Saturday, October 27, 2007

"Moses drew near unto the thick darkness where God was"
Exodus 20:21

God has still His hidden secrets, hidden from the wise and prudent. Do not fear them; be content to accept things that you cannot understand; wait patiently. Presently He will reveal to you the treasures of darkness, the riches of the glory of the mystery. Mystery is only the veil of God's face.

Do not be afraid to enter the cloud that is settling down on your life. God is in it. The other side is radiant with His glory. "Think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you; but rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings." When you seem loneliest and most forsaken, God is nigh. He is in the dark cloud. Plunge into the blackness of its darkness without flinching; under the shrouding curtain of His pavilion you will find God awaiting you.
...Streams In The Desert photo

Two Christians kidnapped from a hospital in Pakistan
27 Oct 2007

ISLAMABAD: Suspected pro-Taliban militants kidnapped two Christians from a hospital in Pakistan's North Waziristan, a news report has said.

Masked men kidnapped the two Christian sanitation workers from the Miranshah Headquarters Hospital in North Waziristan on Friday, eyewitnesses said. Naeem Masih and Shahbaz Masih were abducted "right from the main gate of the hospital", the Daily Times quoted witnesses as saying. Around 1,000 Christians live in Miranshah.

the rest

Scout backers crash Philly mayor's e-mail
Barrage of 150,000 messages after city hiked rent $200,000 due to 'gay' policy

October 27, 2007

Philadelphia City HallOutraged citizens crashed the e-mail system of the Philadelphia mayor's office after the city accused the local Boy Scouts chapter of discriminating against homosexuals and forced the organization to pay $200,000 rent for its city-owned headquarters.

About 150,000 Boy Scout-related e-mails were removed from the city's e-mail system, reported the
Bulletin newspaper of Philadelphia.

"We were deluged," said Terry Phillis, chief information officer for
Mayor John Street. "We pulled the messages off so they wouldn't take the system down. It had to be done to protect system integrity." the rest

NYT: The Evangelical Crackup
October 28, 2007

The hundred-foot white cross atop the Immanuel Baptist Church in downtown Wichita, Kan., casts a shadow over a neighborhood of payday lenders, pawnbrokers and pornographic video stores. To its parishioners, this has long been the front line of the culture war. Immanuel has stood for Southern Baptist traditionalism for more than half a century. Until recently, its pastor, Terry Fox, was the
Jerry Falwell of the Sunflower State — the public face of the conservative Christian political movement in a place where that made him a very big deal.

With flushed red cheeks and a pudgy, dimpled chin, Fox roared down from Immanuel’s pulpit about the wickedness of abortion, evolution and homosexuality. He mobilized hundreds of Kansas pastors to push through a state constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, helping to unseat a handful of legislators in the process. His Sunday-morning services reached tens of thousands of listeners on regional cable television, and on Sunday nights he was a host of a talk-radio program, “Answering the Call.” Major national conservative Christian groups like Focus on the Family lauded his work, and the Southern Baptist Convention named him chairman of its North American Mission Board. the rest

Serious Challenges Face American Anglicanism: On What Principles Will a New Order Be Shaped?
By Rev. Dr. Tim Smith

Summary Points
The Parish is the basic unit of the church in American Anglicanism. Local property rights prevailed throughout early American Anglicanism. Centralization of control using the corporate model which began to be used in the early 1900s - has failed the purposes of the Church. Any new order should return to the foundational roots of American Anglicanism.

In the life of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America (ECUSA), the basic unit has historically been the local parish. With the parish being - and not the diocese or the national church - the basic unit of the church in the United States, property rights of the lands and buildings of a parish from the inception of ECUSA were held by the local church which had purchased those lands and constructed those buildings.
the rest at Virtueonline

Anglicans descend on London [Canada] tomorrow
Sat, October 27, 2007

Anglicans from across Southwestern Ontario are expected to fill the John Labatt Centre tomorrow as the Diocese of Huron celebrates its 150th anniversary.

About 9,000 worshippers are scheduled to bus or drive to a special service in the arena from parishes as far away as Windsor, Owen Sound and Kitchener.

"This might be the largest religious service ever held in the region," said Rt. Rev. Bruce Howe, Bishop of Huron. "It will certainly be the biggest gathering of Anglicans."
the rest

Outside in
Where you stand makes a big difference in what you see
Andrée Seu
I recall my first experience with the Korean shoe custom. It was 1979, for I was not yet married to my Asian husband. About to enter the apartment of a couple he knew, I stood at the door sizing up the situation: Everyone inside was shoeless; neatly paired footwear sat at the threshold; I was a first-time visitor. As a friendly voice within beckoned me enter, I made a split-second calculation—and guessed wrong. I plowed into the house with shod feet, thus desecrating the showroom-pristine carpeting.

In ignorance of Korean culture from the inside, I had erroneously ascribed to the shoe rule a significance of which I was quickly disabused. I had made the assumption that the removal of foot apparel was: (1) a mystical practice rising from the mists of Oriental history; (2) an honor reserved for family and close friends. Come to find out the purpose is to keep the rugs clean. the rest photo

Albert Mohler: The Loss of Vocation and its Recovery -- The Listening Heart
Friday, October 26, 2007

The concept of vocation -- in the theological sense of a calling -- has all but disappeared from contemporary society. The late Professor A. J. Conyers blames this loss on the rise of confidence in personal autonomy and an absolute demand for personal choice in all dimensions of life.

The Listening Heart: Vocation and the Crisis of Modern Culture [Spence Publishing], Conyers said he was writing for readers "who cannot, for their life, take modern western culture at face value," and for those "who suspect that the modern, western world, even with its productivity, lacks something essential to the human spirit." the rest

Protestants celebrate their heritage, the Reformation
Millions of worshipers worldwide will commemorate Martin Luther's challenge to papal authority with his 95 theses.

By K. Connie Kang, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
October 27, 2007

On Sunday, about 70 million Lutherans around the world, joined by Christians of many Protestant denominations, will commemorate the Reformation.

This liturgical festival, marking Martin Luther's 16th century challenge to papal authority by nailing 95 theses on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany, inspired the Protestant Reformation that changed the course of Western civilization.

Luther's theses, challenging certain practices and teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, ultimately led to the division of Europe into two camps and triggered religious wars that lasted decades.
the rest

FOX News Poll: Half of Voters Eye Candidates' Abortion Stance
Friday, October 26, 2007
By Dana Blanton

NEW YORK — Even though few Americans say abortion will be the most important issue for them in the upcoming election, nearly half say they need to know a candidate’s position on abortion before deciding their vote for president.

A FOX News poll released Friday shows that 45 percent of Americans need to know a candidate’s position on abortion before they vote, while 53 percent say it is not something they need to know.

Click here to view the full results of the poll.

It’s more important to pro-life voters than for any other group. A 56 percent majority of those identifying themselves as pro-life say they need to know where a candidate stands on abortion, while 41 percent of pro-choice voters, 48 percent of women, 46 percent of Republicans and 51 percent of born-again Christians, need to know.
the rest

Anglican bishop expects same-sex motion to pass
October 27, 2007

It's "highly likely" Anglicans in the Diocese of Huron, which includes churches in Waterloo Region, will vote on same-sex blessings at their next decision-making meeting in the spring, the diocese's bishop says

"I can certainly say it's highly likely that something will come forward," Rt. Rev. Bruce Howe said yesterday in a news conference in London, the seat of the diocese.

When asked if he thought such a vote would pass, Howe said "My guess would be yes."
the rest

Friday, October 26, 2007

In the very beginning, when this great universe lay in the mind of God, like unborn forests in the acorn-cup; long ere the echoes waked the solitudes, before the mountains were brought forth, and long ere the light flashed through the sky, God loved His chosen creatures. ... CH Spurgeon photo

Door still open for Quincy Diocese exit from Anglican church
By Leon Lagerstam
October 25, 2007

An Episcopal train still may be leaving an Anglican station, and members of the Quincy Diocese are waiting for it to pass by before deciding to disembark, according to a diocesan press officer.

Resolutions paving the way for a possible split from the embattled U.S. Episcopal Church body were approved during an annual synod meeting last weekend at Christ Church in Moline, said the Rev. John Spencer.

No final decisions about leaving were or could have been made during that synod meeting, he said.
the rest

Australia: Anglican debate reignites
Barney Zwartz
October 27, 2007

DIVISIONS in the Anglican Church over women bishops were reignited yesterday when conservatives from opposite ends of the spectrum set up an organisation to protect dissidents.

More than a quarter of the 247 delegates to the Anglican general synod in Canberra held a hastily organised late-night meeting and set up a group to represent opponents of women bishops.

Liberals thought the battle for women bishops was over when the church's highest court ruled last month that they were legal, but debate will now start again.

The new group, the Association for Apostolic Ministry, is headed by Sydney Archbishop Peter Jensen, the church's leading evangelical, and Ballarat Bishop Michael Hough, chief spokesman for the high-church group known as Anglo-Catholics.
the rest

Dogs Do Crazy Things

(There must be sermon material here somewhere...)

Pope Benedict to visit New York April 18-20
Included in Pope Bededict's visit will be a speech made to the United Nations on April 18, a mass on April 19 at St Patrick's Cathedral and a larger outdoor mass at Yankee Stadium on April 20, sources say.
Friday, October 26, 2007
Spero News

Pope Benedict XVI is to visit New York for a three-day visit in April, Spero News was told by sources in that city. According to the sources, who claimed to have access to the Holy Father's schedule, the Pope is scheduled to be in New York from April 18 to April 20.

This would be Benedict's first visit to the United States as Pope.

the rest

Am I Growing Yet?
What a disappointed "fully devoted follower of Jesus" should be looking for.

Mark Galli

I pay attention when perhaps the most prominent church in America says it is completely revamping how it does church.

Willow Creek, which made "seeker-sensitive" services famous, now attracts some 20,000 a week. Over the decades, tens of thousands of pastors have looked to Willow Creek for leadership as they strive to minister faithfully to their own churches. Willow Creek's premiere teaching event for pastors is the annual Leadership Summit, held each August. At the last Summit, Bill Hybels, founding pastor of Willow,
talked about a survey of Christians that his co-worker Greg Hawkins conducted, involving over 30 churches in the Willow Creek network.

The results were "Groundbreaking … . The data is earthshaking," said Hawkins in
a video summarizing the results. Hybels said it "just rocked my world." It is transforming how they do things at Willow.
the rest

Council for World Mission Backs Burmese Struggle for Democracy
By Eric Young
Christian Post Reporter
Fri, Oct. 26 2007

The Council for World Mission has joined others in the international ecumenical community in expressing its support for the people of Burma pressing for the creation of a
democratic government.

In a statement this week, CWM assured the people of Burma of its “moral support for them in their desire and demand for a democratic government” after the country recently witnessed some of the largest protests in two decades against the ruling junta.

“[CWM] expresses solidarity with those individual citizens and communities of faith who have engaged in protest against the military regime,” the worldwide body of Christian churches stated.”

the rest photo

In New Orleans, Rebuilding With Faith
October 26, 2007

NEW ORLEANS — Two months after the Rev. Lance Eden arrived as pastor of First Street United Methodist Church, Hurricane Katrina struck.

Mr. Eden, newly ordained, quickly picked up skills few in the pulpit typically need. He learned how to restore a church whose roof had been peeled off and whose bell tower had been knocked askew. He played host to hundreds of volunteers who came to gut and rebuild. And most recently — and reluctantly — he took on the role of developer.

“I’d rather be doing something else,” Mr. Eden said. “But when you hear stories like the Good Samaritan or about how Jesus walks into the temple and overturns the tables of the money-changers, it charges us as a church to make sure justice is done for all people.”
the rest

Senate extends Internet tax ban for 7 years
Associated Press
Oct. 26, 2007

WASHINGTON — The Senate on Thursday night approved a seven-year extension of a moratorium on state and local taxes on Internet access.

The Senate voice vote came a little over a week after the House passed a bill calling for a four-year moratorium. The tax ban, first approved in 1998, is set to expire Nov. 1.
the rest

The Eugenics Temptation
By Michael Gerson
Wednesday, October 24, 2007

James Watson, the Nobel Prize-winning scientist who helped discover the structure of DNA in 1953, recently pronounced the entire population of Africa genetically inferior when it comes to intelligence. And while he hopes that everyone is equal, "people who have to deal with black employees find this not true."

Watson's colleagues at the Federation of American Scientists found his comments "racist, vicious and unsupported by science" -- all true. But they could not have found those views surprising. In 2003, Watson spoke in favor of genetic selection to eliminate ugly women: "People say it would be terrible if we made all girls pretty. I think it would be great." In 2000, he suggested that people with darker skin have stronger libidos. In 1997, Watson contended that parents should be allowed to abort fetuses they found to be gay: "If you could find the gene which determines sexuality and a woman decides she doesn't want a homosexual child, well, let her." In the same interview, he said, "We already accept that most couples don't want a Down child. You would have to be crazy to say you wanted one, because that child has no future."
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Abortion Wars
By Robert D. Novak
Thursday, October 25, 2007

WASHINGTON -- National anti-abortion leaders Wednesday put finishing touches on a letter to be sent to all members of Congress urging suspension of more than $300 million in federal funding of Planned Parenthood until a massive criminal case brought in Kansas against the abortion rights organization is settled. That launches an attack against the nation's largest purveyor of "reproductive health care" -- including abortions.

On Oct. 16, Kansas District Judge James F. Vano in suburban Kansas City spent eight hours reviewing a 107-count grand jury indictment against Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri Inc. and decided there was "probable cause" to proceed. Allegations of unlawful late-term abortions and other abortion-connected crimes were brought by Johnson County District Atty. Phill Kline, a pro-life hero nationally who is viewed as a fanatic by abortion rights advocates. The prosecution alleges violation of state and federal laws and falsification of documents to justify it.
the rest

American Life League Unveils New Online Map With Location of All US Planned Parenthood Centers
Map coordinators are hoping to encourage peaceful and prayerful protests at all PP sites.
By Meg Jalsevac
WASHINGTON, DC, October 25, 2007

( - The American Life League (ALL), in cooperation with their affiliate organization STOP Planned Parenthood (STOPP), has launched a highly detailed online map that pinpoints the exact location of each of Planned Parenthood's (PP) 860 clinics across the United States. The new webpage also provides information regarding any scheduled protests that take place on a regular basis at the PP locations.
the rest

New Primate makes traditional visit to Lambeth

OCTOBER 25, 2007 -- Archbishop Fred Hiltz, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, paid a traditional call on Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams on Oct. 16. It is a tradition for new Anglican leaders of provinces to visit the archbishop, the titular head of the worldwide Anglican Communion, at his home in Lambeth Palace.

During their two-hour meeting, Archbishop Hiltz described the current state of the Anglican Church of Canada, particularly after the national meeting, General Synod, this past June. He spoke about the issue of human sexuality, and explained the diocese of Ottawa's decision to approve blessings of same-sex unions. (The diocese of Montreal, which later passed a similar motion, had not yet met).

Archbishop Williams appeared receptive to the Canadian church's actions. "He described our approach to handling the whole matter as 'coherent,'" said Archbishop Hiltz. "We also, in that conversation, focused on the pastoral statement of the bishops and the kind of value that has for the church."
the rest

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Mystery Comet Explodes Into Brightness

(Oct. 25, 2007) — A once-faint comet has made a sudden leap from obscurity to center stage. Comet 17P Holmes, now visible to northern hemisphere residents, increased its brightness by a factor of one million this week, going from magnitude 17 to 2. This makes it visible to the unaided eye as well as binoculars and telescopes, offering a unique viewing opportunity for sky watchers.

"This is a terrific outburst," said Brian Marsden, director emeritus of the Minor Planet Center, which tracks known comets and asteroids. "And since it doesn’t have a tail right now, some observers have confused it with a nova. We’ve had at least two reports of a new star."

*NOTE: Raymond and I can see this comet naked-eye in the middle of light-polluted Syracuse with a full moon bathing the night sky with light! Spectacular!

Where would you be if God took away all your Christian work? Too often it is our Christian work that is worshiped and not God. ... Oswald Chambers photo

'Golden Compass' draws ire of the Catholic League
Watchdog group says film pushes an atheist agenda

By Chris Kaltenbach Sun reporter
October 24, 2007

The leader of a conservative Catholic watchdog group is imploring people not to see The Golden Compass - a children's fantasy based on the first book of British author Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy. Pullman's work, says William Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, promotes an atheist agenda that is profoundly anti-Church.

True, he hasn't seen the movie, which comes out Dec. 7, and he has little reason to doubt the filmmakers' claims that it considerably waters down the book's more controversial aspects. But the possibility that the movie could persuade some unsuspecting parents to buy the book for their children makes him furious.

"It's selling the virtues of atheism," Donohue says over the phone from the league's New York office. "The real person we want to get on this is Pullman. I don't want to see these books flying off the shelves at Christmas. I want them to be collecting dust."
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Prominent Beijing Pastor Beaten Again By Security Forces, Christians Say
Thursday, 25 October 2007
By BosNewsLife News Center

BEIJING, CHINA (BosNewsLife)-- Chinese Christians remained concerned Thursday, October 25, about the health situation of a prominent Beijing pastor amid reports he was beaten again by security forces after being discharged from Tiantan Hospital.

China Aid Association, a major religious rights watchdog, said the incident happened after police transferred Pastor Hua Huiqi from the Beijing-based medical facility back to his rented house on October 16.

He had been treated in the Tiantan Hospital for injuries inflicted during a previous attack, on October 11, by officers of the Public Security Bureau (PSB), one of China's main law enforcement agencies, former house church leader Bob Fu told BosNewsLife.

Fu, who now leads CAA, said at the time that the pastor was "beaten until he was unconscious," and was rushed to hospital. Following his hospital discharge "he was beaten up again by 4 or 5 PSB officers" monitoring his home, "in the morning because he wanted to use the bathroom adjacent to his bedroom," CAA said in a statement.
the rest

Anglican District of Virginia Congratulates The Reverend Doctor Tory Baucum on Installment as New Rector of Truro Church
via email

October 25, 2007
CONTACT: Kelly Oliver (ext. 140) or
Caitlin Bozell (ext. 119) at (703) 683-5004

FAIRFAX , Va. – The Anglican District of Virginia (ADV) welcomes and congratulates the Reverend Doctor Tory Baucum on his installation on Sunday, Oct. 28 as Rector of Truro Church. ADV is an association of Anglican congregations in Virginia and part of the Convocation of Anglicans in North American (CANA). Truro Church , located in Fairfax , Va. , is an active member of ADV in working together as partners in mission and ministry.

The installation will take place this Sunday, Oct. 28 at 11:15 am at Truro Church 10520 Main Street, Fairfax, Va., 22030.

“The faith, guidance, and leadership of Dr. Baucum will no doubt add to the strength of Truro ’s impact on the future of ADV within the international Anglican Communion,” said CANA Suffragan Bishop David Bena.

“I am blessed and honored to celebrate my installation this weekend with Truro Church and the rest of the Anglican District of Virginia . Through prayers of my brothers and sisters, as well as the guidance of the Holy Spirit, I am eager to continue the work of Christ at Truro Church ,” said the Rev’d Tory Baucum.

Rev’d Baucum serves as a Missioner of Alpha International and an adjunct professor of mission at Asbury Theological Seminary. He received a PhD in Intercultural Theology with expertise in the catechumenate, Christian revitalization movements and the history of preaching. He works closely with Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Pentecostals, and Evangelicals to recover an authentic expression of Anglican’s Via Media.

Baucum received his MA (1986) and M.Div (1988) from Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry, Ambridge , Pa. , and his doctorate from Asbury in 2005. Prior to teaching at Asbury, Baucum was the rector of All Saints Church, Kansas City, Mo. , and has served on the clergy staffs of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Kansas City and Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Little Rock , Ar. In addition to his position at Asbury, Baucum also serves as the Alpha International Associate Missioner, London , England.

ADV website

TLC: Bishop Andrus: Trial Rites ‘Honor the Spirit’ of Primates’ Requests

Delegates to the annual convention of the Diocese of California approved overwhelmingly a resolution calling on Bishop Marc Handley Andrus to permit trial use of three rites as resources for formalizing the blessing of same-gender unions. Convention met Oct. 19-20 at Grace Cathedral, San Francisco.

The trial liturgies, which were developed by a task force approved by convention two years ago, were published in the convention delegate journal. The journal is available in electronic form on the diocesan website.
the rest

Bishop Hails Improved Relations in Connecticut

The Bishop of Connecticut may exercise a newly canonically approved veto over parishes seeking to hire an assistant rector that do not pay their full 12½ percent diocesan assessment quota following approval of a canonical amendment by delegates during the annual convention Oct. 19-20 at Christ Church Cathedral, Hartford.
the rest

Spokane Convention Holds Forum on Same-Sex Blessings

Australia: Support for US Bishops Evaporates
Jeremy Halcrow
25 October 2007

It looks highly unlikely Australian Anglicans will offer US Episcopal bishops any clear support for their attempts to re-enter full participation in the worldwide Anglican Communion, despite two senior Anglicans backing the American bishops.

Both the Australian Primate, Archbishop Phillip Aspinall in his presidential address and Canon Kenneth Kearon, head of the Anglican Consulative Council, in an after-dinner speech, advised Australia’s General Synod (parliament) that US bishops had complied with requests not to consecrate another homosexual bishop and not to authorise same-sex blessings.

“What I saw at the Primates’ meeting with the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church of the USA,” said Canon Kearon, “was a genuine attempt by both to seriously repair the breeches of trust which have arisen.”
the rest

Canada: Anglicans elect first female bishop
By STEVE BRUCE Staff Reporter
Tue. Oct 23

The Anglican diocese of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island has elected its first female bishop.
Right Rev. Sue Moxley of Halifax, who had been serving as the diocese’s suffragan bishop since March 2004, was the overwhelming choice of members of the diocesan synod in a vote conducted Saturday at the Cathedral Church of All Saints in Halifax.
the rest

Religious freedom in India 'shrinking' says Christian author
Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Freedom of religion is steadily on the decline in India, warns John Dayal, a journalist-turned-Christian activist, who is now Secretary General of the All India Christian Council.

"Many of the rights have been systematically diluted over the years by governments, courts and fundamentalist forces," Dayal told Ecumenical News International in an interview on 13 October about his soon-to-be-released book on religious freedom in India.
the rest photo

Albert Mohler: The Postmodern Eclipse of Evil -- Be Advised . . . and Be Afraid
Wednesday, October 24, 2007

One of the most harrowing features of modern thought is the reluctance to speak honestly about evil. The cause of this discomfort with the category of evil is understandable, of course. When belief in God recedes, confidence in moral judgment inevitably recedes with that belief.

This is brought to life in the pages of
The New York Times Magazine in the form of a film review. The film is a documentary about the French lawyer Jacques Verges -- a man who has defended some of the worst criminals in France, including Klaus Barbie and Carlos "the Jackal." He also had long friendships with murderous dictators such as Cambodia's Pol Pot and China's Chairman Mao. the rest

FOX Documentary Uncovers the Reality of Abortion
FOX Documentary Exposes Agonizing Human Choices Underlying Abortion Debate

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

FOX News cameras went inside an operating room as a 20-year-old student underwent an abortion, as part of a documentary titled "Facing Reality, Choice," that will air Saturday, Oct. 27, at 9 p.m. ET on FOX News Channel.

In the scene FOX does not focus on the surgical details of the abortion procedure, but it is emotionally wrenching, however, as the woman cries through the abortion and her mother, beside her for emotional support, learns this is her daughter's second abortion in less than a year.

The FOX documentary profiles three women to explore the abortion issue by following their agonizing decisions to have their babies or terminate their pregnancies.
the rest

Anglican-Catholic statement on Virgin Mary
Anglicn and Roman Catholic letters met at Virginia Theological Seminary and Georgetown University. Statement on Virgin Mary issued, while further studies on Hispanic ministry discussed.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Spero News

Anglican and Roman Catholic leaders in the United States met Oct. 18-20 at the Virginia Theological Seminary, an Episcopalian body in Alexandria Virginia. Jointly chaired by Anglican and Roman Catholic prelates, the group sought dialogue on the role of the Virgin Mary and the progress in ecumenical relations between the two faiths. Chairs were Bishop Edwin F. Gulick, Jr. for the Episcopal Church USA and Auxiliary Bishop Edward W. Clark of the Roman Catholic Church. the rest

Christian Filmmakers Probe Disney's Anti-Family Trend
By Elena Garcia
Christian Post Reporter
Thu, Oct. 25 2007

Christian filmmakers ended Wednesday a three-day training event at which they discussed their belief that
Walt Disney Co. has strayed from its founder’s family-friendly legacy.

On the first day, speakers from the Christian Filmmakers Academy told a group of aspiring Christian filmmakers gathered in San Antonio, Texas, how
Disney’s “lack of discernment” has fashioned the media conglomerate into “an engine of cultural decline after Walt's death.”

“What we really see is a decline in the ethics and standards of where [Walt] Disney was coming from," said academy founder Doug Phillips, according to Reuters.
the rest

Trapped on the front line, the Christians who fled Baghdad for safety
Deborah Haynes in Zakho, northern Iraq
October 25, 2007

Persecuted under Saddam Hussein for being Kurdish, then chased from Baghdad because they are Christian, families in a village on Iraq’s border with Turkey find themselves on a new front incursion.

The tiny Christian enclave of Dash Ta Takhe in the Khameer mountains has been shaken by Turkish shelling in recent weeks, forcing two thirds of its 150 population to flee to safer areas.

Some locals, however, mainly the men, are staying put, either because they refuse to evacuate or because they cannot afford to go anywhere else. “Even if we all die we will not leave the village,” Gurial Warda, the mayor, whose wife and children have fled to Zakho, the nearest large town, said.
the rest

Bad call, or God's will?
When the values of religion and winning collide, guess which one evangelical athletes choose.
By Dave Zirin and Tom Krattenmaker
October 24, 2007

With their out-of-nowhere winning streak, the Colorado Rockies are reminding us what sport can be at its best: exhilarating, uplifting, even inspiring. The Rockies enter the World Series tonight after 21 victories in their last 22 games.

One might even call such a streak miraculous, a description much of the team would happily accept. The Rockies have become known as the closest thing Major League Baseball has to a faith-based club. The front office runs the franchise based on what it describes as Christian principles, and it consciously recruits players judged to have "moral values" and "character."
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Arsonists Attack Jerusalem Church
October 24, 2007

JERUSALEM (AP) -- Arsonists burst into a Jerusalem church and set the building on fire, church officials said Wednesday, raising suspicions that Jewish extremists were behind the attack.

The church in west Jerusalem's Rehavia neighborhood was rebuilt after it was burned down 25 years ago by ultra-Orthodox Jewish extremists.

Members of the four denominations who use it today include foreign workers, Sudanese refugees who came to Israel through from Egypt and two congregations of highly controversial ''Jews for Jesus'' who believe that Jesus Christ was the Jewish Messiah.
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300 Anglicans defect to Rome after row over women priests
By John Cooney Religion Correspondent
Thursday October 25 2007

UP to 300 Irish Anglicans could soon be joining the Roman Catholic Church to the traditional hymn tune 'Faith of Our Fathers'.

A report in today's 'Irish Catholic' newspaper claims that three Church of Ireland parishes are Romeward-bound, and may soon be received by Pope Benedict into full communion with the Catholic Church.

This change of denominational allegiance is part of a long-standing doctrinal feud over the ordination of women.

All three parishes broke away from the mainstream Church of Ireland in 1991 after the House of Bishops of the Church of Ireland decided to start ordaining women, a move which they condemned as "a defiance of scripture and tradition."
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Fight over TV indecency is on high court's doorstep
Case tests FCC's attempt to limit expletives

By Joan Biskupic

The dirty words that started the ruckus were fleeting, but their consequences for television have been long-lasting.

At the December 2002 Billboard Music Awards, Cher waved her "Lifetime Achievement" trophy and said, "People have been telling me I'm on the way out every year, right? So (expletive) 'em." At the Golden Globes the next month, U2 lead singer Bono accepted an award by saying, "This is really, really (expletive) brilliant." At another Billboard Awards in 2003, TV star Nicole Richie used expletives as she joked about removing cow manure from a purse.
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Santo Subito Trailer

'Trippy' video in push to canonise Pope
Ben Dowell
Guardian Unlimited
Thursday October 25 2007

The Vatican's record label is orchestrating an online campaign to push a DVD celebrating the life of the late Pope John Paul II to move public opinion in favour of canonising him, can reveal.

The release of the DVD, which is being produced by St Paul Multimedia, the Vatican's record label, will be accompanied by a website,, on which the faithful will be encouraged to register their support for his sainthood. the rest

Episcopal parish breaking from US church
Group relocating in Marlborough

By Michael Paulson, Globe Staff
October 25, 2007

A conservative Episcopal parish in Marlborough is bolting the denomination, in the latest indication that even in liberal Massachusetts the Episcopal Church is losing congregations over its support for gay rights.

Holy Trinity Church in Marlborough is leaving behind its building, renting space in a nearby Methodist church, and affiliating with the Anglican Mission in the Americas, which is overseen by the Episcopal Church of Rwanda.

The small Marlborough congregation, with about 70 active members, is following a national trend in which conservative Episcopal congregations are leaving the Episcopal Church USA to affiliate with theologically like-minded Anglican provinces in Africa.
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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Louisiana Elects Young, Strongly Pro-Life Governor
By Meg Jalsevac
October 23, 2007

( - The voters of Louisiana, known to be one of the most pro-life states in the entire nation, have affirmed that status by electing a staunchly pro-life, Catholic family man to be their next governor. On October 20, Republican Bobby Jindal, surviving especially vicious attacks against his candidacy, became only the second South Asian descent American ever elected as governor of an American state. He will assume office in January.
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Why Muslims Follow Jesus
The results of a recent survey of converts from Islam.
J. Dudley Woodberry, Russell G. Shubin, and G. Marks

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times," Charles Dickens said about the time leading up to the French Revolution in A Tale of Two Cities. The same could be said today of Christian witness to Muslims, who belong to a bitterly divided community undergoing a revolution.

The anti-Christian part of the Islamic resurgence certainly qualifies as the "worst of times." It burst onto the world scene with the Islamic Revolution of 1979 and into everyone's living room on September 11, 2001, leaving victims and sometimes churches in its wake.

In the eyes of those who long for Muslims to know Jesus as they do, the unprecedented trickles—and in a few cases, floods—of Muslims who have chosen to follow Christ in previously evangelistically arid lands undoubtedly constitute the "best of times." In the late 1960s, there was a major turning to Christ among the Javanese in Indonesia, following a conflict between Muslims and communists. We have seen similar movements in North Africa and South Asia, along with smaller ones elsewhere.
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Scholar claims ancient seal was Queen Jezebel's
Updated Oct 24, 2007

An ancient seal that surfaced in Israel more than four decades ago belonged to the biblical Queen Jezebel, according to a new study released on Tuesday by a Dutch university.

The seal, which some scholars date to the ninth century BCE, was first discovered in 1964 by the Israeli archeologist Nahman Avigad, with the name "Yzbl" inscribed in ancient Hebrew, Utrecht University said.

Although it was initially assumed that the seal belonged to Jezebel, the powerful and reviled Phoenician wife of the Jewish King Ahab, there was uncertainty regarding the original owner both because the spelling of the name was erroneous, and because the personal seal could easily have belonged to another woman of the same name.
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Episcopal Church to elect Maine bishop Friday
October 24, 2007

BANGOR, Maine - Representatives of Maine's 17,000 Episcopalians will elect a bishop on Friday from among three candidates for the post.

At the church's annual convention in Bangor, clergy and lay representatives of the church's membership will choose a successor to the Right Rev. Chilton Knudsen, who will retire as bishop of the Maine Diocese in July. Knudsen was the first female Episcopal bishop in Maine.

The three candidates include the Rev. Linda Grenz, assisting priest at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City; the Rev. Debra Kissinger, who oversees children's ministries for the Bethlehem, Pa., Diocese; and the Rev. Canon Stephen Lane, who is in charge of clerical assignments and social justice issues in the Diocese of Rochester, N.Y.
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Foster child to be taken away because Christian couple refuse to teach him about homosexuality

24th October 2007

They are devoted foster parents with an unblemished record of caring for almost 30 vulnerable children.

But Vincent and Pauline Matherick will this week have their latest foster son taken away because they have refused to sign new sexual equality regulations.

To do so, they claim, would force them to promote homosexuality and go against their Christian faith.
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The War for the Constitution
The anniversary of Robert Bork's failed nomination reminds us what's at stake in the coming election.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Twenty years ago today the United States Senate voted to reject President Reagan's nomination of Judge Robert H. Bork to the Supreme Court. The senators may have had every reason to believe that was the end of the story. However ugly it had been, however much time it had taken, Mr. Bork's defeat was only one more routine sacrifice to partisan politics. But time would prove wrong anyone who actually thought that. The battle over Mr. Bork was politically transformative, its constitutional lessons enduring.

To many at the time (and still today) it was inconceivable that a man of Mr. Bork's professional accomplishments and personal character could be found unacceptable for a seat on the Court. Warren Burger summed it up for many when he described Mr. Bork as simply the best qualified nominee in the former chief justice's own professional lifetime--a span of years that included the appointments of such judicial luminaries as Benjamin Cardozo, Hugo Black and Felix Frankfurter. Such praise was no empty exaggeration.
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Albert Mohler: A "Fine French Art" America Cannot Afford -- Does Marriage Really Matter Anymore?
Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Few divorces make international headlines but when one spouse is the President of France, the international media take notice. What the media make of the divorce is a story unto itself, revealing as much about the worldview represented by major media as about the President of France.

The facts are now public and are fairly easy to follow. Nicolas Sarkozy, the President of France, recently divorced his second wife, Cecilia Ciganer-Albeniz. According to press reports, the divorce was a simple legal matter and the proceedings lasted no more than fifteen minutes.

President Sarkozy's marriage had been the stuff of rumor and controversy for some time. The couple had just recently announced a reconciliation of sorts in early 2006, suggesting that they were attempting to save their marriage. The people of France were already aware of the fact that the national media had reported that Mrs. Sarkozy had lived with another man in New York for some months in 2005. She has also reported not to have voted for her husband in the national election that brought him to office.
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Building a Better Baby
October 22, 2007

Sunday morning, CBS News ran a segment called "
Building a Better Baby." The subject was PGD, or Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis, a way of analyzing the genetic material of a in vitro embryo to select out "unfit" embryos, whether it be for genetic predisposition for disease, sex, etc. The piece is introduced by saying that there are "some very real ethical questions," but they never seem to get around to asking a whole lot of tough questions. In the end, the important limitation turns out to be the state of technology and not any real ethical question.

To CBS's credit, they do bring in an historian, Wendy Kline of the University of Cincinnati, who talks about America's earlier attempt at eugenics in the 1920s. But the story almost seems to lament the end of America's eugenics movement.

As proof of their genetic fitness, winners would get a medal, complete with a golden baby, proclaiming their "goodly heritage." The contests fell out of favor here during the 1930s, when a much more disturbing program of genetic screening began … in Nazi Germany

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Sweden to Suppress Religion in Schools - Proposal That Britain do the Same
Religious ideas can be taught, but not as though they are true

By Hilary White
STOCKHOLM, Sweden, October 23, 2007

( – The government of Sweden has announced it will be banning any religious activities in schools except for those directly related to religion classes. It is also directing that in religious education, religious ideas must not be taught as though they are objectively true. A columnist in the UK’s far-left Guardian newspaper has urged Britain to follow suit, implying that Britain’s Catholic and Jewish schools are a terror threat.

Swedish Education Minister Jan Bjoerklund told reporters that religious activity “can take place ... but only outside of coursework”. He said that teaching should “not be influenced” by religious beliefs.
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Comatose Mesa man walks out of hospital
Wife had pulled his feeding tube after a week
Rich Dubek
Oct. 19, 2007

Doctors said he had only a small chance of recovery. His own wife pulled his feeding tube after a week. But Friday, Jesse Ramirez walked out of the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, alive and recovering.

It has been an amazing five months for the US postal employee and father of three who was literally at death's door when he was critically injured in a horrific accident. Jesse and his wife Rebecca were in their SUV when Jesse lost control and crashed into a Chandler pottery store. Rebecca suffered only minor injuries, but Jesse was airlifted to a hospital with a fractured skull and face, punctured lungs and broken ribs. One week after the accident, and following a couple of surgeries, Rebecca Ramirez pulled Jesse out of the hospital and moved him to a Mesa hospice. Rebecca then made the decision to pull his feeding tube and Jesse went six days without food or water.
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Robert Gagnon: Don’t ENDAnger Your Liberties in the Workplace
Oct. 23, 2007

The so-called “Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 2007” (ENDA), which could be more appropriately entitled an “Employment Discrimination Act against Christians,” will be voted on Wednesday or Thursday of this week (Oct. 24-25) in the House of Representatives (H.R. 3685). There is one thing that is essential to know about this bill: If you are someone who has any reservations about homosexual practice, the passage of this bill will seriously “ENDAnger” your freedoms in the workplace like no other issue. It is urgent that you call your Representative in the U.S. Congress (and now or soon your Senators) to express your strong opposition to this bill (at 202-224-3121,

Don’t let the proponents of the bill fool you. Despite a “religious exemption clause” your liberties in the workplace are endangered. Here are three main points that stand out.

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Evangelicals Lambaste Homosexual Employment Bill

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 2 Corinthians 4:17

O that you could dwell in the knowledge and sense of this: the Lord sees your sufferings with an eye of pity and also is able to achieve some good through them. He is able to bring life and wisdom to you through your trials. He will one day give you dominion over that which grieves and afflicts you.

Therefore, do not be grieved at your situation or be discontented. Do not look at the difficulty of your condition, but instead, when the storm rages against you, look up to Him who can give you patience and can lift you head over it all and cause you to grow. If the Lord did not help us with His mighty arm, how often would we fall! If God helps you in proportion to your problems, you should have no reason to complain, but rather, to bless his name.

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White House indicates ENDA veto
Posted on Oct 23, 2007 by Staff

WASHINGTON (BP)--The White House indicated Oct. 23 President Bush likely would veto the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, a controversial bill championed by homosexual activists and opposed by religious liberty organizations.

Known as H.R. 3685, the bill is expected to receive a vote this week, possibly Wednesday. If signed into law, it would place "sexual orientation" into a federal category similar to race, gender and age and could force employers and even Christian businesses, schools and daycares to hire homosexuals and cross-dressers.

The White House's Office of Management and Budget released a statement saying that if the bill reaches Bush's desk, "his senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill." The bill, the statement said, "raises concerns on constitutional and policy grounds." It passed a House committee, 27-21.
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Bella the movie: next Passion of the Christ?
J. Matt Barber
October 22, 2007

Bella, an independent film staring Mexican superstar Eduardo Verástegui, is scheduled for limited release in theatres on October 26. The movie, an inspirational drama set in modern-day New York, has what America's been asking for but what Hollywood refuses to give.

Having won the People's Choice Award at last year's Toronto Film Festival, you'd think major Hollywood distribution companies would be crawling over one another for a crack at the film. But such is not the case. Bella's central theme puts a premium on the value of human life — including life in the womb — and that is a value Hollywood just won't tolerate.

Just as the Hollywood left scoffed at The Passion of the Christ, it has largely ignored the award winning Bella. The movie's life-affirming message just doesn't comport with Tinseltown's narrow leftist agenda.
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Southwest Florida Halts Apportionment Redirection

For the first time since 2003, delegates to convention in the Diocese of Southwest Florida rejected a resolution which would have allowed congregations to redirect apportionment payments away from the program budget of the General Convention.

Similar resolutions had passed at the 2003-2005 conventions. Last year, a procedural error kept the resolution from being considered but diocesan council approved a mechanism to implement the procedure anyway.

Bishop Dabney Smith used his Oct. 20 convention address, his first as diocesan, to steer a new course for Southwest Florida, one with an emphasis on mission, outreach and young adults. He also elaborated on a line item in the budget providing for an assistant bishop.
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Audit declares pastor innocent
By Jean Torkelson, Rocky Mountain News
October 23, 2007

The Rev. Don Armstrong was declared innocent today of misusing funds at Grace Church and St. Stephens, according to an independent audit arranged by the parish.

Forensic auditor Robert Johnson concluded several months of investigation into allegations, first raised by the Episcopal Diocese of Colorado, that Armstrong had engaged in fraud and theft of more than $500,000 in parish money over the past 10 years.

This summer, a diocesan panel, aided by the firm of Denver attorney Hal Haddon, used its fraud and theft findings to launch a criminal investigation by the financial crimes unit of the Colorado Springs Police Department. That investigation is continuing.

"We fully expect that Robert Johnson's report will put that (criminal) issue to bed quickly," said Alan Crippen, who is Armstrong's spokesman.
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Ethiopian Christians send call for help; international body responds
23 October, 2007

Ethiopia (MNN) ―
Voice of the Martyrs' Canada reports that on October 16, a Muslim attack on 25 Christian families in Seka Yoyo--a town just southwest of Ethiopia's capital--demolished a dozen houses.

The families were forced to flee to the nearby city of Jimma where several incidents of violence have occurred in recent months, leaving at least six Christians dead. Approximately 98% of the population is Muslim.
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TLC: Archbishop Williams' Letter 'Not a Roadmap for the Future'

The Archbishop of Canterbury’s Oct. 14 letter to Bishop John W. Howe of Central Florida was not a statement of Anglican Communion policy but a particular response to a local situation.

In a formal statement released on Oct. 23, Archbishop Rowan Williams said the letter “was neither a new policy statement nor a roadmap for the future but a plain response to a very urgent and particular question about clergy in traditionalist dioceses in TEC who want to leave TEC for other jurisdictions, a response reiterating a basic presupposition of what the Archbishop believes to be the theology of the Church.

“The primary point was that – theologically and sacramentally speaking – a priest is related in the first place to his/her bishop directly, not through the structure of the national church; that structure serves the dioceses. The diocese is more than a ‘local branch’ of a national organisation,” the statement noted.
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Australia: Anglicans to set up sex complaints register
Tue Oct 23, 2007

The Anglican church is expected to announce an offical register for complaints about child and sexual abuse by church officials.

Anglican leaders from around Australia are debating the proposal in Canberra today.

The register will give synod officals access to complaints made against its members, regardless of whether a conviction has been laid.

Child Protection Committee chairman Garth Blake says all records need to be made accessible in the name of public safety.

"It's just one of a number of tools or mechanisms that have been devised to ensure that our church is safe," he said. the rest

Australian Idol stars banned from talking about God

California: Massive evacuations ordered as onslaught of fires spreads
By Tony Perry, Garrett Therolf and Mitchell Landsberg,

Los Angeles Times Staff Writers
October 23, 2007

Wind-whipped firestorms destroyed more than 700 homes and businesses in Southern California on Monday, the second day of its onslaught, and more than half a million people in San Diego County were told to evacuate their homes.

The gale-force winds turned hillside canyons into giant blowtorches from Santa Barbara to the Mexican border. Although the worst damage was around San Diego and Lake Arrowhead, dangerous fires also threatened Malibu, parts of Orange and Ventura counties, and the Agua Dulce area near Santa Clarita. the rest photo

Responding to the American House of Bishops - Archbishop Peter Jensen
Archbishop Peter Jensen, Archbishop of Sydney

We have heard three weighty defences of the Joint Standing Committee’s response to the American House of Bishops’ Statement – from the Primate, from Canon Kearon, from Mr Fordham. These are men we trust as first-hand participants in the making of these documents.

However, as Proverbs 18:17 says: ‘The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him.’ My difficulty with the Primate’s summary is that it omitted to account for the many and strong voices on the other side of this debate. Thus, we already have a negative statement on behalf of thirteen African primates. Since we have been invited to join a political process, we need to hear the concerns of those equally weighty witnesses who believe that the House of Bishops has failed to give the assurances for which it was asked. The political forces which are understandably pushing this forward as a decisive reply by the Americans and one which will lead to an outbreak of peace, are bound to be frustrated.

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Anglicanism in twilight
Tuesday October 23rd 2007
by Chris Sugden in Evangelicals Now,
November 2007

The tale is simply told yet sad to relate.

In response to the challenge from The Episcopal Church (TEC) in consecrating as bishop a man in an active homosexual relationship, the Archbishop of Canterbury called three meetings of the Anglican Primates. He affirmed that he was not a pope and could not take these decisions on his own.

The Primates commissioned the Windsor Report to ask the TEC to comply with the teaching and practice of the Anglican Communion. The TEC General Convention responded in June 2006. The Archbishop of Canterbury judged that their response was adequate in the opening presentation to the Dar-es-Salaam Primates’ meeting in February 2007. Most primates disagreed. After five very uncomfortable days for the Archbishop of Canterbury, the primates unanimously drafted three questions to the TEC to answer by September 30.
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