Saturday, August 18, 2007

If thou seek him, he will be found of thee. 1 Chronicles 28:9

We need our God; He is to be had for the seeking, and He will not deny Himself to any one of us if we personally seek His face. It is not if thou deserve Him, or purchase His favor, but merely if thou "seek" Him. Those who already know the Lord must go on seeking His face by prayer, by diligent service, and by holy gratitude: to such He will not refuse His favor and fellowship. Those who, as yet, have not known Him to their souls' rest should at once commence seeking and never cease till they find Him as their Savior, their Friend, their Father, and their God.

What strong assurance this promise gives to the seeker! "He that seeketh findeth." You, yes you, if you seek your God shall find Him. When you find Him you have found life, pardon, sanctification, preservation, and glory. Will you not seek, and seek on, since you shall not seek in vain' Dear friend, seek the Lord at once. Here is the place, and now is the time. Bend that stiff knee; yes, bend that stiffer neck, and cry out for God, for the living God. In the name of Jesus, seek cleansing and justification. You shall not be refused. Here is David's testimony to his son Solomon, and it is the writer's personal witness to the reader. Believe it and act upon it, for Christ's sake. ...CH Spurgeon

Karl Rove is not agnostic; he is Episcopalian
According to a statement given to Deal Hudson of the Morley Institute, presidential advisor Karl Rove says he is a believing Christian; the soon-ro-resign politico claims the Episcopal Church.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Karl Rove, who has been in the news recently because of his pending resignation, is back in the news but this time to say that he is, in fact, a Christian.

According to a statement given to Deal Hudson, the president of the Morley Institute for Church & Culture, Rove says that he is an Episcopalian.

There have been persistent rumors instigated by Christopher Hitchens and spread by the Rev. Bill Moyers and a host of bloggers that Rove is actually an agnostic.

The key political advisor to President Bush has now put the speculation to rest.
the rest

Archbishop of Canterbury to Begin U.S. Visit With Ecumenical Celebration

The Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of Louisiana will celebrate the “Resiliency of Spirit” at a special ecumenical service Sept. 20 in New Orleans.

“We are humbled that the archbishop has accepted our invitation to visit and touch the mission of renewal and restoration on the Gulf Coast,” said the Rt. Rev. Charles E. Jenkins, Bishop of Louisiana.

The dioceses of Louisiana and Mississippi were devastated by Hurricane Katrina on Aug. 25, 2005. Following an unprecedented domestic grant from Episcopal Relief and Development and individual donations from Episcopalians throughout the United States, the Diocese of Louisiana established a comprehensive humanitarian service ministry to assist with recovery and rebuilding of the New Orleans area.
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Cannibal tribe apologises for eating Methodists
By Nick Squires in Sydney

A tribe in Papua New Guinea has apologised for killing and eating four 19th century missionaries under the command of a doughty British clergyman.

The four Fijian missionaries were on a proselytising mission on the island of New Britain when they were massacred by Tolai tribesmen in 1878.

They were murdered on the orders of a local warrior chief, Taleli, and were then cooked and eaten. The Fijians - a minister and three teachers - were under the leadership of the Reverend George Brown, an adventurous Wesleyan missionary who was born in Durham but spent most of his life spreading the word of God in the South Seas.

Thousands of villagers attended a reconciliation ceremony near Rabaul, the capital of East New Britain province, once notorious for the ferocity of its cannibals.
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Billy Graham recovering from intestinal bleed
Condition stabilizes after evangelist is admitted into the hospital

Associated Press
Aug. 18, 2007

ASHEVILLE, N.C. — Evangelist Billy Graham was admitted to a hospital near his home early today for evaluation and treatment of an intestinal bleed, hospital officials said.

Graham, 88, was resting comfortably this afternoon, said Merrell Gregory, a spokesman for Mission Health & Hospitals in Asheville

Graham's doctors said his condition did not appear to be life-threatening, said the minister's spokesman Larry Ross said. He estimated Graham could be released from the hospital in a couple of days.

The hospital said in a statement that Graham's condition had stabilized after his admission, and an endoscopy and a bleeding scan found no areas of bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract.
the rest

1599 Geneva Bible available for first time in nearly 400 years
Allie Martin
August 18, 2007

The Bible used by the first settlers in America is once again available.

When the settlers arrived at Jamestown in 1607, they brought with them copies of the Geneva Bible. That Bible was the first study Bible and was translated and compiled by exiled reformers in Geneva. It is also known as being the first Bible to be read by common people in English. But the Geneva Bible was outlawed after the King James 1611 Bible was published.

Now, the
Geneva Bible Restoration Project has released an updated version of the 1599 Geneva Bible. Brandon Vallorani, co-founder of the Project, explains some of the historic "firsts" represented in the Geneva Bible. the rest photo

Eat, Drink, and Be Hungry
It's emptiness, not fullness, that Jesus blesses.

John Koessler


"Eating and drinking play significant roles in Old Testament worship. Indeed, the shedding of blood was at the heart of the Mosaic covenant. As the writer of Hebrews notes: "The law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness" (Heb. 9:22). Where there was shed blood, there was also food. Priest and worshiper alike celebrated God's provision of righteousness with a meal.

Old Testament worship made special note of the prodigal nature of our appetites. The Law of Moses, with its long list of clean and unclean foods, seems obsessively concerned with diet. Some have interpreted these regulations primarily as a regimen for healthy eating, but I think the message is more serious. The list reminds us that we are addicted to an unwholesome diet. Righteousness is not our natural food. As a result, we are being consumed by our appetites. Like our first parents, whose hunger for forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden led to the fall of our race, we too long for food which seems good, pleasing, and desirable, but which will destroy us in the end. Even worse, our efforts to sate our hunger and slake our thirst ruin our taste for a better diet."
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Advocates Hail Lutheran Act on Gay Clergy Members
Published: August 17, 2007

The country’s largest Lutheran denomination officially bars openly gay people from the ministry. But in a move that advocates for gay men and lesbians are hailing as a step toward changing that policy, the denomination is urging its bishops to refrain from disciplining gay members of the clergy who are in committed same-sex relationships.

A resolution to that effect was passed last weekend in Chicago by delegates to the biennial meeting of the Churchwide Assembly of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America.

Church officials said it did not signal a change in policy. But they said that a denomination task force was completing “a social statement,” or theological document, on human sexuality, to be discussed in 2009, and that the resolution allowed bishops to hold off, in the interim, on taking action against gay and lesbian ministers in their jurisdictions.
the rest

Friday, August 17, 2007

When I said, "My foot is slipping,"
your love, O LORD, supported me.
Psalm 94:18

Williams ’set to be manipulated'
August 17, 2007
George Conger

THE ARCHBISHOP of Canterbury’s Sept 20-21 meeting with members of the US House of Bishops in New Orleans will seek to manipulate Dr Williams into giving the Episcopal Church a clean bill of health so as to preserve its place in the Communion.

Conservative American leaders claim the Episcopal Church will seek to resurrect a report presented to the February Primates’ Meeting prepared by a small group within the Joint Primates-ACC Standing Committee that said the Episcopal Church had met two of the three requests of the Windsor Report and deserve a reprieve.

The meeting will be used to “manipulate” Dr Williams, the Bishop of Fort Worth, the Rt Rev Jack Iker said on July 31. The leaders of the American House of Bishops believe “If we can talk to Rowan, face to face, we can convince him of the rightness of our position and that he will stand with us,” he said.
the rest

Comments at Stand Firm

Forced Education in Homosexuality and Evolution Leads to Exodus of Mennonites from Quebec
By John-Henry Westen and Elizabeth O'Brien
MONTREAL, August 16, 2007

( - A community of a dozen Mennonite families in Quebec is ready to leave the province rather than succumb to provincial government demands that would require their children to be taught evolution and homosexuality. While the government sees its actions as nothing more than enforcing technical regulations, many view the case as intolerance of Christian faith.

The community runs a small Mennonite school out of a church in Roxton Falls where eleven children in elementary grades were expected to commence studies this Fall. Subjects include reading, writing, math, science, geography, social sciences, music and French. However, they are not schooled in evolution and homosexuality (sex education) as demanded by the official provincial curriculum.

Quebec Education Ministry Spokesman Francois Lefebvre told that the province has two requirements for approval of private schools. "That the teachers are certified and that the provincial curriculum which is mandatory in all Quebec schools is followed," he said.
the rest

Gaza Christians Living Under Growing Islamic Threat
By Ryan Jones Correspondent
August 16, 2007Jerusalem

( - The few reports emerging from Gaza regarding the area's tiny Christian minority indicate that Palestinian followers of Jesus are under increasing pressure to either become Muslims, submit to Islamic law or leave the Gaza Strip.

Hamas, an Islamic terrorist group that won last year's Palestinian parliamentary elections, completed a military takeover of the Gaza Strip in June, handily defeating its rivals in Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah movement.

Following the conquest, spokesmen and various local officials affiliated with Hamas announced that an era of strict Islamic rule had begun in Gaza.
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Religious conflict in Harvard football schedule
Asks game be moved from Yom Kippur eve

By Michael Levenson, Globe Staff
August 17, 2007

Under pressure from season ticket holders and alumni, Harvard proposed yesterday to move the date of its first nighttime football game from a Jewish holiday to another day that would not conflict with the religious observance.

The game against Brown, billed as a momentous occasion in the 133-year history of Crimson football, had been scheduled for Sept. 21 at 7:30 p.m.
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Connecticut Six: Bishop Smith of CT ignores the pleas of 38 Primates

Thursday, August 16, 2007

The best we can hope for in this life is a knothole peek at the shining realities ahead. Yet a glimpse is enough. It's enough to convince our hearts that whatever sufferings and sorrows currently assail us aren't worthy of comparison to that which waits over the horizon. ...Joni Eareckson Tada image

Update: At Least 450 Killed in Big Peru Quake
Friday August 17, 2007 1:31 AM
Associated Press Writers

PISCO, Peru (AP) - The death toll rose to 450 on Thursday in the magnitude-8 earthquake that devastated cities of adobe and brick in Peru's southern desert. Survivors wearing blankets walked like ghosts through the ruins.

Dust-covered dead were pulled out and laid in rows in the streets, or beneath bloodstained sheets at damaged hospitals and morgues. Doctors struggled to help more than 1,500 injured, including hundreds who waited on cots in the open air, fearing more aftershocks would send the structures crashing down.
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TLC: U.S. Bishops Ask Archbishop of Canterbury for Clarity

Bishops who have made a public commitment to support the Windsor Report have asked the Archbishop of Canterbury to be clear and articulate in explaining what the consequences will be if the House of Bishops fails to give the assurances sought by the primates.

Seventeen diocesan bishops and one bishop suffragan from The Episcopal Church received an extensive briefing on the primates’ communiqué from the Rev. Canon Gregory Cameron, and shared with him their hopes for the meeting in September between the Archbishop of Canterbury and the House of Bishops during a conference held Aug. 9-10 at Camp Allen near Houston.
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The Death of Diversity
People in ethnically diverse settings don't care about each other.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Diversity was once just another word. Now it's a fighting word. One of the biggest problems with diversity is that it won't let you alone. Corporations everywhere have force-marched middle managers into training sessions led by "diversity trainers." Most people already knew that the basic idea beneath diversity emerged about 2,000 years ago under two rubrics: Love thy neighbor as thyself, and Do unto others as they would do unto you. Then suddenly this got rewritten as "appreciating differentness."

George Bernard Shaw is said to have demurred from the Golden Rule. "Do not do unto others as you would have them do unto you," Shaw advised. "Their tastes may not be the same." No such voluntary opt-out is permissible in our time. The parsons of the press made diversity into a secular commandment; do a word-search of "diversity" in a broad database of newspapers and it might come up 250 million times. In the Supreme Court term just ended, the Seattle schools integration case led most of the justices into arcane discussions of diversity's legal compulsions. More recently it emerged that the University of Michigan, a virtual Mecca of diversity, announced it would install Muslim footbaths in bathrooms, causing a fight.

Now comes word that diversity as an ideology may be dead, or not worth saving. Robert Putnam, the Harvard don who in the controversial bestseller "Bowling Alone" announced the decline of communal-mindedness amid the rise of home-alone couch potatoes, has completed a mammoth study of the effects of ethnic diversity on communities. His researchers did 30,000 interviews in 41 U.S. communities. Short version: People in ethnically diverse settings don't want to have much of anything to do with each other. "Social capital" erodes. Diversity has a downside.
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Group fights lesbian 'divorce'
By Cheryl Wetzstein
August 16, 2007

The Rhode Island Supreme Court should rule that a lesbian couple who "married" in Massachusetts can't get "divorced" in Rhode Island because such an act would legalize same-sex "marriage" in the state, say court papers filed by a conservative legal defense organization.

"Rhode Island should not allow same-sex 'divorce' to become a back-door entrance to the recognition of same sex 'marriage,' " said Austin Nimocks, an attorney for the Alliance Defense Fund, which filed a friend-of-the-court brief this month in the case of Margaret Chambers and Cassandra Ormiston.
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Seniors head south to Mexican nursing homes
By Chris Hawley USA TODAY

AJIJIC, Mexico — After Jean Douglas turned 70, she realized she couldn't take care of herself anymore. Her knees were giving out, and winters in Bandon, Ore., were getting harder to bear alone.

Douglas was shocked by the high cost and impersonal care at assisted-living facilities near her home. After searching the Internet for other options, she joined a small but steadily growing number of Americans who are moving across the border to nursing homes in Mexico, where the sun is bright and the living is cheap.

For $1,300 a month — a quarter of what an average nursing home costs in Oregon — Douglas gets a studio apartment, three meals a day, laundry and cleaning service, and 24-hour care from an attentive staff, many of whom speak English. She wakes up every morning next to a glimmering mountain lake, and the average annual high temperature is a toasty 79 degrees.
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Ohio Teen Charged With Murder, Killed Girlfriend's Baby After Abortion Refusal
by Steven Ertelt Editor
August 15, 2007

Cincinnati, OH ( -- An Ohio teenager accused of attacking his pregnant girlfriend and killing her unborn child after she refused to have an abortion will be charged with murder. Alfonso Price, a 15-year-old, allegedly attacked Kerria Anderson, 18, because she refused to have an abortion of her baby who Price fathered.

Price reportedly kicked Anderson, who was eight months pregnant, in the stomach and hit her causing her to miscarry the old unborn child. She planned to name her baby Precious.
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Storage Co.'s Pro-Choice Billboard Causes Uproar
Ad Featuring Coat Hanger Adds Fuel To Heated Debate

Brendan Keefe

Aug 16, 2007

(CBS) NEW YORK They're ads you may have seen around New York City. They're supposed to be promoting storage, but they have a political and comical edge to them.

But their latest ad doesn't have too many people laughing.

Its billboards have always been edgy, but has Manhattan Mini Storage gone over the edge?

The ad causing controversy depicts a coat hanger and takes a stance on abortion, along with the slogan: "Your closet space is shrinking as fast as her right to choose."

Needless to say, it didn't take long for the backlash to come. the rest

Statistical Shell Game
The numbers we report are a matter of gospel integrity.

A Christianity Today editorial

Rarely do media report about the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) without mentioning its 16 million members. That's a problem SBC president Frank Page wants to correct.

"I never talk about 16 million. That is ridiculous," Page said. "I teasingly say the FBI could not find 5 million of our members."

As America's largest Protestant body, Southern Baptists boast political influence and media prestige. But convention records indicate that fewer than 6 million people attend Southern Baptist churches each week. The SBC has plenty of company with bloated statistics. Some denominations would rather not think about the problem, reporting the exact same numbers year after year. Could these churches have grown but forgotten to count?

The slide into fudged numbers begins innocently enough. Every number tells the story of a life we believe God has transformed. Maybe some wayward church members just need a little encouragement, rather than to be cut from the rolls. Besides, impressive numbers draw attention to the gospel in this American culture that demands results. Mainstream media coverage of religion has improved since legions of "values voters" received credit for reelecting President Bush.
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First Things: The Malling of Mecca
By Michael Linton
Thursday, August 16, 2007

It’s big. No, I mean really BIG. And I’m not talking about
the Burj Dubai, which when it reached 1,680 feet on July 21 became the tallest building on earth (and a thousand feet short of its completed height—yes, I said a thousand). I’m talking about that huge project on the other side of the Arabian desert, the hotel/prayer hall/shopping mall/Big-Ben-mantle-clock-on-steroids that’s being built next to the Great Mosque in Mecca, the Abraj Al Bait Towers. Look at it here. And here. See, I told you it was big.

Topping off at slightly less than 1,600 feet, the Abraj Al Bait will be only slighter shorter than
the planned Chicago Spire (completed height: 2,000 ft). And it will be dwarfed by Dubai’s yet-to-be-begun Al Burj, which is called to be capped at 3,900 feet-plus (here and here). But these buildings, and the rest of the tall buildings that have been pushed up in the past twenty years, are all spires. They go up but not out. Not in Mecca. The Abraj Al Bait is almost as wide as the Chicago Spire is high. Six or seven residential towers (accounts differ; apparently the place is so big they lose track); a sixty-floor, two-thousand-room hotel; a convention center for 1,500 people; a prayer hall for another 3,800; a mall; parking garages; a transit station; and two heliports: The structure is a web of platforms and towers and bridges and halls that, by mass, exceeds any of the built or proposed taller spires. When the Bin Laden Group is finished with it in two years, the Abraj Al Bait may be the biggest building in the world. Even now, the incomplete structure literally towers over the Mecca mosque. the rest photo

Albert Mohler: Heresy in the Cathedral
Thursday, August 16, 2007

The Rt. Rev. Peter Jensen, Australia's Archbishop of Sydney, is making headlines for denying a heretic access to the pulpits of the churches under his care. The heretic is the retired bishop of Newark, New Jersey, The Rt. Rev. John Shelby Spong -- a man who has denied virtually every major Christian doctrine.

Heretics are rarely excommunicated these says. Instead, they go on book tours. Bishop Spong is visiting Australia at the invitation of Australia's Anglican Primate Phillip Aspinall of Brisbane. When Archbishop Jensen denied Bishop Spong access to the pulpits of Sydney, Archbishop Aspinall extended an invitation for Spong to preach in Brisbane's St. John's Cathedral.
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Peru quake death toll 337, rising
By Martin Mejia and Mauricio Munoz, Associated Press Writers
August 16, 2007

ICA, Peru --Rescuers struggled across a shattered countryside on Thursday to reach victims of a magnitude-8.0 earthquake that killed at least 337 people. More than 827 people were reported injured and the Red Cross said the toll was expected to rise.

The center of the destruction was in Peru's southern desert, in the oasis city of Ica and the nearby port of Pisco, about 125 miles southeast of the capital, Lima. Pisco's mayor said at least 200 people were buried in the rubble of a church where they had been attending a service.

In Ica, a city of 120,000 near the epicenter, a fourth of the buildings collapsed, at least 57 bodies were brought to the morgue and injured parents and children crowded into a hospital where they waited for attention on cots. Several Ica churches also were damaged, including the historic Senor de Luren church. Cable news station Canal N said 17 people were killed inside one.
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Villagers fight off animals in South Asia floods...

Clergy abuse viewed as isolated
Albany Episcopal officials say there is no evidence ex-dean acted improperly at Cathedral of All Saints
By MARC PARRY, Staff writer
Thursday, August 16, 2007

ALBANY -- Local Episcopalians have no immediate plans to investigate a former Cathedral of All Saints dean who has admitted sexually abusing four boys while working as a rector in central New York.

The Rev. Marshall Vang, the dean of the cathedral, said Wednesday he was not aware of any local complaints against the Rev. J. Edward Putnam, who led the Albany Episcopal Diocese's mother church between 1993 and 1997. He also served as a chaplain for the state Assembly.
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Bishop queries Christian myths
August 17, 2007

CONTROVERSIAL American Anglican John Shelby Spong will preach at three Uniting Church parishes when he visits Adelaide this month.

The retired bishop, banned from speaking at Sydney's Anglican cathedral over his beliefs that Christianity's core beliefs are based on myth, is on an author's tour promoting his latest book, Jesus for the Non-Religious.

Sydney Archbishop Peter Jensen has accused him of "gutting" the Christian faith.

St Peter's Cathedral Dean Steven Ogden said there was no ban in Adelaide, although elements of the Anglican community rejected Bishop Spong's teachings.
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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

There are seasons when to be still demands immeasurably higher strength than to act. Composure is often the highest result of power. To the vilest and most deadly charges Jesus responded with deep, unbroken silence, such as excited the wonder of the judge and the spectators. To the grossest insults, the most violent ill-treatment and mockery that might well bring indignation into the feeblest heart, He responded with voiceless complacent calmness. Those who are unjustly accused, and causelessly ill-treated, know what tremendous strength is necessary to keep silence to God. ...Margaret Bottome art

Homosexuals in the military
By Daniel L. Davis
August 15, 2007

There has been a great deal of interest in the media in recent days about a renewed movement to strike down the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy regarding homosexuals serving in the military. The debate, however, has not been a dialogue so much as a monologue.

It seems virtually every story written or soundbite uttered involves supporting the ability of homosexual men and women to serve openly in the armed services, but remarkably few discuss the alternative point of view. Such an important issue ought not be decided based on such an out-of-balance ratio.
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Judge sides with state in battle over religious license plate
August 15, 2007

RUTLAND, Vt. --A man who wants a biblical reference on his vanity license plate has been dealt another setback in his 2 1/2-year legal fight with the state of Vermont, with a judge siding with the state Department of Motor Vehicles.

"The DMV has the right to prohibit religious messages on license plates provided it does not discriminate based on the particular message or viewpoint," U.S. Magistrate Jerome J. Niedermeier wrote in his 23-page report filed in U.S. District Court in Burlington.

Byrne, of West Rutland, wants a license plate that reads "JN36TN," shorthand for John 3:16, a Bible passage that reads: "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
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Camo bibles top seller at online retailer
Wednesday August 15, 2007

An on-line outdoor retailer in the United States is selling camouflaged
Bibles, a curious product which says a lot about American culture.

“Our NIV (New International Version) Bible in Realtree camo is our best selling item, followed closely by our camo Bible cover,” said David Lingner, the president of Arkansas-based
Christian Outdoorsman, which sells Christian-themed hunting and angling products online.

The cover of this Bible is graced by leaves and tree bark. This enables the devout who also hunt to take their Bible into the woods with them while concealing it from their prey.
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TLC: Central New York Priest Admits to Sexual Abuse

A priest of the Diocese of Central New York has been suspended after he admitted to inappropriate sexual conduct with four underage boys while he was the rector of St. James’ Church, Skaneatales. The Rev. J. Edward Putnam was suspended from all ministerial and priestly responsibilities for 20 years by the Rt. Rev. Gladstone B. Adams, Bishop of Central New York.

In a statement released by the diocese, Bishop Adams said he received the initial complaint in May, and that the allegations were investigated by the diocese’s pastoral response team. As a result of that investigation, four persons have filed affidavits describing the abuse that occurred while Fr. Putnam was rector in Skaneatales (1986-1993).
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Anger over female infanticide in India
Wednesday, 15th August 2007
By: George Conger.

CHRISTIAN women’s groups have expressed outrage over a rising tide of female infanticide in India,
following the discovery of two mass graves of aborted foetuses.

“This is a dangerous situation and, if it continues, there will be the extinction of female children," said Sabitha Swaraj, president of the All India Council of Christian Women on July 26 following the discovery of the mass graves.

The preference for male children has lead to a gender imbalance in the population of India. A study published in 2006 in the Lancet found that in 2001 showed that for every 1,000 male babies born in India, there were just 933 girls.

The report written by Prabhat Jha of St Michael's Hospital at the University of Toronto found that half a million girls were being aborted each year.
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Japan investigating 'net cafe refugees'
Aug 15

Japan is launching its first study into so-called "Net cafe refugees," young people who live in all-night lounges and are feared to become a new class of working poor, an official said Wednesday.

Japan's omnipresent net cafes -- equipped with sofas, drinks, computers and
comic books -- are designed for businessmen who want to slack off for a few hours or for commuters who missed their last trains home.

But Japan has been alarmed by growing reports of young day labourers who are staying in round-the-clock cafes rather than renting and living in apartments.
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Rwanda: Anglicans Reject Western Accusations of Rebellion
Posted to the web 15 August 2007

The Anglican Church in Rwanda and Africa will not be bullied into keeping quiet about the non biblical behaviors of the American and European churches, a senior bishop has said.
Bishop John Rucahana - Anglican head of the Shyira Diocese said the current disagreements in the Anglican Church were caused by the ordination of the homosexual bishops by the American Episcopal Church. Rucahana said this was against the teachings of the holy bible.

The stalemate stems from an invitation to the Lambeth Conference 2008 from Archbishop Rowan Williams in which he invited one section of the bishops in Rwanda and left out others because apparently they do not have similar approaches to Anglican faith. Archbishop Williams is essentially the head of the worldwide Anglican Church.

The Lambeth Conference 2008 will take place on the campus of the University of Kent in Canterbury, from July 16 to August 4, 2008.

the rest

Comments at Stand Firm

Catholics, Protestants Map Out Ethical Conversion Code
by Ethan Cole, Christian Today Correspondent
Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Dozens of theologians from a wide range of Christian traditions recently gathered to map out a common religious conversion code that would affirm religious freedom while dissuading unethical means of conversion.

The joint Vatican-World Council of Churches (WCC) consultation convened some 30 Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant, Pentecostal and evangelical theologians and church representatives in Toulouse, France, this past week for the high-level meeting entitled “Towards An Ethical Approach to Conversion: Christian Witness in a Multi-Religious World”.

It was the first time evangelicals and Pentecostals were represented at the consultation since the first meeting was held last year.
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Albert Mohler: Why the Baby Bust?
Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Azure is a serious journal of ideas that states its mission as providing "ideas for the Jewish nation." In the Summer 2007 edition [Jewish year 5767], assistant editor Noah Pollak deals with the reality of the European baby bust.

Pollak deals first with the demographic reality. As he explains, the average number of children a woman will bear (known as the total fertility rate, or TFR) must be stable at 2.1 just to maintain the size of a nation's population. The baby bust is evident in the fact that the TFR is just 1.89 in France. In Spain the TFR is just 1.1 -- a birth rate the editors describe as in a "free fall." Taken together, Europe's total TFR is just 1.38.

What does this mean? It means that European nations will soon face the reality of fast-falling population levels -- levels that will threaten social stability, economic security, and a host of other social goods. Economic security depends upon a stable or growing population. But economic security is not the only issue at stake -- not by a long shot. Many observers believe that growing Muslim birth rates and immigration rates, coupled with a decline in the Christian population, will mean an Islamic future for Europe.
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Lessons on Homosexuality Move Into the Classroom
August 15, 2007

After five years, one legal defeat and a challenge on the way, Montgomery County, Md., is at the frontier of sex education in the United States. This fall, barring last-minute court action, the county will offer lessons on homosexuality in its 8th- and 10th-grade health education courses.

To school officials, the lessons are a natural outgrowth of sex education and of teachings on tolerance and diversity. They consist of two heavily scripted, 45-minute lessons for each grade and a video demonstrating how to put on a condom. The lessons’ central message is respect and acceptance of the many permutations of sexual identity, both in others and in one’s self.

School officials said they were not seeking to promote a political agenda, beyond tolerance and a kind of cultural literacy. “Our charge starts with educating students,” said Betsy Brown, who supervised the curriculum’s development in consultation with the
American Academy of Pediatrics. “This is part of education.” the rest

When ‘Christmas Concert’ Are Fighting Words

Aug. 13 — The temperature in the room was over 90, and the crowd was angry. The topic at this regular August meeting of the school board: what else?


When most people complain about the Christmas season beginning earlier and earlier each year, they do not usually mean the kind of kick-start that took place in this Long Island town on Monday night when more than 250 people showed up to demand that the name of the annual Christmas Concert not be changed to Winter Concert.

And that was just to make a point — the board had already decided against making the change.

People were sweating visibly as they stood at the microphone and, one by one, railed at members of the school board and called for the firing of the district superintendent, Regina Cohn, who had suggested the change.
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Buddhist Ritual Upsets State Eco Agency
The Associated Press
Tuesday, August 14, 2007

PATERSON, N.J. -- Members of a Buddhist sect bought hundreds of eels, frogs and turtles and set them free in the Passaic River, hoping they would survive in the once-polluted stream and realize their karmic potential.

The act did nothing for the karma of the state Department of Environmental Protection, which said the Amitabha Buddhists did not have a permit and may be subject to fines up to $1,000.

Permits are required for releasing critters into the wild, and New Jersey is reluctant to issue them for anything beyond stocking fish ponds because of concern that nonnative species could harm the local ecosystem.
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Russians get day off to procreate, then win prizes
By The Denver Post

Moscow - A Russian region of Ulyanovsk has found a novel way to fight the nation's birth-rate crisis: It has declared Sept. 12 the Day of Conception and for the third year running is giving couples time off from work to procreate.

The hope is for a brood of babies exactly nine months later on Russia's national day. Couples who "give birth to a patriot" during the June 12 festivities win money, cars, refrigerators and other prizes.

Ulyanovsk, about 550 miles east of Moscow, has held similar contests since 2005. Since then, the number of competitors, and the number of babies born to them, has been on the rise.

Russia, with one-seventh of Earth's land surface, has just 141.4 million citizens, making it one of the most sparsely settled countries in the world. With a low birth rate and a high death rate, the population has been shrinking since the early 1990s.
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Tiny church perseveres
A breakaway group is conservative about everything but growth.
By WAVENEY ANN MOORE, Times Staff Writer
Published August 15, 2007

Ten years ago, a small group of disenchanted Episcopalians decided to leave their St. Petersburg church to join a conservative breakaway group.

This month, their St. Philip's Anglican Church marked its 10th anniversary with a cruise and religious service on Tampa Bay and dinner at the Pier. For the tiny parish, where Sunday attendance hovers around 28, it was a celebration of survival despite sluggish growth and an aging membership.

It has also been a time to look forward. Congregation leaders think growth will be found north of St. Petersburg and are searching for new quarters in Pinellas Park or beyond.

Global issues also are in play. The Episcopal Church, which many St. Philip's members left, is in turmoil over the recognition and inclusion of openly gay people. Entire congregations have left the denomination, which also is facing a showdown over the issue with the worldwide Anglican Communion, of which the Episcopal Church is a part.
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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Because it lacks the element of outrage, the modern church needs to be reminded that, if her life and institutions are being strangled by a dying culture, then she is choking on the very truths which she has herself betrayed. ... Os Guinness image

Iraqis Turn To Christianity Despite Persecution And Bloodshed, Missionaries Say
Sunday, 12 August 2007
By BosNewsLife News Center

BAGHDAD, IRAQ (BosNewsLife)-- Despite persecution and bloodshed thousands of Bibles have been distributed in northern Iraq and "many Iraqis" are becoming Christians, missionaries told BosNewsLife in a statement monitored Sunday, August 12.

Christian Aid Mission (CAM), a US-based organization supporting indigenous missionaries worldwide, said a group, or "ministry" it supports managed to distribute 20,000 copies of the Bible’s New Testament in the Kurdistan region of northern Iraq.

"Millions of citizens have taken shelter [there] from dangerous conditions in Baghdad and other major cities," CAM said.

This year, due to the Bible distribution efforts, a former major in the army of late Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein "accepted Christ as [his personal Lord and] Savior," CAM claimed. “He and his wife have also led their entire family to Christ."
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Firing of prof at Colorado Christian puts focus on Christ and capitalism
By Berny Morson, Rocky Mountain News
August 13, 2007

What would Jesus teach about capitalism, and what would be on His assigned reading list?
That's the issue dividing Colorado Christian University, where the dismissal of a professor has sparked lively student and alumni chatter on the Internet.

The dispute at the usually tranquil Lakewood campus pits Andrew Paquin, head of a religious charity that aids poor people in Africa, against former U.S. Sen. William Armstrong, R-Colo., president of Colorado Christian and a pillar of the religious right.

Armstrong fired Paquin from a position teaching global studies at the end of the spring semester amid concerns that his lessons were too radical and undermined the school's commitment to the free enterprise system.
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Germany moves to ban Scientology
Tuesday, 14th August 2007
By: George Conger

ATTEMPTS by German
states to enact legislation banning Scientology are premature, national political leaders said last week, saying the proposed laws would not survive a court challenge.

Wolfgang Bosbach, the Christian Democratic Union’s deputy leader in the Bundestag, said Germany’s federal intelligence service had not completed its investigations into the group’s activities. "You can't shoot from the hip with a bid to ban it. If an attempt is made it has to be successful," he told Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung.

"It's decisive that the organisation be closely monitored, which unfortunately isn't the case today." Social Democrat Sebastian Edathy, chairman of the domestic affairs committee in the Bundestag said he did not “see any realistic chance at the moment to get the organisation banned."

The interior minister of the city-state of Hamburg, Udo Nagel, has called for a ban on Scientology, while Bavaria has enacted legislation to “protect its citizens” from the sect.
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English constitutional crisis looming?
Tuesday, 14th August 2007
By: Jonathan Petre

The news that the Queen’s eldest grandchild may have to renounce his right to the throne to marry his canadian fiancé has aroused unexpected passions. Since the story appeared on the front page of the Daily Telegraph last week, there has been a deluge of reaction.

When the engagement between Peter Phillips, the 29-year-old son of the Princess Royal, and Autumn Kelly, 31, his management consultant girlfriend, was announced a fortnight ago, it barely created a ripple.

After all, Mr Phillips is only tenth in line to the throne, and the couple have been too sensible and publicity shy to attract much media interest.

But the royal romance took an unlikely twist when it emerged that Miss Kelly is a baptised Roman Catholic and therefore falls foul of the 1701 Act of Settlement, which bars monarchs and their heirs from becoming or marrying “papists”.
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Abortion forum cracks whip on 'dissidents'
Rusty Pugh
August 13, 2007

An event held in New York last week that was promoted as an abortion forum was actually designed to "crack the whip" on dissent within the pro-abortion movement. That's according to a spokeswoman for an organization that reaches out to women and men who suffer from the after-effects of abortion.

Billed as an "international ethical discussion," the event was titled "What's So Bad About Abortion?" Speakers included the chief executive of British Pregnancy Advisory Service, the leading provider of abortion services in the United Kingdom, as well as officials with NARAL Pro-Choice America, National Abortion Federation, and the Reproductive Health Technologies Project -- all of which, along with Catholics for a Free Choice, were sponsors of the two-hour event on August 9.

But leaders of the
Silent No More Awareness Campaign -- the nation's largest network of women and men harmed by abortion -- say the event was not a forum or debate, but instead was a disciplinary meeting where those in the abortion movement were told to fall in line. Georgette Forney with Silent No More explains that some people in the abortion movement actually do not favor partial-birth abortion and want to care for post-abortive women. According to Forney, they are viewed as dissenters. the rest

Touchstone: The ELCA: “Another Sodomite Sect”
August 13, 2007

The biographical notes on my Touchstone writings have for years noted my theological training at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. I found this meant I was frequently mistaken for a Lutheran, which I am not, so in 2005 I wrote an explanatory note on this site which included these remarks:

. . . . because my own theological viewpoint is as opposed to the liberal Lutheranism of that school as it could possibly be, it is most unlikely that the Lutheran School of Theology, if it is paying attention at all, is pleased to have its name appear next to mine on the pages of a magazine like Touchstone--so here I do it the service of issuing a disclaimer on its behalf.

In another sense, however, I regard myself as a true son of that institution. People like me, who manage to squeak out of mainline academies, are, I often think, products and representatives of the prayers and gifts of the faithful who gave to those schools with the understanding that a considerably different gospel than moves groups like the ELCA and its flagship seminary was being taught there. It is not, after all, your grandfather's (well, at least your great-grandfather's) Lutheranism that is promulgated by the typical seminary of that synod, but something far more, shall we say, evolved.
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Paper battery offers future power

The black piece of paper can power a small lightFlexible paper batteries could meet the energy demands of the next generation of gadgets, says a team of researchers.

They have produced a sample slightly larger than a postage stamp that can release about 2.3 volts, enough to illuminate a small light.

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China's new revolutionaries: U.S. consumers
Beijing must yield to market forces demanding the rule of law and an end to corruption.

By Nathan Gardels

August 14, 2007

Who would have thought that tainted pet food and toys would threaten to unravel the authoritarian export model of Chinese growth that the brutal Tiananmen Square crackdown in 1989 was partly meant to secure? China's then "paramount leader" Deng Xiaoping, who had been purged during the Cultural Revolution, could well imagine how political upheaval would derail China's stable path to prosperity. But it surely never entered his mind, nor that of his descendant comrades, that the fickle American consumer would one day become, as the students in the square wanted to be, the agent of revolutionary change in China.

In the name of sovereignty, China's leaders for a long time have gotten away with suppressing their own citizens while ignoring the get-gloriously-rich-quick corruption that has thrived in the absence of the rule of law. But, thanks to globalization, China's export reliance on the U.S. market has imported the political demands of the U.S. consumer into the equation. Americans won't hesitate to cut the import lifeline and shift away from Chinese products that might poison their children or kill their pets. the rest

Women priests to match males by 2025
By Jonathan Wynne-Jones, Sunday Telegraph

When Geraldine Granger became the female vicar of television's fictional Dibley, her congregation greeted her arrival with a combination of surprise and fury.

The Rev Charlie Allen: 'It is not the obvious job that parents expect their daughters to do'
Within 20 years, however, most villagers in England will be more surprised if their new vicar is not a woman.

According to a report due for release this autumn, there will be as many female priests as male by 2025. The study, entitled Religious Trends, concludes that without the rapid growth in the number of women being ordained - as many women will be becoming priests as men by the end of the decade - some parishes would be forced to close.
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Episcopal bishop hopes for healing
By Carol Reeves
Gazette-Times reporter
Monday, August 13, 2007

A year after her controversial election as presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church in the United States, Katharine Jefferts Schori is still hopeful tensions within the denomination and the worldwide Anglican Communion can be resolved.“I think as a Christian you have to live in hope of reconciliation always,” Jefferts Schori said during a brief stop in Corvallis at the beginning of a weeklong vacation.

“If we can get people to get out of a face-saving mode and refocus on the mission of the church, I think we can learn to live together and stay one body.”Jefferts Schori, an Oregon State University graduate and former assistant rector at the Episcopal Church of the Good Samaritan in Corvallis, was elected in June of 2006 as the first woman to serve as the national leader, or primate, of one of the 38 provinces in the worldwide Anglican Communion.
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Comments at TitusOneNine

Episcopal priest admits to abuse in Skaneateles
August 14, 2007
By Renee K. Gadoua

A former Skaneateles Episcopal priest who ran for state Assembly last year has admitted sexually abusing four adolescent boys while serving as rector of St. James Episcopal Church in Skaneateles from January 1986 to May 1993.

J. Edward Putnam, 66, was suspended from acting as a priest for 20 years after a diocesan investigation, said the Rev. Karen C. Lewis, assistant to Bishop Gladstone "Skip" Adams.

Putnam signed a document last month that outlines the accusations and the church discipline, Lewis said. In a written statement to the bishop, Putnam said he engaged in "inappropriate conduct with minors" while at St. James, she said.

The diocese received a complaint about Putnam from one man on May 13 and immediately began an investigation, Lewis said. Two days later, Adams prohibited Putnam from acting as a priest while the diocese investigated the allegations.
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Monday, August 13, 2007

[Christ] is the breathing forth of the heart, life and spirit of God into all the dead race of Adam. He is the seeker, the finder, the restorer of all that, from Cain to the end of time, was lost and dead to the life of God. He is the love that prays for all its murderers; the love that willingly suffers and dies among thieves, that thieves may have a life with him in Paradise; the love that visits publicans, harlots and sinners, and wants and seeks to forgive where most is to be forgiven. ...William Law art

Sydney Archbishop Jensen bans John Shelby Spong
By Greg Roberts
August 14, 2007

A ROW has erupted within the Anglican Church over a visit to Australia by an American cleric who has being accused of modernising Christ to the point of stripping him of all divinity.

Sydney Archbishop Peter Jensen has taken the extraordinary step of banning John Shelby Spong, a fellow member of the Anglican communion who arrives in Sydney this morning, from churches in his diocese.By contrast, Anglican Primate Phillip Aspinall has invited Bishop Spong, a leader of the church's liberal wing, to deliver two sermons in Brisbane's St John's Cathedral.

The retired Episcopal bishop of Newark, New Jersey, Bishop Spong will also give a public lecture at St Aidan's Anglican Girls School in Brisbane. the rest

Robert Gagnon: Three New Articles

1) Church Policy as Regards Homosexual Practice: Membership and Ordained Ministry
A 'lost' chapter of my first book
(written 1999; publicly released Aug. 2007)
Found here

PCUSA Moderator Goes Awry in Her Claims of a "Deeply Pernicious Heresy"
Rev. Joan Gray, current moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church U.S.A., declares that refusing membership to persons who are actively and unrepentantly engaged in homosexual relations have committed a "deeply pernicious heresy." She even goes so far as to charge that the apostle Paul himself would support her view. The real heresy is claiming that regularly engaging in immoral behavior of an extreme sort and in a self-affirming manner is no bar to membership in Christian denomination.
Found here

3) Calvin on Unity and Sexual Immorality: A Comment on a Presbyterian Coalition Document
Some even in the renewal movements of the PCUSA think that John Calvin would not have sanctioned departure from a Christian denomination that affirmed homosexual practice. Here's why I think that assumption is wrong.
Found here

American Majority Rejects Same-Sex Marriage
August 13, 2007

(Angus Reid Global Monitor) - Many adults in the United States question the legal legitimacy of gay and lesbian partnerships, according to a poll by Opinion Research Corporation released by CNN. 57 per cent of respondents think marriages between homosexuals should not be recognized by the law as valid.

In 2004, marriage certificates were issued to same-sex couples by local governments in the states of California, Oregon, New Mexico and New York. In May 2004, the state of Massachusetts allowed gay and lesbian partners to apply for marriage licenses, the first state-sanctioned homosexual weddings in the U.S.

Civil union and domestic partnership laws in Vermont, Connecticut, California and New Jersey grant same-sex couples all state-level rights and obligations of marriage—in areas such as inheritance, income tax, insurance and hospital visitation. Other forms of domestic partnership exist in the District of Columbia, Hawaii and Maine. There are more than 1,000 federal-level rights of marriage that cannot be granted by states.

Same-sex marriage is currently legal in the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Canada and South Africa, and at least 18 countries offer some form of legal recognition to same-sex unions.
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Does Virtual Cheating Still Count?
Online Communities Test Boundaries of Infidelity and Relationships

Aug. 13, 2007

From the comfort of their homes and with just a few clicks of a mouse, virtual universe residents can do just about anything they want.

Second Life, an online world that lets users navigate through a digital planet, has a functioning economy with its own currency, an array of employment opportunities and a bustling social scene, nightclubs included.

And, for those looking for virtual intimacy, residents of Second Life can connect with other users, known as "avatars."

The universe, which has a population of more than 8 million, has seen approximately 35,796 of its residents engage in partnerships, according to Linden Lab, the developer of Second Life. Partnerships are akin to marriage and participants indicate these on avatar user profiles.

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New Right to Life
by Roger Pilon

Roger Pilon is vice president for legal affairs at the Cato Institute and director of Cato's Center for Constitutional Studies.

The wheels of justice turn slowly, especially for the dying. On Tuesday the D.C. Circuit, sitting en banc, reversed a 15-month-old decision by a panel of the court that had recognized a constitutional right of terminally ill patients to access potentially life-saving drugs not yet finally approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Given the poor quality of Tuesday's opinion in Abigail Alliance for Better Access to Developmental Drugs v. Eschenbach — "startling," said the dissent — one wonders why it took so long. The opinion's one virtue is that it brings out clearly how far modern "constitutional law" has strayed from the Constitution, a document written to protect liberty, not federal regulatory schemes.

Represented by the Washington Legal Foundation, Abigail Alliance is named for Abigail Burroughs, a 21-year-old college student who died of cancer in 2001. Their argument could not be more simple or straightforward, nor could Tuesday's dissent, written by Judge Judith Rogers and joined by Chief Judge Douglas Ginsburg, the majority in the earlier opinion. Citing the Fifth Amendment's right to life, the Ninth Amendment's assurance to the Constitution's ratifiers that the rights retained by the people far exceed those named in the document, and the Supreme Court's "fundamental rights" jurisprudence, Judge Rogers argued that the right to life, the right to self-preservation, and the right against interference with those rights — which the FDA is guilty of — are of one piece. They are deeply rooted in common law and the nation's history and traditions, implicit in the concept of ordered liberty, and thus "fundamental."
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Anglican District of Virginia Responds to Judge Bellows’ Decision to Dismiss Volunteers from Lawsuit

FAIRFAX, Va. (August 13, 2007) – The Anglican District of Virginia (ADV) churches responded to Fairfax County Court Judge Randy Bellows’ decision to dismiss the volunteers named in the lawsuits filed by The Episcopal Church and Diocese of Virginia. ADV is an association of Anglican congregations in Virginia and a part of the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA). All 11 churches named in the lawsuit are members of ADV.

“We are appreciative that after all these months, our volunteer vestry members and our pastoral leadership are no longer named defendants in lawsuit filed by The Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Virginia,” said Tom Wilson, senior warden of The Falls Church, and chairman of the Anglican District of Virginia.

“We thank Judge Bellows for his decision to remove these unpaid volunteers from the lawsuit. The Episcopal Church and Diocese of Virginia had nothing to gain from adding these volunteers. While we remain confident in our legal position, our churches still remain willing to resolve amicably their differences with The Episcopal Church and the Diocese,” said Jim Oakes, vice-chairman of ADV.
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Hurricane Flossie Storms Toward Hawaii
By MARK NIESSE Associated Press Writer
Aug 13, 2:25 PM EDT

HONOLULU (AP) -- Hurricane Flossie roared toward Hawaii on Monday with its sustained wind increased to 140 mph, and was expected to retain much of its strength by the time it passes by the islands.

Forecasters earlier had said cooler weather would weaken the storm to a Category 1 hurricane, with sustained wind of at least 74 mph, by the time it passes about 70 miles south of the Big Island of Hawaii late Tuesday or early Wednesday.

But on Monday forecasters said they now expected a Category 3 hurricane, with sustained wind of at least 111 mph, to pass the islands.
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Hawaii radar loop

Leader of the Pack
By Chuck Colson

The Dog Whisperer

Every week, millions of Americans seek advice on how to deal with a troubled loved one. The man they turn to for help doesn’t hesitate to blame them for much of their loved one’s problems. He tells them that they have been lax in their discipline and haven’t spent enough time with the miscreant.

Not only do people accept the criticism, they come back for more: They buy books, attend workshops and fit their loved one with the “Illusion” collar.

Did you think I was talking about my friend James Dobson? I’m talking about Cesar Millan, the “Dog Whisperer.”

On his National Geographic show, Millan helps dogs with, to put it mildly, behavioral problems. One memorable bulldog, when he wasn’t chewing everything, including the limbs and fingers of guests, tried to keep his owner from using his own golf cart. Nearly every dog on the show is just an incident away from that proverbial drive to “a farm in the country.”

Yet, by the end of the show, the dogs are model citizens. While the owners often describe the results as “miraculous,” for Millan, it’s a matter of remembering who the “pack leader” is.
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Albert Mohler: The Fate of the Family and the Future of the Church
Monday, August 13, 2007

Is the future of our congregations tied to the fate of the family? Professor W. Bradford Wilcox of the University of Virginia is sure that this is so, and his research and analysis is impossible to ignore. In his essay, "
As the Family Goes," published in First Things, Wilcox argues that the future of America's Christian congregations will "rise and fall with the fortunes of the intact, married family."

His analysis is drawn from mountains of statistical research combined with a keen understanding of how both families and congregations actually work. The best predictor of church attendance for young adults is marriage. Wilcox cites Princeton sociologist Robert Wuthnow's report that decreases in marriage and childbearing among young adults were "by far the strongest predictors" of a decline in religious attendance. As a matter of fact, Wuthnow argues that American churches would now have 6.3 million more young adults attending if marriage and childbearing rates had not fallen so precipitously.
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