Saturday, March 21, 2009

Devotional: Joy is distinctly a Christian word...

Joy is distinctly a Christian word and a Christian thing.
It is the reverse of happiness. Happiness is the result of what happens of an agreeable sort. Joy has its springs deep down inside. And that spring never runs dry, no matter what happens. Only Jesus gives that joy. He had joy, singing its music within, even under the shadow of the cross. ...SD Gordon image

Tea Party Updates

'Orlando Tea Party' rally at Lake Eola rails against Obama, bailouts
Helen Eckinger Sentinel Staff Writer
March 22, 2009

Singer Lloyd Marcus told the crowd assembled in Lake Eola Park on Saturday that he was going to give them his take on the first days of the Obama administration.

Then he shrieked.

That pretty much summed up the mood in the park Saturday afternoon, when more than 4,000 people attended the Orlando Tea Party, a conservative rally aimed at expressing discontent with Washington.

"This is maybe the greatest single gathering of God-fearing patriots in the history of Orlando, Florida," local conservative radio host Bud Hedinger, who emceed the event, told the crowd. the rest

Malkin: Tea parties in Lexington KY; Ridgefield CT; 3k in Orlando; Raleigh NC

Pictures: Orlando Tea Party

Episcopal statistical trends mirror national patterns

Saturday, 21 March 2009

Research shows median congregation has fewer than 70 worshippers at Sunday services
While the median size of Episcopal Church congregations and overall membership has declined in recent years, that pattern matches trends in most mainline Protestant denominations and points to larger patterns in U.S. culture, according to analyses of recent data.

The median Episcopal Church congregation in 2007 had 168 active members and 69 people in Sunday worship, according to Episcopal Church reports. That compares to the median congregation in 2003, which had 182 active members and 77 on average in Sunday worship. Meanwhile in 2007, parishes with 351 or more people in worship constitute 3.5 percent of all the church’s congregations.

There were 37,823 fewer active members of Episcopal Church congregations in 2007 than in 2006, a two-percent decline. Over the past ten years, the church has experienced a 10-percent decline in active membership, the statistical reports show. Slightly more than 167,000 people left the Episcopal Church between 2003 and 2007, reducing the church’s active baptized members from 2,284,233 to 2,116,749. the rest

Catholic Notre Dame University to Give Obama Honorary Degree on May 17, Against USCCB Policy

Friday March 20, 2009
By Kathleen Gilbert

NOTRE DAME, Indiana (LifeSiteNews.com) - White House Secretary Robert Gibbs stated today that President Obama will give the commencement address at Notre Dame University this year. The school confirmed the announcement, stating on its website that Obama will also receive an honorary doctor of laws degree at the University's 164th University Commencement Ceremony at 2 p.m. May 17 in the Joyce Center on campus.

In 2004, the United States of Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) approved a policy statement called "Catholics in Political Life," which says, with reference to pro-abortion politicians, "They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions."

President Obama has been called the "abortion president" by pro-life activists, and his appearance at the university would appear to violate the USCCB's policy against honoring pro-abortion politicians. the rest image

Notre Dame Switchboard Overwhelmed, Grads Condemn Obama Decision

Peggy Noonan: The unbearable lightness of Obama's administration

Neither a Hedgehog Nor a Fox
March 20, 2009

He is willowy when people yearn for solid, reed-like where they hope for substantial, a bright older brother when they want Papa, cool where they probably prefer warmth. All of which may or may not hurt Barack Obama in time. Lincoln was rawboned, prone to the blues and freakishly tall, with a new-grown beard that refused to become an assertion and remained, for four years, a mere and constant follicular attempt. And he did OK.

Such impressions—coolness, slightness—can come to matter only if they capture or express some larger or more meaningful truth. At the moment they connect, for me, to something insubstantial and weightless in the administration's economic pronouncements and policies. The president seems everywhere and nowhere, not fully focused on the matters at hand. He's trying to keep up with the news cycle with less and less to say. "I am angry" about AIG's bonuses. The administration seems buffeted, ad hoc. Policy seems makeshift, provisional. James K. Galbraith captures some of this in The Washington Monthly: "The president has an economic program. But there is, so far, no clear statement of the thinking behind the program." the rest image

What if God Read Your Posts?

A Reminder About Christian Conduct on the Internet
C Michael Patton
15 Mar 2009

I believe that we are to defend the faith. I believe that we are to contend for the faith. One of my great loves in theology is the discipline of apologetics. But sometimes our zealousness for our faith can have the opposite effect and actually undermine our witness. We can shame God. What if God read your posts? Wait, God does read your posts.

I am going to be talking about how to engage people in theological issues in general, but this will have particular relevance to how we interact online, especially in blogs.

Before the internet, maybe things were a little more tame. I don’t know. Maybe people expressed themselves with more caution, more gentleness, more respect. This is not so today. Not by a long shot. If I was a non-Christian and witnessed how Christians often treat each other in the blogosphere, I would have a natural reaction of disgust.

Today your voice can be heard by an unheard of number of people . . . anyone’s voice can. Set your light on a hill. Not only do we have a bigger hill to let the Gospel shine brightly, but through blogs, forums, emails, and many other forms of quasi-anonymous venues, we also have the chance to let our sinfulness shine brightly. the rest image

CNY Diocese's lawsuit against Good Shepherd over parishioner's will

03/20/2009
By Karen Lee

BINGHAMTON, N.Y. -- Back in 2003, the Episcopal Diocese of Central New York consecrated a gay bishop and allowed others to perform same-sex blessings.

The Church of the Good Shepherd in Binghamton, an Episcopal parish at the time, disagreed with this move and severed ties. Last year, the Diocese sued for Good Shepherd to leave the church building on Conklin Avenue, and in December, a state Supreme Court judge ruled in their favor.

On Friday, both sides were back in court. the rest/video

Pope condemns sorcery, urges Angolans to convert

By VICTOR L. SIMPSON
posted March 21, 2009

LUANDA, Angola (AP) — Pope Benedict XVI appealed to the Catholics of Angola on Saturday to reach out to and convert believers in witchcraft who feel threatened by "spirits" and "evil powers" of sorcery.

On his first pilgrimage to Africa, the pope drew on the more than 500 years of Roman Catholicism in Angola, saying that Christianity was a bridge between the local peoples and the Portuguese settlers.

"In today's Angola," the pope said in a homily at Mass, "Catholics should offer the message of Christ to the many who live in the fear of spirits, of evil powers by whom they feel threatened, disoriented, even reaching the point of condemning street children and even the most elderly because — they say — they are sorcerers."

In Africa, some churchgoing Catholics also follow traditional animist religions and consult medicine men and diviners who are condemned by the church. People accused of sorcery or of being possessed by evil powers sometimes are killed by fearful mobs. the rest

Friday, March 20, 2009

Devotional: In vain I have searched the Bible...

In vain I have searched the Bible, looking for examples of early believers whose lives were marked by rigidity, predictability, inhibition, dullness, and caution. Fortunately, grim, frowning, joyless saints in Scriptures are conspicuous by their absence. Instead, the examples I find are of adventurous, risk-taking, enthusiastic, and authentic believers whose joy was contagious even in times of full trial. Their vision was broad even when death drew near. Rules were few and changes were welcome. The contrast between then and now is staggering.
...Chuck Swindoll image

Study looks at poor among gays, lesbians

By Andrea Stone
USA TODAY
posted Mrch 20, 2009

Lesbian couples are more likely to be poor than married heterosexuals, and children of same-sex parents are twice as likely to live in poverty as those of traditional married couples, a new report shows.

UCLA's Williams Institute, which studies gay issues, says its report out today is the first to analyze poverty among gay and lesbian couples.

The report is an analysis of the most recent data on same-sex unmarried partners from the 2000 Census and two smaller surveys that include questions on sexual orientation. Together, it argues, they debunk "a popular stereotype (that) paints lesbians and gay men as an affluent elite." the rest

The Second American Revolution - We The People

Tea parties are flash crowds Obama should fear



Lyrics

A Lenten Meditation

Friday, 20 March 2009
By Robert Louis Wilken

A traditional prayer recited before Lauds and Vespers in the Church's Divine Office reads: “Open, O Lord, my mouth to bless Your holy name: cleanse my heart from all idle, distorted, and wandering thoughts; enlighten my understanding, set fire to my affections, and grant that I may be able to pray this office worthily, attentively, and with devotion, so that my prayer will be worthy of rising before your divine Majesty. Through Christ our Lord.”

I first learned this prayer in Latin at the Benedictine monastery of St. Anselmo, on the Aventine hill in Rome, and I have said it for years before praying the several offices in the Liturgy of the Hours. In a few brief words it expresses the thoughts that go through one’s mind at the beginning of a time of prayer. Prayer has to do not only with the words we say, but the disposition of the heart. Wandering thoughts and a distracted mind easily turn us away from the business at hand, but it is the heart that holds us to God. Hence the petitions: “cleanse my heart” and “set fire to my affections.” Without love, without a heart fixed on God, prayer is a futile exercise, words vanishing in the air.
The rest-excellent! image

TEA'd off Americans urged to protest

Allie Martin
OneNewsNow
3/20/2009

A pro-family organization is planning TEA parties nationwide on April 15 -- but the events, designed to send a strong message to the White House and Congress, won't be sit-down affairs.

The rallies are called Taxed Enough Already, or TEA, parties that will be held in 1,000 cities across the nation. People are being asked to gather at their city hall during the lunch hour on Tax Day. Similar gatherings have taken place in cities across the U.S., as tens of thousands have turned out to protest wasteful government spending and President Barack Obama's "stimulus" package. (See related video report on anti-bailout demonstrations) the rest

Salvation Army funds dwindle

Group faces high demand in some cities
Matt Reed ASSOCIATED PRESS
Friday, March 20, 2009

COLUMBUS, Ohio Often the last resort for those in need, the Salvation Army in some cities is experiencing a budget crunch despite a sharp increase in donations.

The Salvation Army's annual holiday Red Kettle campaign brought in a record $130 million in donations last year, up 10 percent from 2007 and the biggest one-year jump since 1997.

But the money will be spent on programs in the communities where it was collected, and many cities with the most need for Salvation Army assistance, such as Detroit and Las Vegas, are having trouble raising funds, national spokeswoman Melissa Temme said. the rest

Richard John Neuhaus: He Threw It All Away

By Robert P. George
Friday, March 20, 2009

In the early 1970s, Lutheran pastor Richard John Neuhaus was poised to become the nation’s next great liberal public intellectual—the Reinhold Niebuhr of his generation. He had going for him everything he needed to be not merely accepted but lionized by the liberal establishment. First, of course, there were his natural gifts as a thinker, writer, and speaker. Then there was a set of left-liberal credentials that were second to none. He had been an outspoken and prominent civil rights campaigner, indeed, someone who had marched literally arm-in-arm with his friend Martin Luther King. He had founded one of the most visible anti-Vietnam war organizations. He moved easily in elite circles and was regarded by everyone as a “right-thinking” (i.e., left-thinking) intellectual-activist operating within the world of mainline Protestant religion.

Then something happened: Abortion. It became something it had never been before, namely, a contentious issue in American culture and politics. Neuhaus opposed abortion for the same reasons he had fought for civil rights and against the Vietnam War. At the root of his thinking was the conviction that human beings, as creatures fashioned in the image and likeness of God, possess a profound, inherent, and equal dignity. This dignity must be respected by all and protected by law. That, so far as Neuhaus was concerned, was not only a biblical mandate but also the bedrock principle of the American constitutional order. Respect for the dignity of human beings meant, among other things, not subjecting them to a system of racial oppression; not wasting their lives in futile wars; not slaughtering them in the womb. the rest

The Anglican Network in Canada - a great burden lifted

Anglican Mainstream
by Chris Sugden in Evangelicals Now April 2009

Canadians are not to be confused with citizens of the USA. Many are descended from those British colonists, and their church descends from the many clergy, who wished to remain loyal to the British crown after 1776 and fled north to put the protection of the great lakes between them and the rebels. Citizens of the USA were “patriots”, Canadians were “loyalists”. Their “Britishness” is perhaps revealed in continuance of a sense of deference to the established order.

One Canadian Anglican clergyman has suggested to me that this meant that therefore the direction of the leadership of the Anglican Church of Canada in taking forward same-sex blessings and related issues was more readily accepted and followed by the rank and file in the church than it would be south of the border.

The Anglican Network in Canada (www.anglicannetwork.ca) numbers 3 bishops, 28 parishes, 62 priests, 11 deacons and a Sunday attendance of around 3500, larger than 13 of the 31 dioceses of the Anglican Church of Canada. The Anglican Church of Canada (ACoC) on a good day claims 70,000 in its pews. the rest

Conservative Anglicans in Canada are planning to expand, says Donald Harvey

Church of Nigeria Standing Committee Meeting: Communique

20th March, 2009

Excerpt:
As Anglican Christians we continue to be distressed by the spiritual crisis within our own family of faith in other parts of the world. Since 2003 the unilateral revisionist actions of The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church Canada have torn the fabric of our common life. While the Church of Nigeria stands resolutely and uncompromisingly on the truth of the Holy Scriptures and the Lordship of Jesus Christ endless meetings and repeated communiqués have done nothing to bring restoration of our beloved communion. In this, however, and in all these matters our hope is not in our own efforts but in the Lord Himself. We can therefore boldly declare to our nation and to the world, “Those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. (Isaiah 40:31)

Communique here

South Dakota: Pine Ridge Congregations Form New Church

March 20, 2009

Members of the nine congregations on South Dakota’s Pine Ridge Reservation that were closed by the Diocese of South Dakota voted March 14 to create the Lakota Oyate Episcopalian Church, elected officers, wrote bylaws and approved a resolution that it will submit to the Oglala Sioux Tribe’s Land Committee on March 23. A report this week in the Rapid City Journal said the resolution asks for ownership rights to any of those church properties that the tribe receives from the diocese.

“Other than by media reports, we are not informed of the most recent developments,” Steven W. Sanford, diocesan chancellor, told The Living Church. “The diocese has no intent or interest in any disposition except that which best promotes local control. We have had productive discussions with the Oglala Tribal Land Office and hope that we can accomplish agreed transfer to the tribe or other local interests in the near future, assuming the litigation in tribal court can be resolved. We also expect to make adequate arrangements for preservation of any cemetery associated with a closed location.”

In September the Rt. Rev. Creighton Robertson, Bishop of South Dakota, announced plans to close the nine churches by the end of 2008 because of a combination of factors including aging clergy, declining revenues, dwindling attendance and problematic building maintenance and repair issues. After the closings were announced, members sued the diocese in Tribal Court, but Mr. Sanford said he remains uncertain as to exactly what the group is seeking in the suit. the rest

Anglican Church in North America Names Chief Operating Officer

March 20, 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 20, 2009

The Rt. Rev. Robert Duncan, archbishop-designate of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), has announced that Mr. Brad B. Root has agreed to serve as the ACNA’s first Chief Operating Officer (COO). The ACNA unites Anglican Christians in both the United States and Canada as a body committed to reaching North America with the transforming love of Jesus Christ, rooted in both Scripture and traditional Anglican belief.

“Brad comes to us with not just a wealth of entrepreneurial experience and leadership ability, but also a depth of faith that makes him a wonderful fit for the needs of the new Church,” said Bishop Duncan. the rest

CANA Praises Church of Nigeria Decision to be in Full Communion with Emerging Anglican Province

Largest Province in Communion with ACNA
March 20, 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
HERNDON, Va.

The Convocation of Anglicans in North America praised the unanimous decision of the Church of Nigeria Standing Committee to be in full communion with the emerging Anglican province, the Anglican Church of North America. The Church of Nigeria is the first Anglican province to formally accept the emerging province as a branch of the Anglican Communion. CANA is a founding member of the Anglican Church in North America, which includes about 700 congregations.

“Once again, we within CANA are grateful to the Church of Nigeria for creating a formal branch between orthodox Anglican congregations in North America and the well-respected Province, as the Church of Nigeria did for CANA several years ago. It is a significant decision that will strengthen the unity among those in the U.S. who wish to remain faithful to their Christian beliefs while remaining in good standing as part of the worldwide Anglican Communion. Our continued prayer is for Anglicans across the world to be able to stay faithful to orthodox beliefs within the Anglican Communion. This decision by the Church of Nigeria formalizes that hope,” said CANA Missionary Bishop Martyn Minns.

The Convocation of Anglicans in North America CANA currently consists of more than 75 congregations and 160 clergy in 21 states. CANA was established in 2005 to provide a means by which Anglicans living in the USA who were alienated by the actions and decisions of The Episcopal Church could continue to live out their faith without compromising their core convictions. Created as a missionary initiative of the Church of Nigeria, about a dozen of the congregations are primarily expatriate Nigerians. CANA is a founding member of the Anglican Church in North America, an emerging Anglican province that includes about 700 congregations.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Devotional: When Jesus talks about fire...

When Jesus talks about fire, he means in the first place his own Passion, which was a Passion of love and was therefore a fire; the new burning bush, which burns and is not consumed; a fire that is to be handed on. Jesus does not come to make us comfortable; rather he sets fire to the earth; he brings the great living fire of divine love, which is what the Holy Spirit is, a fire that burns. In an apocryphal saying of Jesus that has been transmitted by Origen, he says: "Whoever comes close to me comes close to the fire." Whoever comes close to him, accordingly, must be prepared to be burned... It burns, yet this is not a destructive fire but one that makes things bright and pure and free and grand. Being a Christian, then, is daring to entrust oneself to this burning fire... ...Pope Benedict XVI image

Albert Mohler: The Delay of Marriage and the Decline of Church Attendance

Thursday, March 19, 2009

W. Bradford Wilcox of the University of Virginia has written a must-read article in the "Houses of Worship" column of The Wall Street Journal. Wilcox, whose research and analysis is consistently top-notch and relevant, considers the impact of the expansion of the government sector in American society. As the "welfare state" expands, the church recedes as the source of needed charity and social services. Thus, as Wilcox notes, the expansion of the state is, in effect, a driving force behind the secularization of the society.

In "God Will Provide -- Unless the Government Gets There First," Wilcox offers reflections on the recent release of the American Religious Identification Survey [ARIS] which indicated that the number of secular Americans has increased from 2% in 1962 and 8% in 1990 to fully 15% in 2008.

His argument, put simply, is that the expansion of the government sector to offer cradle-to-grave social services contributes to the secularization of the society. the rest

CNY Episcopal Diocese Tries to Seize Trust Funds of the Church of the Good Shepherd

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 19, 2009
Contact: Raymond J. Dague
315-422-2052
www.daguelaw.com

After taking the church buildings from Church of the Good Shepherd, the Central New York Episcopal Diocese on Friday will seek to also take money left to the parish in a will. The Diocese is apparently not content with the seizure of the church building, rectory and tangible property of Church of the Good Shepherd: they also want the money left in trust to the parish in the will of a former member who died in 1986. Since the courts usually seek to apply the intent of the maker of the will, the issues in this part of the case may be significantly different from the Dennis Canon argument which allowed the Episcopal Diocese of Central New York to seize the property of the parish in January pursuant to a lawsuit and court decision.

The parish filed motion papers seeking the dismissal of the will portion of the lawsuit, and the Diocese and the alternative beneficiary under the will, Christ Episcopal Church in Binghamton, filed cross-motion papers to take the monies in the trust. The motion argument is scheduled for 11:00 am Friday, March 20, 2009 at the courthouse in downtown Binghamton before Judge Ferris Lebous. Judge Lebous is same judge who issued the first ruling which gave the buildings to the Diocese.

Syracuse attorney Raymond Dague is defending Good Shepherd. “The will says that the parish gets the money in the trust unless the parish “ceases to exist,” and since they are still alive and well, they still get the trust,” said Dague. “It is that simple.”

The Diocese and Christ Church claim that Good Shepherd’s disaffiliation from the Episcopal Church means that Good Shepherd “ceases to exist.” The Diocese also claims that because Good Shepherd is in a new building and because the old parish bank account did not have any deposits for many months before the January 8, 2009 seizure order of Judge Lebous, that Good Shepherd “ceases to exist.”

In an affidavit filed by the priest at the parish, Fr. Matt Kennedy, he repeatedly declared that his church exists. “It is not the building or amount of money people donate to a particular corporation which gives our church its existence,” said Fr. Kennedy in his affidavit. “It is a tragic and telling commentary on the bareness of the theology of the Diocese of Central New York that the possession of a building or the level of contributions to a certain corporate bank account is the measure of whether a church ‘exists’.”

Bishop Gladstone “Skip” Adams of Syracuse sued the Binghamton church last spring after that parish disaffiliated from the Episcopal Church. Fr. Kennedy is a commentator on the internationally known Stand Firm website. Good Shepherd recently moved to a location at a former Roman Catholic Church in Binghamton just over a mile from its old building, and has been increasing its Sunday attendance since it moved into the new church building.

Do they exist?

God-less 'congregations' planned for humanists

By JAY LINDSAY
posted 3/19/09

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) — The monthly schedule is church-like, with its parenting classes, guest speakers and small group meetings to hash out shared beliefs. But God isn't part of this Cambridge congregation.

Greg Epstein, the humanist chaplain at Harvard University, is building a God-free model of community that he hopes helps humanists increase in numbers and influence.

Epstein sees potential in research showing that there are more people with no religion. In the latest American Religious Identification Survey, released this month, 15 percent of respondents in 2008 said they had no religion, compared to 8.2 percent in 1990. Epstein believes that group includes large numbers of people who are humanist, but have never identified themselves that way and can be reached.

At the same time, there is broader acceptance of those with no faith, as indicated by President Barack Obama's mention of "nonbelievers" in his inaugural address, Epstein said. the rest

Now a bishop is blacklisted in USA

Thursday, 19th March 2009
By George Conger

The American Church’s blacklisting of conservative clergy has spread to the episcopate. On March 9 the former Bishop of Southern Virginia, the Rt Rev David Bane informed Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori that he was resigning from the US House of Bishops and had been received into the Province of the Southern Cone, were he will serve as an assisting bishop in the Diocese of Pittsburgh to the Rt Rev Robert Duncan.

Considered a moderate conservative within the Episcopal Church, Bishop Bane told Bishop Jefferts Schori that his decision to quit the Episcopal Church arose after he had spent three years seeking priestly employment within the Episcopal Church.

Elected in 1998, Bishop Bane and his liberal suffragan, the Rt Rev Carol Gallagher resigned in 2006 after a review committee found that tensions between the two and personal and political conflicts were destabilizing the diocese. “Remaining as bishop would prevent the diocese from healing and moving forward as so much of the blame and animosity continued to be focused on me personally,” Bishop Bane wrote in his letter to the Presiding Bishop. the rest

A Pastoral Letter from the Bishops of the Episcopal Church

[Episcopal News Service] Members of the House of Bishops, gathering March 13-18 at the Kanuga Conference Center in North Carolina, issued the following pastoral letter at the conclusion of their meeting. An ENS story will follow.

Letter

Comments at Titusonenine

Israeli ambassador confirms Pope Benedict may wear cross at Western Wall

Rome, Italy
Mar 18, 2009

(CNA).- Contrary to comments attributed to an Israeli rabbi, Pope Benedict XVI will not be barred from entering the holy area of Jerusalem’s Western Wall while wearing a cross.

On Tuesday the Jerusalem Post quoted Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch, who oversees worship matters at the Western Wall, as saying that the Pope should not wear a cross during his visit to the area.

“It is not fitting to enter the Western Wall area with religious symbols, including a cross,” the rabbi reportedly said, according to SIR.

Mordechay Lewy, Israel’s Ambassador to the Holy See, issued a clarifying statement saying that the Jerusalem Post’s quotation was “misleading.” the rest image

Obama Admin Sends UN Population Fund $50 Million, Abortion Backers Want More

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
March 18, 2009

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) -- The American economy is in turmoil but the Obama administration sent a $50 million check yesterday to the United Nations Population Fund. That's the pro-abortion group that has been accused of supporting and working in concert with Chinese family planning officials.

There, the Chinese population control program has relied on forced abortions, involuntary sterilizations and other human rights abuses to enforce its rule that most couples may have no more than one child.

The Bush administration had withheld the funds because of the UNFPA-China population control program ties, but Obama signed a bill reversing those limits and pro-life advocates failed to get the Senate. to put them back in place.

The Obama administration move has pro-life advocates up in arms. the rest

Obama climate plan could cost $2 trillion
"We all looked at each other like, 'Wow, that's a big number"

4,000-year-old 'Abraham's Gate' reopens

Mar 18, 2009
By Etgar Lefkovits

The nearly 4,000 year-old "Abraham's Gate" at Tel Dan in northern Israel has been reopened to the public after a decade-long restoration project, the Israel Nature and Parks Authority said Wednesday.

Located in a nature reserve at the foot of Mount Hermon and the Golan Heights, the ancient structure, which is believed to have been constructed around 1750 BCE, during the Canaanite Period, is made of mud-bricks.

The gate, which could be named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO later this year, has been named after the Biblical patriarch since some people speculate it may have been used by Abraham during the rescue of his nephew Lot. the rest

Teenage Birthrate Increases For Second Consecutive Year

By Rob Stein and Donna St. George
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, March 19, 2009

The rate at which teenage girls in the United States are having babies has risen for a second year in a row, government statistics show, putting one of the nation's most successful social and public health campaigns in jeopardy.

Teen births in the District, Maryland and Virginia mirror the national trend, the numbers show, and local health experts say they are alarmed by the shift. the rest

Gay Marriage Recognized...in Webster Dictionary

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

SAN FRANCISCO — Same-sex marriage might not be recognized in most states, but it is in the dictionary.

Merriam-Webster included a secondary definition of marriage to recognize same-sex relationships several years before gay couples were allowed to tie the knot anywhere in the United States, but the change had gone largely unnoticed until the conservative World Net Daily news site reported it Tuesday.

"One of the nation's most prominent dictionary companies has resolved the argument over whether the term 'marriage' should apply to same-sex duos or be reserved for the institution that has held families together for millennia: by simply writing a new definition," World Net wrote in an online story published Tuesday. the rest

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Devotional: The prayer of the upright is His delight...

The prayer of the upright is his delight. Proverbs 15:8

This is as good as a promise, for it declares a present fact, which will be the same throughout all ages. God takes great pleasure in the prayers of upright men; He even calls them His delight. Our first concern is to be upright. Neither bending this way nor that, continue upright; not crooked with policy, nor prostrate by yielding to evil, be you upright in strict integrity and straightforwardness. If we begin to shuffle and shift, we shall be left to shift for ourselves. If we try crooked ways, we shall find that we cannot pray, and if we pretend to do so, we shall find our prayers shut out of heaven.


Are we acting in a straight line and thus following out the Lord's revealed will? Then let us pray much and pray in faith. If our prayer is God's delight, let us not stint Him in that which gives Him pleasure. He does not consider the grammar of it, nor the metaphysics of it, nor the rhetoric of it; in all these men might despise it. He, as a Father, takes pleasure in the lispings of His own babes, the stammerings of His newborn sons and daughters. Should we not delight in prayer since the Lord delights in it? Let us make errands to the throne. The Lord finds us enough reasons for prayer, and we ought to thank Him that it is so.
...CH Spurgeon image

Ethiopia, an Astonishing Christianity on African Soil

by Sandro Magister

ROMA, March 18, 2009 – On the eve of Benedict XVI's trip to Cameroon and Angola, in Italy for the first time a major exhibition has been opened on another region of Christian Africa, Ethiopia, with icons, illustrated manuscripts, crosses, sculptures, paintings of evocative beauty, never before shown to the public.

The title of the exhibition is: "Nigra sum sed formosa," I am dark but lovely. These words from the Song of Songs are traditionally seen in reference to the queen of Sheba, the progenitor of Ethiopia in the national epic poem "Kebra Negast," the glory of kings.

In the poem, which in part coincides with the biblical book of Kings, the queen of Sheba visits King Solomon in Jerusalem, and conceives a child with him. With her, Judaism set down roots in Ethiopia. the rest image

Plan to bill insurance for combat injuries criticized

Veterans groups and lawmakers condemn a White House proposal to save $530 million.
Washington Post
March 17, 2009

Washington -- An Obama administration proposal to bill veterans' private insurance companies for combat-related injuries has prompted veterans groups to condemn the plan as unethical, and powerful lawmakers on Capitol Hill have promised to oppose it.

Nevertheless, the White House confirmed Tuesday that the idea remained under consideration, and a meeting to discuss it further is scheduled for Thursday between Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and leaders of veterans groups. the rest

Veterans groups angry at Obama

Veterans groups irate at Obama's private insurance proposal

Religious Belief Linked to Desire for Aggressive Treatment in Terminal Patients

By RONI CARYN RABIN
March 17, 2009

Terminally ill cancer patients who drew comfort from religion were far more likely to seek aggressive, life-prolonging care in the week before they died than were less religious patients and far more likely to want doctors to do everything possible to keep them alive, a study has found.

The patients who were devout were three times as likely as less religious ones to be put on a mechanical ventilator to maintain breathing during the last week of life, and they were less likely to do any advance care planning, like signing a do-not-resuscitate order, preparing a living will or creating a health care proxy, the analysis found.

The study is to be published Wednesday in The Journal of the American Medical Association. the rest

The Obama tea parties

Tue, 03/17/2009
By JAY AMBROSE
Scripps Howard News Service

Long-time Washington hands conclude the public honeymoon is over for President Obama, and I guess so -- look at the "tea parties" as angry citizens protest his policies, carrying signs that says such things as, "Honk if I am paying your mortgage."

Poor, benighted souls. They still think self-responsibility matters, not just allusions to it in Obama speeches, but the real thing. That would entail squashing policies in which the government robs hard-working, frugal Peter to pay slothful, reckless Paul while excusing the crime as social justice.

The demonstrations, scattered all over the nation, are patterned after the anti-tax Boston tea party of the 18th century, and just may grow in the face of anger over $165 million in bonuses given to the executives of an insurance company sucking up taxpayer billions in a rescue package. the rest

Added:
What’s Brewing Next for the Tea Party Movement?

Tea Party protests are flash crowds of gathering movement to stop Obama
Thousands of Americans in dozens of cities large and small, coast to coast have assembled recently to protest President Barack Obama’s economic stimulus spending, proposed budget deficits and tax hikes on small business and other entrepreneurs.

But odds are that the vast majority of people who depend solely on the mainstream media’s print and broadcast giants for their news know little or nothing about the protests.

Why? Because the MSMers regularly miss significant political news when it is happening right in front of them, thanks to the ideological blinders that make so many otherwise intelligent people in those newsrooms think the only real news happens in Washington or New York. (And occasionally in Boston or Los Angeles)...

Dancing with the Pornographers

By Mary Rose Rybak
Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Last week, the ABC television show Dancing With the Stars aired its season premiere, bringing professional dancers and celebrities together and seeing what happens when they put on their dancing shoes. Over twenty-two million viewers tuned in to meet the latest match-ups—in past seasons, the celebrities have ranged from political pundits to Super Bowl champions—take to the dance floor.

Every once in a while a celebrity, struggling with the new and rigorous dance choreography, suffers an injury and can’t continue with the show. This season, that is exactly what happened—twice. The singer Jewel and television host Nancy O’Dell both had to step out of the lineup just days before the premiere, sending the network on an urgent search for replacements.

ABC struck gold with one of its last-minute replacements: Melissa Rycroft, a recent star from the reality-television show The Bachelor, whose training in ballet became evident in her debut last night. But the producers’ other replacement makes obvious the desperation to find anyone to fill the spot: They chose Playboy playmate Holly Madison, one of the many former girlfriends of Hugh Hefner who most recently headlined Girls Next Door, a show about living in the Playboy Mansion. the rest

Some Christians Denounce Carbon Fast for Lent

By Audrey Barrick
Christian Post Reporter
Tue, Mar. 17 2009

Churches around the world have chosen to give up carbon this Lent season instead of engaging in the more traditional food or activity fast.

In the 40-day period before Easter, some Christians are reducing the amount of greenhouse gases they produce in an effort to tackle climate change and in living out their call as "stewards" of the earth.

"What we're doing is taking traditional Lenten practices and applying them to being caretakers of God's creation," said the Rev. Roy Howard, pastor of Saint Mark Presbyterian Church in Rockville, Md., according to The Washington Post. the rest

Pope promotes morality not contraception in Africa Aids fight

by Daniel Blake
Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Pope has reaffirmed the Vatican’s ban on the use of contraception in the fight against Aids. Pope Benedict XVI was speaking ahead of his visit to Africa, the continent most blighted by Aids.
He described Aids as “a tragedy that cannot be overcome by money alone, and that cannot be overcome through the distribution of condoms, which even aggravates the problems”.

Instead, the Pope said the disease could be defeated by keeping to the teachings of the Church on marriage and faithfulness. In the past, the Catholic Church has said that HIV and Aids can pass through condoms. the rest

The media's love affair with the idea of Barack Obama.

by Noemie Emery
03/23/2009

Excerpt:
For the past six years, if not more, the implication of everything written in the Times, Time, Newsweek, Vanity Fair, and the New Yorker was that if only they had one of their own in the White House, he could really ace this whole president business, which only seemed hard because Bush was so clueless, so Texan, so lacking in intellect (at least as defined by their editors' standards). But Obama's first weeks have not been promising. The Daily Telegraph (U.K.) writes that Obama is "overwhelmed" by his office, and "surprise[d] at the sheer volume of business that crosses his desk." This has not gone unnoticed. "In ways both large and small, what's left of the American establishment is taking his measure and, with surprising swiftness, they are finding him lacking," as Howard Fineman reports. What if he turns out to be no more able than Bush was to figure out how to calm down the markets, how to close Gitmo without causing more problems, what to do about Russia and Pakistan, and how to keep Iran from getting a nuclear weapon without risk of starting a war? How sophisticated will Klein feel if the Dow hits 5000? Where will Warner and pen pals go with their fantasies? The shower they wanted to take with Obama may be a cold dousing quite soon. the rest

Added:
Obama May Find Anger Over AIG Bonuses Backfires on His Agenda

Couple Sues Quebec Hospital for Not Dehydrating Disabled Infant Daughter to Death

By Thaddeus M. Baklinski
MONTREAL
March 17, 2009

(LifeSIteNews.com) - A Quebec couple have launched a $3.5-million lawsuit against Montreal Children's Hospital for allegedly putting their infant daughter back on artificial food and hydration without their approval.

Marie-Eve Laurendeau gave birth to Phebe Mantha at LaSalle Hospital in November 2007. After a difficult delivery Phebe was transferred to Montreal Children's Hospital in serious condition and put on life support.

According to the lawsuit Laurendeau and Phebe's father, Stephane Mantha, were told by doctors that their daughter had little chance for survival and advised them to take her off respiratory support and hydration, to which they agreed. the rest

Spain's Catholic Church Launches New Campaign to Oppose Abortion Expansion

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
March 17, 2009

Madrid, Spain (LifeNews.com) -- The Catholic Church in Spain has launched a new campaign to stop the expansion of the abortion law. The government of Spain has taken the first step to expand the nation's already-lenient laws to essentially allow abortion on demand.

Abortion is already legal in Spain and the law requires a valid mental health reason for a woman to be allowed to have an abortion. the rest

Archbishop of Canterbury criticizes protectionism

Tuesday, 17th March 2009
By Matt Cresswell

Protectionism in Britain’s financial system is a ‘sinister thing’ and goes against commonly held ethical values, the Archbishop of Canterbury has said. Dr Rowan Williams was speaking at a lecture in Cardiff entitled Ethics, Economics and Global Justice. He also called for patience and trust to be sought in regard to the economy warned against singling out specific individuals as scapegoats to blame.

His words come just a few weeks after strikers across the country protested against foreign workers in Britain. In the protests strikers challenged the Prime Minister on his previous call for ‘British Jobs for British Workers’. But the Archbishop said he was convinced that protectionism was unethical in a global context. He said: “Morally, protectionism implicitly accepts that wealth maintained at the cost of the neighbour’s disadvantage or worse is a tolerable situation – which is a denial of the belief that what is good for humanity is ultimately coherent or convergent.” the rest

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Devotional: May the Strength of God guide us...

May the Strength of God guide us.
May the Power of God preserve us.
May the Wisdom of God instruct us.
May the Hand of God protect us.
May the Way of God direct us.
May the Shield of God defend us.
May the Angels of God guard us
Against the snares of the evil one.

May Christ be with us!
May Christ be before us!
May Christ be in us,
Christ be over all!

May Thy Grace, Lord,
Always be ours,
This day, O Lord,

and forevermore. Amen.
...St. Patrick
image

The Dissing of Laura Bush

MARCH 17, 2009

Excerpt:
If the ABC interview was a one-off thing, it would be easy to overlook. But these days the reporting seems to reflect an assumption that if the Obamas haven't done something, nobody else has, either. Certainly the Washington Post did not challenge the First Lady's social secretary when she said, "one idea Michelle had was to have an event for military families -- here they are sacrificing so much for the country and many of them probably have never been invited to the White House."

This uncritical reportage does Laura Bush an injustice. In hundreds of ways -- picnics on the South Lawn, fund-raising for scholarships for the children of sailors on the USS Texas, unheralded visits with the wounded and families of the fallen, the work she did for military kids under her Helping America's Youth initiative -- Mrs. Bush showed our troops and their loved ones how close they were to her heart.

Possibly the difference in treatment owes something to Mrs. Bush's graciousness. Though she had many of her own initiatives -- from improving opportunities for Afghan women to giving voice to the advocates of democracy persecuted by Burma's ruling junta -- she also picked up some of the work of her predecessor, Hillary Clinton. For example, whenever Mrs. Bush spoke about her Preserve America program for national monuments, she would also give credit to Hillary Clinton's Save America's Treasures initiative.

That graciousness, alas, seems only to feed the orthodoxy that condescends to any American woman deemed insufficiently progressive on the received wisdom. the rest image

Bush refuses to criticize Obama in Canada

Gay rights groups attempt to intimidate Ken Starr

Mar 16, 2009
By Debra Cassens Weiss

A gay rights group dispatched an emissary to Kirkland & Ellis to deliver a petition that warns one its lawyers--Pepperdine law dean Kenneth Starr—that history will condemn his actions.

The Human Rights Campaign is taking issue with Starr’s arguments before the California Supreme Court supporting a voter initiative to ban gay marriage in the state, according to a press release. the rest

Courageous Mother Delays Chemotherapy Treatment for Cancer, Saves Lives of Twins

Tuesday March 17, 2009
By Hilary White
LIVERPOOL

(LifeSiteNews.com) - While some doctors routinely offer abortion in the case of women who are pregnant and facing cancer treatments, one British housewife has demonstrated that it is not always necessary to make such a difficult situation into a death sentence for the unborn child. Rachel Crossland, a British housewife and mother of six who had been diagnosed with cancer, refused chemotherapy and radiation treatment when she was informed she was 13 weeks pregnant with twins.

The Daily Mail reports that Mrs. Crossland was about to undergo surgery for a malignant tumour on her bladder when she found out she was pregnant. Mrs. Crossland said that doctors pressured her to have her children killed via abortion, saying, "The doctors told me lots of horror stories of what would happen to the babies if I had the treatment while pregnant and I was mortified."

"By then I was 13 weeks into my pregnancy and there was no way I could deal with getting rid of my babies and having to then fight cancer. That was the turning point and I decided I would take a chance." the rest

Why Pope Benedict Monitors the Internet

Cyndy Aleo-Carreira
The Industry Standard
Tuesday, March 17, 2009

First there was iBreviary, the Vatican-approved daily prayer book for Roman Catholics for the iPhone. Now, the Vatican is admitting it needs to pay better attention to the Internet in a letter released Thursday, according to the New York Times.

In the letter, Pope Benedict XVI noted that had the Vatican consulted the Internet, it might have been aware of additional information that could have prevented a recent controversy involving a Church bishop having his excommunication overturned. Afterwards, critics pounched on the news that the bishop denied the scope of the Holocaust. the rest

Episcopal Church wins San Diego property case

Tuesday, 17th March 2009
By George Conger

The California Supreme Court has backed the Episcopal Church and a local diocese against a breakaway San Diego congregation in a closely watched church property case. On March 11, the Court dismissed the petition for appeal of St John’s Fallbrook, upholding the appellate court’s ruling in the case of New v. Kroeger that a vestry may not vote to disaffiliate from the Episcopal Church and continue to control over the church property.

“This is a very important decision in favour of the Episcopal Church,” the chancellor of the Diocese of San Diego, Charles Dick, said in a prepared statement as “it vindicates our position that the actions of the dissident congregation were extralegal and in excess of their legal authority.” On Oct 21, the Fourth District Court of Appeal reversed a judgment by a San Diego County trial court, which held that California law permitted a vestry to amend parish bylaws in order to quit the Episcopal Church. Using the “neutral principles” approach, which looks only to the property deeds and legal charters, the trial court permitted St John’s Fallbrook to amend its bylaws to remove its accession to the canons of the Episcopal Church. the rest

EU planned law could outlaw evangelising

Monday, 16th March 2009
By Toby Cohen

Evangelising could be legally regarded as harassment, should new European Union (EU) equality legislation be approved, warns the Church.

The anti-discrimination proposals, to be considered by the 27 EU member states this year, have also been criticised by The Law Society, who feels the law could cut both ways.

In an official submission to the EU, the Society illustrated the potential problems: “In a shop or shared lodging house, there may be a notice board on which is posted material that some of those who see it will find offensive on religious grounds (for instance, a poster for a film, such as The Life Of Brian).” the rest

Anger as EU forbids use of Miss and Mrs

Buyers Remorse, Christian Obama Supporter Deeply Concerned

By Deacon Keith Fournier
3/17/2009
Catholic Online

Excerpt:
CHESAPEAKE, Va.– The last radio program I hosted was entitled “Millennial Moment”. It was a talk format where we dealt with issues at the intersection of faith and culture. Personally, I concluded long ago that neither major political party in the USA was fully committed to the fundamental human rights issue of our age, the Right to Life from conception to natural death. My concern was that many who identified themselves with the so called “religious Right” were being used. We began that radio show every day with words from the Who song, 'Won’t get Fooled Again’: “I'll tip my hat to the new constitution, Take a bow for the new revolution, Smile and grin at the change all around me, Pick up my guitar and play, Just like yesterday… Then I'll get on my knees and pray, We don't get fooled again” Sadly, many Christians did get fooled again in 2008.

I watched as some, disappointed with the Republican Party, took a look at then candidate Barrack Obama in the early days of the Presidential campaign. As I examined his positions on the Right to Life, what I found horrified me. I could not - and did not - support him. Those called the ‘poorest of the poor’ by Mother Teresa were severely threatened by his positions. Personally, I never fully trusted the candidate’s claim to hear the cry of the poor because he blocked his ears to the cry of those children. Throughout the campaign I tried to do what I could, along with so many others, to expose his opposition to the Right to Life. the rest

British evangelicals tussle over Islam and Israel

A Church Divided
by Mark Tooley
03/17/2009

A bit of a ruckus among British evangelicals and Anglicans has arisen over charges of accommodationism toward radical Islam. The latest controversy flared up in January when a British evangelical group, Fulcrum, negatively reviewed a new book by Anglican priest and critic of jihadist Islam Patrick Sookhdeo. In reaction, defenders of Sookhdeo alleged a secret campaign among British evangelicals to discredit critics of radical Islam and supporters of Israel. British evangelical groups that allegedly met secretly for this purpose insist they simply want better relations with Britain's growing Islamic population.

In the Fulcrum review, author Ben White decried Sookhdeo's Global Jihad: The Future in the Face of Militant Islam for its "political decontextualisation, unsustainable generalisations, and a simplification or misrepresentation of Islamic theology," with an "extremely skewed analysis of radical Islamism and the 'war on terror.'" White also noted disapprovingly that the book's U.S. version includes endorsements from neoconservatives such as David Frum and Frank Gaffney. the rest

“A lot to hide”

Students’ undercover videos played role in Orange County Supervisors’ decision to cut funding for Planned Parenthood
News release from Live Action Films
March 17, 2009

LOS ANGELES -- Undercover videos produced by Live Action Films were used to help strip Planned Parenthood of the $292,000 in taxpayer funds it received from Orange County. The videos, part of the ongoing Mona Lisa Project, clearly show Planned Parenthood employees ignoring the sexual abuse of minors, which mandatory reporting laws require clinicians to report.

Mark Bucher, a local resident and board member of the Family Action PAC, saw the videos and decided to find out if Orange County gave taxpayer dollars to Planned Parenthood. Bucher proceeded to uncover an intricate money trail unknown even to the Orange County Board of Supervisors, and found that Planned Parenthood received funds through the Orange County Health Care Agency but was never identified as the recipient. the rest

More Oregon Patients Killed Via Assisted Suicide as Activists Infiltrate Hospice

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
March 16, 2009

Salem, OR (LifeNews.com) -- The number of assisted suicides in Oregon has increased 30 percent in the last two years and euthanasia activists themselves may have provided the reasons why. It appears members of Compassion & Choices have infiltrated the hospice system and are urging patients to kill themselves.

LifeNews.com reported on the increase earlier this month, but a Compassion & Choice press release last week provided an interesting take on the report.

The group said that "nearly 100% of terminally ill individuals using the law in 2008 were enrolled in hospice." the rest

Americans are moving on up to smaller, smarter homes

By Wendy Koch
USA TODAY
posted 3/17/09

When architect Sarah Susanka remodeled her kitchen, she didn't use pricey granite or edgy concrete for her countertops. She used laminate. Her cabinets: Ikea.

"You can save thousands of dollars" by using simple materials in a well-designed space, says Susanka, author of the best-selling 1998 book The Not So Big House.

For more than a decade, she has urged people to build better, not bigger. Now, as the U.S. economy struggles to climb out of a tailspin and environmental concerns rise, her message has gone mainstream. the rest

Monday, March 16, 2009

Devotional: The only way God sows His saints...

The only way God sows His saints is by His whirlwind. Are you going to prove an empty pod? It will depend on whether or not you are actually living in the light of what you have seen. Let God fling you out, and do not go until He does. If you select your own spot, you will prove an empty pod. If God sows you, you will bring forth fruit. ...Oswald Chambers image

The Episcopal Church in 2009: A Primer for Those in the Pews

posted March 16, 2009
by R.A. Livingston

Purpose

-To let Episcopalians know that a small group of single-issue activists has taken over the leadership and management of the church and turned missions, goals and budgets to their exclusive advantage.
-To inform, educate and hopefully arouse Episcopalians to question the profligate spending by the church on lawsuits against fellow Christians and Anglicans.
-To draw attention to violations of the Canons of the church by its leadership.
-To provide practical methods whereby an individual can express displeasure at these actions.

Introduction

Over the past century The Protestant Episcopal Church in the U.S.A. has been transformed. What had been a church overly steeped in the ways of English gentlemen rewrote its Book of Common Prayer in 1928 to be more inclusive and friendly to those who worshiped each Sunday. Women no longer had to sit in a certain area at the back of the nave. The pure English rootstock of the church was being augmented by more recent arrivals to our country - once, of course, they had reached a modicum of wealth and position. The leaders of the church, bishops, priests and laity, were content that tradition still held and innovation was strictly limited....

and

Summary:

-The General Convention in 2006 allocated $300,000 for all legal expenses in the years 2007-2009. Actual expenses will exceed $4,700,000 a 1,560% increase.

-The proposed budget for the next three years is $1,800,000.

$100,000 of each of these budgets is set aside for disciplinary actions against bishops and similar cases. The balance is for lawsuits.

-Other expenses both at TEC headquarters in New York City and elsewhere are being cut at the same time litigation expenses are significantly increasing.

-The “Dennis” Canon purports to place all real and personal property of all Episcopal parishes in trust for the diocese and the national church.

-Lawsuits by TEC invoking the Dennis Canon have been successful only about half the time.

When TEC sues or intervenes in a diocese’s suit, compromise and negotiated settlements are cut off.

-Other carnage: There have been more bishops and clergy deposed, or involuntarily removed from the ranks of the Church, in the two-and-a-half years of Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori’s term than at any other time in its four-hundred-year history.

-In doing so, the Presiding Bishop has repeatedly violated the Canons of the church.

-Are dioceses members of a voluntary association from which they can depart or are they forever a part of the whole?

-The threat of anarchy looms as multiple dioceses vie for the same jurisdiction.

-The scorched earth policy in lawsuits has created tension and mistrust, increased the flow of those leaving and exacerbated the shortfall in contributions at all levels of the church

-The twisted and abused Canons are seen not as rules for Christian conduct, but simply as means to an end.

the rest

Conservative Anglican Rejects Priest's Defense of Episcopal Church

By Lillian Kwon
Christian Post Reporter
Mon, Mar. 16 2009

A conservative Anglican has rejected comments from a priest who believes The Episcopal Church has been "pilloried" and described in "misleading" ways.

"In his opinion piece, Professor Jones noted that one speaker described the American Church as 'preaching a new gospel' and declared that this was 'misleading, if not incorrect.' Not so," stated the Rev. J Philip Ashey, Chief Operating Officer of the conservative American Anglican Council.

Ashey was responding to a recent commentary written by the Rev. Dr. James W. Jones, professor of Religious Studies at Rutgers University in New Jersey and a priest in The Episcopal Church (TEC) – the U.S. arm of the global Anglican Communion. the rest

Japanese 'female' robot walks, shows emotions


posted March 16, 2009

Japanese scientists have unveiled a female humanoid that can walk, move her arms and show facial expressions such as anger and surprise, the BBC reports.

The "cybernetic human," named HRP-4C, was shown to reporters in Tsukuba City, northeast of Tokyo. The robot, which will sell for $200,000, also will make a special appearance in a Tokyo fashion show. the rest

Another video-BBC

The current proposals to lower the abortion rate will only make things worse

A Christianity Today Editorial
3/16/2009

On January 22, the 36th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, President Obama issued a statement: "While [abortion] is a sensitive and often divisive issue, no matter what our views, we are united in our determination to prevent unintended pregnancies, reduce the need for abortion, and support women and families in the choices they make."

The next evening, after the news people had put away their cameras and notebooks for the day, the President quietly rescinded the Mexico City Policy. This was an executive order first implemented by Ronald Reagan that barred federal funds from groups that perform or promote abortions overseas.

Unlike many Democratic lawmakers or abortion supporters, the President has for some time shown signs that he isn't explicitly going to demonize pro-lifers or the "Religious Right." That is good news.

The bad news is that Obama declares a false unity. He claims that all Americans share in his goal "to prevent unintended pregnancies, reduce the need for abortion, and support women and families in the choices they make." the rest

OBAMA IS NOT OPPOSED TO ALL HUMAN CLONING

March 13, 2009

On the morning of March 9, President Obama signed an executive order on stem cell research that also included a statement on human cloning. Many media outlets quickly released a story with headlines like that of the Associated Press, “Obama Calls Cloning ‘Dangerous, Profoundly Wrong.’” On the same day, at 1:40 p.m, Obama’s press secretary, Robert Gibbs, was asked about the cloning issue and he said, “I think the executive order—I don’t have it in front of me—simply bans human cloning.”

Commenting on this is Catholic League president Bill Donohue:

“Media reports which said that President Obama banned human cloning were wrong. So was White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs.

“What Obama did was ban cloning for human reproduction. Which means he left the door wide open for the federal financing of human cloning that does not result in having the embryo implanted in a mother’s womb. In other words, he did not rule out cloning human beings for research purposes. So it may be possible to clone human embryos and then cut them up, if desired.

“I was misled on March 9. While I criticized the president for permitting the federal funding of embryonic stem cell research, I commended him for his ban on human cloning. As it turns out, my congratulatory remarks were without merit. I therefore rescind my commendation.” link

Finding tolerance in the Christian faith

By Allie Wills
March 15th, 2009

I have always been Christian and religious. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t believe in God. I grew up in a conservative Presbyterian church that had a “love the sinner, hate the sin” attitude toward homosexuality, so when I came out to myself as queer at 16, I was devastated. At first, I considered celibacy, which was my church’s only answer to homosexuality. I would have done it if I had been sure it was what God wanted, but something nagged at my brain. How could it be a sin? Who was I hurting? Why would God have made me queer if I was supposed to spend my whole life fighting it? I considered fighting it for a while and then started looking for other options.

I found out that a lot of denominations, my own included, have groups of churches that accept lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people without asking us to change. I visited all different kinds of churches: Methodist, Lutheran, United Church of Christ and Presbyterian. I began to believe that homosexuality was not a sin — that God loves and accepts people regardless of their sexuality. Jesus, after all, said nothing about homosexuality and spent his time with all sorts of people on the fringes of society. the rest

MCJ-comments

How sexual politics in the Episcopal Church affects churches in Africa

Faith J.H. McDonnell
March 16, 2009

A Sudanese priest recently had an eye-opening introduction to the U.S. Episcopal Church. John, a clergyman from the Episcopal Church of Sudan, sent an inquiry to the "justice missioner" on the website of the Diocese of Newark. The justice missioner responded to John's email and informed him that her focus was advocacy for people with disabilities, people of color, and the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex community. the rest

Springfield Bishop Calls for Coadjutor

March 16, 2009

Following approval from the diocesan standing committee, the Rt. Rev. Peter H. Beckwith, Bishop of Springfield since 1992, has called for the election of his successor.

Bishop Beckwith, who will be 70 in September, is required by church law to step down as diocesan bishop after turning 72. Current plans in Springfield call for the election of a bishop coadjutor, which is an assistant bishop with right of succession upon the retirement or death of the incumbent.

According to the canons and constitution of the General Convention of The Episcopal Church, dioceses cannot begin the process to elect a bishop without first receiving consent from a majority of standing committees and bishops with jurisdiction.

Traditionally, dioceses solicit consent from standing committees directly while the Office of the Presiding Bishop takes order for communicating with bishops. It is expected that the House of Bishops will decide whether or not to grant consent for Springfield to hold an election during its spring retreat, which meets through March 18 at the Kanuga Camp and Conference Center near Hendersonville, N.C. The Living Church

Evangelicalism in America: Waxing or Waning?

By Chuck Colson
3/16/2009

Back in 2007, the New York Times famously proclaimed that the evangelical movement in America was cracking up. Since then, the media has relished exposing what they see as fault lines in evangelicalism over such issues as abortion, marriage, and the environment.

The pundits seized upon President Obama’s decisive electoral victory last fall to opine that evangelicals were no longer the political force they once were.

And just last week, a well-known evangelical blogger predicted the “collapse” of evangelicalism in America within the next decade, even though he also predicted that out of the ruins of evangelicalism, “new forms of Christian vitality and ministry will be born.”

But the American Religious Identification Survey of 2008 gives me reason to think that the predictions of evangelicalism’s demise are greatly exaggerated. In fact, quite the opposite may be true. the rest

Albert Mohler: The Fetus as Organ Factory -- The Next Moral Frontier?

Monday, March 16, 2009

"Buckle up. We're on our way." So wrote William Saletan, one of the most influential reporters covering today's medical and moral controversies. Saletan writes for Slate.com, and his words made reference to the fact that our world just got a little more complicated . . . and a lot more dangerous.

From London, the Daily Mail reported late last week that Oxford Professor Sir Richard Gardner now proposes that organ tissues from aborted fetuses might represent "at least a temporary solution" to the shortage of available organs for transplant. the rest image

Obama Not Bridging the Gap on Culture Wars

Centrist evangelicals like me embraced Barack Obama’s campaign pledge to help bridge the gaps of the culture wars. Instead, the president’s short record on abortion-related issues is familiar— and disappointing — rather than revolutionary.
By David P. Gushee
March 16, 2009

It's no secret that a group of self-identified centrist or moderate evangelicals built a friendly relationship with Barack Obama and rejected the Christian right's vilification of him. I am in this group, which has also included megachurch pastor Joel Hunter, evangelical lobbyist Rich Cizik, academic-activist Ron Sider and others.

(Change of course: President Obama has lifted a ban on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research, and he has appointed Kathleen Sebelius as chief of Health and Human Services. For many people who believe life begins with conception, this is a bad start to his administration./ Larry Downing, Reuters)

This positive relationship has flowed from three factors. the rest

Fed-up Americans mobilize: More than 150 tea parties


Patriots put blazing heat on Washington, rebuke reckless spending
March 15, 20099:50 pm Eastern
By Chelsea Schilling
© 2009 WorldNetDaily

A revolution is brewing as American patriots and free-market advocates unite in protest against out-of-control government spending – with a wildfire movement of more than 150 nationwide tea parties.

John M. O'Hara of The Heartland Institute is a member of New American Tea Party, a coalition of citizens and organizations concerned about reckless government spending, is helping coordinate a number of national tea party events. the rest-list of Tax Day Tea Parties