A renewed mind has an utterly changed conception, not only of reality, but of possibility. A turn away from the kingdom of this world to the Kingdom of God provides a whole set of values based not on the human word, but on Christ's. Impossibilities become possibilities. ...Elisabeth Elliot photo
Welcome to Transfigurations! This blog is intended to serve the orthodox Anglican community and the wider Christian community. We pray that all that is posted here will be faithful to the Scriptures as the inspired word of God, speak the truth in love, edify, bless and transform this local body of Christ, and be an impetus for revival, repentance, prayer and intercession!
Saturday, November 17, 2007
German Court: Homeschooling is 'child endangerment'
Gives 2 kids to government, castigates social workers for letting family flee
November 17, 2007
A court decision that categorized homeschooling as "child welfare endangerment" has assigned custody of two children to the government and criticized a social services agency for allowing a family to flee Germany, where homeschooling remains illegal.
The decision from the Federal High Court in Karlsruhe, Germany's highest court, was reported by the German edition of Agence France-Presse, as well as Netwerk Bildungsfreiheit, an organization that advocates for homeschoolers against the repression in Germany.
Dolly creator Prof Ian Wilmut shuns cloning
By Roger Highfield,
16/11/2007 -The scientist who created Dolly the sheep, a breakthrough that provoked headlines around the world a decade ago, is to abandon the cloning technique he pioneered to create her.
Prof Ian Wilmut's decision to turn his back on "therapeutic cloning", just days after US researchers announced a breakthrough in the cloning of primates, will send shockwaves through the scientific establishment.
He and his team made headlines around the world in 1997 when they unveiled Dolly, born July of the year before. But now he has decided not to pursue a licence to clone human embryos, which he was awarded just two years ago, as part of a drive to find new treatments for the devastating degenerative condition, Motor Neuron disease.
the rest photo
Russian Doomsday Cult Sparks Mass Suicide Fears
Group Is Holed Up in a Cave and Believe Worlds Will End in May 2008
By CLARISSA WARD
MOSCOW, Nov. 16, 2007
At first glance the pictures of fields blanketed in thick, powder snow show no sign of life. Look closer and you can just make out a small hole in the snow, with smoke or steam occasionally piping out.
Inside that hole, deep in the countryside of central Russia, at least 29 people, four of whom are children, live in a cave. Authorities say that they are members of a little-known cult and that they refuse to leave the cave before May, when they believe the world will end.
They have threatened to blow themselves up if anyone tries to remove them. the rest
Brooklyn pastor's wife wants church proceeds
BY ANN GIVENS
November 16, 2007
In a case that may be the first of its kind, the wife of a pastor from Baldwin is hoping to win assets from her husband's church in their divorce proceedings, saying he uses the church as his "personal piggy bank" and that any money he makes from it is partly hers.
In a decision published this week, state Supreme Court Justice Arthur Diamond agreed to hear arguments at trial in Mineola about whether Grace Christian Church in Brooklyn should be considered a marital asset, and ordered that it be appraised. It is one of the first times in New York State history - if not the first - that someone going through a divorce has tried to call a religious institution a marital asset, lawyers in the case said. the rest
Sometimes He’s easiest to find on the street
I saw Christ on a street corner in Washington, D.C., disguised as an alcoholic felon. I don't often notice Christ. I can sit through entire church services and not see Him. I'll notice which worship songs are individualistic pablum; I'll remember if the sermon is more about what the Bible doesn't say, or if the pastor is bent on setting people straight. But I'll miss Jesus, occupied as I am with criticizing on His behalf. So it was unexpected, this Christ-sighting.
For I was hungry and you gave Me food, Christ called out to me as I passed. It was late; I just wanted a meal and my comfortable hotel bed. But I made the mistake of eye contact. "They spit on me!" he shouted. It was so unusual that I stopped. He was crying with frustration. Someone had given him spittle instead of money. The rest photo
AnglicanTV: Live Streaming Fort Worth Convention
Pro-Life Anglican Minister a “Man on a Mission” to Secularized Britain
Rev. Lameck says, “Let them persecute the Church. The word of God cannot be killed."
By Hilary White
TATTENHALL, Cheshire, UK
November 16, 2007
(LifeSiteNews.com) – While the news is full of indicators of the impending end of religious practice in Britain and the “post-Christian” west, one Anglican minister offers a word of encouragement. In a tiny rural village eight miles south of the ancient town of Chester, Rev. Lameck Mutete says the faith of the people is growing and that persecution will do nothing to stop the word of God.
The much-reported secularization of Britain does nothing to dampen Rev. Lameck’s conviction that what people want most is God. “I feel people are searching in terms of spirituality,” he told LifeSiteNews.com in an interview at his home. “That is what is missing in people’s lives. If you are worried about the levels of spirituality of the people of Britain, I can agree with you. But I think God allows us to have a bit of free will, and to search around, to find Him.” the rest
Anglican Essentials Canada:
Anglican Network in Canada bishop received into Southern Cone
Nov 16th, 2007
Bishop Donald Harvey has been received into the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone under Primate Gregory Venables. The Southern Cone encompasses much of South America, from Tierra del Fuego in the south to Peru in the north.
In becoming a bishop of the Southern Cone, Bishop Harvey has come out of retirement and is resuming full-time episcopal ministry. He will now be free to offer episcopal oversight to biblically faithful Canadian Anglicans who are distressed and feel they no longer have a home in the Anglican Church of Canada.
“By receiving Bishop Harvey upon his departure from the Anglican Church of Canada, the Province of the Southern Cone is responding to the ongoing crisis and brokenness in the Anglican Communion,” said The Most Revd Gregory Venables. the rest
Council of General Synod is concerned
Anglican Journal: Bishop leaves Canadian church for South American province
Arizona: P.V. Episcopalians split to form Anglican church
Lawn Griffiths, Tribune
November 16, 2007
Marie Manor was a “cradle” Episcopalian. The Scottsdale woman was born into an Episcopal family, but she said today’s Episcopal Church is not the one she was raised in, that it has moved away from historical truths about the authority of Holy Scripture and the divinity of Christ. So, she and her family have defected.
They are part of about 175 who left en masse from Christ Church of the Ascension Episcopal Church in Paradise Valley and last month started Christ Church Anglican, which now meets in a rented church building in Phoenix. They formed their first vestry, or 12-member church board, Tuesday night. the rest
AnglicanTV: Stream from Day one Fort Worth Convention
Friday, November 16, 2007
Do not say in thine heart what thou wilt or wilt not do, but wait upon God until He makes known His way. So long as that way is hidden it is clear that there is no need of action, and that He accounts Himself responsible for all the results of keeping thee where thou art. ...Streams in the Desert photo
ADV: Virginia Anglican Churches Present Strong Legal Case
“The Episcopal Church Made the Choice to be a Prodigal Church - They Cannot Take Our Houses of Worship with Them”
FAIRFAX, Va. (November 16, 2007) – The litigation involving 11 churches sued by The Episcopal Church and Diocese of Virginia will be entering a new phase as proceedings continue and are slated through Wednesday of next week. ( Fairfax County Circuit Court, Multi-Circuit Property Litigation, Case No. CL-2007-0248724) The 11 churches finished presenting the bulk of their case yesterday and opening arguments were heard from The Episcopal Church and Diocese of Virginia.
In January of this year, the Episcopal Church and Diocese abruptly broke off settlement negotiations and filed lawsuits against the 11 churches, their ministers and their vestries in an attempt to seize control of the Anglican churches’ properties. The decision of The Episcopal Church and the Diocese to reinterpret Scripture caused the 11 churches to sever their ties.
“We continue to be confident in our legal position that The Episcopal Church and Diocese of Virginia cannot seize control of our churches through a claim that there is an ‘implied trust’ in member congregations’ property. Virginia has a long history of deferring to local control of church property and the statute at issue says that the majority of the church is entitled to its property when a group of congregations divide from the denomination. The Episcopal Church admitted in its complaint that it does not hold title to any of these eleven churches and that the churches' own trustees hold title for the benefit of the congregations,” said Jim Oakes, vice-chairman of the Anglican District of Virginia, 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.
“When The Episcopal Church and Diocese separated themselves from the historic Christian faith and broke their relationship with us as well as with some two-thirds of the constituent members of the worldwide Anglican Communion, our churches voted to dissociate from The Episcopal Church and Diocese in order to remain faithful to the historic teachings of the worldwide Anglican Communion. It is clear that The Episcopal Church has brought this division upon itself,” Oakes continued.
“We have chosen to stay with the worldwide Anglican Communion and be steadfast in our faith. We are sorry The Episcopal Church has chosen to go its own way. Their choice to be a prodigal church does not give them the right to take our houses of worship with them.”
Stand Firm: Diocese of San Joaquin Invited to Join Anglican Church of the Southern Cone
FRESNO, CA - November 16, 2007 – The Diocese of San Joaquin today announced that the Anglican Church of the Southern Cone of South America has extended an invitation to offer the Diocese membership on an emergency and pastoral basis.
The announcement comes three weeks before the Diocese is scheduled hear the second and final reading of Constitutional changes first adopted on December 2, 2006. Should the second reading of the Constitutional changes be approved at the Diocesan Convention on December 8, 2007, the Diocese is free to accept the invitation to align with the Province of the Southern Cone and remain a diocese with full membership within the Anglican Communion.
According to the Rt. Rev. John-David M. Schofield, Bishop of the Diocese of San Joaquin, “We welcome the invitation extended by the Anglican Church of the Southern Cone. The invitation assures the Diocese’s place in the Anglican Communion and full communion with the See of Canterbury.” the rest
Diocese of San Joaquin Invited to Join Anglican Church of the Southern Cone
Anglicanism in twilight
Canon Dr. Chris Sugden
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 TEC to comply with the teaching and practice of the Anglican Communion. 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 for TEC to answer by September 30. One Primate has told me personally that the Primates understood that September 30 was a deadline and that The Episcopal Church’s response would be evaluated by their meeting. The Primates’ meeting has been taking responsibility for addressing the crisis. ‘The questions posed to TEC were posed by the Primates together. We expect to evaluate the answers together’, he said. the rest photo
Hat tip/ Brad Drell
A remarkable phone call from a 13-yr old boy to Houston radio station KSBJ FM 89.3.
So profound, the station has it posted on their website.
Christians in Jerusalem want Jews to stop spitting on them
By Amiram Barkat
Fri., November 16, 2007
A few weeks ago, a senior Greek Orthodox clergyman in Israel attended a meeting at a government office in Jerusalem's Givat Shaul quarter. When he returned to his car, an elderly man wearing a skullcap came and knocked on the window. When the clergyman let the window down, the passerby spat in his face.
The clergyman prefered not to lodge a complaint with the police and told an acquaintance that he was used to being spat at by Jews. Many Jerusalem clergy have been subjected to abuse of this kind. For the most part, they ignore it but sometimes they cannot. the rest
ENS: At Korea's Anglican peace forum, Presiding Bishop calls for 'tearing down barriers'
By Neva Rae Fox
November 16, 2007
[Episcopal News Service] "Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you."
With those opening words of her sermon, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori set the tone for the five-day forum of the worldwide Anglican peace conference, Towards Peace In Korea (TOPIK), which started November 16 in Seoul, South Korea.
"We have gathered here to do just that, and to work at tearing down the barriers between us that make enemies," Jefferts Schori told those gathered for TOPIK's Opening Eucharist. "We are here to practice peace-making, to un-learn our ability to make war, to shape communities that seek peace and harmony rather than division." the rest
Bishop says she made diocese sue 11 churches
By Julia Duin
November 16, 2007
The Episcopal Church's top official says she forced the Diocese of Virginia to sue 11 churches that broke away a year ago over disagreements on biblical authority and the 2003 consecration of a homosexual bishop.
Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori said she acted to prevent "incursions by foreign bishops" during a four-hour deposition taped Oct. 30 and entered yesterday as evidence during a trial involving the largest property battle in Episcopal Church history under way at Fairfax Circuit Court.
According to prior testimony, Virginia Bishop Peter J. Lee was ready to accept buyouts from the 11 departing churches, several of which sat on historic pieces of property in Fairfax and Falls Church. That changed after he met with the new presiding bishop soon after her Nov. 4, 2006, installation. the rest
Comments at Stand Firm
Comments at TitusOneNine
Vatican joins historic talks to end 950-year rift with Orthodox church
Ruth Gledhill, Religion Correspondent and Paul Bompard in Rome
November 16, 2007
The Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches took tentative steps towards healing their 950-year rift yesterday by drafting a joint document that acknowledges the primacy of the Pope.
The 46-paragraph “Ravenna Document”, written by a special commission of Catholic and Orthodox officials, envisages a reunified church in which the Pope could be the most senior patriarch among the various Orthodox churches.
Just as Pope John Paul II was driven by the desire to bring down Communism, so Pope Benedict XVI hopes passionately to see the restoration of a unified Church. Although he is understood to favour closer relations with traditional Anglicans, the Anglican Communion is unlikely to be party to the discussions because of its ordination of women and other liberal practices. the rest
Christian group prays for celebuwrecks
By GILLIAN FLACCUS Associated Press Writer
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Anyone who thinks Britney Spears' best days are behind her should know this - she does have a prayer.
The celebuwreck, who has been struggling to get custody of her kids while launching a comeback, is the top prayer-getter at the Hollywood Prayer Network, a group of more than 5,000 Christians that prays for stars instead of writing them off as lost causes.
The network recently passed a Bible to socialite Paris Hilton and plans to pass one to Spears later this month. It also picks up-and-coming child stars for its monthly Kids Prayer Calendar and pairs hundreds of mentors with struggling actors - the kind more likely to take your order in a restaurant than appear on your television. the rest
Hollywood Prayer Network
Santas warned 'ho ho ho' offensive to women
Thursday November 15
SYDNEY (AFP) - Santas in Australia's largest city have been told not to use Father Christmas's traditional "ho ho ho" greeting because it may be offensive to women, it was reported Thursday.
Sydney's Santa Clauses have instead been instructed to say "ha ha ha" instead, the Daily Telegraph reported.
One disgruntled Santa told the newspaper a recruitment firm warned him not to use "ho ho ho" because it could frighten children and was too close to "ho", a US slang term for prostitute.
"Gimme a break," said Julie Gale, who runs the campaign against sexualising children called Kids Free 2B Kids. the rest art
Cold virus variant blamed in 10 deaths
No precautions urged, but agency tracking US cases
By Mike Stobbe
November 16, 2007
ATLANTA - A mutated version of a common cold virus has caused 10 deaths in the last 18 months, US health officials said yesterday.
Adenoviruses usually cause respiratory infections that aren't considered lethal. But a new variant has caused at least 140 illnesses in New York, Oregon, Washington, and Texas, according to a report issued yesterday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. the rest
Thursday, November 15, 2007
God has brought us into this time; He, and not ourselves or some dark demon. If we are not fit to cope with that which He has prepared for us, we would have been utterly unfit for any condition that we imagine for ourselves. We are to live and wrestle in this time, and in no other. Let us humbly, tremblingly, manfully look at it, and we shall not wish that the sun could go back its ten degrees, or that we could go back with it. If easy times are departed, it is that the difficult times may make us more in earnest; that they may teach us not to depend on ourselves. If easy belief is impossible, it is that we may learn what belief is, and in whom it is to be placed. ...Frederick Denison Maurice image
Virginia Property Trial
Day Three: Update from the Courthouse
Thursday, November 15, 2007
The day began fiercely, with a wind and rain squall rushing through Fairfax. I've discovered a short cut from Truro to the Courthouse and managed to get across Main Street and inside the Courthouse in fifteen minutes, the umbrella still in tact.
The morning session began with cross examination by the counsel for the Diocese of Virginia and then the Episcopal Church of Abraham Yisa, official Register of the Anglican Church of Nigeria and elected member of the Anglican Consultative Counsel. He testified - and continued to testify under cross examination - that indeed there is a division in the Anglican Communion. This was dramatically illustrated by the changing of the Anglican Church of Nigeria changing their constitution to reflect that they are in communion with those Anglican provinces that hold to the faith. The Church of Nigeria as well as the Church of Uganda and the Church of the Southern Cone and many others are in broken or impaired communion with the Episcopal Church. He also testified in his capacity as an elected member of the ACC that the Episcopal Church did not attend the last AAC meeting in Nottingham as voting or seated members, following the advice from the Primates Meeting. He described broken communion as the breaking of fellowship, of exchanged visits, by sharing of clergy, of training, workshops, financial assistance and through the primates. the rest
ACN: A Call to Prayer
Chancellor, Anglican Communion Network
While there is much we need always to be in prayer about, there are two very pressing matters that call for our prayerful attention today and in the days ahead.
The initial trial in Virginia in the matter of The Diocese of Virginia and The Episcopal Church v. Departing Parishes has been underway since early this week. In this phase of the trial, the issue to be determined is whether the Civil War era statute providing a remedy of choice for parishes when there is a division in a denomination is applicable to what has and is happening in Virginia.
Secondly, on Friday and Saturday of this week the Diocese of Fort Worth will hold its annual Synod. In that gathering the deputies to the Synod will be asked to consider resolutions of realignment of the Diocese in light of the actions of The Episcopal Church. If adopted, the resolution will not become effective as a change to the Constitution of the Diocese until a second reading and affirmative vote next year.
Please pray for God’s hand to be upon our faithful brothers and sisters in those places, and for clarity, courage, truth and humility to show through them in all that they do and say as they seek to be witnesses for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. link
Acceptance helps gays, psychiatrists inform Anglicans
by Bill Bowder
16 November, 2007
THE Royal College of Psychiatrists has challenged Anglican bishops to support gay clergy and laity as an example to parents struggling to come to terms with having gay or lesbian children.
“The Church has a wonderful opportunity to lead rather than to be dragged along kicking and screaming. Christianity is such an inclusive religion,” said Professor Michael King, an executive committee member of the College’s special-interest group of 200 to 300 psychiatrists who work with lesbians, gay men, and bisexual and transsexual people.
His committee has submitted a report to the Church’s Listening Exercise on Human Sexuality, to inform a study guide for next year’s Lambeth Conference. the rest
Victory for Gideon threatened with arrest for distributing Bibles on public sidewalk
Florida judge grants ADF motion for preliminary injunction, allowing Christian to resume activities until case is resolved
Thursday, November 15, 2007
MIAMI — A federal judge in Florida cleared the way Wednesday for a member of Gideons International to resume distributing Bibles on a public sidewalk, without fear of arrest, until his case is resolved. The court granted a motion for preliminary injunction requested by attorneys with the Alliance Defense Fund who represent Thomas Gray and struck down as unconstitutional a state statute under which he was threatened with arrest. Based on this ruling, the state is now prohibited from enforcing the statute. the rest
Episcopal bishop decides time is right to step down
Transition - The Rt. Rev. Johncy Itty surprises many in the western Oregon diocese
Thursday, November 15, 2007
NANCY HAUGHT The Oregonian Staff
Western Oregon Episcopalians are buzzing since their bishop, the Rt. Rev. Johncy Itty, decided after four years that it's time to start searching for his successor.
Itty, who at 40 was the youngest Episcopal bishop when he was elected in 2003, caused the stir at the diocese's annual convention in early November. He thanked God for his years here and said his decision is "in recognition of personal, professional and family needs."
In an interview this week, he said he wanted to give a "heads up" so the transition wouldn't be a surprise. He said he has no particular plans about what he'll do next. The entire selection process, which can take two years, won't start until January. the rest
Southern Cone oversight of US dioceses “simply recognised the existing splits within the Church”: Venables
November 15th, 2007
In The Church of England Newspaper George Conger reports
AMERICAN dioceses that wish to quit the Episcopal Church will be welcomed into the Church of the Province of the Southern Cone. The South American general synod, meeting last week in Valparaíso, Chile, agreed to adopt stray dioceses and ecclesial entities from the North American churches. The vote marks an intensification in the Anglican Communion’s wars over doctrine and discipline as for the first time, ecclesial entities, not just individuals, have been offered a theological refuge. the rest
Why I was wrong
Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. ...CS Lewis
Diocese of Virginia lawsuit:
Former Episcopal leaders reminded of vows
By Julia Duin
November 15, 2007
Conservative church leaders who left the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia after the consecration of a homosexual bishop took the stand yesterday to assert their claim on valuable properties that they say belongs to local congregations — not the national church or the diocese — during court proceedings in the largest property battle in Episcopal Church history.
Lawyers for the Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Virginia questioned several leaders of 11 breakaway churches in trying to establish that Bishop Martyn Minns and Falls Church rector the Rev. John Yates, among others, violated priestly vows to be loyal to the Episcopal Church. Those vows were violated, the lawyers said, when the group led several thousand people out of the Virginia Diocese last December in protest over the 2003 consecration of Bishop V. Gene Robinson in New Hampshire. the rest
Republican Senators Urge Suspension of Federal Abortion Funding
By Lawrence Jones
Christian Post Reporter
Thu, Nov. 15 2007
Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kans.), joined by 12 other Republican senators, is calling upon Democratic leaders in Congress to halt federal funding of abortion while cases of “negligent medical practice” are investigated.
Brownback and Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) have sent a letter to Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and House Representative David Obey (D-Wis.), who both chair Senate and House appropriation committees, asking them “to suspend funding in all future Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education and Related Agencies Appropriations bills for organizations that promote abortion.”
The senators agree that federal funding should be suspended to abortion groups like Planned Parenthood pending further investigation of “troubling accusations of negligent medical practice.” the rest
Eritrea: Catholic Church in Shock as State Expels Missionaries
13 November 2007
The Eritrean government has thrown the Catholic Church into tension by expelling 13 missionaries in unclear circumstances.
Reliable sources have confirmed to CISA that the missionaries, including a Kenyan, were given 14 days to leave the country, beginning November 6. the rest
N.C. Baptists expel Myers Park church
At issue: Welcoming gay congregants
Wed, Nov. 14, 2007
GREENSBORO --Delegates to the annual meeting of the N.C. Baptist State Convention voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to expel Charlotte's Myers Park Baptist for welcoming gays and lesbians without trying to change them.
The liberal church of 1,970 members became the first to be kicked out under rules passed at last year's meeting that said any Baptist church that affirmed or endorsed homosexual behavior would be considered "not in friendly cooperation with the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina." the rest
Lawsuit filed over Christ Church dispute
Thursday, Nov 15, 2007
New developments emerge Wednesday in the battle between the Episcopal Diocese and Christ Church in Savannah. The diocese today filed a lawsuit to regain the church property. It's asking the court to force the rector and vestry to surrender control of the church. The church itself responded Wednesday afternoon saying it's not surprised by the suit. Just a month ago, Christ Church joined a number of other Episcopal congregations that have defected since an openly gay bishop was ordained in 2003.
Diocese news release and Christ Church response: Here photo
Written by Alisa Harris
November 14, 2007
Almost two months after the Myanmar government imprisoned and killed pro-democracy protesters, international outrage builds. Today Canada announced that it is imposing “the toughest sanctions in the world” against Myanmar. But Myanmar Deputy Defense Minister Aye Mint is still showing the world a brash front, announcing today that the country “will not accept the interferences that will harm our sovereignty.”
Sandra Bunn-Livingstone, executive director of Christian Solidarity Worldwide USA, told WoW that Myanmar’s murder of religious dissidents is nothing new. She said the government’s motto is “one race, one language, one religion,” and when governments sponsor one religion and suppress all others, “they also eventually turn against that one religion.”
Myanmar brutally persecutes Christians, who are usually guilty of being a different race and speaking a different language, too. Christian Solidarity Worldwide obtained a leaked government document that outlines “A Program to Destroy the Christian Religion in Burma.” The document directs Buddhists to marry Christian women, target Christian teens who wear Western clothing, report and imprison Christian evangelists, and attack Christianity’s weakest points.
the rest photo
Canada imposing tough sanctions on Myanmar
Single word change in Book of Mormon speaks volumes
By Peggy Fletcher Stack
The Salt Lake Tribune
The LDS Church has changed a single word in its introduction to the Book of Mormon, a change observers say has serious implications for commonly held LDS beliefs about the ancestry of American Indians. the rest
Anglicans Converge to Reconcile Korean Peninsula
By Michelle Vu
Christian Post Reporter
Thu, Nov. 15 2007
Anglican leaders from around the world gathered Wednesday to begin a weeklong peace initiative aimed at helping to reconcile the Korean Peninsula.
More than 150 leaders are joining the Nov. 14-20 conference in South Korea for TOPIK (Towards Peace in Korea), which includes a trip to the North. the rest
Caste and rules create 'dual faith' Dalits in India
By Ecumenical News International
15 Nov 2007
Some people estimate that Christians make up more than one third of the 300,000 people in the now-closed mining area of the Kolar Gold Fields in India's southern Karnataka state - writes Anto Akkara from India.
Others suggest that with Evangelical groups flourishing in the area, following the closure of the government-owned mine in 2001, the proportion of Christians could be as high as 50 percent.
Still, according to government documents, Christians account for less than 10 percent of the population of the region.
"Here, many are Hindus in government records but Christians in faith," says church worker Vasanti Selvaraj, explaining the discrepancy between the government statistics and what many people believe is the actual number of Christians in the region. the rest photo
Lowe's Apologizes for 'Family Trees' in Christmas Catalog
By Randy Hall
CNSNews.com Staff Writer/Editor
November 14, 2007
(CNSNews.com) - An early skirmish in this year's "War on Christmas" ended on Tuesday when the nationwide home improvement chain Lowe's apologized for referring to Christmas trees in its holiday catalog as "family trees."
"That was a complete error," Maureen Rich, a spokeswoman for Lowe's Home Improvement Warehouse - which serves more than 13 million customers a week in its 1,400 stores across the nation - told Cybercast News Service. "Right now, we're extremely disappointed in this breakdown in our own creative process.
"We are apologizing to customers today for any confusion our holiday catalog created," Rich said. She explained that the full-color document is called a holiday catalog "because it encompasses all the holidays from October through January." the rest photo
Evangelical flocks on their own at the polls
Conservative Christian leaders are increasingly reluctant to get political, leaving a key Republican voting bloc divided. The trend may help Giuliani but hurt the GOP in the long term.
By Stephanie Simon and Mark Z. Barabak
Los Angeles Times Staff Writers
November 15, 2007
COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO. -- A fundamental shift is transforming the religious right, long a force in presidential politics, as aging evangelical leaders split on the 2008 race and a new generation of pastors turns away from politics altogether.
The result, in the short term, could be a boost for the centrist candidacy of former New York City Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, whose messy personal life and support for gay rights and legal abortion have not produced the unified opposition from Christian conservatives that many anticipated.
Over the longer term, the distancing of religious leaders from politics could prove even more consequential, denying the GOP one of the essential building blocks it has used to capture the White House in five of the last seven presidential races. the rest
Catholic voters warned on abortion
November 15, 2007
BALTIMORE (AP) — Roman Catholic voters and lawmakers must heed church teaching on abortion or risk losing their eternal salvation, U.S. bishops said yesterday.
"The direct and intentional destruction of innocent human life is always wrong and is not just one issue among many," the bishops stated. "It must always be opposed."
The bishops didn't recommend specific policies or candidates in the 2008 election and emphasized "principled debate" is needed to decide what best promotes the common good. But they warned Catholics that their votes for politicians and laws affect more than just civic life.
Backing Abortion-Rights Candidates 'Borders on Scandal, Archbishop Says
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
The soul which has come into intimate contact with God in the silence of the prayer chamber is never out of conscious touch with the Father; the heart is always going out to Him in loving communion, and the moment the mind is released from the task upon which it is engaged, it returns as naturally to God as the bird does to its nest. What a beautiful conception of prayer we get if we regard it in this light. ...EM Bounds photo
Lesbian Wins Multimillion-Dollar Discrimination Suit Against Goodyear
A Washington State lesbian has been awarded nearly $4.4 million in a lawsuit she filed against her former employer, Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., and a supervisor, alleging unlawful retaliation that eventually led to her dismissal.
Melissa Sheffield claimed that her supervisors’ negative reaction to her sexuality was the beginning of a process that culminated in her demotion and termination.
In a November 8 decision, a jury in King County, Wash., awarded Sheffield more than $318,000 in lost past wages, more than $40,000 in lost and future benefits, and $4 million in emotional distress in a suit filed against the company and her former supervisor, Randy Reich. the rest
Intertwining faith and legal procedure
Christian-based law schools aim to graduate students with higher ethical leanings
By MARY FLOOD
Nov. 13, 2007
Some constitutional law classes begin with the professor challenging a student with probing questions about the separation of church and state.
Others start with a five-minute prayer.
Or they might if they're one of the growing number of Christian law schools in the country. The idea at these schools is to intertwine, not separate out, the tenets of one or more branches of Christianity into the legal curriculum.
Soon to join this fold will be a Louisiana law school named for a retired Harris County jurist active in the Southern Baptist Convention. the rest
BabyBlueOnline: Quick Update on the Virginia Anglican Property Lawsuit
The Significance of Anglicans Turning Catholic
A conservative Anglican communion is pleading to be incorporated into the Church of Rome. Reflecting a broader trend, the significance of this event is destined to grow with time.
By Joel Hilliker
November 14, 2007
A forecast made in the 1930s is making its way into today’s headlines.
Those headlines would be easy enough to pass over, but they are worth taking a moment to think about. They represent a dangerous weakening of British sovereignty that first glance wouldn’t suggest. Not only that, they confirm just how far ahead of his time was the man making the forecast.
Historically, England has been distinct from mainland Europe in a number of ways besides just the geographic separation provided by the English Channel. One of the most crucial, in terms of establishing and maintaining British sovereignty and independence, has been the existence of the Church of England. From the time of England’s break from Rome in the 16th century, the British monarch has been the titular head of the church, heading an ecclesiastical structure entirely separate from the pope-centered Roman Catholicism that has dominated continental history. The Act of Settlement, passed in 1701 and still in effect, preserves this independence by requiring that the person assuming the throne be Anglican and specifically excluding a Catholic or anyone who has married a Catholic. The present queen, when she was crowned in 1953, swore an oath “to maintain in the United Kingdom the Protestant Reformed religion established by law.” Upholding this oath factors heavily in Britain’s independence from Europe because, since the pope claims authority over all Roman Catholics, a Catholic British monarch would owe primary allegiance to Rome over and above that owed the British crown. the rest photo
Church fighting Civil War-era Virginia law
November 14, 2007
Episcopal Church leaders yesterday argued that a Civil War-era Virginia law governing church splits does not apply to its dispute with 11 Northern Virginia congregations in their effort to leave the denomination in a dispute over biblical authority and homosexuality.
At issue is an 1867 state law saying that a majority vote determines whether a congregation can realign and keep its property when a church faces internal division. The 11 congregations voted to leave the denomination, but Episcopal leaders reject the validity of those votes because no formal division has been recognized by the Episcopal hierarchy.
"Only the governing body of a hierarchical church has the power or authority to declare a division of such a church," the diocese wrote in court papers. the rest
Joseph's Prosperity: When God Turns Evil to Good
Senior Consultant, Oxford Analytica
He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers. Psalm 1:3
Joseph’s life was one filled with wrongful accusations and betrayals. He was betrayed by his brothers, falsely accused by his master’s wife, thrown into prison and left to languish there for years. Yet when Joseph surveyed his circumstances, he was able to proclaim with boldness that what others meant for evil, God had used for good:
You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children. Genesis 50:20-21.
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Empowering the laity
Stephen G. Brown
November 13, 2007
George Barna, founder of the Barna Research Group in Oxnard, Calif., has conducted demographic and marketing research for secular and religious organizations. His studies of church groups have led him to reflect on mainline denominational decline and the role that today’s clergy appear to be playing in it.
Barna says a “second coming of the church” is possible if it can attract entrepreneurial and revolutionary leaders. This leadership, he says, will not come from the clergy. “Ultimately, the moral and spiritual revolution that will produce the new church will emerge from among the laity. The impetus to change and the creative focus and force reside among the frustrated masses, not among the distracted professionals. Marrying the resources of both the laity and the clergy could introduce an exciting era of Christian renewal. But the catalyst for this new reformation will be the people, not the professionals.”
Barna sees the future church growing out of existing local churches that are gifted with strong lay leadership. “Congregations are currently our best organizational resource,” he says. “As we develop the church of the future, our best strategy will be to grow the new formations from the resources and assistance provided by these present hubs of strength.” the rest photo
Speciesism and Rights for Animals
Of Pigs and People
By Chuck Colson
Christian Post Guest Columnist
Tue, Nov. 13 2007
Five years ago, Florida voters amended their state constitution to guarantee the rights of a previously unprotected class: pregnant pigs. Specifically, the ballot initiative guaranteed pregnant sows “enough space within which to turn around.”
Now, treating animals humanely is a moral imperative, especially for Christians; treating them as if they somehow were equivalent to humans is not. And, increasingly, that is what we are doing.
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BA singles out Christians for discrimination, says worker who wore crucifix
November 14, 2007
A British Airways check-in worker who was suspended for openly wearing a cross the size of a 5p piece around her neck told an employment tribunal that the company had a “culture of hostility” to Christianity.
Nadia Eweida, 56, was put on unpaid leave from her post at Heathrow in September after refusing to conceal the cross. She went back in February when the airline relaxed its rules. the rest
Prostitution Ban Huge Success in Sweden
By André Anwar
November 08, 2007
Sweden has drastically reduced human trafficking and prostitution by imposing a ban on the purchase of sexual services, the first of its kind worldwide. But many sex workers argue the ban robs them of their livelihood and makes them more vulnerable to violence. the rest
Blogging Like Jogging, Part 1
By Mark D. Roberts
Monday, November 12, 2007
A couple of years ago everybody was predicting that blogging would take over the media world. Bloggers had toppled Dan Rather. Soon they would replace the New York Times and CBS Evening News.
Now it’s chic to proclaim the death of blogging. Critics, often from the mainstream media, celebrate the fact that millions of bloggers have quit. “The end of blogging is near,” pronounce the pundits, with undisguised glee.
The initial “blogging is the world” bandwagon was silly and naïve. The new “blogging is dead” repeats the silliness and naïveté in the opposite direction.
Blogging isn’t the world. And blogging isn’t dead, either. Rather, blogging is like jogging. the rest
More women than men are being ordained to Anglican priesthood
Ruth Gledhill, Religion Correspondent
November 14, 2007
More women than men were ordained to the priesthood in the Church of England for the first time last year.
In addition, 19 dioceses, nearly half the total of 44, experienced an increase in church attendance, according to statistics published yesterday.
The figures run counter to the gospel of a dying religion preached by secularists such as Dr Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens. They show instead an established Church that is surprisingly resilient, given the increased ferocity of attacks on all faiths by unbelievers. They also give further credence to the lesson of history that Christianity in particular thrives when persecuted. the rest
Albert Mohler: The Feminization of the Ministry -- A Milestone in Britain
FW bishop accuses Episcopal leader of 'dictatorial posturing'
By MATT CURRY Associated Press Writer
Nov. 13, 2007
DALLAS — The conservative bishop of the Fort Worth Episcopal Diocese accused the leader of the U.S. church in a letter this week of misusing her office and participating in "aggressive, dictatorial posturing."
Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori warned Fort Worth Bishop Jack Iker last week that he could face discipline if he continues to back proposals to separate from the U.S. church. The Texas diocese will consider taking steps in meetings Friday and Saturday to leave the national church over deep differences in biblical interpretation.
Iker fired back a response Monday that called the suggestion that he had violated church law "baseless." the rest
China Launches Crackdown On House Churches, Secret Document Shows
Tuesday, 13 November 2007
By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent
BosNewsLife with reporting from China
BEIJING, CHINA (BosNewsLife)-- China's Communist government has ordered a crackdown on mushrooming underground house churches in a key province as part of a nationwide plan against devoted Christians across the country, according to a secret document leaked Tuesday, November 13, and obtained by BosNewsLife.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
What you need to do, is to put your will over completely into the hands of your Lord, surrendering to Him the entire control of it. Say, "Yes, Lord, YES!" to everything, and trust Him to work in you to will, as to bring your whole wishes and affections into conformity with His own sweet, and lovable, and most lovely will. It is wonderful what miracles God works in wills that are utterly surrendered to Him. He turns hard things into easy, and bitter things into sweet. It is not that He puts easy things in the place of the hard, but He actually changes the hard thing into an easy one. ...Hannah Whitall Smith photo
Virginia court delves into Episcopal Church split
By MATTHEW BARAKAT Associated Press Writer
November 13, 2007
"In opening statements Tuesday, CANA lawyer Steffen Johnson said history shows that the Virginia General Assembly envisioned exactly this type of dispute when it enacted the law. At the time, Protestant churches had been torn apart over slavery and abolitionism, and the splits were never amicable or formally recognized by both sides.
"From the days of Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and George Mason, the Commonwealth of Virginia has a long history of deferring to local control of congregational property," Johnson said.
In court papers, diocesan lawyers argue that requiring a judge to rule on whether a "division" has occurred in the Episcopal Church sets up an unconstitutional intrusion into the church's religious affairs. The 1867 law must be interpreted in light of the fact that the Episcopal Church is a hierarchical organization that vests ultimate authority in its presiding bishop and national governing bodies rather than at the congregational level.
"Only the governing body of a hierarchical church has the power or authority to declare a division of such a church," the diocese wrote in court papers." the rest
Biggest Property Fight in Christendom
Added: TLC- Virginia Congregations Present Opening Arguments, Call Witnesses
TLC: Global South Primates: Postpone Lambeth
The House of Bishops’ statement following their Sept. 20-25 meeting in New Orleans failed to answer the primates’ Dar es Salaam communiqué, according to nine Global South leaders who met Oct. 25-30 in Shanghai, China.
In a statement posted on the Global South Anglican website, the archbishops wrote that The Episcopal Church’s House of Bishops “has not given an unequivocal response to the requests of the primates.” However, the Global South group stopped short of calling for immediate disciplinary action against The Episcopal Church. the rest
As Trial Begins, Virginia Anglican Churches Again Call on The Episcopal Church to Withdraw Their Lawsuits
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Megan Franko (ext. 140) or
Caitlin Bozell (ext. 119) at (703) 683-5004
November 13, 2007
FAIRFAX, Va. (November 13, 2007) – The trial began today in which The Episcopal Church and Diocese of Virginia are attempting to seize property from 11 Anglican churches in Virginia. The Episcopal Church and Diocese abruptly broke off settlement negotiations and filed lawsuits against the churches, their ministers and their vestries. The decision of The Episcopal Church and the Diocese to reinterpret Scripture caused the 11 churches to sever their ties. The trial is being held in the Fairfax County Circuit Court. (Multi-Circuit Property Litigation, Case No. CL-2007-0248724)
“Although we remain confident in our legal position, we call upon the leaders of both The Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Virginia to embrace the recommendation of the Primates and withdraw their lawsuits. We did not choose this path. Even today, our churches remain open to negotiating a reasonable solution with The Episcopal Church and the Diocese. The legal proceedings have been an unfortunate distraction from all the good work our churches are doing to advance the mission of Christ,” said Jim Oakes, vice-chairman of the Anglican District of Virginia, 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.
“At the core of this case is that The Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Virginia claim they have a ‘trust’ interest in the congregations’ properties. But the Virginia courts have held time and again that denominations cannot claim an ‘implied trust’ in member congregations’ property. The Episcopal Church even admitted in its complaint that it does not hold title to any of these eleven churches and that the churches' own trustees hold title for the benefit of the congregations.
“The Episcopal Church has continually walked away from the scriptural foundation of the Anglican Communion. When we objected, they chose intimidation through lawsuits as their solution. Regardless of the actions of The Episcopal Church, ADV members will continue to hold steadfast in their faith, based on the authority of Scripture. We continue to pray for The Episcopal Church and its leaders.”
How Can We Call It Robbery?
The Rt. Rev. Maurice M. Benitez
Rt. Rev. William C. Wantland
Many of those on the liberal side of The Episcopal Church (TEC) have called those who have chosen to depart from TEC, and who feel they have some right to retain their property, to be “robbers,” and that their actions amount to “thievery” and “stealing.” We wish to make the case that those who feel that TEC has moved on and left them, because this church has departed in significant ways from the doctrines of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, are not bad people. They are not criminals, nor any worse sinners than the rest of us. They have been our brothers and sisters, and we need to let them go graciously.
We still believe that reasonable and godly folk can find equitable solutions to these kinds of problems that are fair to TEC, to bishops and dioceses, to those congregations that are separating to another Anglican jurisdiction, as well as to those who are staying where they are.
We begin by asking how can it be robbery for those congregations to retain their property in cases where the congregations have full title to the property, if neither their dioceses nor TEC have ever invested anything in the purchase of the real property of those congregations and in the construction and maintenance of the improvements on the property? Even in those cases where their dioceses have title to the properties, a case can be made that the congregations that built the buildings and maintained them over the years have at least some rightful interest in the property. the rest
Comments at TitusOneNine
Reflections of Autumn (and its Lone Appearance in the Bible)
My childhood autumns in Ohio hold precious memories—the fall revival at church, unpacking warmer clothing, hot cocoa, harvest moons, fires in the hearth, a well-stocked pantry, and best of all—FOOTBALL! I loved it.
The autumn of life is a strange mixture of nostalgia, blessings, and potential. It yields the harvest of seeds we’ve sown throughout life and braces us for colder days to come.
When life’s autumn arrives, we look back and better understand the way God led us; but we still have work to do—the best and fullest. It’s a good transition time.
“Autumn” only occurs once in the Bible. In Jude 1:12, false teachers are compared to “autumn trees without fruit,” implying that autumn should be a fruitful season, the most abundant of the year. How can we take advantage of the “autumn of life”? the rest photo