Saturday, February 09, 2008

And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried; they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The Lord is my God. Zechariah 13:9

Grace transmutes us into precious metal, and then the fire and the furnace follows as a necessary consequence. Do we start at this? Would we sooner be accounted worthless, that we might enjoy repose, like the stones of the field! This would be to choose the viler part—like Esau, to take the pottage and give up the covenant portion. No, Lord; we will gladly be cast into the furnace rather than be cast out from Thy presence!

The fire only refines; it does not destroy. We are to be brought through the fire, not left in it. The Lord values His people as silver, and therefore He is at pains to purge away their dross. If we are wise, we shall rather welcome the refining process than decline it. Our prayer will be that our alloy may be taken from us rather than that we should be withdrawn from the crucible.

O Lord, Thou triest us indeed! We are ready to melt under the fierceness of the flame. Still, this is Thy way, and Thy way is the best. Sustain us under the trial and complete the process of our purifying, and we will be Thine forever and ever.

...CH Spurgeon image

Albany Intercessor:
A word received: Look to me.
LORD, help us keep our attention on you.

This Samaritan Life
How to live in a culture that is vaguely suspicious of the church.

Tim Stafford

Denis Haack, who critiques films, books, and music on his Ransom Fellowship website, says that Christians often act like they live in Jerusalem. Not so, argues Haack—we live in Babylon, as aliens and strangers. Why, therefore, are we surprised when we see a movie that offends our values? Babylonian movies reflect Babylonian values, not Christian ones.

I liked Haack's point, but I had a nagging sense that he was missing something. Eventually I figured out what: We don't live in Babylon. We live in Samaria.

Babylon is far from Jerusalem and doesn't know much about its religion. What you believe or how you worship is of little significance to Babylon, so long as you keep the peace and contribute to civic life. Daniel and other Jewish exiles did. They got in trouble only when they were perceived to undermine the government or got caught up in petty politics.
the rest image

Group splits off St. Paul’s church
Episcopal pastor says national body has gone astray

Feb, 8, 2008

BELLINGHAM — The top clergy member of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church is stepping down to lead a fledging congregation of former members who feel the nationwide Episcopal Church no longer represents the core of their faith.

The Rev. Kevin Bond Allen announced late last month that he was resigning from one of the city’s largest churches to become rector of St. Brendan’s Anglican Church, a new congregation launched last fall by former St. Paul’s members.

In a letter to the congregation, Allen said he has loved his time at St. Paul’s, but his dissatisfaction with The Episcopal Church made it difficult for him to continue within the organization.
the rest

Pittsburgh lay leaders favor break from Episcopal Church
The Associated Press
Sat, Feb. 9, 2008

PITTSBURGH - Nearly 100 lay leaders in the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh signed an open letter supporting their bishop in removing the diocese from the national church for a more conservative alignment.

The letter was in response to another letter written last month to Bishop Robert Duncan by 12 conservative clergy outlining their opposition to removing the diocese's 66 churches from the national Episcopal Church, the Anglican body in the United States.

"We were just talking about the letter that the 12 clergy had written openly to the diocese and we were concerned that people might not understand the whole story," said Edith M. Humphrey, a professor of New Testament at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary.
the rest

After split, Anglican church finds its way
Times Herald
Saturday, February 9, 2008

LEXINGTON- When the faithful gather on Sunday behind Bush's Restaurant to hear the Rev. Richard Dalton speak, they are acting as a brand-new church as well as a very old one.

The congregants were, until three years ago, all Episcopalians, members of the former Trinity Episcopal Church. But now, after splitting from that church, they consider themselves Anglicans, a faith that can trace its history to the sixth century.

"A lot of people felt that we were the splinter group. We feel that the Episcopal church left us," said Finola Hewitt, a member of the new Christ the King Anglican Church.
the rest

ENS: Title IV Task Force proposes revisions to canons on ecclesiastical discipline; comment period opens
Group suggests new procedures for disciplining lay leaders, dealing with impaired clergy

By Mary Frances Schjonberg
February 07, 2008

[Episcopal News Service] Building on work done before and during the 75th General Convention in 2006, a task force has released a second proposed revision of the Episcopal Church's rules on ecclesiastical discipline.

Title IV Task Force II has proposed a complete revision of Title IV, the main clergy-discipline canons. The group also proposes adding to Canon 17 of Title I a process for disciplining lay leaders and a procedure for dealing with impaired clergy to the Title III ministry canons.

The release of the documents opens a comment period that runs until the end of June. The task force's proposed revision is available

The current version of Title IV is available

The proposed revision of Canon I.17.8 to set up a process for disciplining lay leaders is available

The proposal to add a new canon concerning impairment of clergy to Title III is available

Each document includes instructions on how to file comments on the drafts.
the rest

Friday, February 08, 2008

Total surrender to God must come in small details as it comes in big details. It's nothing but that single word, "Yes, I accept whatever you give, and I give whatever you take." And this is just a simple way for us to be holy. We must not create difficulties in our own minds. To be holy doesm't mean to do extaordinary things, to understand big things, but it is a simple acceptance, because I have given myself to God, because I belong to him-my total surrender. He could put me here. He could put me there. He can use me. He cannot use me. It doesn't matter because I belong so totally to him that he can do just what he wants to do with me.

Lent is a time when we relive the passion of Christ. Let it not be just a time when our feelings are roused, but let it be a change that comes through cooperation with God's grace in real sacrifices of self. Sacrifice, to be real, must cost; it must hurt; it must empty us of self. Let us go through the passion of Christ day by day. ...Blessed Teresa of Calcutta

New Documentary Explores Global Demographic Crisis
By John Jalsevac.
February 8, 2008

While the world focuses its energies and its fears on a purported global-warming crisis, a new, not-yet-released documentary claims that if there is any global crisis, it is not global warming, but rather demographic winter.

As the website for Demographic Winter: The Decline of the Human Family, explains, the phrase "'Demographic Winter' denotes the worldwide decline in birthrates, also referred to as a 'birth-death,' and what it portends."

"The ongoing global decline in human birthrates is the single most powerful force affecting the fate of nations and the future of society in the 21st century," says demographer Philip Longman in the film. The film argues that the global decline in birthrate, if unchecked, will have devastating social, political and economic effects; it also argues that the issue is studiously ignored in mainstream circles, due to the politically incorrect nature of the solution to the crisis - that is, the rebuilding of the strength of the family as the core unit of society.

the rest image

Demographic Winter website

The Future Lies
in the Past
Why evangelicals are connecting with the early church as they move into the 21st century
Chris Armstrong

Last spring, something was stirring under the white steeple of the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College.

A motley group of young and clean-cut, goateed and pierced, white-haired and bespectacled filled the center's Barrows Auditorium. They joined their voices to sing of "the saints who nobly fought of old" and "mystic communion with those whose rest is won." A speaker walked an attentive crowd through prayers from the 5th-century Gelasian Sacramentary, recommending its forms as templates for worship in today's Protestant churches. Another speaker highlighted the pastoral strengths of the medieval fourfold hermeneutic. Yet another gleefully passed on the news that Liberty University had observed the liturgical season of Lent. The t-word—that old Protestant nemesis, tradition—echoed through the halls.

Just what was going on in this veritable shrine to pragmatic evangelistic methods and no-nonsense, back-to-the-Bible Protestant conservatism? Had Catholics taken over?

No, this was the 2007 Wheaton Theology Conference, whose theme was "The Ancient Faith for the Church's Future." Here, the words spoken 15 years ago by Drew University theologian and CT senior editor Thomas Oden rang true: "The sons and daughters of modernity are rediscovering the neglected beauty of classical Christian teaching. It is a moment of joy, of beholding anew what had been nearly forgotten, of hugging a lost child."
the rest image

'Christian' weddings not all that they seem
Ayako Hirayama and Cameron McLauchlan
Daily Yomiuri Staff Writers

Feb. 9, 2008

Kumiko Amano is not a Christian, but had her heart set on having a Christian-style wedding.
To her, a Shinto-style wedding, which she felt would be suffocated by ritual, was not an option.

Instead, Amano had her wedding at Crudesur Chapel--a facility with panoramic views of the sea on Ishigakijima, Okinawa Prefecture--in June 2006.

"Although Shinto was probably a bit closer to us in terms of religion, we put the look of our wedding first," said Amano, 30, of Tsukuba, Ibaraki Prefecture. "I didn't have any qualms about having a Christian-style wedding. I'd always wanted to wear a wedding dress, so I'd been thinking about having the wedding at a chapel in a natural setting."

the rest image

Uk: Christians start to explore the limits to growth
Nick Wyke
February 8, 2008

When Sir Christopher Wren built St Paul's Cathedral, the seat of the Bishop of London, he had no plans to make it carbon neutral. In fact, the great church was partly funded by a tax on coal.

More than 300 years later, the current incumbent, the Right Rev Richard Chartres, has plans to lighten the cathedral's ecological footprint. The 132nd Bishop of London has employed a team of postgraduates from Imperial College to carry out an energy audit on the London landmark.

As a result, cathedral staff are in the process of replacing light bulbs with low-energy alternatives and exploring ways in which St Paul's can contribute towards the Shrinking the Footprint campaign, an initiative by the Christian charity group Tearfund, which aims to cut 60 per cent of the Church's carbon emissions by 2050.
the rest

Seeing God's deeds in tornadoes' wake
As students and faculty at a Southern Baptist university clean up, they also ponder what the event means in a theological sense.
By Richard Fausset, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
February 8, 2008

JACKSON, Tenn. -- God is not an abstraction at Union University. Here, business classes might begin with a prayer. Biology students are encouraged to take creationism as seriously as they do evolution.

So what does it say about the nature of God that the campus was shredded this week by a barrage of tornadoes? What does it say that no lives were lost, despite $40 million in damage?

Greg Thornbury is relishing the opportunity to explore those questions when his students return to this Southern Baptist campus, perhaps in the next few weeks. Thornbury, dean of Union's school of Christian studies, said he plans to make the disaster -- and the response to it -- a catalyst for student discussions about responding through faith, and the opaque and sometimes baffling motives of God. the rest

Peggy Noonan: Can Mrs. Clinton Lose?
February 8, 2008

If Hillary Clinton loses, does she know how to lose? What will that be, if she loses? Will she just say, "I concede" and go on vacation at a friend's house on an island, and then go back to the Senate and wait?

Is it possible she could be so normal? Politicians lose battles, it's part of what they do, win and lose. But she does not know how to lose. Can she lose with grace? But she does grace the way George W. Bush does nuance.

She often talks about how tough she is. She has fought "the Republican attack machine" that has tried to "stop" her, "end" her, and she knows "how to fight them." She is preoccupied to an unusual degree with toughness. A man so preoccupied would seem weak. But a woman obsessed with how tough she is just may be lethal.
the rest

The Peculiar Pain of Paper Cuts
Experts Offer Theories on How Such Little Cuts Can Hurt So Much

By LAUREN COXABC News Medical Unit
Feb. 8, 2008

They always strike when least expected — opening the mail, rummaging through notes, and in an instant, it's "ouch!" and you're sucking air in through your teeth.

Oh, the paper cut. Since the dawn of office work, it has been the one thing that can make even the most composed business person spew profanities. Somehow, that little cut stings more than any other nick — and it keeps hurting, too.

But why? Theories of office lore circulate the Internet — from the microscopic structure of paper, to the chemicals used in paper plants, to bacteria living on our faxes.
the rest image

Lambeth boycott is not the end of the Communion
February 7, 2008
by George Conger

The boycott of the 2008 Lambeth Conference does not mark the end of the Anglican Communion, the Archbishop of Sydney has said. However, the Lambeth Conference’s role as an “instrument of unity” is no more.

Writing in the Sydney Morning Herald on Feb 5, Dr. Peter Jensen said he and his suffragans would not attend the July 16 to Aug 3 gathering out of “faithfulness” to Scripture and in solidarity with Africa’s Anglicans.
the rest

First Things: The Conversion of England
By Richard John Neuhaus
Friday, February 8, 2008

Father John Christopher Aidan Nichols, O.P., is a figure to be reckoned with. Aidan Nichols, as he signs himself, has written extensively and authoritatively on the theology of Hans Urs von Balthasar and has also authored the very useful volume The Theology of Joseph Ratzinger. He has collaborated on several projects with Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and is currently the first John Paul II Memorial Lecturer at Oxford University, the first lectureship in Catholic theology at Oxford since the sixteenth century.

In view of Nichols’ theological and ecumenical stature, it is rightly thought to be newsworthy when he brings out a little book titled Realm: An Unfashionable Essay on the Conversion of England. His proposal will, as you might expect, be receiving careful attention in the pages of First Things. The conversion of England is, of course, a topic with a long and troubled history. Some prefer to speak of the reconversion of England. As Eamon Duffy demonstrated in his marvelous study The Stripping of the Altars, the English were once a very Catholic people.

From a Catholic perspective, the Church of England is a schismatic form of the Church in England that should be restored to full communion with the bishop of Rome and those in communion with the bishop of Rome. In this ecumenical age, to be sure, this is not usually stated so bluntly. Father Nichols’ candid reopening of these questions is, as he says, unfashionable.
the rest

Shoppers keen on mall chapel
February 07. 2008

Thelma Manendo thinks confession at the new Roman Catholic chapel in the Millcreek Mall is like a chocolate bar in a grocery store.

"You have no intention of buying that bar of candy, but being that it's in front of you, you bought it," Manendo said. "That's what I feel with this. I'm so glad they have this here.

"Now, between picking up a $14.99 diamond-accent tennis bracelet at Bon Ton and an $8.98 Ohio State sweatshirt at Steve & Barry's, Catholics can confess a sin.
the rest

Albert Mohler: Pray for Union University
Thursday, February 07, 2008

The devastating storm system that cut across the Tennessee Valley Tuesday night produced tornadoes and a disaster at
Union University in Jackson, Tennessee. Thankfully (and miraculously) no one was killed on the campus, though the destruction was massive and about 1,200 students were on the campus. the rest

Gay Christian wins £47k pay-out
Feb 8 2008

A gay Christian who won a discrimination claim against the Church of England was awarded more than £47,000 in compensation today, the organisation backing him said.

John Reaney, a 42-year-old from North Wales, took the Hereford Diocesan Board of Finance to an employment tribunal after his appointment to the role of youth worker was blocked on the grounds of his sexuality by the Bishop of Hereford, the Rt Rev Anthony Priddis.

Stonewall, the gay equality organisation which funded the claim, said the Diocese of Hereford was today ordered to pay Mr Reaney £47,345.
the rest

Archbishop of Canterbury 'should resign' over Sharia row
Ruth Gledhill, Religion Correspondent, and Joanna Sugden
February 8, 2008

A senior Church of England clergyman called today for the resignation of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, over his remarks supporting Sharia in England.

The call, from a long-standing member of the Church's governing body, the General Synod, demonstrated the strength of the backlash Dr Williams that faces from within his own Church — as well as from political and other faith leaders.

The senior Synod member, who insisted on remaining anonymous, told The Times: "A lot of people will now have lost confidence in him. I am just so shocked, and cannot believe a man of his intelligence could be so gullible. I can only assume that all the Muslims he meets are senior leaders of the community who tell him what a wonderful book the Koran is.
the rest

Ruth Glehill's weblog: PTL! Someone agrees with Rowan

'Mom,' 'dad,' banned; now 600,000 students could go
Alternatives offered to parents worried about 'repudiation' of Christian morals
Posted: February 07, 2008
By Bob Unruh
© 2008 WorldNetDaily

Only months after a new state law effectively banned "mom" and "dad" from California schools, a total of 600,000 students could follow because of what has been described as the "repudiation" of 2,000 years of Christian morality, according to leaders of a new campaign assembling education alternatives.

The campaign is called
California Exodus, and is being headed by Ron Gleason, pastor of Grace Presbyterian Church in Yorba Linda, who said while the country excels in social, economic, scientific and political accomplishments, it "gets low grades on the education of its children." the rest

Mother refuses to abort twin girls who knocked loose tumor
London, Feb 7, 2008

CNA).- A British woman’s twin girls saved her life when, while still in the womb, they kicked free a tumor growing in their mother’s uterus, the Daily Mail reports.

Though advised she needed to abort the twins so she could be treated for cancer, the mother avoided harsh cancer treatment so her babies could be born.

Michelle Stepney, 35, was expecting twins when she went to a hospital with a suspected miscarriage. The doctors realized that she had cervical cancer, saying that the kicking of the twins had dislodged a tumor.
the rest/photo credit:The Daily Mail

Super Bowl Champ: "Give God All the Glory"
By John Connolly
February 5, 2008

( - Plaxico Burress, a wide receiver for the newly-crowned champion team, the New York Giants, told reporters on Sunday that God deserves the glory for his game-winning touchdown catch.

Burress, who only caught two passes during the whole of the Super Bowl, said he prayed hard when his number came up, with the game on the line and only 35 seconds left to go in the fourth quarter. The Giants had been waiting all game to get Burress into one-on-one coverage against Ellis Hobbs, the Patriots cornerback, and the desired match-up came at the ideal time.
the rest

Huckabee on track to play the spoiler
By Ralph Z. Hallow
February 8, 2008

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is a tremendous long shot for winning the Republican presidential nomination, but he has the potential to undermine Sen. John McCain's general election prospects, as Pat Buchanan did to President George H.W. Bush in 1992.

"If he stays, he might indeed become like Pat Buchanan — not that he'd represent a serious challenge to McCain, but that he'd be seeking to establish himself as a national representative of largely southern evangelicals," said Hoover Institution scholar and former presidential speechwriter Peter Robinson.
the rest

Dobson off the fence, endorses Huckabee

Huckabee supporters try to catch Mitt backers

Anglican Church: Both government and Tigers responsible for the massacre of civilians
After the wave of attacks and bombings against civilians, the bishop of Colombo, Duleep de Chickera, appeals to the parties in conflict to spare the civilians, especially the children. A call to the population for calm, and for peaceful coexistence.
by Melani Manel Perera

Colombo (AsiaNews) - The Anglican Church in Sri Lanka is pointing its finger at the government and the Tamil rebels, condemning the one for the aerial bombardments in the northern villages and the others for their strategy of terrorist attacks. Both are held guilty for the massive losses among civilians, who have always been the real victims of country's bloody conflict. It is the Anglican bishop of Colombo, Duleep de Chickera, who has spoken out with a special message released yesterday on the many attacks that have struck the island in the past week. the rest

Divorced parents contest life-sustaining feeding tube for brain-damaged adult daughter Lauren Richardson
Wilmington, DE
Feb 8, 2008

CNA).- In a case recalling the conflict over Terri Schiavo, two divorced parents in Delaware are fighting over whether to continue life-sustaining nutrition for their brain-damaged adult daughter, the News Journal reports.

Lauren Richardson, 23, has been in a so-called persistent vegetative state since overdosing on heroin in August 2006. Pregnant at the time, she was kept alive at a hospital with feeding tubes and a breathing machine until she gave birth in February 2007 to a healthy baby girl.
Her parents Randy Richardson and Edith Towers are currently disputing whether her feeding tube should be removed.
the rest

Thursday, February 07, 2008

If thou return to the Almighty, thou shalt be built up. Job 22:23

Eliphaz, in this utterance, spoke a great truth, which is the summary of many an inspired Scripture. Reader, has sin pulled you down? Have you become like a ruin? Has the hand of the Lord gone out against you so that in estate you are impoverished and in spirit you are broken down? Was it your own folly which brought upon you all this dilapidation? Then the first thing to be done is to return to the Lord. With deep repentance and sincere faith find your way back from your backsliding. It is your duty, for you have turned away from Him whom you professed to serve. It is your wisdom, for you cannot strive against Him and prosper. It is your immediate necessity, for what He has done is nothing compared to what He may do in the way of chastisement, since He is Almighty to punish.

See what a promise invites you! You shall be "built up." None but the Almighty can set up the fallen pillars and restore the tottering walls of your condition; but He can and He will do it if you return to Him. Do not delay. Your crushed mind may quite fail you if you go on to rebel; but hearty confession will ease you, and humble faith will console you. Do this, and all will be well.

...CH Spurgeon image

Seminary Dean Says Communion is Finished if No Move at Lambeth to Quell Liberalism
By David W. Virtue

The Rt. Rev. John H. Rodgers Jr., is the Interim Dean and President of the Ambridge, PA-based Trinity School for Ministry. He was in Philadelphia recently and gave an extended interview with David W. Virtue of VirtueOnline. He spoke at length about his seminary, the Episcopal Church and the State of the Anglican Communion. He has, he muses, retired five times, but at 77 he has embarked on yet another post - interim Dean of TSM while they look for a new president. He seems as alive as ever and deeply in touch with Anglicanism and the Episcopal Church. tThe latter he left after a life time of service because of its moral and theological direction and at the request from some of the orthodox Primates. He is now a bishop with the Anglican Missions in the Americas.

the rest at Virtueonline

The Economist: India's Christians
The cross they bear
Feb 7th 2008 BOTHALI
From The Economist print edition

Politics fuels religious violence

THE blackened shell of a burnt car lies in the yard of Radha Bai's farm in this bucolic village of whitewashed houses and unhurried bullock carts in the central Indian state of Chhattisgarh. On January 16th, as she prayed with a large group of Christians, a mob of Hindu extremists arrived. They chased worshippers away, set fire to a car and ten motorcycles and, says Mrs Bai, threatened to cut her “into pieces”.

In recent weeks Hindu extremists in India's “tribal belt”—where missionaries have long sought to convert traditionally animist forest-dwellers—have stepped up a vicious anti-Christian campaign. Over Christmas in neighbouring Orissa mobs set fire to 55 churches and 600 houses. Asghar Ali Engineer, of the Centre for Study of Society and Secularism, a Mumbai think-tank, calls it the worst anti-Christian violence independent India has seen.
the rest image

CHURCH TIMES: Disputed parts of Anglican Covenant redrafted
Pat Ashworth reports on the changes

8 February, 2008

THE design group in charge of steering the Anglican Covenant through its various stages has produced a new draft, the St Andrew’s Draft, in the light of suggestions by provinces.

The group, which met in London last week, has outlined a possible disciplinary process for provinces that any other province deems to have threatened the unity of the Communion (details below).

Just 13 of the 34 Anglican provinces submitted a formal response to the first draft of the Anglican Covenant (the Nassau Draft), something that the Covenant Design Group (CDG) suggests might be attributed to “lack of translation” or indeed “other foci in the life of Provinces”.

The St Andrew’s Draft, produced at a meeting last week in St Andrew’s House, London (the Anglican Communion Office in Westbourne Park), defends the Covenant as “a basis for mutual trust and reduced anxiety” at a time of fragmentation.
the rest

Second Anglican Covenant draft receives mixed response

TIME: Jews and the Vatican:
A New Clash
Thursday, Feb. 07, 2008

Bringing back an ancient rite risked reopening ancient wounds. And so after Pope Benedict XVI introduced wider use of the old Latin rite last year, top Vatican officials promised to adjust a Good Friday prayer from the ancient liturgy that had called for the conversion of the Jews. The text of the updated version — released this week in the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano — deletes offensive language referring to Jews' "blindness" and the need to "remove the veil from their hearts." But the substance is left in place: "Let us pray for the Jews," the prayer says, according to an unofficial translation from Latin. "May the Lord our God illuminate their hearts so that they may recognize Jesus Christ savior of all men." the rest image

Born-again Christians' political loyalties shifting from GOP
Jeff Johnson - OneNewsNow -

New research by George Barna, America's leading Christian pollster, is challenging assumptions about the political loyalties of born-again Christians. The findings are not likely to be pleasant news for the Republican Party.

Since the 1992 contest between George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton, born-again Christians have increasingly supported the Republican nominee for president. The highest split came in 2004, when born-again Christians supported George W. Bush by a 64-to-38 margin over Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.). Over the same time period, which covered four national elections, the tendency of the born-again vote to lean toward the GOP grew from 39 percent to 62 percent.
the rest

Sharia law in UK is 'unavoidable'
The Archbishop of Canterbury says the adoption of certain aspects of Sharia law in the UK "seems unavoidable"

Thursday, 7 February 2008

Dr Rowan Williams told Radio 4's World at One that the UK has to "face up to the fact" that some of its citizens do not relate to the British legal system.

Dr Williams argues that adopting parts of Islamic Sharia law would help maintain social cohesion.
For example, Muslims could choose to have marital disputes or financial matters dealt with in a Sharia court.
the rest

Ruth Gledhill: Has the Archbishop gone bonkers?

ACNS: Anglican Communion Inter Faith Network launches key document
February 7, 2008

This short treatise is the culmination of work in which NIFCON has been engaged over the last four years. The discernment of a distinctively Anglican theology of inter faith relations is set against the backdrop of and builds on similar work in other Christian traditions, notably Nostra Aetate.
the rest

Generous Love
The truth of the Gospel and the call to dialogue
an Anglican theology of inter faith relations

Foreword by Dr Rowan D. Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury

Download Booklet (206K)

McCain Seals GOP Nod As Romney Suspends
Feb 7, 2008
Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) - John McCain effectively sealed the Republican presidential nomination on Thursday as chief rival Mitt Romney suspended his faltering presidential campaign. "I must now stand aside, for our party and our country," Romney told conservatives.

"If I fight on in my campaign, all the way to the convention, I would forestall the launch of a national campaign and make it more likely that Senator Clinton or Obama would win. And in this time of war, I simply cannot let my campaign, be a part of aiding a surrender to terror," Romney told the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington.
the rest

Opening a Door into Prayer
A reflection on solitude during Lent, excerpted from Small Surrenders: A Lenten Journey.

Emilie Griffin

We are responsible for our own solitude. Precisely because our secular milieu offers us so few spiritual disciplines, we have to develop our own.
—Henri Nouwen

Solitude is a human need, a need for everyone. Never mind about who is an extrovert or an introvert. Solitude offers an opportunity for reflection, for sorting things out. There are days when I feel driven out of the workplace (simply because it is the workplace) into another place: a coffeehouse, a bench outdoors, a porch swing, a chair in the library. Such places, as much as a church pew, provide openings to grace.

How do we use this solitude? For me, at first, this time is no more than a straightening up process. I open my briefcase to find countless jumbled papers: receipts, odd assortments of cash and coin, appointment slips, ticket stubs, a worn calendar, a half-filled notebook, a pen and pencil case, a cell phone. The state of the briefcase reveals the chaos of my life, my state of mind. I'd better turn the cell phone off, for now. It is time, in the middle of everything, to come into quiet as best I can.
the rest

(I am using this book as part of my Lenten reading and I can't put it down! I re-read the daily devotional just to make sure I haven't missed any nuggets. Emilie Griffin writes with great spiritual insight combined with a lovely, almost poetic style that draws you invitingly to journey with her toward Easter. Amazon has it as well as -Pat Dague)

'Republicans for Choice' Endorses McCain
By Penny Starr Senior Staff Writer
February 06, 2008

( - The Republicans for Choice Political Action Committee has endorsed John McCain (R-Ariz.), saying he is the best candidate now that former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani is out of the presidential race.
the rest

After Super Tuesday, parties, religious voters still divided
By Robert Marus
Published February 6, 2008

WASHINGTON (ABP) -- About the only thing the Feb. 5 “Super Tuesday” primaries made clear is that religious voters are as conflicted as the general electorate over who the next president should be.

By the afternoon of Feb. 6, with results in from almost all of the states that held Republican and Democratic contests on the largest primary day in American history, neither party had a candidate with a prohibitive lead in delegates.
the rest

Stand Firm: Anglican Catechism in Outline (Global South Anglican Theological Task Force)

Make time to read this important
document (PDF).

Draft Anglican Covenant tries to balance autonomy and unity
The second draft Anglican Covenant stresses autonomy, but asks the Anglican Communion's provinces to commit to a process of deliberation over contentious issues.

by Maria Mackay
Thursday, February 7, 2008

The group tasked with drawing up a covenant that 70 million members of the Anglican Communion can unite under has issued its second draft for consideration in the months running up to the Lambeth Conference.

The St Andrew’s draft was drawn up by members of the Covenant Design Group when it met at St Andrew’s House in London at the end of last month.

It attempts to uphold the autonomy of the 38 provinces of the Anglican Communion whilst at the same time asking for their voluntary commitment to a process of joined-up deliberation whenever disputes occur over contentious issues.

This is particularly the case where actions “either proposed or enacted… are deemed to threaten the unity of the Communion and the effectiveness or credibility of its mission, and to consent to the following principles and procedural elements”, the draft covenant states.
the rest

An Anglican Covenant - St Andrew’s Draft

An Anglican Covenant - Commentary to the St Andrew’s Draft

An Anglican Covenant - Draft Appendix

UK: Anglican Church sets up peacemaker court
By Jonathan Petre, Religion Correspondent

An international "court of appeal", with the Archbishop of Canterbury at its centre, is to be created to avert the collapse of worldwide Anglicanism, it has been announced.

Dr Rowan Williams will hold a key position in the new system that will exercise the "judgment of Solomon" between warring factions over divisive issues such as homosexuality.

But although the archbishop will be granted significant new powers, they will fall short of transforming him into an Anglican "Pope". Under the plans, the 38 individual provinces that make up the 70 million-strong Communion will be allowed considerable freedom to develop their own policies.
the rest

If The ADV Churches Fail, We All Fail
By Jim Oakes
Christian Post Guest Contributor
Wed, Feb. 06 2008

“If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.” – Romans 12:18

Taking Jesus’ words seriously is something we, as Christians, ask many non-Christians to do. We bristle when they disrespect Jesus, when they’re sarcastic and flippant about Him and His words.

So what message does it send when professing Christians don’t heed Christ’s words and teachings such as loving one another and being at peace with all men? The Episcopal Church’s legal assault on Anglican churches in Northern Virginia – which have chosen to remain faithful to Scripture and foundational church teachings – is 180 degrees away from Christ’s commandments.

There is something beyond unseemly about a national church taking local churches to court. Certainly it’s anything but Christian.

In spite of the Anglican District of Virginia’s (ADV) repeated outreach and attempts to settle these cases with the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia, the Episcopal Church forced an abrupt break-off of settlement talks and launched a legal confrontation. This has forced the orthodox Anglican churches in Northern Virginia to devote time, effort and energy to raise millions of dollars strictly for legal defense. Time, effort, energy and money that could (and should) be used for spreading the Gospel, helping to strengthen families, and making missionary outreach to the lost, poor and needy in the local community and around the world.

the rest

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

My faith looks up to Thee,
Thou Lamb of Calvary, Savior divine!
Now hear me while I pray, take all my guilt away,
O let me from this day be wholly Thine!

May Thy rich grace impart
Strength to my fainting heart, my zeal inspire!
As Thou hast died for me, O may my love to Thee,
Pure warm, and changeless be, a living fire!

While life’s dark maze I tread,
And griefs around me spread, be Thou my Guide;
Bid darkness turn to day, wipe sorrow’s tears away,
Nor let me ever stray from Thee aside.

When ends life’s transient dream,
When death’s cold sullen stream over me roll;
Blest Savior, then in love, fear and distrust remove;
O bear me safe above, a ransomed soul!
...Ray Palmer

More Protestants turn to Ash Wednesday: a somber season begins in preparation for Easter

Feb. 6, 2008

Roman Catholics grow up hearing the words on Ash Wednesday as they receive a sign of the cross in ashes on their foreheads:

"For dust you are and to dust you will return."

But Christians at many Protestant churches around the city will be hearing those words from Genesis 3:19 today as they, too, are marked by ashes on the first day of Lent, the 40-day somber season leading to Easter.

Protestant churches in recent years have increasingly turned to the rite to increase spirituality and devotional preparation for Easter Sunday among their members. the rest image

Pope marks Ash Wednesday with procession, stresses prayer

ACNS: Covenant Design Group issues communique and draft
February 6, 2008

The Covenant Design Group (CDG) held its second meeting at the Anglican Communion Offices, St. Andrew’s House, London, UK, between Monday, 28th January, and Saturday, 2nd February, 2008, under the chairmanship of the Most Revd Drexel Gomez, Archbishop of the West Indies.

The main task of the group was to develop a second draft for the Anglican Covenant, as originally proposed in the Windsor Report 2004; an idea adopted by the Primates’ Meeting and the Joint Standing Committee of the Anglican Consultative Council and the Primates in their following meetings. At their meeting in January 2007, the CDG produced a first draft – the Nassau Draft - for such a covenant, which was received at the meeting of the Primates and the Joint Standing Committee in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, in February of that year. This draft was subsequently sent to the Provinces, Churches and Commissions of the Anglican Communion for consultation, reflection and response.
the rest

An Anglican Covenant - St Andrew’s Draft Text

An Anglican Covenant - Commentary to the St Andrew’s Draft

An Anglican Covenant - Draft Appendix
Framework Procedures for the Resolution of Covenant Disagreements

Comments at Stand Firm

Media praises Spain for abandoning Catholic values for H-agenda

Associated Press Writer
February 3, 2008

A generation ago, traditional families were sacred in Spain. Gen. Francisco Franco liked them big and Catholic, and gave hefty cash prizes to parents with the most copious broods.

These days, a civics course in Spain's public schools teaches that modern families can be quite different _ single parents with kids, or same-sex couples raising adopted children.
the rest

Britain has now recognized polygamy
February 5, 2008
by “Jimmy Bradshaw”

Britain has now recognized polygamy in its latest capitulation to sharia law. Fortunately, writes “Jimmy Bradshaw”, medical professionals are showing more backbone when it comes to Muslim doctors refusing to disinfect themselves before dealing with patients. In today’s UK, it’s a war between multiculturalism and universalism, and so far the latter is on the ropes.

British political scandals involving wives invariably revolve around politicians cheating but the latest controversy goes way beyond a middle-aged MP having an affair with his secretary.New guidelines on income support welfare benefits from the U.K’s Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) have de facto recognized polygamy. The guidelines state: “Where there is a valid polygamous marriage the claimant and one spouse will be paid the couple rate … The amount payable for each additional spouse is presently £33.65.”
the rest

Bill Would End Civil Marriage, Create Domestic Partnerships
Lisa Rein
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Advocates for same-sex marriage plan to introduce legislation in the
Maryland General Assembly today that would abolish civil marriage ceremonies now confined to heterosexual unions in the state and replace them with domestic partnerships for all couples. the rest

Three-parent embryo formed in lab
Tuesday, 5 February 2008

Scientists believe they have made a potential breakthrough in the treatment of serious disease by creating a human embryo with three separate parents.

The Newcastle University team believe the technique could help to eradicate a whole class of hereditary diseases, including some forms of epilepsy.

The embryos have been created using DNA from a man and two women in lab tests.
the rest

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

God's means of delivering us from sin is not by making us stronger and stronger, but by making us weaker and weaker. That is surely rather a peculiar way of victory, you say; but it is the divine way. God sets us free from the dominion of sin, not by strengthening our old man but by crucifying him; not by helping him to do anything, but by removing him from the scene of action. ...Watchman Nee image

New Anglican Communion news service
Tuesday, 5th February 2008
By: Ed Beavan

A NEW downloadable newsletter is to serve as one of the replacements to the Anglican World magazine.

The former magazine was suspended last year after it proved too costly. The new online newsletter is accessible from the Anglican Communion website and will focus on particular themes and events within the Anglican Communion and the work of the secretariat in London.

Its editor, Canon James M Rosenthal, said that the new online news service - called ‘News and Notes’ - is “one of the means of how we’re trying to meet the needs of the Communion”.
the rest

Beware of Freedom to Marry Week
by Kim Trobee
February 4, 2008

Ever heard of Freedom to Marry Week? You soon will. The Gay Straight Alliance Network is doing its best to make sure high schools everywhere use next week to indoctrinate students with the idea that it’s wrong to deny marriage to homosexuals.

The GSA Network suggests schools hold mock weddings, host guest speakers, facilitate teach-ins and a put on a movie night to watch gay-themed films. The students will be told that same-sex couples are denied medical coverage, hospital visitation and citizenship for a partner from another country. Randy Thomas with Exodus says the list is bogus.
the rest

11th annual Freedom to Marry Week, February 10-16, 2008

Judge: Teaching Erotic Sex and that Homosexuality is Inborn to 8th and 10th Graders is OK

An Interview with
Dr. R. Albert Mohler

Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr., current president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and a candidate for the SBC presidency in Indianapolis, IN in June, has graciously granted my request for an interview. This interview was conducted by telephone on Thursday, January 31, 2008.

Many thanks to Dr. Mohler for making time for me in his busy schedule.The interview as follows is a verbatim account of my questions and Dr. Mohler's responses. I have taken the liberty of abbreviating "Southern Baptist Convention" as "SBC."

Interview photo

New Way to Kill Viruses: Shake Them to Death
By Michael Schirber, Special to LiveScience
posted: 05 February 2008

Scientists may one day be able to destroy viruses in the same way that opera singers presumably shatter wine glasses. New research mathematically determined the frequencies at which simple viruses could be shaken to death.

"The capsid of a virus is something like the shell of a turtle," said physicist Otto Sankey of Arizona State University. "If the shell can be compromised [by mechanical vibrations], the virus can be inactivated."

Recent experimental evidence has shown that laser pulses tuned to the right frequency can
kill certain viruses. However, locating these so-called resonant frequencies is a bit of trial and error. the rest image

Scientists Grow Human Skin

Catholic nuns and monks decline
Tuesday, 5 February 2008

Newly published statistics showed that the number of men and women belonging to religious orders fell by 10% to just under a million between 2005 and 2006.

During the pontificate of the late Pope John Paul II, the number of Catholic nuns worldwide declined by a quarter.
the rest image

The Color of Charity
February 4, 2008

Just when we thought we'd heard everything from the diversity police, here they come trying to prescribe even the color of charity. The California Assembly last week passed a bill sponsored by state Representative Joe Coto to require foundations with assets of more than $250 million to disclose the race, gender and sexual orientation of their trustees, staff, and even grantees. Look for this to arrive in a legislature near you.
the rest

Bishop of Liverpool apologises for opposing gay cleric
Riazat Butt, religious affairs correspondent
Tuesday February 5, 2008
The Guardian

One of the country's most senior bishops has argued that the Bible sanctions same-sex relationships, using the bonds between Jesus and John the disciple, and David and Jonathan as examples.

The Bishop of Liverpool, the Right Rev James Jones, a conservative evangelical, expressed the views in a book, A Fallible Church, in which he apologised for objecting to the appointment of the gay cleric Dr Jeffrey John as Bishop of Reading. He was one of nine bishops to sign a public letter criticising the proposed consecration.
the rest

Anglican Mainstream: Archbishop of Canterbury on the Lambeth Conference, and ‘no-go’ areas
February 4th, 2008

BBC Radio 4 Sunday Programme 27 January 2008: Archbishop of Canterbury

“I would hope that both ends of the spectrum will say, “Well, we are willing to take a step forward, make some concessions to stay together.” So the American Church is willing to say, “Alright, we won’t rush things”, if the African and other churches are willing to say, “We won’t instantly condemn.”


GAFCON participants abide the bible
By: Christian Today Australia
Tuesday, 5 February 2008

The Anglican Primate of Nigeria, the Most Reverend Peter Akinola, in a press conference, stated the formation of a separate conservative Anglican conference was due to some members within the Anglican family bringing ‘new principles’ to interpret the Scripture where modern culture had taken precedence over the word of God.

The underlying conflict among the Anglican family, said Rev. Akinola, was not homosexuality, but, rather it was the authority and interpretation of the Scripture. This was what separate members within the Anglican Communion, he continued. The ones who were going to attend the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) were those who abide by the bible while those attending the Lambeth were not paying attention to the Scripture, he said in the press conference.

the rest

Lack of folic acid dementia link
Tuesday, 5 February 2008
Dementia is three times more common in people whose blood is low in folates, a form of vitamin B particularly found in green vegetables, a study suggests.

The Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry study followed 518 South Korean pensioners for two years. There is growing evidence linking levels of folates - or folic acid - and Alzheimer's disease, though deficiency could be a symptom of dementia. the rest image

Stand Firm: Diocese of N. California Files Suit Against St. John’s Anglican

Press release

Attacks on Christians may resume in India, says report
5 February, 2008

(MNN) ― Hindu militants have "forced" Christian families to "convert" to Hinduism. Now, they're threatening to resume attacks against Christians in the eastern Indian state of Orissa.

Mission India's David Stravers, speaking from India, says, "They know of 14 deaths of Christians and thousands of people that are displaced--actually either in a refugee camp, or in some cases, they're just hiding in the jungle." the rest

Sri Lankan rebels ruin Independence celebrations

Anglicans Move Separate Ways Ahead of Major Meeting
Lillian Kwon
Christian Post Reporter
Mon, Feb. 04 2008

The Episcopal Church's leader expressed confidence on Sunday that they will not be the only one standing up in support of gay clergy at an upcoming global conference.

"Many more [bishops] than you might expect are sympathetic," Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori said at the conclusion of a five-day tour honoring Chicago's new Episcopal bishop, according to The Chicago Tribune. "They are not, however, the loudest voices."

Jefferts Schori and Jeffrey Lee, the new Chicago bishop, are among several U.S. bishops who will be attending the Lambeth Conference in July. The meeting brings together leaders from the worldwide Anglican Communion every 10 years.
the rest

Faith and Politics
February 5, 2006
(stories added throughout the day)

Stunning Poll Results Reveal That Nearly Half of Christian Voters Support Pro-Choice Presidential Candidates

DALLAS, Feb 04, 2008 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- With Super Tuesday just a day away, stunning new poll results from show that 43.9% of Christian voters are throwing their support behind the two leading pro-choice Democratic candidates in the 2008 presidential race. polling results show Democratic candidates Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton gaining strong support from the Christian community in the upcoming election, while conservative Republican Mike Huckabee slips in the online poll with only 34.8% support.
the rest

Born Again Christians Favor Democratic Candidates, Says Survey

'Vertical' message aimed at pews
Saturday, February 2, 2008
If Mike Huckabee has said it once, he has said it a thousand times during his bid to reach the White House.
"I have a great respect for Barack Obama," noted Huckabee, during a "Tonight Show" visit. "I think he's a person who is trying to do in many ways what I hope I'm trying to do and that is to say, 'Let's quit what I call horizontal politics.'
the rest

Social conservatives have 'paid dues,' Huckabee says
Posted on Feb 4, 2008 by Michael Foust
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--One day before Super Tuesday, when he hopes to regain some much-needed momentum in the South, Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee told Baptist Press that the GOP must not relegate social conservatives to the "back of the bus," as he says some "establishment Republicans" have done.

the rest

Ohio's conservative Christian leaders hold off on support for candidates
Monday, February 04, 2008
Karen Sandstrom
Plain Dealer Reporter
Ohio's conservative Christian leaders, credited with shaping state and national politics in recent elections, are largely saving their energy until Republicans and Democrats have chosen their presidential candidates.
the rest

Republican McCain Thanks Evangelicals for Support

Polling Averages Put McCain, Clinton Ahead in Super Tuesday States

How would Jesus vote?, asks pastor