Saturday, August 30, 2008

Devotional: It is a common temptation...

It is a common temptation of Satan to make us give up the reading of the Word and prayer when our enjoyment is gone; as if it were of no use to read the Scriptures when we do not enjoy them, and as if it were no use to pray when we have no spirit of prayer. The truth is that in order to enjoy the Word, we ought to continue to read it, and the way to obtain a spirit of prayer is to continue praying. The less we read the Word of God, the less we desire to read it, and the less we pray, the less we desire to pray. ...George Muller image

A biblical tragedy in Galilee

An arid country, Israel relies on the waters where Jesus sailed to irrigate its farmland and supply its homes. But now the lake is drying up – and only drastic action will save it
By Kim Sengupta in Tiberias, Galilee
Friday, 29 August 2008

The 2,000-year-old fishing boat of Galilee in which, the story goes, Jesus may have sailed, is one of the most precious ancient treasures in Israel.

The vessel, which draws thousands of tourists to a kibbutz in Ginosar, was discovered by chance in 1986 when the sea level dropped dramatically because of a severe drought.

"This year it is actually worse. I have been here 54 years and I have never seen the water so low, the situation so bad," said Haim Binstock, an expert on the boat in the museum where it is kept. "I don't think the outside world realises just how dangerous the situation is, not just for Israel but for the whole region."

The waters of the Sea of Galilee are now at their lowest on record and, officials say, are set to fall even lower. The crisis is both natural and man-made. Four successive years of droughts, with rainfall less than half the annual average, has combined with a lack of snow on the peaks of Mount Hermon to lead to the shortage. At the same time,Israel's relentless pumping of water to irrigate farmland and supply homes has been massively worsening the situation. the rest image

Thousands evacuate New Orleans area in advance of Hurricane Gustav

In an orderly contrast to the Katrina chaos, cars jam the roads headed north and thousands line up in the heat to board buses and trains out of town. Officials hope to evacuate 30,000 by day's end.
By David Zucchino, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
August 30, 2008

NEW ORLEANS -- In cars, buses and trains, thousands of people fled New Orleans and its outlying parishes this morning as Hurricane Gustav bore down on the Gulf Coast.

Cars packed with children, suitcases and pet carriers jammed roadways leading north and west out of the city. Downtown, thousands more lined up in the morning heat, toting backpacks and plastic bags of food as they waited to board buses and trains to shelters in northern Louisiana and neighboring states. the rest track as of 2 pm

FEMA says Gustav soon to be rated Category 5 storm

Michelle Obama: Barack's Pro-Abortion Stand OKs "Sacredness" of Parenthood

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
August 29, 2008

Denver, CO (LifeNews.com) -- On the last day of the Democratic convention, Michelle Obama, the wife of the pro-abortion presidential candidate Barack, made a comment that received little notice. Yet, it could come back to haunt Obama as voters remember his off-putting comments about his daughters and abortion.

During a speech at the Women’s Caucus on Thursday, Michelle Obama said her husband would be a “steadfast supporter of women’s right to choose" abortion.

“He’ll protect a woman’s freedom of choice, because government should have no say in whether or when a woman embraces the sacred responsibility of parenthood," she added. the rest image

Bishop warns that Wales is set to appoint a gay bishop

Saturday, 30th August 2008
By George Conger

An American bishop of the Convocation of Anglican Churches in North America has alleged that the Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan, is seeking to place the Dean of St Albans, the Very Rev Jeffrey John (pictured) in the see of Bangor.

In an Aug 29 letter to members of the American Anglican Council (AAC) and CANA, the Rt Rev David Anderson said the Church in Wales would likely be the first province to break the Lambeth moratorium on gay bishops. “Wales is in an election process for Bishop of Bangor and the election has as one of its still-secret nominees none other than Jeffrey John,” Bishop Anderson said.

Citing “reliable sources” Bishop Anderson said: “Dr Barry Morgan is a man of his word - he previously has said, ‘I [Barry Morgan] would ordain Britain's first gay Bishop’." the rest

Friday, August 29, 2008

Devotional: This, indeed, is the essence of God's kingdom...

There will be no "knights in shining armor" in God's kingdom; our armor will have many dings and dents. No, no perfect Hollywood heroes will ride to save the day; just wearied saints to look to God and, in weakness, find Christ's strength. This, indeed, is the essence of God's kingdom: divine greatness manifest in common people. ...Francis Frangipane image

Bishop Duncan Dumps Windsor

August 29, 2008
George Conger

The Windsor Continuation Group (WCG)’s proposals for a “holding tank” for American traditionalists is a non-starter, the Bishop of Pittsburgh said, as it assumes traditionalists would want to be part of an unreformed American church.

Writing to a member of the WCG, West Texas Bishop Gary Lillibridge on Aug 11, Bishop Robert Duncan shared traditionalist concerns over the inadequacy of the proposals and their naïve view of the state of the American church.

While the contents of the letter are in line with statements made by Bishop Duncan during the Lambeth Conference, its release was a matter of controversy as it was leaked by a member of the WCG to a left wing commentator and circulated on the internet on Aug 18.
the rest image

More Pro-Life Reaction to John McCain Picking Abortion Opponent Sarah Palin

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
August 29, 2008

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) -- The positive reaction to presidential candidate John McCain picking pro-life Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has been overwhelming. Pro-life groups and leaders of all stripes are delighted by the selection and below is a sampling of the comments LifeNews.com has received:

Dr. Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission: "Governor Palin is a vice-presidential selection which shows that John McCain at the age of 72 today is still able to think outside the box. Governor Palin will delight the Republican base. She is pro-life. It appears that Senator Obama played it safe in picking Senator Biden and Senator McCain made the bold and unconventional choice in picking Governor Palin."

Tony Perkins, President of the Family Research Council: "Senator McCain made an outstanding pick from the choices that were on the table. Sarah Palin clearly addresses the issues so many conservatives are concerned about. It balances out the ticket. She's also really a checkmate for the Democratic Party because folks who were looking to make history for Barack Obama can make history by voting for John McCain in seeing the first woman elected to the vice-presidency. It was a very strategic move by John McCain." more

Dobson: “I Would Pull that Lever” for McCain-Palin

GAFCON Primates: Priority Will be Given to the Possible Formation of a Province in North America

August 29, 2008
The Living Church

The draft report from the Windsor Continuation Group offers nothing that doesn’t already have a proven track record of failure, according to Bishop Gregory Venables, primate of the Anglican Church of the Southern Cone.

Bishop Venables spoke with a reporter from The Living Church shortly after the release of a communiqué from the GAFCON Primates’ Council. The communiqué rejects the conclusions and recommendations contained in a draft paper distributed by the six-members of the Windsor Continuation Group during the Lambeth Conference, specifically: the continuation group's call for a three-fold moratorium on public blessing of same-sex unions, the consecration of partnered homosexual persons as bishop and cross-border incursions by overseas bishops.

“There is nothing new here such as to make us hesitate from the course we are taking, given the urgency of the situations with which we are dealing and the realities already on the ground,” the statement said. Referring to a letter, written prior to the start of the council meeting by five North American Anglican bishops who serve under the authority and oversight of various individual primates on the GAFCON council, the communiqué also notes that the continuation group proposals were developed without any consultation with those most directly affected in North America. the rest

Archbishop of Canterbury's rescue plan for Anglican Communion rejected

Hopes of a solution for the split in the Anglican Communion over homosexuality have been further diminished after a rescue plan endorsed by the Archbishop of Canterbury was rejected by conservative bishops.
By Martin Beckford, Religious Affairs Correspondent
29 Aug 2008

Clergy who have defected from their liberal national churches to join traditionalist provinces overseas said the scheme to put them in a "holding bay" before returning them home was "demeaning and unacceptable".

Meanwhile orthodox Anglican leaders have pledged to press ahead with the creation of their rival movement, claiming that it is an "illusion" to believe that the damage caused by the election of an openly gay bishop can be undone.

It comes just days after Dr Rowan Williams said that the Lambeth Conference gathering of Anglican bishops last month had exceeded expectations and showed that most wanted the 80 million-strong worldwide Communion to stay together despite deep divisions over sexuality. the rest

Palin on VP Nod: ‘I Am Honored To Be Chosen’

MSNBC: McCain picks Palin as running mate

Popular Alaska governor to be first female Republican VP nominee
MSNBC and NBC News
posted 8/29/08

WASHINGTON - Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain has chosen Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate, NBC News has learned.

She would be the first woman ever to serve on a Republican presidential ticket. The pro-life Palin would also be the first Alaskan ever to appear on a national ticket.

Palin, 44, was elected Alaska's first woman governor in 2006. The state’s voters had grown weary of career politician Gov. Frank Murkowski, whom she defeated in the GOP primary. the rest image

NYT: McCain Chooses Palin as Running Mate

LATimes: John McCain picks Alaska's Gov. Sarah Palin as his VP

April 2008: Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin Gives Birth to Down Baby Despite Abortion Pressure

Alaska Gov. Palin Tops Speculation About McCain Veep Pick

by FOXNews.com
Friday, August 29, 2008

DAYTON, Ohio — Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin emerged early Friday as the hot name in the John McCain VP sweepstakes after reports circulated that two short-listers — Mitt Romney and Tim Pawlenty — were out of the running.

Adding fuel to the Palin possibility was a report that a charter aircraft from Anchorage owned by a McCain supporter had arrived at a small airport outside Dayton, Ohio, where McCain has scheduled a noon ET rally to announce his choice.

FOX News reports the jet flew to Flagstaff, Ariz., on Thursday before heading for and landing in Middletown, Ohio.

McCain campaign staff prepping the Dayton event told FOX News that all indications are that Palin would be the VP choice. the rest

Peggy Noonan: Obama Gets Serious

August 29, 2008

Excerpt:
He ended with a reference to Dr. King's speech, an occasion when "Americans from every corner of this land" came "to stand together on a Mall in Washington, before Lincoln's Memorial, and hear a young preacher from Georgia speak of his dream."

It was at this point that the meaning of the pillars became clearer. And in fact, at this point, bathed in soft lights, they did look rather stately.

All in all, a muted affair. But not one without power.

I think Mr. Obama decided it didn't matter if he repeated much of what he's said on the campaign trail before, which he had, because more than 30 million people were watching, and for a lot of them what he was saying was new. I think he decided to show an America that hadn't fully absorbed him that he was a person of seriousness and stature. I think he was saying, I'm a surprising person, but I can be president. I'm attractive, but I have depth. And by the way, the past eight years? I will be so much better than that. Take a chance. Not a gamble, a chance.

Will it work? We'll see the polls on the final convention bounce soon. We'll know some of the answer then. But I have a feeling this speech will be like the Europe trip. It will take time for people to let it sink in, and decide what they think. And I'll tell you, Mr. Obama left a lot of space for Mr. McCain to play the happy warrior next week. He left the Republicans a big opportunity to wield against him, in contrast, humor, and wit, and even something approximating joy. the rest

The Promised Land of the Free Lunch

Krauthammer: Barack Obama: International Man of Mystery

GAFCON Communiqué on establishment of Primates Council and Fellowship

Communique

The first meeting of the GAFCON Primates Council took place in London from Wednesday 20th to Friday 22nd August 2008. A Communiqué is now online, together with a letter sent by US bishops for council's consideration.

Setting up the Council and the Fellowship

The first meeting of the GAFCON Primates' Council has taken place in London on Wednesday 20th to Friday 22nd August. The twofold task of the Council is 'to authenticate and recognise confessing Anglican jurisdictions, clergy and congregations and to encourage all Anglicans to promote the gospel and defend the faith.' The Primates have therefore laid the basis for the future work of both the Council and the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (FCA). The GAFCON movement continues its advance.

The Council will consist of Primates assisted by an Advisory Board which will work with them on fulfilling the aims of the movement. In addition, a Secretariat has been created. We are very grateful to God for his guidance and blessing on the Jerusalem Conference. We believe that the Jerusalem Declaration provides for a viable way of helping to deal with the crisis in the Anglican Communion brought about through the disobedience to Scripture by some in North America and elsewhere.

The present reality

We maintain that three new facts of the Anglican Communion must be faced. We are past the time when they can be reversed.

First, some Anglicans have sanctified sinful practices and will continue to do so whatever others may think. Second, churches and even dioceses affected by this disobedience have rightly withdrawn fellowship while wishing to remain authentic Anglicans. So-called 'border-crossing' is another way of describing the provision of recognition and care for those who have been faithful to the teachings of Holy Scripture. Third, there is widespread impaired and broken sacramental communion amongst Anglicans with far-reaching global implications. The hope that we may somehow return to the state of affairs before 2003 is an illusion.

Any sound strategy must accommodate itself to these facts.

Developing the GAFCON movement

GAFCON remains a gospel movement. It is far from saying that its membership are the only true Anglicans or the only gospel people in the Anglican Communion. We thank God that this is not the case. But the movement recognises the acute spiritual dangers of a compromised theology and aims to be a resource and inspiration for those who wish to defend and promote the biblical gospel.

The Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans will function as a means of sharing in this great task. We invite individuals, churches, dioceses, provinces and parachurch organisations who assent to the Jerusalem Declaration to signify their desire to become members of the Fellowship via the GAFCON web-site or written communication with the Secretariat. The Fellowship will develop networks, commissions and publications intended to defend and promote the biblical gospel in ways which support one another.

At the same time, the Council and its Advisory Board will seek to deal with the problems of those who have confessed the biblical faith in the face of hostility and found the need on grounds of conscience and in matters of great significance to break the normal bonds of fellowship in the name of the gospel. For the sake of the Anglican Communion this is an effort to bring order out of the chaos of the present time and to make sure as far as possible that some of the most faithful Anglican Christians are not lost to the Communion. It is expected that priority will be given to the possible formation of a province in North America for the Common Cause Partnership.

Lambeth 2008

Noting the reference to building bridges with GAFCON in the Archbishop of Canterbury's concluding Presidential Address at Lambeth, and that the Lambeth Conference itself made no decisions about the future of the Communion, we are grateful that there is an acknowledgement that Lambeth 1.10 of 1998 remains an authentic expression of the mind of the Communion. We also note the renewed call for moratoria on the consecration of bishops who are homosexually partnered and the blessing of same-sex unions as well so-called 'border-crossing'. Likewise there is mention of the creation of a 'Pastoral Forum' to look after disaffected parishes or dioceses and continued work on an Anglican Covenant.

We hope in due course to offer a longer response to Lambeth. Meanwhile we are saddened that the Conference did not offer a more effective way forward than what is proposed. Our immediate difficulty is that the voice of Lambeth 2008 is seriously weakened because it merely repeated what has been said by the Primates' Meeting (in Gramada early 2003, Lambeth October 2003, Dromantine, February 2005 and Dar es Salaam, February 2007) and which has proved to change nothing. Indeed the Windsor Continuation Group itself made the same point, 'The three moratoria have been requested several times: Windsor (2004); Dromantine (2005); Dar es Salaam (2007) and the requests have been less than wholeheartedly embraced on all sides… The failure to respond presents us with a situation where if the three moratoria are not observed the Communion is likely to fracture.'

But the Communion fractured in 2003, when our fellowship was 'torn at its deepest level.' It seems that the facts which we have identified as the new reality have not yet been recognised as such, and we are therefore continually offered the same strategies which mean further delay and unlikely results. Indeed, delay itself seems to be a strategy employed by some in order to resolve the issue through weariness. The Anglican Covenant will take a long time to be widely accepted and may have no particular force when it does. The idea of 'moratoria' has never dealt with the underlying problem as is shown by the equivalence of cross-border care and protection with the sexual sins which have caused the problems.

In any case, some North American Bishops appear to have indicated already that they will not keep to them. It appears that people living in a homosexual unions continue to be ordained in some dioceses in contravention to Lambeth 1.10. In principle, this is no different from consecrating a bishop who adopts the same pattern of life, or indeed, of blessing same-sex unions. The idea of the Pastoral Forum has only now emerged but has never been discussed with those actually affected by the innovations which have created the problems with which we are trying to deal (see appended letter). If the Panel of Reference did not work, it is unclear how the Pastoral Forum will succeed.

Given that some esteemed colleagues from the Global South have strongly commended the Windsor Process to us, we are reluctant to say that it cannot work. But there is nothing new here such as to make us hesitate from the course we are taking, given the urgency of the situations with which we are dealing and the realities already on the ground. As they themselves remark, 'the Anglican Communion as a communion of ordered churches is at the probable brink of collapse'. We warmly appreciate the good words which they have written about GAFCON and look forward to co-operation with them in the future as we ourselves try to avoid that collapse and renew the Communion.

The Most Rev Peter Akinola, Primate of Nigeria
The Most Rev Gregory Venables, Primate of The Southern Cone
The Most Rev Emmanuel Kolini, Primate of Rwanda
The Most Rev Valentino Mokiwa, Primate of Tanzania
The Most Rev Benjamin Nzmibi, Primate of Kenya
The Most Rev Henry Orombi, Primate of Uganda

Letter from US bishops to GAFCON

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Possible McCain VP Pawlenty Would be Surprised By Pro-Abortion Running Mate

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
August 28, 2008

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) -- Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty is one of just a few people on Senator John McCain's short list for vice president.

Pawlenty is strongly pro-life on both abortion and bioethics issues and he says he would be "surprised" if McCain picked a running mate who doesn't share his pro-life views.

McCain has a starkly different position on abortion compared with Barack Obama -- by virtue of his pro-life abortion voting record and his favoring the reversal of Roe v. Wade. the rest

Prayer for those in the path of the storm

Please pray for those in the path of the hurricane!
From Lent and Beyond

Ascribe to the Lord,
O heavenly beings, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength. Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness. The voice of the Lord is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the Lord, over many waters. The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is full of majesty. . . . The Lord sits enthroned over the flood; the Lord sits enthroned as king forever. May the Lord give strength to his people! May the Lord bless his people with peace! Psalm 29:1-4, 10-11 ESV

Ancient of Days,
You are seated on the throne of heaven, surrounded by a rainbow that has the appearance of an emerald. From the throne come flashes of lightning, and rumblings and peals of thunder. Before the throne are burning seven torches of fire, which are the seven spirits of God. Before the throne is a sea of glass like crystal, peace and serenity amidst infinite power. We are unworthy to approach Your throne. Yet we stand in the court. We have been brought near by the blood of Christ. May we win favor in Your sight. As our prayers arise as incense before Your throne, extend Your golden scepter to us and dissipate Gustav’s winds. We pray in the blessed name of Jesus, the Son of Man. Amen.
Esther 5:1-2, Ephesians 2:13, Revelation 4:2-6, 5:8

God of heaven and earth,
God who carries our lives and the lives of our whole community in your hands, be with us in the peril of this day/night. Help us to release our anxieties and fears into those same caring hands, knowing in faith that your will for us is life and everlasting good. Send your holy angels to watch over us and guard us. May they spread their holy wings to give us shelter against the storm. For you alone, O God, are all good, all life, all love, and that love is for us; through Jesus Christ our Lord. link image

New Orleans braces for hurricane on Katrina anniversary

Times Online
August 28, 2008
Nico Hines

As it prepares to mark the third anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans has been forced to draw up an emergency evacuation plan to deal with tropical storm Gustav, which is was predicted to reach hurricane strength in the Gulf of Mexico.

The storm has already killed 22 people in Haiti and the Dominican Republic and today it moved away from the Central American coast and into the Caribbean.

The eye of the storm was expected to pass Jamaica today as it sweeps towards the United States. The National Hurricane Centre in Miami predicts that it will grow in power as it approaches Louisiana over the weekend.

US National Guard troops are standing by as residents prepare to mark the third anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. the rest

FEMA official: Gustav 'potentially the largest' storm since Katrina

Southern Decadence: Gus threatens New Orleans gay party

Albany Bishop Love: Lambeth and the Future of Anglicanism

Diocesan Update
(via email August 28, 2008)

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

The summer of 2008 witnessed two major conferences within the Anglican Communion, both of which ultimately may very well have a lasting impact on the future of Anglicanism throughout the world, to include the Diocese of Albany. I was blessed to have been among the few to attend both. The first of which was the Global Anglican Futures Conference (GAFCON), held June 22 – 29th in Jerusalem, followed two weeks later by the Lambeth Conference from July 16 to August 3rd in Canterbury, England. In many ways the two conferences were similar, but also quite different. I will try as best I can in the limited space provided, to touch upon some of the similarities and differences between GAFCON and Lambeth as well as their potential implications for Albany and the wider Anglican Communion.

Turning first to GAFCON, once the decision was made to go forward, organizers had roughly five to six months to put the conference together, compared to ten years for Lambeth. Despite the short notice, overall, GAFCON was well planned and organized. Approximately 1148 lay and clergy participants, including 291 bishops and their spouses, representing roughly one half of the world’s 77 million Anglicans participated in the conference. The number attending was restricted due to limited space.

The Lambeth Conference, designed specifically for bishops and their spouses, had approximately 670 bishops and 500 spouses in attendance, as well as several ecumenical guests. The total number of bishops and spouses attending was down from previous years, due to the decision of approximately 220 bishops, primarily from the Global South, not to accept their invitation to attend. Their absence was greatly felt and is a reflection of the brokenness and division that currently exists within the Anglican Communion. Commenting in The London Times on why he and many of the Global South bishops chose not to attend Lambeth, The Most Reverend Henry Orombi, Archbishop of the Church of Uganda, stated, “For more than ten years we have been speaking and not been heard. So maybe our absence will speak louder than our words.”

The theological makeup of those attending both conferences played a major role in setting the tone and ultimately determining what would be the outcome. The organizers of GAFCON restricted invitations, inviting only theologically conservative orthodox Anglicans. GAFCON was not intended to be a time to debate the issues that are dividing the Church, but rather to be a time to come together as a “fellowship of confessing Anglicans…a fellowship of people united in the communion (koinonia) of the one Spirit and committed to work and pray together in the common mission of Christ”… believing that “Anglicanism has a bright future in obedience to our Lord’s Great Commission to make disciples of all nations and to build up the Church on the foundation of biblical truth” (GAFCON Statement on the Global Anglican Future). The decision to hold GAFCON in Jerusalem with organized pilgrimages to various holy sites throughout Israel helped reinforce the biblical heritage upon which the Anglican faith is founded and was one of the spiritual highlights of the conference.

At the conclusion of eight days of prayer, worship, Bible study, workshops, plenary sessions, pilgrimages to holy sights, and Christian fellowship, GAFCON concluded with the issuance of a four page “Statement On The Global Anglican Future,” to include a fourteen point document known as The Jerusalem Declaration, which among other things highlights the group’s understanding of Anglican identity. The GAFCON Statement in its entirety can be found on the Albany diocesan website. While clearly stating their love and support for the Anglican Communion and intent to remain in it, there is also a clear call for repentance and distancing or separation from those parts of the Communion that have drifted from the orthodox faith to a more revisionist faith particularly in regard to theological understandings of the authority of Holy Scripture; Jesus’ unique identity and role as the only begotten Son of God, Lord and Savior of the world; and human sexuality.

While I am very supportive of the vast majority of the GAFCON Statement to include The Jerusalem Declaration and its strong stance upholding the orthodox faith, there are a couple of things which give me some concern, and require a bit more clarity in what is intended, particularly in regard to the future role of the Archbishop of Canterbury; the role of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer; the role of the Primates Council; and the status of revisionist bishops in the wider Communion. Whether one agrees with the GAFCON Statement or not, GAFCON is a reality which I believe will have a major impact on redirecting the life of the Anglican Communion. The exact course it will take is still yet to be seen. As proclaimed in their statement, “GAFCON is not just a moment in time, but a movement in the Spirit…”

Turning now to Lambeth, unlike GAFCON which has just recently come into being, The Lambeth Conference has been meeting at the invitation of the Archbishop of Canterbury every ten years for the past 140 years. While historically regarded as one of the instruments of unity within the Anglican Communion, there was clearly not a meeting of the minds amongst the 670 bishops gathered at Lambeth, when it came to the issues which have caused such great hurt and division within the Church. Based on all the debates and conversations that occurred throughout Lambeth, it would appear that a majority of those bishops in attendance are conservative and orthodox in their theological understandings, however there was a strong vocal minority, consisting primarily of western bishops, that is quite liberal or revisionist in their theology, particularly regarding issues of human sexuality.

Recognizing the division and brokenness which currently exists, the Archbishop of Canterbury stated in his August 2008 Pastoral Letter reflecting on Lambeth, “The Conference was not a time for making new laws or for binding decisions…The Conference Design Group believed strongly that the chief need of our Communion at the moment was the rebuilding of relationships – the rebuilding of trust in one another – and of confidence in our Anglican identity. And it was with this in mind that they planned for a very different sort of Conference, determined to allow every bishop’s voice to be heard…”

Unfortunately while ample opportunity was in fact given for bishops to speak during the daily Bible studies, Indaba Groups, self-select sessions, and plenary sessions, the western design of much of the Conference made speaking uncomfortable for many non-westerners and -- as earlier attested to by Archbishop Orombi, the fact that one speaks does not necessarily mean they have been heard. The Anglican Communion has been encouraged for over ten years now to participate in a “listening process” as a means of working through the issues that divide us. While I am a firm believer in the importance of listening, even to those that we disagree with, unfortunately when dealing as we currently are with what I have come to believe are theologically irreconcilable differences in the views passionately held by each side of the debate on issues of the authority of Holy Scripture and human sexuality, I seriously question the chance of reconciliation by those on either end of the theological spectrum, barring a Damascus Road experience by one side or the other. No doubt, each side believes it is the other side that Jesus needs to zap.

This belief was confirmed at Lambeth while listening to some of the debates regarding homosexuality. During one of the sessions, an African bishop made an impassioned call upon the West to restrain from blessing same-sex unions and ordaining individuals engaged in homosexual lifestyles, stating that the Moslem extremists in his country are looking for any reason to attack and kill Anglican Christians. He said the revisionist actions of the West are giving them all the reason they need, resulting in the death and imprisonment of many of his people. Equally passionate, but from the opposite perspective, two Episcopal bishops spoke about justice for their gay and lesbian clergy and people, proclaiming their strong unceasing support for gay rights and that they would not stop the blessing of same sex unions in their diocese.

Unfortunately in many cases, the very ones calling for others to listen are unwilling to listen themselves. For some, the listening process will not be complete or successful until the other side is worn down and finally agrees with their position. Given the current debate on issues of human sexuality, when virtually every argument both for and against homosexual behavior, sex outside of marriage, and abortion have already been made numerous times over, the question ultimately must be asked – When is enough, enough? The longer the debate goes on, the more divided we seem to become and the more distracted we are from proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ. A major distinction between GAFCON and Lambeth concerning this issue is that for GAFCON, the debate seems to be over, for Lambeth, no end is in sight.

The extent to which the hearts and minds of those bishops sitting on the fence concerning these issues may have been changed or influenced by the personal testimonies during the Indaba Groups or plenary sessions will most likely not be known until something happens within the Communion forcing bishops to respond. General Convention 2009 may very well provide that opportunity. As previously stated, Lambeth 2008 did not allow for any votes or passing of resolutions. That is probably a good thing, given the fact that one fourth of the Anglican bishops representing approximately one half of the Anglican Communion were not present.

In addition to issues of human sexuality, a number of other items were discussed at Lambeth, to include the proposed Anglican Covenant; the ongoing efforts of the Windsor Continuation Group; Ecumenical relations; the Millennium Development Goals; the effects of Global Warming and Climate Change; various ministries, challenges and developments in Anglican Provinces around the world; the devastation of the Aids epidemic; Domestic violence; and Communion Partners to name a few.

Next to the issues of human sexuality, the proposed Anglican Covenant proved to be the most controversial. It was heavily supported and promoted by Archbishop Williams. I too am very supportive of an Anglican Covenant – one that would provide clarity to our Anglican identity and beliefs, and one that would provide guidance on how Anglicans are to live in relationship with one another and work through any differences that might arise within the Communion, giving some sense of accountability to one another. As I discovered, not everyone shares that view. Some bishops, particularly in the west, showed great hesitancy to the idea of a Covenant. Others, while open to the idea, were opposed to anything that would be legalistic or juridical in tone, believing that it would be divisive and could be used against some in the Communion. I couldn’t disagree more. One of the reasons the Anglican Communion is in the mess that it currently finds itself, is because that while everyone apparently wants to be in “Communion” many have come to interpret the “diverse” nature of the Anglican Communion to mean you can believe what ever you want with no sense of accountability for the impact of one’s beliefs or actions on others in the Anglican Communion. I would argue that one of the things the Anglican Communion is most in need of at the moment is some means of providing clarity and accountability. A well drafted Anglican Covenant, in which all provinces and dioceses wishing to be part of the Anglican Communion must sign, could do just that. As the Archbishop of Canterbury suggested, there may be some who decide to opt out. For that reason, it is important that the Anglican Covenant be voted on not only at the Provincial level, but also at the Diocesan level. A diocese’s relationship with the larger Anglican Communion is through their bishop in communion with the Archbishop of Canterbury, not through the Province.

While supportive of Archbishop Williams’ desire to build relationships and trust within the Anglican Communion, as earlier stated, I have my doubts as to how successful Lambeth was in bringing about any major change in relationships between those on opposite extremes of the current debates. The major building of relationships which did occur at Lambeth was among bishops and spouses from around the world, similar in theological understandings. The building of these relationships and friendships was truly one of the great blessings of Lambeth. The Diocese of Albany’s sister diocesan relationship with Down and Dromore, first began as a result of Bishop Dan and Bishop Harold meeting at Lambeth 1998. Karen and I met several bishops and their spouses who we hope someday to be able to invite to Albany or visit them in their dioceses, paving the way for future diocesan mission trips and opportunities of joint ministries.

In addition to all the friends and relationships that were made and strengthened, one of the other major blessings of Lambeth was the visible realization that as Anglicans we are part of something much larger than ourselves. To be with 670 Anglican bishops and their spouses from around the world was very special, as was my time with 291 Anglican bishops in the Holy Land. The retreat and worship time at Canterbury Cathedral was powerful and moving. I felt a real sense of connection with countless Christian pilgrims from past generations whose feet and knees have hollowed and worn down the solid granite steps of Canterbury Cathedral. To witness and be part of such a long and proud history within the Church is something I will never forget. Tea with Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip at Buckingham Palace was also very enjoyable, not to mention being a once in a lifetime experience. On a somewhat humorous note, for as long as I can remember, anytime someone I knew was going to England, I would jokingly tell them to say hello to the Archbishop and the Queen for me. I was finally able to do it for myself – granted the Queen was twenty yards away when I said, “Good afternoon your Majesty!” I was blessed with greeting and visiting with the Archbishop of Canterbury on a couple of occasions and not from 20 yards away, but in person.

There is much more that could be said about Lambeth and GAFCON, unfortunately, neither time nor space permit it. If interested, the official 2008 Lambeth Conference Reflection Paper, entitled, “Lambeth Indaba” can be found on www.albanyepiscopaldiocese.org. It is a 44 page document which essentially describes our time together at Lambeth, the issues discussed and some of the general thoughts expressed. While I have shared some of my thoughts, frustrations, and concerns, overall I am glad and feel very blessed and honored to have been able to attend both conferences. I am especially thankful to have been able to share Lambeth with Karen. I truly believe the Holy Spirit was at work in both Lambeth and GAFCON, guiding and leading the Church during this very difficult time in our history. The Anglican Communion is in transition. Exactly how it will evolve is still yet to be seen. The Good News is that despite the many frustrations, uncertainties and obstacles, ultimately God’s will, will be done. As the Archbishop of Burundi reminded us, “Before the Anglican Communion was, I AM.” While the Anglican Communion sorts itself out, our mission in the Diocese of Albany remains the same. It was given to us by our Lord Jesus Christ, himself, in the Great Commandment and the Great Commission. May the Lord bless, keep and empower us, as we answer His call in obedience, as part of His faithful remnant, serving as an instrument of His love and healing grace in this broken and hurting world.

Your Brother in Christ,
+ Bill

Pelosi's Archbishop silent over abortion comments

Nothing from Niederauer: Prelates around the country react to Pelosi’s abortion comments – but San Francisco archbishop remains conspicuously silent
August 27, 2008

Bishops from New York to Denver have issued official statements from their chanceries and posted them to diocesan web sites in an attempt to set the record straight about what the Church teaches regarding abortion. The flurry of episcopal activity followed an Aug. 24 interview in which House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, told Meet the Press that Catholic doctrine on abortion is not clear. the rest

Thank you, Nancy Pelosi!

First Things: The Tattoo Fashion

By R.R. Reno
Thursday, August 28, 2008

Excerpt:
As the tide of impermanence rises, I’m fairly sure that the tattoo fashion will expand. The human heart hungers for permanence. We don’t want to be dispersed into endless possibilities; we want to be held responsible for being a particular person. Thus, absent strong cultural forces that encourage and enforce limitations on the will, in the coming decade we will see all sorts of strange self-mutilations and radical commitments of the body. Self-mutilation will provide a powerful symbolic compensation for our inability to commit and bind the soul. the rest image

Scientists Reprogram Adult Cells' Function

Advance Stirs Up Debate on Embryos
By Rob Stein
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, August 28, 2008

Scientists have transformed one type of fully developed adult cell directly into another inside a living animal, a startling advance that could lead to cures for a variety of illnesses and sidestep the political and ethical quagmires associated with embryonic stem cell research.

Through a series of painstaking experiments involving mice, the Harvard biologists pinpointed three crucial molecular switches that, when flipped, completely convert a common cell in the pancreas into the more precious insulin-producing ones that diabetics need to survive...

...The work was hailed as a welcome development even by critics of research involving embryonic stem cells, which can be coaxed to become any tissue in the body but are highly controversial because they are obtained by destroying embryos.

"I see no moral problem in this basic technique," said Richard Doerflinger of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, a leading opponent of embryonic stems cell research. "This is a 'win-win' situation for medicine and ethics." the rest

Microsoft Internet Explorer 8 to Include 'Porn Mode'

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Microsoft’s latest Internet browser includes a piece of software that allows Internet users to hide the audit trail of websites they have visited.

The InPrivate feature on Internet Explorer 8, nicknamed “porn mode”, allows users to conceal the sites they have viewed at the click of a button.

Once the setting is chosen, others using the same computer will not be able to see which sites have been accessed. Other browsers have similar functions, but this one is far more prominent. Although casual users cannot see the previous user’s search history, authorities such as the police will be able to access it if necessary. the rest

How the Democratic Party is adjusting its approach to abortion.

By Michael Sean Winters
Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2008

Excerpt:
The Democratic Party is not about to abandon its pro-choice stance. But most Catholic swing voters aren't looking for the Democrats to denounce Roe v. Wade: They, too, are ambivalent about abortion, believing it should be, in Bill Clinton's phrase, "safe, legal, and rare." According to a Pew Center poll released last week, while 21 percent of Catholics think abortion should be illegal in all cases, 26 percent think it should only be illegal in most cases and another 33 percent believe it should be legal in most cases. But despite his words, President Clinton did not create any policies that would make abortion rarer, and his veto of the partial-birth abortion ban convinced most Catholics he was not seriously conflicted about abortion the way they are. the rest

Gay Activists Target Businesses

Companies Tied To Initiative Backers Are Pulled Into Fray
By TAMARA AUDI
August 27, 2008

When William Bolthouse, a California philanthropist, donated $100,000 in March to support a proposition to ban gay marriage in California, calls and emails poured in -- not to Mr. Bolthouse, but to the corporate offices of a company that bears his name -- even though he sold it three years earlier.

"It wasn't us, it's not our fault," says Jeffrey Dunn, now the chief executive of Bolthouse Farms, whose juice bottles are sold at upscale markets such as Whole Foods.

Bolthouse Farms is the latest target in what has become an increasingly bitter political fight in California. As gay-rights activists attempt to defeat the upcoming ballot initiative, called Proposition 8, they are going after not just individuals, but also companies to which they are connected, however tenuously. the rest

NBC to ‘Gay’ Journalists: ‘Your Victories Are Our Victories’

Pope angry over crucified green frog sculpture

Thu 28 Aug 2008
By Philip Pullella

ROME (Reuters) - A modern art sculpture portraying a crucified green frog holding a beer mug and an egg that Pope Benedict has condemned as blasphemous may have its days numbered.

The board of the Museion museum in the northern city of Bolzano were meeting on Thursday to choose whether to side with the pope and other opponents of the frog or with proponents who say it should be defended as a work of art. the rest

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Devotional: Take up your cross...

Beloved, the cross is not made of feathers, or lined with velvet, it is heavy and galling to disobedient shoulders; but it is not an iron cross, though your fears have painted it with iron colours, it is a wooden cross, and a man can carry it, for the Man of sorrows tried the load. Take up your cross, and by the power of the Spirit of God you will soon be so in love with it, that like Moses, you would not exchange the reproach of Christ for all the treasures of Egypt. Remember that Jesus carried it, and it will smell sweetly; remember that it will soon be followed by the crown, and the thought of the coming weight of glory will greatly lighten the present heaviness of trouble. ...CH Spurgeon image

New Orleans considers evacuation as Gustav looms

Wed Aug 27, 2008
By Kathy Finn

NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) - Three years after Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Louisiana coast, New Orleans residents on Wednesday again confronted the prospect of an evacuation as Tropical Storm Gustav loomed.

Not since Katrina struck on August 29, 2005, have residents faced a forced departure from their homes and businesses as many still struggle to rebuild their lives in a city famed for its jazz clubs and Mardi Gras festival.

Storm levees broke under the onslaught of Katrina, flooding 80 percent of New Orleans and killing almost 1,500 people in the city and along the Gulf of Mexico coast. The hurricane caused $125 billion in wind and flood damage.

With Tropical Storm Gustav swirling near Cuba and likely to enter the Gulf of Mexico as a hurricane this weekend, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal said an evacuation could begin as early as Friday -- three years to the day after Katrina inundated New Orleans. the rest image

OHIO: CANA Holds First Convocation: Expands Districts, Affirms New NA Province

By David W. Virtue
8/26/2008

AKRON - The Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA), an orthodox Anglican missionary outreach in the US sponsored by the Anglican Church of Nigeria, held its first convocation at St. Luke's Anglican, a suburban mega church, drawing more than 400 multi-ethnic, multi-racial delegates deep inside a liberal Episcopal Diocese that is watching its numbers decline as orthodox Anglicanism grows.

"This was an exciting occasion for us," said CANA Bishop David Bena. "Delegates passed three resolutions by overwhelming majorities which included affirming the 'GAFCON Process,' pledging CANA to the Common Cause Partnership supporting Common Cause leading eventually to becoming an orthodox Anglican Province in North America, and thirdly welcoming a number of new churches in the Ohio/Michigan/Indiana area as the "Anglican District of the Great Lakes," the second "District" of CANA."

"The first, the Anglican District of Virginia, was officially welcomed into CANA last December. More Districts will follow as gatherings of churches mobilize together for mission and outreach," Bena told VOL. the rest at Virtueonline

Catholics rap Pelosi's abortion remarks

Dispute over church's definition of life
Julia Duin
Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Several of the nation's top Catholic bishops, including the archbishops of Washington and New York, piled criticism Tuesday on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi about her televised remarks Sunday on abortion and the Catholic Church.

The crux of the dispute: the meditations of a fourth-century saint on whether abortion always constitutes homicide.

Mrs. Pelosi's contention that it does not brought down the wrath of the 433-member U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) on her head. On Tuesday morning, they chided the California Democrat on Tuesday morning for "misrepresenting" the Catholic Church's views on abortion when she told NBC's "Meet the Press" two days earlier that "over the centuries, the doctors of the church have not been able to make that definition" of when life begins. the rest

Obama Speech Stage Resembles Ancient Greek Temple

August 26, 2008

DENVER (Reuters) - Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama's big speech on Thursday night will be delivered from an elaborate columned stage resembling a miniature Greek temple.

The stage, similar to structures used for rock concerts, has been set up at the 50-yard-line, the midpoint of Invesco Field, the stadium where the Denver Broncos' National Football League team plays.

Some 80,000 supporters will see Obama appear from between plywood columns painted off-white, reminiscent of Washington's Capitol building or even the White House, to accept the party's nomination for president.

He will stride out to a raised platform to a podium that can be raised from beneath the floor.

The show should provide a striking image for the millions of Americans watching on television as Obama delivers a speech accepting the Democratic presidential nomination. the rest image

Many Clinton Supporters Say Speech Didn't Heal Divisions

The Diocese of Singapore restates her stand on human sexuality issues

A Pastoral Response to ST Article “Anglican leader on gays and marriage”, published on 8th August 2008
The Most Revd Dr John Chew
The Bishop of Singapore
The Diocese of Singapore (Anglican)
15 August, 2008

Some of you may have read the article, “Anglican leader on gays and marriage” published in the Straits Times (ST, Singapore) on 8th August 2008. It is necessary that the following clarifications be made to address any possible concerns, confusion or misperception.

The ST article was a report on the news by The Times (UK) on 7th August 2008, which was released almost immediately after the conclusion of the Lambeth Conference on 3rd August. It is regrettable that these letters, written in private correspondence some eight years ago, gives the impression that it is a fresh statement of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s views. His theological viewpoints on this issue were not totally unknown in the public arena then.

Whatever his personal views may be on the subject, the Archbishop has since made a press statement on 8th August which states, “I wish to make it plain that, as I have consistently said, I accept Resolution 1.10 (which views homosexual practice as incompatible with Scriptures) of the 1998 Lambeth Conference as stating the position of the worldwide Anglican Communion on issues of sexual ethics and this as providing the authoritative basis on which I as Archbishop speak on such questions.” As the ST article rightly reported, the Archbishop of Canterbury “recommitted the Anglican Communion to its orthodox position” at the recent 2008 Lambeth Conference. the rest

Bishop blames abortion for violent crimes in Britain

Wednesday 27th August, 2008

London: A Roman Catholic bishop has blamed Britain's abortion laws, and claimed casual recourse to abortion had cheapened the value of human life in the eyes of the public over the last four decades.

The Rt Reverend Patrick O'Donoghue, the Bishop of Lancaster, said he was convinced that the 1967 Abortion Act was a major cause of widespread violence among young people.

"All of us have seen in the news the frequent reports of young people killing strangers in the street, killing fathers defending their property, killing people with learning difficulties, killing other young people who are different to them," The Telegraph quoted the bishop as saying in report titled "Fit for Mission? Church". the rest

A.S. Haley: The Wonderful World of Rose-Colored Spin [Diocese of San Joaquin]

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Episcopal "Diocese" of San Joaquin (which is not yet an official diocese of the Episcopal Church, for reasons explained here) has put out a press release concerning a recent Stipulation approved in an Order issued by the Fresno County Superior Court in the pending litigation between TEC, Bishop Lamb, and Bishop Schofield. The press release, as most such one-sided documents are intended to do, tries to put a positive spin on what was actually a refreshingly pragmatic solution arrived at between the parties, but only after a good deal of initial resistance from the TEC side.

Before I deal with what the release says, let me give some background to the unusual situation which this Stipulation and Order address. As noted in earlier posts, the Episcopal "Diocese", Bishop Lamb, and TEC joined in a lawsuit filed in April 2008 against Bishop Schofield (whom the plaintiffs refused to title as a "bishop" in their pleadings) and various diocesan trust fund entities, who, they alleged, had absconded with buildings, properties and bank accounts which belonged to them, the plaintiffs. In a tactic designed solely to turn up the heat on the defendants, the plaintiffs amended their lawsuit in May to name as an additional defendant the brokerage firm of Merrill Lynch, with whom Bishop Schofield and the trust entities had invested their funds. In response to being sued, Merrill Lynch placed a hold, or "freeze", on some 32 different investment accounts maintained with it by the defendants (and others who were not defendants).
The rest at Anglican Curmudgeon

Diocese of New Westminster takes steps under Canon 15

Directed at clergy who have left the Anglican Church of Canada remain at diocesan parishes
Tuesday 26 Aug, 2008

The Diocese has taken steps under Canon 15 towards removing clergy who have left the Anglican Church of Canada rather than accepting the decisions of the Diocesan Synod and General Synod.

The Diocese has invoked the provision that returns control of the parishes to the Diocese, an action that was approved by Diocesan Council.

The parishes are St. Matthew’s Abbotsford and St. Matthias and St. Luke, Vancouver. Former diocesan clergy who have continued working in the parishes are Trevor Walters, Michael Stewart, and Don Gardner at St. Matthew’s, and Simon Chin at St. Matthias and St. Luke.

No steps have been taken at present at Good Shepherd, and at St. John’s Shaughnessy, Vancouver, two other parishes where former diocesan clergy remain who have left the Anglican Church of Canada. the rest

Press release: Diocese of New Westminster takes steps to remove clergy who have left the Anglican Church of Canada

Memorandum to Diocesan Clergy

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Devotional: Lift up your heart to Him...

Lift up your heart to Him, sometimes even at your meals, and when you are in company; the least little remembrance will always be acceptable to Him. You need not cry very loud; he is nearer to us than we are aware of. ...Brother Lawrence image

Thousands Protest Abortion at Democratic Convention But Media Ignores Them



(Video and story)

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
August 26, 2008

Denver, CO (LifeNews.com) -- Thousands of pro-life advocates are lining the streets of Denver protesting abortion at the Democratic convention, but you'd never know it from the national media coverage of the event. On Monday night, led by Alveda King and Archbishop Charles Chaput, the held a prayer vigil at a Planned Parenthood.

As many as 2,500 people lined the streets outside a local abortion center and called on Democratic Party leaders, and their pro-abortion presidential candidate Barack Obama, to stop abortions.

Some participants carried rosaries or pro-life signs while teenagers scrawled pro-life messages on the sidewalks with chalk -- including those Democratic convention participants would use to head to the Pepsi Center. the rest

Charles Wesley's 250-year-old journals reveal fears that Church of England could split

The 300,000-word journals of Charles Wesley, the co-founder of the Methodist movement, have finally been decoded after a nine-year project to unravel the hidden messages within his complex personal shorthand.
By John Bingham
26 Aug 2008

Rev Prof Kenneth Newport, pro vice-chancellor of Liverpool Hope University, has deciphered more than 1,000 pages written 250 years ago between 1736 and 1756.

He has uncovered details of Wesley's anxieties over the possibilities of a split from the Church of England, his younger brother's plans to marry and even over the growing influence of Islam.

He used a handwritten transcription of the four gospels made by Wesley as a guide to deciphering the journals themselves.

Wesley's concerns over the prospect of the newly founded Methodist Societies splitting from the Church of England echo the Anglican Church's current debate over the consecration of gay clergy and the threat of schism. the rest

No nuns on catwalk, priest stops "beauty contest"

Tue Aug 26, 2008
By Philip Pullella

ROME (Reuters) - An Italian priest who had planned an online "pageant" for nuns has suspended the project, saying he was misinterpreted and had no intention of putting sisters on a beauty catwalk.

"My superiors were not happy. The local bishop was not happy, but they did not understand me either," Father Antonio Rungi told Reuters by telephone from his convent in southern Italy Tuesday.

"It was not at all my intention to put nuns on the catwalk," said Rungi, a priest of the Passionists religious order, speaking from his convent in the town of Mondragone.

Rungi's idea appeared in newspapers around the world after he wrote of a contest for nuns on his blog, called by some "Sister Italy 2008." the rest image

The Democrats and the Abortion Wars

Are Obama and Pelosi dodging the life-and-death question?
George Weigel
Newsweek Web Exclusive
Aug 25, 2008

Excerpt:
Throughout this lengthy campaign, the Democratic Party has worked hard to present itself as the party of intellect, competence and moral seriousness. Yet it's off to a very rocky start in addressing the substance of the abortion issue—which remains, 35 years after Roe v. Wade, one of the most volatile in our public life. Talk this week by Democratic leaders about lowering the incidence of abortion in America will rightly be welcomed by pro-life Democrats, including the large number of pro-life African-American Democrats. But the recent public record has to make committed pro-lifers of both parties wonder just how serious the Democratic leadership is about engaging the abortion debate.

At the Aug. 16 "Civil Forum on the Presidency" at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., Sen. Barack Obama was asked by pastor Rick Warren, "At what point does a baby get human rights, in your view?" Obama quickly changed the subject to when life begins, and then demurred: "... whether you are looking at it from a theological perspective or a scientific perspective, answering that question with specificity ... is above my pay grade." Why, though? An embryology text widely used in American medical schools, "The Developing Human," is not so reticent about the science involved: "Human development begins at fertilization when a male gamete or sperm (spermatazoon) unites with a female gamete or oocyte (ovum) to produce a single cell—a zygote. This highly specialized, totipotent cell marked the beginning of each of us as a unique individual." That is the science. It's quite specific, and understanding the science here is surely not above the "pay grade" of a president who will be making public-policy decisions based on that science. the rest

Archbishop Rowan Williams' Pastoral Letter to Bishops of the Anglican Communion

Tuesday 26 August 2008

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has today sent a letter to the bishops of the Anglican Communion, setting out his personal reflections on the Lambeth Conference. The full text of the letter can be found below:

As the Lambeth Conference of 2008 comes to an end, I want to offer some further reflections of my own on what the bishops gathered in Canterbury have learned and experienced. Those of you who have been present here will be able to share your own insights with your people, but it may be useful for me to add my own perspectives as to where we have been led.

For the vast majority of bishops, it seems, this has been a time when they have felt God to have been at work. The Conference was not a time for making new laws or for binding decisions; in spite of the way some have expressed their expectations, Lambeth Conferences have never worked straightforwardly in this way. The Conference Design Group believed strongly that the chief need of our Communion at the moment was the rebuilding of relationships – the rebuilding of trust in one another – and of confidence in our Anglican identity. And it was with this in mind that they planned for a very different sort of Conference, determined to allow every bishop's voice to be heard and to seek for a final outcome for which the bishops were genuinely able to recognize an authentic account of their own work. the rest

Carnage, attacks on Christians follow killing of Hindu nationalists in Orissa, India

Tuesday, 26th August 2008
By Vishal Arora

New Delhi: At least five people, including a Catholic nun, have been burned alive and numerous houses and churches torched by angry mobs that allege local Christians were behind the killing of five Hindu nationalists in the eastern state of Orissa on Saturday, although a Maoist group has claimed responsibility for it.

“We have information about death of three persons in Raikia area (in Orissa’s Kandhamal district). The details are being collected,” a district official, Satyabrata Sahu, was quoted today by the TIMES NOW news channel as saying. The three people died of asphyxiation after their houses were torched at midnight last night, said the report.

Madhu Chandra of the All India Christian Council told ReligiousIntelligence.com that the three were identified as 37-year-old Vikram, Khandi (35), and Prinadho (45).

Chandra also said that at least 18 houses and four churches were burned down in Tiania village in Raikia. the rest

Added:

NYT: Hindu-Christian Violence Flares in India

Anglican Mainstream: Christians attacked throughout Orissa State, North India

Asia News: Pogrom against Christians underway in Orissa

Albert Mohler: From Mainline to Sideline -- The Death of Protestant America

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Joseph Bottum remembers a time when America was painted in bold Protestant hues. "America was Methodist, once upon a time--Methodist, or Baptist, or Presbyterian, or Congregationalist, or Episcopalian," he explains. But, that was then, and this is now.

Now, Bottum suggests that the average American "would have trouble recalling the dogmas that once defined all the jarring sects, but their names remain at least half alive."

Bottum writes of this Protestant collapse in the August/September 2008 issue of First Things, one of the most influential intellectual journals of the day. In "The Death of Protestant America: A Political Theory of the Protestant Mainline," Bottum offers a clever and insightful theory of mainline decline -- the collapse of liberal Protestantism as a movement and dominant cultural influence. the rest

The Biggest Missing Story in Politics

August 25, 2008
By Bruce Walker

Excerpt:
What is Question D3 and what were the results to Question D3 in the August 20, 2008 Battleground Poll? It is this:

"When thinking about politics and government, do you consider yourself to be...

Very conservative

Somewhat conservative

MODERATE

Somewhat liberal

Very liberal

UNSURE/REFUSED"

In August 2008, Americans answered that question this way: (1) 20% of Americans considered themselves to be very conservative; (2) 40% of Americans considered themselves to be somewhat conservative; (3) 2% of Americans considered themselves to be moderate; (4) 27% of Americans considered themselves to be somewhat liberal; (5) 9% of Americans considered themselves to be very liberal; and (6) 3% of Americans did not know or refused to answer.

Sixty percent of Americans considered themselves conservative. Does this mean that most Americans do not know what "conservative" means? No: The question specifically provides an out to people who are not sure about their ideology; it provides an out to people who want to be considered "moderate." Americans reject those choices. They overwhelmingly define themselves as "conservative." This is a huge political story - except that it is not "new" at all. Look at the thirteen Battleground Poll results over the last six years, and how do Americans answer that very question? Here are the percentages of Americans in those polls who call themselves "conservative" since June 2002: 59% (June 2002 poll), 59% (September 2003 poll), 61% (April 2004 poll), 59% (June 2004 poll), 60% (September 2004 poll), 61% (October 2005 poll), 59% (March 2006), 61% (October 2006), 59% (January 2007), 63% (July 2007), 58% (December 2007), 63% (May 2008), and now 60% (August 2008.) Full article

Billionaire Tim Gill tells DNC delegates his strategy to advance the homosexual cause

Gill: “The only way bigots are going to learn is if we take their power away from them"
Denver, Aug 25, 2008

(CNA)- Tim Gill, a billionaire from Colorado who has funded homosexual activism throughout the United States, spoke at the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered (LGBT) Delegates Caucus at the Democratic National Convention on Monday, outlining how he has worked to advance homosexual causes in U.S. politics. Gill endorsed undermining rising politicians critical of homosexual advocacy by targeting donations to benefit their opponents on the state level.

Gill, who was introduced at the caucus as one of the nation’s largest funders of LGBT “civil rights initiatives,” reportedly has spent $150 million on LGBT issues. He is the former CEO of the software publishing company Quark, Inc. and is also the founder of the Gill Action Fund, a major backer of homosexual political candidates and causes. the rest

Archbishop scolds pro-choice Biden

Valerie Richardson and Julia Duin
Tuesday, August 26, 2008

DENVER-Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. arrived at the Democratic National Convention on Monday amid rumblings over whether his pro-choice Catholicism would help or hurt the Democratic ticket.

An Irish-Catholic from a working-class upbringing, Mr. Biden won the nod as presumptive presidential nominee Barack Obama's running mate in part because of his appeal to blue-collar Catholics, the same voters who swung during the primary for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York.

Although he represents Delaware in the Senate, Mr. Biden grew up in Pennsylvania, a must-win state for Democrats in November.

But the party's hopes of winning the critical Catholic vote took a hit Sunday when Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver said Mr. Biden should avoid taking Communion as a result of his pro-choice stand on abortion. the rest

Biden has deep ties to Rezko accomplice

Monday, August 25, 2008

Devotional: And so we can just pour out the fullness of our heart...

And so we can just pour out the fullness of our heart, the burden of our spirit, the sorrow that crushes us, and know that He hears, He loves, He understands, He receives; and He separates from our prayer all that is imperfect, ignorant and wrong, and presents the rest, with the incense of the great High Priest, before the throne on high; and our prayer is heard, accepted and answered in His name. ...AB Simpson image

"Catholic" Speaker Pelosi Denies that Catholicism Condemns Abortion

By John Jalsevac

WASHINGTON, August 25, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) - In an appearance on the NBC program Meet the Press on Sunday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a self-professed Catholic, denied that the Catholic Church condemns abortion.

Referring to Barack Obama's now-notorious answer to Pastor Rick Warren to the question of when life begins, Meet the Press moderator Tom Brokaw asked Pelosi, "Senator Obama saying the question of when life begins is above his pay grade…If he were to come to you and say, 'Help me out here, Madame Speaker. When does life begin?' what would you tell him?"

Pelosi responded by sidestepping the question, appealing to her Catholic faith as the source of her uncertainty.

"I would say that as an ardent, practicing Catholic, this is an issue that I have studied for a long time," she said. "And what I know is, over the centuries, the doctors of the church have not been able to make that definition. And Senator - St. Augustine said at three months. We don't know."
Pelosi then said that in her view the question of when life begins is a non-issue in the debate on abortion. the rest image

Bonnie Anderson challenges laity to live into baptismal covenant

By Richelle Thompson, August 25, 2008

[Episcopal News Service] Taking seriously the unique promise of the baptismal covenant set the foundation for a series of appearances August 22-24 by Bonnie Anderson, president of the House of Deputies, in the Diocese of Southern Ohio.

Anderson challenged different groups from throughout the diocese to live out their baptismal covenant, both within their church communities and in the world. At the invitation of the Episcopal Community Services Foundation, Anderson served as the keynote speaker at a conference for social justice advocates and grant seekers. Anderson also met with youth of the diocese in Columbus and preached at Christ Church Cathedral in Cincinnati.

Within the Anglican Communion, the Episcopal Church is the only province with a baptismal covenant, said Anderson. "Our baptismal covenant brings us to an understanding of the gifts of laity that isn't really understood in the same way by the rest of the communion … [In the Book of Common Prayer] the catechism says that the ministers of the church are lay persons, bishops, priests and deacons -- in that order. And so we are called by God to do the work we are given." the rest