of merely standing in the pews on Sunday, tired of leaders who denied the truth of Scripture, tired of seeing their numbers dwindling. They were also thirsty -- thirsty for a filling of the Holy Spirit and thirsty to reach out in their communities. The men and women who formed the New Wineskins Association of Churches (NWAC) – a splinter group of the Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA) – saw the new wine of the Holy Spirit being poured out across the world. They saw lives being transformed and longed to be part of the movement.

Gerrit Dawson, co-moderator of the New Wineskins, says, "We realized we needed new wineskins and it’s not really about denominations at all. It’s about being missional, out-turned congregations. That’s where the real deal is. The rest is peripheral to our calling."

According to Dawson, conservative Presbyterians have for years been troubled by signs of increasing liberalism in the PCUSA such as drifting from the Trinity and the denial of absolute truth. Some tried to take a stand within the denomination. But actions by the PCUSA's 217th General Assembly, such as a move toward the ordination of homosexuals, rang a final warning bell for the conservative Presbyterians. "For years we have mourned our denomination’s unfaithfulness and we have grieved its actions,” says Dean Weaver, a New Wineskins co-moderator. “We have labored faithfully for renewal.” the rest

UK: Summer under a cloud as weather turns angry
5th July 2007

Looming angrily over London, this is the massive cloud that brought weather havoc to the capital.

Within an hour, its devastating work was done. Hailstones the size of marbles had battered Battersea and flashfloods caused chaos in Clapham. Lightning lit up the blackened sky. Taken from the 17th floor of the London Television Centre on the South Bank, this stunning picture shows the enormity of the cloud that heralded Tuesday's storms - the latest in this summer of dramatic contrasts.

the rest-more pictures

Exodus of Christians hits Baghdad district
Ex-residents say US response to purge was lacking

By Ned Parker, Los Angeles Times
July 5, 2007

BAGHDAD -- The two men knocked on Abu Salam's door on a Friday morning. He was one of the last remaining Christians on his block.

"Peace be upon you," they said, and Abu Salam, a man in his 50s, repeated the greeting.

The pair, one fat and the other thin, spoke politely. Both were clean-shaven and wore slacks and button-down shirts.

"You are now aware the neighborhood of Muwallamin belongs to the Islamic State of Iraq," the bigger man said. "We have three conditions you can accept: You can pay a tax, become a Muslim, or you can leave your house and we will help you take out your furniture."

"We'll let you make up your mind."
the rest

African bishops ready to boycott conference in row over gay clergy
Ruth Gledhill, Religion Correspondent
July 5, 2007

The head of the Anglican Church in Nigeria says that his 120-plus bishops will boycott next year’s Lambeth Conference unless the US Church halts its liberal agenda.

In an interview with The Times published today, Dr Peter Akinola, Primate of Nigeria and Archbishop of Abuja, says that he has lost faith that the Episcopal Church of the United States, which precipitated a schism with the ordination of the gay bishop Gene Robinson in 2003, will ever listen to the conservative evangelical leaders of the Global South churches of Africa and Asia.

His nearly 130 bishops meet in September to decide whether to attend the conference, the ten-yearly meeting of the Anglican Communion’s 800 bishops. Other provinces in the Global South grouping are also expected to vote soon on whether to boycott Lambeth, in the first formal mark of schism in the Anglican Church.
the rest

Added: Akinola has no desire to lead breakaway church

For God’s sake
Archbishop Akinola of Nigeria, the world’s most powerful Anglican leader, tells Religion Correspondent Ruth Gledhill that his conservatism is the true faith and that evangelism can combat Islamic terrorism

July 5, 2007

When Peter Akinola, Archbishop of Nigeria, consecrated 20 bishops in a single service, an observer asked how this was possible. He replied: “You have not seen anything yet.” This is a man whose name strikes fear into the souls of Western Christian leaders. Heading a Church of nearly 20 million practising Anglicans, he is the most powerful leader in the Anglican Church. While churches are closing in the US and Britain, he cannot open them fast enough. If things continue as they are, his could well be the future face of worldwide Anglicanism. Time is running out for the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, to avert schism.

Dr Akinola has become a totem of conservatism in the debate over homosexuality. The irony is not lost on him that he is attempting to preach a gospel back to England that was brought to his country by English missionaries in the mid-19th century. To modern, liberal, Western eyes, Dr Akinola is at the most extreme end of fundamentalist Christianity. Few can imagine the “broad” Church of England being led by such a man – but in Nigeria he is at the more liberal end of the Christian spectrum. More importantly, he is in the front line of relations between Christianity and Islam. In the northern, Sharia states of Nigeria, Christians have been driven from their looted homes, even murdered. The relationship with Islam is central to his ministry and he has found a way to counter Islam without violence: it is called evangelism.


the rest-Don't miss this!

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Values Worth Dying For

"Believe that it is the worst crime to prefer your physical life to reverence and to destroy, for the sake of living, the reasons for living" (Juvenal) This means that there are values worth dying for, because a life purchased at the cost of betraying these values is based on the betrayal of the reasons for living and is therefore a life destroyed from within. We could express what is meant here as follows: where there is no longer anything worth dying for, life is no longer worthwhile; it has lost its point. And this is not only true for the individual; a land, too, a common culture, has values that justify the commitment of one's life; if such values no longer exist, we also lose the reasons and the forces that maintain social cohesion and preserve a country as a community of life. Man needs transcendence. Immanence alone is too narrow for him. He is created for more. The denial of an afterlife led initially to a passionate glorification of life, the assertion of life at any price...Man needs morality in order to be himself. But morality requires faith in creation and immortality, that is, it needs the objectivity of obligation and the definitiveness of reponsibility and fulfillment.
...Pope Benedict (from Benedictus) photo

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

“We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature - trees, flowers, grass- grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence... We need silence to be able to touch souls.” ...Mother Teresa image

Confessions of an Episcopal Fundamentalist
07/15/2007

Fundamentalist: That abominable “f word;” so inimical to polite society in The Episcopal Church; the most offensive term of opprobrium the liberal religious establishment can use to demean its adversaries. It would seem that one may be almost anything in The Episcopal Church today except a fundamentalist.

Even in centers of American Anglican conservatism, this appellation is taboo. Calling someone at Ambridge or Nashotah a “fundamentalist” quite likely could result in your being regarded as a persona non grata on campus.

Over the course of my ministry, I began to notice that whenever my revisionist colleagues were not able to refute an orthodox argument, they could reduce their opponents to embarrassed stammerings of protested innocence, and thereby regain the upper hand, merely by declaring “You sound like a fundamentalist.”

After personally enduring this supercilious putdown on a number of occasions, I turned the tables on my antagonists by responding, “Yes, you’re right. What’s wrong with that?” This retort reduced opponents to stunned silence and forced the debate back to a reasoned discussion of the issues at point. The other side could no longer carry the argument by dismissively stigmatizing the traditionalists with a pejorative label.
the rest

British Prime Minister gives up church appointments
Tuesday, 3rd July 2007
By: Nick Mackenzie

AFTER WEEKS of speculation Prime Minister Gordon Brown this afternoon unveiled a range of constitutional changes that will see a change to the way that bishops in the Church of England are appointed.

Speaking in the House of Commons, the new Prime Minister announced a raft of changes, in a manner reminiscent of the radical changes announced in 1997 the day after Labour came to power.

the rest

Robinson redux
Four years after his election as the Episcopal Church’s first openly gay bishop, V. Gene Robinson talks about life now, for him and his church.

By Bruce C. Steele
From The Advocate July 17, 2007

“I thought three months after my election and consecration I would be old news,” says the Reverend V. Gene Robinson, the Episcopal Church’s New Hampshire bishop—and the first openly gay person to hold such a post in the worldwide Anglican Communion.

But four years after his election, Robinson—and the issue of homosexuality in the Anglican world—is more in the news than ever. The new convocation headed by Peter Akinola is just one development. By September 30, Episcopal leaders have been asked by their colleagues around the world to repudiate the blessing of same-sex unions and to promise not to ordain more openly gay bishops.
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Comments at Stand Firm

Anglican Report Episode 30

Kevin and Bill Discuss:
PB Jefferts-Schori Interview
Oxymorons

Former Polygamist Speaks Out
Kathy Nicholson Was Preparing for Her Marriage at Age 14

From GMA
July 2, 2007

Being a 14-year-old girl is hard. Being a 14-year-old girl who's isolated from society, has multiple mothers and is preparing for her wedding is almost unimaginable.

That was Kathy Nicholson's life -- until she broke free from America's largest polygamist sect, the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints. The 36-year-old grew up with one dad, three moms and 13 brothers and sisters. She said that while such a lifestyle at times mirrors the one portrayed in HBO's popular series "Big Love," in reality, polygamy is much more pain than pleasure.
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Derek Olsen: Communion without Baptism
Posted by The_Elves

July 3, 2007

We were quite astounded the other day to come across Derek Olsen's reflection on Communion without Baptism posted on the Daily Episcopalian blog, which is one of the blogs on the reappraising side of the Anglican/Episcopal spectrum. To our mind, Olsen makes one of the most eloquent and passionate defenses of requiring baptism before communion that we've yet seen. It is particularly interesting because Olsen obviously knows that many of his audience at Daily Episcopalian will strongly support Communion without baptism on the grounds of hospitality and inclusion. So he approaches his argument from that perspective. This elf really considers this blog entry MUST reading. Let us know if you agree.

Post, links and comments at TitusOneNine

Infertility breakthrough with first birth from lab-matured egg
Jul 2

The first baby to be created from an egg matured in a laboratory, frozen, thawed and then fertilised, has been born in Canada, researchers told a medical conference on Monday.

The baby girl was born to a woman diagnosed with advanced ovarian disease, and three other women in the 20-person trial group are pregnant by the same technique, researchers said.
Doctors already collect and store eggs from women who face cancer treatment that could cause sterility.

The eggs -- harvested after stimulating the ovaries with hormones -- are fertilised in-vitro with their partner's sperm, then frozen. After the cancer therapy, the eggs are then thawed and implanted.
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Muslim prayers in school debated
S.D. elementary at center of dispute
By Helen Gao
UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER
July 2, 2007

A San Diego public school has become part of a national debate over religion in schools ever since a substitute teacher publicly condemned an Arabic language program that gives Muslim students time for prayer during school hours.

Carver Elementary in Oak Park added Arabic to its curriculum in September when it suddenly absorbed more than 100 students from a defunct charter school that had served mostly Somali Muslims.

After subbing at Carver, the teacher claimed that religious indoctrination was taking place and said that a school aide had led Muslim students in prayer.
the rest

'Gay'-rights leader quits homosexuality
Rising star in movement says God liberated him from lifestyle

July 3, 2007
By Art Moore

Michael Glatze with Matthew Shepard's mother, Judy Shepard (Harvard University photo)He was a rising star in the "gay rights" movement, but Michael Glatze now declares not only has he given up activism – he's no longer a homosexual.

Glatze – who had become a frequent media source as founding editor of Young Gay America magazine – tells the story of his transformation in an exclusive
column published today by WND.

Although Glatze cut himself off from the homosexual community about a year and a half ago, he says the column likely will surprise some people.

"This will actually be news to anybody I used to relate to," he told WND.

The radical change in his life, Glatze recalls, began with inner "promptings" he now attributes to God.
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Scotland Teenager Faces Threats From School For T-Shirt Against Abortion
by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
July 3, 2007

London, England (LifeNews.com) -- A teenager in the UK is facing threats from her school for wearing a t-shirt that has a message opposing abortion. Sarah Scott, a 16 year-old who gave birth just four months ago, says the staff at Banff Academy complained when she wore a shirt with the message "Abortion is Murder” printed on it.

Scott attends the Aberdeenshire, Scotland school and wore the shirt on a day when students are permitted to wear casual clothes instead of their normal uniforms.

While the school maintains the shirt was offensive and threatened to kick her out if she wore it again, Scott says other shirts are more offensive.

She pointed to shirts worn by students promoting pornography or lewd magazines.
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Pagans object to Long Man filming
BBC Online 03 July 2007
Members of the Pagan community have been protesting over the use of the Long Man of Wilmington in a TV stunt for a new Trinny and Susannah show.

'Goddess' sacked for visiting US
BBC Online 03 July 2007
A 10-year-old girl who is worshipped as a living goddess in Nepal has been stripped of her title for defying tradition and visiting the US.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Our heart shall rejoice in Him."—Psalm 33:21

BLESSED is the fact that Christians can rejoice even in the deepest distress; although trouble may surround them, they still sing; and, like many birds, they sing best in their cages. The waves may roll over them, but their souls soon rise to the surface and see the light of God's countenance; they have a buoyancy about them which keeps their head always above the water, and helps them to sing amid the tempest, "God is with me still." To whom shall the glory be given? Oh! to Jesus—it is all by Jesus.
Trouble does not necessarily bring consolation with it to the believer, but the presence of the Son of God in the fiery furnace with him fills his heart with joy. He is sick and suffering, but Jesus visits him and makes his bed for him. He is dying, and the cold chilly waters of Jordan are gathering about him up to the neck, but Jesus puts His arms around him, and cries, "Fear not, beloved; to die is to be blessed; the waters of death have their fountain-head in heaven; they are not bitter, they are sweet as nectar, for they flow from the throne of God." As the departing saint wades through the stream, and the billows gather around him, and heart and flesh fail him, the same voice sounds in his ears, "Fear not; I am with thee; be not dismayed; I am thy God." As he nears the borders of the infinite unknown, and is almost affrighted to enter the realm of shades, Jesus says, "Fear not, it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom." Thus strengthened and consoled, the believer is not afraid to die; nay, he is even willing to depart, for since he has seen Jesus as the morning star, he longs to gaze upon Him as the sun in his strength. Truly, the presence of Jesus is all the heaven we desire. He is at once

"The glory of our brightest days;
The comfort of our nights."
...CH Spurgeon photo

Stay calm amid tensions, Bonnie Anderson urges Rio Grande Episcopalians
By Mary Frances Schjonberg
July 02, 2007

[ENS, ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico] House of Deputies President Bonnie Anderson told more than 275 people gathered June 30 in the Episcopal Diocese of the Rio Grande to both be prepared and to stay calm amid the current tensions in the diocese, the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion.

"Keep your eyes on the prize, which is the reconciliation of the world through Jesus Christ, whom we love more than life itself," Anderson told the meeting at St. Michael and
All Angels Episcopal Church. "And keep calm."

People from 21 of the diocese's 60 congregations attended the afternoon meeting sponsored by Episcopalians for the Future in the Diocese of the Rio Grande, which included presentations by Anderson and her chancellor, Sally Johnson, and a question-and-answer period. Those sessions were interspersed with hymns, prayers and a period of silent reflection.

One attendee, Dennis Prichard, the bishop's warden at St. Philip's Episcopal Church in Belen, New Mexico, said afterward that if Episcopalians heeded Anderson's reminder of Jesus' call for people to love one another "we would not be in the place we're in."
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Comments at TitusOneNine

Canterbury: No Change to Bishop Robinson's Lambeth Status
07/02/2007

The Archbishop of Canterbury’s office has released a
statement on the status of the Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson’s invitation to the 2008 Lambeth Conference, saying “there is no change to the Archbishop of Canterbury’s decision not to invite the Bishop of New Hampshire to the conference as a participating bishop.”

Last week a British daily newspaper
reported that a member of the archbishop’s staff had informed several concerned clergy members of the Church of England by letter that Bishop Robinson would be attending.

The letter sent to the clergy listed Archbishop Rowan Williams’ previously stated reasons for not inviting Bishop Robinson, and closed with a reminder that “it is still being explored whether Bishop Robinson might attend in another status.”
the rest

Web Entrepreneurs Invited to Enter Christian Blog Awards
by Jennifer Gold
Monday, July 2, 2007

Christians who run websites and blog sites will have the chance to share their sites with a national audience by entering the first Christian Blog Awards this summer.

The awards have been established by Premier Christian Media and will see eight awards given out in different categories at a black tie event at internet church, St Stephen Wallbrook in September.

Awards host and radio presenter Maria Toth said: “Worldwide, the blogging phenomenon is growing, and the impact it is having on faith is staggering. Christians are using blogs and websites to evangelise, share counsel, have fellowship, resource one another and join together in prayer.”
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Now playing: Church services held at multiplex
By
BARBARA LIVINGSTON NACKMAN
THE JOURNAL NEWS
July 2, 2007

Popcorn and soda won't be for sale, but Bible readings and accepting Jesus as savior now get top billing at the Carmel Multiplex on Sunday mornings.

Lakeview Community Church has begun assembling its 80 members for one-hour weekly prayer services at 9:45 a.m. in any one of the eight theaters at the ShopRite plaza on Route 52.

For the past three years, the evangelical church met on Sunday mornings for Christian stories and song at Casey Hall in Carmel High School, but construction set for this summer left the faithful homeless.

The school district did offer an auditorium at Kent Elementary School, but when the Rev. Brian McIntyre, 37, of Carmel discovered the town's movie house was an option, he said he decided to try a dramatic new venue.
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‘Atheist’s Bible’ is the latest to join anti-God bandwagon
By CARLIN ROMANO
McCLATCHY-TRIBUNE
Sunday July 01, 2007

To stir secular intellectuals, American philosopher Daniel C. Dennett last year published ‘‘Breaking the Spell.’’ British scientist Richard Dawkins soon followed with ‘‘The God Delusion.’’

At the same time, writer Sam Harris has kept grabbing middlebrow readers with ‘‘Letters to a Christian Nation’’ and other work. And, earlier this month, caustic British-American culture critic Christopher Hitchens goosed atheism to best-sellerdom - his ‘‘God Is Not Great’’ debuted at No. 1 on the all-important New York Times list.

Any surprise that atheism now turns up as a gift book, the kind stackable by the register? If atheism’s going mass, after all, you need not just a sacred text but an easily portable one.
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Breakaway Anglican: Episcopal Church 'Redefining Itself as Radical Offshoot'
Monday, July 2, 2007
by Lillian Kwon, Christian Today US Correspondent

Members of breakaway Anglican churches in Virginia are grieving for the US Episcopal Church after its recent motion to add additional defendants to a church property lawsuit.

The 11 Virginia churches, their clergy, trustees and lay leaders being sued have filed a memo opposing the denomination's motion to add 76 more unpaid church volunteers to the lawsuit and anyone else in the future.

"It's hard to understand the Episcopal Church's and the diocese's motivation for attacking these volunteers and our churches," said Jim Oakes, vice-chairman of the Anglican District of Virginia, an association of conservative Anglican congregations in Virginia. "The motivation appears to be intimidation, but we remain open to negotiating a reasonable solution."
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Albert Mohler: A New Meaning for "Dead Air" -- Digital Death in the Media Age
Posted: Monday, July 02, 2007

Germany's most influential newsmagazine,
Der Spiegel, reports that a new television channel there will concentrate 24/7 on issues related to death, dying, aging, and mourning. This may be the inevitable result of Europe's secularization, and on this score America may not be far behind.

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Bad advice hurting churches
Pews of religions which compromise their theology are quickly emptying
By TED BYFIELD
July 1, 2007

One of the most rewarding disclosures when the liberal press venture forth into the mysterious world of religion is the astounding ignorance of both its history and its current condition that they so unerringly place on display.

They deliver severe admonitions to bishops and clergy, warning of the calamitous consequences their church will suffer if it does not liberalize its ecclesiology, compromise its theology and sodomize its morality.

Yet the very churches that have done all these recommended things are precisely those suffering such a disastrous exodus of their members that their church's very existence is now in question.

the rest Magic Statistics

UK: Floods are judgment on society, say bishops
By Jonathan Wynne-Jones, Sunday Telegraph
02/07/2007

The floods that have devastated swathes of the country are God's judgment on the immorality and greed of modern society, according to senior Church of England bishops.

One diocesan bishop has even claimed that laws that have undermined marriage, including the introduction of pro-gay legislation, have provoked God to act by sending the storms that have left thousands of people homeless.

While those who have been affected by the storms are innocent victims, the bishops argue controversially that the flooding is a result of Western civilisation's decision to ignore biblical teaching.
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Company to Charge 'Unhealthy' Workers More for Insurance
Sunday, July 01, 2007

INDIANAPOLIS — Unhealthy habits could cost Clarian Health employees a healthy chunk of money as the company tries to rein in rising health care costs.

Starting in 2009, Clarian will begin charging workers extra for insurance if they let health risks such as smoking, obesity or high cholesterol go unchecked.

Questionnaires and screenings will be used to detect health risks. Workers who fail to measure up in five areas — including body mass and blood pressure, will have up to $30 deducted from each biweekly paycheck if they can't prove they're working to improve their health. Workers who smoke will pay $5 extra every two weeks starting in 2008.
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'Country is watching' Massachusetts insurance plan