Saturday, April 12, 2008

Devotional: As a shepherd seeks out his flock...

"For thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I, I myself will search for my sheep and will seek them out. As a shepherd seeks out his flock when he is among his sheep that have been scattered, so will I seek out my sheep, and I will rescue them from all places where they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness. And I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them into their own land. And I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the ravines, and in all the inhabited places of the country. I will feed them with good pasture, and on the mountain heights of Israel shall be their grazing land. There they shall lie down in good grazing land, and on rich pasture they shall feed on the mountains of Israel. I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I myself will make them lie down, declares the Lord GOD. I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, and the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them in justice. Ezekiel 34:11-16 image

China: In Search of...Something

A growing number of Chinese, unmoored by rapid change, are finding answers in religion
By JASON DEAN AND LORETTA CHAO
April 12, 2008

Beijing -- Anyone in China over the age of, say, 30 has lived through more change than most Westerners can imagine in a lifetime.

In the early 1970s, China was in the grip of the Cultural Revolution, one of the most extreme incarnations of Communism the world has known, a chaotic period when traditional culture and values were all but eradicated. The Maoism that replaced Chinese tradition has since been eviscerated by three decades of economic reforms and opening that began in 1978. Today, it often seems that the pursuit of growth and profit are China's new reigning orthodoxy.

Not surprisingly, many Chinese feel unmoored by these turbulent ideological swings. There is a growing belief, especially among urban residents who have benefited most from economic change, that China's material success has come without any accompanying moral anchor for society. They argue that this dearth of morality in China's materialistic modern society is the cause of many of the country's well-known woes: corruption, environmental abuses, a growing gap between rich and poor, and even China's hyperreliance on cash, which many argue flows from a lack of trust needed to develop a flourishing credit culture. the rest

Ruth Gledhill: Church tells kids to 'Get a Life'

April 11, 2008

Joanna writes: It's hard to know how to react when the Church of England sends you a book entitled 'Get a Life'. Tempted as I was to do so, I find myself blogging about it on a Friday night instead.

Turns out that it wasn't an abusive missive after all, but a new course for Christian teenagers who want some guidance as to what to do with their lives....

...But the meditation at the end of the course is perhaps as good a guide as any to maintain a teenagers fragile self esteem even if it doesn't show them what to do with their lives.

Everything I look at shouts back at me telling me to change
Be like this
Wear that
Change your life
Have a makeover
You are what you eat
Everything I look at shouts at me telling me to become someone else
But I can't
A label is only a label
Food is just food
I look in the mirror and want to change how I am because of all that
I am not good enough
I look in the mirror and because of all those voices I don't like what I see
Someone I read about whispers back at me not to change:
'Be yourself
I will clothe you
I will be the change in your life
I made you, you don't need making over!
Feed on me.'
Someone I read about whispers back at me to just be me!
How can I?
With all those voices - I can hardly hear the whisper I want to hear.
I look in the mirror and still want to change.
Surely I am not good enough.
I look in the mirror, and someone looks back at me and says:

'I love what I see because I made you and formed you
Before you were born, millions of cells multiplied into you
Hand crafted into what you see now and what I see now.
You are one in a million
You are unique
Utterly loved without condition, without exception,
Just the longing that you will love me in return
And be you!

link

Conservative Dissent Wears Down Texas Priest

April 12, 2008

When the Diocese of Texas needed a church-growth speaker or a consultant for a congregation in crisis, the Rev. Stan Gerber was usually willing to volunteer, but when more and more members at his growing congregation began threatening to leave if he did not take action over the perceived failings of The Episcopal Church, Fr. Gerber said he reluctantly agreed. His last Sunday as an Episcopal priest will be April 13.

Since 1994, when Fr. Gerber became rector at Church of the Good Shepherd in Tomball, Texas, average Sunday attendance has grown from 100 to 385. The consecration of a partnered homosexual as Bishop Coadjutor of New Hampshire in 2003 caused attendance to drop at many conservative Episcopal churches, but Fr. Gerber said growth continued at Good Shepherd and that made him a sought-after speaker.

Fr. Gerber also made no secret of his traditionalist views. He served on the steering committee of the Texas Coalition of Like-Minded Clergy and Laity. The group nominated conservative candidates for elective office in the diocese and worked with Bishop Don Wimberly of Texas to have traditionalist bishops from elsewhere in The Episcopal Church speak at area conferences. the rest

TIME: The Heartthrob from the Vatican

Saturday, Apr. 05, 2008
By JEFF ISRAELY/ROME

When Pope Benedict XVI touches down for his first papal visit in the United States next week, you may notice that he doesn't have the same onstage flair as his predecessor, John Paul II. But you may also begin to notice a very handsome man of the cloth never far from the pontiff's side. That would be Monsignor Georg Gänswein, the Pope's personal secretary, responsible for everything from deciding who gets to see Benedict, to keeping His Holiness on schedule, to discreetly handing him his papal reading glasses just before a homily or other public discourse. While he is the paradigm of discretion, others have taken liberties with his image. Fashion designer Donatella Versace said her Spring 2007 collection was inspired by Gänswein, confessing: "I was thinking of an austere, severe and ethical man. I find Father Georg's austerity very elegant." the rest

Renowned oncologist changes position on euthanasia after contracting cancer

Madrid, Apr 11, 2008

(CNA).- The Spanish magazine Huellas has published an interview with Sylvie Menard, one of the most renowned oncologists in Europe who for many years was a supporter of euthanasia but several months ago changed her views after she was diagnosed with bone cancer.

Menard told the magazine that she always believed that each person should decide his own fate, but ‘when I became ill, I changed my position radically.”

“When you get sick, death ceases to be something virtual and becomes something that is with you every day,” she said. “So you say to yourself: ‘I am going to do everything possible to live as long as possible.” the rest

Matt Kennedy+: Rhetoric, Empathy, and the Holiness of the Church

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Excerpt:
No level of empathy or mutual recognition of "good intent" can overcome or override the fact that if this new teaching is heresy then eternal souls are at risk. Simply writing that is considered bad form in some orthodox circles; impolite at best, demagogic at worse. If we are to get anywhere near resolving our issues and reconciling the church, some will say, then such rhetoric must be put away and a gentler tone adopted. The implicit assumption behind such objections, however, is that what divides us is less important than the fact that we are divided and that by employing a gentler tone, the serious but non-essential issues facing the church may be resolved or at least set within a larger context of mutual commitment to an ecclesial body. the rest image



More Catholic schools closing across US

By MATT SEDENSKY
Associated Press Writer
April 12, 2008

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) -- For 46 years, crime, recessions and hurricanes proved no threat to the daily ritual of St. Monica School, where the entire blue-and-white uniformed student body gathered outside each morning to join in prayer.

Come June, though, the tradition will fade away, and "amen" will close St. Monica's morning recitations for the last time. The school, a home-away-from-home for mostly minority students, will close.

As Pope Benedict XVI next week makes his first trip to the U.S. as pontiff, Catholic schools across the country, long a force in educating the underprivileged regardless of their faith, face the same fate as St. Monica. the rest

Gospel shared in black & white to reach Philly inner city

Posted on Apr 11, 2008
by Norm Miller

PHILADELPHIA (BP)--Keystone Fellowship Church in suburban Philadelphia celebrated its fourth birthday by planting Epiphany Fellowship Church amid some of the City of Brotherly Love's meanest streets.

Keystone was barely three years old in 2004 when it partnered with the Southern Baptist North American Mission Board to plant Epiphany.

"It was church planting suicide," said Eric Mase, lead pastor of Epiphany.

But that didn't matter to John Cope, Keystone's pastor. He had church planting in his blood. He knew all about it. Having begun in August 2000 with only six people -– the members of his family -- Keystone officially launched a year later with 300 people. And partnering with Cope to plant Keystone was First Baptist Church in Orlando, Fla. From this relationship Cope knew how indispensable Keystone would be to the fledgling Epiphany Fellowship. the rest/photo

'Spanking' Bill Is Government Intrusion, Conservatives Warn

By Susan Jones
CNSNews.com Senior Editor
April 11, 2008

(CNSNews.com) - "Good parents in California could be jailed," unless they rise up and oppose a bill intended to ban the spanking of children, a conservative group is warning.

The bill, AB 2943, is scheduled for a vote on Tuesday, April 15, and the Campaign for Children and Families is urging Californians to speak against the measure at a hearing preceding the vote.

"AB 2943 would label good, loving parents -- who occasionally use a little paddle, a ruler, a little stick, or a brush to correct their youngster's misbehavior -- as official "child abusers" in the eyes of the law," said Randy Thomasson, president of the Campaign for Children and Families. the rest

Generation gap shaping American church as it looks toward first visit from Pope Benedict

By RACHEL ZOLL
The Associated Press

I n his visit this month to the United States, Pope Benedict XVI will find an American flock wrestling with what it means to be Roman Catholic.

The younger generation considers religion important, but it doesn’t equate faith with going to church. Many laypeople want a greater say in how their parishes operate, yet today’s seminarians hope to restore the traditional role and authority of priests.

Catholic colleges and universities are trying to balance their religious identity with free expression, catching grief from liberals and conservatives in the process. the rest

Schwarzenegger vows to fight constitutional ban on gay marriages

Fri Apr 11, 2008

SAN DIEGO - California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger says that if an initiative to ban gay marriage qualifies for the November ballot, he's prepared to fight it.

California's governor spoke Friday in San Diego at the convention of the Log Cabin Republicans, the nation's largest gay Republican group.

He has previously vetoed bills that would have legalized gay marriage. A Schwarzenegger spokeswoman did not say what prompted the governor to shift his position. the rest image

Schwarzenegger accused of pandering to homosexuals

Head of Episcopal Church in town for climate-change conference

By Janet I. Tu
Seattle Times religion reporter
Saturday, April 12, 2008

She was an oceanographer who once worked in Seattle before she became a priest, then a bishop and, eventually, head of her national denomination.

Now, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has a chance to merge the two parts of her life.
Jefferts Schori, 54, who heads the Episcopal Church in the United States, is in town for a conference today, urging her denomination, and those of other faith traditions, to take action on climate change.

One goal is for national religious assemblies to commit to reducing greenhouse-gas emissions by 50 percent in 10 years at every church, synagogue or facility they maintain. the rest

Episcopalians Finding Role in Monastery Life

Unlike Catholic Counterparts, They Enjoy Independence From Church Hierarchy
By Lilly Fowler
Religion News Service
Saturday, April 12, 2008

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -- Mount Calvary looks like your typical monastery. Visitors are greeted by a painting of a white-robed monk, a large cross around his neck and a Bible in his hand, staring ahead.

But the monk in the painting isn't a Catholic, and neither are the men in white-hooded habits who scurry about, welcoming visitors as they prepare the day's meals.

Mount Calvary is actually an Episcopal monastery, one of five monastic communities belonging to the Order of the Holy Cross. The United States and Canada are home to 23 distinct Anglican religious orders, said David Bryan Hoopes, president of the Conference of Anglican Religious Orders in the Americas, yet many people don't know Anglican monks and nuns exist. the rest

Friday, April 11, 2008

Devotional: I am graven on the palms of His hands...

I am graven on the palms of His hands. I am never out of His mind. All my knowledge of Him depends on His sustained initiative in knowing me. I know Him, because He first knew me, and continues to know me. He knows me as a friend, One who loves me; and there is no moment when His eye is off me, or His attention distracted for me, and no moment, therefore, when His care falters. ...JI Packer image

King of Jordan Donates Land for Anglican Church

April 11, 2008

King Abdullah II of Jordan recently donated a 2 ½-acre plot of land for construction of an Anglican Church at the location on the Jordan River traditionally believed to be the place where Jesus was baptized.

“We stand… in a region that had witnessed a great happening in Christian life and history as recorded in the Holy Scriptures,” said the Rt. Rev. Suheil Dawani, Bishop of Jerusalem in remarks at a dedication ceremony last month. “It’s a privilege for us to have this gift from His Majesty King Abdullah and at the same time we look at this as a project to build a medium-sized Gothic church with a retreat center.” the rest

AAC Interviews Bishop Mark Lawrence

Robert Lundy
4/11/2008
The following is an excerpt of an interview with the Bishop of the Diocese of South Carolina, Mark Lawrence. Further portions of the interview will be included in the AAC's next edition of Encompass. If you do not currently receive Encompass and would like to get the free mailing click here. The linked form will allow you to join the AAC as a member and receive Encompass

Interview

Quakes off Oregon coast stump scientists

by Michael Milstein, The Oregonian
April 11, 2008

Geologists at Oregon State University are preparing to divert a research ship to investigate an unusual offshore swarm of earthquakes - including three of magnitude 5 or larger - about 170 miles southwest of Newport.

The earthquakes started about 10 days ago and are continuing, although they appeared to taper off slightly Thursday night, said Robert Dziak, an OSU marine geologist in Newport. Instruments have recorded more than 600 tremors, many of them very small.

The quakes are puzzling because they are not occurring along the edge of the tectonic plates that make up the Earth's crust, where geologists are used to seeing seismic activity. Instead, they're centered in the Juan de Fuca Plate, a span of crust off the Northwest Coast, about 40 miles from the plate's edge.

The largest earthquake was a magnitude 5.4 tremor on Monday. A magnitude 5 quake hit Thursday. the rest

Albert Mohler: Would You be Okay with a Gay Kid?

Friday, April 11, 2008

Details magazine is an American version of what the Brits call "laddie mags" -- rather racy magazines that present a vision of what the good life is supposed to look like for young adult males. The magazine features an assortment of articles on male fashion, gear, lifestyle issues, and entertainment. Like most of these magazines, glossy advertising takes up much of the magazine.

The cover of this month's issue includes this interesting question: "Would you really be okay if your kid was gay?" [warning: offensive language] That a magazine of the cultural left (at least on lifestyle issues) would even ask such a question is fascinating in itself. The content of the article is even more fascinating. the rest

Nude Dancing at an "anti-Christmas" protest in Harvard Square is not Protected by the Constitution

by Robert J. Ambrogi
April 11, 2008

Massachusetts' highest court has stripped a Cambridge woman of her ability to express herself by dancing naked in Harvard Square. Yesterday, the Supreme Judicial Court reinstated felony charges of open and gross lewdness against Ria Ora, who was arrested in June 2005 when she danced nude in Harvard Square as part of an "anti-Christmas" protest. In Commonwealth v. Ora, the SJC reversed the trial court judge, who found that the criminal statute's "blanket prohibition against public nudity" (pun intended?) was a violation of the First Amendment. the rest image

China ratchets up Christian persecution

'Leading up to the Olympic Games, we actually see things getting worse'
April 10, 2008
By Bob Unruh
© 2008 WorldNetDaily

A Chinese man has been taken into custody and faces a possible sentence of death for charges alleging "subversion of the national government and endangering national security." But several Christian organizations that monitor human rights activities in China say Alimujiang Yimiti could face the penalty simply because he is a Christian. the rest image

Unrest in China Raises Fears of Execution of Christian

Economists: Abortion Didn't Decrease Crime, UK Stats Show Increase

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
April 10, 2008

London, England (LifeNews.com) -- A trio of economists have released the results of a new study disproving the supposed link between the legalization of abortion and a reduction in crime. John Donohue and Steven Levitt first introduced the repeatedly-criticized theory in 2001 and another report shows it's untrue.

Three economists -- Cal State University economics professor Leo Kahane, Nottingham University Business School professor David Paton and Rob Simmons of Lancaster University -- review the hypothesis using both American and British data.

The three focused on England because abortions have been legal there longer (1969 versus 1973 for the United States) and because the British health system requires all abortions be reported to the government, unlike in the U.S. the rest

Pope rejects garment design

THE Pope has decided he will not wear the vestments specially designed for World Youth Day and billed as "chic clergy couture" on the WYD website.
Sian Powell April 12, 2008

The "earthy-red" coloured vestments feature the Southern Cross constellation on the front and an indigenous feature titled "Marjorie's Bird" on the back.

The Pope is known to dislike vestment symbols that are not explicitly Christian. He may, though, wear some variation on the vestment design, a WYD spokeswoman said.

The snub may be the first of many in the clash of cultures between the liturgically and theologically conservative Pope Benedict XVI and the exuberance of the youth day. the rest

Barack Obama Forms Catholic Advisory Council to Make Pro-Life Inroads

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
April 11, 2008

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) -- Pro-abortion Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama is expected to announce the formation of a Catholic Advisory Council today that he will likely use to try to make inroads among pro-life Catholic voters.

However, whether Obama's position in favor of unlimited abortions funded with taxpayer dollars goes over with Catholic voters is another question.

Senator Bob Casey and former Congressman Tim Roemer will participate in the Friday afternoon conference call to announce the formation of the advisory group. the rest

GR: Benedict is not a superdelegate

Friday, April 11, 2008

The Pew Form on Religion & Public Life had a great forum the other day for journalists preparing to cover the upcoming visit by Pope Benedict XVI to Washington, D.C., and New York City. The speakers were two of the world’s top English-language Vatican watchers, John L. Allen, Jr., of the National Catholic Reporter and George Weigel of the Ethics and Public Policy Center. If you have any interest in the pope and what he might have to say during this visit, you really need to check out the transcript.

Here is one of the best quotes from that day, as we head into the final days of the “Oh my God, how will this papal visit shape the Catholic vote in the 2008 election” coverage. the rest

Australia: Anglican Church Grammar School bans gay partners at formal

By Robyn Ironside
April 12, 2008

ONE of Queensland's most prestigious boys schools has told final-year students they can't take their gay partners to the senior formal.

Several students at Churchie - the Anglican Church Grammar School - have made it known they want to escort boyfriends to the June 19 formal, but the school is insisting they take a member of the opposite sex.

Churchie headmaster Jonathan Hensman said none of the students had approached him directly, but a staff member had raised the issue on their behalf. the rest

Presiding bishop of Episcopal Church to visit Dallas parish

Fri, Apr 11, 2008
Sam Hodges

Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, will visit the Episcopal Church of Saint Thomas the Apostle on April 28. She'll join in a blessing service for the community garden there. the rest

Coming To Your Cell Phone: Text Messages From Uncle Sam

Posted by Eric Zeman,
Apr 10, 2008

The FCC has approved a new nationwide alert system that will send text messages to cell phones to alert Americans when an emergency, disaster, or attack occurs. Only three types of events will trigger the emergency text message, which will be sent by your carrier.

This is a good idea, though I am sure it will be completely ignored by many. The text messages will be sent for the following reasons: there is a terrorist or other attack that threatens the safety or health of Americans; an imminent or on-going natural disaster such as an earthquake, hurricane or tornado; or an Amber alert. the rest image

Rise in human trafficking largely unnoticed in Canada, experts say

MONTREAL — Human traffickers peddle young girls to work as sex slaves in Canadian cities for as little as $2,000 - a situation most people believe only happens in foreign lands, activists say.
An increase in human trafficking in Canada has gone largely unnoticed because Canadians think young girls choose to take up the sex trade, according to Joy Smith, a Conservative MP and longtime anti-trafficking activist.

"There are girls being sold in Montreal for $2,000," Smith said.

International observers have described human trafficking as one of the world's fastest growing crimes, a phenomenon Canada has not escaped.

"This is Canada's best-kept secret and it's a shameful secret," said Smith. the rest

Pro-suicide websites 'outnumber' pro-life sites

Friday, 11 Apr 2008

Suicidal people searching the internet are more likely to find advice on how to end life than sites offering help and support, a new study claims.

Researchers from the universities of Bristol, Oxford and Manchester performed searches likely to be undertaken by a person looking for instructions and information about methods of suicide using the four most popular search engines.

They came across 240 different sites, just under half of which provided some information about methods of suicide. the rest

Why doesn’t BC prosecute polygamists?

By StatGuy
April 9th, 2008

That question is being asked once again in the wake of the huge bust at the West Texas compound of the polygamist Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS). Last weekend, child welfare investigators and law enforcement personnel liberated teenage mothers and underage girls who said they had been forced to marry. Over 400 children have been taken into state custody. The raid, prompted by a report that a 16-year-old girl had been sexually assaulted at the compound, uncovered rampant and systematic emotional and physical abuse of children and their mothers.

A FLDS colony exists at Bountiful, BC, where polygamy has been an open secret for decades, yet provincial governments have refused to prosecute. The events in Texas have renewed pressure on Attorney-General Wally Oppal to get off his duff. the rest

NOONAN: Something Beautiful Has Begun

By Peggy Noonan
April 11, 2008

Excerpt:
Benedict, the reporter noted, is the perfect pope for the Internet age. He is a man of the word. You download the text of what he said, print it, ponder it.

Now he is the man at the window. What do we see? This is what I saw as his popemobile came close by in the square: tall man, white hair, shy eyes, deep-set. He is waving, trying to act out pleasure at being the focus of all eyes, center stage. He is not a showman but a scholar, an engaged philosopher nostalgic for the days – he has spoken of them – when he was a professor in a university classroom, surrounded by professors operating in a spirit of academic camaraderie and debate. But, his friends tell you, he enjoys being pope. He has become acclimated.

There is a sweetness about him – all in the Vatican who knew him in the old days speak of it – and a certain vagueness, as if he is preoccupied. the rest-don't miss this! image

First Things: Listening to Benedict
By Richard John Neuhaus
Friday, April 11, 2008

That’s the main thing—to listen to what he says. I expect the texts for the public events will be posted promptly on numerous sites. Raymond Arroyo and I will be cohosting the live coverage of all the events on EWTN (check your cable listings). And I hope that, between events, I’ll be able to do some daily postings here.

Visits by John Paul II were typically grand public extravaganzas and, since any pope is, after all, the pope, there will no doubt be extravagances in the week ahead. In Rome it is commonly said that crowds came to see John Paul, while they come to hear Benedict. There is a modicum of truth in that, although it underplays the way in which people beyond numbering listened with rapt attention as John Paul set forth in great detail such complex subjects as the “theology of the body” in his Wednesday audiences.

And yet there is no doubt about the contrast. Benedict is a soft-spoken teacher less given to dramatic gestures and inviting an intellectual attentiveness appropriate to his precision of expression. In a message given prior to his visit, he announced the theme of the visit: “Christ Our Hope.” The entirety of his being is animated by the desire to propose to the Church and to the world that Jesus Christ is, as he said of himself, “the way, the truth, and the life.” the rest

EWTN to Interview Bush on Papal Visit

Pottersville NY Church Arsonist Sentenced To 14 Years

Thursday, 10 of April , 2008

POTTERSVILLE—A former student at the Word of life Bible Institute on Glendale Road in Pottersville who admitted he set a fire two years ago which destroyed the Christ Episcopal Church has been sentenced to 14 years in prison. He will serve the sentence in federal prison, to run concurrently with a sentence of 13 years which was imposed for an unrelated arson in his hometown in Massachusetts in 2005.

Caleb Uriah Lussier, 21, of Plymouth, Mass, had pleaded guilty in Warren County Court last fall to two counts of felony arson as a hate crime for the May 30, 2006 fire.

He will also have to pay $300,000 in restitution and will be placed on five years of supervised parole following his release from prison. the rest image

A Virginia court upholds law

Seceding Virginia Parishes Win First Round
John A. Sparks is dean of the Alva J. Calderwood School of Arts & Letters at Grove City College and fellow for educational policy with the Center for Vision & Values.
4/11/2008

GROVE CITY, Pa.--The 12 Virginia Episcopal congregations that voted to leave the Episcopal Church in the U.S.A. (ECUSA) and its Virginia Diocese in late 2006 and early 2007 have been successful in the first round of what promises to be a protracted legal battle.
At stake is whether these local parishes can retain their church property, estimated to be worth $30 million to $40 million. When the local churches voted to exit, both the ECUSA and the diocese began lawsuits against the departing churches claiming, among other things, that the local congregants were trespassers in their own sanctuaries.

Now a Virginia judge who is hearing the cases, the Honorable Randy I. Bellows, has issued a carefully worded and tightly reasoned 83-page opinion, which decides a crucial but preliminary issue: Was a Virginia law--which provides a process by which a local church can disaffiliate from its denomination--properly used by the departing churches? Judge Bellows has found, in short, that it was. the rest

Australia appoints first woman Anglican bishop

By James Grubel
Fri Apr 11, 2008

CANBERRA (Reuters) - Australia's Anglican church appointed its first woman bishop on Friday, but moved to avoid further tension with church conservatives by allowing parishes to opt out if they do not like a woman being in charge.

The appointment of Perth-based Archdeacon Kay Goldsworthy, 51, as an assistant bishop comes 16 years after Australia's Anglicans ordained the first women into the priesthood. the rest

Schori: Question authority, says Bishop

April 10, 2008

The chief symbol of authority in the Episcopal Church, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, delivered an unusual message to a Seattle gathering of young churchgoers: Question authority.

In a setting that symbolizes entrenched local power -- the Washington Athletic Club -- Bishop Schori urged youthful listeners to "prod" the church, think about the Gospel "in new ways," and challenger their elders on the environment.

"I expect you to hold older generations' feet to the fire for the condition of Creation," Schori argued.

At another point, she told listeners:

"You are living reminders to the rest of us that God is constantly doing a new thing . . . Some people believe the church never changes. The only thing that never changes is a dead body, and that begins to rot." the rest

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Devotional: How often we look upon God...

How often we look upon God as our last and feeblest resource! We go to him because we have nowhere else to go. And then we learn that the storms of life have driven us, not upon the rocks, but into the desired haven. ...George Macdonald image

NY's chief judge is suing state over NY judges' pay

April 10, 2008

NEW YORK - New York's chief judge is suing the state over its failure to increase judicial salaries.

The lawsuit by Chief Judge Judith Kaye was being filed Thursday in Manhattan's state Supreme Court, according to David Bookstaver, spokesman for the Office of Court Administration.

New York judges haven't had a pay raise in 10 years.

The state budget approved by the Legislature on Wednesday includes $48 million for certain pay raises that would include the judges. But while that funding is available in the budget, the money can't be spent until the Legislature agrees to a bill that would authorize the raises. the rest

McCain Erases Obama Lead

Apr 10 2008
By NEDRA PICKLER
Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) - Republican Sen. John McCain has erased Sen. Barack Obama's 10-point advantage in a head-to-head matchup, leaving him essentially tied with both Democratic candidates in an Associated Press-Ipsos national poll released Thursday.

The survey showed the extended Democratic primary campaign creating divisions among supporters of Obama and rival Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and suggests a tight race for the presidency in November no matter which Democrat becomes the nominee.

McCain is benefiting from a bounce since he clinched the GOP nomination a month ago. The four-term Arizona senator has moved up in matchups with each of the Democratic candidates, particularly Obama. the rest image

The Economist: The great American slowdown

The recession may not be as severe as many fear, but the recovery could take longer—and that is dangerous
Apr 10th 2008

AMERICANS are unaccustomed to recessions, particularly ones that involve shopping less. During the past quarter-century, the world's most powerful economy has suffered only two official downturns, in 1990-91 and 2001. Both were short and shallow. In 2001 consumer spending barely skipped a beat; a decade earlier it fell, but only briefly. Buoyed by rising asset prices and financial innovations that allowed ever more people to tap ever more debt, the collective American wallet has not snapped shut in almost two decades.

That may be about to change. Evidence is mounting that the economy has slipped into recession—and this time consumer weakness is to the fore (see article). The doughty American shopper is being pummelled by four things: the housing bust, the credit crunch, higher fuel and food costs and, most recently, a weakening labour market. The unemployment rate rose to 5.1% in March, while the private sector lost jobs for the fourth month in a row. Feeling poorer and with fewer people prepared to lend them money, consumers are cutting back: witness the slump in car sales. And seeing that consumer spending accounts for 70% of American demand, that hurts, especially when it is coupled with a collapse in the once mighty construction industry. The IMF now officially predicts an American recession in 2008; many at the Federal Reserve think output is contracting. the rest image

UK loses interest in marriage

Thursday, 10th April 2008
By Matt Cresswell

THE DECLINING interest in marriage, revealed in official figures last week, has been blamed on economic pressure by leading Christian marriage experts.

Financial worries are a particular concern, with fewer and fewer young couples even able to afford a wedding after battling rising house prices and student loans.

Their comments come after the figures released by the Office of National Statistics revealed marriage rates in England and Wales for 2006 are the lowest since records began in 1862.

Speaking to The Church of England Newspaper Carol Davies of the Anglican marriage support group Family Life and Marriage Education Network (FLAME) said she was very concerned about the financial pressures. “People have said that couples don’t get married because they can’t afford the increasing wedding costs but now they also have the situation of rising house prices,” she said. “Getting your foot on the housing market is now nigh on impossible.” the rest

Why Do Textbooks Cost So Much?

April 4, 2008
By Charlotte Allen

Excerpt:
Welcome to the world of textbook pricing, where, it would seem, the usual market forces don't apply. The textbook market in no way resembles the trade book market, in which the same person - the consumer - desires the book (the new War and Peace, the latest diet guide or whatever), acquires it, and pays for it, so that price points and competition are crucial. What the textbook market resembles most is the market for health care, in which one entity (the physician/the professor) desires - that is, assigns or prescribes - the product, a second entity (the patient/the student) consumes it, and a third set of entities (insurance companies/parents) foot the bill. Spiraling prices for textbooks, like spiraling medical costs, seem to be the inevitable result. A General Accounting Office report in 2005 noted that textbook prices rose 186 percent in the U.S. from 1986 to 2004, compared to only a 3 percent rise in other prices over the same period and a 7 percent rise in average college tuition and fees. The seemingly out-of-control price increases have prompted laws in six states and pending bills in at least four others - plus a measure passed by the House of Representatives on Feb. 7 - that aim to regulate the way in which textbooks are marketed so as to lower costs to students.
the rest image

Raids Have Strengthened Polygamous Sect

Apr 10, 2008
By JENNIFER DOBNER
Associated Press Writer

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- The recent raid on a polygamist sect's compound by child welfare investigators has been tried before - but only temporarily interrupted the sect's way of life.

Authorities previously burst into the rural Utah-Arizona border home of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in 1935, 1944 and 1953.

Children were shuffled off to foster care and their parents imprisoned. But the families came back, time after time, more committed to their religion and to polygamy.

"It ended up strengthening them in the long run," said Ken Driggs, an Atlanta attorney and polygamy historian. the rest image

Texas cult child abuse allegations released

Anglican leaders agree to protocol on women bishops

10th April 2008

Australia’s Anglican leaders have taken another step towards women bishops, agreeing on a protocol to deal with the contentious issue.

The move, which came out of this week’s Anglican bishops’ conference in the NSW city of Newcastle, followed last year’s ruling by the church’s peak law body that there were no legal hurdles to women becoming bishops.

The bishops said in a statement today the Women in the Episcopate protocol, which was adopted at the conference, would help deal with differences of opinion over female bishops.

“The bishops recognised the good faith of those in the church who support the new development of women bishops and of those who find that they cannot do so,” they said in a statement. the rest

At ground zero, pope will pray for victims and families, world peace

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service
Apr-10-2008

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- In addition to praying at ground zero in New York for the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and for their families, Pope Benedict XVI will pray for peace and understanding in the world.

On April 10 the Vatican posted on its Web site the Missal Pope Benedict will use during his April 15-20 visit to Washington and New York; the Missal includes the prayer he will recite at ground zero April 20.

Describing the site as "the scene of incredible violence and pain," the prayer asks God to grant eternal light and peace to all who died there when terrorists flew two planes into the World Trade Center. It also recalls those who died the same day at the Pentagon and in Shanksville, Pa. the rest

Timeline: Pope Benedict XVI

Pope may find willing ear among young US Catholics

Pope's visit to United States comes under heavy media glare

Added 1:00 pm: Pop meets pope: US readies rock star welcome for Benedict XVI

Schools' new prom fever: Giving condoms to kids

Board approves sexual gifts for students at dance
April 07, 2008
By Bob Unruh

© 2008 WorldNetDaily
A school board in Arizona has decided condoms are among the items that should be given to students attending this year's prom.

The school board in the Bisbee District voted 4-1 at a recent meeting to include the condoms in a "prom bag.". the rest image

Canada: Anglican realignment begins in BC, parishes leave ACC

Canada's largest Chinese Congregation votes unanimously to leave
By Sue Careless
April 2008

The largest Chinese Anglican congregation in Canada has voted unanimously to leave the Anglican Church of Canada and come under the spiritual care of a South American archbishop. It was not alone. This past February saw an unprecedented exdous of congregations and clergy from the national church as more dioceses voted to bless same- sex unions.

The Church of the Good Shepherd in Vancouver, a 119 year-old Cantonese-speaking congregation, attracts 300 people each Sunday with another 100 attending midweek services and fellowship groups. Although many of its members are young, it is the oldest Chinese Anglican church in Canada. It has a remarkable outreach into Vancouver’s substantial Chinese community. And it helped plant a Chinese ministry at St. Luke’s in 1993. Most of the Chinese who take part in home fellowship groups are first-generation immigrants. Once they learn more about Christianity, many begin to attend church and are baptized as adults.

On Feb. 17 this vibrant, thriving church voted unanimously 203-0 with no abstentions to leave the national church and affiliate instead with the Anglican Network in Canada (ANiC). “When you have to defend your faith, you grow stronger,” said the Rev’d Stephen Leung, the rector. the rest

Bishop Kelshaw Denies Resigning from the Ministry

April 9, 2008

Four weeks into his new ministry assignment,” Bishop Terence Kelshaw said on April 9 that there are times when he still has to hunt for a stapler, but he harbors no such confusion about his continued right to exercise the gifts and spiritual authority of an ordained minister.

Bishop Kelshaw retired as Bishop of the Rio Grande in 2005. He is currently serving as “Bishop-in-Residence” at St. James’ Anglican Church, Newport Beach, Calif., while the congregation searches for a new rector. Both St. James’ and Bishop Kelshaw have been received into the Anglican Church of Uganda.

Last month Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori informed Bishop Kelshaw by letter that she had accepted his renunciation of the ordained ministry and that he was “deprived of the right to exercise the gifts and spiritual authority as a minister of God’s word and sacraments.” The action came after Bishop Kelshaw wrote the Presiding Bishop to inform her that he had left The Episcopal Church. the rest

Obama supporter Oprah takes a big dive

By COSTAS PANAGOPOULOS
4/7/08

Much hay was made nearly a year ago when Oprah Winfrey announced that she would support — and campaign for — Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama. Her effect in boosting support for Obama in early primary and caucus states like Iowa (which he won), New Hampshire (which he lost) and even South Carolina (which he won) is debatable.

After all, according to a national survey of Democrats conducted in December 2007 by ABC News and The Washington Post, 82 percent of respondents claimed Oprah’s endorsement would make no difference in their vote, while 8 percent said it would make them more likely to vote for Obama and 10 percent indicated it would make them less likely to do so.

But what has received far less attention is the impact Oprah’s endorsement has had on her own popularity. Long considered the “queen of daytime TV,” Oprah Winfrey has enjoyed sky-high popularity as a media personality for two decades. “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” launched in September 1986, is currently the longest-running daytime program on television and is the highest-rated talk show in American television history. the rest image

A Tribute to Charlton Heston

Countercultural Icon
By Chuck Colson
4/10/2008

Excerpt:

And if you had to pick a cultural icon worthy of the status, you could not do much better than Charlton Heston. If you have been reading the tributes, you have seen why: Married to his wife, Lydia, for 64 years, a beloved father and grandfather, a staunch supporter of civil rights who marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and stood nearby as King delivered the immortal “I Have a Dream” speech.

Yet there are those who deride Heston for the causes that he devoted himself to later in his life, such as Second Amendment rights and protecting kids from an increasingly coarse culture. I think these people are missing something. It is not the man who goes easily along with the prevailing winds of the culture who most deserves our respect and admiration. It is the man who stands up for beliefs, against the popular trends of the day—even when he has something to lose. the rest image

Komen Gave Planned Parenthood Abortion Businesses Over $700K Last Year

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
April 9, 2008

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) -- A new report from a Planned Parenthood watchdog finds chapters of the Komen Race for the Cure breast cancer group gave affiliates of the national abortion business over $700,000 last fiscal year. The enormous amount should be a red flag to pro-life advocates, one leading activist says.

Figures from STOPP International show Komen chapters giving $711,485 from April 1, 2005 to March 31, 2006 to Planned Parenthood affiliates.

Jim Sedlak, a representative of the watchdog group says the numbers are concerning given than millions of pro-life Americans will participate in Komen events during the month. the rest image

BRAZIL: Bishops protest Southern Cone archbishop's unauthorized visit, violation of Windsor Report

April 09, 2008

[Episcopal News Service] The bishops of the Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil issued an open statement April 9 expressing their "strong repudiation" of a recent unauthorized visit by Southern Cone Archbishop Gregory Venables to Recife "where he took part in and celebrated at official occasions outside his Province without the knowledge and consent of the Archbishop of the Province of Brazil and this House of Bishops."

The full text of the statement, dated April 3 and released on April 9, follows. the rest

Comments at Stand Firm

High Court Justice Says Right to Abortion Nowhere in Constitution

By Alexander J. Sheffrin
Christian Post Correspondent
Wed, Apr. 09 2008

During a visit to law students at Roger Williams University this week, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia said that the right to an abortion exists no where in the constitution.

"The reality is the constitution doesn't address the subject at all,” he said Monday, according to LifeNews.com.

The court justice reportedly used the opportunity to slam what he referred to as the increasing trend to interpret the constitution as a “living” document, allowing for “the right to abortion to be the law from coast to coast, now and forever.”

The constitution is neither a liberal or conservative document, and is only meant to be interpreted as the original founding fathers intended, Scalia argued. the rest

Episcopalian Showdown

By Quin Hillyer
4/10/2008

Conservatives and common sense together won a big victory last week when a Virginia state judge ruled in favor of parishioners in 11 individual churches who have broken away from the Virginia Diocese and the national governing body of the U.S. Episcopal Church.

By astonishingly overwhelming votes within each congregation, the parishioners decided instead to join the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA), which is affiliated with the worldwide Anglican Communion through the Church of Nigeria. Naturally, the state and national Episcopal churches have not taken kindly to the breakaway parishes, and have sued to force the parishioners to leave the church properties involved. What the parishioners won on April 4 was just the first battle in what may be a long-running, multi-pronged lawsuit, but it was a hugely important victory nonetheless. Fairfax County Circuit Court Judge Randy Bellows ruled that something called the Virginia Division Statute means what it very clearly states, which is that the majority of a church parish is entitled to its property when there is a division within the congregation -- and that the 90-plus percent vote in eight of those 11 parishes (the lowest vote in favor of breaking away was 72 percent) clearly represent a "division" from the Episcopal Church. the rest

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Legalizing gay marriage will spark lawsuits against churches

Commentary - Roger Severino
Apr 7, 2008
The Examiner

WASHINGTON - After years of litigation and debate, the California and Connecticut supreme courts are about to decide the question of marriage. If, as some suspect, the courts redefine the institution to include same-sex couples, they will have entered a minefield of unintended consequences — especially with regard to religious liberty.

The experience of legalizing same-sex marriage in Massachusetts, and of civil unions elsewhere, cannot be ignored. It shows that, even with the best of intentions, legalizing same-sex marriage will seriously undermine the religious freedom citizens have enjoyed since the founding.

Although the First Amendment protects dissenting houses of worship from being forced to perform same-sex wedding ceremonies against their will, that is not the end of the story — it is barely even the beginning.

Simply changing the definition of marriage opens the door to a flood of lawsuits against dissenting religious institutions based on state public accommodation and employment laws that prohibit marital status and sexual orientation discrimination. the rest

Wall of silence broken at state's Muslim public school

By KATHERINE KERSTEN,
Star Tribune
April 9, 2008

Recently, I wrote about Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy (TIZA), a K-8 charter school in Inver Grove Heights. Charter schools are public schools and by law must not endorse or promote religion.

Evidence suggests, however, that TIZA is an Islamic school, funded by Minnesota taxpayers.

TIZA has many characteristics that suggest a religious school. It shares the headquarters building of the Muslim American Society of Minnesota, whose mission is "establishing Islam in Minnesota." The building also houses a mosque. TIZA's executive director, Asad Zaman, is a Muslim imam, or religious leader, and its sponsor is an organization called Islamic Relief. the rest image

NY Gov. David Paterson Pledges Support For Gay Marriage In LGBT Video

Paterson Seeks Escape From 'Dysfunctional Albany'
April 8, 2008

Here's the video Gov. David Paterson sent in lieu of a personal appearance at last night's National Gay and Lesbian Task Force's 2008 New York Leadership Awards dinner, at which he was supposed to be honored (along with filmmaker John Waters).

Paterson opted to skip out on the event in favor of attending the ongoing budget negotiations in Albany. the rest

Video

Forward in Faith North America reacts to the inhibition of Bishop MacBurney

Apr 9, 2008

“It is a sad day when godly bishops are no longer free to provide pastoral care for those beyond our formal institutional boundaries.” FiF NA President

Today the Right Reverend Edward MacBurney, the bishop retired of the Diocese of Quincy (Episcopal) received a Letter of Inhibition from Katharine Jefferts Schori, the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church in the USA (TEC). The Inhibition forbids MacBurney from functioning as a bishop of TEC.

Last year MacBurney was invited by the Presiding Bishop & Primate of the Southern Cone, the Most Reverend Gregory Venables, to make a pastoral visit to a Southern Cone parish in San Diego, California, on his behalf. In a spirit of Anglican unity and Christian generosity, Bishop MacBurney agreed to respond to the pastoral needs of those outside TEC with whom TEC claims fellowship.

“This is an alarming move against a godly man who, without publicity, rightly helped a brother bishop provide care for his people,” said the Right Reverend Keith Ackerman, President of Forward in Faith NA and current TEC Bishop of Quincy (IL). This move against Bishop MacBurney is a clear warning that the leadership of TEC is endeavouring to bring the days of the biblically orthodox within TEC to a close. “Schori clearly has no intention to ‘live in tension with people who don’t agree with you about everything’ as she was quoted in Saturday’s interview with the San Diego Union-Tribune reporter, Sandi Dolbee. “While Schori extolled the imperative to worship together, her Inhibition is to prevent others from worshipping with Bishop MacBurney,” said Father Keith Acker who was also interviewed by Dolbee on Schori’s weekend visit to San Diego.

Internationally this is an attack upon the many world leaders of Anglican Churches (Primates) who have responded to the “burning house” of the ever increasingly post-Christian theology of TEC and its abandonment of the Bible as the Word of God in any meaningful sense.

Bishop MacBurney welcomes the opportunity to defend his actions from the scandalous neglect of Christian charity led by Katharine Jefferts Schori and the leadership of TEC. Bishop MacBurney will have 90 days to respond to the charges.

The Right Revd Keith L. Ackerman
President of Forward in Faith North America
link

TLC: PB Presses Efforts to Remove More Bishops

April 9, 2008

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori continued preparations for a vote to depose Bishop Robert Duncan at a special House of Bishops’ meeting before the Lambeth Conference this July. E-mail messages were sent April 8 to all members of the House of Bishops entitled to vote.

A disciplinary “Review Committee” of bishops found sufficient evidence to conclude that Bishop Duncan had abandoned communion , a charge he has formally denied. Bishop Duncan has never been inhibited, a canonical objection raised by John Lewis, a lawyer retained by Bishop Duncan.

According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, David Booth Beers, chancellor to the Presiding Bishop, recently sent an e-mail to about two dozen Pittsburgh Episcopalians explaining that Bishop Jefferts Schori was not “seeking approval to proceed; rather, she seeks the mind of the House as to when to proceed” with a vote to remove Bishop Duncan. Shortly after the March 12 conclusion of the House of Bishops’ spring retreat, Bishop Jefferts Schori called a Sept. 17-19 meeting in Salt Lake City. the rest

Matt Kennedy+: Claiming Catholicity, Rationalizing Confiscation

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The...position seems to be that the state, as a matter of protecting the free exercise of religion, must act as the coercive arm of the Church, enforcing the confiscation of properties to which the Church lays claim (regardless of deed and title). And, moreover, the state’s failure to do so constitutes a violation of the constitutional “rights” of the Church. Just how far might such a principle be carried? If a hierarchical Church can rightly claim the property of a local congregation (without deed or title) with the state’s coercive support and if denial of that support constitutes a denial of the constitutional rights of the Church, what else can the church claim? the rest

Colson the Catechist: book review

A culture warrior sets out to explain Christianity's essential doctrines.
Reviewed by Trevin Wax
4/08/2008

The Faith: Given Once, For All: What Christians Believe, Why They Believe It, and Why It Matters
By Charles Colson and Harold Fickett
Zondervan, February 2008


Most Christians in the West lack the doctrinal and theological tools with which to stand fast in the onslaught of two hostile forces: Western secularism and Islamofascism. So say Charles Colson and his frequent coauthor Harold Fickett in The Faith, a book that celebrates the Christian faith's essential doctrines, beliefs held by Christians "everywhere, always, by all." Colson and Fickett believe that Christians are living in a unique time of special opposition: "Western culture is doing everything in its power to shut the door" by which humans pass from darkness to light. Only a robust reaffirmation of the essentials of Christian doctrine, they say, will provide a firm foundation for political and social engagement. the rest

Added:
The Best Book of the Decade: "America Alone" by Mark Steyn

McDonald's Draws Criticisms Over Alleged Pro-Gay Stance

By Alexander J. Sheffrin
Christian Post Correspondent
Wed, Apr. 09 2008

McDonald’s has come under attack recently over what critics claim to be a high-profile endorsement of homosexuality.

Last month, the vice president of communications for the nation’s largest fast-food chain joined the board of directors of the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC), an organization “dedicated to expanding the economic opportunities and advancements of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender/Transsexual (LGBT) business community.”

"I'm thrilled to join the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce team and ready to get to work," Richard Ellis said regarding the move in a released statement. the rest image

Albert Mohler: Liberal Theology and Theological Education -- A Cautionary Tale

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Excerpt:

Even as Andover Newton now shares it campus with a Jewish institution in order to save funds, The Christian Century reports that institutions associated with the Episcopal Church are also struggling. As John Dart reports:

The deans of Episcopal seminaries warned bishops and other church leaders last year that their theological schools must deal creatively with hard financial realities. The schools can no longer function separately as "11 little grocery stores trying to sell the same products to the church," declared Donn Morgan of Berkeley, California, then convener of the Council of Deans.

The challenges have been felt not only in the Episcopal Church--which has been torn by breakaway parishes and dissenting dioceses--but in virtually all U.S. denominations, added Ward Ewing of New York City, the current council convener. "Seminaries are in the midst of major transformational change," Ewing told bishops in September.

Actions by three Episcopal seminaries reflected that crisis. Pullback plans were announced by schools in Evanston, Illinois, and Rochester, New York. A promising financial partnership was struck in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

The Episcopal Church USA has experienced a catastrophic loss of members over the last several decades, and recent controversies over sexuality and biblical authority have only served to drive more members and congregations out of the denomination. The crisis in the denomination's seminaries should come as no surprise.
the rest image

Town of Ithaca [NY] now registering same-sex domestic partnerships

By Krisy Gashler
Tuesday, April 8, 2008 Journal Staff

The Town of Ithaca is the second municipality in the county to establish a domestic partnership registry for same- and opposite-sex unmarried partners.

“Our neighbor, the city, has it and the town is so much more accessible in some ways to people who live in this general region and it's not just open to residents of the town, it's open to people in the area,” said Town Clerk Karen Billings.

The registry has been available for less than a month and though no couples have registered yet, Billings said that in the two days after an announcement of the registry ran in the town newsletter, the town clerk's office fielded “at least four calls.” the rest

US Water Pipelines Are Breaking

By COLLEEN LONG
The Associated Press
Tuesday, April 8, 2008

NEW YORK -- Two hours north of New York City, a mile-long stream and a marsh the size of a football field have mysteriously formed along a country road. They are such a marvel that people come from miles around to drink the crystal-clear water, believing it is bubbling up from a hidden natural spring.

The truth is far less romantic: The water is coming from a cracked 70-year-old tunnel hundreds of feet below ground, scientists say. the rest

UK: Legal challenge to hybrid embryos

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

A Christian organisation will launch legal action in an attempt to overturn a decision to licence scientists to create human-animal hybrid embryos.

Newcastle University and King's College London have had permission to create the embryos for medical research.

The Christian Legal Centre claims the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority acted beyond its powers.

The centre insists that existing legislation dating from 1990 does not permit the process.
The group, which includes Christian lawyers and doctors, claims that the HFEA granting the licences was therefore illegal. the rest

Scientists Admit Embryonic Stem Cell Research Hasn't Been Successful

National Right to Life endorses McCain

Apr 8, 2008
by Michael Foust

WASHINGTON (BP)--National Right to Life has endorsed presumptive Republican nominee John McCain for president, giving him a significant boost in his effort to attract social conservatives.

National Right to Life's board of directors passed a resolution saying it is encouraging pro-lifers to support McCain, describing the Arizona senator as having a consistent congressional record in opposing abortion. National Right to Life, the resolution says, "strongly opposes" Democrats Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, both of whom are pro-choice. the rest

Presidential Clones
All three candidates have voted to fund embryonic stem-cell research.
By Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra

Conservatism, Christianity, and the Revitalization of Europe

Lee Congdon
04/08/08

We live in a secular, by which I do not mean a neutral, society. No society can be neutral with respect to religion, for public appeal either may or may not be made to religious principles. If—in the Western world—all discussion must be limited to maxims drawn from non-Christian sources, secularism is enthroned. There was a time when one could say—and Hilaire Belloc did say—“the Faith is Europe and Europe is the Faith.” That time is no more, for the acids of modernity have done their work—the churches, not to mention the souls of men, are empty. And that is not all; no public acknowledgment can now be made of Christianity’s historical importance. During the debate leading up to the drafting of a constitution for the European Union, those opposed to any mention of Christianity constituted a majority. Former French President Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, who presided over the constitutional convention, left no one in doubt that “Europeans live in a purely secular political system, where religion does not play an important role.” the rest

Is Evangelism an "Un Anglican Thing To Do" ?

By David Valentini
4/9/08

When the idea of evangelism comes to mind, many men and women may hold certain images; some of these range from a man impeccably dressed and zealously telling the audiences to commit their lives to Christ, to people coming to your door on a Saturday and asking if you have been "saved." This brings me to my first point.

In the Western World, a large number of people believe that to be an evangelical, one must be a member of a very fundamentalist Christian community or a "mega-church" that fills all the seats on Sunday morning. However, we are all evangelicals, whether we are High Church, Broad Church, Low Church or an "evangelical." After Eastertide, our Lord appeared to his disciples, and exhorted them to go throughout the world making "disciples of men"; this is called "the Great Commission." In fact, the Scriptures recorded this event prominently.This passage was not taken out by the Undivided Church, who edited the Bible that appears in its current form.

This is an important subject to discuss because, for at least 200 years, there has been a mild division between Anglo-Catholic, Broad and Low Churchmen, and Evangelicals; each side believes that their approach to the Faith is superior to the others. However, despite our different approaches to Christianity, we as Anglicans collectively are responsible for sharing our faith to those who do not know Christ, the second person of the Godhead of the undivided Trinity, "once essence and divided." This leads us to the next point.

the rest at Virtueonline

Ohio: Episcopal diocese sues breakaway parishes

Wednesday, April 09, 2008
David Briggs
Plain Dealer Religion Reporter

The Episcopal Diocese of Ohio is suing to regain control of several churches that broke away in protest over the election of a gay bishop and other doctrinal issues that have divided the denomination.

Dissatisfied members of St. Barnabas Anglican Church in Bay Village, the Anglican Church of the Transfiguration in Cleveland, Church of the Holy Spirit in Akron, St. Luke's Anglican Church in Fairlawn and St. Anne in the Fields in Madison can leave the diocese, but they cannot hold on to the land buildings, the church said in the lawsuit filed in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court.

The diocese wants the court to rule that the church holds the rights to the property. the rest

Pope's approval rating 70%, LeMoyne/Zogby poll says

The Post-Standard, Syracuse
Renée K. Gadoua
Wednesday April 09, 2008

A LeMoyne College/Zogby International poll being released today shows that Pope Benedict XVI's approval rating among American Catholics is 70 percent.

But that still doesn't top the popularity of his predecessor, John Paul II.

The Contemporary Catholic Trends poll also found that a quarter of American Catholics say the pope has only a little influence on world affairs.

At 70 percent approval, a significant majority of respondents believe Benedict is doing a good job leading the church, said Matthew Loveland, a sociologist of religion at Le Moyne who works with the Le Moyne/Zogby poll. the rest

LA Times: Pope's U.S. visit could have political ripples

New York holds skateboard design contest for papal visit

Two spiritual leaders' valuable vision: Benedict and...Schori?

By JOEL CONNELLY
April 8, 2008

Excerpt: Schori is not hesitant to embrace science, even linking it to revelation.

"As an oceanographer, I practiced a discipline that understands that no life form can be studied in isolation from its surroundings: As a Christian, I continue to practice a discipline that understands that God created all beings to live in relationship with each other and the rest of creation," she said in a written statement.

"Science has revealed to us unequivocally that climate change and global warming are real, and caused in significant party by human activity.

"These changes are a threat not only to the goodness of God's creation but to all of humanity." the rest