Saturday, January 05, 2008

Thou whose almighty Word
Chaos and darkness heard,
And took their flight,
Hear us, we humbly pray;
And where the gospel's day
Sheds not its glorious ray,
Let there be light.
Thou, who didst come to bring
On Thy redeeming wing
Healing and sight--
Health to the sick in mind,
Sight to the inly blind--
Oh, now to all mankind,
Let there be light.
...
John Marriott
art

Extremism flourished as UK lost Christianity
By Michael Nazir-Ali, Bishop of Rochester
05/01/2008

In fewer than 50 years, Britain has changed from being a society with an acknowledged Christian basis to one which is increasingly described by politicians and the media as "multifaith".

One reason for this is the arrival of large numbers of people of other faiths to these shores. Their arrival has coincided with the end of the Empire which brought about a widespread questioning of Britain's role.

On the one hand, the British were losing confidence in the Christian vision which underlay most of the achievements and values of the culture and, on the other, they sought to accommodate the newer arrivals on the basis of a novel philosophy of "multiculturalism". the rest

Asian Episcopalians Face Growing Church Splits
By: Doug Chan
Jan 04, 2008

The
Episcopal Church, which traces its roots to the Church of England, is one of the oldest Christian denominations serving the United States and the Bay Area Asian community. For years, comedians made fun of the church, calling it the denomination of “Republicans praying together.”

But over the past several decades, the church has shed its image as the exclusive province of white Anglo-Saxon Protestants. Citing the growing liberalism of the national church in tolerating the blessing of same-sex unions and the ordination of gay and lesbian clergy (including the nation’s first openly gay bishop, Eugene Robinson of New Hampshire), some dioceses and parishes in conservative parts of the United States have talked openly about breaking away from the nation’s Episcopal Church and affiliating themselves with more conservative elements of the worldwide Anglican Communion, particularly in Africa. The rumblings about the departure of churches in Savannah, Ga., and Pittsburgh, Pa., and Texas have made national headlines during the past year.
the rest

What Is It About Mormonism?
By NOAH FELDMAN
January 6, 2008

Our post-denominational age should be the perfect time for a Mormon to become president, or at least the Republican nominee. Mormons share nearly all the conservative commitments so beloved of the evangelicals who wield disproportionate influence in primary elections. Mormons also embody, in their efficient organizational style, the managerial competence that the party’s pro-business wing considers attractive. For the last half-century, Mormons have been so committed to the Republican Party that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints once felt the need to clarify that Republican affiliation is not an actual condition of church membership.
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UK living standards outstrip US
Living standards outstrip those across the Atlantic for first time in over a century

David Smith, Economics Editor
January 6, 2008

LIVING standards in Britain are set to rise above those in America for the first time since the 19th century, according to a report by the respected Oxford Economics consultancy.

The calculations suggest that, measured by gross domestic product per capita, Britain can now hold its head up high in the economic stakes after more than a century of playing second fiddle to the Americans.

It says that GDP per head in Britain will be £23,500 this year, compared with £23,250 in America, reflecting not only the strength of the pound against the dollar but also the UK economy’s record run of growth and rising incomes going back to the early 1990s.
the rest

Friday, January 04, 2008

Men come and go; leaders, teachers, thinkers speak and work for a season, and then fall silent and impotent. He abides. They die, but He lives. They are lights kindled, and, therefore, sooner or later quenched; but He is the true light from which they draw all their brightness, and He shines for evermore.
...Alexander MacLaren image

Teenage Zombies
Video games have sucked the life out of my kids.
BY STEPHEN MOORE
Friday, January 4, 2008

My new year's resolution is to get my two teenage sons back. They've been abducted--by the cult of Nintendo. I'm convinced that video games are Japan's stealth strategy to turn our kids' brains into silly putty as payback for dropping the big one on Hiroshima.

The trouble began last summer when my sons started spending virtually every unsupervised hour camped out in front of the computer screen engaged in multiplayer role games like World of Warcraft and Counterstrike. At the start of this craze, I wrote it off as merely a normal phase of adolescence. I was confident that, at 14 and 16, they would soon be more interested in chasing real-life girls than virtual video hoodlums.
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More colleges put stamp of approval on coed dorm rooms
by Josh Montez
January 4, 2008

The buildings and floors have been around since the sexual revolution of the ‘60’s, and it appears they’re gaining acceptance.

Now you’ll find general-neutral housing at Cornell, Oberlin, Wesleyan, Dartmouth and Carnegie Mellon. Alec Hill with Intervarsity Christian Fellowship is saddened by the growing trend.

“This is the direction the culture seems to be going; no real boundaries, certainly no real sense of the doctrine of holiness or appropriateness, and sort of a casualization of sex in general.”
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Spanish Clergyman Investigated for Encouraging Heterosexual Child Development
Homosexual Groups Threaten to Sue

By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman

SANTIAGO, January 3, 2007 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A Spanish clergyman is being investigated by the government of the province of Galicia for counseling parents to encourage masculinity in their sons to help them avoid homosexuality.
the rest

TLC: Archbishop Tutu Calls for Peace After Meeting With Kenyan Leaders
January 4, 2008

Archbishop Desmond Tutu began meeting with Kenyan politicians, including opposition leader Raila Odinga, on Jan. 3 as the country, normally one of Africa’s most stable and prosperous, continued its descent into violence and anarchy amid charges of ballot rigging in the recent presidential election.

Peace talks with Archbishop Tutu, a Nobel Laureate, began in hopes of ending the violence that has resulted in more than 300 deaths and as many as 75,000 people internally displaced, according to the Kenyan government. Earlier in the week a mob burned down an evangelical church where about 50 persons, mostly women and children, had sought sanctuary. The number of dead in the church fire is impossible to estimate.
the rest

cartoon from www.weblogcartoons.com

Cartoon by Dave Walker. Find more cartoons you can freely re-use on your blog at We Blog Cartoons.

Anglican Bloggers

January 4th, 2008-I have decided that whilst procrastinating from my main task, that of producing one good diagram a day, I will attempt to mend the rift in the Anglican Communion using various methods.

Part one is the formation of a Facebook group entitled ‘Anglican Bloggers which is for all bloggers and blog commenters with an interest in Anglican things. the rest

C of E told it cannot cede power to Primates
by Pat Ashworth
4 January, 2008

THE Church of England response to the draft Anglican Covenant was published on Wednesday, in advance of a meeting of the international Design Group later this month.

There is a new draft text, overseen by the House of Bishops’ theological group, and building on earlier work done by the Faith and Order Advisory Group. A key addition is a clause prohibiting interfering in other dioceses or provinces without official sanction.

The text identifies a need for greater theological justification and context, wants a “minimalist” approach to doctrinal argument, and suggests significant revisions in key areas such as Section 6, “The Unity of the Communion”, especially on the part played by the Primates’ Meeting.
the rest

TLC: Departing Connecticut Church Searches for New Home
January 3, 2008

Unable to go “further in a church that continued in a false gospel,” the entire congregation of historic Christ Church in Watertown, Conn., left The Episcopal Church at the end of the year. Title to deeds and property worth an estimated $7 million was deposited with the Diocese of Connecticut following the final service Dec. 30.

Christ Church was founded under the Church of England in 1764. In recent years, its rector, the Rev. Allyn Benedict, and the parish leadership were part of the “Connecticut Six” group of congregations which clashed with Bishop Andrew D. Smith of Connecticut over interpretation of scripture. The churches have ended a protracted legal battle with the bishop and diocese, and Christ Church became the fourth of the six congregations to leave.
the rest

Hiring Practices Influenced By Beauty
ScienceDaily

(Jan. 3, 2008) — A new study finds that the attractiveness of interviewees can significantly bias outcome in hiring practices, showing a clear distinction between the attractive and average looking interviewees in terms of high and low status job packages offered.

“When someone is viewed as attractive, they are often assumed to have a number of positive social traits and greater intelligence,” say Carl Senior and Michael J.R. Butler, authors of the study. “This is known as the ‘halo effect’ and it has previously been shown to affect the outcome of job interviews.” The study explored the influence of the halo effect in a mock job negotiation scenario where male and female interviewers were shown pictures of attractive or average looking male and female job applicants.
the rest

PEGGY NOONAN: Out With the Old, In With the New
Obama and Huckabee rise; Mrs. Clinton falls.
Friday, January 4, 2008

And so it begins.

We wanted exciting, we got exciting.

As this is written, late on the night of the caucuses, the outlines of the decisions seem clear: Barack Obama won.

Hillary Clinton, the inevitable, the avatar of the machine, lost.

It's huge. Even though people have been talking about this possibility for six weeks now, it's still huge. She had the money, she had the organization, the party's stars, she had Elvis behind her, and the Clinton name in a base that loved Bill. And she lost. There are always a lot of reasons for a loss, but the Ur reason in this case, the thing it all comes down to? There's something about her that makes you look, watch, think, look again, weigh and say: No.
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Huckabee & Obama: The Two Earthquakes
David Brooks, New York Times

The Caucus, the Candidates, and the Dance of Democracy
Albert Mohler

District allows boy in girls' restrooms
Grandfather accuses officials of discriminating against heterosexuals

January 4, 2008
By Bob Unruh
© 2008 WorldNetDaily.com

A
school district following Maine's Human Rights Law and providing special accommodations to a 10-year-old with "sexual orientation or gender identification" issues is being accused of discrimination by a man whose grandson is being denied those same accommodations because of his sexual orientation – that of heterosexuality. the rest

Mohler to be nominated for SBC president
Jan 2, 2008
by Tammi Reed Ledbetter

DALLAS (BP)--Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President R. Albert Mohler Jr. provides "the kind of visionary leader Southern Baptists need to communicate a missional conservatism and biblical clarity to the world," stated Robert Jeffress, pastor of the historic First Baptist Church of Dallas in announcing his intention to nominate the 47-year-old Mohler for Southern Baptist Convention president in June.

SBC President Frank Page, pastor of First Baptist Church in Taylors, S.C., concludes his second term in June and is ineligible for re-election.

In a news release provided to the Southern Baptist TEXAN Jan. 2, Jeffress said his decision is the result of prayer and concern for the future of Southern Baptists' global witness. He said he believes Mohler would "motivate Southern Baptists to unite around cooperation for global missions and evangelism."
the rest

Sperm Donor Wins Case Over Child Support
By MARK SCOLFORO Associated Press Writer
Jan 3, 2008

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) -- The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that a woman who promised a sperm donor he would not have to pay child support cannot renege on the deal.

The 3-2 decision overturns lower court rulings under which Joel L. McKiernan had been paying up to $1,500 a month to support twin boys born in August 1994 to Ivonne V. Ferguson, his former girlfriend and co-worker.

"Where a would-be donor cannot trust that he is safe from a future support action, he will be considerably less likely to provide his sperm to a friend or acquaintance who asks, significantly limiting a would-be mother's reproductive prerogatives," Justice Max Baer wrote in the majority opinion issued last week.
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Court Holds That "Choose Life" Is Not Religious Speech
Thursday, January 03, 2008

Children First Foundation v. Martinez,
2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 94944 (ND NY, Dec. 27, 2007) is a challenge to New York state's refusal to approve special picture license plates that include the slogan "Choose Life". In this phase of the litigation, a New York federal district court refused to permit the Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Motor Vehicles to amend her answer to raise an Establishment Clause defense, finding that religious speech was not involved. the rest

Passenger jets get anti-missile devices
By Mimi Hall
USA TODAY

WASHINGTON — Tens of thousands of airline passengers will soon be flying on jets outfitted with anti-missile systems as part of a new government test aimed at thwarting terrorists armed with shoulder-fired projectiles.


Three American Airlines Boeing 767-200s that fly daily round-trip routes between New York and California will receive the anti-missile laser jammers this spring, according to the Department of Homeland Security, which is spending $29 million on the tests.

Jets will fly with the jammer device mounted on the belly of the plane, between the wheels. The device works with sensors, also mounted on the plane, that detect a heat-seeking missile and shoot a laser at it to send the missile veering harmlessly off course. the rest

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Not until we have become humble and teachable, standing in awe of God's holiness and sovereignty... acknowledging our own littleness, distrusting our own thoughts, and willing to have our minds turned upside down, can divine wisdom become ours. ... JI Packer image

Canada calls on Canterbury to intervene
Solange De Santis
staff writer
Jan 2, 2008

Canadian church leaders have appealed to the Archbishop of Canterbury to address moves by dissidents to join a South American church and minister illegitimately in Canada.

In a pastoral statement dated Nov. 29, a week after the Anglican Network met, Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate (national bishop) of the Anglican Church of Canada, said he deplored “recent actions on the part of the primate and General Synod of the Province of the Southern Cone to extend its jurisdiction in Canada.” The statement was also signed by the church’s four metropolitans, or regional archbishops.
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Stand Firm: Church responds to draft Anglican Covenant
January 2, 2008

Press Release

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York, as Presidents of the General Synod, have submitted a Church of England Response to the draft Anglican Covenant published last year for discussion around the Anglican Communion.

All Anglican Provinces were invited to comment on the text prepared by the Covenant Design Group chaired by the Archbishop of the West Indies, the Most Revd Drexel Gomez. The Church of England’s response follows a General Synod debate on the principle of an Anglican Covenant in July 2007, when the following motion was carried.
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Albert Mohler: Life in the Cellular Age
Thursday, January 03, 2008

Scientists around the world are noting a change in the human body. The average human being now has a more powerful and accurate thumb. Why? As Edward Tenner, author of Our Own Devices: How Technology Remakes Humanity, explains, this phenomenon can be traced to the use of those tiny buttons on PDAs and cell phones. We are now using our famed opposable thumbs like no previous generation.

As Tenner reports, the current generation of young people in Japan are called the oyayubi sedai -- the Thumb Generation. The trend is not limited to Japan. Just look at the next American teenager you see.

Fully a quarter of all Americans now use cell phones as the exclusive phone and have no land lines at all. A technology that is barely 20 years old has radically reshaped the way we live and communicate -- and the pattern is different among generations.
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Cell Phone Users Slow Traffic

Filling spiritual voids,
not just pews
Richard Foster's treatise on disciplined faith turns 30

By Colleen O'Connor The Denver Post
12/31/2007

Richard Foster's "Celebration of Discipline" has sold nearly 2.5 million copies.

Back when he pastored a small church in Southern California, Richard Foster was a desperate man.

Many in his congregation struggled with life, were just out of prison or were recovering from drug addiction. He tried to help in every way he knew, but still failed.

So Foster turned to spiritual masters of the distant past, compiling their wisdom into a series of spiritual disciplines, from prayer and meditation to fasting, service and solitude.
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Death toll in Kenya unrest grows to 300
Election official says he's unsure president won

January 3, 2008
BY SHASHANK BENGALI
MCCLATCHY NEWSPAPERS

NAIROBI, Kenya -- The death toll from post-election tribal warfare in Kenya rose to 300 on Wednesday as rescue workers sifted through the carnage of a church bombing and witnesses reported dozens of deaths at a tea plantation in central Kenya.

Officials in the central town of Eldoret increased to 35 the number of ethnic Kikuyus who were killed Tuesday at the Assemblies of God church when a mob set fire to the building, where families sought refuge from the violence.
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Kenya violence is affecting ministry

Sudden jihad syndrome' poses domestic risk
By Sara A. Carter
January 2, 2008

Sympathy for al Qaeda has produced "sudden jihad syndrome" in domestic terror cells unaffiliated with foreign terrorists and people seeking to carry out attacks in the U.S., a law-enforcement intelligence analysis says.

The Dec. 6 report by the Texas Public Safety Department's Bureau of Information Analysis warns officials not to dismiss individual or homegrown terror cells as "wannabes," saying they pose a credible threat to homeland security.
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2008: The year a new superpower is born
By Cahal Milmo
01 January 2008

Here comes the world's newest superpower. The rest of the world is gloomily contemplating economic slowdown and even recession. Not in Beijing. China is set to make 2008 the year it asserts its status as a global colossus by flexing frightening economic muscle on international markets, enjoying unprecedented levels of domestic consumption and showcasing itself to a watching world with a glittering £20bn Olympic Games.
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Conservative courts likely to be Bush legacy
The president's success in getting judicial nominees confirmed gives the federal bench a decided GOP tilt.

By David G. Savage, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
January 2, 2008

WASHINGTON -- After nearly seven years in the White House, President Bush has named 294 judges to the federal courts, giving Republican appointees a solid majority of the seats, including a 60%-to-40% edge over Democrats on the influential U.S. appeals courts.

The rightward shift on the federal bench is likely to prove a lasting legacy of the Bush presidency, since many of these judges -- including his two Supreme Court appointees -- may serve for two more decades.
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California Legislature to Hear Bill on Pain Babies Experience During Abortion
by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
January 1, 2008

Sacramento, CA (LifeNews.com) -- The California legislature is expected to hold a hearing next week on a measure that would address the pain babies experience during an abortion. Backers of the bill hope it will both educate the public on the destruction of human life during an abortion and help change the minds of women contemplating one.

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Chief Rabbis of Israel Rule Abortion "a Grave Sin"

UK IVF Clinics Have Intentionally Killed over One Million Human Embryonic Children

Down syndrome protein may deter cancer
By Maggie Fox
Reuters / January 3, 2008

WASHINGTON - People with Down syndrome suffer cancer less than most other people and a study in mice published yesterday gives one possible explanation - they produce higher levels of a certain protein.

The protein may keep tumors from growing, and this finding may help in the development of new cancer drugs, a team at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore reported.
the rest

China Limits Providers of Internet Video
Thursday January 3 2008
By Min Lee, AP Entertainment Writer

HONG KONG (AP) -- China has decided to restrict the broadcasting of Internet videos -- including those posted on video-sharing Web sites -- to sites run by state-controlled companies and require providers to report questionable content to the government.
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You are not alone
31 bishop's stand with Bishop Schofield and Diocese of San Joaquin
Diocese of San Joaquin: January 2, 2008


Dear Bishop John-David,

We, Episcopal colleagues from across the Anglican Communion and across the world, write to salute you on the courageous decision of the Diocesan Convention of San Joaquin to take leave of The Episcopal Church and to align with the Province of the Southern Cone. We know that decision was to a large extent the result of your tenacity and faithful leadership, and for that we give thanks to God. It has been said that you are isolated and alone. We want you and the world to know that in this decision for the faith once delivered to the saints, we stand with you and beside you. May Christ abundantly bless you and your diocese with all the gifts of the Spirit and with joy in believing.

Yours in Christ,

The Rt. Rev. Jack L. Iker, Bishop of Fort Worth
and:

The Most Rev. Peter Jensen, Archbishop of Sydney
The Rt. Rev. Matthias Medadues-Badohu, Bishop of Ho
The Rt. Rev. Michael Nazir-Ali, Bishop of Rochester
The Rt. Rev. Gerard Mpango, Bishop of Western Tanganyika
The Rt. Rev. Robert Duncan, Bishop of Pittsburgh
The Rt. Rev. Ross Davies, Bishop of The Murray
The Rt. Rev. Keith L Ackerman, Bishop of Quincy
The Rt. Rev. Peter Beckwith, Bishop of Springfield
The Rt. Rev. A. Ewin Ratteray, Bishop of Bermuda
The Rt. Rev. Michael Hough, Bishop of Ballarat
The Rt. Rev. John Broadhurst, Bishop of Fulham
The Rt. Rev. Martyn Jarrett, Bishop of Beverley
The Rt. Rev. John Goddard, Bishop of Burnley
The Rt. Rev. Keith Newton, Bishop of Richborough
The Rt. Rev. Robert Forsyth, Bishop of South Sydney
The Rt. Rev. Andrew Burnham, Bishop of Ebbsfleet
The Rt. Rev. Lindsay Urwin, Bishop of Horsham
The Rt. Rev. Wallace Benn, Bishop of Lewes
The Rt. Rev. Henry Scriven, Assistant Bishop, Diocese of Pittsburgh
The Rt. Rev. Bill Atwood, Province of Kenya
The Rt. Rev. Martyn Minns, Convocation of Anglicans in North America
The Rt. Rev. David Anderson, Convocation of Anglicans in North America
The Rt. Rev. John Gaisford, lately Bishop of Beverley
The Rt. Rev. Edward MacBurney, lately Bishop of Quincy
The Rt. Rev. Roger Jupp, lately Bishop of Popondota
The Rt. Rev. David Silk, lately Bishop of Ballarat
The Rt. Rev. Nöel Jones, lately Bishop of Sodor and Man
The Rt. Rev. Edwin Barnes, lately Bishop of Richborough
The Rt. Rev. William Wantland, lately Bishop of Eau Claire
The Rt. Rev. Donald Parsons, lately Bishop of Quincy
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Church of England speaks out in gay clergy debate
The Church of England has indicated its opposition to Anglican provinces that choose to intervene in other churches without authorisation.

by Daniel Blake
Thursday, January 3, 2008

The Church of England has indicated its opposition to Anglican provinces that choose to intervene in other churches without authorisation, saying such actions should only be taken as part of “properly authorised schemes of pastoral oversight”.

The Church's position has been affirmed in a response to the draft Anglican Covenant submitted on Wednesday by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, and the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, who are Presidents of the General Synod.
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Australia: Anglican archbishop spurs opposition to gays
Barney Zwartz
January 4, 2008

OUTSPOKEN Anglican Archbishop Peter Jensen is galvanising opposition to homosexuality in the church, in the lead-up to an unofficial meeting of conservative bishops in Jerusalem.

As rifts in the worldwide Anglican Church threaten to become a schism, the Sydney Archbishop said American Anglicans had become missionaries for homosexuality in defiance of the Bible and Anglican teaching.

The Global Anglican Future Conference is provocatively timed just before the 10-yearly meeting of all the world's bishops at Lambeth in London. That meeting must resolve the sexuality crisis or worldwide Anglicans will probably divide into two separate churches.
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Field Museum's Chinese scroll of Madonna and Child shows Christianity's spread
After a restoration, the Field Museum's early Chinese painting of the Madonna and Child gets a second look

By Ron Grossman Tribune staff reporter
January 2, 2008

As a pair of conservators at the Field Museum slowly unrolled an ancient Chinese scroll, it dramatically revealed how far the Christian faith has traveled since that first Christmas in Bethlehem.

Though the delicate watercolor of a Madonna and Child is among oldest visual evidences of Christianity in the Far East, the museum had prosaically dubbed it "catalog number 116027."

For decades, it sat in a dimly lit case, cracked and soiled. The details were hard to discern."I only began to realize how important this thing is when we [recently] had it restored," said curator Bennet Bronson.
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Wednesday, January 02, 2008

"He went out, not knowing whither he went." Hebrews 11:8

Have you been "out" in this way? If so, there is no logical statement possible when anyone asks you what you are doing. One of the difficulties in Christian work is this question - "What do you expect to do?" You do not know what you are going to do; the only thing you know is that God knows what He is doing. Continually revise your attitude towards God and see if it is a going out of everything, trusting in God entirely. It is this attitude that keeps you in perpetual wonder - you do not know what God is going to do next. Each morning you wake it is to be a "going out," building in confidence on God. "Take no thought for your life, . . . nor yet for your body" - take no thought for the things for which you did take thought before you "went out."

Have you been asking God what He is going to do? He will never tell you. God does not tell you what He is going to do; He reveals to you Who He is. Do you believe in a miracle-working God, and will you go out in surrender to Him until you are not surprised an atom at anything He does?

Suppose God is the God you know Him to be when you are nearest to Him - what an impertinence worry is! Let the attitude of the life be a continual "going out" in dependence upon God, and your life will have an ineffable charm about it which is a satisfaction to Jesus. You have to learn to go out of convictions, out of creeds, out of experiences, until so far as your faith is concerned, there is nothing between yourself and God. ...Oswald Chambers
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Daytona Beach: More frigid temps ahead, possible snow flurries
January 2, 2008

DAYTONA BEACH -- You know it's cold when the National Weather Service starts talking about snow flurries in Florida. And that's exactly what is in the forecast Thursday for Daytona Beach.

Forecasters said today there is a "slight" chance for snow flurries Thursday morning, after overnight temperatures plunge into the 20s throughout most of Volusia and Flagler counties.
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Vatican, Muslims plan 'historic' meeting
1/2/2008
By NICOLE WINFIELD
The Associated Press

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Catholic and Muslim representatives plan to meet in Rome in the spring to start a "historic" dialogue between the faiths after relations were soured by Pope Benedict XVI's 2006 comments about Islam and holy war, Vatican officials said.

Benedict proposed the encounter as part of his official response to an open letter sent to him and other Christian leaders in October by 138 Muslim scholars from around the world. The letter urged Christians and Muslims to develop their common ground of belief in one God.

Three representatives of the Muslim scholars will come to Rome in February or March to prepare for the meeting, the head of the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, told the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano this weekend.
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A tale of two Benedictine congregations
The Cafeteria is Closed


From Gloria.TV, an ambitious Catholic online project a la YouTube, in 7 languages. The first video shows Benedictine sisters who style themselves "liturgical dancers". The second video shows a congregation of traditional Benedictine nuns in France.

Videos

“Who is God?” is the most googled question of 2007
Numbers show that Internet is home to religious and spiritual quests. Burma, Christians in Muslim lands, China and the Vatican are AsiaNews’ top searched words.

01/02/2008

Rome (AsiaNews) – Internet helps religious quests. According to Google Zeitgeist’s second annual report, “Who is God” was the most searched question on the search engine last year. It was first in the “Who is . . . ?” category. As for “What is . . . ?,” love came on top.

All this confirms that thoughtful and existential questions play a hugely important role on the net.

Google Zeitgeist looked at all the questions internet surfers placed in the search engine. The study indicated that most questions came from the United States, the country with the most developed Internet.
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San Joaquin Bishop Goes on the Record about His Life and Ministry
"I am not a homosexual. I have never been in the homosexual lifestyle."

By David W. Virtue
1/2/2008

VirtueOnline recently interviewed the Rt. Rev. John-David Schofield Bishop of the Diocese of San Joaquin. For months now, the single and celibate Bishop of San Joaquin has been the subject of slander, and possibly libel, by liberal and Episcopal pansexual bloggers saying he is a closet gay and much more. The bishop also answered questions about his handling of St. Nicholas, Atwater. He has also been vilified for his and his diocese's recent move to come under the ecclesiastical authority of the Most Rev. Gregory Venables, Primate of the Southern Cone. This godly Anglo-Catholic bishop agreed to answer a series of questions about his personal and ecclesiastical life.

Interview here

Warning over Anglican conference
Wednesday, 2nd January 2008
By: George Conger

THE BISHOP in Jerusalem has urged organizers of the Jun 15-22 Jerusalem conference of conservative Anglican bishops to move the meeting outside the Holy Land, saying the gathering would inflame sectarian tensions.

The Rt Rev Suheil Darwani stated the GAFCON conference could inject the Anglican Communion’s political disputes into the diocese, and could have ‘serious consequences for our on-going ministry of reconciliation in this divided land.’In a statement released on Jan 2, Bishop Darwani noted he had not been consulted about the Conference before it had been announced, and learned of the gathering from the organizers’ press release.
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Little Love Among Matchmakers
By DOUGLAS QUENQUA
December 24, 2007

THE world of Internet dating can be a cold, unforgiving place, particularly when it comes to the fight for customers.

Chemistry.com, an online dating service, implies that its rival is out of touch with mainstream America in a new campaign.

The online dating service Chemistry.com plans to unleash a new campaign that seeks to depict its older and larger competitor, eHarmony.com, as out of touch with mainstream American values. The ads, which will appear in weekly newspapers and magazines starting Monday, attack eHarmony for refusing to match people of the same gender and for the evangelical Christian beliefs of its founder, Dr. Neil Clark Warren. the rest

Senior Anglican bishop urges Lambeth Conference to tackle gay debate
The Bishop of Manchester has said it would be "odd" and "irresponsible" for the Anglican Communion to sweep the issue of gay clergy "under the carpet" at its landmark Lambeth Conference set to take place this year.
by Daniel Blake
Posted: Wednesday, January 2, 2008

A senior Church of England bishop has urged the Anglican Communion to face up to the controversial issue of homosexuality in the Church at this year’s landmark Lambeth Conference.

The Bishop of Manchester, the Rt Rev Nigel McCulloch, said it would be “odd” and “irresponsible” if there were no plans for a major public debate on the issue of gay clergy.

He suggested that the conference was sweeping the issue “under the carpet”, according to The Daily Telegraph.
the rest

Legal voters thrown off rolls
Database woes could be 'sleeper issue of 2008'
By Richard Wolf
USA TODAY
1/2/08

Five years after passage of a federal law to create electronic registration databases to deter voter fraud, the new technology is posing hurdles that could disenfranchise thousands of legal voters, a USA TODAY examination finds.

From Florida to Washington, voters have been challenged because names or numbers on their registration forms did not exactly match other government databases, such as Social Security and motor vehicle agencies. "We know that eligible people have been thrown off the rolls," says Justin Levitt, a lawyer with the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law.
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Same-Sex Divorce Challenges the Legal System
Most States Lack Law, Precedent To Settle Issues

By Dafna Linzer
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, January 2, 2008

When her three-year-old marriage broke up, the 44-year-old doctor assumed she and her ex would split their property and jointly parent their two children. Her stay-at-home spouse wanted sole custody and the right to move the children out of Massachusetts.

In pretrial motions, both parents made the same argument to a judge: The children should be with me; I'm their mother.
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Church comments on Anglican rows

(2 January 2008)-The Church of England has made clear its disapproval of Anglican provinces which intervene in the affairs of other churches without authorisation.

In a document it said such interventions should not take place except as part of "properly authorised schemes of pastoral oversight".

It is a response to attempts in the draft Anglican Covenant to commit the Communion to practices to resolve rows.

The recommendations followed disputes over gay priests. the rest

Tuesday, January 01, 2008



Archbishop Rowan Williams: Care for environment teaches us about God
(h/t AnglicanTV)

Renewal is rooted in faith, not in resolutions! They are made for New Year's and forgotten on an average of thirteen days later, say the surveys. Faith is the result of a decision about Christ. I cannot make a new me or a new you, but Christ can make you new and me new, as well, if we decide for Him.
...Frank Harrington image

California: Just the facts on SB 777
By: ROBERT TYLER - Commentary

December 29, 2007

Forget everything you learned in kindergarten about the difference between boys and girls. According to Gov. Schwarzenegger and the California Legislature, schoolchildren can now choose their own sex. I'm not talking about choosing "sexual behavior or sexual preferences." Kids are going to be taught that they have the right to completely ignore their physical anatomy and choose the status of being "male" or "female."

Ignore your common sense, ignore your chromosomes and ignore your anatomy. This is what your politicians want to teach your kids in school. After all, California's kids have mastered reading, writing and arithmetic, haven't they? In October, California Senate Bill 777 was signed into law. Senate Bill 777 eliminates Education Code 212, which currently defines "sex" as "the biological condition or quality of being a male or female human being." And worse yet, SB 777 redefines the term "gender" for all schoolchildren by adding Education Code 210.7, which will read: "'Gender' means sex, and includes a person's gender identity and gender related appearance and behavior whether or not stereotypically associated with the person's assigned sex at birth." In short, this redefinition of gender states that you are what you choose to be regardless of your anatomical make-up.
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Gay Couples Enter Unions in New Year
By Nathan Black
Christian Post Reporter
Tue, Jan. 01 2008

As the clock struck midnight marking the start of 2008, dozens of gay and lesbian couples stood outside the New Hampshire Statehouse to enter into civil unions.

Beginning this year, civil unions for same-sex couples are legally recognized in New Hampshire. The law was adopted and signed in May 2007.

"We've been together 20 years; we've been waiting for this moment for 20 years; finally the state will recognize us as we are," said Julie Bernier who was joined by partner Joan Andresen.


Organizers of the outdoor ceremony said they checked in 37 gay and lesbian couples for the 11 p.m. event on Monday.
the rest

Kenya Riot Kills 50 in Church Torching
By Michelle Vu
Christian Post Reporter
Tue, Jan. 01 2008

A church torching near Nairobi killed at least 50 people on Tuesday as political-motivated violence and riots continued for the fourth day in what was one of the most stable and prosperous countries in Africa.

“There was a huge mob, they attacked the church,” said a witness who requested to remain anonymous for security reason, according to The Associated Press. The person counted at least 15 to 20 charred bodies at the church in Eldoret, about 185 miles northwest of Nairobi.
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US Anglican head in sexuality row
By Christopher Landau BBC News
Tuesday, 1 January 2008

The head of the Anglicans in the United States has accused other churches, including the Church of England, of double standards over sexuality.

The Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Katherine Jefferts Schori, told the BBC her church is paying the price for its honesty over sexuality.

The threat of schism in the Anglican Communion was prompted by the appointment of a gay bishop.
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Monday, December 31, 2007

The Gate of the Year'

I said to the man, who stood at the gate of the year

Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown'
And he replied 'Go out into the darkness
and put your hand into the hand of God.
That shall be to you better than light
and safer than a known Way'.

So I went forth, and finding the Hand of God,
trod gladly into the night.
And He led me towards the hills
and the breaking of day in the lone East.

So heart be still:
What need our little life, our human life to know,
If God hath comprehension?

In all the dizzy strife
of things both high and low,
God hideth his intention.

God knows. His will Is best.
The stretch of years which wind ahead,
so dim to our imperfect vision,
Are clear to God. Our fears are premature;
In Him all time hath full provision.

Then rest; until God moves to lift the veil
From our impatient eyes,
When, as the sweeter features
of Life's stern face we hail,
Fair beyond all surmise
God's thought around His creatures
our minds shall fill.
....Minnie Louise Haskins image

"God doesn't do waste," says archbishop on YouTube

LONDON (Reuters) - The Archbishop of Canterbury has followed the Queen's lead in posting his annual message on YouTube, where his green theme for the New Year is "God doesn't do waste."

Rowan Williams criticizes society's willingness to create waste in its ceaseless search for the latest and best.

"Despite constant talk about recycling and thinking 'green', we're still a society that produces fantastic quantities of waste," he says.

"Look at the number of plastic bags flapping around by the roadside, in town and country alike and you see what I mean.
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ACNS: Archbishop of Canterbury's New Year message - God 'doesn't do waste'

Pope Benedict XVI Criticizes Lack of Hope in Western Society
By VOA News
31 December 2007

Pope Benedict XVI waves as he leaves St. Peter's square, 31 Dec 2007Pope Benedict XVI has criticized Western society for what he called its lack of hope, which he said leads many people to seek sexual gratification instead of practicing faith and family values.

The pontiff also deplored poverty and other evils burdening families in Rome and elsewhere. He made his comments in St. Peter's Basilica during a homily at the final evening prayer offered there in 2007.

Pope Benedict then expressed hope that efforts by the faithful to deal with such problems will be successful and bear fruit.
the rest

Christianity's Edge over Islam in Holy Book War
By Ethan Cole
Christian Post Reporter
Mon, Dec. 31 2007

Believers of Christianity and Islam are competing to spread their respective holy book around the world, but distributors of the Bible have some advantages over the Koran.

The Bible is translated into 2,426 languages (complete or in part) and counting, including 900 English versions ranging from street slang to comic book-like translations, according to The Economist. On the other hand, the Koran is disadvantaged by the belief by some that the word of God must not be changed, even translation-wise.

Although most Muslims now accept translation of the Koran, it is still widely held that reading and memorizing the Koran in Arabic is superior. There are only 20 English versions of the Koran compared to the nearly 1,000 versions of the Bible in the same language.
the rest

From desert to oasis: the miracle of Christmas in Japan
12/29/2007
by Pino Cazzaniga

In the land of the Rising Sun, signed by secularism and commercialism, misery and suicide, Christianity offers “a trustworthy hope” of which the pope speaks in his encyclical. The tale of Christmas Eve from our correspondent, and PIME missionary.


Tokyo (AsiaNews) – The feast of Christmas is the best mirror to reflect the reality of Christianity in this nation. Virtually none of the 122 million Japanese ignore that fact that kurisumasu (from Christmas) is the principle holiday of December even if few know of its origins.

In order to understand how it is celebrated, we must divide Japan into two areas: the desert and the oasis. The desert is the image of all of Japan, its territories and people; the oasis its Christians Churched. Many of these oasis risk being overtaken by the desert sands, others instead are centres and sources of hope and attraction for the evangelisation of these people.
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Leaving A Church Behind
Congregation Prepares For A New Beginning
By KATIE MELONE
Courant Staff Writer
December 31, 2007

WATERTOWN — - It was the last Sunday service at Christ Church. Unable to go "further in a church that continued in a false gospel," the entire congregation, including the rector and church leaders, will sever ties with the national Episcopal Church and reform under a new name: New Hope Anglican Church.

One of the "Connecticut six," the half-dozen churches in the state diocese that disagree with national leadership on departure of scripture, including the appointment of a gay bishop, the congregation will trade its historic building on the town green for a free community room at the Thomaston Savings Bank around the corner.

The Sunday service will be held at the bank, starting Jan. 6, until they find or build another house of worship. the rest

Watertown congregation abandons church, severs Episcopal link

Bishop left in dark over secret gay service
Dominic Kennedy
December 31, 2007

The Archbishop of Canterbury kept a special communion service for gays so secret that he failed to tell the Bishop of London it was happening in his diocese, The Times has learnt.

Dr Rowan Williams inflamed the row over homosexuality which is tearing apart the Anglican Church when it was reported that he had agreed to hold a eucharist for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender clergy.

But even his critics have been taken aback to learn that he did so by making an incursion on to the patch of the Bishop of London, the Right Rev Richard Chartres, without giving notice or seeking permission.
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Australia: Conroy announces mandatory internet filters to protect children

Telecommunications Minister Stephen Conroy says new measures are being put in place to provide greater protection to children from online pornography and violent websites.

Senator Conroy says it will be mandatory for all internet service providers to provide clean feeds, or ISP filtering, to houses and schools that are free of pornography and inappropriate material.

Online civil libertarians have warned the freedom of the internet is at stake, but Senator Conroy says that is nonsense.

He says the scheme will better protect children from pornography and violent websites.
the rest

Chicago's Episcopal Church of the Mediator closes doors after 129 years
By Tara Malone, Tribune staff reporter.
Tribune staff reporter Manya Brachear contributed to this report
December 31, 2007

By 10:30 a.m., eight altar candles at the Church of the Mediator on Chicago's Southwest Side had been snuffed for the final time. Wall hangings and flags laid bundled in back pews, waiting to be parceled off to nearby congregations.

Hymnals and prayer books had been offered to parish members, mementos of the church that closed Sunday, ending 129 years of service.

The church closed because of dwindling membership, an aging congregation and the resulting financial constraints, leaders said. Average weekly attendance had dwindled to about 30 members, parish leader Mary Reich said.
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Take Episcopal Church at its word, says Archbishop Williams
January 15, 2008


The spiritual leader of the worldwide Anglican Communion says it would be "unrealistic and ungrateful" to expect the Episcopal Church to make yet another attempt to explain itself.

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, in a letter to the heads of the 38 member churches in the communion, released December 14, said Anglican churches should accept at face value Episcopal promises not to ordain any more gay bishops.

"It is practically impossible to imagine any further elucidation or elaboration coming from [the Episcopal Church] after the successive statements and resolutions" issued by the U.S. church in the last 18 months, Williams wrote.
the rest

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Watertown Churchgoers Walk Away from 243-year-old Episcopal Parish, Start New Anglican Church
Press release (via email)

Watertown, CT, December 30, 2007 — Members of Christ Church Parish today held their last service before leaving their church building forever to found a new Anglican congregation in town.

Parishioners along with the church's rector, Rev. Allyn Benedict, chose to walk away from Christ Church after a years-long disagreement with the Episcopal diocese of Connecticut. Rev. Benedict, one of the priests of the churches known as the Connecticut Six, will resign as rector, along with the entire vestry of the church, effective December 31.

"Making the decision to depart hasn't been easy for any of us," said Rev. Benedict. "Our church family has stood, witnessed and prayed together for several years before taking this step. Having 'counted the cost' of leaving, we are now paying the price as we go out, taking nothing with us. But Jesus is faithful, our heavenly Father is our provider, and the Holy Spirit has anointed us to preach good news to the poor, to bind up the broken hearted and to proclaim freedom for the captives. We have everything we need. We go out in new and living hope! "

Christ Church Parish has a 243-year history in Watertown. It was formed in 1764 by decree of King George III of England and helped establish The Episcopal Church, which, up until the present time, has been the American branch of the global Anglican Communion. However, TEC's unbiblical innovations contrary to the teaching of the Communion have lead to a break between TEC and many Anglican provinces, including a majority of the membership of the worldwide Anglican Communion; they also forced Christ Church's parishioners to break from the Episcopal diocese of Connecticut.

"For five years now, we engaged in the debate, took a stand, let our voices be heard, and tried to make a difference" says Paul LePine, who as senior warden was the ranking lay member of Christ Church Parish. "At this stage, it appears that there is nothing more that this faithful little community can do to reform The Episcopal Church as an organization. So we have decided to surrender the fight and move on."

Many, if not all, of Christ Church's parishioners and Rev. Benedict are forming New Hope Anglican Church in Watertown. The new church is part of The Common Cause Partnership, which is a federation of Anglican Christians in North America.

New Hope Anglican Church will hold worship services in the Anglican tradition beginning on Sunday, January 6, 2008 at the Thomaston Savings Bank, 565 Main Street, Watertown.

"We're excited to see what God has in mind for New Hope Anglican Church," offered Kevin Kallsen, senior warden of the new church. "The people here are committed to worshipping in the Anglican tradition and reaching out to the community with the good news of Jesus Christ."


For more information about New Hope Anglican Church,
call 860-631-5170,
visit www.newhopeanglican.org
e-mail bdonlon@newhopeanglican.org.

Christian men and women, old and young, should study well in the New Testament, for it is of full authority, and open to understanding by simple men, as to the points that are most needful to salvation. Each part of Scripture, both open and dark, teaches meekness and charity; and therefore he that keeps meekness and charity has the true understanding and perfection of all Scripture. Therefore, no simple man of wit should be afraid to study in the text of Scripture. And no cleric should be proud of the true understanding of Scripture, because understanding of Scripture without charity that keeps God's commandments, makes a man deeper damned... and pride and covetousness of clerics is the cause of [the Church's] blindness and heresy, and deprives them of the true understanding of Scripture. ...John Wycliffe image

Tens of thousands rally in Spain in defense of traditional family
The Associated Press
December 30, 2007

Tens of thousands of people in predominantly Roman Catholic Spain rallied Sunday in defense of the traditional family in a country where the government has legalized gay marriage and facilitated divorce.

The crowd roared when Pope Benedict XVI appeared on giant TV screens in a live hookup from St. Peter's Square in Vatican City, praising the crowd.
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Bhutto's son Bilawal crowned head of political party and dynasty
Jeremy Page of The Times, in Naudero, Pakistan
December 30, 2007

He walked into the room as Bilawal Zardari, a fresh-faced 19-year-old history student who recently finished his first term at Oxford University.

He walked out as Bilawal "Bhutto" Zardari, the newly crowned head of the political party - and the dynasty - that his mother, Benazir Bhutto, led until her assassination on Thursday.

After an emotional four-hour meeting in the Bhuttos' ancestral home, the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) announced that Bilawal, Ms Bhutto's eldest child and only son, would succeed her as official chairman of the party. But he would return to Britain to continue his studies at Christ Church, Oxford, and his father and Ms Bhutto's widower, Asif Ali Zardari, would run the party as co-chairman until he graduated in three years' time, the PPP said.
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