Saturday, April 03, 2010

Holy Saturday: O LORD, God of my salvation...

O LORD, God of my salvation;I cry out day and night before you.
Let my prayer come before you;
incline your ear to my cry!

For my soul is full of troubles,
and my life draws near to Sheol.
I am counted among those who go down to the pit;
I am a man who has no strength,
like one set loose among the dead,
like the slain that lie in the grave,
like those whom you remember no more,
for they are cut off from your hand.
You have put me in the depths of the pit,
in the regions dark and deep.
Your wrath lies heavy upon me,
and you overwhelm me with all your waves.

You have caused my companions to shun me;
you have made me a horror to them.
I am shut in so that I cannot escape;
my eye grows dim through sorrow.
Every day I call upon you, O LORD;
I spread out my hands to you.
Do you work wonders for the dead?
Do the departed rise up to praise you?

Is your steadfast love declared in the grave,
or your faithfulness in Abaddon?
Are your wonders known in the darkness,
or your righteousness in the land of forgetfulness?

But I, O LORD, cry to you;
in the morning my prayer comes before you.
O LORD, why do you cast my soul away?
Why do you hide your face from me?
Afflicted and close to death from my youth up,
I suffer your terrors; I am helpless.
Your wrath has swept over me;
your dreadful assaults destroy me.
They surround me like a flood all day long;
they close in on me together.
You have caused my beloved and my friend to shun me;
my companions have become darkness.
-Psalm 88 image by hoyasmeg

The spring morning here in Syracuse is simply breath-taking! The red, pink, orange sunrise, birds everywhere singing and flying around in almost a dance. Creation gives vision and voice to this holy weekend. Raymond had his coffee out on the patio early this morning and shared what he wrote in his journal: "These days have everything. Thursday is the promise of life; Friday is the pain of life and death; Saturday is the hope of life; and Saturday night and Sunday is the gift of the fullness of life both now and eternally. Oh blest four days of the year!" -PD

Friday, April 02, 2010

Good Friday: Come to Calvary's holy mountain...

Come to Calvary's holy mountain,
Sinners, ruined by the Fall;
Here a pure and healing fountain
Flows to you, to me, to all,
In a full, perpetual tide,
Opened when our Savior died.

Come in poverty and meanness,
Come defiled, without, within;
From infection and uncleanness,
From the leprosy of sin,
Wash your robes and make them white;
Ye shall walk with God in light.

Come in sorrow and contrition,
Wounded, impotent, and blind;
Here the guilty free remission,
Here the troubled peace, may find.
Health this fountain will restore;
He that drinks shall thirst no more.

He that drinks shall live forever;
'Tis a soul-renewing flood.
God is faithful; God will never
Break His covenant of blood,
Signed when our Redeemer died,
Sealed when He was glorified.
...James Montgomery

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Holy Thursday: So great and wonderful was the work...

"The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many" Matthew 20:28

So great and wonderful was the work that Jesus had to do for the sinner, that nothing less was necessary than that he should give Himself to do that work. So great and wonderful was the love of Jesus towards us, that He actually gave Himself for us and to us. So great and wonderful is the surrender of Jesus, that all that same thing for which He gave Himself can actually and completely come to pass in us. For Jesus, the Holy, the Almighty, has taken it upon Himself to do it: He gave Himself for us. . . .And now the one thing that is necessary is that we should rightly understand and firmly believe this His surrender for us. . . .

When I receive Him, when I believe that He gave Himself to do this for me, I shall certainly experience it. I shall be purified through Him, shall be held fast as His possession, and be filled with zeal and joy to work for Him. ...Andrew Murray image

Full Meditation

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A Crescendo of Wonder

Why Good Friday services are not designed to be funerals for Jesus or exercises in guilt.
John Witvliet

The events of Good Friday are utterly breath-taking. We celebrate nothing less than this: "that God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross" (Col. 1:20).

We are talking here about something that happens at the very foundations of the universe. Call it cosmic redemption, ontological healing, metaphysical reconciliation, the Bible's version of Star Wars, or whatever helps you think about the largest, most ultimate reality, the "Really Real," capital R, capital R.

And it is all accomplished through what seems like a paradox. "Making peace through the blood of his cross" is like saying that a nuclear missile has become an olive-branch, that Guantanamo has become a garden of healing, that a sword has been turned into a plowshare, that a tank has been turned into a tractor. The very thought of it leaves us weak in the knees with astonishment. the rest

Canon Julian Dobbs of CANA’s Church and Islam Project appeared on CBN News

March 30, 2010

Students at a Texas university founded on Presbyterian beliefs say they want the words "in the year of our Lord" removed from their diplomas.

A group of students at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas say the reference doesn't respect the diversity of religions at the school. the rest/video

Auckland: "Progressive" Anglican church places ad that jokes about Jesus's crucifixion

Ads are a way of bringing people closer to the church, argues the vicar of St Matthew's
Riazat Butt
Wednesday 31 March 2010

St Matthew's in Auckland describes itself as a "progressive Anglican church with a heart for the city and an eye to the world". That's an understatement.

Last Christmas it offended and intrigued in equal parts with a Saatchi-designed billboard that depicted a deflated Joseph in bed with a disappointed Mary and the caption "Poor Joseph. God was a hard act to follow". Its attempt to provoke was more successful than expected and the poster was promptly attacked with a knife.

For Easter, the most important festival in the Christian calendar, the people at St Matthew's have come up with another ruse to get people engaging with their faith. This billboard shows Jesus nailed to a crucifix, thinking to himself: "Well this sucks. I wonder if they'll remember anything I said". The vicar at St Matthew's, Glynn Cardy, says the poster is a reminder that "Easter is about more than a rugged cross, a supernatural miracle, or a chocolate bunny". the rest

Seven Characteristics of Highly Evangelistic Christians

Mar. 292010
By Thom Rainer

For over twenty years I have been researching and studying churches, primarily those in North America. I had the joy of serving as senior pastor in four churches where God blessed with evangelistic growth. I have written over twenty books about the church in America.

I am not giving you my credentials to impress you, but simply to share that my life’s passion has been leading and learning about evangelistic churches. At this point in my life and ministry, however, I realize that I have not given sufficient attention to one of the primary characteristics of evangelistic churches.

The Great Omission

It is so obvious. Indeed it is so clear that I am surprised at my neglect of this factor. Stated simply, the evangelistic churches that I have researched for the past twenty years have one or more highly evangelistic Christians.

I know. The previous statement is no great revelation. It is almost stating the obvious. But, if it is reality, why are we not hearing more about these Christians who seem to have a passion for evangelism? Why are we not doing a better job of telling their stories?

In this short article I hope to address this great omission. Here

Sex infection gonorrhea risks becoming "superbug"

Mon Mar 29, 2010

LONDON (Reuters) - The sexually transmitted disease gonorrhea risks becoming a drug-resistant "superbug" if doctors do not devise new ways of treating it, a leading sexual health expert said.

Catherine Ison, a specialist on gonorrhea from Britain's Health Protection Agency said a World Health Organization (WHO) meeting in Manila next week would be vital to efforts to try to stop the bug repeatedly adapting to and overcoming drugs.

"This is a very clever bacteria. If this problem isn't addressed, there is a real possibility that gonorrhea will become a very difficult infection to treat," she said in a telephone interview. the rest

Health premiums could rise 17 pct for young adults

posted March 31, 2010

CHICAGO — Under the health care overhaul, young adults who buy their own insurance will carry a heavier burden of the medical costs of older Americans — a shift expected to raise insurance premiums for young people when the plan takes full effect.

Beginning in 2014, most Americans will be required to buy insurance or pay a tax penalty. That's when premiums for young adults seeking coverage on the individual market would likely climb by 17 percent on average, or roughly $42 a month, according to an analysis of the plan conducted for The Associated Press. The analysis did not factor in tax credits to help offset the increase.

The higher costs will pinch many people in their 20s and early 30s who are struggling to start or advance their careers with the highest unemployment rate in 26 years. the rest

Tensions Flare After Recess Maneuver: Obama Bypasses Senate on 15 Stalled Appointments

MARCH 29, 2010

President Barack Obama's decision to circumvent the Senate in filling 15 administration posts marked another step in the administration's turn toward a more-combative approach toward congressional Republicans, provoking a volley of protests from GOP lawmakers.

Citing months of "Republican obstruction,'' Mr. Obama on Saturday said he would use recess appointments to put union lawyer Craig Becker on the National Labor Relations Board and fill 14 other administration posts that were vacant because of stalled Senate confirmations. the rest

Federally funded abortions are in our future

By Kathleen Parker
Sunday, March 28, 2010

Health care is the next-to-last thing I want to write about. The last thing is abortion, so this column is a banquet of tortures.

Usually, I would not return so soon to a topic that I tend to associate with the pleasures of head-banging, but broad misunderstanding about what's in the health-care-reform law justifies another lap.

Still cloudy is whether the new law of the land allows funding for abortions and whether President Obama's executive order is of any real (judicially enforceable) value. The answer to the latter is in little dispute. It is no. An executive order cannot override a statute. the rest

Prediction: Abortions will be performed at community health centers. You can bet your foreclosed mortgage on that. There was always a will by this administration, and now there's a way.

Case of Christian Legal Society v. Martinez

Right to Belong: Christian group says it does; California law school says it doesn’t
Apr 1, 2010
By David L. Hudson, Jr

Law professor Erwin Chemerinsky is monitoring the case of Christian Legal Society v. Martinez with a keen eye. One reason is substantive: The case features a clash between the rights of schools to enforce their nondiscrimination policies and student religious groups’ rights of freedom of association. The U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments April 19.

“It is enormously important to law schools and law student groups and to universities,” says Chemerinsky of the University of California at Irvine. the rest

Whatever the outcome, nearly everyone agrees that the decision will be important. “A ruling against CLS would give public educational institutions a green light to force student religious groups to deny their faith in order to be treated equally,” Baylor says, “and this would be a dramatic departure from what the First Amendment should mean and what the court has said it means in past decisions.”

Albert Mohler: Can Christian Organizations Remain Christian in a “Tolerant” Age?

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Devotional: I sought the Lord...

I sought the Lord, and afterward I knew
He moved my soul to seek Him, seeking me;
It was not I that found, O Savior true;
No, I was found of Thee.

Thou didst reach forth Thy hand and mine enfold;
I walked and sank not on the storm-vexed sea;
'Twas not so much that I on Thee took hold,
As Thou, dear Lord, on me.

I find, I walk, I love, but oh, the whole
Of love is but my answer, Lord, to Thee;
For thou wert long beforehand with my soul,
Always thou lovedst me.
...Anonymous, ca. 1878

Muslim students call for removal of "year of Our Lord" from diplomas at... Trinity University

March 29, 2010

It's a private school that retains a "covenant" relationship with the Presbyterian Church. But nonetheless, "the year of Our Lord" is an affront to "diversity." While these enterprising students are at it, how about "Trinity" University? They probably didn't name it after the river that traverses eastern Texas. And just for grins, what of "San Antonio," where the school is located?

If one doesn't want to be offended by a private university's religious heritage, it's not as if Texas is exactly lacking in public institutions. If there were ever a case of barking up the wrong tree, this is it, and it should be addressed as such.

"Students want 'Our Lord' phrase off diplomas," by Melissa Ludwig for the Express-News, March 29 (thanks to José):

A group of students at Trinity University is lobbying trustees to drop a reference to "Our Lord" on their diplomas, arguing it does not respect the diversity of religions on campus. the rest

CANA Welcomes Archbishop Okoh as New Primate of Church of Nigeria

March 30, 2010
(via email)

The Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA) welcomed and congratulated Archbishop Nicholas Okoh, who was installed as the fourth primate of the Church of Nigeria on March 25 in Abuja, the capital of the most populous nation in Africa. CANA was founded in 2005 by the Church of Nigeria which with 20 million active members accounts for at least 25% of the active membership of the Anglican Communion.

“Archbishop Okoh is a good friend; a wise and godly leader who is committed to spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ in Nigeria and throughout the world and we congratulate him on his new ministry,” said CANA Missionary Bishop Martyn Minns. “His vision includes continuing to give orthodox Anglicans in the U.S. a way to remain connected to the worldwide Anglican Communion through CANA . We welcome his leadership, his pastoral concern, and his passion for the gospel. Archbishop Okoh has a servant’s heart and we know that he is the right leader at this critical moment in the history of the Anglican Communion.”

Several thousand people attended the three-and-a-half-hour long installation service at the Abuja cathedral. The acting-president of the nation of Nigeria , who is an active Anglican, led the prayers in the service and offered words of greeting. In his inaugural primatial sermon, Archbishop Okoh stressed the lordship of Jesus Christ in every aspect of human life. Among the guests from the U.S. were Bishop and Mrs. Minns and their daughter Rachel; Archbishop Bob Duncan of the Anglican Church in North America; Bishop Bill Atwood, suffragan for International Affairs of the All Saints Cathedral Diocese (Nairobi); CANA Suffragan Bishops Amos Fagbamiye, David Bena, David Anderson, and Roger Ames; as well as other CANA delegates.

Archbishop Okoh, a retired Army Lt. Col., was ordained priest in 1979, appointed bishop of Asaba in 2001, and elected archbishop of the regional province of Bendel in 2005.

Upon his election as the fourth primate of the Church of Nigeria in September 2009, Archbishop Peter Jensen ( Sydney , Australia ), welcomed the election saying, "Nicholas Okoh was present at the foundation of GAFCON and has played a leading part in the movement. Archbishop Okoh has made a significant contribution as the Chairman of the Theological Resource group. He is an able and committed Christian leader and we warmly welcome his appointment."

The Convocation of Anglicans in North America

Virginia Supreme Court Sets Church Property Hearing for April 13

(via email)

(March 30, 2010) - The Anglican District of Virginia (ADV) received notice that the Virginia Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on April 13, 2010, in the church property case brought by The Episcopal Church and Diocese of Virginia.

“Our church members are standing firm for the Gospel and will remain in prayer for the church property case that will be heard in a matter of weeks. It’s unfortunate that this matter, which we tried so hard to resolve amicably out of court, has now reached the level of the state Supreme Court. While we remain confident in our legal footing, it’s regretful that we had to defend ourselves in the first place,” said Jim Oakes, Chairman of the Anglican District of Virginia.

“Protecting our religious freedom and our right to stay true to the Gospel has been costly, and we pray for a quick end to the litigation so that we can completely focus our time, money and energy on bringing new believers to Christ and helping those in need. Our doors remain open wide to all who wish to worship with us,” said Oakes.

“As we prepare to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord this weekend, we know where our real priorities are and we put our trust in Him in all our affairs including the current legal proceedings,” Oakes concluded.

The Anglican District of Virginia

Among Weathercasters, Doubt on Warming

March 29, 2010

The debate over global warming has created predictable adversaries, pitting environmentalists against industry and coal-state Democrats against coastal liberals.

But it has also created tensions between two groups that might be expected to agree on the issue: climate scientists and meteorologists, especially those who serve as television weather forecasters.

Climatologists, who study weather patterns over time, almost universally endorse the view that the earth is warming and that humans have contributed to climate change. There is less of a consensus among meteorologists, who predict short-term weather patterns. the rest

Obamacare’s Consequence

A tarnished presidency
BY Matthew Continetti
April 5 - April 12, 2010

The liberal line is that President Obama has secured his place in history by signing into law the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010. And secured it he has. Henceforth Obama will be remembered as the man who accelerated America’s mad dash toward bankruptcy. He will be remembered as the leader who promoted a culture of dependency. He will be remembered as the figure who sacrificed a dream of national unity upon the altar of big government liberalism. It’s true: Obama is now a president of consequence. And almost all of those consequences are bad.

The fiscal picture was bleak before Obama made it worse. Government debt is 60 percent of the gross domestic product and climbing. The deficit is projected to remain above 4 percent of GDP for the next decade. The week before the president signed his health care reform into law, Moody’s warned that America’s AAA bond rating may be downgraded. The day before the signing ceremony, the nation learned that Warren Buffett is a safer investment than U.S. treasuries. One needn’t look across the Atlantic, where a penniless Greece is a supplicant to the IMF, to see our future. Look to California, where the economy is crippled by high taxes, high spending, and burdensome debt. the rest

The Bentness of Human Nature

Mon, Mar. 29 2010
By Chuck Colson
Christian Post Guest Columnist

In 1961, psychologist Stanley Milgram devised a now-infamous series of experiments. The goal was to understand why seemingly ordinary men carried out the demonic orders of the Third Reich.

In Milgram’s experiments, a volunteer was told to administer electric shocks to another “volunteer” when he answered a question incorrectly. The victim was an actor-there was no electricity. But with each failure, a more powerful the shock was ordered.

When volunteers hesitated, an authority figure prodded them, starting with “please continue” and escalating to “you have no other choice, you must go on.”

These words were enough for two-thirds of the volunteers to administer what they believed was a fatal shock. the rest

For churches, gay-marriage divide sharpens

March 29, 2010

Immanuel Lutheran Church in Waukee is five miles down the road from Walnut Hills United Methodist Church in Urbandale.

But they have moved further apart, philosophically, since the Iowa Supreme Court ruled on April 3, 2009, to legalize same-sex marriage.

The dilemma for churches didn't start with the court's decision. Congregations have been praying and struggling for years. But in this last year, the debate sharpened, not only between denominations and congregations but often within individual churches. the rest

Georgetown Students Vote To Fund Abortion Rights Panel

Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Student Activities Commission (SAC) of Georgetown University, a Jesuit, Catholic university, voted in favor of funding an abortion “rights” panel on campus, according to The Hoya.

The Hoya article said the pro-abortion event would feature three male panelists in favor of abortion “rights” speaking on the role of men in the pro-abortion movement. It would be sponsored by a new coalition recently formed by United Feminists and H*yas for Choice called “Plan A: Hoyas for Reproductive Justice.” The Plan A event was initially denied a request for University support in a Feb. 24 letter from Vice President for Student Affairs Todd Olsen. He wrote: “Through its speech and expression of policy, the University provides students the opportunity to participate in a dialogue on a wide range of issues.” He continued, “As a Catholic and Jesuit institution, however, Georgetown cannot support organizations whose stated purpose conflicts with Catholic moral teaching.” the rest

Anglican groups around the world accept Vatican invitation

Richard Cimino - Religion Watch
30 Mar 2010

Since the Vatican issued a 2009 document that invited Anglicans to convert to Roman Catholicism while maintaining their traditions, there have been a growing number of churches taking Rome up on its offer.

In discussion with conservative Anglicans, Pope Benedict XVI drew up new guidelines in a document known as Anglicanorum Coetibus (or "Groups of Anglicans") which would make it easier for parishes and larger groups of disaffected Anglicans to convert to Catholicism. The agreement would allow for Anglicans to retain parts of their liturgy as well as establish "personal ordinariates," a structure similar to dioceses that would give them a measure of autonomy to preserve their traditions.

In early March, the Anglican Church in America, a U.S.-based denomination that broke off from the mainline Episcopal Church, voted to seek entry into the Catholic Church. "The House of Bishops requested the establishment of an Ordinariate in the US as prescribed in the Apostolic Constitution," that parishes could then join. There are 100 parishes in the ACA. the rest

Front Page Magazine on the sale of Good Shepherd, Binghamton to Muslims

by Faith J. H. McDonnell
on Mar 30th, 2010

During its peak as a thriving little manufacturing center filled with stately homes and mansions, Binghamton, New York, was nicknamed the “Parlor City.” Today many of those same mansions are funeral parlors. History appears to be repeating itself in modern day Binghamton. For some 130 years, the city was the home to the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd. But recently, the Episcopal Diocese of Central New York sold the pretty little church building on Conklin Avenue to the Islamic Awareness Center.

In selling Church of the Good Shepherd’s building to the Muslim group, the Episcopal Diocese of Central New York was killing two birds with one stone. First, they placed an enormous obstacle in the path of the now-Anglican Church of the Good Shepherd. Second, they offered a big inter-faith embrace to their Muslim brothers and sisters who needed a property from which to extend the Dawah (the invitation to Islam). That’s a good day’s work for a diocese that has been losing church members for the past ten years or more. the rest

Comments at Stand Firm

Biblical plagues really happened say scientists

The Biblical plagues that devastated Ancient Egypt in the Old Testament were the result of global warming and a volcanic eruption, scientists have claimed.
By Richard Gray, Science Correspondent
27 Mar 2010

Researchers believe they have found evidence of real natural disasters on which the ten plagues of Egypt, which led to Moses freeing the Israelites from slavery in the Book of Exodus in the Bible, were based.

But rather than explaining them as the wrathful act of a vengeful God, the scientists claim the plagues can be attributed to a chain of natural phenomena triggered by changes in the climate and environmental disasters that happened hundreds of miles away.

They have compiled compelling evidence that offers new explanations for the Biblical plagues, which will be outlined in a new series to be broadcast on the National Geographical Channel on Easter Sunday. the rest image

Monday, March 29, 2010

Devotional: Go to, faithful soul, prepare thy heart...

Go to, faithful soul, prepare thy heart for this bridegroom that he may vouchsafe to come to thee and dwell within thee, for so He saith, if any man loveth me he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him and make our abode with him. Give, therefore, place to Christ and refuse entrance to all others. When thou hast Christ, thou art rich, and hast sufficient. He shall be thy provider and faithful watchman in all things, that thou hast no need to trust in men, for men soon change and swiftly pass away, but Christ remaineth for ever and standeth by us firmly even to the end. ...Thomas A Kempis image

Planned Parenthood Cheers 'Brave' Nuns for Supporting Pro-Abortion Health Bill

Monday March 29, 2010
By Kathleen Gilbert

( - Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards has given her highest accolades to the social justice lobby of Roman Catholic nuns who "broke with the bishops and the Vatican" to support the health care bill that is set to unleash federal funding for abortion.

"In the final days before the bill was passed, it was the Roman Catholic nuns who most importantly broke with the bishops and the Vatican to announce their support for health care reform," gushed Richards in a Huffington Post column March 24, referring to the social justice lobby Network.

"This brave and important move, demonstrating that they cared as much about the health care of families in America as they did about church hierarchy, was a critical demonstration of support," she continued. "Bart Stupak may not ask the nuns for advice, as he recently announced to the press, but maybe next time he should." the rest

Scientists stumped as bee population declines further

Mar 29 2010

The decline in the US bee population, first observed in 2006, is continuing, a phenomenon that still baffles researchers and beekeepers.

Data from the US Department of Agriculture show a 29 percent drop in beehives in 2009, following a 36 percent decline in 2008 and a 32 percent fall in 2007.

This affects not only honey production but around 15 billion dollars worth of crops that depend on bees for pollination.

Scientists call the phenomenon "colony collapse disorder" that has led to the disappearance of millions of adult bees and beehives and occurred elsewhere in the world including in Europe. the rest image by cygnus921

Christ Church Savannah Ad uses picture by Raymond Dague

Story here about the ad at Stand Firm

Picture by Raymond Dague-credit in lower left of the picture. Someone from Christ Church called about using the photo found on this blog and Raymond gladly gave permission. (Blue sky color was photoshopped in.) So glad it was put to such good use! -PD

Originally posted here, but blogger's imaging posting and viewing is experiencing problems right now.

IT Problems Put Accuracy of Census at Risk, Say Government Auditors

Monday, March 29, 2010
By Edwin Mora
Washington D.C.

( – Information technology problems at the U.S. Census Bureau could cause inaccuracies in this year’s constitutionally mandated count of the U.S. population, according to government auditors.

“IT problems place the efficiency and accuracy of Non-Response Follow-Up at risk and final decennial costs remain uncertain,” said Judith Gordon, the principal assistant inspector general for Audit and Evaluation at the Department of Commerce, in testimony before Congress last week. the rest

New Anglican and Lutheran groups need to nurture a positive identity.

'It's Not About the Past'
David Neff

After modernity, we are told, people crave community. Modernity disconnected us. We all need an us. But, after modernity, we have seen not just a revival of community but also a resurgence of tribalism. When us turns into us vs. them, serious danger lies ahead.

Religious communities divide when their sense of us grows weak or confused. That has happened with the Episcopal Church as its liberationist gospel has destroyed the denomination's once shared sense of identity. It is clearly time for alternative movements like the Anglican Mission in the Americas (AMIA), the Convocation of Anglicans in North America, and most recently, the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA).

A similar movement is afoot among Lutherans. Lutheran core (Coalition for Renewal) is preparing to form a new Lutheran church as well as a network of like-minded churches that will remain inside the mainline Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). the rest

Palm Sunday 2010

Christian Pilgrims Mark Palm Sunday In Jerusalem

S.C. Diocese Engages in 'Battle' with Episcopal Church

Sat, Mar. 27 2010
By Lillian Kwon
Christian Post Reporter

Though the Diocese of South Carolina remains affiliated with The Episcopal Church, the two are waging a battle over Scripture and polity.

South Carolina Bishop Mark Lawrence was not hesitant this week to express his continuing frustrations with the national church body's "false gospel" and ongoing pursuit of litigations.
"The distractions that come from the decisions others have made within The Episcopal Church have created restlessness in my spirit," he said at the diocese's 219th annual convention which concluded Friday.

"Like those in the Church at Corinth with whom St. Paul was confronted, many within the leadership of The Episcopal Church have grown willful," he lamented. "They will have their way though it is contrary to the received teaching of God’s Holy Word, the trustworthy traditions of the Christian Faith, and the expressed will of the Anglican Communion." the rest

UK: Mothers and fathers disappear from birth certificate to allow homosexual couples to be named as parents

By Steve Doughty
29th March 2010

The words 'mother' and 'father' are to disappear from birth certificates to allow homosexual couples to be named as 'parents' of surrogate children.

The switch means the biological parents will no longer necessarily be identified on the certificates that provide a legal record of a child's birth.

Birth certificates have recorded mothers and fathers since registration of babies was introduced more than 170 years ago. the rest

Most Say Tea Party Has Better Understanding of Issues than Congress

Sunday, March 28, 2010

In official Washington, some consider the Tea Party movement a fringe element in society, but voters across the nation feel closer to the Tea Party movement than they do to Congress.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 52% of U.S. voters believe the average member of the Tea Party movement has a better understanding of the issues facing America today than the average member of Congress. Only 30% believe that those in Congress have a better understanding of the key issues facing the nation. the rest

On Obamacare and Rationing

Sunday, March 28, 2010
Posted by: Hugh Hewitt

I met Rich Stowell when I stayed with the California National Guard deployed to Camp Bondsteel in Kosovo last summer. Rich, a corporal, was assigned to assist me during my visit. He has been a high school teacher and a college instructor, but is also a soldier. And a writer. He sent me his most recent piece, this one on Obamacare. His book, Nine Weeks: A Teacher's Education in Army Basic Training would be a great read for anyone about to embark on their first few months in the Army.

Obamacare Supporters Can’t Deny Health Care Rationing
by Rich Stowell
Many Democrats have complained about Republican mischaracterization of their health care law. Indeed, many of them seem apoplectic that critics of Obamacare would even suggest that the new law would lead to rationing. If conservatives keep up the argument, any mention of "rationing" will be regulated as hate speech. the rest

A Grim Sign for ObamaCare

Democratic Senator: Health Care Law to Address 'Mal-Distribution of Income'

Obamacare: Taxing Medical Devices Won’t Lower Costs

Florida poll: Healthcare law hurts Obama, Democrats

Double suicide bombings kill 37 on Moscow subway

By DAVID NOWAK, Associated Press
posted March 29, 2010

MOSCOW – Two female suicide bombers blew themselves up Monday in twin attacks on Moscow subway stations jam-packed with rush-hour passengers, killing at least 37 people and wounding 65, officials said. They blamed the carnage on rebels from the Caucasus region.

The blasts come six years after Caucasus Islamic separatists carried out a pair of deadly Moscow subway strikes and raise concerns that the war has once again come to Russia's capital, amid militants' warnings of a renewed determination to push their fight.

Chechen rebels claimed responsibility for a deadly bombing late last year on a passenger train en route from Moscow to St. Petersburg. Last month, Chechen rebel leader Doku Umarov warned in an interview on a rebel-affiliated Web site that "the zone of military operations will be extended to the territory of Russia ... the war is coming to their cities." the rest

Malkin: Jihadi subway bombing horror in Russia…again

A Papal Conversion

March 27, 2010

IN light of recent revelations, Pope Benedict XVI now seems to symbolize the tremendous failure by the Catholic Church to crack down on the sexual abuse of children. Both the pope’s brief stint as a bishop in Germany 30 years ago and his quarter-century as a top Vatican official are being scoured for records of abusive priests whom he failed to stop, and each case seems to strengthen the indictment.

For example, considerable skepticism surrounds the Vatican’s insistence that in 1980 the pope, then Archbishop Joseph Ratzinger of Munich, was unaware of a decision to transfer a known pedophile priest to his diocese and give him duties in a parish. In some ways, the question of what he knew at the time is almost secondary, since it happened on his watch and ultimately he has to bear the responsibility. However, all the criticism is obscuring something equally important: For anyone who knows the Vatican’s history on this issue, Benedict XVI isn’t just part of the problem. He’s also a major chapter in the solution. the rest

"In 2001, however, Pope John Paul II assigned responsibility to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican’s all-important doctrinal office, which was headed by Joseph Ratzinger, then a cardinal.
As a result, bishops were required to send their case files to Cardinal Ratzinger’s office. By all accounts, he studied them with care, making him one of the few churchmen anywhere in the world to have read the documentation on virtually every Catholic priest accused of sexual abuse."

Scoundrel Time(s) -First Things

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Devotional: Are you debating whether to take a step in faith?

Are you debating whether to take a step in faith in Jesus or to wait until you can see how to do the thing yourself? Obey Him with glad reckless joy. When He says something and you begin to debate, it is because you have a conception of His honour which is not His honour. Are you loyal to Jesus or loyal to your notion of Him? Are you loyal to what He says, or are you trying to compromise with conceptions which never came from Him? "Whatsoever He saith unto you, do it." ...Oswald Chambers image

Bp. Schori: Bishop calls faith open

Sunday March 28, 2010
By Rick Ruggles

The Episcopal Church invites questioning, varied viewpoints and diversity in leadership and lifestyle, the presiding bishop of the church said Saturday in Papillion.

“We won't tell you what to think,” Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori told about 140 people at St. Martha Episcopal Church.

In a speech, a question-answer session and an interview Saturday, Jefferts Schori repeatedly described hers as a faith that is open and not dogmatic.

She recalled an Episcopal ad campaign 20 years ago that said: “He died to take away your sins, not your mind.”

“I read the Gospel to say that Jesus invited everybody into His community,” she said in an interview. “He dealt with all the categories that were deemed unacceptable in His day, and He said, ‘There's a place for you at my table.'” the rest

She said Pope Benedict XVI's invitation to disaffected Anglicans (or Episcopalians) to join the Roman Catholic Church wasn't directed at conflict in the United States over female or gay bishops. England currently has a greater conflict over those issues, she said.

Anglican Primate advises politicians on selfless service

By Ademola Oni, Abeokuta
Monday, 29 Mar 2010

The new Archbishop, Metropolitan and Primate of All Nigeria, Anglican Communion, Most Revd. Nicholas Okoh, has advised the nation’s leaders to prioritise service to the people.

Okoh, who spoke at the thanksgiving service marking the retirement of Okoh’s predecessor, Rev. Peter Akinola, in Abeokuta on Sunday, called on politicians to use the nation’s resources to transform Nigeria “miraculously” so that they would be remembered for good causes.

At the retirement thanksgiving service, Ogun State Governor Gbenga Daniel extolled the fearlessness of the retired cleric. the rest

DioSC: St. Andrews Mt. Pleasant Votes to Leave TEC

Stand Firm
Sunday, March 28, 2010

St. Andrew's in Mt. Pleasant, the largest parish in the Diocese of South Carolina, just completed its vote on whether to leave the Episcopal Church and the Diocese of South Carolina.

Rector Steve Wood writes on his blog...

the rest

Britain is persecuting Christians, say bishops

Jonathan Wynne-Jones
28 Mar 2010

Christians in Britain are being persecuted and "treated with disrespect", senior bishops have said.

Six prominent bishops and Lord Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, describe the "discrimination" against churchgoers as "unacceptable in a civilised society".

In a thinly-veiled attack on Labour, they claim that traditional beliefs on issues such as marriage are no longer being upheld and call on the major parties to address the issue in the run-up to the general election.

In a letter to The Sunday Telegraph, the bishops express their deep disquiet at the double standards of public sector employers, claiming that Christians are punished while followers of other faiths are treated far more sensitively. the rest

Letter to The Sunday Telegraph

Health care law brings big cost for big companies

March 26, 2010

(CNN) -- It hasn't even been a week since President Obama signed sweeping health care legislation, but several companies already have warned shareholders they expect to take a hit.

Manufacturer John Deere announced Thursday that it expected the company's expenses to be about $150 million higher than last year. That came a day after Caterpillar predicted a new cost of $100 million, and two days after AK Steel predicted a charge of $31 million.

"Having an additional cost like this is not great timing," Caterpillar spokesman Jim Dugan said.
As a deep recession spread last year, revenue for Caterpillar, the world's largest manufacturer of construction equipment, declined 37 percent from the previous year, and 19,000 workers were laid off worldwide. But in the last three months, the company has recalled 750 or so employees and projected higher sales in 2010. the rest

Unwavering Faith: How the Taliban Failed to Break 8 Christians

By Michelle A. Vu
Christian Post Reporter
Sun, Mar. 28 2010

They were kidnapped and imprisoned by the Taliban for 105 days. But what the Taliban could not do was break their faith in God nor destroy their hope.

Eight Western humanitarian workers were held by the Taliban in Afghanistan on trumped up charges of proselytizing in the days leading up to the 9/11 terrorist attacks and remained imprisoned through the early U.S. bombings of Afghanistan.

The book Kabul24, released last fall, captures the harrowing tale of the workers’ experience in prison, the “angels” they met along the way, and their compassion toward the Taliban and the Afghan people. the rest

Federally funded abortions are in our future

By Kathleen Parker
Sunday, March 28, 2010

Health care is the next-to-last thing I want to write about. The last thing is abortion, so this column is a banquet of tortures.

Usually, I would not return so soon to a topic that I tend to associate with the pleasures of head-banging, but broad misunderstanding about what's in the health-care-reform law justifies another lap.

Still cloudy is whether the new law of the land allows funding for abortions and whether President Obama's executive order is of any real (judicially enforceable) value. The answer to the latter is in little dispute. It is no. An executive order cannot override a statute. the rest

Lesbian Holocaust memorial plan upsets historians

25 Mar 10

Holocaust scholars on Thursday attacked a bid to include images of kissing lesbians in a monument dedicated to the thousands of homosexuals persecuted by the Nazis, saying it distorted history.

The monument was erected in May 2008 opposite the city's large memorial to the six million Jewish Holocaust victims.

It is currently comprised of a concrete slab with a window through which viewers can watch a video of a "never-ending" kiss between two men.

Under the original plans, the video is to change every two years to feature two women locked in an embrace, meaning the switch is due in May. the rest