Saturday, April 05, 2008

Devotional: God is constant in His love...

God is constant in His love if we will but look to Him; he will sustain us in every storm if we will but cry out to Him; He will save us if we will but reach out our hand to Him. He is there, if we will only turn to Him and learn to trust in Him alone. The upheavals in this world, or in the Church herself, are not the end of everything, especially of His love. They can in fact serve best as signs to remind us of His love and of His constancy, to make us turn once more to Him and cling to Him again when all else that we counted on is overturned around us. ...Fr. Water Ciszek SJ image

Virginia congregations win initial round

Virginia Judge Allows Case on Episcopal Property to Proceed
By NEELA BANERJEE
April 5, 2008

Eleven congregations in Virginia that broke away from the Episcopal Church have won an initial round in their court fight to retain church property.

But the final decision remains months away. And the outcome of the lawsuit could be affected by the Episcopal Church’s constitutional challenge of Virginia law that deals with the dispensation of church properties after a split. the rest-NYT

Vatican Official Urges Valuing Elderly as Contributors

VATICAN CITY, APRIL 4, 2008

(Zenit.org).- The "efficiency culture" abiding in Western nations is causing the elderly to be cast aside and seen as a "problem," when in reality they are an invaluable resource for the community, affirmed a Vatican official.

Archbishop Fernando Filoni, "sostituto" for general affairs at the Vatican Secretariat of State, affirmed this Thursday when he opened the 18th plenary assembly of the Pontifical Council for the Family, dedicated this year to "Grandparents: Their Testimony and Presence in the Family."

The archbishop addressed the topic of the role of the elderly in the Church and society, saying that the theme is of utmost importance today as life expectancy has increased in many parts of the world, and a society bent on success and benefits tends to marginalize the elderly as "a burden." the rest image

Iraqi Christian Priest Killed in Baghdad

By VOA News
05 April 2008

Iraqi police say an Assyrian Orthodox priest has been killed in a drive-by shooting in Baghdad - the latest attack on Iraq's Christian minority.

Sources say Youssef Adel was leaving his house in central Baghdad when a group of men in a speeding car opened fire Saturday as they drove past.

Pope Benedict expressed sorrow over the killing. In a telegram, he said he prayed that the Iraqi people find peace to build a tolerant society. the rest

Main street parade to honor Muhammad-Binghamton NY

Binghamton, N.Y., grants permit for Milad-un-Nabi event
April 03, 2008
© 2008 WorldNetDaily

Muslim leaders at an encampment in the Catskill Mountains called "Islamberg" have been granted a permit by the city of Binghamton, N.Y., to hold a parade Saturday in honor of Muhammad's birthday.

The holiday, called Milad-un-Nabi, will be celebrated by a group of families who live at the nearby property owned by Muslims of the Americas Inc. the rest

Anglican wars rage on in Virginia

GetReligion
April 5, 2008

Here’s a quick follow-up post on the conflict free Baltimore Sun piece on the election of the amazingly controversy free bishop in the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland. You just knew that the local, regional, national and global Anglican wars couldn’t stay out of the Washington-Baltimore headlines for long.

Both Washington newspapers have newsy reports up about the latest round of the battle of Northern Virginia, which is a regional fight with national implications for a laws in a wide variety of mainline and liturgical churches. Both the Washington Post and the Washington Times jumped right on the heart of this story, which is that the Anglican wars here in the DC area are raising constitutional issues that, obviously, have national implications in all kinds of pews. the rest

Church: Ruling violates our rights

By Julia Duin
April 5, 2008

The Episcopal Church yesterday denounced as an unconstitutional violation of religious freedom a Fairfax judge's decision favoring a group of 11 breakaway conservative churches based on a Civil War-era Virginia law on church divisions.

Circuit Judge Randy Bellows declared that a "division" had occurred in the Diocese of Virginia, the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion in the long-running dispute over biblical authority and sexuality. The judge ruled that Virginia's 1867 "division statute" therefore could, pending rulings on other issues, let the parishes leave with their property. the rest

The Curious Lives of Surrogates

Thousands of largely invisible American women have given birth to other people's babies. Many are married to men in the military.
By Lorraine Ali and Raina Kelley NEWSWEEK
Apr 7, 2008 Issue

Jennifer Cantor, a 34-year-old surgical nurse from Huntsville, Ala., loves being pregnant. Not having children, necessarily—she has one, an 8-year-old daughter named Dahlia, and has no plans for another—but just the experience of growing a human being beneath her heart. She was fascinated with the idea of it when she was a child, spending an entire two-week vacation, at the age of 11, with a pillow stuffed under her shirt. She's built perfectly for it: six feet tall, fit and slender but broad-hipped. Which is why she found herself two weeks ago in a birthing room in a hospital in Huntsville, swollen with two six-pound boys she had been carrying for eight months. Also in the room was Kerry Smith and his wife, Lisa, running her hands over the little lumps beneath the taut skin of Cantor's belly. "That's an elbow," said Cantor, who knew how the babies were lying in her womb. "Here's a foot." Lisa smiled proudly at her husband. She is, after all, the twins' mother. the rest image

Albert Mohler: Wombs for Rent? Newsweek Looks at Surrogate Mothers

Crazy pregnant woman thinks she’s a man, media swoons with wall to wall coverage

The ADF Alliance Alert linked to this story earlier: Oregon: Transsexual “Man” is Pregnant.

Not surprisingly, the so-called “mainstream media” has picked up the story and promoted the H-Agenda with wall to wall intercontinental coverage. Meanwhile, the average person, with an ounce of common sense, is left wondering why a crazy pregnant woman who thinks she is a man dominates headlines. link

Check out First Things 2004 article: Surgical Sex

Church leader battles division

By Sandi Dolbee
UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER
April 5, 2008

Excerpt:

Jefferts Schori is not a biblical literalist. Take the six-day story of Creation in Genesis, for example. “It's too good a story to believe it literally,” she said. “It's got too much meaning to be boxed up in that small of an understanding.”

Seeing Jesus as the only way to redemption also “puts God in a very small box,” she said.
“Most Christians believe that Jesus died for the whole world. If you believe that, then to say that some people are beyond redemption would appear to deny that,” she said.

Either way, she adds, “I think it is up to God, not for us, to judge.”

She advocates for the inclusion of gays and lesbians. “If we were focused on what holy living looks like, generally, without focusing on the gender of the people involved, I think we would be a lot farther down the road,” she said. the rest

Friday, April 04, 2008

Devotional: Let us never fear....

And I will send hornets before thee, which shall drive out the Hivite, the Canaanite, and the Hittite, from before thee.
Exodus 23:28

What the hornets were we need not consider. They were God's own army which He sent before His people to sting their enemies and render Israel's conquest easy. Our God by His own chosen means will fight for His people and gall their foes before they come into the actual battle. Often He confounds the adversaries of truth by methods in which reformers themselves have no hand. The air is full of mysterious influences which harass Israel's foes. We read in the Apocalypse that "the earth helped the woman."

Let us never fear. The stars in their courses fight against the enemies of our souls. Oftentimes when we march to the conflict we find no host to contend with. "The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace." God's hornets can do more than our weapons. We could never dream of the victory being won by such means as Jehovah will use. We must obey our marching orders and go forth to the conquest of the nations for Jesus, and we shall find that the Lord has gone before us and prepared the way; so that in the end we will joyfully confess, "His own right hand and his holy arm, have gotten him the victory."
...CH Spurgeon image

Bishop David Anderson comments on Virginia property ruling

Anglican Mainstream
April 4th, 2008

This week I want to start with the good news. Judge Bellows, who is trying the Virginia litigation between the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia (EDV) and the Anglican District of Virginia (ADV), has issued a ruling, finding in favor of the departing parishes with regard to the Virginia 1867 Division Statute. As one of our readers commented, "…the Court found that a division within the meaning of the Virginia Division Statute occurred in a church or religious society to which the CANA Congregations were attached. It is now a court finding that there is a division within the worldwide Anglican Communion, The Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Virginia." This is a most important and favorable ruling for the orthodox Anglicans in Virginia, and if it holds up through the Appeals Court process, important for the orthodox in many other states as well. the rest

TLC: Diocese of Ohio Litigation Ends 'Peaceful Way to Coexist'

April 4, 2008

The Diocese of Ohio recently filed a declaratory judgment with the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas in Cleveland, asking that it, the diocesan trustees, and a minority of members at five dissident congregations be declared the rightful owners of church properties where the congregations voted overwhelmingly to leave in 2005.

The March 26 filing came just a month after an article in the Akron Beacon Journal described how the relationship between the five dissenting congregations and the diocese was an exception to the personal acrimony and litigation prevalent throughout many other dioceses of The Episcopal Church. In another break with standard practice in most other dioceses, Bishop Mark Hollingsworth, Jr., of Ohio did not depose the clergy when they requested transfer of their canonical license to the Anglican Church of Nigeria.

In the Beacon Journal article, Martha Wright, communications officer for the Diocese of Ohio, had said, “We are looking for a faithful resolution to the property issue involving the congregations that have elected to leave the diocese. The priests in those congregations have asked to be released from their orders and their requests have been granted, but we have not taken any action where property is concerned.” the rest

CBN Video: CANA Bishop Martyn Minns

April 4, 2008

Here

Episcopal 'Entropy'- the Divisions Continue

Special Commentary
By Randy Sly
4/5/2008

WASHINGTON (Catholic Online) - Many believe the battle for the soul of the Episcopal Church is now over. Frontline parishes are leaving and the continuing battle for buildings is just a part of what lies ahead.

The church troubles have been highlighted again this week by a ruling from a Fairfax, Virginia judge which opens the real possibility that eleven parishes who exited the Diocese of Virginia may, in fact, keep their property. The fight, however, still has a long way to go.

Growing up in the Episcopal Church, I was an onlooker as periodic issues within our communion gained notoriety. During my teen years, Bishop James Pike, Ordinary for the Diocese of California circa 1966, made headlines for his unorthodox and, at times, heretical views that went unchallenged by the denomination. the rest image

Flurry of Homosexual Activism Across Europe

Advances in Finland, Greece, Great Britain and Ireland
By John Connolly
April 3, 2008

(LifeSiteNews.com) - This week has seen the success of much homosexual activism around Europe, the traditional center of the Christian West. From the Greek Orthodox Church's internal turmoil in the face of a possible same-sex union provision to Finland's appointment of a homosexual lobbyist as foreign minister, there have been many victories scored for homosexual activists who want to remove the family and place homosexuality on the same level as traditional marriage. the rest image

Straight or gay? U.S. court says Web site can't ask

By Adam Tanner
Thu Apr 3, 2008

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - A roommate-finding site cannot require users to disclose their sexual orientation, a U.S. appeals court ruled on Thursday, in the latest skirmish over whether anti-discrimination rules apply to the Web.

The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals said Roommates.com, which obliges users to list their sexual orientation, was different than Internet sites where people can volunteer or withhold personal information.

To inquire electronically about sexual orientation would not be different from asking people in person or by telephone if they were black or Jewish before conducting business, the panel said in an 8-3 ruling that partly overturns a lower federal court decision. the rest

CT: Big Win for Va.'s Breakaway Anglican Parishes in Property Fight

Sheryl Henderson Blunt
4/04/2008

Excerpt:

The case is one of several that TEC is currently litigating against breakaway congregations, according to a review of property litigation presented by David Booth Beers to the national denomination's executive council. Last October the Episcopal News Service cited Beers, TEC's Chancellor to the Presiding Bishop, as placing the total number of parishes in active litigation at 20 to 25. Beers also said lawsuits could be forthcoming in six other states "and a few other dioceses" — some of which have since been initiated.

The initial ruling is expected to embolden other churches and dioceses across the country that have announced their intentions to break from the denomination.

"We all have the freedom to choose with whom we want to associate," said Martyn Minns, missionary bishop of CANA, in an earlier interview with CT. "A lot of people being intimidated by TEC think they don't have that freedom."

Minns said that an ultimate ruling in favor of the breakaway congregations would further encourage churches to leave. "I think we'll see a lot of churches saying, 'We don't want to stay with the Episcopal Church,'" he said. the rest

ENS: Presiding Bishop, Diocese of Virginia respond to court ruling

April 04, 2008

[Episcopal News Service] The Office of the Presiding Bishop and the Diocese of Virginia issued statements April 4 response to a preliminary ruling a day earlier by Fairfax County Judge Randy I. Bellows that it was appropriate for 11 Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA) congregations to file property claims under a portion of Virginia state law that is triggered when there is a so-called "division" of a church or religious society.

Statements here

Religion must be saved from extremism, says Blair

by Maria Mackay
Friday, April 4, 2008

In his first major speech on religion, Tony Blair said last night that religion must be rescued from extremism and irrelevance and used as a force for good at a time of global turmoil.

Blair, who converted to Catholicism last year, made the call in a lecture on faith and globalisation at Westminster Cathedral, the first in 'The Cardinal’s Lectures’ series organised by Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor to examine faith and life in Britain. the rest image

Ruth Gledhill: Judge rules for Virginia 'orthodox'

April 04, 2008

Excerpt:
How much is all this costing? How many bishops would this finance to go to Gafcon or Lambeth? Goodness knows. But one aspect of this judgement makes it extremely useful indeed. For anyone seeking to understand the structure of TEC, the Anglican Communion and the chronology of events that have led to the present sorry mess, they need go no further. It also has a long section on the history of ecclesiological fracture in the US with the CANA expert witness Dr Charles Irons himself a PhD who did his dissertation on the conflict over slavery within Virginia's churches.

All this and more spelled out in the judgement, with footnotes, by the excellent Judge Randy Bellows of Fairfax County Circuit Court. Thank you Judge Bellows, pictured here at the sentencing in an earlier case, for providing a sorely needed moment of clarity and for giving us all such a useful contemporary and historical analysis. It may pertain to Virginia, but its relevance is international. However, I wonder if the canon lawyers at St Andrew's House have read this yet. Because if the CANA congregations are still 'attached' to the Anglican Communion as this judge has ruled, shouldn't the Archbishop of Canterbury therefore invite Bishop Martyn Minns to Lambeth? I await their legal opinion with interest.

Full commentary

Lent and Beyond: Virginia

Judge Bellows has ruled in favor of the parishes in the first go-round of Virginia litigation. April 4, 2008

Jehovah-Sabaoth, You are almighty. To You be the glory.

Sovereign Lord, You are King of kings and Lord of lords. To You be the glory.

Jehovah-jireh, You are the source of all life and blessings. To You be the glory.

Your arm is strong, and Your love is steadfast. To You be the glory.

Guard the victors in this legal battle from arrogance. Keep their hearts humble and their tongues holy. May they remember Your sustenance in times to come. May they honor the Sabbath and rest in You. Amen. Exodus 16:23-36


Lent and Beyond image

+Minns: Good News Is No News in Nnewi!

by the Rt. Rev’d Martyn Minns

A funny thing happened in Nnewi, Nigeria, last week. (Nnewi is a bustling city in southeast Nigeria.) Archbishop Peter Akinola presided over a remarkable meeting of the Standing Committee of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), but nobody from the world media noticed. It wasn’t that it was a closed or secret meeting – it’s hard to keep a gathering of a thousand church leaders quiet, and preparations had been public for months. So why didn’t any of them care? For one thing, he didn’t talk about anything that would make a good headline; instead he focused on a call to personal and corporate holiness. He told all those present that they were too attached to the ways of the world and they needed to change. He reminded them that they have been called to “live in the world but not of the world.” Nobody blinked when he challenged his listeners to look inward and deal with their own sin instead of looking at everyone else. But it didn’t make news.

He talked about the Global Anglican Future Conference (affectionately known as GAFCON) that he is leading in Jerusalem later this year. He carefully explained the long history behind the decision to gather with other provinces of the Anglican Communion that refuse to spend any more time agonizing about sex but instead want to get on with the work of the Gospel and celebrate transformed lives. He announced that everyone going from Nigeria has already been paid for – and here’s another funny thing – paid for by generous Godly people in Nigeria! They have raised all the money from inside their own country! the rest

Virginia Anglican Churches Prevail in Court

Historic Ruling Halts Episcopal Attempt to Seize Control of Church Property

FAIRFAX, Va. – The 11 churches sued by The Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Virginia responded to today’s Fairfax County Circuit Court ruling that the Virginia Division Statute (Virginia Code § 57-9) applies to support their efforts to keep their property. The 11 churches named in the lawsuit are members of the Anglican District of Virginia (ADV).

“We are pleased with this initial victory today. We have maintained all along that The Episcopal Church and Diocese of Virginia had no legal right to our property because the Virginia Division Statute says that the majority of the church is entitled to its property when there is a division within the denomination. Our churches' own trustees hold title for the benefit of the congregations,” said Jim Oakes, vice-chairman of ADV.

“We urge our friends in the Diocese of Virginia and The Episcopal Church to respect the court’s ruling and join with us to begin a process of healing. These are also the wishes of the worldwide Anglican Communion, as prolonging this process – pitting Christian against Christian in court – does nothing to save one soul, strengthen one family, or help one person in need. Let us choose healing over litigation and peaceful co-existence over lawsuits, and let us devote all our resources to serving Christ and helping others around the world.”

Oakes continued, “We emphasize that we do not harbor any ill will towards anyone. In particular, we know there are many faithful Christians still in The Episcopal Church. We continue to pray for them and will continue to work together in as many ways as possible and cooperating in ministry projects like the Lamb Center.”

Rev. Jeff Cerar, Rector of St. Stephen’s in Heathsville, Va., one of the churches being sued, said, “The legal proceedings have been an unfortunate distraction to our churches, but we have not allowed this to interfere with our ministry of sharing the love of Christ and the life-transforming power of the Gospel.”

The Episcopal Church and the Diocese abruptly broke off settlement negotiations in January 2007 and filed lawsuits against the Virginia churches, their ministers and their vestries. The decision of The Episcopal Church and the Diocese to redefine and reinterpret Scripture caused the 11 Anglican churches to sever their ties.

The Anglican District of Virginia (www.anglicandistrictofvirginia.org) is an association of Anglican congregations in Virginia. Its members are in full communion with constituent members of the Anglican Communion through its affiliation with the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA), a missionary branch of the Church of Nigeria and other Anglican Archbishops. ADV members are a part of the worldwide Anglican Communion, a community of 77 million people. ADV is dedicated to fulfilling Christ’s Great Commission to make disciples while actively serving in three main capacities: International Ministries, Evangelism, and Strengthening Families and Community. ADV is currently comprised of 21 member congregations.

To schedule an interview with an ADV representative, please contact Kelly Oliver (ext. 140) or Megan Franko (ext. 148) at (703) 683-5004.

ADV Website

Egypt’s Coptic Church Warns Authorities Over Religion Change Controversy

Thursday, 03 April 2008
By BosNewsLife News Center

CAIRO, EGYPT (BosNewsLife)-- The head of Egypt's Coptic Orthodox Church has warned Egyptian authorities his denomination will not recognize an Egyptian court ruling that Copts can convert to Islam, obtain a divorce, and then return to the Coptic faith, BosNewsLife monitored Thursday, April 3.

"We only abide by the Bible," Pope Shenouda III told Egyptian media. He added that the court ruling had only "civil, not religious" authority, reported Catholic World News (CWN) agency. the rest

Obama's church installs new rules for media

Do you see it as a clash of freedoms?
THE SEEKER by Manya A. Brachear
April 4, 2008

Recent media scrutiny of Trinity United Church of Christ, where Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama has worshiped for more than 20 years, has raised new questions about 1st Amendment rights, in some ways pitting freedom of the press against the freedom to practice religion.

Should reporters, like the rest of the public, have full and unfettered access to houses of worship? Or is there a time when churches should guard their gates to protect their flocks?

At a news conference Thursday, Trinity's leaders laid down the law for reporters who want to cover the church in the future. Permission must be granted on Thursday for reporters to attend Sunday worship services. All media must check in, wear a badge at all times and refrain from interviewing members on church property. the rest

Global warming 'dips this year'

By Roger Harrabin
BBC News environment analyst
Friday, 4 April 2008

Global temperatures will drop slightly this year as a result of the cooling effect of the La Nina current in the Pacific, UN meteorologists have said.

The World Meteorological Organization's secretary-general, Michel Jarraud, told the BBC it was likely that La Nina would continue into the summer.

This would mean global temperatures have not risen since 1998, prompting some to question climate change theory. the rest image

Episcopal parishes awarded property, assets

By Julia Duin
April 4, 2008

A Fairfax circuit judge has awarded a favorable judgment to a group of 11 Anglican churches that were taken to court last fall after breaking away from the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia in late 2006.

In an 83-page opinion released late last night, Judge Randy Bellows ruled that Virginia's Civil War-era “division statute” granting property to departing congregations applies to the Northern Virginia congregations, which are now part of the Nigerian-administered Convocation of Anglicans in North America.

“The court finds that a division has occurred in the diocese,” the judge wrote. “Over 7 percent of the churches in the diocese, 11 percent of its baptized membership and 18 percent of the diocesan average attendance of 32,000 [per Sunday] have left in the past two years.”

The lawsuit, which is the largest property case to date in the history of the Episcopal Church, involves millions of dollars of real estate and assets. With the finding that a division has occurred, the congregations get to keep the property under Virginia law. the rest

VIRGINIA: Judge Rules in Favor of Dissenting Anglican Churches
Virtue Online

CANA Parishes Win Big in Virginia!!!

Historic Falls Church is one of eleven CANA parishes in Virginia
involved in the litigation (photo by Raymond Dague)

Judge's Summary of Decision

The only way in which this Court could find a "division" not to exist among the pertinent entities in this case is to define the term so narrowly and restrictively as to effectively define the term out of existence. The ECUSA and the Diocese urge upon this Court just such a definition and further assert that any definition other than the one for which they argue would render the statute unconstitutional. The Court rejects this invitation. Whether or not it is true that only the ECUSA's and the Diocese's proposed definition can save 57-9(A) from constitutional infirmity, there is no constitutional principle of which this Court is aware that would permit, let alone require, the Court to adopt a definition for a statutory term that is plainly unwarranted. Rather, the definition of "division" adopted by this Court is a definition which the Court finds to be consistent with the language of the statute, its purpose and history, and the very limited caselaw that exists. Given this definition, the Court finds that the evidence of a "division" within the Diocese, the ECUSA, and the Anglican Communion is not only compelling, but overwhelming. As to the other issues in principal controversy, the Court finds the Anglican Communion to be a "church or religious society." The Court finds each of the CANA Congregations to have been attached to the Anglican Communion. Finally, the Court finds that the term "branch" must be defined far more broadly than the interpretation placed upon that term by ECUSA and the Diocese and that, as properly defined, CANA, ADV, the American Arm of the Church of Uganda, the Church of Nigeria, the ECUSA, and the Diocese, are all branches of the Anglican Communion and, further, CANA and ADV are branches of ECUSA and the Diocese.


Thursday, April 03, 2008

Devotional: Though every sun shall spend its fire...

Though every sun shall spend its fire
And galaxies shall dim to shade,
The Light by whom these lights were made
Shall never flicker, never fade.

In us arise, O Light of lights.
Burn brightly in the caverned heart.
Consume the shade that fear supplies,
And peace and truth instead impart.
...Thomas H. Troeger
image

Muslims Leaving Islam in Droves

Ex-Muslim Magdi Allam's very public baptism on Easter Sunday made headlines, but he is just one among legions converting from Islam around the world.
April 3, 2008 - by Andrew Walden

Pope Benedict’s choice to publicly baptize the most prominent Muslim in Italy, Egyptian-born Magdi Allam, highlights a quiet worldwide exodus from Islam. In recent years, millions have moved on. With this high-profile action, Pope Benedict demonstratively blesses this massive conversion from the highest levels of the Church.

Interviewed by al-Jazeera in 2006, Ahmad al-Qataani, leader of the Companions Lighthouse for the Science of Islamic Law in Libya, explains the decline:

Islam used to represent … Africa’s main religion and there were 30 African languages that used to be written in Arabic script. The number of Muslims in Africa has diminished to 316 million, half of whom are Arabs in North Africa. So in the section of Africa that we are talking about, the non-Arab section, the number of Muslims does not exceed 150 million people. When we realize that the entire population of Africa is one billion people, we see that the number of Muslims has diminished greatly from what it was in the beginning of the last century. the rest

TIME: The American Pope

Thursday, Apr. 03, 2008
By DAVID VAN BIEMA, JEFF ISRAELY

In 1984, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger dropped by New York City. He was heading home to the Vatican from a conference in Dallas and had saved a day to tour what was then still regularly called the Big Apple. According to Father James O'Connor, who was acting as his chauffeur, Ratzinger sat in the front seat, the better to take in the hustle and buzz of the city. They visited the (Episcopal) Cathedral of St. John the Divine, the medievally furnished Cloisters museum and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. On the way to Kennedy Airport, the car stalled halfway through the Midtown Tunnel, between Manhattan and Queens. O'Connor trudged to the Queens side, where he found a mechanic--who happened to be a Jordanian Catholic, recognized the Cardinal and rushed to his aid. O'Connor recalls Ratzinger, up and running again, saying "There is every sort of person in New York, and they're all helpful." A few minutes later, just after he stepped out onto the curb at J.F.K., someone rear-ended the car, shattering the back window.
the rest image

Added: Pope To Visit NYC Synagogue For Passover

Judge Vows Episcopal Property Ruling Friday

Written by Nicholas F. Benton
Thursday, 03 April 2008

It’s been two-and-a-half months since the date he’d originally set for making his ruling, but Fairfax Circuit Court Judge Randy Bellows will rule on the ownership of the Falls Church Episcopal Church and 10 other Church properties this Friday, according to a notification from his law clerk issued to attorneys in the case yesterday.

The dispute stems from the defection of a majority of members of those congregations from the Episcopal Church, U.S.A., in December 2006, and their subsequent claim to the properties of those churches.

“Judge Bellows has asked me to advise you that the Court anticipates it will issue its opinion regarding the applicability of 57-9 this Friday, April 4. It may, however, issue the opinion a day earlier or later,” the notice from Bellows’ clerk stated. the rest

Comments at Stand Firm

An Open-Handed Gospel

We have to decide whether we have a stingy or a generous God.
Richard J. Mouw
4/03/2008

Excerpt:
"In a speech I heard several years ago, the Japanese-American theologian Kosuke Koyama put it nicely: We all have to decide, he said, whether we have a generous God or a stingy God. And the truth is that we evangelicals often give the impression that we have decided to be a spiritually stingy people. A recent Barna Group survey, for example, offers evidence that many young people in the larger society think of evangelicals primarily as "judgmental" types, hostile toward folks in other religions and mean-spirited in our attitudes about homosexuality. Even many young evangelicals share some of these assessments of the older generation. A leader at an evangelical college said it this way: "A lot of our students worry about typical evangelical attitudes toward people who have different belief systems and lifestyles. It's not that they don't take the Bible's teachings seriously. It's just that they have gotten to know Muslims and gays, and they are embarrassed by the harsh spirit toward such folks that they see in the older generation. If we don't do something about this negative image soon, we could easily lose them for the evangelical cause."

Nothing here justifies our capitulating to moral relativism or retreating from the insistence that salvation is found in Jesus Christ alone. We must resist those errors with all of our being. An understanding of divine generosity that inhibits us from calling sinners to bring the burden of their sin and guilt to Calvary is a denial of the gospel.

A number of years ago, I wrote a book on the subject of Christian civility. I was inspired to do so by a delightful line in one of Martin Marty's books. People today who are civil, Marty observed, often don't have very strong convictions. And people who have strong convictions often are not very civil. What we need, he said, is convicted civility."
the rest image

Muslims' fury forces schools to shelve anti-homophobia storybooks for 5-year-olds

London,
Thursday 03.04.08

Two primary schools have withdrawn storybooks about same-sex relationships after objections from Muslim parents.

Up to 90 gathered at the schools to complain about the books which are aimed at pupils as young as five.

One story, titled King & King, is a fairytale about a prince who turns down three princesses before marrying one of their brothers. the rest

College Abstinence Clubs Springing Up

by Steve Jordahl
April 2, 2008

Abstinence clubs are common at high schools but few college campuses have them. That may be changing.

Sarah Jane Eubanks embraced the abstinence message in high school but when she got to Texas A&M there were few resources to help her keep that commitment.

“There is a lack on campus for sure. I think I can look back and remember seeing maybe a flyer or two every once in a while.”

Several Ivy League schools and a handful of other colleges are taking up the slack. Harvard, MIT and Princeton have started student organizations that look like high school clubs on steroids. Princeton Anscombe Society faculty rep Robert George says the currency at colleges and universities is reason. the rest

Chinese Spy 'Slept' In U.S. for 2 Decades

Espionage Network Said to Be Growing
By Joby Warrick and Carrie Johnson
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, April 3, 2008

Prosecutors called Chi Mak the "perfect sleeper agent," though he hardly looked the part. For two decades, the bespectacled Chinese-born engineer lived quietly with his wife in a Los Angeles suburb, buying a house and holding a steady job with a U.S. defense contractor, which rewarded him with promotions and a security clearance. Colleagues remembered him as a hard worker who often took paperwork home at night.

Eventually, Mak's job gave him access to sensitive plans for Navy ships, submarines and weapons. These he secretly copied and sent via courier to China -- fulfilling a mission that U.S. officials say he had been planning since the 1970s.

Mak was sentenced last week to 24 1/2 years in prison by a federal judge who described the lengthy term as a warning to China not to "send agents here to steal America's military secrets." But it may already be too late: According to U.S. intelligence and Justice Department officials, the Mak case represents only a small facet of an intelligence-gathering operation that has long been in place and is growing in size and sophistication. the rest

Morning Bible Story at the Kennedy house

Morning Bible Story

Matt: This morning we're reading about Daniel in the Lion's Den. (We're going in order, through the Old Testament.)
Emma: Oh Good, that's my favorite.
Aedan: And there's lions.
Matt: Right. Now King Darius,
Me walking through in an unpleasant (should I say 'hostile' morning stupor: Its Darius.
Matt: King Darius made a decree that everyone needed to worship and pray to ....(reads the story).... What do you think? If you were Daniel, would you go and pray in your open window or worship the king?
Emma: I would pray to Jesus.
Aedan: Me too.
Matt: What if God chose not to close the mouths of the lions?
Emma: I would still pray to Jesus.
Matt: What about you Aedan?
Aedan (scornfully): No. I don't want to be eaten by lions.
Emma: That's why the man is coming to take our house and church. Because we were worshiping Jesus?
Matt: More or less, but Jesus always provides for us, even when we have to suffer.
Emma: I know.

Anne Kennedy's blog: An Undercurrent of Hostility image

(Somehow this really struck me as a really great metaphor: TEC vs. all the Daniels out there)

Italy: Polygamous Muslim marriages 'on the rise'

Rome, 2 April 2008

(AKI) - Polygamous marriages are illegal in Italy yet are reportedly on the rise. While few Muslim immigrants or Italian converts to Islam admit such unions, Muslim scholars put the number nationwide at 15,000-20,000, La Repubblica daily reports.

"There is no doubt that the phenomenon exists, and that the number of polygamous unions growing as the number of Muslim immigrants to Italy increases," the paper said, adding that there are also cases of polygamous Italian converts to Islam. the rest image

Ruth Gledhill: Anglicanism's hectic summer

April 03, 2008

This is a copy of my latest CEN column, reproduced also by Lisa Nolland on Anglican Mainstream. Thank you Lisa.

When Gafcon (the Global Anglican Future Conference) was first announced, I was utterly dismayed.

Never mind the theology. How on earth were we going to cover it? For religion correspondents the Olympics are coming four years early. Our task is Herculean. The events we must race between, holding high our flaming batons of "truth" and "justice", included Lambeth, General Synod, Methodist Conference, the usual Roman Catholic conferences that happen around this time, alongwith various wars around the globe involving Islam.

Not only did Gafcon land slap bang in the middle of all the Christian ecclesiological war fare, it also landed like some unexploded hand grenade in the middle of one of these very real Islamic conflict zones. Did these people not have children? Were no women involved? Will I ever see my son this summer? That’s why I’ve disappeared off skiing a record three times this spring, to escape into the mountains while I can. I wanted, no needed, some of the mountain-top fresh air that is in such short supply in the under-air conditioned Times office at Wapping, along with some ‘quality time’ with my family and friends before the internecine Anglican wars that dominate my professional life separated me from them for weeks at a time. the rest

PCUSA: Minister who did gay wedding is in hot water

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

CARROLLWOOD — What began three years ago as a complaint about the marriage of a lesbian couple has put a Carrollwood Presbyterian pastor into the national spotlight.

It was 2005 when the Rev. Janet Edwards, a Presbyterian minister, married Nancy McConn and Brenda Cole in Pittsburgh. James C. Yearsley, who then served in Pittsburgh as well, learned of the ceremony in a newspaper interview Edwards had given.

"I was offended," said Yearsley, now the pastor of Village Presbyterian Church in Carrollwood Village. "What she did in marrying two people of the same sex was a complete violation of the constitution of the Presbyterian Church of the United States of America, and she knew that, but she intentionally violated the constitution." the rest

Nearly 3,000 Rally in Support of Oklahoma Legislator

Threatened for Talk Against Homosexual Agenda
OKLAHOMA CITY, April 2, 2008

(LifeSiteNews.com) - Upwards of 3,000 people gathered today for the rally at the Oklahoma State Capitol in support of Rep. Sally Kern (R-Oklahoma City), reportedly spilling over onto all levels of the Rotunda. Rep. Kern has stood firm in the face of harassments and threats over statements she made regarding the homosexual agenda. Concerned Women for America (CWA) joined with over 50 pastors to sponsor the event in support of Rep. Kern's Biblical stand. the rest

Hybrid embryos cross the line, say Churches

by Daniel Blake
Thursday, April 3, 2008

Churches have expressed their regret after researchers at the University of Newcastle announced this week that they had created human-animal hybrid embryos.

University of Newcastle researcher Lyle Armstrong was given the green light to create the embryos by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority in January, in a move that angered Catholics.

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales said in a statement on Wednesday, “It does seem extraordinary that the HFEA should have granted a license before there has been a full public and parliamentary debate. the rest

Olympic Committee to China: Don't Block Internet

Ethan Cole
Gospel Herald Correspondent
Wed, Apr, 02 2008

The International Olympic Committee told Beijing organizers Tuesday that the Internet must be open during the Games.

The message came from a high-ranking IOC official during the first of three days of meetings – the last official session before the August games – between the international Olympic body and the Chinese hosts.

"This morning we discussed and insisted again," said Kevan Gosper, vice chairman of the IOC coordinating commission, according to The Associated Press. "Our concern is that the press [should be] able to operate as it has at previous games.

"China is known to block citizens’ access to foreign Web sites including news and blogs, especially those critical of the government. the rest

Zapping with the light fantastic

Lasers that pulsate at fantastically fast speeds have applications in engineering, computing and medicine
Mar 27th 2008
From The Economist print edition

EVEN the blink of an eye is nowhere near fast enough. To get an idea of how quickly the latest ultra-fast lasers operate, try an F-16 fighter. With the throttles fully open at supersonic speed the jet would barely traverse an atom in the same time as a pulse from one of today's fastest lasers.

Instead of emitting a continuous beam, a pulsed laser concentrates its energy into brief bursts. An ultra-fast laser produces fantastically short bursts in which the intensity and power of the pulses can reach mind-boggling levels. Because the pulses happen so quickly, the effects are concentrated in time. This gives ultra-fast lasers valuable properties that their slower predecessors do not have. They can, for instance, cut something out before the energy from the pulse gets a chance to heat up and possibly damage the surrounding area. This means ultra-fast lasers are better at such jobs as cutting and welding, eye surgery and creating some of the smallest man-made structures on the surface of semiconductors. the rest image

The New Eugenics

By Nigel M. de S. Cameron
3/26/2008

The Twenty-First Century Challenge to Human Dignity

This article is from the October 2006 BreakPoint WorldView magazine. Sign up today to receive the free online edition 10 times a year!
[Well worth reading!-PD]

In the manifesto on the “Sanctity of Life in a Brave New World” that Chuck Colson and I launched with representative Christian leaders in the spring of 2004, we addressed four key areas for Christian concern at the outset of the “biotech century.” They all converge on one concept: eugenics. Eugenics is the idea that we should weed out the sick and the diseased and favor the strong and healthy. It can take many forms, some much worse than others. In any case, eugenics will be the dominant concept of the twenty-first century. How we handle its many facets will determine, under God, the human future. the rest

Teens' pregnancies raising questions on how to cope, help

By TERRI LANGFORD and JENNIFER RADCLIFFE
Copyright 2008 Houston Chronicle

It's one thing to be a scared pregnant teenager.

But it's quite another when two 14-year-old Houston-area girls, through fear or lack of information, see their pregnancies end tragically in public restrooms.

In the first incident on Sunday, a Houston girl miscarried while aboard a Continental flight traveling home from a school field trip. Then, on Wednesday in Baytown, a girl delivered a full-term newborn in a school bathroom and then police believe she tried to flush the child down the toilet. the rest image

Student Sues 'Anti-Christian' Teacher Over Remarks in Class

Wednesday, April 02, 2008
By Anita Vogel

student and his family have filed a federal lawsuit demanding that a popular European history teacher at California's Capistrano Valley High School be fired for what they say were anti-Christian remarks he made in the classroom.

Chad Farnan, a 16-year-old sophomore, says the teacher, James Corbett, told his students that “Jesus glasses” obscure the truth and suggested that Christians are more likely than other people to commit rape and murder.

Farnan recorded his teacher telling students in class: “What country has the highest murder rate? The South! What part of the country has the highest rape rate? The South! What part of the country has the highest rate of church attendance? The South!” Farnan said he took the tape recorder to class to supplement his class notes. the rest

Tanzania in witchdoctor crackdown

Thursday, 3 April 2008

Tanzania's president has ordered a crackdown on witchdoctors who use body parts from albinos in magic potions to bring people good luck or fortune.

"This is senseless cruelty. It must stop forthwith," Jakaya Kikwete said on television, AFP news agency reports. the rest

Town reverses Good Friday policy

Winchester makes it a holiday again
By Kytja Weir
Globe Correspondent / April 3, 2008

Next year Winchester students and teachers will not need to miss school to observe Good Friday. Classes will be canceled for everyone.

The School Committee voted unanimously late Tuesday to reverse its policy of holding classes on the Christian holiday after more than 2 of every 5 students and scores of teachers did not attend that day last month.

"We didn't feel we could have a productive or safe day," said Sarah Swiger, School Committee chairwoman. the rest

McCain shies away from religion talk

By JONATHAN MARTIN
4/3/08

Traversing the country this week on a tour of places that have shaped his life and informed his values, John McCain spoke in strikingly personal language to introduce himself to the American public.

But missing so far is any significant mention of religious faith.

In an Oprah Winfrey-era where soul-baring and expressions of faith are the norm for public figures, the presumptive Republican nominee, open and candid about much else, retains a shroud of privacy around his Christianity.

Raised Episcopalian, McCain now attends a Baptist megachurch in Phoenix. But he has not been baptized and rarely talks of his faith in anything but the broadest terms or as it relates to how it enabled him to survive 5 ½ years in captivity as a POW. the rest image

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Devotional: We judge of things...

We judge of things by their present appearance,
but the Lord sees them in their consequences; if we could do so likewise, we should be perfectly of His mind; but as we cannot, it is an unspeakable mercy that He will manage for us, whether we are pleased with His management or not; and it is spoken of as one of His heaviest judgments, when He gives any person or people up to the way of their own hearts, and to walk after their own counsels. ...John Newton image

Doctors Must Perform Abortions or Lose Job

CBNNews.com
April 2, 2008

CBNNews.com - Doctors who refuse to refer patients for abortions could be putting their practices in jeopardy.

New professional guidelines say doctors have to either perform abortions - or refer patients to a doctor who will.

If they won't, the could lose their certification and ultimately, their job. the rest

Why are pro-life Democrats marginalized?

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Here we go again. I do not want to revisit this topic so soon, but I have no other choice. Reporters this year are still missing a big story: the marginal status of pro-lifers in the Democratic Party.

Journalists should be asking hard questions. How is it possible that Sen. Ted Kennedy feels, as Jim Wallis told Amy Sullivan, “kind of trapped by the liberal side” on abortion? Why haven’t Democratic presidential candidates accommodated pro-life voters, such as by favoring some restrictions on abortion or some legal protections for unborn infants? Is there evidence that pro-life Democrats will vote for Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama based on their promise to reduce unwanted pregnancies? the rest

Presiding Bishop charged with defaming Bishop Cox

Wednesday, 2nd April 2008
George Conger

LAWYERS for the octogenarian bishop deposed by the American Church have written to Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori charging her with defaming their client.

Questions over the legality of the March 12 proceedings have riled the American Church since the legality of the decision to depose Bishop John-David Schofield of San Joaquin and retired Bishop William Cox was questioned by The Church of England Newspaper and the Living Church.

On March 27 the Diocese of South Carolina issued a formal protest to the “failure to follow the Canons” and asked Bishop Schori to “revisit those decisions”, “refrain” from appointing a new bishop for San Joaquin and to “make every effort to follow our Church Canons in all future House of Bishops decisions.” “Because we feel so strongly that the Canons were not followed in the depositions of Bishops Schofield and Cox, we must respectfully refuse to recognize the depositions, and we will not recognize any new bishop who may be elected to replace Bishop Schofield, unless and until the canons are followed,” South Carolina said. the rest

America for Sale

by Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld
04/01/2008

As the U.S. and Western markets plummet and the U.S. dollar continues its free fall, sovereign wealth funds (SWF) gobble up prime financial institutions, industries and real estate in the U.S. and the West. Given concerns regarding the political influence of such wealth, the U.S. Treasury, together with Abu Dhabi and Singapore, on March 20 signed an “Agreement on Principles for Sovereign Wealth Fund Investment.”

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Ruth Gledhill: Women bishops fail in Wales

April 02, 2008

The Church in Wales has a few minutes ago voted not to consecrate women bishops. The motion, proposed by Archbishop Dr Barry Morgan, fell by three votes. In the laity it was 52-19, in the clergy 27-18. It fell after the amendments that would have offered alternative oversight for the clergy opponents also failed. Canon Mary Stallard, chaplain to the bishop of St Asaph and pictured on the far right of this picture, said: 'The moment will come back. We are very disappointed. It is not totally unexpected. But we are looking forward to bringing it back. This issue will not be ignored.'

The bill, unanimous in the bishops, needed a two-thirds majority in all three houses. the rest

ACNS: Pastoral Letter from the Church of Nigeria Standing Committee

April 2, 2008
The Most Revd Peter J. Akinola

My Dear People of God,

Alleluia, Christ is risen. He is risen indeed! Alleluia. May the power that raised Christ from the grave continue to empower and inspire our witness for Him as we daily identify with His death and resurrection in our lives.

The Bishops and their wives, Clergy and Laity, representing all our dioceses, with the Mothers Union and Women Guild delegates came together for the Standing Committee meeting of our Church which was hosted by the Diocese of Nnewi. The Bishop, Rt. Revd Godwin Okpala and his dear wife, led the clergy and people of the diocese to give a warm welcome to us all. We are grateful for their generosity demonstrated in so many ways, and pray for God continual blessing upon the Diocese. the rest

Episcopal bishops' different reference points-Schori vs. Minns

Wed, 04/02/2008
By TERRY MATTINGLY

There is nothing new about Anglicans worrying about the environment.

One of the Church of England's most famous hymns, after all, offers this somber vision of industrialization from poet William Blake: "And did the countenance divine shine forth upon our clouded hills? And was Jerusalem builded here among those dark satanic mills?"

Nevertheless, a recent sermon by the U.S. Episcopal Church's outspoken leader raised eyebrows as it circulated in cyberspace. Some traditionalists were not amused by a bookish discussion of bovine flatulence on the holiest day in the Christian year.

In her Easter message, Presiding Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori stressed that all Christians should let their faith shape their actions in real life and, thus, affect the world around them. the rest image

Cow-human cross embryo lives three days

By Grant McArthur
April 03, 2008 01:38am

Critics say development is 'monstrous'

HUMAN-cow embryos have been created in a world first at Newcastle University in England, hailed by the scientific community, but labelled "monstrous" by opponents.

A team has grown hybrid embryos after injecting human DNA into eggs taken from cows' ovaries, which had most of their genetic material removed.

The embryos survived for three days and are intended to provide a limitless supply of stem cells to develop therapies for diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and spinal cord injuries, overcoming a worldwide shortfall in human embryos. the rest

UK: 'No more mosques' says Synod member

Alison Ruoff claims that building mega-mosques could help turn Britian into an Islamic state
Ruth Gledhill
April 1, 2008

A prominent evangelical member of the Church of England’s General Synod has called for a ban on the building of any more mosques in Britain.

Alison Ruoff also claimed that Sharia law is inevitable in this country if mosques continue to be built here.

Mrs Ruoff, a former magistrate, said in an interview with London’s Premier Christian Radio that no more mosques should be built in Britain until all persecution of Christians in Muslim nations had ceased.
the rest image

Thousands At Christian Gathering In Hindu Kingdom Nepal

Wednesday, 02 April 2008
By Dr. John M. Lindner
BosNewsLife Senior Mission Correspondent

KATHMANDU, NEPAL (BosNewsLife)-- Some 25,000 native Christians and onlookers attended an unprecedented Easter Rally in Nepal, the world’s only Hindu kingdom, BosNewsLife established Wednesday, April 2.

The gathering, held in the capital Kathmandu last week, was arranged by local churches to promote Christianity in this Himalayan nation, where minority Christians have long been oppressed, organizers said.

People were seen holding banners heralding "the resurrection of Jesus Christ" during the down town celebration, which also included singing and dancing. Two key pastors preached during the gathering. the rest

The coming religious peace

March 2008 Atlantic Monthly
by Alan Wolfe

Excerpt: "Religious peace will be the single most important consequence of the secular underpinning of today’s religious growth. All religions tend to be protective of their traditions and rituals, but all religions also change depending upon the cultural practices of the societies in which they are based. Protestantism and secularism have always had close ties: as noted, Locke was drawing on a specifically Protestant sensibility when he wrote in defense of secular ideals. Other religions in secular environments have shown themselves quite willing to adopt Protestant notions about how faith should be practiced in order to gain or retain adherents. During the Second Vatican Council, in the early 1960s, the Catholic Church accepted the idea of religious liberty. Jews in the United States find themselves organized into denominations—Reform, Conservative, Orthodox—in ways that borrow from Protestant traditions. Despite the attention paid to what once were hotbeds of extremism like the North London Central Mosque in Finsbury Park, significant numbers of Muslims in both North America and western Europe are turning their mosques into all-purpose religious institutions and accepting innovations in gender equality foreign to the practice of Islam in the non-secular past." the rest

First Things: Where Are the Prophets?

By Peter Leithart
Wednesday, April 2, 2008

The question of my title is not a lament. My question is not, Why are there no more prophets? I have something more literal in mind: Where do we find prophets, and, specifically, where do we find them in the Bible? What is their physical and social location?

To judge by popular American perceptions, prophets are easy to recognize. Check the wilderness and woods, because prophets always stand outside, protesting the system. Look for the shaggy, crazed, wild-eyed guy, the one wearing a hair shirt instead of an Armani suit. Listen for the one who speaks in shrieks and whose personal habits embarrass polite society. Anger is the prophet’s characteristic emotion, and the jeremiad his characteristic genre. The prophet is more at home in the angular world of Flannery O’Connor than in the elegance of John Updike. It’s this image of the prophetic outsider that has inspired radicals from the Romantic period on to dress themselves in the mantle of the prophet. the rest image

CofE bishops press for a greener EU budget

by Daniel Blake
Wednesday, April 2, 2008

As the European Commission continues its consultation on the EU Budget, bishops in the Church of England are pushing for a greener budget that will take as its basis the biblical principle of stewardship.

In a submission to the European Commission’s Budget Review, the House of Bishops’ Europe Panel chided the European Union for failing to provide sufficiently for the European common good, saying that the current budget does not match up to the EU’s objectives. the rest

McCain won't fight platform on abortion, gays

By Ralph Z. Hallow
April 2, 2008

SANTA ANNA PUEBLO, N.M.— Advisers to Sen. John McCain's presidential bid say he will not try to "soften" the Republican party's platform on abortion and same-sex marriage to appeal to more voters.

McCain associates told The Washington Times that his operatives are not going to work behind the scenes to eliminate the party's calls for constitutional bans on abortion and homosexual marriage before the GOP convention in September. the rest

U.S. Muslims and Mormons share deepening ties

The connection is based not on theology but on shared values and a sense of isolation from mainstream America.
By David Haldane, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
April 2, 2008

The Mormon Church has to be among the most outgoing on earth; in recent years its leaders have reached out to, among others, Latinos, Koreans, Catholics and Jews.

One of the most enthusiastic responses, however, has come from what some might consider a surprising source: U.S. Muslims.

"We are very aware of the history of Mormons as a group that was chastised in America," says Maher Hathout, a senior advisor to the Muslim Public Affairs Council in Los Angeles. "They can be a good model for any group that feels alienated." the rest

Imam: Non-Muslims Deserve to Be Raped, Killed

Pro-life groups slam Obama

By S.A. Miller
April 2, 2008

Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama shakes hands with the overflow crowd prior to speaking at a town-hall meeting yesterday at Wilkes University in Wilkes-Barre, Pa.

Pro-life activists say Sen. Barack Obama's abysmal record on abortion issues is reflected by his remark that he would not want his daughters to be "punished with a baby" if they were to make a "mistake" as teenagers.

"He would want his own grandchild aborted. It shows a real callous disregard for human life," said David Osteen, executive director of National Right to Life. "This is a window into his soul." the rest

Obama's Abortion Extremism

Catholic Officials Upset Over Clinton's Visit to Another Catholic College

Albert Mohler: Marriage and the Glory of God

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Excerpt: "How does marriage glorify God? Tertullian, one of the early church fathers, offers wisdom: "How beautiful, then, the marriage of two Christians, two who are one in home, one in desire, one in the way of life they follow, one in the religion they practice . . . Nothing divides them either in flesh or in spirit . . . They pray together, they worship together, they fast together; instructing one another, encouraging one another, strengthening one another. Side by side they visit God's church and partake God's banquet, side by side they face difficulties and persecution, share their consolations. They have no secrets from one another; they never shun each other's company; they never bring sorrow to each other's hearts . . . Seeing this Christ rejoices. To such as these He gives His peace. Where there are two together, there also He is present."

Marriage is the source of great and unspeakable happiness. Yet because of sin it is not unmixed happiness. But marriage is not first and foremost about making us happy. It is for making us holy. And through the covenant of marriage two Christians pledge to live together so as to make each other holy before God, as a testimony to Christ.

Keep this in mind in the midst of today's frenzied marriage debates. Marriage is first and foremost about the glory of God. All of the manifold gifts of marriage are derived from that great fact."
the rest-don't miss this! image

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Devotional: Worship and intercession must go together

Worship and intercession must go together, the one is impossible without the other. Intercession means that we rouse ourselves up to get the mind of Christ about the one for whom we pray. Too often instead of worshipping God, we construct statements as to how prayer works. Are we worshipping or are we in dispute with God - "I don't see how You are going to do it." This is a sure sign that we are not worshipping. When we lose sight of God we become hard and dogmatic. We hurl our own petitions at God's throne and dictate to Him as to what we wish Him to do. We do not worship God, nor do we seek to form the mind of Christ. If we are hard towards God, we will become hard towards other people.

Are we so worshipping God that we rouse ourselves up to lay hold on Him so that we may be brought into contact with His mind about the ones for whom we pray? Are we living in a holy relationship to God, or are we hard and dogmatic?

"But there is no one interceding properly" - then be that one yourself, be the one who worships God and who lives in holy relationship to Him. Get into the real work of intercession, and remember it is a work, a work that taxes every power; but a work which has no snare. Preaching the gospel has a snare; intercessory prayer has none. ...Oswald Chambers
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