Saturday, July 18, 2009

Devotional: O Lord, our God...

O Lord our God,
Who has called us to serve You,
In the midst of the world’s affairs,
When we stumble, hold us;
When we fall, lift us up;
When we are hard pressed with evil, deliver us;
When we turn from what is good, turn us back;
And bring us at last to Your glory. -St. Alcuin

Book review: The Ascent of George Washington: The Hidden Political Genius of an American Icon

Review by Raymond Dague
posted July 18, 2009

The Ascent of George Washington: The Hidden Political Genius of an American Icon by John Ferling
(June 2009, Bloomsbury Press)

This is not a biography about George Washington. That is good, since Washington has been the subject of so many that a reader might sigh, ‘Why do we need another biography of Washington.’ It is instead an analysis of the Washington’s growth as a politician, and how he carefully crafted his public persona so as to create an almost mythical image of himself, and hence capture the title, Father of Our Country.

“Phenomenal luck is required to become a national hero,” writes Ferling, and Washington had that luck. That a Virginia slave-owning aristocrat would rise to the preeminent position in American political life is a wondrous story.

Washington had a lot of things working against him. Unlike many of the Founding Fathers he did not have a formal education. He was not a great writer, nor was he a brilliant orator. In the continental congress he rarely spoke, and unlike Adams and Jefferson, he was not a intellectual driving force behind this new American revolution. His military successes in leading the Continental Army were far outnumbered by his failures on the battlefield. He was often indecisive in battle, and had a tendency to blame others for his failures, and to steal the credit for success when others deserved it. So how did he manage to be regarded, both by his contemporaries and us today as the leading citizen of this new nation? That is the story which Ferling tells.

Washington was a brilliant observer. He learned from his many failures. He was tall and dashing in his military uniform, and he inspired the men he led. He was a survivor. His Continental Army should have dissolved into desertion many times, but he always held them together to fight another day.

Washington was highly ambitious for power and position, but was extremely adept at convincing those around him that he acquiesced to any position he was offered only for the good of the cause. He was a highly skilled politician who was able to convince those around him and the generations which followed that he was a dispassionate statesman who had no interest in his own public esteem, but was only out for the good of America. And he was just plain lucky. Or as some would have said in that day, perhaps Providence decreed that this man needed to succeed so that this new nation could be founded.

Ferling has a way of writing about Washington which pulls back from making conclusions about his character, but rather gives the reader the raw material with which to make those conclusions. If one desires to think of Washington as the honest man who would never tell a lie (like the apocryphal story about telling his father about chopping down the cherry tree) this is not a good book to read. Ferling probes the letters of Washington for the many ways in which he spins a story to favor himself, and leaves his readers with the inescapable conclusion that here was a highly ambitious man who was not adverse to twisting the facts to make himself look better. He was a politician from the beginning to end. But he played the game so well, that he was seen by others not to be a politician, but rather one who rose above the petty weaknesses of others.

This book is highly readable and never bogs down in detail, but rather the author weaves his many facts about Washington’s life to tell an engaging story. That story shows that Washington’s greatness was indeed mythical, but not quite in the way all have imagined for over two hundred years. Washington self-consciously painted his own portrait with the same skill with which Gilbert Stuart painted him. He was a master of making the image that we see today. He emerges from Ferling’s book as flawed, human, and ambitious, but also as a figure who exhibited weakness, yet triumphed over it,...all to our benefit as Americans. Ferling peels away the myth, yet we still see Washington as deserving of a place in our hearts as the Father of Our Country.

Why Anglican church (and Jews and Catholics) support homosexuals

By Douglas Todd
07-17-2009

Anglicans are far more gay-positive than the general North American population, suggests a poll.
As Vancouver-area Anglicans await the judge’s ruling on a court dispute over who controls four valuable church properties, a surprising poll shows that North American Anglicans are more gay-supportive than the population as a whole.

No wonder North American Anglicans have been among those leading the cause for homosexual rights. The polling results help explain the headline-making vote this week by Episcopalians to formally allow the ordination of homosexuals, an issue which has been disturbing some of the world’s 70 million Anglicans since openly gay cleric Gene Robinson (below) was elected an Episcopal bishop.

The Pew Forum for Religion and Public Life found 70 per cent of U.S. Anglicans, known as Episcopalians, believe society should accept homosexuality as a way of life.
That compares to only 50 per cent support among the general U.S. population.

The level of Episcopalian (Anglican) support for homosexuality as a way of life is almost three times higher higher than the support offered by U.S. white evangelicals, only 26 per cent of whom are ready to accept it.

There is a huge gap between what appears to be the majority of liberal and moderate Anglicans who accept homosexuality, and those Anglicans who have adopted a largely evangelical approach to interpreting the Bible, which they see as gravely condemning homosexual behavior.
The Pew Forum often does the kind of innovative religion polling I’d like to see performed in Canada. Still, I suspect the American results are highly indicative of the way things are among different religions in Canada.

For instance, even though Canada has far fewer white evangelicals than in the U.S. (eight per cent compared to at least 25 per cent), surveys done by scholar Sam Reimer for his book, Evangelicals and the Continental Divide: The Conservative Protestant Subculture in Canada and the United States, show evangelicals’ beliefs and values are often the same on each side of the international border.

Curiously enough, the Pew poll shows that although American evangelicals and Muslims differ strongly on many theological and political issues, they firmly agree their opposition to homosexual relationships.

Gays and Religion poll:
These are the results when the Pew Forum asked people whether society should accept or discourage homosexuality as a way of life:
ACCEPT (with highest rate of acceptance at top)
Jews ………………………..... 79 per cent
Secular ……………………..... 75 per cent
Episcopalians (Anglicans)... 70 per cent
Catholics ……………………... 58 per cent
Mainline Protestants ………... 55 per cent
U.S. population (general) .... 50 per cent
Muslims …………………….... 27 per cent
White evangelicals ………… 26 per cent

story

Pared-Down Episcopal Church Is Looking to Grow Through ‘Inclusivity’

By LAURIE GOODSTEIN
July 18, 2009

ANAHEIM, Calif. — The Episcopal Church is betting its future on the hope that there are more young people out there like Will Hay.

Mr. Hay, 17, was one of the youngest voting delegates at the church’s 10-day triennial convention, which ended Friday. He has stuck with his church, even when the priest and most of the parishioners in his conservative San Diego parish quit the Episcopal Church two years ago in protest of its liberal moves, particularly the approval in 2003 of an openly gay bishop, V. Gene Robinson. Mr. Hay has helped rebuild his parish, which was left with 48 people and has since drawn nearly 100 new members.

Mr. Hay is no left-wing ideologue, and in fact fears that some of the convention’s landmark decisions last week may alienate even more conservatives. The church’s convention voted not to stand in the way if another gay bishop were elected and to allow for the blessing of same-sex couples.

But Mr. Hay was not troubled by those things. And he believes that the church can grow by emphasizing “inclusivity,” the favorite buzzword of Episcopalians.

“I’m sure we will attract people who are saying maybe we are doing it right,” Mr. Hay said as he came off the convention floor for lunch one day with his mother. “For me it seems right because I was raised in a household where we were always taught to accept everyone, regardless of creed, color, gender or sexual identity.”

Whether Episcopalians really can regenerate a church based on youth and “inclusivity” remains to be seen. the rest

To the Anglican Communion: Pray, Fast and Resist

July 18th, 2009
by Philip Ashey,
COO, American Anglican Council

Elijah went before the people and said, ‘How long will you waver between two opinions? If the LORD is God follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.’ I Kings 18:21 NIV

On behalf of orthodox Anglicans in The Episcopal Church (TEC) and in The Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), and in light of the decisions of the 76th General Convention of TEC that have repudiated Lambeth Resolution 1.10’s Communion standards on human sexuality and holy orders, repudiated the Communion moratoria on consecration of same sex partnered bishops and same sex blessings, tearing the Covenant process to shreds, and declaring their intention to spread the false gospel underlying these decisions throughout the rest of the Anglican Communion, we appeal to our brothers and sisters throughout the Anglican Communion to resist this false gospel through a time of prayer and fasting for the following: the rest

Obama losing some support among nervous Dems

By BETH FOUHY (AP)
posted July18, 2009

NEW YORK — Could it be that President Barack Obama's Midas touch is starting to dull a bit, even among members of his own party?

Conservative House Democrats are balking at the cost and direction of Obama's top priority, an overhaul of the nation's health care system. A key Senate Democrat, Max Baucus of Montana, complains that Obama's opposition to paying for it with a tax on health benefits "is not helping us."

Another Democrat, Rep. Dan Boren of Oklahoma, tells his local newspaper that Obama is too liberal and is "very unpopular" in his district.

From his first days in office, Obama's popularity helped him pass the landmark $787 billion stimulus package and fueled his ambitious plans to overhaul the nation's health care system and tackle global warming.

Obama continues to be comparatively popular. But now recent national surveys have shown a measurable drop in his job approval rating, even among Democrats. A CBS news survey out this week had his national approval rating at 57 percent, and his standing among Democrats down 10 percentage points since last month, from 92 percent to 82 percent. the rest

Committing to the Anglican Communion: Some Will, Others Won’t

The Anglican Communion Institute, Inc.
Friday, July 17th, 2009

In a joint letter sent today to the Archbishop of Canterbury by the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church and the President of its House of Deputies, the presiding officers of General Convention acknowledged that that body cannot speak for the whole church in crucial matters affecting the life of the Anglican Communion:

Some are concerned that the adoption of Resolution D025 has effectively repealed Resolution B033. That is not the case. This General Convention has not repealed Resolution B033. It remains to be seen how Resolution B033 will be understood and interpreted in light of Resolution D025. Some within our Church may understand Resolution D025 to give Standing Committees (made up of elected clergy and laity) and Bishops with jurisdiction more latitude in consenting to Episcopal elections. Others, in light of Resolution B033, will not. (Emphasis added.)

This letter thus makes it clear that Resolution D025 releases bishops and standing committees from any commitment and assurances previously given to observe the moratorium on episcopal elections that has been endorsed by all four of the Communion’s Instruments and now implemented in the Communion by vote of the Anglican Consultative Council. the rest

Titusonenine links

I can get to the original TitusOneNine blog here

The T19 backup blog is here

Bishop "Skip" Adams Justifies His Homosexual Vote

Episcopal balloting on gays and ministry "not really a big move," he said.
Saturday, July 18, 2009
By Renée K. Gadoua
Staff writer

The local Episcopal bishop said a denominational vote affirming that gay men...and lesbians are eligible for "any ordained ministry" doesn't change church policy, but makes transparent its support for homosexual members.

"It's not really a big move," Bishop Gladstone "Skip" Adams said Wednesday from the Anaheim, Calif., conference.

"It does not change anything," he said. "Our ordination process is already open to any baptized person. Sexual orientation has not been named as an automatic inhibition to the ordination process."

Adams and the Central New York lay and clergy deputations voted "yes" to the potentially divisive resolution, which also reaffirms the church's membership in the worldwide Anglican Communion, of which the Episcopal Church is the U.S. province.

The House of Bishops voted 99-45 to adopt the resolution, known as D025. Lay people voted 78-21; clergy voted 77-19, to approve the statement.

According to the resolution passed Tuesday, dioceses may consider gay candidates as bishops but does not mandate that they do so.

At its triennial meeting in 2006, the church approved a resolution widely interpreted as a moratorium on consecrating gay bishops in the wake of fallout from the 2003 consecration of the church's first openly gay bishop, V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire.

Adams said the "restraint" called for in consecrating gay bishops in the 2006 statement can coexist with this week's passage of the statement on gay clergy.

"They exist together," Adams said. "We're willing to live in the midst of ambiguity, which is where most of life is lived."

He said he voted for the resolution because his understanding of Scripture means "being accepting of all, and I mean all."

Since 2003, three parishes in the local diocese have withdrawn from the denomination over issues of scriptural interpretation and sexuality. He said there are individual clergy and lay people who disagree with him on the issue, but he knows of no other local congregations planning to secede from the Episcopal Church.

He concedes that some people may have preferred the conference not make such a direct statement on gay men and lesbians.

"That's what people wanted us to do in the civil rights movement," he said. "One must not be quiet." link

Friday, July 17, 2009

Devotional: A compass is narrow-minded...

A compass is narrow-minded—it always points to the magnetic north. It seems that is a very narrow view, but a compass is not broad-minded. If it were, all the ships at sea and all the planes in the air would be in danger. We must discipline ourselves, personally, to fight any deviation from the course Jesus set for us. We cannot be tolerant of any other course. To deviate is to sin. ...Billy Graham image

Albert Mohler: The Bishop [Schori] Discovers Heresy?

Friday, July 17, 2009

Excerpt:
Don't miss this -- the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church openly lamented a focus on evangelization that would seek conversions for such a focus would divert the attention of her church from ecological, economic, and other political imperatives. This was the main thrust of her address, with this central theme indicative of her larger episcopal agenda.

The bishop is simply not concerned with seeing persons come to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. She has made this clear over and over again and her convictions were well-known when she was elected as the denomination's Presiding Bishop. Shortly after her election, she spoke to TIME magazine concerning Jesus Christ: "We who practice the Christian tradition understand him as our vehicle to the divine. But for us to assume that God could not act in other ways is, I think, to put God in an awfully small box." She explicitly denies that conscious faith in Jesus Christ is necessary for salvation, and has done so on multiple occasions.

The irony of all this was not lost on many Episcopalians and other observers. The Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church finally summoned the determination to apply the word heresy --- and then applied this most serious term of odious rejection to the Gospel itself.

Of course, this reality is far more tragic than ironic. It does not take long for a church that is severed from Scripture to move from recognizing genuine heresy and denouncing it, to denying the very possibility of heresy at all, and then to reclaiming the word only to use it as an instrument of attacking the very heart of the Christian faith.

Eighteen centuries ago, Irenaeus (a bishop who sought to defend the faith against false teachings) warned his church and explained that heresy is often "craftily decked out in an attractive dress, so as, by its outward form, to make it appear to the inexperienced (ridiculous as the expression may seem) more true than the truth itself." Well, heresy has taken off its disguise in the case of Presiding Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori. Here we see heresy -- true heresy -- in its most undisguised form. full essay-don't miss this!

Legendary Newsman Walter Cronkite Dies at 92


By Bart Barnes and Joe Holley
Washington Post Staff Writers
Friday, July 17, 2009

Walter Cronkite, America's preeminent television journalist of the 1960s and 1970s who as anchor and managing editor of "CBS Evening News" played a primary role in establishing television as the dominant national news medium of that era, died tonight at the age of 92, CBS reported. He died at his home in New York, the network said; Cronkite had been suffering for some years with cerebrovascular disease, his family said recently.

Cronkite's career reflected the arc of journalism in the mid-20th century. He was a wire service reporter covering major campaigns of World War II before working in radio and then joining a pioneering TV news venture at the CBS affiliate in Washington. Later in New York, he anchored the network's nightly news program from 1962 to 1981, a period in which television established itself as the principal source of information on current events for most Americans. the rest

Letter to Archbishop of Canterbury Defends D025 Adoption

July 17, 2009

In a letter dated July 16 and hand-delivered to Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, the Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop, and Bonnie Anderson, president of the House of Deputies, sought to explain the significance of the passage of Resolution D025 by the General Convention.

The resolution states in part “that the 76th General Convention affirm[s] that God has called and may call [gay, lesbian, transgendered and bisexual] individuals, to any ordained ministry in The Episcopal Church, and that God’s call to the ordained ministry in The Episcopal Church is a mystery which the Church attempts to discern for all people through our discernment processes acting in accordance with the Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church.” Resolution B033 approved on the final day of convention three years ago urged restraint in consenting to partnered homosexual persons to the episcopate. the rest

GetReligion on Bp. Gene Robinson and his "growing diocese"

Friday, July 17, 2009

Any longtime reader of GetReligion knows that the gang here likes Q&A interviews, especially when they allow newsmakers to dig deeper into complex topics and tell their own stories in their own words. I think this journalistic tool is especially valuable on the religion beat — which is so rich in history, symbolism and doctrine.

At the same time, as we saw the other day with that interview with U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, this format can produce awkward moments. What happens when the newsmaker says something that is a real eyebrow raiser? Is the journalist obligated to recognize this and probe deeper, which might anger the person being interviewed?

What should a journalist do with a newsmaker makes a strong fact claim that just doesn’t sound right? Should the journalist (a) jump back and ask for some kind of source for the fact? Or should the reporter (b) research the answer later and actually publish a correction, offering links to evidence that may or may not undercut the viewpoint of the newsmaker?

Take, for example, the New York Times interview that veteran Godbeat reporter Laurie Goodstein’s just conducted with the openly gay bishop whose 2003 consecration — in the dominant mass-media timeline — is turning the global Anglican Communion upside down. the rest

Episcopal Vote Lets Bishops Bless Same-Sex Unions

By William Wan
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, July 18, 2009

Episcopal Church officials voted yesterday to allow bishops the latitude to bless same-sex unions -- the second vote this week in favor of gay rights and one that may further divide the worldwide Anglican community.

On the last day of the church's triennial national convention in Anaheim, Calif., officials stopped short of creating liturgical rites to bless same-sex unions, but approved a compromise measure that allows bishops, especially in states where same-sex unions are legal, to bless the relationships. The key portion of the legislation says bishops "may provide generous pastoral response" for such unions.

The vote came three days after the church passed a resolution allowing for the ordination of gay bishops. Both moves have prompted strong reactions among the larger worldwide Anglican Church, of which the Episcopal Church is a part. the rest

Stand Firm: C056 PASSES by more than 2/3 votes

Episcopal Church moves toward blessing gay unions

Vatican newspaper praises French Protestant John Calvin

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Vatican newspaper Friday praised influential French Protestant John Calvin, a critic of the Roman Catholic Church, hailing him an "extraordinary" figure.

The Osservatore Romano, on the 500th anniversary of Calvin's birth, said it recognised the theologian as a Christian who had a major impact on European life.

"Considering the strength of arguments against him, we think it necessary to point out that Calvin is a Christian," the daily paper said of the man who played a major role in the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century. the rest image

First Things: The Motivated Belief of John Polkinghorne

Jul 17, 2009
Edward B. Davis

Excerpt:
His view of the Resurrection, however, should raise no eyebrows among orthodox Christians. Many contemporary theologians doubt that Jesus was raised bodily from the grave—a startling state of affairs for the typical believer to grasp and impossible to reconcile with the Church’s celebration of Easter. In large part this reflects an exaggerated confidence in science and too easy an acceptance of the Enlightenment skepticism of David Hume. Polkinghorne, whose understanding of science is second to none, is unencumbered by either burden. He understands that the Resurrection is “the pivot on which the claim of a unique and transcendent significance for Jesus must turn,” and he does not turn away from embracing the risen Lord. It would be “a serious apologetic mistake,” he writes with typical British understatement, “if Christian theology thought that operating in the context of science should somehow discourage it from laying proper emphasis on the essential centrality of Christ’s Resurrection, however counterintuitive that belief may seem in the light of mundane expectation.” In an open-minded quest for motivated belief, Polkinghorne examines the evidence for the empty tomb, concluding that something truly miraculous actually happened—a foretaste of what will also happen to us, in the new creation that God will someday fashion from the dying embers of the old creation that has been our abode in this life.

In short, for Polkinghorne the universe is a created order, a beautiful and rational place that is also open to human and divine action—past, present, and future. The bold yet modest way in which he bears witness to orthodox faith has given him a certain notoriety and attracted many serious inquirers and interlocutors. the rest image by hoyasmeg

CofE bishops: 'Noble' metal of chalice no protection against swine flu

July 16, 2009

A little-noticed intervention by the Church of England on swine flu is slowly filtering down to the parishes. This means that churchgoing colleagues at The Times, slightly panicked by dire-sounding pronouncements from the pulpits about the dangers of intinction, have been asking me what's going on. The Church though has been prophetic once again. Already 29 have died in Britain, up to 63,000 deaths are predicted , Cherie Blair has got it and as I sit here in Wapping, my son is watching YouTube at the computer terminal beside me, his teacher having been sent home with swine flu. So what is the Church saying? the rest

Christianity Face to Face with Islam

ROBERT LOUIS WILKEN

No event during the first millennium was more unexpected, more calamitous, and more consequential for Christianity than the rise of Islam.

Few irruptions in history have transformed societies so completely and irrevocably as did the conquest and expansion of the Arabs in the seventh century. And none came with greater swiftness. Within a decade three major cities in the Byzantine Christian Empire -- Damascus in 635, Jerusalem in 638, and Alexandria in 641 -- fell to the invaders.

When reports began to circulate that something unusual was happening in the Arabian Peninsula, the Byzantines were preoccupied with the Sassanians in Persia who had sacked Jerusalem in 614 and made off with the relic of the True Cross. And in the West they were menaced by the Avars, a Mongolian people who had moved into the Balkans and were threatening Constantinople. Rumors about the emergence of a powerful leader among the Arabs in the distant Hijaz seemed no cause for alarm. the rest

Gay marriage approval sounds death knell for Anglican unity

The Times
July 17, 2009
Ruth Gledhill, Religion Correspondent

Bishops in the US dealt a death blow to hopes for unity in the worldwide Anglican Church when they approved in principle services for same-sex partnerships. The decision will finally split the Communion between Bible-based conservative evangelicals and liberal modernisers.

The bishops at the Episcopal General Convention voted by 104 to 30 to “collect and develop theological resources and liturgies” for blessing same-sex relationships, to be considered at the next convention in 2012.

The resolution notes the growing number of states that allow gay marriage, civil unions and domestic partnerships, and gives bishops in those regions discretion to provide a “generous pastoral response” to couples in local parishes. It was passed on Wednesday, hours after the Episcopal Church voted on Tuesday to allow the consecration of gay bishops. The motion passed by 99 to 45 among the bishops and by 72 per cent to 28 per cent among church deputies, made up of clergy and laity. the rest

Peter Singer in the NYT: Why We Must Ration Health Care

(In case you don't know who he is: Peter Singer: Architect of the Culture of Death)

July 15, 2009

You have advanced kidney cancer. It will kill you, probably in the next year or two. A drug called Sutent slows the spread of the cancer and may give you an extra six months, but at a cost of $54,000. Is a few more months worth that much?

If you can afford it, you probably would pay that much, or more, to live longer, even if your quality of life wasn’t going to be good. But suppose it’s not you with the cancer but a stranger covered by your health-insurance fund. If the insurer provides this man — and everyone else like him — with Sutent, your premiums will increase. Do you still think the drug is a good value? Suppose the treatment cost a million dollars. Would it be worth it then? Ten million? Is there any limit to how much you would want your insurer to pay for a drug that adds six months to someone’s life? If there is any point at which you say, “No, an extra six months isn’t worth that much,” then you think that health care should be rationed. the rest

Dissenting Bishops Issue ‘Anaheim Statement’:

July 17, 2009
by George Conger

Twenty-nine bishops have endorsed a letter affirming their desire to remain part of the Anglican Communion and Episcopal Church while being faithful to the calls for restraint made by the wider church.

Styled as the “Anaheim Statement,” the letter of dissent to the actions of the 76th General Convention pledged the bishops’ fealty to the requests made by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the 2008 Lambeth Conference, the primates’ meetings and ACC-14 to observe a moratoria on same-gender blessings, cross-border interventions and the ordination of gay and lesbian people to the episcopate.

In the hours after its release, the statement drew support from 23 diocesan bishops, four suffragan and assistant bishops, and two retired bishops and included bishops who voted on both sides of D025 and C056 — resolutions that rescinded the ban on two of the three Windsor Report moratoria. the rest

GenCon 09: $141 Million Budget Approved

July 16, 2009

Despite a few close votes, the House of Deputies on Thursday approved Resolution B067, the $141 million budget for 2010-2012, without amendment. Debate over the budget was overshadowed during the afternoon by a passionate discussion of a resolution in support of the Honduran people.

Resolution B031 requests in part "that the Organization of American States reconsider the decision to suspend Honduras from participation in its workings," and asks "that the Government of the United States not take actions that will penalize the people of Honduras." The resolution, which was proposed by the Rt. Rev. Lloyd E. Allen, Bishop of Honduras, also calls "upon the international lending organizations to continue investments, aid and loans to Honduras, in order to adequately care for the Honduran people." the rest

Thursday, July 16, 2009

So Three Cows Walk into Court...

Animal-rights extremism in the Obama entourage is no joke
by Wesley J. Smith
07/20/2009

Imagine you are a cattle rancher looking for liability insurance. You meet with your broker, who, as expected, asks a series of questions to gauge your suitability for coverage:

Have you ever been sued by your cattle?

If the answer is yes, what was the outcome of that suit?

Have you received any correspondence or other communication from your herd's legal representatives threatening suit or seeking to redress any legal grievance?

If you think that's a ridiculous scenario, that animals suing their owners could never happen, think again. For years, the animal rights movement has quietly agitated to enact laws, convince the government to promulgate regulations, or obtain a court ruling granting animals the "legal standing" to drag their owners (and others) into court.
the rest image by sunfox

Episcopalian gay bishops decision confounds activists

Thursday, July 16, 2009
By Ann Rodgers, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Strong differences have emerged over how to interpret a resolution of the Episcopal Church General Convention regarding partnered gay people being bishops.

Some activists on both sides of the gay ordination issue consider it a repeal of a 2006 moratorium on the consecration of partnered gay bishops, while key leaders of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh say it merely describes the fact that the Episcopal Church already has openly gay priests and one partnered gay bishop.

The moratorium "is still there. We did not repeal it," said Bishop Robert Johnson, assisting bishop of the Diocese of Pittsburgh, which has been rebuilding since October, when the original diocese split after voting to secede from the Episcopal Church. the rest

Episcopal bishops back blessings of same-sex unions

The measure won overwhelming support, despite complaints from conservatives within the church and the wider Anglican Communion.
By Duke Helfand
July 16, 2009

Progressives in the Episcopal Church were on the verge of claiming another victory Wednesday as leaders endorsed the creation of blessing liturgies for same-sex unions one day after they ended a de facto ban on the ordination of gay bishops.

The action by bishops at the church's General Convention in Anaheim left conservatives with little to celebrate. They said the twin measures would further divide the 2.1-million member denomination and strain an already fragile relationship with the global Anglican Communion. the rest

NYT: Episcopal Bishops Give Ground on Gay Marriage

AnglicanTV Report 1 from GenCon 2009


Kevin Kallsen and George Conger from AnglicanTV discuss the activities of General Convention. Specifically they talk about Presiding Bishop Schori's accusation that personal Jesus is heresy, the work around D025 and the new Anglican Province the Anglican Church in North America.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Statement of Kendall Harmon on Resolution D025

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The passage of Resolution D025 by the General Convention of 2009 is a repudiation of Holy Scripture as the church has received and understood it ecumenically in the East and West. It is also a clear rejection of the mutual responsibility and interdependence to which we are called as Anglicans. That it is also a snub to the Archbishop of Canterbury this week while General Synod is occurring in York only adds insult to injury.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, the BBC, the New York Times and Integrity all see what is being done here. There are now some participants in the 76th General Convention who are trying to pretend that a yes to D025 is NOT a no to B033. Jesus’ statement about letting your yes be yes and your no be no is apt here. These types of attempted obfuscations are utterly unconvincing. The Bishop of Arizona rightly noted in his blog that D025 was "a defacto repudiation of" B033. the rest

St. James Newport Beach Prevails on two Motions

ST. JAMES CHURCH PREVAILS ON TWO MOTIONS BROUGHT BY THE EPISCOPAL DIOCESE OF LOS ANGELES AND THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH SEEKING TO END THE CASE IN THEIR FAVOR
July 15th, 2009

On July 13 St. James Church won a significant legal battle in its property rights case in Orange County Superior Court when Judge Thierry P. Colaw denied two motions brought by the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles and The Episcopal Church which sought to end the case in their favor.

The Diocese brought a demurrer — a formal objection to an opponent’s pleadings — to the St. James cross-complaint, arguing that the California Supreme Court’s February 2009 decision definitively awarded St. James’s property to the Diocese. The Diocese also argued that a Diocesan-issued 1991 letter waiving the Diocese’s trust interest over the property on 32nd Street had already been addressed in favor of the Diocese by the California Supreme Court. Attorneys for The Episcopal Church brought a similar motion, arguing that they prevailed on their complaint on similar grounds.

The Episcopal parties made these arguments even though the case went up on appeal before the St. James defendants ever answered the Episcopal complaints or brought affirmative defenses.

Judge Colaw sided with arguments made by St. James’s attorneys on all counts, and rejected the Episcopal parties’ attempt to deny the St. James defendants of due process and to avoid the promises made by the Diocese to St. James in the 1991 letter. Both motions were argued before the Court on July 2.

St. James Church filed a petition for writ of certiorari on June 24, 2009, with the Supreme Court of the United States. St. James is asking the Court to overturn the California Supreme Court’s decision, which purports to confer a special power on certain religious denominations to take property they do not own simply by passing an internal “rule.” The petition asks the Supreme Court to decide whether, under the U.S. Constitution, certain religious denominations can disregard the normal rules of property ownership that apply to everyone else. the rest

A.S. Haley: Court Blocks End Run Around St. James

Anglican schism means Archbishop Rowan must act

By Jonathan Wynne-Jones
July 15th, 2009

So the Anglican Communion has finally split. Having written countless times that the Church was “teetering on the brink of schism last night”, I can now say that the American Church has gone over the edge. No more hanging around, it’s jumped.

a>In deciding to ignore the pleas for this policy to be upheld, the Americans have clearly shaken him warmly by the hand before stabbing him in the front. They have delivered a fatal blow to his hopes for unity and now there can be no more fudging the issue.

The Archbishop must act, and act decisively, but he will be well aware that the Americans have essentially thrown down a challenge to him and the rest of the Communion. the rest

Bishop Bill Love comments on the passage of D025



Bp. Beckwith:
I've been getting a lot of e-mail traffic since yesterday, from the diocese, people very concerned about what's happened. My response is, "What were your expectations?" In some ways it's exactly what I expected, and in some ways, it's better than I expected. And a positive point for me is I think that there's been very generous hospitality on the part of my colleagues in the House of Bishops, that I haven't always experienced, so I'm pleased about that and I've told people that.

It doesn't change my concern about the direction of the church, and it doesn't change my concern about making decisions like we did in passing with amendment, guess it's D025, and then hearing yesterday and today that we really didn't overturn B033. I think that's, uh, spin. It clearly allows for us to go away from that B033. Bill?

Bp. Love:
I guess being the eternal optimist I came into the General Convention hoping and praying that somehow we could avoid doing what we have just done in terms of the passage of D025, because despite what some have suggested that it does not repudiate or overturn B033 from the 2006 General Convention, I believe that it does, and the Archbishop of Canterbury would seem to believe the same thing based on statements that he recently made to the London Times I believe, and a number of members of the House of Bishops themselves from all different theological persuasions have suggested the same thing....

So we, once again it seems as though we on the one hand are saying we want very much to be part of the rest of the Anglican Communion and value that partnership and want to participate as fully as possible, or to the fullest extent possible in the Communion with one another and yet, there's always that “but” which comes across where it seems like the “but” is: “We want it, but we're going to do it by our terms and expect you to appreciate that and recognize that and approve of that.” And I think much of the rest of the Anglican Communion has already said that we can't, and we won't.

So I, I'm afraid that by the actions taken by the passage of D025 that for many this is the final straw with members of the wider Anglican Communion. They've been waiting to see how we would respond to this, and the feedback that I've been receiving suggests that for them we have now gone too far. And that's very sad for me because I'm a lifelong Episcopalian, and a lifelong Anglican. First and foremost I'm a lifelong Christian, and it's breaking my heart to see the church destroy itself in the manner in which we seem to be doing.

And I know I'm not passing judgment on anyone who voted in a different way than I did towards these resolutions, and, for the record, I voted against it. But I believe firmly that for the vast majority if not all of those who voted in favor of D025, they truly were doing what they thought was the right thing.

However, I don't agree with your interpretation of what the right thing is, and rather than being a blessing for the church, I believe ultimately it will be a curse on the church. And rather than bringing people into the church, I believe ultimately it will drive more and more people away, only accelerating the death of the Episcopal church, and unfortunately I also believe that it will accelerate the splitting up of the Anglican Communion, and that's very sad. At its best, the Episcopal Church has so much to offer the wider body of Christ, and unfortunately in my opinion we're far from being at our best right now, and this is just one indication of that.

The other thing is, one of the things that's so frustrating for me and I know it is for Bp. Beckwith and others that have stood up against blessing of same-sex unions, and things of that nature, is that often times the argument gets turned into something that it's not. People who would defend these type resolutions, often as their justification for doing so is to suggest that by not going along with it that we are telling people who find themselves to be of homosexual orientation that God doesn't love them and that they have no place in the Church, and the litany of things goes on and on, and that is not the case.

And I understand that there are people who have been associated with the Church in various parts of the Body of Christ, at least in name, who have made some very derogatory statements towards people who find themselves to be homosexual, and hurtful things, and have things that never should have been said in the name of Christ. I don't excuse that at all. But for those of us that cannot support the blessing of same-sex unions, it's not hatred towards people who find themselves to be homosexual, but rather an understanding that such a lifestyle is not in accordance, at least my understanding is that it's not in accordance with God's will, in terms of how one is to live out their sexual relationships, that Holy Scripture speaks plainly that sexual relationships are intended to be lived between a man and a woman in the confine of marriage, and that anything outside of that is not in accordance with God's will.

That's not to say that people don't do it. However, it doesn't mean that God approves of everything that we do. While He can love us, He doesn't necessarily agree with all that we do. I know that He certainly doesn't agree with everything that I've done. But when I become aware of when I've fallen into sin, then I, through his grace, repent of that and seek his forgiveness. But blessing individuals who are living a lifestyle that would appear to be outside the bounds of what God has revealed through Holy Scripture, then I think we deny them the opportunity to repent and to seek God's forgiveness.

This is often talked about as a justice issue, and it is! But, for me, I think we do people a great injustice when we encourage them by saying it's OK to do something that I believe God has said, "It's not OK." So it's not a matter of hatred. It's just the opposite of that. It's a matter of love and care and concern for fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, who have been lead to believe that their lifestyle is OK when, at least up until now the Church has said it's not, and God through Holy Scripture has said it's not. And, so, I guess that's all I have to say at this point.

(Transcript by commentator cmsigler on T19 backup blog)

George Conger: Pushback in HOB on Gay Blessings

July 15, 2009

Resistance has grown within the House of Bishops to adopting Resolution C056: Liturgies for Blessings which would authorize local pastoral rites for the blessing of same-sex unions.

The hesitation over endorsing gay blessings comes not from a lack of votes for passage, or from fears of an international backlash from the Anglican Communion or the Archbishop of Canterbury. Rather, there is a sense that the progressive agenda can only go so far before a second conservative exodus takes place.

From the tenor of the debates this week, and the evidence of the house’s 99-45 vote on Monday to overturn the ban on gay bishops, support for gay blessings has a solid base of political support. This marks a political shift of the house over the past five conventions, such that when he spoke on July 10, former Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold found himself on the conservative wing of the house.

Gay blessings were raised during the 2003 General Convention, Bishop John Chane of Washington told The Living Church, but the vote to confirm the election of V. Gene Robinson as bishop, coupled with the press of other business, made it clear “the time was not right.”

However, “now is the time to proceed with these rites,” Bishop Chane told the house on July 14. The debate that followed indicated a majority of the bishops were ready to go. the rest

Anglicans on Brink of Schism

by Tom McFeely
Wednesday, July 15, 2009

In defiance of the majority of the Anglican Communion, the Episcopal Church in the U.S.A. has voted in favor of ordaining homosexual bishops.

The unilateral action by the Episcopal Church, courtesy of a vote by its General Convention, moves the deeply divided Anglican Communion closer to formal schism.

The Los Angeles Times reports today:

Bishops, clergy and lay leaders voted overwhelmingly at the denomination’s General Convention in Anaheim to open “any ordained ministry” to gays and lesbians.

The liberalized policy represents a reversal from guidelines adopted by the church at its last convention in 2006 that effectively prohibited the consecration of bishops whose “manner of life” would strain relations with the 77-million member Anglican Communion.

The Los Angeles Times article quotes a pro-homosexuality Episcopal bishop who believes his church can remain in union with other Anglican churches, despite its actions at the General Convention. the rest

Albert Mohler: "The Orthodox Are Finished"

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Acting in open defiance to the worldwide Anglican Communion, the Episcopal Church has voted to end a de facto moratorium on the election and consecration of openly gay bishops. The vote -- overwhelming in both houses of the denomination's General Convention -- comes barely 6 years after the American church brought its worldwide communion to the brink of disaster.

The specific language adopted by the General Convention declared the church's openness to the ordination or election of homosexual persons to "any ordained ministry." In taking this action, the Episcopal Church now signals its absolute determination to defy Scripture, tradition, and the urgent cries of its own sister churches in the Anglican Communion.

Of course, the General Convention did not use the language of defiance in describing its own action. Instead, delegates to both the House of Bishops and the House of Deputies attempted to describe the action as a way of remaining true to their church's own principles and convictions. In one sense, the delegates could make this claim with something of a straight face. After all, as speakers during the debate made clear, this action is an honest reflection of what the Episcopal Church has now become. the rest

When Abortion Kills Twice: The Abortion/ Breast Cancer Link

by Tom Hoopes
7/14/09

Excerpt:
Gail was changed. She knew what breast-cancer patients suffer -- the cancer can go to your lungs and makes you suffocate. It can get in your bones and make them so brittle that you can break a hip turning in bed. Then there's the debilitating treatments she knew lay ahead, the surgery that, victims say, strikes at their very identity as women. If you survive the disease, you worry constantly about relapse.

Surgeons helped. Gail realized that radical mastectomy was her only choice. "My emotions were raw and tender," she says. "I was so angry! Angry at God, angry at my new body, angry at the world. I sought counseling and tried desperately to understand why God would put me in this situation."

"It was at that time that I plunged head-first into the research, trying to find a cause for my own cancer," she says. She checked off the risk factors that she didn't have: no family history, no abnormalities with her menstrual cycle, no estrogen treatments. But then she remembered one she'd read about before, one that she was trying hard not to think about.

Gail had an abortion when she was 18. the rest

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Devotional: Bad will be the day for every man...

Bad will be the day for every man when he becomes absolutely content with the life that he is living, with the thoughts that he is thinking, with the deeds that he is doing, when there is not forever beating at the doors of his soul some great desire to do something larger, which he knows that he was meant and made to do because he is still, in spite of all, the child of God.
...Phillips Brooks image by dino_olivieri

Episcopal Bishops repudiate Anglican Communion Moratorium on Gay Bishops

July 14th, 2009
By the Rev. J. Philip Ashey,
C.O.O. & Chaplain, American Anglican Council

After several hours of small group discussions and debate, and by an overwhelming vote, the Bishops of The Episcopal Church (TEC) approved a resolution which repudiates the Anglican Communion moratorium on any further consecration of homosexual or lesbian candidates as bishops. The vote was not even close: 99 in favor, 45 against, and 2 abstentions. Only a simple majority was required to approve the resolution. This vote effectively overturns the moratorium that had been requested by the Windsor Report, the Primates of the Anglican Communion meeting in Dar es Salaam in 2008, and the Windsor Continuation Group Recommendations to the Anglican Consultative Council meeting in Jamaica just over a month ago.

The resolution which was approved, D025, also overturns resolution B033, which backed the moratorium on gay ordinations and which was passed at the General Convention in 2006 after the Primates of the Anglican Communion requested three moratoria in line with the Windsor Report. Resolution D025 includes the crucial acknowledgement ‘that God has called and may call such individuals (gay and lesbian persons in committed relationships) to any ordained ministry in the Episcopal Church…’

The Archbishop of Canterbury himself pleaded with the House of Bishops not to approve Resolution D025. Speaking to reporters yesterday at the close of the Church of England General Synod, Dr. Rowan Williams said that he regretted the decision by the Episcopal House of Deputies to overturn the moratorium on the consecration of gay bishops. He went on to say in comments that seemed to be addressed specifically to the House of Bishops, "If the House of Bishops chooses to block then the moratorium remains. I regret the fact that there is not the will to observe the moratorium in such a significant part of the Church in North America." the rest

NT Wright: The Americans know this will end in schism

Support by US Episcopalians for homosexual clergy is contrary to Anglican faith and tradition. They are leaving the family
From The Times
July 15, 2009

In the slow-moving train crash of international Anglicanism, a decision taken in California has finally brought a large coach off the rails altogether. The House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church (TEC) in the United States has voted decisively to allow in principle the appointment, to all orders of ministry, of persons in active same-sex relationships. This marks a clear break with the rest of the Anglican Communion.

Both the bishops and deputies (lay and clergy) of TEC knew exactly what they were doing. They were telling the Archbishop of Canterbury and the other “instruments of communion” that they were ignoring their plea for a moratorium on consecrating practising homosexuals as bishops. They were rejecting the two things the Archbishop of Canterbury has named as the pathway to the future — the Windsor Report (2004) and the proposed Covenant (whose aim is to provide a modus operandi for the Anglican Communion). They were formalising the schism they initiated six years ago when they consecrated as bishop a divorced man in an active same-sex relationship, against the Primates’ unanimous statement that this would “tear the fabric of the Communion at its deepest level”. In Windsor’s language, they have chosen to “walk apart”.

Granted, the TEC resolution indicates a strong willingness to remain within the Anglican Communion. But saying “we want to stay in, but we insist on rewriting the rules” is cynical double-think. We should not be fooled. the rest

TLC: Convention Criticized for ‘Choosing to Walk Apart’

Stand Firm and Titusonenine alternate blogspots

Stand Firm now back online-you may want to save the backup link just in case.... Stand Firm in Faith: Backup blog

Titusonenine is still down so go to the
backup blog here .

News Analysis: Passage of D025 May Place TEC Outside Communion

by George Conger
July 14, 2009

The House of Bishops’ adoption of Resolution D025 on July 13 was an honest act that fairly stated the mind of the majority of the House of Bishops, progressive bishops argued. But members of the minority stated the vote ends the Episcopal Church’s compliance with the pledge made by the 2006 General Convention in Resolution B033 to abstain from consecrating more ay bishops, ends the Windsor Process, snubs the Archbishop of Canterbury, and places the Episcopal Church outside the Anglican Communion.

The Bishop of Rhode Island introduced D025 to the house as chair of the World Missions Committee, noting the bishops on the committee had recommended by a vote of 3-2 to reject adoption. Bishop Geralyn Wolf then enumerated the committee’s reasons for urging its rejection, saying “some” of the Episcopal Church’s overseas dioceses, while privately welcoming of the ministry of gays and lesbians, were “not theologically or culturally ready” for the innovation.

Adopting D025 “rejects” the Windsor process and jeopardizes the Anglican Covenant, and “doesn’t reflect the voices” of the wider Anglican Communion, Bishop Wolf said. It presumes a “theological understanding” of the question that has not, however, been reached, and while it may describe the “mind of the House,” the resolution “lacks clarity” and is open to a “variety of interpretations that will not be helpful in the Anglican Communion.” the rest

“If the resolution passes, the Episcopal Church will cease to be part of the Communion,” said Bishop William Love of Albany. He read out to the house the Archbishop of Canterbury’s statement to the July 13 session of General Synod, which urged the bishops to defeat D025. Adopting the resolution would not simply “stress or tear the fabric” of the Communion, he said, “it would totally shred it.”

The statistics that colleges hate to share

July 12, 2009

When you start searching for that perfect college for your child, you might think there’s plenty of information to help you with your decision. Just for starters, every college has a website that will give you all the essentials.

Take Stephens College, a private, four-year women’s school in Columbia, Missouri. A quick tour of its website will tell you that the college offers more than 50 major and minors, everything from English to event planning to equestrian science. Class sizes average just 13 students. Annual costs total $32,250, but nearly all students get some kind of financial aid. And the campus looks nice.

But what you won’t see without diligent searching is that half of Stephens students fail to graduate, even after six years. Not to pick on Stephens, which does mention that statistic deep in its website. Point is, little of the data that colleges provide really tell you much about the value of your investment: the quality of the education, the experience of the students, or how the graduates fare later in life. Instead parents have long accepted the value of the diploma on faith. And many assume that a college that charges $50,000 a year will give their child a better education than one that charges $25,000. the rest

11 Christians Murdered in Weekend Attacks -- Seven Believers Beheaded in Somalia; Four Killed in Violence in Iraq

SANTA ANA, Calif., July 13 /Christian Newswire/ -- At least 11 Christians were killed in attacks in Somalia and Iraq over the weekend.

Al-Shabaab, Somalia's hard-line insurgents, reportedly beheaded seven Somalis for being "Christians" and "spies." This news was announced by Reuters News Agency on Friday. The report stated that the incident took place in the south-central town of Baidoa.

In Iraq, the Associated Press reported a car bomb exploded near a church in Baghdad, killing three Christians and a Muslim. Another Christian was killed in the northern city of Kirkuk. Several more churches were also bombed in Baghdad over the weekend. the rest

Do You Have a Moral Obligation To Be Experimented On?

Monday, July 13, 2009
Wesley J. Smith

This article has me queasy. Yes, the writers concede that the moral obligation they seek to establish should not be legally enforceable. Yes, they reject more radical proposals that would require all individuals to sacrifice their individual interests to promote the “greater good.” But still…

Three bioethicists–G. Owen Schaefer, Ezekiel J. Emanuel (Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuael’s brother), and Alan Wertheimer, argue in the JAMA (”The Obligation to Participate in Biomedical Research,”July 1, 2009—Vol 302, No. 1) that we all have a moral “obligation” to “participate in biomedical research.” From the article (no link):

The obligation to participate in biomedical research makes reasonable demands on all individuals in a society. Participating in research is much less burdensome than contributing to many other public goods; joining the army is more risky and time-consuming than any clinical trial that has been approved by a well-functioning institutional review board. Indeed, paying taxes may be much more burdensome than participating in many research trialsthe rest

Albert Mohler: Two Rival Religions?

Monday, July 13, 2009

On November 3, 1921, J. Gresham Machen presented an address entitled, "Liberalism or Christianity?" In that famous address, later expanded into the book, Christianity & Liberalism, Machen argued that evangelical Christianity and its liberal rival were, in effect, two very different religions.

Machen's argument became one of the issues of controversy in the Fundamentalist/Modernist controversies of the 1920s and beyond. By any measure, Machen was absolutely right--the movement that styled itself as liberal Christianity was eviscerating the central doctrines of the Christian faith while continuing to claim Christianity as "a way of life" and a system of meaning.

"The chief modern rival of Christianity is 'liberalism,'" Machen asserted. "Modern liberalism, then, has lost sight of the two great presuppositions of the Christian message--the living God and the fact of sin," he argued. "The liberal doctrine of God and the liberal doctrine of man are both diametrically opposite to the Christian view. But the divergence concerns not only the presuppositions of the message, but also the message itself." the rest

Google blocks blog exposing homosexual agenda

'Actions represent trial balloon for government censorship of 'hate' speech'
July 13, 2009
By Drew Zahn
© 2009 WorldNetDaily

Google's blog hosting service, Blogger.com, admits that in the name of "free speech" some of its blogs are "offensive, harmful, inaccurate," but when one of its clients blogged in opposition to a transgender rights bill, Google drew the line.

A day before the Massachusetts Legislature plans to review a controversial gender identity bill, Blogger.com blocked the blog of MassResistance, an organization that exposes the increasingly open agenda of the homosexual movement in Massachusetts, with a warning that some of the content may be "objectionable," requiring readers to confirm their intent to visit. the rest

Google posts warning notice on MassResistance blog after transgender rights reports are published!

Abortion Services Included in Health-Care Bill

July 13, 2009
Deal W. Hudson

The day after President Obama reaffirmed his commitment to abortion reduction to Benedict XVI, Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) admitted, in a stammering way, under questioning from Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) that the new health-care bill will pay for abortions at women's health care clinics, such as those run by Planned Parenthood.

Sen. Mikulski, as many know, identifies herself as a Catholic.

Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA), to his credit, voted against the bill in the Senate committee, but it still passed 12-11. Casey admitted that, given the way it was written, it "could be" interpreted to include abortion. He could have said, "would be" but something is better than nothing. the rest

Pupils told: Sex every day keeps the GP away

From The Sunday Times
July 12, 2009
Jack Grimston

A National Health Service leaflet is advising school pupils that they have a “right” to an enjoyable sex life and that regular intercourse can be good for their cardiovascular health.

The advice appears in guidance circulated to parents, teachers and youth workers, and is intended to update sex education by telling pupils about the benefits of sexual pleasure. For too long, say its authors, experts have concentrated on the need for “safe sex” and loving relationships while ignoring the main reason that many people have sex, that is, for enjoyment.

The document, called Pleasure, has been drawn up by NHS Sheffield, although it is also being circulated outside the city. the rest

Pope Benedict takes vacation; warns of the “supremacy of technology”

July 13, 2009

On July 13, Pope Benedict arrived at Caselle airport in the northern Italian city of Turin. From there he traveled by helicopter to the residence of Les Combes in the region of Valle d'Aosta, where he will spend a sixteen-day vacation, until July 29.

The pope will stay in a chalet belonging to the Salesian Order, where John Paul II spent many of his holidays and where Benedict stayed in 2005 and 2006. The two-story building is constructed of wood and stone, and is surrounded by a large garden. It stands at an altitude of almost 750 miles and offers views of Mont Blanc and other mountains on the French-Italian frontier as well as the Italian-Swiss Alps. the rest

NYT: Episcopal Church Moves to End Ban on Gay Bishops

By LAURIE GOODSTEIN
July 14, 2009

ANAHEIM, Calif. — The bishops of the Episcopal Church voted at the church’s convention on Monday to open “any ordained ministry” to gay and lesbian people, a move that could effectively undermine a moratorium on ordaining gay bishops that the church passed at its last convention three years ago.

The resolution passed on Monday was written in a way that would allow dioceses to consider gay candidates to the episcopacy, but does not mandate that all dioceses do so.

A similar measure was passed on Sunday by the church’s other legislative body, the House of Deputies, which is made up of lay people and clergy. On Tuesday, the bishops’ version will likely go back to the House of Deputies for reconsideration.

The resolution, if approved, would probably add to the strife in the Anglican Communion, the world’s third largest family of Christian churches, of which the Episcopal Church is the American branch.

The battle over homosexuality in the Episcopal Church has been watched closely by other mainline Protestant churches that are also divided internally on the issue. Many are looking to the Episcopal Church as a bellwether that could foretell whether their denominations can survive the storm over homosexuality intact. the rest

BBC: US Church drops gay bishops ban

Times Online: Schism 'inevitable' after US bishops approve gay ordination
A worldwide Anglican schism now seems inevitable after Episcopal bishops in the United States today backed the consecration of gay bishops.

Episcopal bishops approved a resolution passed earlier this week by the laity and clergy which allows “partnered gays” full access to ordination.

The Archbishop of Canterbury expressed “regret” over a decision by Anglicans in the US that represents a blow to his hopes for Church unity...

Telegraph: Archbishop of Canterbury concerned at US approval of more gay bishops

AP: Episcopal church to affirm gay clergy

Monday, July 13, 2009

Stand Firm: D025 Passes House of Bishops

Here

Titusonenine

A.S. Haley on D025

Super-slow-motion pictures show soap bubble bursting in stunning detail

Wow! Here

Obama Surgeon General Pick Regina Benjamin Wanted Docs to Learn Abortions

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
July 13, 2009

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) -- President Barack Obama named Alabama physician Regina Benjamin as the next Surgeon General of the United States. Benjamin is an African-American doctor who is known for rebuilding her medical clinic after it was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and then ravaged by fire in 2006.

However, Benjamin has also urged that future physicians be trained to learn how to perform abortions.

In 1990, Benjamin founded the Bayou La Batre Rural Health Clinic to serve the Gulf Coast fishing community of Bayou La Batre, Alabama and its 2,500 residents.

She is credited with maintaining contact with patients scattered across multiple evacuation sites and having a practice that allows her to treat all incoming patients, many of whom are uninsured and get rides to the clinic from Benjamin. the rest

Bishop Sauls: Archbishop Williams Misinformed

July 13, 2009

The Archbishop of Canterbury has been misinformed about the purpose and import of Resolution D025, the Bishop of Lexington told The Living Church at a July 13 press conference at the 76th General Convention in Anaheim, Calif.

On July 12, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams urged the House of Bishops to reject Resolution D025, saying “I regret the fact that there is not the will to observe the moratorium in such a significant part of the Church in North America but I can't say more about that as I have no details.”

Bishop Sauls said Archbishop Williams was “laboring under a misconception,” about D025 and had been misled by the “sensational headlines” surrounding the resolution, which circumvents B033’s ban on consecrating gay clergy by affirming that “God has called and may call such individuals to any ordained ministry in the Episcopal Church.”

He said he could “not get into Archbishop of Canterbury’s head” but if Archbishop Williams believed D025 offered anything new, he was mistaken. It simply “states the reality of this church.” the rest

New flu resembles feared 1918 virus, study finds

By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Editor
13 Jul 2009
Source: Reuters

*Virus can infect deep into the lung
*Remains sensitive to anitvirals
*People born before 1918 have protection

WASHINGTON, July 13 (Reuters) - The new H1N1 influenza virus bears a disturbing resemblance to the virus strain that caused the 1918 flu pandemic, with a greater ability to infect the lungs than common seasonal flu viruses, researchers reported on Monday.

Tests in several animals confirmed other studies that have shown the new swine flu strain can spread beyond the upper respiratory tract to go deep into the lungs -- making it more likely to cause pneumonia, the international team said.

In addition, they found that people who survived the 1918 pandemic seem to have extra immune protection against the virus, again confirming the work of other researchers.

"When we conducted the experiments in ferrets and monkeys, the seasonal virus did not replicate in the lungs," said Yoshihiro Kawaoka of the University of Wisconsin, who led the study.

The H1N1 virus replicates significantly better in the lungs."
the rest image

Churches in Iraq targeted in bombings; 4 killed

By Liz Sly
July 13, 2009

Reporting from Baghdad -- An explosive device detonated beside a convoy in which the U.S. ambassador was traveling in southern Iraq late Sunday afternoon about the same time that Christian churches across Baghdad were hit by a wave of bombings. The attacks offered new evidence that Iraq remains far from stable after American forces withdrew from its cities at the end of June. the rest

Schism closer as US Anglicans vote to overturn ban on gay ordinations

From Times Online
July 13, 2009
Ruth Gledhill, Religion Correspondent

The Archbishop of Canterbury today expressed "regret" over a decision by Anglicans in the US that could result in the Church consecrating more gay bishops.

Dr Rowan Williams made clear his concern after clergy and laity in The Episcopal Church voted at the General Convention in California to overturn a moratorium on gay ordinations.

Clergy and laity in the US backed a motion that "acknowledges that God has called and may call any individual in the church to any ordained ministry in the Episcopal Church, in accordance with the discernment process set forth in the Constitution and Canons of the church."

This means that anyone can be ordained regardless of sexuality. the rest

Church of England bishops fear for 'fragile unity' of Anglicanism over new gay marriage moves

Senior bishops have warned that new plans to allow homosexual marriages could destroy the "fragile unity" of the global Anglican Communion.
By Martin Beckford, Religious Affairs Correspondent
11 Jul 2009

The Church of England leaders fear that the controversial move would go against traditional biblical teaching and have "immediate and negative consequences" for relationships with other provinces around the world, as well as the central position of the Archbishop of Canterbury.

In an official letter they also urge clergy to "maintain a critical distance" from governments and resist any moves they make to allow "gender neutral" weddings. the rest

Episcopal bishop warns of further schism

By George Conger
SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES
Monday, July 13, 2009

ANAHEIM, Calif. The presiding bishop of the U.S. Episcopal Church warned the Church of England not to foment schism in America, responding to a threat made over the possibility that the U.S. church will start ordaining actively gay bishops.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori said Sunday, in response to questions from The Washington Times, that calls by conservatives in the Church of England for recognition of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) over gay-related issues would wound her church, already split by the secession of conservative dioceses and congregations to form the ACNA.

She urged Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams to remember the "pain of many Episcopalians in several places of being shut out of their traditional worship spaces, and the broken relationships, the damaged relationships between people who have gone and people who have stayed."

"Recognition of something like ACNA is unfortunately likely only to encourage" further secessions, she said, reminding the Church of England that "schism is not a Christian act." the rest

Archbishop of Canterbury 'regrets' TEC move to gay ordination

Ruth Gledhill
July 13, 2009

The Archbishop of Canterbury told General Synod today that he 'regrets' the decision by The Episcopal Church house of deputies to overturn the moratorium on the ordination of gay bishops. At the same time, the Presiding Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori has warned the Church of England that it should not recognise the new Anglican Church in North America, arguing 'schism is not a Christian act.'

Responding to a question by Chris Sugden of Anglican Mainstream, Dr Williams said: 'As for General Convention it remains to be seen I think whether the vote of the House of Deputies will be endorsed by the House of Bishops. If the House of Bishops chooses to block then the moratorium remains. I regret the fact that there is not the will to observe the moratorium in such a significant part of the Church in North America but I can't say more about that as I have no details.' Dr Williams also responded to concerns about the funding for the 'listening process' saying that he had been personally involved in securing that funding and had been completely unaware of any 'agenda' attached to the funding. the rest

Motion in English Synod to Recognize ACNA

July 11, 2009

A private member’s motion asking the Church of England to recognize the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) has been submitted to the General Synod of the Church of England. While the motion will not come up for debate at the current meeting of Synod, it serves to sharpen the focus of the 76th General Convention on the consequences of backing away from the 2006 pledge made with Resolution B033.

Synod is meeting in York from the July 10-13. On July 10, a private member’s motion was submitted asking for a debate on the Church of England’s formal relationship with the ACNA. To be considered for debate, a private members motion must receive the support of 100 members of synod. Approximately 75 members have so far endorsed the motion.

Traditionally only one or two such motions are considered at each session of Synod, and in creating the agenda for forthcoming session, the Synod’s Business Committee generally looks to the number of signatures received in order to set the priority for debate. the rest

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Episcopal leaders reopen divisive debate on same-sex marriage

Church leaders, gathering in Anaheim for their first national convention in three years, also consider repealing a de facto ban on the consecration of gay bishops.
By Duke Helfand
July 11, 2009

Leaders of the Episcopal Church, gathering in Anaheim for their first national convention in three years, reopened fractious debate this week over whether to authorize marriage rites for same-sex couples and to repeal a de facto ban on the consecration of gay bishops.

The issues have caused painful divisions in the 2.1-million-member denomination, which in recent years has seen dozens of parishes and four conservative dioceses, including one in Central California, break away. Last month, the dissidents formally launched a rival church. the rest

Time travel in the cradle of civilisation

Two thousand years after St Paul's birth Syria is still home to a thriving Christian centre where Christ's language is spoken, finds Ed West
10 July 2009

Now there was a disciple at Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision: "Rise and go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man of Tarsus named Saul, for behold, he is praying, and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight." - Acts 9:10-12

It was one of the defining moments in history, transforming Christianity from a Jewish cult into the world's foremost religion. Today Straight Street, a mile-long thoroughfare running east to west, laid out by the Greeks, is a thriving commercial hub as it was in Paul's day, although after years of shop and house owners progressively taking liberties it is only a quarter as wide.

The House of St Ananias still lies to the north of the Roman-built Bab Sharqi, one of seven ancient gates to the city. The next gate along, Bab Kisan, is where Paul was lowered down into a basket to escape an angry Jewish community a couple of years after his conversion.

Nearby is the Greek Orthodox Cathedral, St Mary's (Mariamie), which for the celebrations played host on the Friday night to the Syrian National Symphony Orchestra. It was a beautiful ceremony, a mixture of east and west, like the Syrian Christians as a whole. Ignatius IV, Patriarch of Antioch and all the East, afterwards told the assembled faithful to come back washed in the Holy Spirit (it was translated to us as "we hope you come back washed", but I'm assuming it was not a criticism of our body odour). Outside in the street the Orthodox had put up a banner welcoming all visitors to Damascus for the Year of St Paul. the rest

The Unique Polity of the Episcopal Church?

by Rev. Professor Christopher Seitz
Saturday, July 11th, 2009

The President of the House of Deputies, in remarks made in an internet-viewable report of a private meeting with the Archbishop of Canterbury, expressed the view that the polity of the Episcopal Church is unique (‘anomalous’)and must be appreciated as such (9 July 2009). This opinion appeared to be directed at an account of the church that has given and gives significant and prioritized room for communications and directives to be made from Bishop to Bishop. Another spokesperson present indicated that the Archbishop was told that communications from the Communion ought to be made to the General Convention, as the only authority able to respond, and not the Bishops.

We can leave to the side whether this account from the President and others is in reality fair, insofar as the Presiding Bishop of this church is a Bishop and is elected by the body presumably seen as unique, and other provinces of the communion could likewise ask for a special appreciation of this or that feature of their polity. Lambeth Conference is an Instrument of Communion and it is comprised of Bishops; the ACC has lay and clerical representation; and so forth. TEC’s polity has never been viewed as a hindrance to involvement in these Instruments before, and it is difficult to see how the General Convention is in some special position of senior authority above the Bishops (see below), or that laity and clergy in this church have ‘equal authority’ (so the President of the House of Bishops). the rest