Saturday, January 10, 2009

Devotional; The Lord is my peace...

The Lord is my peace.
I shall not live in anxiety.
He puts me under his wing of comfort
and calms my spirit within me.
He takes all my anxieties on Himself
and helps me to focus on Him.
Yes, though I walk through a time
of grave uncertainties and fierce anxieties,
I will not fret-for You are my peace.
Your Word and Your presence calm me now.
You hold my uncertainties in the palm of Your hand.
You soothe my anxious mind-You smooth my wrinkled brow.
Surely serenity and trust in You shall fill
me all the days of my life.
And I shall keep my mind stayed on You forever.
...Judy Booth image

Gay Episcopal priest to be ordained in Denver

By The Denver Post
01/09/2009

Ending several years of restraint by the Episcopal Diocese of Colorado in ordaining openly gay and partnered priests, Bishop Robert O'Neill will ordain Mary Catherine Volland, along with three others, to the priesthood at St. John's Cathedral on Saturday.

Volland, a longtime resident of Colorado and partnered lesbian, was a candidate for ordination in the Diocese of Minnesota, but has been called to serve as an assistant priest at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Denver, said Beckett Stokes, spokeswoman for the 30,000-member Colorado Diocese.

Despite nationwide controversy that has splintered Episcopalians, the church does ordain gay and lesbian priests. The bishop has the option of deploying them to Colorado congregations when it makes sense, Stokes said. Several Colorado congregations are served by gay priests.

O'Neill, who previously had suspended gay ordination out of sensitivity for church factions strongly opposed to it, is choosing to decide these matters on "a case-by-case basis," Stokes said. the rest

Pill inventor slams ... pill

January 08, 2009

Eighty five year old Carl Djerassi the Austrian chemist who helped invent the contraceptive pill now says that his co-creation has led to a "demographic catastrophe."

In an article published by the Vatican this week, the head of the world's Catholic doctors broadened the attack on the pill, claiming it had also brought "devastating ecological effects" by releasing into the environment "tonnes of hormones" that had impaired male fertility, The Taiwan Times says.

The assault began with a personal commentary in the Austrian newspaper Der Standard by Carl Djerassi. The Austrian chemist was one of three whose formulation of the synthetic progestogen Norethisterone marked a key step toward the earliest oral contraceptive pill. the rest image

A Condensation of Does the Birth Control Pill Cause Abortions? by Randy Alcorn

Vatican Nuncio to the Netherlands Called to Defend Church Teaching on Sexuality by Dutch Foreign Minister

By Hilary White
AMSTERDAM
January 9, 2009

(LifeSiteNews.com) – The Vatican envoy to the Netherlands has been called to a meeting to defend the Catholic teaching on sexuality and marriage by the Dutch Foreign Affairs Minister. At the request of homosexualist activist groups, Maxime Verhagen, a Christian Democrat, has demanded that the Papal Nuncio to the Netherlands, Monsignor François Bacqué, respond to accusations that the Church opposes “gay rights.”

Verhagen said, “The Netherlands is unpleasantly surprised by the opposition of Pope Benedict XVI to a UN declaration on human rights and homosexuality.”

Verhagen noted that although there were points of agreement with the Vatican statements, the “judgments of the Pope on homosexuality” are cause for concern “because they are unnecessarily offensive, as can be seen, and do not contribute” to a worthy debate. the rest

Richard John Neuhaus: Witness to Truth

A First Things junior fellow remembers the man whose life was spent 'witnessing to the truth.'
Jordan Hylden
1/09/2009

I was a high-school kid when I first "met" Father Richard John Neuhaus. I can never remember how I came across the website of First Things, but when I did, it was like a light switch had been turned on in my head. Here was an entire cosmos of Christian thought and tradition, with worlds upon worlds contained in the hallways it pointed me down. I spent countless nights poring over issues, drinking it all in like water in a desert. At the time, I probably didn't understand half of it, but that didn't matter — the depth and breadth of the Christian tradition in those pages, the sheer excitement of thinking through the adventure of the gospel — I knew I had found something that was worth a lifetime. And I very well remember thinking: Wouldn't it be something to write this stuff myself someday?

Three years later, that is exactly where I ended up: working and writing at First Things as a junior fellow. I was in charge of compiling Father Neuhaus's monthly column, "The Public Square," and pretty soon was drafted into covering the Anglican beat for the website as well. Every evening, the editors gathered for prayer at 338 E 19th St., and each Friday night was dinner at Father Neuhaus's apartment. His apartment was something of a revolving door of old friends: Avery Cardinal Dulles, George Weigel, Robert Louis Wilken, Michael Novak — the list goes on. the rest

Leaders pay tribute to Fr. Richard Neuhaus

Model of Christian discipline mourned

Displaced Anglicans Offered Refuge on Saddleback Campus

Senior pastor Rick Warren says orthodox Anglicans leading 'new reformation.'
Timothy C. Morgan
January 9, 2009

A few minutes ago, I received a letter from Saddleback's Rick Warren, who many conservative Anglicans realize has been extremely supportive of their cause.

Here's what he wrote in part to a handful of leaders:

... [The Episcopal Church has] already considered me an adversary after partnering on projects with Kolini, Orumbi, and Nzimbi, and writing the TIME bio on Akinola.

But since last summer... I’ve been on Gene Robinson and other’s attack list for my position on gay marriage. ....[Our] brothers and sisters here at St. James in Newport Beach lost their California State Supreme Court case to keep their property.

We stand in solidarity with them, and with all orthodox, evangelical Anglicans. I offer the campus of Saddleback Church to any Anglican congregation who need a place to meet, or if you want to plant a new congregation in south Orange County.

The St. James parish is not giving up its court case and has plans to seek other legal remedy. In the meantime, other conservative Episcopal congregations or Anglican church planters might be eager to take pastor Rick up on his offer. Here

Pastor Rick Warren Offers Support for ACNA

Abortion heresy

Illogical positions lead to revealing slips of the tongue
Marvin Olasky

A pro-abortion culture requires eternal vigilance. Heresy can sneak through. The New York Times has for four decades maintained abortion orthodoxy, but an editor should be fired for not cutting out a tender dialogue in the next-to-last paragraph of a 7,500-word lead story in the newspaper six weeks ago.

Let me set the scene: A husband and a wife have had 15 failed pregnancies and in vitro fertilization non-starters. Author Alex Kuczynski, a fine writer, comes perilously close to falling off the cliff when she describes a "fetus" that didn't make it past 10 weeks as "a small dead baby" and quotes a nurse as telling her, "In case you were interested, it was a girl." But she quickly regains her footing and writes, "I was not, in fact, interested in attaching a gender to the coagulation of cells, briefly and potentially human. . . ." the rest image

Breast cancer gene-free baby born

Friday, January 09, 2009

Devotional: We rest on Thee...

We rest on Thee, our shield and our defender!
Thine is the battle, Thine shall be the praise;
When passing through the gates of pearly splendor,
Victors, we rest with Thee, through endless days.
... Edith Gilling Cherry
image

Good Shepherd, Binghamton: Members must vacate church after court ruling

01/09/2009
By: Web Staff
(photo-Raymond Dague)

BINGHAMTON, N.Y. -- The State Supreme Court sides with the Episcopal Diocese of Central New York, which means members of the Church of the Good Shepherd, must vacate their building in Binghamton.

The congregation was notified of the decision Thursday night and began moving their belongings from the church on Conklin Avenue.

Good Shepherd withdrew from the Episcopal Diocese of Central New York after the Diocese consecrated a gay bishop and allowed others to perform same-sex blessings. The Episcopal Church then filed and won a lawsuit to get them off the property.

The group doesn't know where they'll go yet but they remain optimistic.

"God has been gracious to us and I have no doubt that this is going to be the beginning of new and better. We just don't necessarily know where or how yet," said Father Matthew Kennedy.The pastor said they're looking at temporarily sharing a building with another church. Here Video

Sacha Baron Cohen's black Jesus to shock America

Sacha Baron Cohen is preparing to shock America with his latest film, which is said to contain a black model called Jesus wearing a loincloth and a crown of thorns.
09 Jan 2009

The comedian, who has been sued by several people who featured in his film Borat, will be ready for similar reactions after the release of the big-screen debut of his character Bruno.

The title character, a gay Austrian fashion journalist, is already well known for storming runways at designers' shows and aiming to embarrass industry figures in interviews. Clips of his work have become cult favourites on YouTube. the rest

Prop 8 Supporters Say They’re Being Harassed; Challenge Campaign Finance Rules

Friday, January 09, 2009
By Susan Jones, Senior Editor

(CNSNews.com) – Citizens who supported California’s Proposition 8 say they are being systematically harassed because of disclosures required by California campaign finance laws.

A marriage protection group is now challenging the constitutionality of California campaign finance laws that compelled Prop 8 donors to submit personal information.

Prop 8, a voter initiative that passed in November, amended the California Constitution to say, “Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.”

Furious homosexual activists responded with heated demonstrations, some aimed at the Mormon Church. And according to the group that spearheaded Prop 8, some of the ballot measure’s supporters have received threats and insults from Prop 8 opponents. the rest

Prop. 8 Supporters Want Donors Anonymous

Remembering Father Richard John Neuhaus

Thursday, January 8, 2009
by Rev. Robert Sirico

For those concerned with a vigorous intellectual engagement of the religious idea with the secular culture, these past 12 months have been a difficult period.

On February 28, 2008, William F. Buckley, Jr. the intellectual godfather of the conservative movement in America, died. Only last month, Avery Cardinal Dulles, SJ, passed away at 90 years old. Cardinal Dulles was one of the Catholic Church’s most prominent theologians, a thinker of great subtlety, and a descendent from a veritable American Brahmin dynasty.

Father Richard John NeuhausThe third in this towering intellectual triumvirate is Father Richard John Neuhaus, who died in New York after an on and off again battle with cancer, about which he had written in his now mini-classic, As I Lay Dying: Meditations Upon Returning.

This book is unlike any written in our time in that it is a profoundly serious reflection on questions everyone has, issues everyone thinks about in private, but hardly anyone is willing to speak about or perhaps capable of writing about. Fr. Neuhaus confronts it to the point in which we feel discomfort – and he did this on nearly every issue he wrote about in his long writing career. the rest

Excerpts from writings and Statements of Fr. Richard Neuhaus - A Priest Not Afraid to Proclaim the Truth

Dissent says Calif. court used wrong language in decision against church

By John H. Adams, The Layman,
Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The California Supreme Court has issued a ruling that awards the property of St. Johns Parish in Newport Beach, Calif., to the Diocese of Los Angeles of the Episcopal Church (USA).

The ruling does not mention current cases involving the Presbyterian Church (USA) and whether its congregations would be dealt with likewise. There are both similarities and differences in the property policies of the two denominations. But the PCUSA was deeply involved in the case through a law firm hired by the denomination and former General Assembly Stated Clerk Clifton Kirkpatrick.

‘Neutral principles claimed’

In its ruling, the California court said it applied “the neutral principles of law approach” in reaching its conclusion. However, one member of the court, the highly respected Justice Joyce L. Kennard, disagreed. Although she said she supported the ruling, she argued in dissent that the court reached its conclusion through the “principle of government” approach, not through a neutral principles of law approach. the rest

Albert Mohler: A Chilling Account and a Word of Warning

Friday, January 09, 2009

Excerpt:
Indeed, Caroline Kennedy's unusual campaign for the appointive senate term from New York -- the seat now held by Sen. Hillary Clinton -- has prompted her to reveal that she supports same-sex marriage and virtually unrestricted abortion rights. She opposes parental notification laws and seems to advocate the entire body of pro-abortion orthodoxy.

The most important section of Anne Hendershott's article does not concern Caroline Kennedy, however. Instead, she documents a strategic meeting in the 1970s when the Kennedy family met with liberal Catholic theologians to formulate a mechanism for changing their position on abortion -- and thus for taking the position directly opposed by their church.

Look carefully at Hendershott's narrative:

At a meeting at the Kennedy compound in Hyannisport, Mass., on a hot summer day in 1964, the Kennedy family and its advisers and allies were coached by leading theologians and Catholic college professors on how to accept and promote abortion with a "clear conscience."

The former Jesuit priest Albert Jonsen, emeritus professor of ethics at the University of Washington, recalls the meeting in his book "The Birth of Bioethics" (Oxford, 2003). He writes about how he joined with the Rev. Joseph Fuchs, a Catholic moral theologian; the Rev. Robert Drinan, then dean of Boston College Law School; and three academic theologians, the Revs. Giles Milhaven, Richard McCormick and Charles Curran, to enable the Kennedy family to redefine support for abortion.

Some of these names are well known, even to non-Catholics. the rest image

Homosexuals immune to Mass. budget cuts

Pete Chagnon
OneNewsNow
1/8/2009

A pro-family advocate says budget cuts are coming for Massachusetts schools, but programs aimed at promoting homosexuality need not worry.

Many states across the U.S. are facing budget deficits, and Massachusetts is not immune. Governor Deval Patrick and state lawmakers have already slashed millions from the budget, but more cuts are on the way.

Brian Camenker of MassResistance says more than 1,000 state jobs as well as public school funding have been cut, while mental health facilities have also been closed. However, pro-homosexual programs in Massachusetts' public schools have remained. the rest

Greek Bishop Sues Homosexualist Group for Defamation

Flu in U.S. found resistant to main antiviral drug

By Donald G. Mcneil Jr.
January 8, 2009

Virtually all the flu in the United States this season is resistant to the leading antiviral drug Tamiflu, and scientists and health officials are trying to figure out why.

The problem is not yet a public health crisis because this has been a below-average flu season so far and the chief strain circulating is still susceptible to other drugs — but infectious disease specialists are worried nonetheless.

Last winter, about 11 percent of the throat swabs from patients with the most common type of flu that were sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for genetic typing showed a Tamiflu-resistant strain. This season, 99 percent do. the rest

Episcopal Diocese claims $20 million in schism fight

Friday, January 09, 2009
By Paula Reed Ward
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

A group from the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh that voted against secession filed a court motion yesterday asking that it be given access to $20 million in endowments and funds that belong to the church.

Both sides in the court battle call themselves "The Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh of the Episcopal Church of the United States of America," but in October, a group representing about 60 percent of the local parishes voted to join the more theologically conservative Anglican Province of the Southern Cone in South America.

In papers filed yesterday in Allegheny County Common Pleas Court, the Episcopal Diocese argued that the Anglican group stipulated in October 2005 that if it were to leave the church, all property and assets held by the "Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh of the Episcopal Church of the United States of America ... shall continue to be so held ... regardless of whether some or even a majority of the parishes in the Diocese might decide not to remain in the Episcopal Church of the United States of America." the rest

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Devotional: We need to be made clean...

Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. Matthew 5:8

Purity, even purity of heart, is the main thing to be aimed at. We need to be made clean within through the Spirit and the Word, and then we shall be clean without by consecration and obedience. There is a close connection between the affections and the understanding: if we love evil we cannot understand that which is good. If the heart is foul, the eye will be dim. How can those men see a holy God who love unholy things?

What a privilege it is to see God here! A glimpse of Him is heaven below! In Christ Jesus the pure in heart behold the Father. We see Him, His truth, His love, His purpose, His sovereignty, His covenant character, yea, we see Himself in Christ. But this is only apprehended as sin is kept out of the heart. Only those who aim at godliness can cry, "Mine eyes are ever towards the Lord." The desire of Moses, "I beseech thee, show me thy glory," can only be fulfilled in us as we purify ourselves from all iniquity. We shall "see him as he is," and "every one that hath this hope in him purifieth himself." The enjoyment of present fellowship and the hope of the beatific vision are urgent motives for purity of heart and life. Lord, make us pure in heart that we may see Thee!
...CH Spurgeon image

Pittsburgh Episcopal church sues parishes for $20 million

PITTSBURGH (AP) — The Episcopal Church in Pittsburgh is suing its breakaway parishes to recover $20 million in assets it believes were wrongfully taken when the conservative branches split from the liberal diocese in October.

Spokesman Rich Creehan says the church made the request Thursday to the Court of Common Pleas after it was "ignored" by Bishop Robert Duncan's breakaway parishes.

A spokesman for the 50 branches that split off from the Episcopal Church of the United States says they now represent a majority of Pittsburgh Episcopalians. The Rev. Peter Frank says the assets should be fairly divided.

The split was due to differences ranging from homosexuality to biblical teachings on salvation. link

Claim filed to control local Episcopal Church assets
Thursday, January 08, 2009
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Local members of the Episcopal Church who did not break away from the national body today announced they have filed a court request for control of assets still held by diocesan leaders who have decided to break away.

The Allegheny County Court petition addresses "access to approximately $20 million in diocesan endowments and bank accounts, as well as other resources, some non-financial, used in conducting day-to-day diocesan business," according to a news release.

A majority of congregations in the Pittsburgh diocese last year decided to separate from the national church and chose Bishop Robert Duncan to continue to lead them. Here

A.S Haley: A Legal Fable-the Dennis Canon

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Dennis Canon supposedly establishes a permanent trust on "property held by or for the benefit of any [Episcopal] Parish, Mission or Congregation" in favor of the diocese in which the property is located, and in favor of "this Church". The California Supreme Court just held that the Canon established such a trust on the property of St. James Church in Newport Beach, even though there is no document in which St. James agreed to establish such a trust, as State law has consistently required since 1850, and as the Statute of Frauds has required since 1677.

Some commentators who are sympathetic to the national Church believe in their Episcopal hearts that the result simply reflects "an already existing understanding of the fiduciary and trustee relationship of parishes with their property; and [the fact that] by their admission into the church they have voluntarily accepted its law as governing and limiting their actions." Indeed it does; indeed it does reflect "an already existing . . . relationship". Such a relationship has, however, two sides. If there is an understood promise always to devote the property to the use of the larger church, isn't there a corresponding promise to keep the larger church faithful to "the faith once delivered to the saints"? It is again one of those ironies of the law that the former promise should (currently, at least) be enforceable in the courts, but not the other---because it would "entangle" the courts in religious doctrine. And yet the one is the consideration for the other.

So there is an enforceable trust on the property. Just what are its terms, and where do we go to look for them? So many people seem willing to assert the existence of a trust---including, apparently, the California Supreme Court---but there are precious few who are willing to say just what the Dennis Canon means. the rest

Editor of First Things, Fr. Richard John Neuhaus passes away

New York, Jan 8, 2009

(CNA).- Fr. Richard John Neuhaus, the famous convert to Catholicism and editor of the journal First Things passed away this morning in New York at 9:30 a.m. EST.

CNA was informed of Fr. Neuhaus’ death through an announcement from George Weigel who stated, "Father Richard John Neuhaus was called home to the house of the Father at about 09:30 EST today. May God grant him the reward of his labors, and give consolation and peace to those who loved him and who will carry on his work."

Fr. Neuhaus himself revealed his battle with cancer in an article written on December 5. "The nature of the cancer is beginning to come into clearer focus, and I hope to have more details in short order. Meanwhile, I will, please God, continue to be as engaged as possible in the work of First Things and other apostolates, even as I am compelled by grace to know more deeply our solidarity within the Body of Christ," he wrote.

In late December, the First Things blog disclosed that Fr. Neuhaus’ health had taken a turn for the worse. During the Christmas Season he became "dangerously ill" from what appeared to be "a systemic infection," which left him very weak. "Entering the hospital the day after Christmas, he was sedated to lower an elevated heart rate and treatment was begun for the infection."

A source close to Fr. Neuhaus told CNA that a few days ago the priest received the last rites from Fr. George Rutler, and since then had lost consciousness, along with a steady deterioration in his vital signs. link


Richard John Neuhaus, 1936–2009
By Joseph Bottum
Thursday, January 8, 2009

Fr. Richard John Neuhaus slipped away today, January 8, shortly before 10 o’clock, at the age of seventy-two. He never recovered from the weakness that sent him to the hospital the day after Christmas, caused by a series of side effects from the cancer he was suffering. He lost consciousness Tuesday evening after a collapse in his heart rate, and the next day, in the company of friends, he died.

My tears are not for him—for he knew, all his life, that his Redeemer lives, and he has now been gathered by the Lord in whom he trusted.

I weep, rather for all the rest of us. As a priest, as a writer, as a public leader in so many struggles, and as a friend, no one can take his place. The fabric of life has been torn by his death, and it will not be repaired, for those of us who knew him, until that time when everything is mended and all our tears are wiped away.

Funeral arrangements are still being planned; information about the funeral will be made public shortly. Please accept our thanks for all your prayers and good wishes.

In Deepest Sorrow,

Joseph Bottum
Editor, First Things
link

Born Toward Dying
By Richard John Neuhaus
This essay by Richard John Neuhaus was originally published in the February 2000 issue of First Things.

Jordan Hylden: Rowan's Rule

First Things
Thursday, January 8, 2009

Rowan Williams is without doubt one of the most significant and learned theologians in the English-speaking world. Unfortunately, during his tenure at Canterbury, it has at times seemed that he has managed to get nearly everyone in that world angry at him, liberals and conservatives alike. As Rupert Shortt shows in his excellent new biography, Rowan’s Rule, this is to some extent the archbishop’s fault—Williams, although superlatively brilliant and profound as a theologian, and justly beloved as a pastor and spiritual guide, does not to the same extent possess the spiritual gifts of administration and political savvy. But many of the criticisms sent Williams’s way, Shortt argues, are unjust, often due to misunderstanding, projection, and a lack of perspective. In Rowan’s Rule, Shortt sets out to provide Rowan’s critics with a true measure of the man, attempting to relate both the substance of his thought and the story of his life. Shortt is that rarest of breeds—a religion journalist who knows what he is talking about—and he succeeds brilliantly in his project, showing both that Williams is well worth listening to and that many of his critics may not have listened to him closely enough.

From the right, Williams has come under heavy fire for his supposed theological liberalism and typically Anglican wishy-washiness. To a certain extent, such criticisms are unavoidable. Williams is in fact in favor of women’s ordination, his revisionist position on same-sex relations is on record, and his understanding of Scripture has drawn objections from many, not only evangelicals. If that were the end of the story, Williams would seem to be no more than a conventional liberal, along the lines of the average Episcopal bishop. But as Shortt shows, nothing could be further from the truth. the rest

Holy Land Christians Seek Urgent Prayer

By Jenna Lyle
Christian Today Reporter
Thu, Jan. 08 2009

With the International Red Cross warning of a “full-blown” humanitarian crisis in Gaza, Bible Societies in the Holy Land have appealed to Christians to pray and support those caught up in the conflict between Israel and Hamas.

“Our hearts are broken as we witness the escalation of hostilities in Gaza and southern Israel,” said Victor Kalisher, director of the Bible Society in Israel, in a joint message issued by the Bible Societies of Israel and the occupied Palestinian Territories. the rest

Appeals court says lesbian couple not entitled to family membership

1/7/2009
By Janice Gregorson
Post-Bulletin, Rochester MN

A lesbian couple from Rochester has lost an appeal that a local athletic club discriminated against them in refusing to sell them a family membership.

Amy and Sarah Monson filed a civil lawsuit against the Rochester Athletic Club in March 2007, alleging discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in violation of the state human rights act.

In November 2007, Olmsted District Judge Kevin Lund dismissed the lawsuit. The Monsons appealed to the Minnesota Court of Appeals, which upheld the district court decision Tuesday. the rest

Kosovo: A surprising story of Muslim converts to Christianity

Dec 30th 2008 PRISTINA
From The Economist print edition

A CHRISTMAS tree dominates the centre of Pristina. Nearby a huge Catholic cathedral is being built. Farther off stand statues of two Albanian heroes: Mother Teresa of Calcutta, a Catholic nun, and Skanderbeg, a medieval prince who renounced Islam for Catholicism. Yet 95% of Kosovo’s 1.8m ethnic Albanians, out of a total population of 2m, are nominally Muslim. Don Shan Zefi, a Catholic cleric, says there are only 65,000 Catholics in Kosovo.

If Don Zefi has his way, there will be a lot more in future. On Christmas Eve some 38 people were baptised in a single town, Klina. Conversions to Christianity have become common (though a cautious Catholic church does not give precise figures). Don Zefi says he knows of large numbers more in “tens of villages” who want to convert.

He dislikes the word, because many of them come from a crypto-Christian background. Their forefathers may have converted to Islam under Ottoman rule, but behind closed doors they kept their old Catholic practices. Jahja Drancolli, a historian, adds that “religion has always been secondary” to being Albanian. Converts, he says, “want to return to the old religion they believe they had” and to show that they are “part of the Euro-American trend.” For every convert, anecdotal evidence suggests more go to church or are interested in Christianity. the rest

Coming soon to cellphones: Free, over-the-air TV

By David Lieberman
USA TODAY
posted 1/8/09

Millions of consumers by year's end should be able to watch free, over-the-air television on cellphones, PDAs and other portable digital devices as the result of initiatives that will be unveiled today by some of the nation's largest TV station owners and electronics manufacturers.

The changes promoting on-the-go viewing are "quite significant," says John Eck, president of the NBC TV Network and Media Works. "If we play it right, it can be a compelling service," for example, by offering local news, which normally isn't available from cellphone video services.

At least 63 stations in 22 cities — including New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Boston and Washington — will transmit news, entertainment and sports to portable devices this year, according to the broadcast industry's Open Mobile Video Coalition (OMVC).
the rest

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Devotional: My God, I love Thee...

My God, I love Thee --
not because I hope for heaven thereby,
Nor yet because who love Thee not must die eternally.
Thou, O my Jesus, Thou didst me upon the Cross embrace;
For me didst nails and spear endure, and manifold disgrace.
Why, then why, O blessed Jesus Christ,
should I not love Thee well?
Not for the hope of winning heaven, or of escaping hell--
Not with the hope of gaining aught, nor seeking a reward,
But as Thyself hast loved me, O ever-loving Lord!
E'en then I love Thee and will love, and in Thy praise will sing
Solely because Thou art my God and my eternal King.
... Anonymous Latin Hymn, attrib. Francis Xavier
image

Walk On






Why I Left the Episcopal Church to Remain an Anglican

One priest's story of (dis)obedience
by Matt Burnett

I serve a 4-year-old church in northern Colorado Springs planted outside The Episcopal Church, and am awaiting the latest word on the Episcopal Diocese of Colorado’s decision to depose me—to officially un-ordain me, even though they willingly transferred me to the Province of Rwanda years ago. Now, that province and its mission organization, the Anglican Mission in America, are part of a move to create a new Anglican province in North America.

This isn’t quite what I had envisioned when I felt a call to ordained ministry as a teenager, nor when I attended seminary as a 41-year-old.

What has happened? And what does the new province mean for my current province of Rwanda, my flock, my family, and myself? the rest

(h/t TitusOneNine)

Double-edged verdict in California court ruling

Wednesday, 7th January 2009
By George Conger

The California Supreme Court has issued a double-edged verdict in the Episcopal Church property cases, handing both the Diocese of Los Angeles and three breakaway parishes a defeat in their bids to control disputed church properties.

By a vote of 6 to 0 --- with the seventh judge issuing a separate opinion that agreed with the ruling but rejected the legal arguments of the majority --- the California Supreme Court rejected the Episcopal Church’s arguments that the state must defer to the church in adjudicating church property disputes. The judges held that California courts must use “neutral principles” of law to resolve church property dispute --- giving no deference to claims made by the church hierarchy not found in the underlying title and corporate charters.

“To the extent the court can resolve a property dispute without reference to church doctrine, it should apply neutral principles of law,” the court held. “The court should consider sources such as the deeds to the property in dispute, the local church’s articles of incorporation, the general church’s constitution, canons, and rules, and relevant statutes, including statutes specifically concerning religious property.” the rest

British Schools Giving Morning After Pill to Girls as Young as 11, Without Parents

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
January 5, 2009

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) -- Secondary schools in England are under fire for giving the morning after pill to girls as young as 11 years old without the knowledge of their parents. Norman Wells, director of campaign group Family Education Trust, obtained the information from the health department under the Freedom of Information Act.

The information shows that, in Oxfordshire alone, school-based health clinics have given 1,081 Plan B pills to schoolgirls in the last six years.

Staff at the more than 1,000 clinics throughout the UK are not required to obtain parental permission before giving girls the drug, which can cause an abortions in some circumstances if taken after conception. the rest

Translating “Dégenerations”: From Québec with Love

By Paul Allen
Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Mes Aïeux is a Québec folk-music troupe—with a difference. Based in cosmopolitan Montreal, the group evokes strong memories of the history of French-speaking Québecois in a song entitled “Dégenerations.”

The song’s title is a play on words, evoking the decline and decay of Québecois society. It eventually became a sensation, but when it first came out its politically incorrect lyrics made it the object of an unoffical media ban. While the song lauds the festive impulse of dancing, it refers critically to abortion, spurns TV, gives unequivocal praise to their ancestors’ (les aïeux) high birthrates, and pours scorn on the new culture of empty nests.

Musicians and artists are often the first to see irony and tragedy in a social crisis. “Dégenerations” highlights a recent social shift in Québec, a reaction against the 1960s consensus. There is a new angst over the goals and assumptions that drove the province headlong into secular modernity, the so-called Quiet Revolution of the 1960s. the rest

Don't Let Them Die Alone

Hospice care spirituality would benefit from greater Christian engagement.
A Christianity Today editorial
1/06/2009

Spiritual seekers seek till the very end of life, demonstrated a recent New York Times piece about the friendships between "spiritual but not religious" hospice patients and their chaplains. As hospice care has become an affordable, dignifying end-of-life choice in recent decades (the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization says that 38 percent of deaths last year were in hospice) the demand for hospice chaplains has boomed. The Association of Professional Chaplains reports a 50 percent jump in the last 10 years of the number of U.S. hospice chaplains.
Chaplaincy culture has changed, too. What was once a field of ordained clergy is now filled by many who see it more as social work than a divine calling.

No matter chaplains' motives, the benefit of spiritual support in the last days is undeniable, something the medical community plainly recognizes. Serving alongside nurses, counselors, and home health aides, chaplains "are the patient's advocate," says Phil Kenyon, an Illinois resident taking chaplaincy training at Vitas, a national accreditation program. "You are showing a dying person dignity and love that in some cases, they may never have received in their lives." the rest

Bishop Martyn Minns: 'Principle, not property'

Anglican Bishop Martyn Minns says parishes leaving the Episcopal Church are prepared to forfeit their facilities
Lynn Vincent
January 06, 2009

Bad news travels fast. Though tucked away at a clerical retreat in Nigeria, it took only a flash of electrons for Anglican Bishop Martyn Minns to receive news of the California Supreme Court’s property dispute ruling against St. James parish in the city of Newport Beach, Calif. The court on Monday ruled that the congregation, whose facility overlooks luxury yachts afloat on Lido Channel, must surrender that property to the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles.

St. James is one of about 100 U.S. Episcopal congregations that in recent years have split with the national church hierarchy, first over the ordination of Bishop Gene Robinson, a openly practicing homosexual, then over the larger, evolving issue of homosexuality and the church.

Leaders in the Los Angeles diocese quickly suggested that Monday’s ruling might have a “chilling” effect on other congregations considering leaving the national church. But Minns disagrees.

Minns is missionary bishop of the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA), a group of more than 70 congregations and 150 clergy in 21 states. Founded in 2005, CANA was established as a diocese-like home for breakaway U.S. Anglican churches. The group includes 11 Virginia churches that last month prevailed in the largest U.S. property dispute in Episcopal Church history.
the rest

‘Secret’ University of Wisconsin plans for mid-term abortion clinic revealed

Madison, WI
Jan 7, 2009

CNA- Newly publicized plans for the University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics to perform second-trimester abortions in a jointly-operated clinic have attracted protest from employees of the clinic and the Alliance Defense Fund. The pro-life group claims the “secret and potentially illegal plans” would likely compel pro-life medical professionals to cooperate in unethical acts and could provide fetal remains for medical research.

The plans, made public by the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) on Tuesday, show that University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics (UWHC) is planning a full-service second-trimester abortion practice at the Madison Surgery Center. The center is a joint venture of UWHC, UW Medical Foundation, and Meriter Hospital and currently does not provide any services related to abortion. the rest

Scandalous Homosexuality-Affirming Milwaukee Middle School

Boy, 6, Misses Bus, Takes Mom's Car Instead

10-Mile Trip to Va. School Ends With Crash but Without Injury
By Tom Jackman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The word "miracle" can be overused. But when a 6-year-old boy drives a Ford Taurus for more than 10 miles, weaving in and out of oncoming traffic, slams into a utility pole and no one gets hurt, well, maybe miracle is appropriate.

That's what happened on Virginia's Northern Neck on Monday morning, when the first-grader missed his school bus and decided to drive his mom's car to elementary school so he wouldn't miss breakfast and PE, authorities said yesterday. the rest

Why Christian Colleges Are Thriving

January 6, 2009
By George Marsden

Evangelical colleges and universities have been thriving. According to the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, the one hundred or so "intentionally Christ-centered institutions" that they count among their affiliates have been growing at a remarkably faster rate than have other major sorts of American colleges and universities. From 1990 to 2004, all public four-year campuses grew by about 13%, all independent four year campuses (including many schools with broad religious or denominational connections) grew by about 28%. But schools associated with the CCCU grew by nearly 71%.

One factor contributing to this growth is that these schools offer the sort of coherent educational experience that has become increasingly difficult to find elsewhere in American higher education. By way of contrast, consider Harry R. Lewis's, Excellence Without a Soul: How a Great University Forgot Education (2006). Lewis, former Dean of Harvard College, laments that Harvard is driven by so many competing careerist and ideological interests that there is little attention either in the curriculum or among faculty (who are rewarded only for scholarship) to fostering healthy personal and moral growth among its students. If that is the case at Harvard, one can imagine the incoherence of the educational experience at the huge state universities and the many community colleges where the vast majority of America's collegians get their degrees. Most of what students study involves practical skills in preparation for careers. Liberal arts are incidental to most undergraduate experience. The best hope for "community" is found in fraternities and sororities or more likely just in a dorm containing many sub-groups of those who happen to find common recreational interests. the rest

Commentary: Rick Warren foes aren't practicing tolerance

By Jordan Lorence
Special to CNN
January 6, 2009

SCOTTSDALE, Arizona (CNN) -- Proponents of redefining marriage couldn't wait for the new president to be sworn in before demanding that he erase from the inauguration ceremony a prominent American who disagrees with them.

The target of their rhetorical bombardment is Rick Warren, the popular Christian pastor from Southern California.

President-elect Barack Obama has asked Warren to give the invocation at his inauguration. Not so fast, cries Kathryn Kolbert, head of People for the American Way, an organization that claims to advance equality and freedom of speech and religion (but not for Rick Warren and those who agree with his marriage views) in a piece published on CNN.com.

Warren's grave sin? Along with 52 percent of California voters, he supported California's Proposition 8, which affirmed the definition of marriage as between one man and one woman.

What a radical! the rest

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Devotional: There are times when you cannot understand...

"Peter said unto Him, Lord, why cannot I follow Thee now?" John 13:37

There are times when you cannot understand why you cannot do what you want to do. When God brings the blank space, see that you do not fill it in, but wait. The blank space may come in order to teach you what sanctification means, or it may come after sanctification to teach you what service means. Never run before God's guidance. If there is the slightest doubt, then He is not guiding. Whenever there is doubt - don't.

In the beginning you may see clearly what God's will is - the severance of a friendship, the breaking off of a business relationship, something you feel distinctly before God is His will for you to do, never do it on the impulse of that feeling. If you do, you will end in making difficulties that will take years of time to put right. Wait for God's time to bring it round and He will do it without any heartbreak or disappointment. When it is a question of the providential will of God, wait for God to move.

Peter did not wait on God, he forecast in his mind where the test would come, and the test came where he did not expect it. "I will lay down my life for Thy sake." Peter's declaration was honest but ignorant. "Jesus answered him ...The cock shall not crow, till thou hast denied Me thrice." This was said with a deeper knowledge of Peter than Peter had of himself. He could not follow Jesus because he did not know himself, of what he was capable. Natural devotion may be all very well to attract us to Jesus, to make us feel His fascination, but it will never make us disciples. Natural devotion will always deny Jesus somewhere or other.
...Oswald Chambers image

Four Am Law 200 Firms on California Episcopal Church Case

January 6, 2009
by Zach Lowe

When litigation is simmering nationwide, people tend to look to California for guidance. On Monday, that state's Supreme Court ruled that three breakaway Episcopal churches--offended by the parent church's 2003 decision to ordain a gay bishop--forfeited their property rights when they affiliated with a different parent church, according to the ruling and this recap from the Los Angeles Times.

The ruling was a win for two Am Law 200 attorneys who argued the case: John Shiner of Holme, Roberts & Owen, representing the Los Angeles diocese, and Heather Anderson of Goodwin Procter, representing the U.S. Episcopal Church. (A team from Weil, Gotshal & Manges submitted an amicus brief on the behalf of the U.S. Presbyterian Church--another parent church concerned about losing property to breakaway parishes.) the rest

A Lambeth triumph for Dr. Williams, but the splits go on

by George Conger
January 5, 2005

Lambeth, Gafcon and the American church’s legal wrangling topped the international church news in 2008.

Designed to avoid controversy, Lambeth 2008 set out to make no statements, take no stands, and avoid provoking new conflict within the Anglican Communion. By its own lights, the July 14 to Aug 3 meeting at the University of Kent in Canterbury was a triumph for its organizer and host, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, for during those three weeks the oft foretold crack up of the Anglican Communion did not happen.

While Lambeth was not by schisms rent asunder or heresies distressed—no anti-Popes set up residence in Abuja to preside over rival Communion as a result of the July gathering—functionally the tear in the fabric of the church begun in 2003 was all but completed. A third of the bishops—representing over two thirds of the communion’s active members—refused Dr. Williams’ invitation, even as the Bishop of New Hampshire, Gene Robinson was prevented from defending himself before the assembled bishops in Canterbury. the rest

Press Release: California Supreme Court Decision on Anglican Churches

January 5th, 2009

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. – January 5, 2009 – The California Supreme Court today ruled in Episcopal Church Cases that church property disputes must be resolved by “neutral principles of law,” not by civil courts merely deferring to the decrees of church “hierarchies.” This ruling has wide and favorable impact for churches throughout California that seek to change their denominational affiliation.

While adopting this “non-religious” method of resolving property disputes between churches, the Court seemed to defer to the Episcopal Church’s alleged “trust canon,” which purports to create a trust interest in church property owned by local congregations. The Court made its ruling despite the fact that St. James Anglican Church, Newport Beach, purchased and maintained its property with its own funds and has held clear record title to its property for over fifty years. the rest

Vatican Newspaper Publishes Article Detailing Birth Control Pill as Cause of Abortion and Cancer

By Hilary White
ROME, January 5, 2009

(LifeSiteNews.com) – The Vatican’s official newspaper has caused a media storm in the European press with an article asserting the abortifacient and carcinogenic effects of hormonal contraceptives.

The Italian edition of L’Osservatore Romano carries an article this week on a report by the International Federation of Catholic Medical Associations (FIAMC) that was created to commemorate the fortieth anniversary of the encyclical Humanae Vitae, the document by Pope Paul VI that reiterated the Catholic Church’s teaching on artificial birth control.

Pedro José María Simón Castellví, the president of FIAMC, wrote that “the means of contraception violate at least five important rights: the right to life, the right to health, the right to education, all right to information (their spread is at the expense of information on natural resources) and the right to equality between the sexes (the burden of contraception falls mostly on women).” the rest

In a Quiet Rebellion, Parishioners Keep the Faith

By ABBY GOODNOUGH
January 5, 2009

SCITUATE, Mass. — There are sleeping bags in the sacristy at St. Frances Xavier Cabrini Church and reclining chairs in the vestibule, but no one here gets too relaxed. “Please be ever vigilant!” a sign by the door warns, and the parishioners who have occupied the church since it closed more than four years ago take it as seriously as a commandment.

St. Frances was among dozens of churches that the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston decided to close and sell in 2004, not least because of financial turmoil made worse by the abuse scandal in the clergy. But while most churches closed without a fight, parishioners at St. Frances, a brick A-frame on a wooded hill, and at four other churches rebelled.

For 1,533 days, the group at St. Frances has taken turns guarding the building around the clock so that the archdiocese cannot lock them out and put it up for sale. They call it a vigil, but by now it is more of a lifestyle. the rest

Spain Is a Key Battleground for Church’s Future

By RACHEL DONADIO
January 5, 2009

VALLADOLID, Spain — The Macías Picavea primary school hardly looks like the seat of revolution. But this unassuming brick building in a sleepy industrial town has become a battleground in an intensifying war between church and state in Spain.

In an unprecedented decision here, a judge ruled in November that the public school must remove the crucifixes from classroom walls, saying they violated the “nonconfessional” nature of the Spanish state.

Although the Roman Catholic Church was not named in the suit, it criticized the ruling as an “unjust” attack on a historical and cultural symbol — and a sign of the Spanish state’s increasingly militant secularism. the rest

Hugh Hewitt: Bush's Legacy

January 6, 2009

Excerpt:
Bush’s great legacy is the peaceful transition of power in an age of terror, a legacy made possible by his courage and his resolve to take the battle to our enemies, confront and defeat them wherever they could be found, contain them when they could not be attacked, and demand of the world a seriousness about the threat that remains real and deadly in its intentions. He has modeled how to act as president in this new media age of virulent venom at home and of fanatical violence and hatred abroad — with detachment toward the former and courage toward the latter.

Count me among the 30 percent, which will soon be 40 percent — and then more than 50 percent much sooner than most of the chattering class can conceive. Bush is deeply loved and respected in places as diverse as remote villages in Africa and booming tech centers in India and, despite the noise from a left still trying to diminish his character, among tens of millions of Americans grateful for the care he has taken to protect them and their families.

But his greatest admirers will be Americans, and perhaps Afghans, Iraqis, Israelis, Indians and Africans a century or more from now who read about his record and resolve in so many efforts will marvel at his restraint and credit his faith and his family for a remarkable service to freedom. the rest image

The End of the Line: Lunch with President George W. Bush

Hollywood Conservatives Encouraged to Come Out of the Closet

Monday, January 05, 2009
By SE Cupp

A once-timid group of social outcasts is emerging from the shadows in Hollywood. If the past year is any indication, Tinseltown may have to get accustomed to the loud presence of a growing minority.

After years of silence, conservatives are coming out of the closet.

Andrew Breitbart, the conservative founder of Breitbart.com and author of "Hollywood Interrupted: Insanity Chic in Babylon," is launching a Web site he hopes will help challenge the status quo in what he believes has been a one-party, left-tilting town. Set to debut on Jan. 6, "Big Hollywood" will be a place where center, right and libertarian-leaning celebrities and industry-insiders can weigh in on Hollywood politics, offer film, television and movie reviews, and have an open forum for political discussion. the rest

Prop. 8 backers blast Calif. Attorney General

By LISA LEFF
The Associated Press
Monday, January 5, 2009

SAN FRANCISCO -- Sponsors of California's voter-approved gay marriage ban accused Attorney General Jerry Brown on Monday of advancing a far-fetched legal theory to justify overturning it.

In papers submitted to the state Supreme Court, lawyers for the Protect Marriage coalition argued that Brown had "invented an entirely new theory" by asking the justices to trump the electorate, which approved Proposition 8 to amend the state Constitution to limit marriage to a man and a woman. the rest

Obama's Justice pick draws fire of pro-lifers

Stephen Dinan and Jerry Seper
Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Social conservatives and pro-life activists are mobilizing against President-elect Barack Obama's pick Monday for the No. 3 Justice Department job, a lawyer who aided the effort to remove Terry Schiavo's feeding tube during the landmark right-to-die case four years ago.

It is unusual for special interest groups to wage a fight over a sub-Cabinet appointment, but conservatives eager to press the Republican Party to mount some form of opposition to the emerging Obama administration say Thomas J. Perrelli's resume as a private lawyer and his appointment Monday as the nation's associate attorney general may provide the rallying cry. the rest

Monday, January 05, 2009

Devotional: Prayer is not overcoming God's reluctance...

Prayer is not overcoming God's reluctance, it is laying hold of His highest willingness. ...Archbishop Richard Trench image

Bishop Bruno: ‘Dispute is Now a Pastoral Issue’

January 5, 2009

With the California Supreme Court ruling in favor of the Diocese of Los Angeles and The Episcopal Church, the Rt. Rev. J. Jon Bruno, Bishop of Los Angeles, said he will personally reach out to the leadership at the three congregations where the majority voted to leave in 2004 over doctrinal disputes.

In a brief interview with a reporter for The Living Church shortly after the decision was announced on Jan. 5, Bishop Bruno said he was “overjoyed” at the verdict and considered all issues at dispute to be decided in their favor. Bishop Bruno said his next step will be to initiate dialogue individually with the clergy and lay leadership of the three churches in the hope that it will lead to reconciliation and perhaps the eventual voluntary return of those congregations to The Episcopal Church.

“I want to see if they are willing to talk; to see if they want to return to The Episcopal Church,” Bishop Bruno said. He added that the offer of dialogue carried no preconditions.

“Attorneys handle legal issues,” he said. “This is now a pastoral issue.” the rest

Married priest who ran off with his deputy questions life ban

By Martin Beckford, Religious Affairs Correspondent
06 Jan 2009

The Rev Canon James Tipp, 63, was banned for serving as a priest for life, while his partner, the Rev Elaine Northern, 54, was barred for 12 years, after they both left their spouses and abandoned their church duties.

Last November, Rev Teresa Davies was barred for 12 years after she admitted at a similar disciplinary hearing that she and her husband had an open relationship and enjoyed wife-swapping holidays.

She also admitted holding three church services while drunk, smelling of alcohol and swaying from side to side. the rest

Anglican Curmudgeon: California Supreme Court Throws out the Statute of Frauds

Monday, January 5, 2009

The California Supreme Court has now joined the ranks of State courts who uphold trusts created by the Dennis Canon, without any action on the part of the parishes that actually own the property in question other than the act of aligning with the Episcopal Church (USA). In a 7-0 decision, it ruled that the Diocese of Los Angeles could go forward with its suit to reclaim the buildings and land of St. James Church in Newport Beach, California, which voted to leave ECUSA in July 2004. (Justice Joyce Kennard dissented only on the point that as construed by the Court, the California statute which saves the Dennis Canon [Corporations Code section 9142, discussed below] is not a "neutral principle of law.")

Analysis

Defender of the faith

By Andrew Weeks
Times-News writer

Some people believe the Bible is a figurative book with multiple meanings. Others believe there is only one interpretation - that it is the word of God and should be taken literally.

For Twin Falls resident Dean Hodges, the Bible is infallible. But his former church isn't.

Two reasons why he left the Episcopal Church a little more than five years ago.

Though not an official member of any church today - he's not on any church rolls - Hodges considers himself an Anglican and, at least once a month, travels more than 200 miles round trip to attend a one-year-old Boise parish because it feels a lot like going home again. the rest

Anglican Church in North America: A new province or a new church?

Anglican Journal
LEIGH ANNE WILLIAMS
staff writer
Jan 5, 2009

Leaders of the Common Cause Partnership, a coalition of conservative Anglicans in Canada and the U.S., released a draft constitution on Dec. 3 for a new Anglican province that they propose will be defined by theology rather than a geographic location.

Gathered in Wheaton, Ill., leaders of the partnership, which they say represents about 100,000 Anglicans (3,000 in Canada) – those who have left the Anglican Church of Canada and the Episcopal Church in the U.S. largely over blessing same-sex unions and the ordination of an openly gay bishop – outlined their vision for the new Anglican Church in North America.

According to Bishop Robert Duncan, who led the diocese of Pittsburgh out of the Episcopal Church in the U.S. and is the provisional leader of the new province, the future of this new body may go further than being a parallel province operating in the same geographic regions as the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada; it may become a rival church. “I think what the Lord is doing is that the Lord is displacing the Episcopal Church,” Bishop Duncan said. “The Episcopal Church has been in extraordinary decline,” he added. “We are a body that is growing, that is planting new congregations, that’s concerned to be an authentic Christian presence in the U.S. and Canada.” the rest

California Supreme Court says breakaway parish can't take national church's property

A Newport Beach parish split from the U.S. Episcopal church because of a gay bishop. The state high court rules that 'the local church did not have the right to take the church property with it.'
By Maura Dolan and Duke Helfand
January 5, 2009

Reporting from San Francisco and Los Angeles -- The California Supreme Court decided unanimously today that churches that break away from a national denomination may not take the church assets with them.

In a ruling written by Justice Ming W. Chin, the state high court said the property of St. James Episcopal Church in Newport Beach is owned by the national church, not the congregation. The congregation split away after the national church ordained a gay man, V. Gene Robinson, as a bishop of New Hampshire, in 2003.

"When it disaffiliated from the general church, the local church did not have the right to take the church property with it," Chin wrote for the court. the rest

Ruling-pdf

Comments at Stand Firm

Orissa's Christians still hiding in forests

by Dibin Samuel and Anne Thomas
Monday, January 5, 2009

As cold weather grips Orissa state, Christian leaders in India have expressed their shock at the revelation that there are still Christians hiding in forests to escape violence.

In spite of the presence of thousands of paramilitary forces in the state, hundreds of people, including many Christians and Hindus, are believed to be hiding in forests. They are fearful of a repurcussion of the violence that swept through the north-eastern state late last year after the murder of a radical Hindu leader.

"Hundreds of tribals haven’t returned home after the riots,” district collector Krishan Kumar told Indo-Asian News Service.

“The tribals had recently visited their villages but fled to the forest again. We are trying to reach them." the rest

Church remains divided over historic reforms to create women bishops

Plans to introduce women bishops have deeply divided the Church of England, according to the survey.
By Jonathan Wynne-Jones, Religious Affairs Correspondent
04 Jan 2009

The poll of General Synod members found that only half of them would support the compromise deal proposed by the Church.

After years of bitter wrangling over the issue, a report was published last week that advocated creating a new class of clergy to cater for traditionalists who refuse to accept women's ordination.

However, 41 per cent of respondents said they would not back such a solution, and a further eight per cent said they were undecided.

Figures on both sides of the debate argued that providing "complementary" or "flying" bishops for opponents of female bishops was unacceptable. the rest

Albert Mohler: For Goodness Sake?

Monday, January 05, 2009

Just before the end of 2008, the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life released a report indicating that a significant percentage of American evangelicals are rejecting the biblical claim that Jesus is the only way of salvation. According to the report, 52% of American Christians believe that "at least some non-Christian faiths can lead to eternal life."

Surprisingly, 37% of those identified as evangelical Christians agreed, rejecting the claim that Jesus is the only Savior and identifying at least some non-Christian religion or religions as leading to eternal life.

The report was an important follow-up to the U.S. Religious Landscape Survey, released in 2007, and it basically affirmed one of the most controversial findings of that survey -- the claim that evangelical Christians are increasingly rejecting the exclusivity of Christ. A potential lack of precision in the way the question was first asked led the Pew Forum to take another look at the issue. This new report, based in solid research, corroborates the earlier study. Many evangelicals are redefining the Gospel and rejecting the claim that faith in Jesus Christ is the only way to eternal life. the rest

Home schooling grows

By Janice Lloyd
USA TODAY
posted January 5, 2009

The ranks of America's home-schooled children have continued a steady climb over the past five years, and new research suggests broader reasons for the appeal.

The number of home-schooled kids hit 1.5 million in 2007, up 74% from when the Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics started keeping track in 1999, and up 36% since 2003. The percentage of the school-age population that was home-schooled increased from 2.2% in 2003 to 2.9% in 2007. "There's no reason to believe it would not keep going up," says Gail Mulligan, a statistician at the center.

Traditionally, the biggest motivations for parents to teach their children at home have been moral or religious reasons, and that remains a top pick when parents are asked to explain their choice. the rest

St. John's members bolt Episcopal flock

By Kelly Jasper
Staff Writer
Monday, January 05, 2009

During services at St. John's Episcopal Church on Sunday, the Rev. Rob Hartley told his congregation he would resign and start a new church.

They are now calling themselves the Church of the Holy Trinity and are aligned with the Anglican Church in North America, an alliance created in December that presents itself as a conservative alternative to the Episcopal Church.

To avoid a legal dispute with the Diocese of Upper South Carolina, the Holy Trinity congregants abandoned the St. John's sanctuary on Belvedere-Clearwater Road and will hold their first service next Sunday in a converted warehouse near Interstate 20.

Most of the 90-member St. John's congregation agreed to follow the Rev. Rob Hartley when he and church staff announced their resignations Sunday. the rest

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Devotional: Let our temper be under the rule of the love of Jesus...

Let our temper be under the rule of the love of Jesus: He can not alone curb it, - He can make us gentle and patient. Let the vow, that not an unkind word of others shall ever be heard from our lips, be laid trustingly at His feet. Let the gentleness that refuses to take offence, that is always ready to excuse, to think and hope the best, mark our intercourse with all. Let our life be one of self-sacrifice, always studying the welfare of others, finding our highest joy in blessing others. And let us, in studying the Divine art of doing good, yield ourselves as obedient learners to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. By His grace, the most common-place life can be transfigured with the brightness of a heavenly beauty, as the infinite love of the Divine nature shines out through our frail humanity. ...Andrew Murray image

Tehran Times Quotes Bp. Schori

Here

'Conspiracy' against Muhammad

Ruth Gledhill's blog
January 4th, 2008

The Times reported in 2007 that Muhammad was the second most popular name for new-born boys in Britain, beaten only by Jack. We prophesied that Muhammad in all its various spelling incarnations would soon hit the top spot. Just a year or so later, and as The Times now reports, Jack is still the most popular name, but Muhammad has dropped off the list completely. Archbishop Cranmer, to whom I offer thanks for this illustration and most of the comments below, suspects a conspiracy,

Cranmer writes that all the ad-hoc lists compiled by private companies also appear to have eradicated all mention of Mohammed, whether spelt with a ‘u’, or an ‘o’, two ‘m’s or one. The website ‘Innocent English has also cleansed its lists the Prophet, reports Cranmer, who comments:

'Even when one takes into account that there are at least 14 different spellings of the name – all pronounced the same – it is utterly baffling that the name now appears nowhere. The main two, Mohammed and Muhammad (a non-Arab Muslim would adopt the name ending in -ed while an Arab Muslim would adopt the -ad ending) are complemented by Mohammad, Muhammed, Mohamed, Mohamad, Mahammed, Mohammod, Mahamed, Muhammod, Muhamad, Mohmmed, Mohamud and Mohammud. And these are augmented still by the much less-common Mehmet or Mohemet. the rest

Florida demonstrator: Jews - you need a big oven'


By Stan Goodenough
January 04, 2009

The ugly face of Israel and Jew hatred was revealed on the streets of Fort Lauderdale, Florida last week as hundreds gathered to demonstrate against Israel's self-defensive war against Gaza's Hamas terror group.

Up to 300 men and women, white and black, Arab and Caucasian, teenagers and gray-haired, spewed their venom at the Jewish state.

According to Tom Trento, a concerned American citizen who mingled among the demonstrators, filming them and then posting the video on YouTube, the gathering at a busy intersection of a main street boulevard, was protesting Israel and American support of Israel.

"This was not Gaza, it was not Paris, it was not London, it was not even Detroit," the horrified Trento said on commentary following the video. "This was Fort Lauderdale, Florida!" the rest

North Augusta church leader steps down, congregation follows

By Arielle Clay
Jan 4, 2009

NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. - The Vicar of St. John's Episcopal Church in North Augusta stepped down Sunday. He says it is because he does not agree with the direction the National Church is taking.

Now dozens of his congregants are following him to a new church and new denomination.

Sunday was Phyllis Kirkland's last time in the kitchen of St. John's Episcopal Church, Susan Bafford's last time singing in the sanctuary, and Paula Wahl’s last time as senior warden.

“I turned in my key today,” Wahl said.

That's because for the three women and most other members of the church Sunday was their last day as congregants at St. John's and of the Episcopal denomination.

“The Episcopal church has been going in a direction that I wasn't in agreement with,” Wahl said the rest

How Support for Abortion Became Kennedy Dogma

By ANNE HENDERSHOTT
JANUARY 1, 2009

For faithful Roman Catholics, the thought of yet another pro-choice Kennedy positioned to campaign for the unlimited right to abortion is discouraging. Yet if Caroline Kennedy, the daughter of Catholics John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, is appointed to fill the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Hillary Clinton, abortion-rights advocates will have just such a champion.

Ms. Kennedy was so concerned to assure pro-abortion leaders in New York, Britain's Guardian newspaper reported on Dec. 18, that on the same day Ms. Kennedy telephoned New York Gov. David Patterson to declare interest in the Senate seat, "one of her first calls was to an abortion rights group, indicating she will be strongly pro-choice."

Within the first week of her candidacy, Ms. Kennedy promised to work for several causes, including same-sex marriage and abortion rights. In responding to a series of 15 questions posed by the New York Times on Dec. 21, Ms. Kennedy said that, while she believes "young women facing unwanted pregnancies should have the advice of caring adults," she would oppose legislation that would require minors to notify a parent before obtaining an abortion. On the crucial question of whether she supports any state or federal restrictions on late-term abortions, Ms. Kennedy chose to say only that she "supports Roe v. Wade, which prohibits third trimester abortions except when the life or health of the mother is at risk." Presumably Ms. Kennedy knows that this effectively means an unlimited right to abortion -- including late-stage abortion -- because the "health of the mother" can be so broadly defined that it includes the psychological distress that can accompany an unintended pregnancy. the rest

Kennedy Was Spared Financial Disclosure as a Top Aide at City Schools