Saturday, September 06, 2008

Devotional: How completely satisfying...

How completely satisfying to turn from our limitations to a God who has none.... For Him time does not pass, it remains.... God never hurries. There are no deadlines against which He must work. To know this is to quiet our spirits and relax our nerves. ...AW Tozer image

Gafcon leaders say Communion can never be the same again

Saturday, 6th September 2008
by George Conger

The Anglican Communion has been broken and it is an “illusion” to believe things can ever be the same again, the archbishops of the Gafcon movement said last week following their first organizational meeting in London.

The leaders of the conservative wing of the Anglican Communion, representing more than half of the Church’s active members, on Aug 29 released a statement affirming the aims of the movement --- now known as the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (FCA) --- and restated its commitment to the reform and renewal of the Communion.

However, they disagreed sharply with the course taken by Archbishop Rowan Williams in avoiding a full and frank airing of the issues, with one insider telling The Church of England Newspaper the Anglican Communion’s sex wars had taken on a Dickensian quality, and like “Jarndyce and Jarndyce” was still dragging its “dreary length before the court, perennially hopeless.” the rest

House Churches Growing in Iran Despite Persecution

Friday, 5 September 2008

A major crackdown against house church Christians is proceeding in Iran.

And while the Islamic government could halt its nuclear program if it wanted to, it's finding it's incapable of reversing the rapid spread of Christianity there.

The idea behind the Iranian revolution was to establish the world's first modern state governed soley by Islamic law.

So writes Gary Lane, CBN News International Correspondent on the website www.coptreal.com , the News Observation Network. the rest

THE GREENING OF THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH

By John Becker
Posted on September 6, 2008

The triumphant voices from the left on The Bishops and Deputies listserve echo the prophecy made by committed Marxist Charles Reich, right after the Woodstock gathering in 1969, in his blockbuster bestseller "The Greening of America", dedicated in memory of Karl Marx, and published in 1970.

He wrote: "There is a revolution coming. It will not be like revolutions of the past. It will originate with the individual and with culture, and it will change the political structure only as its final act. It will not require violence to succeed, and it cannot be successfully resisted by violence."

It is now spreading with amazing rapidity, and already our laws, institutions and social structure are changing in consequence. It promises a higher reason, a more human community, and a new and liberated individual. Its ultimate creation will be a new and enduring wholeness and beauty -- a renewed relationship of man to himself, to other men, to society, to nature, and to the land.
the rest at Virtueonline

The Church and the World -- A Raging Debate at "On Faith"

Albert Mohler
September 05, 2008

Over at "On Faith," the project of The Washington Post and Newsweek magazine, a debate is raging over this question:

Women are not allowed to become clergy in many conservative religious groups. Is it hypocritical to think that a woman can lead a nation and not a congregation?

As you might expect, that question has unleashed a torrent of response. The essays range across the spectrum.

From retired Episcopal Bishop John Shelby Spong:

It is not a hypocritical sign so much as it is a uninformed sexism in the Christian Church as well as a sign of how irrelevant many parts of Christianity are in the world of today. Great Britain had a woman prime minister before the Church of England had a woman priest. How absurd can a people be? the rest

Bridget McCain's Bangladesh orphanage revealed

Bridget McCain stood out among the seven children of John McCain who took to the podium amid the razzmatazz of the Republican convention in Minnesota.
By Angus McDowall and Abdullah Al Muyid in Dhaka
06 Sep 2008

The adopted daughter of the party's presidential nominee, had been plucked from a Dhaka orphanage as a desperately ill baby girl after a cyclone struck Bangladesh in 1991.

Shyly waving from the podium, the epitome of the bashful schoolgirl, Bridget charmed the hall full of Republican activists gathered last week to acclaim their party's choice for president.

It was a world away from her roots in the backstreet orphanage in Dhaka, capital of one of the world's poorest countries, which The Sunday Telegraph traced last week. the rest

Open letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Primates of the Anglican

The Right Reverend Donald Harvey
Moderator, Anglican Network in Canada
5 September 2008

After consulting with my Primate, Archbishop Gregory Venables, I report with great sadness that two Anglican Network in Canada (ANiC) churches under my jurisdiction – St Matthews (Abbotsford, BC) and St Matthias and St Luke’s (Vancouver, BC) – received letters on 26 August 2008, informing them that the Bishop of New Westminster had taken action on 10 July 2008 to seize control of those parish properties. The letters also notified the wardens, trustees and parish councils that Bishop Michael Ingham had dismissed and replaced them and ordered the clergy to vacate the church buildings by mid-September. It is clear that our other two ANiC parishes in Vancouver, St. John’s Shaughnessy and Church of the Good Shepherd, will receive the same action in the near future.

This is the fourth Canadian diocese to act in this way against ANiC churches which have come under the jurisdiction of the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone. The actions of two of the other dioceses have led to the secular legal courts. This latest action by the Diocese of New Westminster almost certainly will end in the courts as well and is particularly ironic given these letters implementing such hostile action arrived the same day we received the Archbishop of Canterbury’s appraisal of the Lambeth Conference, emphasizing the need to build trust. the rest (pdf)

The new (softer) face of America's pro-life movement

David Frum, National Post
Saturday, September 06, 2008

Whoever imagined that we would see a Republican convention rapturously applaud an unwed teen mother?

Yet that is just what happened on Wednesday night in St. Paul. At the conclusion of Sarah Palin's triumphant speech, the Alaskan Governor welcomed her family onto the stage: her husband, her five children and the fiance of Bristol, her visibly pregnant 17-year-old daughter.

That moment confirmed a dramatic evolution in American politics: the transformation of the pro-life movement from an unambiguously conservative force into something more complex. the rest

Friday, September 05, 2008

Is it a sin to vote for pro-abortion candidates?

Patrick Madrid

Not since the Civil War crisis over slavery has a controversial moral issue so divided Americans and roiled society as has abortion. The deliberate killing of an unborn child through an abortion, though currently enjoying the “legitimacy” of legality in this country (just as slavery was once also legal), is, nonetheless, a grave evil that must be opposed. But how, exactly can one properly oppose something that is already permitted by law?

There are many peaceful, legal, and constructive ways to oppose abortion and work for the overturn and elimination of the existing laws that allow for this hideous crime against children, but the most direct and far-reaching method is to vote for pro-life candidates for political office. Or, at the very least, to not vote for candidates who are avowedly anti-life, (i.e. pro-abortion). Regardless of what your or my political affiliations and inclinations might be, we all should take a moment and reflect on what Scripture says about how our votes will promote or prevent the continued legalization of the crime of abortion. the rest

Philip G. Ney: Sex Education

I am a retired professor of psychiatry having taught in 5 universities in different parts of Canada, Hong Kong and New Zealand. I have also run child and adolescent psychiatric units. I have been on school boards. It is from a review of the literature and from my experience that I write this brief opinion.

1) There is no particular need for "sex education". For many centuries there was no sex education yet children were conceived and their parents enjoyed the process. Discovery of each other and what is pleasant in bed, on the wedding night and therafter is an important part of the exciting and unique pleasure that bonds the couple.

2) Sex education inhibits pair bonding. To educate young people about something that comes naturally robs them of the spontainaity and joy of sex that is vitally important for pair bonding and thus family stability.

3) The more sex education, the more sexual self consciousness There is substantial evidence that the more sex education, especially on technique, the more the couple is sexually inhibited. The greater the emphasis on sexual performance, the less communication and interpersonal intimacy there is. the rest

Dancing figures express ubuntu in winning convention logo

By Daphne Mack
September 04, 2008

[Episcopal News Service] A swirl of dancing figures, coupled with the words 'I in you and you in me', was selected as the winning entry in a contest to select a logo for the 2009 General Convention theme of ubuntu.

"I feel humbled, honored and excited about people thinking and talking about the design and what it means to live, move and work together," said the Rev. Paul Fromberg of his winning logo.

The contest asked for designs that would convey the idea of ubuntu (pronounced oo-boon-too), a Zulu or Xhosa word that describes humaneness, caring, sharing, and being in harmony with all of creation. Story/image

Comments at Stand Firm

Anglican Use liturgy for Catholics coming to Kansas City

By John Heuertz
Special to The Catholic Key

KANSAS CITY - A new organization has formed in Kansas City called the Society of Our Lady of Hope offering guidance, comfort and support to local Anglican Communion members who wish to become Catholics.

Beginning Sunday, September 7 and continuing through November, society members will celebrate the Liturgy of the Word each week at St. Therese Little Flower parish in Kansas City using the Book of Divine Worship - the Catholic Church-approved liturgy for Catholics with an Episcopalian or Anglican background.

Each week until December 1, the first Sunday of Advent, the liturgy will be followed by a talk on some aspect of the Catholic faith. If all goes as planned, the full Anglican Use Mass will begin on that date at St. Therese's. the rest

Preachers of separatism at work inside Britain's mosques

Britain's leading Muslim bodies say they are fighting extremism. In one of our most respected mosques, Sara Hassan came face to face with hardline female preachers of separatism. Here, she reports on the shocking results of her investigation
31 Aug 2008

In a large balcony above the beautiful main hall at Regent's Park Mosque in London - widely considered the most important mosque in Britain - I am filming undercover as the woman preacher gives her talk.

What should be done to a Muslim who converts to another faith? "We kill him," she says, "kill him, kill, kill…You have to kill him, you understand?"

Adulterers, she says, are to be stoned to death - and as for homosexuals, and women who "make themselves like a man, a woman like a man ... the punishment is kill, kill them, throw them from the highest place". the rest image

Lambeth absentees press on as letters wait to be sent out

by Bill Bowder
5 September, 2008

A MONTH after the Lambeth Conference, the 230 or so absent Anglican bishops have not yet been contacted in order to “build bridges” with them. In the mean time, their leaders have stated that they have heard nothing from Lambeth to give them pause as they seek to form a new North American province.

The Archbishop of Canterbury and Canon Kenneth Kearon, the secretary general of the Anglican Communion, committed themselves at the Lambeth Conference to ensur­ing that the absent bishops were kept fully informed of what had taken place, and of the process expected to lead to the Anglican Covenant.

All the Primates have been sent copies of Dr Williams’s post-Con­ference reflections; but on Wednes­day the promised “bridge-building” letters had still not been sent out. “I know it is being worked on in the office, and it is in process. But the letters have not physically gone out to everyone absent yet,” a source in the Anglican Communion Office said. the rest

Peggy Noonan: 'A Servant's Heart'

September 5, 2008

Sarah Palin killed. And more than killed.

Much has been said about her speech, but a few points. "The difference between a hockey mom and a pitbull? Lipstick" is pure American and goes straight into Bartlett's. This is the authentic sound of the American mama, of every mother you know at school who joins the board, reads the books, heads the committee, and gets the show on the road. These women make large portions of America work.

She has the power of the normal. Hillary Clinton is grim, stentorian, was born to politics and its connivances. Nancy Pelosi, another mother of five, often seems dazed and ad hoc. But this state governor and mother of a big family is a woman in a good mood. There is something so normal about her, so "You've met this person before and you like her," that she broke through in a new way, as a character vividly herself, and vividly genuine. the rest

First Things: Why They Hate Her

Jonathan V. Last
September 4, 2008

There are reasonable criticisms that can be made of Sarah Palin, both as governor and a vice presidential selection. Yet little of what we have seen in the last six days has been either reasonable or critical (in the traditional sense of the word). Instead, much of the left and many in the media simply lashed out at Palin, particularly at her family.

And not only the fringiest parts of the political fringe: A writer at the Washington Post attacked Palin for the fact that her seventeen-year-old daughter was going to have a baby. A writer for The Atlantic openly questioned whether or not Palin’s four-month-old baby, who has Down’s Syndrome, was actually hers. The utterly unfounded suggestion was that the baby was Palin’s daughter’s and that the governor had faked her pregnancy. Proof of the baby’s birth was demanded.

Again, we are not talking about an anonymous blogger at Daily Kos—this is the commentary from the Washington Post and The Atlantic Monthly. And there was more—much more—where that came from.

So why? What is it about Sarah Palin that convinced so much of the left to objectify and assault her so quickly, and with such manifest maliciousness? There are many reasons, but four of them stick out in particular, each having to do not with Palin’s politics, but with her family. the rest

News Highlights on Extraordinary Sarah Palin Phenomenon

Francis Cardinal George of Chicago: Letter on abortion

September 2, 2008

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

In the midst of a lengthy political campaign, matters of public policy that are also moral issues sometimes are misrepresented or are presented in a partial or manipulative fashion. While everyone could be expected to know the Church’s position on the immorality of abortion and the role of law in protecting unborn children, it seems some profess not to know it and others, even in the Church, dispute it. Since this teaching has recently been falsely presented, the following clarification may be helpful.

The Catholic Church, from its first days, condemned the aborting of unborn children as gravely sinful. Not only Scripture’s teaching about God’s protection of life in the womb (consider the prophets and the psalms and the Gospel stories about John the Baptist and Jesus himself in Mary’s womb) but also the first century catechism (the Didache or Teaching of the Twelve Apostles) said: “You shall not slay the child by abortions. You shall not kill what is generated.” The teaching of the Church was clear in a Roman Empire that permitted abortion. This same teaching has been constantly reiterated in every place and time up to Vatican II, which condemned abortion as a “heinous crime.” This is true today and will be so tomorrow. Any other comments, by politicians, professors, pundits or the occasional priest, are erroneous and cannot be proposed in good faith. the rest

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Devotional: Each of us may be sure...

Each of us may be sure that if God sends us on stony paths He will provide us with strong shoes, and He will not send us out on any journey for which He does not equip us well.
...Alexander MacLaren image

Archbishop accused of marginalising homosexuals

Riazat Butt, religious affairs correspondent
The Guardian
Friday September 5 2008

The Archbishop of Canterbury has pandered to conservatives in the Anglican communion by scapegoating and marginalising homosexual Christians, a senior cleric claimed yesterday.

The Right Rev John Bryson Chane, Bishop of Washington and one of the most influential figures in the liberal-majority wing of the US Episcopal church, made the remarks about the Lambeth conference, the 10-yearly gathering of the world's Anglican bishops that took place in Canterbury in July and August this year.

The three-week summit saw Rowan Williams attempting to avoid schism by reinforcing a ban on gay bishops and same-sex blessings, moratoriums aimed at appeasing conservative evangelicals who were infuriated at the inclusive nature of some US and Canadian churches.

Chane said: "There was far too much recognition of those who chose not to participate in this Lambeth conference and far too little recognition of those bishops who chose to come." the rest

Britons may be more vulnerable to Aids due to Roman invasion

Britons may be more vulnerable to Aids due to the Roman invasion, new findings suggest
04 Sep 2008

Researchers found that people who live in lands conquered by the Roman army have less protection against HIV than those in countries they never reached

They say a gene which helps make people less susceptible to HIV occurs in greater frequency in areas of Europe that the Roman Empire did not stretch to.

The gene lacks certain DNA elements, which means HIV cannot bind to it as easily and is less able to infect cells.

People with the mutation have some resistance to HIV infection and also take longer to develop AIDS, reports New Scientist. the rest image

Anglican Church of Kenya approves reorganisation plan

Thursday, 4th September 2008
By George Conger

The Standing Committee of the Anglican Church of Kenya has endorsed a plan to reorganize the 4.5 million-member church into four ecclesiastical provinces, each to be headed by an archbishop.

Approval for the plan was given last month at the provincial standing committee meeting in Nairobi. The four archdioceses will be Mombasa, Mt Kenya, Nakura and Maseno.

The Archbishop of Mombasa will exercise metropolitan authority over the dioceses of All Saints Cathedral, Kajaido, Kitui, Machakos, Mombasa, Nairobi and Taita Taveta --- covering the south and east of the country. the rest

Kendall Harmon: A Plea for Parishes with Porches

September 4, 2008

Try a mental exercise with me. Imagine you were not a person of faith and you came to the parish where you worship — would there be a way for you to find a safe place there where you felt free to explore your questions, struggles and doubts?

I bet you answered no; I know I have in most parishes in which I have served.

Yet it was William Temple who said that the church is the only organization in the world which exists primarily for those who are not yet her members. If that is the case, then why do people who do not have faith but who wish for faith or have questions about the gospel find most churches so unwelcoming in their quest?

To do better, churches need to provide porches. Although disappearing in many American homes recently, porches play a vital function. They are an intermediate ground in which people who live in the house come out of the house and can be seen, and indeed talked to, by passers by on the sidewalk.

It is a big risk to go into someone’s house, but not to talk to them on their porch. Indeed, most people when invited will go onto a porch and speak with people who ask them to come. the rest image

Hugh Hewitt: Syracusan weighs in about Palin

The Palin Breakout, Part 4
Hugh Hewitt
September 4, 2008

What a rout. Up early to watch the pundits on parade for a couple of hours, and the lefty talking heads and the MSM anchors are fleeing Sarah Palin like a building on fire. No more chants of "inexperience," and only the most indirect of references to her family. Until yesterday the collective MSM sneer was that Palin was "Hello Kitty," reeling backwards under the pressure. Now she's Gorgo, smashing up the MSM's cars. The dismayed punditry is pondering the "meanness" of her attacks and her lack of details on health care refom. A complete triumph over the Beltway-Manhatan media elites, but they will of course regather in Mordor and try again next week.

The Obamains decying "mean-spritiedness" are diminishing Obama the former giant slayer turned victim. They think Sarah Palin, Rudy, Mitt and Huck are tough? Remember Obama is scheduling meetings with Ahmadinejad, Kim, and Chavez for '09. Disarray is far too complimentary a word to use for the Obama campaign.

CNN actually had a discussion on how Palin et al may have offended the "community organizers" of America. Really. Soledad had an e-mail to that effect, after all. Well, I have a virtul in-box filled to the virtual sky with e-mails like this:

I work in a small manufacturing facility in the greater Syracuse NY area. It is pretty darn "blue" around here, but kind of a "centrist dem, labor-oriented, working class value blue-collar blue". Not the "fever swamp truther, BushCo kind of blue". Anyway, to the point. No one EVER talks politics here, but the place is BUZZING with Palin fever. Everyone's talking about her, and the most often used phrase I hear is "finally, one of us!"The left is in serious, serious trouble. I myself wasn't enthused about McCain, though my respect for the man's sacrifice alone gets my vote. But now I will writing my first EVER check to any candidate. And I will gladly support the McCain/Palin ticket because she inspires me. the rest

Palin strikes back at critics

A forceful advocate for McCain

Palin gives ample proof she'll have no trouble fulfilling traditional attack-dog role By Paul West
September 4, 2008

ST. PAUL, Minn. - A prolonged, thunderous roar greeted Sarah Palin last night as the newest Republican star joined a long line of the party's media scourges, including former Maryland Gov. Spiro T. Agnew, who stood in her place 40 years ago.

Boos rained down when she added her voice to John McCain's new campaign counterattack against the news media in the aftermath of unflattering publicity about Palin and how she was chosen.

But in confidently introducing herself to the nation, the Republican vice presidential candidate chose another vice president, a Democrat, Harry S. Truman, as a model for comparison.

Palin offered a personal and, at times, corny self-portrait of herself as a common-sense product of small-town America who wants to join McCain in shaking up Washington. the rest image

The Speech: What Palin Wrought

The Natural: Sarah Palin connects with people in a way that few politicians can

McCain Faces High Bar After Palin Speech, Democratic Theater

Wales: Canon says he would quit over gay bishop

Sep 4 2008
by Darren Devine
Western Mail

A SENIOR clergyman has threatened to quit rather than work alongside the man who could become the UK’s first openly gay bishop because he says homosexual acts are “sinful and wrong”.

Canon Peter Jones said he would consider his position should the Dean of St Albans, Dr Jeffrey John, become the new Bishop of Bangor.

Mr Jones, who is Vicar of Conwy in the diocese of Bangor, hinted the appointment of Dr John would lead many others to walk away from the Church in Wales. the rest

Pittsburgh: Episcopalians weigh options as secession vote draws near

Thursday, September 04, 2008
By Ann Rodgers, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

As a final vote approaches on whether the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh should secede from the national church, local Episcopalians who want to remain part of the New York-based denomination are meeting to plan for their future.

"A Hopeful Future for the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh: An Alternative Solution" will present reasons for opting to stay in the Episcopal Church.

It will also present what may happen with property, a new diocesan government and other issues if Bishop Robert Duncan and most local Episcopalians change their allegiance to the theologically conservative Anglican Province of the Southern Cone, which covers six nations in southernmost South America. The Episcopal Church is the U.S. branch of the worldwide Anglican Communion.

"A Hopeful Future" will take place at 1 p.m. Sept. 13 in St. Paul Episcopal Church, Mt. Lebanon.
On Oct. 4, the diocesan convention is expected to take the second of two votes required to attempt to secede from the Episcopal Church. In the first, taken in November, laity voted 118-58 and clergy voted 109-24 to leave the Episcopal Church. the rest

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Devotional: Friends, our life is love and peace and tenderness...

Friends, our life is love and peace and tenderness. We are called to bear one another's burdens, forgive one another, and never judge or accuse one another. Instead, we must pray for one another, helping one another up with a tender hand if there has been any slip or fall. ...Isaac Penington image

Augustine, antidote to the Enlightenment

Peter Mullen discovers why Benedict XVI reveres the Bishop of Hippo
29 August 2008

I have just been reading some marvellous reflections on St Augustine by Benedict XVI. The minds of Pope and saint are so intertwined that I am surprised, given Benedict's intense and lifelong admiration of Augustine, he did not choose that name for his adopted title when he was elected to the See of Rome. So close is the Pope's thought to Augustine's that I often had to look and look again to be sure as to which man's words I was reading.

Pope Benedict has called St Augustine "the greatest Father of the Latin Church". In his reflections he explains just why: "He left a very deep mark on the cultural life of the West. It could be said that all the roads of Latin Christian literature led to Hippo, the place in North Africa where he was Bishop from AD 395 until his death in 430.

"The Pope reminded us of Augustine's prolific output; he is the Church Father who left the greatest number of works, each one a philosophical, theological and literary masterpiece. Pope Benedict is himself a gifted psychologist, though not in the secular sense but as a man with profound insight into people's interiority, their inner spiritual workings, their souls. This he derives to a large extent from Augustine.
the rest image

Peggy Noonan: A Clear and Present Danger To the American Left

September 3, 2008

Excerpt:
Gut: The Sarah Palin choice is really going to work, or really not going to work. It's not going to be a little successful or a little not; it's not going to be a wash. She is either going to be magic or one of history's accidents. She is either going to be brilliant and groundbreaking, or will soon be the target of unattributed quotes by bitter staffers shifting blame in all the Making of the President 2008 books. Of which there should be plenty, as we've never had a year like this, with the fabulous freak of a campaign.

More immediately and seriously on Palin:

Because she jumbles up so many cultural categories, because she is a feminist not in the Yale Gender Studies sense but the How Do I Reload This Thang way, because she is a woman who in style, history, moxie and femininity is exactly like a normal American feminist and not an Abstract Theory feminist; because she wears makeup and heels and eats mooseburgers and is Alaska Tough, as Time magazine put it; because she is conservative, and pro-2nd Amendment and pro-life; and because conservatives can smell this sort of thing -- who is really one of them and who is not -- and will fight to the death for one of their beleaguered own; because of all of this she is a real and present danger to the American left, and to the Obama candidacy. the rest

Obama Launches Ad Campaign Attacking McCain for Pro-Life Policy

Wednesday September 3, 2008
By Kathleen Gilbert

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 3, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The Obama campaign threw their vehemently pro-abortion stance into relief by investing in radio ads attacking pro-life Sen. McCain for threatening to take away women's "right to choose."

The ads feature the voice of a "nurse-practitioner with Planned Parenthood" warning her listeners that McCain will seek to have Roe v. Wade overturned and ban abortion.

"I know abortion is one of most difficult decisions a woman will ever make," says the woman's voice. "Let me tell you - if Roe v Wade is overturned, the lives and health of women will be put at risk. That's why this election is so important. John McCain's out of touch with women today. McCain wants to take away our right to choose."

The ad then plays a sound byte from an interview on Meet the Press with John McCain, confirming his support of a constitutional ban on abortion. "We can't let John McCain take away our right to choose," the woman concludes. "We can't let him take us back." the rest

God Glorified in the Nobodies

John MacArthur
Grace to You

Stained-Glass Saints?
If you've ever visited the great cathedrals in Europe, you'd think the apostles were larger-than-life stained-glass saints with shining halos who represented an exalted degree of spirituality. But actually, they were very, very common men.

It's a shame they have so often been put on pedestals as magnificent marble figures, or portrayed in paintings like some kind of Roman gods. That dehumanizes them. They were just twelve completely ordinary men — human in every way — and we shouldn't lose touch with who they really were.

So what qualified those men to be apostles? The truth is, it wasn't any intrinsic ability or outstanding talent of their own. They were Galileans. They were not the elite. Galileans were considered low-class, rural, uneducated, people. They were commoners, nobodies. But those nobodies would become the preeminent leaders of the fledgling church — its very foundation! the rest image

First Things: A Vote for Sarah Palin

By Suann Therese Maier

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Three memories have shaped my approach to this year’s general election.

Here’s the first. In the late 1970s, during a two-year break from teaching to raise our second son, an adopted child, I found myself at a Los Angeles dinner party filled with DINKs, the “double income, no kids” crowd who were just emerging as a self-aware and upwardly mobile social group. I fell to talking—or more accurately, listening—to a chatty young female attorney who said she was putting in eighty hours a week as a junior associate on a variety of important cases.

After twenty minutes or so, she finally noticed my silence and asked me what I did with my own time. So I told her. I told her about the young couple that had asked my husband and me to adopt their baby if we covered their hospital expenses. I told her about waiting outside the delivery room for our son to be born. I told her about the bureaucratic maze that came with finalizing the adoption of a newborn. I told her about borrowing money from friends so we’d look more solvent than we actually were to Social Service inspectors who checked our accounts.

“That’s wonderful dear,” she said. “You’re so lucky not to have a real job.” the rest

Michelle Malkin: The Four Stages of Conservative Female Abuse

From Tennessee to Texas, churches shelter and serve hurricane evacuees

By Erik Tryggestad
The Christian Chronicle
9-2-08

Congregations continued on Tuesday offering shelter, food, clothing and other necessities to those who had fled Hurricane Gustav, even as many made arrangements to begin returning to their Gulf Coast homes.

While Gustav's punch paled in comparison to that delivered by Hurricane Katrina three years ago, there was no way to know exactly where or how hard the storm would hit. An estimated 2 million residents of Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama heeded evacuation pleas, some of them arriving by bus or car at shelters staffed by Church of Christ volunteers or makeshift dormitories at church activity centers or Christian university campuses. the rest

Tropical quartet: 4 storms with more to come

Church shocked as Christians forced to become Hindus

September 2, 2008

NEW DELHI (ICNS): The continuing anti-Christian violence in Orissa took a vicious form with fanatic Hindus forcing Christians to denounce their religion, become Hindus and destroy their own churches.

The Catholic Bishops' Conference of India (CBCI) said the Church “is shocked” to learn that the Christians are “forced to become Hindus and attack their own Churches in which they have been worshiping so long.” The bishops in a statement said latest reports from Bhubaneshwar say mobs continue to attack Churches and ransack the Christian institutions at will. the rest image

Christians cower from Hindu backlash in Orissa

Indian homes torched in Christian-Hindu violence

Thousands of Christians have taken shelter in refugee camps

Growing number of newspapers will print same-sex wedding announcements

September 1, 2008

While Proposition 8, the Protect Marriage Initiative, falters in the polls, virtually every daily newspaper in California is promoting “marriage” between people of the same gender by publishing same-sex wedding announcements, a rapidly growing practice among publishers that may explain in part what appears to be a sea change in public attitudes about an idea that just years ago seemed unthinkable.

About 83% of those who read newspapers in the U.S. are being influenced by the growing trend in the industry to accept wedding or engagement announcements from same-sex couples, according to the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), a strategy actively promoted by the group to sway public opinion on the subject. the rest

The man behind that movie voice


By COLIN COVERT
Star Tribune
September 3, 2008

Duluth native Don LaFontaine, the voice-over artist whose authoritative baritone and stern delivery graced thousands of movie trailers, died Monday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. LaFontaine, 68, whose affectionate film industry nickname was "the voice of God," may have been the busiest actor in the history of the Screen Actors Guild, though most of his projects lasted from 30 seconds to two minutes.

LaFontaine introduced scores of film trailers with the melodramatic formula "In a world where (some threat is present), one (heroic person) will (do something constructive)." the rest

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Devotional: And what am I, to know...

...and what am I, to know
your promises, your mercies, your grace, your love?
Suppose my heart is (as I can only too well believe)
hard, unfruitful, deep deceitful: is that beyond the power
of the fingers that made the heavens?

O, majestic Lord, you care for me,
you have me in your mind and heart. In that I rest. Amen.
...Timothy Dudley-Smith

Archbishop Fred Hiltz disputes charge that church offers ‘false gospel’

Anglican Journal
MARITES N. SISON
staff writer
Sep 1, 2008

Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, challenged the statement issued by a global group of conservative Anglicans accusing the Anglican Church of Canada and The Episcopal Church in the United States of proclaiming a “false gospel that has paralyzed” the Anglican Communion.

“The Gospel of God in Christ is faithfully proclaimed by Canadian Anglicans today just as it has been by generations who have gone before us,” Archbishop Hiltz said in a press statement issued July 2. “I believe it is important to state this truth in response to the recent statement from the GAFCON (Global Anglican Future Conference) gathering in Jerusalem which suggests otherwise.” the rest

Bishops end conference with ‘wide agreement’ on moratoria

The Anglican Church is going through a reformation

Climate change affects places where churches work
...U.S. Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, who was an oceanographer before becoming a priest, said bishops have discussed how “interconnected” they all are and how climate change impacts everyone, but most of all the poorest of the poor.
“We spoke in the Bible studies today of creation as the body of God. All creation reflects the image of God, not just human beings… We’re gathered here to remind people that if we do not pay attention to all creation, the other things that concern us will be of no importance,” she said.
Bishops Browning and Jefferts Schori reflected on the bishops’ discussion on “Safeguarding Creation: The Bishop and the Environment.” ...

If Dean Jeffrey John becomes a bishop, the floodgates will open

Damian Thompson
Tuesday, September 2, 2008

It was only a matter of time. Dean Jeffrey John is in the running to become Bishop of Bangor and therefore Britain's first openly gay bishop. And there is not a damned thing that the Archbishop of Canterbury can do to stop it happening because (a) the Church in Wales is disestablished and (b) Dean John, though in a civil partnership, is celibate.

You asked for this, Rowan. When you first became Archbishop, you encouraged your old friend to put himself forward as Bishop of Reading and then dropped him in the most humiliating manner possible when evangelicals made a fuss.

This is just a guess, but I reckon that the Archbishop of Wales, Barry Morgan, remembers the great betrayal of 2003 and is perfectly happy to cause +Cantuar maximum embarrassment. If Dean John was in a sexually active relationship, then Morgan would be treading on thin ice. But he is celibate, and in addition ticks just the right boxes – "affirming Catholic", noted theologian, Welsh speaker. (Remind you of anyone?) the rest

Bishop John Chane on Lambeth: The turning point that wasn't

By John Bryson Chane
September 2, 2008

Excerpt:
It is my opinion that in order to placate those primates and bishops who chose to absent themselves from the Lambeth Conference and instead attended the GAFCON gathering in Jerusalem, and to quell the growing dissension within the Church of England over the recent decision to ordain women bishops, and the issues of human sexuality in Holy Orders, Archbishop Williams sought what he believed was a middle way that unfortunately continues to marginalize the Canadian and American churches. Once again, more emphasis was placed on the sexuality issue as being the “line drawn in the sand” that threatens Anglican unity, with little attention paid to the invasion of primates and bishops from other provinces who continue to wreak havoc in some dioceses within the Episcopal Church. There was no discussion of the struggle for power within the Communion, so evident in the rhetoric of GAFCON, that would marginalize the historic roots of Anglicanism and the unifying role of the Archbishop of Canterbury. There was far too much recognition of those who chose not to participate in this Lambeth Conference and far too little recognition of those bishops who chose to come; among them some who did not want to have their names released to the press as participants for fear that their boycotting primates would punish them when they returned home.

I believe that this gathering had a great chance to move forward in relationship building, and to some extent, as I have mentioned earlier, it did. But when it came to addressing the pressing needs of the Communion to develop a global Anglican strategy to address the issues of disease, poverty, illiteracy, the environment and state-sponsored violence against civilian populations, this conference succumbed to “blaming the victims.” As in 1998, the victims are those whose sexual orientation happens to be different from the majority. It is far easier to blame our divisions and our inability to act as a united Communion to address pressing global issues on those least able to defend themselves. Blaming the least among us continues to divert our attention away from the issues that threaten the very existence of humankind and the environmental health of our planet. the rest image

Sleeping Together and Christ's Global Cause

Ray Pritchard
Keep Believing Ministries

I received an email from a man who asked a very particular question. He is a Christian, divorced, and in his forties. He met a Christian woman who seems to be an answer to prayer. Over time they have fallen in love and hope to get married eventually. But they can't marry right now because of financial reasons. Meanwhile they have started having sex together. He used the term "being intimate" to describe it. "We have been intimate and are feeling guilty that we DON’T feel convicted by the Holy Spirit that it has been wrong."

He goes on to say waited to have sex until they knew they were in love. Here is his question put another way: “Why do we not feel convicted by the Holy Spirit but do feel convicted by people? People make us feel guilty but at the same time, the Lord has blessed us and used us in some truly amazing ways." the rest

First-Ever Internet Catholic TV Station Launches

01/09/2008

Amigot Corp New York has designed and engineered for a group of businessmen of Indiana, Real Catholic TV. com, the first television station ot its kind on the internet. Starting September 1^st , all internet users can access solid Catholic programming including, daily news, daily political commentary, daily features on saints and history as well as regular episodes on morality, movie reviews, entertainment, apologetics and much more.

As of 2004, the number of hours spent on the internet overtook the number of hours spent watching television in the US. Additionally, the majority of people under 30 now use the internet for their news, information, and education, as well as entertainment. RealCatholicTV.com provides solid Catholic programming targeted directly at the internet audience.

RealCatholicTV.com, www.realcatholictv.com, utilizes an easy to navigate site featuring proprietary technology. The site will provide content through a video player that will allow users to view, send, and download content regardless of their computing platform with no plug-ins required. This player is one of the most-advanced in the World. the rest

Albert Mohler: An Unexpected New Motherhood Debate

September 02, 2008

Labor Day 2008 came with a bang as Hurricane Gustav plowed into the Gulf Coast and as the presidential campaign of Sen. John McCain revealed that the daughter of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin is five months pregnant, and yet unmarried. The word spread quickly, even as Americans celebrated their end-of-summer holiday with an unusual attentiveness to the news.

A statement released by the McCain campaign got right to the point, quoting Gov. Palin and her husband, Todd:

"Our beautiful daughter Bristol came to us with news that as parents we knew would make her grow up faster than we had ever planned. We're proud of Bristol's decision to have her baby and even prouder to become grandparents."

The release added little to that statement, other than that the husband is an 18-year-old named Levi and that the young couple plans to get married.

McCain advisor Steve Schmidt said, "Life happens." McCain speechwriter Mark Salter commented, "An American family." Millions of Americans wondered, "What's going on here?" the rest

$10 Million Woman: Palin a Hit with GOP Donors

Bishop post to go to gay cleric

Riazat Butt religious affairs correspondent
The Guardian
Tuesday September 2 2008

A gay cleric is in line to become the next Bishop of Bangor, replacing the Right Rev Tony Crockett, who died of cancer this year. Canon Jeffrey John, who entered into a civil partnership with his long-term partner, the Rev Grant Holmes, in 2006, is currently the dean of St Albans and is a Welsh speaker - making him an ideal candidate for the job.

Earlier this year, the Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan, said he would support the election of a gay bishop, despite opposition among conservative Anglicans.

At last month's Lambeth conference, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, asked liberals not to exacerbate tensions by consecrating gay clergy.

A conservative cleric, Bishop David Anderson, from the Convocation of Anglicans in North America, wrote that the Church in Wales was likely to ignore Williams' requests. "We have become aware through reliable sources that Dr Barry Morgan is a man of his word - he previously has said, 'I [Barry Morgan] would ordain Britain's first gay bishop'," he wrote. the rest

Ruth Gledhill: Gay priest Dr Jeffrey John could become a bishop in Wales-part 2

Monday, September 01, 2008

Devotional: These things cannot be parted...

If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love. John 15:10

These things cannot be parted—abiding in obedience and abiding in the love of Jesus. A life under the rule of Christ can alone prove that we are the objects of our Lord's delight. We must keep our Lord's command if we would bask in His love. If we live in sin we cannot live in the love of Christ. Without the holiness which pleases God we cannot please Jesus. He who cares nothing for holiness knows nothing of the love of Jesus.

Conscious enjoyment of our Lord's love is a delicate thing. It is far more sensitive to sin and holiness than mercury is to cold and heat. When we are tender of heart and careful in thought, lip, and life to honor our Lord Jesus, then we receive tokens of His love without number. If we desire to perpetuate such bliss we must perpetuate holiness. The Lord Jesus will not hide His face from us unless we hide our face from Him. Sin makes the cloud which darkens our Sun: if we will be watchfully obedient and completely consecrated we may walk in the light, as God is in the light, and have as sure an abiding in the love of Jesus as Jesus has in the love of the Father. Here is a sweet promise with a solemn "if," Lord, let me have this "if" in my hand; for as a key it opens this casket. ...CH Spurgeon
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Is the End of Unlimited Internet Near?

Comcast, Frontier and Time Warner Cable Are Moving Toward Imposing Internet Usage Caps
By KI MAE HEUSSNER
Sept. 1, 2008

Get ready to say goodbye to unlimited Internet access.

Last week, Comcast -- the second-largest Internet service provider in the country -- announced that starting Oct. 1 it would officially set a threshold for monthly Internet usage.

In an online announcement, the service provider said that although it already contacts residential customers who use excessive amounts of bandwidth, it had never provided a specific limit. Now, Comcast said it will amend its user agreement to say that users will be allowed 250 gigabytes of monthly usage.

The company emphasizes that its cap is generous and will only affect about 1 percent of its 14.4 million customers. Experts say these customers might include heavy gamers and those who use a significant amount of bandwidth for creating or uploading video. the rest

Northern Plains Anglican: Outing some rumors about Good Shepherd, Sioux Falls

Monday, September 1, 2008
By Timothy Fountain+

Normally, I let this stuff pass. But several sources have passed on several consistent reports of several priests spreading several rumors about me and about my parish:

1. "Tim Fountain is a troublemaker affiliated with some group in Texas."
Yes, I'm a troublemaker if questioning or objecting to the direction of the Diocese and trying to share FACTS with others is "trouble making."

I have no affiliation with any group in Texas. I am a member (not an officer) of the American Anglican Council, which has a South Dakota Chapter and national offices in Atlanta, GA. the rest

Please pray for this situation and others like it! To be the object of rumor and vilification when "the other side" will not talk to you or allow your voice to be heard is very hard. Cutting off communication between parties is a common tactic. ("The response of the diocese has been sarcastic public broadsides and now shunning.") There is a time when these things must be brought into the light so they can be dealt with, especially by prayer!-PD

Gledhill: New fears of schism in Anglican Church

September 1, 2008
commentary

The day in 2003 when the Archbishop of Canterbury forced his friend Dr Jeffrey John to reject his appointment as Bishop of Reading became a defining moment of his archiepiscopate. The consecration of Gene Robinson as Bishop of New Hampshire became a defining moment for the entire Anglican Communion.

Now Britain could be about to have its own “Gene Robinson moment” with growing support in the province of Wales for his election to a bishopric, possibly as soon as in Bangor next month.
The Church in Wales is outside the Church of England, having been disestablished early in the 20th century, and with just six dioceses is one of the smaller of the 38 provinces with 75 million Anglicans worldwide.

But it has a tradition of liberal Catholicism, having nurtured this in Jeffrey John himself in his childhood in the province.

If Dr John is elected next month, voices in opposition will be strong on both sides of the Atlantic. Only last week, the bishops of the Global Anglican Future Conference, a “rival” Lambeth Conference set up in opposition to the liberal agenda of the West, met in London to plan their strategy. the rest

Sarah Palin: conservatives find the girl of their dreams

The Alaskan governor’s family life and political views press the right’s buttons
Sarah Baxter
August 31, 2008

When Sarah Palin stepped into the spotlight as John McCain’s running mate in Dayton, Ohio, and promised that women could “shatter that glass ceiling once and for all”, it was an electrifying moment in a presidential election that had already produced its share of upsets and surprises.

History was on the march again the morning after Barack Obama became the first African-American to accept his party’s White House nomination. After the fireworks, the 80,000-strong crowd who had cheered Obama to the skies at the Mile High stadium in Denver woke up with a hangover.

“We may be seeing the first woman president. As a Democrat, I am reeling,” said Camille Paglia, the cultural critic. “That was the best political speech I have ever seen delivered by an American woman politician. Palin is as tough as nails.” the rest

Gustav slams La. coastline west of New Orleans

Sep 1, 2008
By MICHAEL KUNZELMAN and MARY FOSTER

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - A weakened Hurricane Gustav crashed Monday into the flood-prone but nearly deserted coast of Louisiana, making landfall west of New Orleans as a Category 2 storm. Water was splashing over some floodwalls, but city officials were optimistic the levees protecting the city would hold.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami said Gustav hit just before 10 a.m. Monday near the community of Cocodrie, the heart of the state's fishing and oil industry. Forecasters once feared the storm would arrive as a devastating Category 4 with much more powerful winds.

The city's levee system has been only partially rebuilt since Hurricane Katrina struck three years ago. Wind-driven water was topping the Industrial Canal floodwall, but it had not breached.

"We are seeing some overtopping waves," said Col. Jeff Bedey, commander of the Army Corps of Engineers' hurricane protection office. "We are cautiously optimistic and confident that we won't see catastrophic wall failure." the rest

Lefty Bloggers Go After Palin's Daughter

Sunday, August 31, 2008
Posted by: Amanda Carpenter

Members of the lefty blogosphere haven't stopped perpetuating the rumor Sarah Palin "faked" her last pregnancy and are now humiliating her daughter Bristol on the blatantly incorrect suspicion she is the real mother of baby Trig.

"Sarah Palin is NOT the Mother" is the title of this DailyKos blog that accuses Bristol, a completely fit-looking adolescent teen, of having a "baby bump" in a photo they allege was taken March 9th of this year.

"Sarah, I'm calling you a liar" wrote blogger ArcXIX. "And not even a good one. Trig Paxson Van Palin is not your son. He is your grandson. The sooner you come forward with this revelation to the public, the better. " Photos of Bristol with detailed commentary about her abdomen are contained in the post.

Not only is the DailyKos disgustingly inspecting Bristol's midriff with all the fervor of LA paparazzi examining J-Lo's or Jennifer Aniston's washboard stomachs for evidence of a "bump," the DailyKos is wrong on when the photo was taken. It was taken, and published, by the Anchorage Daily News in 2006. Baby Trig, a child with Down's Syndrome, was born on April 18, 2008. That's a long time for a teen girl to be carrying a "bump" which looks nothing more than the curve of a tight sweater. the rest

Added: Sarah Palin’s Teen Daughter is Pregnant

Obama Says Palin Pregnancy “Off Limits”

A Typical Middle-Class Struggle

Albert Mohler: Welcome to the World, Trig Paxson Van Palin -- Now the World Has Seen You reposted: Saturday, August 30, 2008: Written May 6, 2008

See photos of Trig Palin and his proud parents here

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Sarah Palin vs. Barack Obama








Anglican Church moves to evict breakaway B.C. clergy

Aug 31, 2008
Greg Joyce
THE CANADIAN PRESS

VANCOUVER – The Bible battle that has been dividing Anglicans in Canada for more than a decade is moving into new territory, with a third court battle looming in a Vancouver court.
The battle over same-sex blessings specifically, and interpretation of the Bible generally, is splitting liberal and conservative Anglicans and the fight over church property ownership has already resulted in two interim court rulings – one in Ontario and one in British Columbia.

Now the Diocese of New Westminster has invoked a church bylaw to essentially fire the clergy at two other Vancouver-area churches and order them to leave the premises.

"We are faced with the situation of clergy in both parishes who have expressly rejected the Anglican Church of Canada as their home and have left the church, yet continue to occupy church buildings that are set aside for use by parishes in the Anglican Church of Canada," says George Cadman, chancellor, or chief legal officer, for the diocese. the rest

McCain's VP choice a woman -- and a post-denominationalist

Sat, 08/30/2008
By JOHN ALLEN JR.
August 30, 2008

When news broke yesterday that Republican presidential candidate John McCain had named little-known Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska as his running mate, religion writers across the country and the curious in the blogosphere scrambled to figure out her denominational affiliation.

Palin was briefly touted as the first Pentecostal to run on a major party ticket. A spokesperson, however, told the Associated Press yesterday that although the 44-year-old mother of five grew up in the Assemblies of God, the largest organized Pentecostal denomination in the world with an estimated 57 million members, she does not consider herself a “Pentecostal.”

Her primary place of worship in Juneau, Alaska’s capital, is said to be the “Church on the Rock,” an independent congregation founded in January 2000. Palin’s spokesperson, however, said the governor also attends different churches.

The initial confusion surrounding Palin’s denominational identity, therefore, has a simple explanation: She doesn’t have one. the rest

Quincy diocese 'likely' to leave Episcopal Church

Sunday, 31st August 2008
By George Conger

The Standing Committee of the Diocese of Quincy has sent a 35-page report to all members of the diocese, responding to questions and concerns over plans for the diocese to quit the Episcopal Church.

On Nov 7-8 the Quincy synod will have the second reading of a constitutional amendment that would permit the diocese to withdraw from the Episcopal Church and affiliate with another province of the Anglican Communion. While no formal resolution so far has been submitted to the synod that would seek formal separation, the president of the standing committee, the Rev James Marshall told The Living Church magazine such a move was likely.

Quincy joins the American diocese of Fort Worth and Pittsburgh in scheduling formal votes in the coming months that would permit the diocese to withdraw from the Episcopal Church. Last year the Synod of the Diocese of San Joaquin, based in Fresno, California, voted to withdraw from the Episcopal Church and was accepted into the Province of the Southern Cone of America under the archiepiscopal oversight of Bishop Gregory Venables of Argentina. the rest