Saturday, March 08, 2008

". . . in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses." 2 Corinthians 6:4

It takes Almighty grace to take the next step when there is no vision and no spectator - the next step in devotion, the next step in your study, in your reading, in your kitchen; the next step in your duty, when there is no vision from God, no enthusiasm and no spectator. It takes far more of the grace of God, far more conscious drawing upon God to take that step, than it does to preach the Gospel.

Every Christian has to partake of what was the essence of the Incarnation, he must bring the thing down into flesh and blood actualities and work it out through the finger tips. We flag when there is no vision, no uplift, but just the common round, the trivial task. The thing that tells in the long run for God and for men is the steady persevering work in the unseen, and the only way to keep the life uncrushed is to live looking to God. Ask God to keep the eyes of your spirit open to the Risen Christ, and it will be impossible for drudgery to damp you. Continually get away from pettiness and paltriness of mind and thought out into the thirteenth chapter of St. John's Gospel. ...Oswald Chambers

Pope: secularisation is invading all cultures, and even the Church
Benedict XVI reveals that an increasing number of people live "making do without God", and he exhorts the Church to carry forward dialogue with cultures, in order to bring back to them the "lofty values of existence".

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - Secularisation - living without God - is invading every aspect of human life, and for some time has stricken the Church itself. It is a tendency fostered by the consumerist mentality, with its tendency to superficiality and egocentrism. This is the cry of alarm raised today by Benedict XVI at a meeting with the Pontifical Council for Culture, which the pope asked to "react" to this situation, and, through dialogue with contemporary cultures, to bring back to them "the lofty values of existence". the rest

No second thoughts
Bishop John-David Schofield looks to the future of his diocese after its historic vote.

By Ron Orozco/The Fresno Bee

Three months after the Diocese of San Joaquin took a momentous vote to leave the U.S. Episcopal Church, the bishop leading the charge says there's a lot of work to do and there's no looking back.

John-David Schofield, 69, bishop of the Fresno-based diocese for 20 years, says he never has felt he was leading people down the wrong road.

"The conviction of 'this is right' has done nothing but grow," he said Friday morning in his office in the diocesan headquarters at St. James' Cathedral.
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Pennsylvania’s Bishop Bennison to face trial
March 8, 2008

A trial date has been set for the Bishop of Pennsylvania to adjudicate charges under canon law that he conspired to cover up the sexual abuse of a parishioner. The Rt. Rev. Charles E. Bennison, Jr., will also come before a civil court in May to answer charges that his use of the “abandonment canon” to depose a priest without benefit of trial was an egregious violation of law and equity.

Bishop Bennison will stand trial before a bishops’ court on June 9, and before the Montgomery Country Court of Common Pleas outside Philadelphia in its May session.
the rest

Kearon Describes Plans for Lambeth Conference
By Lucy Chumbley
Washington Window
March 2008

During a Feb. 22 talk at Virginia Theological Seminary, the Rev. Canon Kenneth Kearon, Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, described plans for this year’s Lambeth Conference, where issues surrounding same sex relationships will once more be addressed.

About 850 bishops are expected to attend the Lambeth Conference – one of the Anglican Communion’s four instruments of unity – and there has been a flurry of speculation about which bishops have not been invited and which do not plan to attend for political reasons.

“The Lambeth Conference was born out of controversy, therefore throughout its history it has not been a stranger to controversy,” Kearon told a group of about 30 Episcopalians who had braved an ice storm to come and hear him speak.
the rest

Christians in Sri Lanka in crosshairs of civil war
7 March, 2008

Sri Lanka (MNN) ― Sri Lanka has come under fire over its human rights "nightmare." International criticism has been scathing over the government's half-hearted efforts to investigate a string of high-profile cases including the massacre of aid workers.

The government also broke a truce with Tamil Tiger rebels in January and is in an escalating battle with the rebels across the North. the rest

The World's "Most Dangerous" Spiritual Guru: Oprah Begins
10-Week Online
New Age Class
By John Jalsevac
March 7, 2008

( - This past Monday Oprah Winfrey, considered by many to be the world's most influential woman, began a ten-week long online course on the best-selling book, "A New Earth," by New Age guru, Eckhart Tolle. "A New Earth" has already sold some 3.5 million copies worldwide, thanks largely to the publicity given to it by Oprah. According to Oprah, 500,000 people from across the world signed on to the first segment of the online course, to spend an hour and a half listening to Ekhart and Oprah talking about chapter 1 of the book, and taking calls from participants.

In recent years Oprah has been inviting an increasing number of representatives of new age spirituality onto her talk shows, including figures such as Marianne Williamson, Barbara DeAngelis, LaVar Burton, Richard Carlson, Betty Eadie, and many others. Oprah has strongly endorsed many of their works, and has included some of them in her "Book Club" list.
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McCain rejects anti-Catholic views
By LIBBY QUAID, Associated Press Writer
Fri Mar 7, 2008

NEW ORLEANS - Republican presidential candidate John McCain on Friday repudiated any views of a prominent televangelist who endorsed him last month "if they are anti-Catholic or offensive to Catholics."

McCain has come under fire since televangelist John Hagee endorsed him on Feb. 27, but until Friday his response had been tepid. The Arizona senator merely said he doesn't agree with everyone who endorses him. He said Friday he had been hearing from Catholics who find Hagee's comments offensive.
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Blair to teach in the US on faith
Friday, 7 March 2008

Tony Blair is to teach students at Yale University in the US when he leads a seminar on faith and globalisation.

The former prime minister has been appointed as a fellow at Yale and will begin teaching next year.
the rest

Walkabout Scheduled for San Joaquin Provisional Bishop Nominee
March 7, 2008

A single candidate chosen to be the provisional Bishop of San Joaquin will participate in a two-day walkabout visitation to the diocese immediately after the House of Bishops’ meeting concludes at Camp Allen in Texas on March 12.

The bishops are scheduled to vote on whether to depose the Rt. Rev. John-David Schofield as Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin during a “business session” after Morning Prayer on that day. Bishop Schofield has already formally resigned from the House of Bishops. Bishops with jurisdiction must obtain consent from the House of Bishops to resign, according to national church canons.

The fate of another bishop the Rt. Rev. William J. Cox, who served as Bishop suffragan of Maryland from 1972 to 1980 and assistant Bishop of Oklahoma, 1980-1988 is also to be determined during the two-hour business session on the final day. Bishop Cox is also charged with abandonment of communion after he consecrated two priests and a deacon on June 24, 2005, at Christ Church, Overland Park, Kan. Christ Church signed a purchase agreement with the Diocese of Kansas and affiliated with the Anglican Church of Uganda in April 2005. the rest

Chinese hackers: No site is safe
By John Vause

ZHOUSHAN, China (CNN) -- They operate from a bare apartment on a Chinese island. They are intelligent 20-somethings who seem harmless. But they are hard-core hackers who claim to have gained access to the world's most sensitive sites, including the Pentagon.

In fact, they say they are sometimes paid secretly by the Chinese government -- a claim the Beijing government denies.

"No Web site is one hundred percent safe. There are Web sites with high-level security, but there is always a weakness," says Xiao Chen, the leader of this group.
the rest

Legal Group Pushes to Defund Planned Parenthood
By Penny Starr Senior Staff Writer
March 07, 2008

( - The American Center for Law and Justice, a conservative organization in Washington, D.C., has launched an aggressive petition drive to end all federal funding of Planned Parenthood, the leading abortion provider in America, which receives nearly $300 million each year in taxpayer dollars.
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Not My Shower
Breaking Biological Barriers

By Chuck Colson
Christian Post Guest Columnist
Thu, Mar. 06 2008

Mary Ann Andree was drying her hair in the Rio Sport and Health Club in Gaithersburg, Maryland, last month when the door to the women’s locker room suddenly opened. In came a man, wearing a blue ruffled skirt and make-up.

As Andree later told reporters, “I was very upset. There is a lot he could have seen.” Andree is far from alone. A lot of other women in Montgomery County, Maryland, are upset over a new law that demands co-ed locker rooms and bathrooms in all public accommodations.

Montgomery County, adjacent to Washington, D.C., passed the law last November to accommodate “transgendered people”—that is, men who perceive themselves to be women, and women who perceive themselves to be men. The law adds gender identity to the list of protected classes to the Montgomery County Code banning discrimination...

...And what is to stop non-transgendered men from entering the ladies’ room? Nothing. A child molester or rapist could put on a dress and go right in. So could pornographists. It is an appalling, shocking law. And get this: There is no exemption for religious schools, book stores, churches, and daycares. As Turner notes, “The act will use the force of law to make these organizations accept transgenders, transvestites, and cross-dressers as employees.”
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Citizen revolt forces vote on coed showers

Terminate this Court Decision!
California Governor vows to protect homeschooling
Jill Tucker,Bob Egelko,

Chronicle Staff Writers
Saturday, March 8, 2008

PST SACRAMENTO -- Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger denounced a state appeals court ruling that severely restricts homeschooling and promised Friday to change the law if necessary to guarantee that parents are able to educate their children at home.

"Every California child deserves a quality education, and parents should have the right to decide what's best for their children," Schwarzenegger said in response to the ruling, which said children educated at home must be taught by a credentialed teacher.
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LA Times: Bill on home schooling rights urged

TIME: Criminalizing Home Schoolers

Dobson: Homeschool Ruling Strikes at Heart, Soul of Families

Canada: Same-sex dispute hovers over bishop vote
Edmonton Anglicans choose new leader Saturday
Don Retson
Friday, March 07

EDMONTON - Allison Kydd is concerned delegates who will elect the 10th Anglican Bishop of Edmonton on Saturday don't know where the nominees stand on same-sex blessings.

Kydd said she's disappointed an Episcopal search committee didn't press the seven nominees on their positions on an issue that's caused a major rift in the church.

"This is an important issue on its own, but even more important, it is an indication of where the candidate probably stands on the conservative-liberal spectrum.
the rest

Friday, March 07, 2008

Children, draw near to your Father, and he will embrace you in the arms of love. Come, ye poor, stray, wandering sheep, return to your Shepherd. Come, ye who have been seeking happiness in worldly pleasures and pursuits, but have failed to find in them that satisfaction ye expected: come, and learn how to be truly happy here, and eternally happy hereafter. – Come, sinners, to your Saviour. Come, ye dull, ignorant, and illiterate; ye who think yourselves the most incapable of prayer: ye are more peculiarly called and adapted thereto. Let all, without exception, come; for Christ hath called all. ...Madame Guyon image

Wanted: Young Men in the Church
Delayed marriage forecasts an impending crisis.

Collin Hansen

You know the guy. He somehow managed to graduate college, but he still lives with his parents. And he doesn't plan to move out anytime soon. Or maybe he has a decent job. He lives with some buddies in the city. But he blows most of his money on video games and his latest efforts to bring a girl back to his place.

That guy was the subject of an article in the winter volume of
City Journal, published by the Manhattan Institute. Kay S. Hymowitz writes about this developing phenomenon in her article, "Child-Man in the Promised Land." Hymowitz is not the first writer to observe this new developmental stage for young men between adolescence and adulthood. David Brooks termed this period the "Odyssey Years" in a New York Times column. The evidence of this trend affects our culture in significant ways—delayed marriage, delayed childbirth, career instability.

"Dating gives way to Facebook and hooking up," Brooks writes. "Marriage gives way to cohabitation. Church attendance gives way to spiritual longing. Newspaper reading gives way to blogging." It's not that young people today just want to slack off and don't care about each other, Brooks cautions. "It's a phase in which some social institutions flourish—knitting circles, Teach for America—while others—churches, political parties—have trouble establishing ties."
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UK: Ministers allowed to abstain on embryo bill
Hélène Mulholland
Friday March 7 2008

Members of the government opposed to the controversial human fertilisation and embryology bill will be allowed to abstain from the vote, the chief whip, Geoff Hoon, said today.

The unusual move will prevent cabinet ministers from being faced with the stark choice of opposing the bill, which seeks to bring the regulatory framework for fertility treatment and embryo research up to date with advances in science, or toeing the party line and overriding their conscience.

The Daily Telegraph
claimed yesterday that Ruth Kelly, the transport secretary, Des Browne, the defence secretary, and Paul Murphy, the Welsh secretary, were ready to resist orders to vote for the legislation. the rest

Radical Effects of the Resurrection
John Piper
Desiring God

If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied... Why are we in danger every hour? 31 I protest, brothers, by my pride in you, which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die every day! 32 What do I gain if, humanly speaking, I fought with beasts at Ephesus? If the dead are not raised, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” ...But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.
(1 Corinthians 15:19, 30-32, 20)

Paul ponders how he would assess his lifestyle if there were no resurrection from the dead. He says it would be ridiculous—pitiable. The resurrection guided and empowered him to do things which would be ludicrous without the hope of resurrection.

For example, Paul looks at all the dangers he willingly faces. He says they come “every hour.”
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Fight the culture of forced marriages and honour killings
By StatGuy
March 6, 2008

In the city of Bradford, England,
33 school children are missing and unaccounted for. It is feared that they and other missing pupils have been forced into arranged marriages.

This and other disturbing information has been gathered recently by the Home Affairs select committee. Independent columnist Joan Smith argues that “multiculturalism” is far less important than
protecting the dignity of women and girls.

the rest-Magic Statistics

Packer’s warning - time for English evangelicals “to get our heads above the parapet”
March 7th, 2008

A senior layman in the Church of England has written to the Church of England Newspaper


The news that Dr Jim Packer has been served with a ‘notice of presumption of Abandonment of the Exercise of Ministry’ by the Diocese of New Westminster in Canada is a significant moment for ‘ordinary’ evangelicals in the Church of England.

For decades we have pursued our traditionally pragmatic, if somewhat intellectually deficient, ecclesiology that the CofE is ‘ as good a boat to fish from as any’. Even with the turmoil engulfing the Anglican Communion, many evangelicals have focussed on getting on with the job. For better or worse, our (Anglican) priorities have been local rather than national. They have certainly not been international. the rest

Fears of new religious decree in Kyrgyzstan
Friday, 7th March 2008
By: Nick Mackenzie

A HARSH new decree that would have brought in tough controls on religious groups in Kyrgyzstan has been dropped, but the Forum 18 News Service reports that a new version could be introduced as early as the end of this month.

Kanat Murzakhalilov, Deputy Head of the State Agency for Religious Affairs, told Forum 18 News Service that his agency hopes to present a final draft of a controversial new Religion Law to the government by the end of March.

He refused to say if the draft will require 200 adult citizen members before a community can gain legal status, a provision in the latest publicly-available draft which is opposed by the Russian Orthodox, the Catholics, many Protestant Churches, the Jehovah's Witnesses and the Baha'is. But he stated that registration will continue to be compulsory.
the rest

Churches go 'green' for Palm Sunday
Increased use of 'eco-palms' creates fraction of the waste

By Jeff Martin

Palm Sunday is going "green."

This year, more than 2,130 congregations across the USA, including Catholics, Episcopalians, Lutherans, Methodists and Presbyterians, will use "eco-palms" that are harvested in a more environmentally friendly way, says Dean Current, program director at the Center for Integrated Natural Resources and Agricultural Management at the University of Minnesota.

Use of eco-palms on Palm Sunday — which, in the Christian faith, marks Jesus' triumphant return to Jerusalem before his death and resurrection — has grown from a pilot program of 5,000 eco-palms in 2005 to the 600,000 ordered for this year's March 16 celebration, Current says. He estimates that is about 1.5% of the 35 million to 40 million palms sold annually for Palm Sunday services in the USA but says he expects the growth to continue.
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Albert Mohler: A Bolt From the Blue -- A Homeschooling Decision in California
Friday, March 07, 2008

Like a bolt from the blue, a California appeals court has ruled that the state's parents have no constitutional right to homeschool their own children. In a flash, a child welfare case that no one had noticed has become a flash point of controversy in the nation. Will homeschooling be ruled illegal in California?

Here is how
The San Francisco Chronicle introduced the story:

A California appeals court ruling clamping down on homeschooling by parents without teaching credentials sent shock waves across the state this week, leaving an estimated 166,000 children as possible truants and their parents at risk of prosecution.

The homeschooling movement never saw the case coming.

"At first, there was a sense of, 'No way,'" said homeschool parent Loren Mavromati, a resident of Redondo Beach (Los Angeles County) who is active with a homeschool association. "Then there was a little bit of fear. I think it has moved now into indignation."
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Episcopalian Church Split Leaves Many in South Valley Feeling Left Out
By: Dani Carlson & Caryn Kochergen

It's been described as "the straw that broke the camel's back" by many South Valley Episcopalian churchgoers.

Churchgoers say the decision of the National Episcopal Church to approve gay marriage and allow openly gay people to be priests, has caused some churches to break off from the national religion.

But now many feel left out.

"Enter with thanksgiving." That's what is written on the doors of St. John's Church in Tulare
But some like Diane Friend said they won't be entering anymore. "It was a choice about are you going to follow Jesus Christ or are you going to follow a leadership that decides to rewrite the word of God," said Friend.

Friend and her husband have been members of St. John's Church for fourteen years. They have three children, and Friend said her children are main reasons why she decided her family had to leave. "For us, what became a priority was our family, the values we try to each our children and how we're going to serve God as a Christian," said Friend.
the rest

Attention Must be Paid: A reader speaks out on the oppression of pro-life groups on Canadian university campuses
March 06, 2008
by Dan Goldbloom

We at the National Post receive frequent emails from our readers. Every now and again a missive of particular eloquence lands in our inboxes, and one of them is reproduced here. Dave writes to Managing Comment Editor Jonathan Kay, bemoaning the Canadian media's relative silence on the abortion debate and the existential threats pro-life groups face at Canada's universities.

I had one of Britain's first legal abortions ... 40 years on, I'm still torn apart by guilt

Wisconsin considers bill to force pharmacists to supply abortifacients
Madison, Mar 5, 2008

(CNA).- A Wisconsin bill that would compel all pharmacists to provide abortifacient contraceptive drugs in spite of their moral and professional objections was recently the subject of a public hearing in the state senate. the rest

Arizona House Approves Bill to Stop Nurses, Non-Doctors From Doing Abortions
by Steven Ertelt Editor
March 6, 2008

Phoenix, AZ ( -- An Arizona House committee has approved legislation that would have the western state joining most others in the nation by banning nurses and other non-physicians from doing abortions. The bill comes on the heels of a request from a Planned Parenthood nurse for official approval for the surgical abortions she's already done.
the rest

Thursday, March 06, 2008

The time has come to move on? Then break up the camp with a good heart; it is only one more stage on the journey home!

One day we shall break camp for the last time in this world and face the final adventure of death. May we then have so passed the days of our pilgrimage, with the Lord of adventurers by our side, that we may reach, in the end, our eternal home.

...WR Matthews image

Bishops prepare for Camp Allen gathering; Schofield posts letter of resignation from House of Bishops
By Pat McCaughan,
March 06, 2008

[Episcopal News Service] When the House of Bishops gathers for its Camp Allen meeting in Navasota, Texas March 7-12, the agenda will focus on the upcoming July 16-August 3 Lambeth Conference and to engage in faith-based reconciliation training.

The Rev. Canon Brian Cox, rector of Christ the King Church in Santa Barbara, California, and a founder of, who will lead the bishops in a reconciliation retreat, said, "The expectation is (to begin) thinking about how reconciliation can really become the culture of the Episcopal Church."
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ENS: Episcopal Divinity School enters university partnership
Deal will 'secure the financial future of the school,' says dean

By Mary Frances Schjonberg,
March 06, 2008

Episcopal Divinity School and Lesley University announced March 6 a new partnership that will involve the two schools sharing the EDS campus, in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Lesley University, a 12,000-student, multi-site university, will buy seven buildings from EDS for $33.5 million, while EDS will retain ownership of 13 buildings on its eight acre campus. The partnership also includes academic program enhancements and shared facilities for uses such as library, student dining and services, and campus maintenance, according to an EDS news release.
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Cuba invites Catholic monks to set up new monastery
Wed, 05 Mar 2008

Munich - Cuba has invited the Catholic Church to open a new monastery on the island and a German Benedictine order said Wednesday it would send four monks to establish a "spiritual centre."The church has been officially banned in the past from building new churches on the communist island.
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New Oregon Law Requires Hospitals to offer Sexual Assault Victims "Emergency Contraceptives"
Law forces Catholic hospitals to offer possible abortifacients

By Michael Baggot

SALEM, OR, March 6, 2008 ( - A new Oregon law requires all state hospitals, including Catholic hospitals, to tell sexual assault victims about "emergency contraceptives," their option to receive them, and to provide the drugs when requested.

The new law, HB 2700, was supported by state public health officials and went into effect the first day of this year. This past Monday the Oregon Department of Human Services filed the rules to enforce the new law, reports The Oregonian. The state has also produced a series of fliers and posters to inform patients about their "right" to be informed about and to receive "emergency contraception." Any institution that fails to follow the law could receive a fine of up to $1,000.
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Russian Orthodox Church attacks Stalin nostalgia
Thursday, 6th March 2008
George Conger

THE ORTHODOX Church has denounced Russia’s growing nostalgia for Stalin and Stalinism. Speaking on March 5 --- the 55th anniversary of the death of Joseph Stalin --- the secretary for public relations of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations, Fr Georgi Ryabykh told the Interfax news agency Russians should not look to the Stalinist era as a guide for the country’s future.

"Present and future Russian citizens should be aware of what Stalin's era really was and should not be painting idealistic pictures of the time," he said. While the Stalinist era was of “great historical significance”, that era “should never return."
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Bishop of San Joaquin Resigns from the TEC House of Bishops; now member of the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone HOB

Letter here

BabyBlue Online

Leader kidnapped in India, Christians waiting
6 March, 2008

India (MNN) ― It's happened again. It seems as though every week there are more reports of Christians being attacked in India. During Christmas, entire villages were destroyed. Last week, two churches were attacked and the pastors beaten. Now, Gospel for Asia is dealing with another tragedy.

Founder and President of
Gospel for Asia KP Yohannan says Haresh Kujur, 49, was kidnapped in the state of Asam in Northeast India, the home to many radical groups. "They're anti-government and anti-Christians, and they kidnap people for the sake of getting money. Only in very few cases they do it for religious reasons," says Yohannan.

Kujur was kidnapped Saturday night as he was leading a youth service in his church in Assam, India. An anti-Christian extremist group in the area is thought to be responsible for the kidnapping. Yohannan says, "He's a senior pastor who's established quite a good number of churches. And obviously he has a larger profile in the community, and I believe that could be the reason why they have done it."
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Stations of the Cross — Without the Cross
Episcopalian liturgy for Stations of the Millennium Development Goals truncates the gospel, critics say.

Susan Wunderink

In this season of Lent, many Christians in liturgical traditions have been meditating on the Stations of the Cross, a series of events — biblical and traditional — depicting the story of Jesus' death.

This year, however, the Episcopal Church is promoting new devotional material for Lent: the Stations of the Millennium Development Goals. The church's
Episcopal Relief and Development office created a liturgy based on the United Nations plan to eliminate extreme poverty and other global ills, and sent e-mail to church leaders encouraging its use "in lieu of the traditional Stations of the Cross service."

Mike Angell of the denomination's Office of Young Adult and Higher Education Ministries designed the stations for a September 2007 young adult conference. While the traditional Stations of the Cross meditation has 14 stations (though this has varied through church history), the Episcopalian Stations of the Millennium Development Goals liturgy has only eight stations, one for each goal.
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Ruling seen as a threat to many home-schooling families
State appellate court says those who teach children in private must have a credential.

By Seema Mehta and Mitchell Landsberg,
Los Angeles Times Staff Writers
March 6, 2008

Parents who lack teaching credentials cannot educate their children at home, according to a state appellate court ruling that is sending waves of fear through California's home schooling families.

Advocates for the families vowed to appeal the decision to the state Supreme Court. Enforcement until then appears unlikely, but if the ruling stands, home-schooling supporters say California will have the most regressive law in the nation.

"This decision is a direct hit against every home schooler in California," said Brad Dacus, president of the Pacific Justice Institute, which represents the Sunland Christian School, which specializes in religious home schooling. "If the state Supreme Court does not reverse this . . . there will be nothing to prevent home-school witch hunts from being implemented in every corner of the state of California."
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Parents of 166,000 students could face criminal charges: Breathtaking' decision on homeschooling now moving to California Supreme Court - WorldNetDaily

Home schooling unlawful, says California court

Britain's blasphemy law no longer sacred
After a teddy bear incident and much debate, the House of Lords votes to abolish it
By Kim Murphy, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
March 6, 2008

LONDON -- A funny thing happened in November when Britain launched a righteous protest over Sudan's arrest of a British schoolteacher accused of insulting Islam by letting her students name a class teddy bear Muhammad.

The Sudanese ambassador was summoned; Prime Minister Gordon Brown issued a protest. But it didn't take long for someone to point out that Downing Street was standing on diplomatic quicksand: Britain itself has a law making blasphemy a crime.
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That Martin Luther? He wasn’t so bad, says Pope
March 6, 2008
Richard Owen in Rome

Pope Benedict XVI is to rehabilitate Martin Luther, arguing that he did not intend to split Christianity but only to purge the Church of corrupt practices.

Pope Benedict will issue his findings on Luther (1483-1546) in September after discussing him at his annual seminar of 40 fellow theologians — known as the Ratzinger Schülerkreis — at Castelgandolfo, the papal summer residence. According to Vatican insiders the Pope will argue that Luther, who was excommunicated and condemned for heresy, was not a heretic.

Cardinal Walter Kasper, the head of the pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, said the move would help to promote ecumenical dialogue between Catholics and Protestants. It is also designed to counteract the impact of July's papal statement describing the Protestant and Orthodox faiths as defective and “not proper Churches”.
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National Dragnet Is a Click Away
Authorities to Gain Fast and Expansive Access to Records

By Robert O'Harrow Jr. and Ellen Nakashima
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, March 6, 2008

Several thousand law enforcement agencies are creating the foundation of a domestic intelligence system through computer networks that analyze vast amounts of police information to fight crime and root out terror plots.

As federal authorities struggled to meet information-sharing mandates after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, police agencies from Alaska and California to the Washington region poured millions of criminal and investigative records into shared digital repositories called data warehouses, giving investigators and analysts new power to discern links among people, patterns of behavior and other hidden clues.

the rest

Scary or sensational? A machine that can look into the mind
James Randerson, science correspondent
The Guardian
Thursday March 6 2008

Scientists have developed a computerised mind-reading technique which lets them accurately predict the images that people are looking at by using scanners to study brain activity.

The breakthrough by American scientists took MRI scanning equipment normally used in hospital diagnosis to observe patterns of brain activity when a subject examined a range of black and white photographs. Then a computer was able to correctly predict in nine out of 10 cases which image people were focused on. Guesswork would have been accurate only eight times in every 1,000 attempts.

The study raises the possibility in the future of the technology being harnessed to visualise scenes from a person's dreams or memory.

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In pictures: Grand Canyon flooded

Very cool.

NY: Gay Marriage Gains Notice in State Court
March 6, 2008

On the way home from work in Rochester, Patricia Martinez stopped at a liquor store and bought a small bottle of Champagne to celebrate her marriage to another woman. The wedding took place in Canada nearly four years ago, but it wasn’t until Feb. 1 that a New York appellate court declared it valid in the state.

Last week in Manhattan, a State Supreme Court justice, ruling in a divorce proceeding, recognized the Canadian marriage of two New York City women, known publicly as Beth R. and Donna M. — or Mom and Mommy to the two young children they had been raising together.

Less than two years after New York’s highest court refused to legalize gay marriage, leaving it up to a divided Legislature, courts in Rochester and Manhattan, as well as state and local officials, have begun to carry out what some say is the de facto legalization of gay marriage — and gay divorce — in New York for the price of, say, a ticket to Toronto.

the rest

Breakaway Anglican parishioners can still use Metchosin church
RICHARD WATTS, Times Colonist
Thursday, March 06, 2008

VICTORIA - Members of an Anglican parish in Metchosin, determined to quit the church over gay marriages, can continue to use the premises of St. Mary of the Incarnation.

Under an agreement reached this week, the two ministers of St. Mary of the Incarnation have resigned. Sharon Hayton is no longer rector and Andrew Hewlett is no longer assistant priest.

But also under the agreement, the Diocese of British Columbia has agreed to allow the breakaway parishioners to continue to meet at the church at 4125 Metchosin Rd., at least temporarily.
the rest

Atheist soldier says Army punished him
By JOHN MILBURN, Associated Press Writer
Wed Mar 5, 2008

TOPEKA, Kan. - A soldier claimed Wednesday that his promotion was blocked because he had claimed in a lawsuit that the Army was violating his right to be an atheist.

Attorneys for Spc. Jeremy Hall and the Military Religious Freedom Foundation refiled the federal lawsuit Wednesday in Kansas City, Kan., and added a complaint alleging that the blocked promotion was in response to the legal action.

The suit was filed in September but dropped last month so the new allegations could be included. Among the defendants are Defense Secretary Robert Gates.
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Huckabee ran for White House on wing and a prayer
Wed Mar 5, 2008
By Ed Stoddard

DALLAS (Reuters) - Mike Huckabee shook up the Republican Party establishment with an improbable run for its presidential nomination that energized the party's evangelical Christian base but failed to attract moderates beyond it.

Huckabee, a former governor of Arkansas, stayed alive as better known rivals dropped by the wayside but finally had to fold up his campaign on Tuesday as Arizona Sen. John McCain marched through the state-by-state voting to become the party's candidate in the November election.
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First Things:
Why the Fuss About Shari’a Law?
By David Yerushalmi
March 6, 2008

Rowan Williams, the archbishop of Canterbury, recently created quite a stir when he advocated the limited use of Islamic law, known as Shari’a, by English Muslims. In some quarters, he was embraced as a visionary. In others, he was excoriated as a weak-kneed dhimmi—or supplicant—who was surrendering British law, society, and culture to the primitive and violent ways of Shari’a.

What exactly did Dr. Williams say?

In truth, very little, except that Muslims in Britain ought to be able to turn to their own Islamic laws to decide matters such as marriage and divorce, inheritance, and commercial disputes. This ignited an international debate.
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Albert Mohler: Masculinity without Manhood?
Wednesday, March 05, 2008

It does not take great intellectual sophistication to see that we are in a period of widespread gender confusion. As with so many other developments of our times, our evolving language betrays more substantial shifts in the culture.

Writing in The Boston Globe [warning, article includes crude language], Mark Peters argues that the proliferation of "man" terms indicates this confusion over manhood and masculinity.
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Church steps into political fray in Spain
Bishops remind Catholic voters of their duty to defend traditional values in Sunday's elections. Socialist Party officials are furious.

By Tracy Wilkinson,
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
March 5, 2008

MADRID -- Spain's most prominent Roman Catholic priests have stepped into the center of a bare-knuckle election campaign here, igniting a firestorm by seeming to tell voters how to cast their ballots.

The powerful Spanish Bishops Conference, in a recent widely disseminated "message to the public," reminded Catholic voters of their duty to defend traditional values and to elect leaders "responsibly" when they go to the polls Sunday. Catholics make up the vast majority in this country.
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Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia: Abortion Isn't Found in the Constitution
by Steven Ertelt Editor
March 5, 2008

Warrensburg, MO ( -- Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia spoke to students at the University of Central Missouri on Tuesday night and told them that abortion isn't found in the Constitution. He also indicated he would be lucky to get 60 votes in today's political climate where abortion rules how senators vote on judicial confirmations.

"The reality is the Constitution doesn't address the subject at all," Scalia said of abortion. "It is one of the many subjects not in the Constitution which is therefore left to democracy."
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Postal Service Feels Weight Of 'Junk Mail'
Consumers Want a Way To Opt Out of Delivery

By Lyndsey Layton
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, March 6, 2008

The souring economy and changing lifestyles are dramatically affecting one of the most dependable institutions in American life: the U.S. Postal Service. Troubled banks are mailing fewer credit card offers. Declining new-home sales mean vacant houses sitting with empty mailboxes. And as consumers switch to paying bills online, first-class mailings are drying up.

Now, a new trend in consumer activism -- do-not-mail lists pending in 18 states, including Maryland -- threatens to reduce deliveries of catalogues and other "junk mail" that make up the largest volume of postal deliveries.
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FDA finds contaminant in blood-thinner heparin samples
Allergies thought to have killed 19

By Marc Kaufman
Washington Post / March 6, 2008

WASHINGTON - Using a new sophisticated test, the Food and Drug Administration has found a "contaminant" in 5 percent to 20 percent of samples of the blood thinner heparin distributed by Baxter International, agency officials said yesterday. They also increased the reported number of patients who might have died from allergic reactions to the drug from four to 19.

Janet Woodcock, the FDA's chief medical officer, said the agency is investigating whether the contaminant, a large molecule similar to heparin, was produced as part of faulty manufacturing or whether it was intentionally added to reduce costs. the rest

House Votes to Expand Mental Health Coverage, Addiction Treatment

Wednesday, March 05, 2008


Do not let your faults discourage you. Be patient with yourself as well as with your neighbor. Thinking too much will exhaust you and cause you to make a lot of mistakes. Learn to pray in all your daily situations. Speak, act, and walk as if you were in prayer. This is how you should live anyway.

Do everything without becoming too excited. As soon as you start to feel yourself getting too eager, quiet yourself before God. Listen to Him as He prompts you inwardly, then do only as He directs. If you do this, your words will be fewer but more effective. You will be calm, and good will be accomlished in greater measure.

I am not talking about continually trying to reason things out. Simply ask your Lord what He wants of you. This simple and short asking is better than your long-winded inner debates.

Turn toward God and it will be much easier to turn away from your strong natural feelings. Depend on the Lord within you. Your life will eventually become a prayer. You may suffer, but it will be in peace. ...Francois Fenelon

ENS: FORT WORTH: Southern Cone leader to meet with diocesan convention delegates
By Mary Frances Schjonberg
March 04, 2008

[Episcopal News Service] Anglican Province of the Southern Cone Archbishop Gregory Venables will make what the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth is calling "a pastoral visit" to the Texas-based diocese during the first weekend of May.

According to a
statement on the diocesan website, Venables will meet with all the clergy of the diocese at the Church of the Holy Apostles in Fort Worth on May 2. He will also address a specially called convocation of the 2008 convention delegates May 3 at St. Vincent’s Cathedral in Bedford, Texas.

"The purpose of the convocation is to provide information: Archbishop Venables will answer questions from the delegates, but no legislation will be considered," the statement said.
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Israeli Researcher Suggests Moses, Followers Were High On Drugs
Wednesday, March 05, 2008

An Israeli researcher suggests the biblical Israelites who followed Moses may have been inspired by substances closer to earth, according to a Reuters report.

Benny Shanon, a psychology professor at Jerusalem's Hebrew University, writes that the ancient Jews may have been high on a hallucinogenic plant when the prophet delivered the Ten Commandments down from Mount Sinai, Reuters reported.

The thunder, lightning and blaring of a trumpet recorded in the Book of Exodus could have been the imaginings of a people in an "altered state of awareness," from two plants found in the Sinai desert, Shanon writes in the British journal "Time and Mind," said Reuters. the rest image

Singing starlings and why thousands of babies who should have been boys are being born as girls
27th February 2008

Next time you hear a starling sing, stop and listen hard. It may well be warning of a peril that endangers the whole world of nature - and the very future of the human race itself.

For scientists have found that gender-bender chemicals - increasingly contaminating the environment, our food, our water and our bodies - are having a bizarre effect on common birds, causing the males to give voice to longer and more complex songs.

This is only the latest in a long series of increasingly urgent alarms being sounded by wildlife against an insidious but devastating danger that threatens our children.
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Dioxin pollution 'caused drop in sperm count'

ACNS: Drafting an Anglican Covenant
March 5, 2008

The Most Revd John Neill, Archbishop of Dublin

As the Anglican Communion has developed into a worldwide communion of Churches, it has embraced a rich variety of cultures, languages and local identity. Each Church has usually expressed, as a vital part of that identity, its communion with either the Church of England or the See of Canterbury. This communion has been given visible expression since the nineteenth century by the Lambeth Conference of Bishops, called by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The characteristic features of the Communion are frequently expressed through the Chicago/Lambeth Quadrilateral, with the fourfold emphasis on the Holy Scriptures, the Catholic Creeds, the Dominical Sacraments and the historic Episcopate.

During the latter part of the last century, the Anglican Consultative Council, comprising bishops, priests and laity, became an 'instrument of communion', holding the Churches together, alongside the role fulfilled by the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Lambeth Conference. More recently, the Primates' meeting was established, adding a fourth strand to the structures of the Anglican Communion.
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Committee OKs bill to limit Down Syndrome 'genocide'
Mar 4, 2008 by Staff

WASHINGTON (BP)--A Senate committee has passed legislation that could serve to reduce the killing of unborn children diagnosed with Down syndrome or other conditions.

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee approved the Prenatally and Postnatally Diagnosed Conditions Awareness Act, S. 1810, by unanimous consent Feb. 27.

The measure seeks to address the lack of information and support reportedly given to parents whose unborn children are diagnosed with conditions such as Down syndrome.
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Once in Coma, Girl May Testify Against Alleged Attacker
Doctors Said Haleigh Poutre Would Never Recover; Two Years Later, She May Testify in Court

March 3, 2008

More than two years after Haleigh Poutre was so brutally beaten she was left in a coma from which she was never expected to revive, the 14-year-old girl may be well enough to testify against the man accused of abusing her.

Haleigh, who was once thought to be so irreversibly brain damaged that doctors planned to remove her from life support, has spent the last two years recovering at the Franciscan Hospital for Children near Boston.
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Same-sex marriage has skeptics on California Supreme Court
The justices pose varying questions during arguments over the constitutionality of the state's ban on same-sex marriage. They have 90 days to reach a decision.

By Maura Dolan, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
March 5, 2008

SAN FRANCISCO -- -- Four years after thousands of same-sex couples streamed into this liberal bastion to apply for marriage licenses, the California Supreme Court on Tuesday took up the question of whether gay people have a constitutional right to wed.

During more than three hours of arguments from lawyers for and against same-sex marriages, several justices appeared to be skeptical of legalizing the unions, suggesting they see the state's domestic partnerships as marriage in all but the name.
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Definition of Marriage Is at Heart of California Case - New York Times

California court weighs gay marriage - Washington Times

Parents should "come out " from public schools and educate their children with values at home or in private schools.
Cal Thomas

Tribune Media Services
March 4, 2008

LOS ANGELES - As one group attempts to use California public schools as laboratories to assist children in "coming out" with their nontraditional sexual orientation, another is urging parents to come out from these schools and educate their children with their values at home or in private schools.

Last Sunday, a group called "Exodus Mandate" began placing literature in scores of Southern California church lobbies, urging parents to take charge of their children's education and oppose attempts by activists and politicians to shape the worldview of young people, a worldview that runs counter to what many taxpaying parents believe and teach in their homes and places of worship.
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Obama's Bible Defense of Same-Sex Unions Wrong, Experts Say
By Penny Starr Senior Staff Writer
March 05, 2008

( - In a stump speech at Hocking College in Nelsonville, Ohio, on Sunday, Sen. Barack Obama said his support for same-sex unions is rooted in the New Testament's
Sermon on the Mount, as reported by Cybercast News Service.

But theologians and other experts don't agree on what Obama's biblical reference meant.

"If he's finding support for same-sex marriage from the Sermon on the Mount, he's reading a different Bible than I've ever read," Tom Minnery, senior vice president of government and public policy with the Christian Focus on the Family, told Cybercast News Service.

"I think Obama needs to grapple with the words of Jesus on the meaning of marriage," Minnery said.
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A Very Grown-up Children's Bible
The Jesus Storybook Bible is as theological as it is charming.

Review by Ben Patterson

See The Jesus Storybook Bible's story of the Fall.

The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name disproves the adage that you can't judge a book by its cover.

Jago's award-winning cover art is a foretaste of the whimsically insightful and richly colored drawings that await you on every one of the book's 351 pages. The illustrations alone are worth the price of the book.

Did you ever wonder what Jacob's face looked like the morning after his wedding night, when he woke up in bed with a different woman than the one he thought he had married — Leah instead of Rachel? Jago did, and what he imagined and drew made me laugh out loud.
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Iraqi Christians Nervous after Cleric’s Abduction
By Daniel Blake
Christian Post Correspondent
Tue, Mar. 04 2008

Iraq’s tiny Christian community is living in fear after the abduction of a Chaldean Archbishop in Mosul, a city in the northern Nineveh province, last week.

Armed attackers abducted Archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho as he left the Holy Spirit Church on Friday, while his driver and two bodyguards were killed.

A local priest told the Christian persecution news agency Compass Direct that Christians across Iraq had been left shaken by the abduction.
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Prayer in the Whirlwind
By Chuck Colson

Building a More Perfect Union

Heather Martin, a junior at Union University, was trying to climb into a bathtub for safety when the E4 tornado hit the Union campus in Jackson, Tennessee. It was 7:02 p.m. on February 5. “It sounded like a thousand trains,” she said, describing the funnel cloud that ripped through the school, causing massive damage to all but one campus building.

The wind nearly sucked Heather out of the building. When the walls came crashing down, her legs were pinned between the side of the tub and the floor above. In the tub were three other girls. Crushed beneath her was Julie Boyer, a spiritual mentor of Heather’s. Two nights before, Julie had spent an hour interceding in prayer for Heather. When Heather had called to thank her, Julie said, “I know you would do the same for me.” Heather soon proved Julie right.

As the weight of the building settled, Julie struggled for breath. Her mouth and chin were crushed against the right side of her chest. Her neck was exposed as she describes it, “like a swan when it ducks its head.” Her right lung was so compressed she thought it had collapsed. Heather’s hip pressed into her left lung.

In her spirit, Julie began to pray, “Jesus, I need you . . .” Then she realized she had forgotten to breathe. She told God, “I’m sorry, but I cannot pray anymore, or I won’t remember to take my next breath.” Just then, Heather called out to her, “Julie, do not try to pray, just breathe. I am interceding for you. Focus on breathing.” Heather had no way of knowing what thoughts had been running through Julie’s mind just moments before.
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To contribute directly to Union’s disaster relief fund, visit the university’s website at Or you may visit our website,, for more information. Help, won’t you? I am going to.