Saturday, May 22, 2010

Come, Holy Spirit!

Destitute of the Fire of God, nothing else counts;
Possessing Fire, nothing else matters.
...Samuel Chadwick
image by Anlex Basilio

Friday, May 21, 2010

Devotional: Worship demands purity...

Worship demands purity. Over and over we have seen that the prerequisite to the privilege of entering God's presence is the recognition of personal sinfulness and a willingness to abandon that sinfulness. A consuming desire to be pure and clean is the normal result of being with God. The closer we draw to God, the more overwhelmed we become with our sinfulness....if the corporate worship in the church leaves people unchanged, the church is not really worshiping. If what goes on in the church service does not spur the saints to greater obedience, call it what you will, it isn't worship. Worship always results in a transformation, and the church is edified by it.
...John MacArthur Jr. image by Peter Baker

Pope says Church must be missionary or die

Robert Mickens
22 May 2010

POPE BENEDICT XVI has expressed the hope that his first papal visit to the traditionally Catholic bastion of Portugal will be “an incentive for renewed spiritual and apostolic ardour” across Europe, saying the Church must bolster its missionary efforts or face “sure death”.

“In recent years the anthropological, cultural, social and religious framework of humanity has changed,” he said on 14 May in Lisbon at the final Mass of the four-day visit. “Today the Church is called to face new challenges, and is ready to dialogue with different cultures and religions, in the search for new ways of building, with all people of good will, the peaceful coexistence of peoples,” he added.

The Pope said Catholic missionary activity was “much broader today” than going to far distant lands. He said that a mission to traditionally Christian countries, whose people have begun turning away from the institutional Church, was also urgent. “We impose nothing, yet we propose ceaselessly,” he said. the rest

'Radically different' story emerges about Baptists detained in Haiti

May 18, 2010
by Michael Foust

EDITOR'S NOTE: The following story is based on interviews with Paul Thompson, one of the 10 Baptists held in prison in Haiti.

TWIN FALLS, Idaho (BP)--Paul Thompson reads the media accounts describing the journey of him and nine other jailed Baptist volunteers in Haiti who are all now free, and scratches his head. He was there. What he reads is not what he experienced.

Thompson, pastor of Eastside Baptist Church in Twin Falls, Idaho, was one of those 10 Baptist volunteers who went to Haiti in late January with the goal of taking orphans out of the earthquake-ravaged country and into an orphanage being started in the Dominican Republican. That trip took a disastrous turn Jan. 30 when the 10 were shocked to learn they were being charged with child kidnapping, with allegations swirling that the group had plans to sell the kids into slavery, or worse, to harvest and sell their organs.

Such rumors were false, but it took more than 100 days to finally resolve the matter. Eight of them were freed in February, a ninth one released in March, and the final one -- Laura Silsby -- was let go May 17, more than 100 days after the ordeal began.

The story Thompson tells is far different from what has been described repeatedly in most media accounts.

"It's radically different," Thompson said. the rest

'Artificial life' breakthrough announced by scientists

21 May, 2010
By Victoria Gill
Science reporter, BBC News

Scientists in the United States have succeeded in developing the first living cell to be controlled entirely by synthetic DNA.

The researchers constructed a bacterium's "genetic software" and transplanted it into a host cell.

The advance, published in Science, has been hailed as a scientific landmark, but critics say there are dangers posed by synthetic organisms. the rest

Church warns cell scientists not to play God

Scientist accused of playing God
While some hailed the research as 'a defining moment in the history of biology', others attacked it as 'a shot in the dark', with 'unparalleled risks'. The team involved have been accused of 'playing God' and tampering 'with the essence of life'.

Economist: And man made life-Artificial life, the stuff of dreams and nightmares, has arrived
On the face of it, then, artificial life looks like a wonderful thing. Yet that is not how many will view the announcement. For them, a better word than “creation” is “tampering”. Have scientists got too big for their boots? Will their hubris bring Nemesis in due course? What horrors will come creeping out of the flask on the laboratory bench?

AnglicanTV: Interview with Attorney Eric Sohlgren

Attorney Eric Sohlgren discusses the latest legal news from California and St James Newport Beach.

Orthodox Anglicans in US and England plan clergy swap

by Charlie Boyd
Friday, May 21, 2010

Orthodox Anglicans in North America are inviting priests in the Church of England to make a show of solidarity by taking part in a clergy swap.

The Anglican Church in North America was formed last year by Anglicans who broke away from the liberal Episcopal Church in the US. It is proposing the swap in the wake of last Saturday’s consecration by TEC of its first partnered lesbian bishop.

ACNA said the clergy swap would be an opportunity for Church of England parishes and clergy to express their solidarity and friendship with ACNA churches.

Participating clergy will be matched to churches with similar preaching and ministry styles and serve the pulpit for a period of three to four weeks in January and July or August next year. the rest

Spencer on Hannity on the 9/11 Mosque

Hoekstra: Resignation of Director of National Intelligence 'Is The Result of the Obama Administration’s Rampant Politicization of National Security'

Thursday, May 20, 2010
By Staff

Rep. Pete Hoekstra of Michigan, the ranking Republican on the House intelligence committee, says the resignation of Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair “is the result of the Obama administration’s rampant politicization of national security and outright disregard for congressional intelligence oversight.”

ABC News reported today that President Barack Obama would be accepting Blair’s resignation tomorrow, and the Associated Press reported that the administration has already interviewed several candidates to replace him. the rest

Krauthammer: The fruits of weakness
"...This is not just an America in decline. This is an America in retreat -- accepting, ratifying and declaring its decline, and inviting rising powers to fill the vacuum.

Nor is this retreat by inadvertence. This is retreat by design and, indeed, on principle. It's the perfect fulfillment of Obama's adopted Third World narrative of American misdeeds, disrespect and domination from which he has come to redeem us and the world...."

Look for the Cross

May 19th, 2010
Heather Gebelin Hacker

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1

There was a compelling article in National Geographic last year that recently came to my attention. It is about the plight of North Korean defectors attempting to escape from the brutal regime and the Christian missionaries who come to their aid. (Don’t miss the haunting photographs that accompany the story).

One girl, only 15 and alone when she escaped across the Tumen River, fled because she felt she was a burden to her impoverished family and because she did not want to take a job that required her to read the propaganda of “Dear Leader” over the town loudspeaker. One man who was converted to Christianity through his experience escaping from North Korea insists that he wants to return to his homeland one day to share the gospel, even though he could be shot for even carrying a Bible into the country. He says, “When I read about street demonstrations in Seoul, I get so happy. If I did that in North Korea, I would be sent to prison.” the rest

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Steve Jobs Says “No” To iPorn

Thursday, May 20, 2010
Kevin Staley-Joyce

Steve Jobs can, as one commenter said of his 2007 iPhone debut presentation, “sell ice to an Eskimo.” What’s more interesting than what he can sell, though, is what he chooses not to. After his well-publicized decision not to sanction adult-themed applications on the new iPad, reactions from technology experts were mixed, though few seemed shrill. Once, when asked about the possibility of smut on Apple’s mobile devices, Jobs replied, “You know, there’s a porn store for Android. . . . You can download nothing but porn. You can download porn, your kids can download porn. That’s a place we don’t want to go, so we’re not going to go there.” It effected a guilt-by-association that does—quite effectively—make the Google smartphone sound rather dirty and corrupted. the rest

The IRS Cracks Down on Small Charities

MAY 19, 2010.The IRS Cracks Down on Small Charities
The government has no business deciding what causes are worthy of support..ArticleComments (34)more in Opinion ».EmailPrintSave This ↓ More.
+ More
close Yahoo! BuzzMySpacedel.icio.usRedditLinkedInFarkViadeoOrkut Text By SUZANNE GARMENT AND LESLIE LENKOWSKY
For many small charities in the United States, May 17 may be remembered as the day their tax exemptions died. This was the deadline for charities with annual revenues of less than $25,000 to file Form 990 with the IRS.

The IRS uses Form 990 to verify that charitable organizations meet the conditions for receiving tax-deductible contributions and qualifying for tax exemptions. Until now, the smallest charities did not have to file 990s. But thanks to a seemingly minor provision of the 2006 Pension Protection Act, more than 400,000 additional nonprofits—nearly half of public charities registered with the IRS—now have to do so. If not, the IRS will take steps to revoke their tax-exempt status.

Supporters say the new filing requirement will prevent tax privileges from going to organizations that do not deserve them or may no longer even exist. But many smaller charities are unaccustomed to submitting these reports and unprepared to assemble the necessary information. They may not file and may find themselves newly liable for taxes. If they want their tax exemptions reinstated, they will incur the costs of new filings and legal fees. the rest

Abortion by Webcam

Web-cams Increase Abortion Access in Iowa
By Beth Saunders, RH Reality Check
May 19, 2010

Web-cams aren't just for chatting anymore. Women in rural areas of Iowa now have better access to early abortion care, thanks to a telemedicine program by Planned Parenthood of the Heartland.

Small Planned Parenthood clinics around Iowa are using a remote-control pill-dispensing system to make abortions available in areas where few doctors offer them.

The first-in-the-nation system allows a Planned Parenthood physician from Des Moines to visit with each patient by videoconference, then press a computer button to open a drawer in front of the patient, who could be seated up to 190 miles away. The patient then reaches into the drawer and withdraws the abortion pills. the rest

Mother Earth, Pagan Rituals, Ancestor Worship, Dancing Girls—the Consecration of Mary Glasspool

Check out Stand Firm for a video of some of the ceremonial offerings at Mary Glasspool's consecration.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Devotional: Let us not fall into the error...

Let us not fall into the error of letting our passions and carnal appetites ride in triumph, while our nobler powers walk in the dust. Grace must reign as a prince, and make the members of the body instruments of righteousness. The Holy Spirit loves order, and He therefore sets our powers and faculties in due rank and place, giving the highest room to those spiritual faculties which link us with the great King; let us not disturb the divine arrangement, but ask for grace that we may keep under our body and bring it into subjection. We were not new created to allow our passions to rule over us, but that we, as kings, may reign in Christ Jesus over the triple kingdom of spirit, soul, and body, to the glory of God the Father. ...CH Spurgeon image

The 9/11 Mosque’s Peace Charade

By Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer

A massive fifteen-story mosque and Islamic Center going up in what was once the shadow of the World Trade Center claims to offer “the opposite statement to what happened on 9/11.” The Center organizers, the America Society for Muslim Advancement (ASMA), have worked hard in the media to portray themselves as Islamic moderates working for peace on the exact spot where their belligerent coreligionists perpetrated murder and mayhem in the name of their religion. But the words and deeds of the leader of the effort, the Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, suggests a more ominous reality: Abdul Rauf is a master of deceptive, Orwellian use of language, manifesting a deep contempt for non-Muslims and full accord with the supremacist goals of the 9/11 hijackers.

Cash for Doctors

And other ways to escape the diktats of Obamacare.
BY Tony Mecia
May 24, 2010, Vol. 15, No. 34
On a wall inside Dr. Brian Forrest’s medical office in a suburb of Raleigh, North Carolina, is something you won’t find in most doctors’ offices, a price list:

Office visit $49
Wrist splint $41
Pap-smear $51.

Those are the prices patients pay for the services, and they pay on the spot. Forrest doesn’t take insurance. If he did, the prices would be far higher and not nearly as transparent. He says listing prices up front is about trying to do business in a straightforward way, “like a Jiffy Lube.”

Forrest’s practice, Access Healthcare, was born out of his frustration with the bureaucratic system run by major health care providers and insurance companies. His epiphany came about 10 years ago, as he was completing his family medicine residency at Wake Forest University. “I was basically being told I needed to see 30 patients a day every day, and that’s what we had to do,” he recalls, speaking with a soft drawl. He didn’t care for that pace, preferring to spend 45 minutes to an hour with each patient. the rest

The Black Church's Commitment to Obama

May 18, 2010
By Lloyd Marcus

Dear Black Church,

What I am about to say will probably anger you. As a black Christian, I have struggled with whether or not to address this sensitive topic. I only ask that you give my statements prayerful consideration.

Ninety-six percent of black voters, many of whom are Christians, cast their votes for Barack Obama. I question: Did your desire to see a black man in the White House trump your commitment to Christ and Christian values and principles? While I believe many white Christians also made a racist decision by voting for Obama solely because he is black, I am taking this occasion to address my fellow black Christians. the rest

Pro-Life Rand Paul Wins by Landslide in Republican Primary in Kentucky

'I am 100% pro life. I believe abortion is taking the life of an innocent human being.I believe life begins at conception and it is the duty of our government to protect this life.I will always vote for any and all legislation that would end abortion or lead us in the direction of ending abortion' (Rand Paul).
By Deacon Keith Fournier
Catholic Online

LOUISVILLE, KY (Catholic Online) - The Major news sources have all called the Republican Primary in Kentucky and Rand Paul, the son of Ron Paul, has soundly defeated Trey Grayson for the Republic Party nomination for a seat in the US Senate.

By the time the votes are all counted it could be a near landslide for the first time Senatorial candidate. Dr. Paul is a family man who has been married to his wife Kelley for 19 years. They have three sons. He is a doctor, and not a politician. That is part of the appeal he had for the voters of Kentucky. the rest image

Obama endorsements don't seem to help Democrats
Voters rejected one of President Barack Obama's hand-picked candidates and forced another into a runoff, the latest sign that his political capital is slipping beneath a wave of anti-establishment anger.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Devotional: The little troubles and worries of life...

The little troubles and worries of life may be as stumbling blocks in our way, or we may make them stepping-stones to a nobler character and to Heaven. Troubles are often the tools by which God fashions us for better things.
...Henry Ward Beecher image by magnusfranklin

Spokesman Critical of Arizona Law Admits He Too Hasn’t Read It

Napolitano Admits She Hasn't Read Arizona Immigration Law in 'Detail'

Eric Holder didn't read it

Saudi woman beats up virtue cop


It was a scene Saudi women’s rights activists have dreamt of for years.

When a Saudi religious policeman sauntered about an amusement park in the eastern Saudi Arabian city of Al-Mubarraz looking for unmarried couples illegally socializing, he probably wasn’t expecting much opposition.

But when he approached a young, 20-something couple meandering through the park together, he received an unprecedented whooping.

A member of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, the Saudi religious police known locally as the Hai’a, asked the couple to confirm their identities and relationship to one another, as it is a crime in Saudi Arabia for unmarried men and women to mix.

For unknown reasons, the young man collapsed upon being questioned by the cop.

According to the Saudi daily Okaz, the woman then allegedly laid into the religious policeman, punching him repeatedly, and leaving him to be taken to the hospital with bruises across his body and face. the rest

"Enough Money"

May 18, 2010
By Thomas Sowell

One of the many shallow statements that sound good-- if you don't stop and think about it-- is that "at some point, you have made enough money."

The key word in this statement, made by President Barack Obama recently, is "you." There is nothing wrong with my deciding how much money is enough for me or your deciding how much money is enough for you, but when politicians think that they should be deciding how much money is enough for other people, that is starting down a very slippery slope.

Politicians with the power to determine each citizen's income are no longer public servants. They are public masters. the rest

Obama's invisible Islam
"The Obama administration seems to have issued an internal gag order that forbids any official statements that might cast even the most extreme interpretations of the Islamic religion in a negative light. The "force protection review" of the Fort Hood massacre omitted any mention of shooter Nidal Malik Hasan's openly radical Islamic worldview or the fact that he made the jihadist war cry "Allahu Akbar!" before opening fire. Initially, the Obama administration refused to even call the massacre an act of terrorism, much less radical Islamic terrorism."

Texas doctors opting out of Medicare at alarming rate

May 17, 2010
Eric Kayne For the Chronicle

Houston retiree Kathy Sweeney has trouble finding specialists who take new Medicare patients and is worried about the possibility she one day could lose her regular doctor.

Texas doctors are opting out of Medicare at alarming rates, frustrated by reimbursement cuts they say make participation in government-funded care of seniors unaffordable.

Two years after a survey found nearly half of Texas doctors weren't taking some new Medicare patients, new data shows 100 to 200 a year are now ending all involvement with the program. Before 2007, the number of doctors opting out averaged less than a handful a year.

“This new data shows the Medicare system is beginning to implode,” said Dr. Susan Bailey, president of the Texas Medical Association. “If Congress doesn't fix Medicare soon, there'll be more and more doctors dropping out and Congress' promise to provide medical care to seniors will be broken.” the rest

No, You Can't Keep Your Health Plan
President Obama guaranteed Americans that after health reform became law they could keep their insurance plans and their doctors. It's clear that this promise cannot be kept. Insurers and physicians are already reshaping their businesses as a result of Mr. Obama's plan.

The health-reform law caps how much insurers can spend on expenses and take for profits. Starting next year, health plans will have a regulated "floor" on their medical-loss ratios, which is the amount of revenue they spend on medical claims. Insurers can only spend 20% of their premiums on running their plans if they offer policies directly to consumers or to small employers. The spending cap is 15% for policies sold to large employers.

This regulation is going to have its biggest impact on insurance sold directly to consumers—what's referred to as the "individual market." These policies cost more to market. They also have higher medical costs, owing partly to selection by less healthy consumers.

Finally, individual policies have high start-up costs. If insurers cannot spend more of their revenue getting plans on track, fewer new policies will be offered...

Dutch Sex Shop to Give Away 'Pope Condoms'

Dutch Sex Shop to Give Away 2,000 'Pope Condoms' in a Dig at the Catholic Church
May 18, 2010

Pope Benedict XVI waves to the crowd gathered below in Saint Peter's square during the Regina Coeli prayers at the Vatican May 16, 2010. A Dutch sex shop will be giving away 2,000 "Pope condoms" this weekend in a dig at the Roman Catholic Church.
(Alessia Pierdomenico/Reuters)AMSTERDAM (Reuters Life!) - A Dutch sex shop will be giving away 2,000 "Pope condoms" this weekend in a dig at the Roman Catholic Church. the rest

The condom wrapper carries the image of a papal figure with an unmistakable general likeness to Pope Benedict, though the figure's face is removed. It bears the words "I SAID NO! We say YES!" framing the papal image.

Story still out there: From Episcopal church to Islamic center

Marcia Segelstein
OneNewsNow Columnist

Since 1879 the Church of the Good Shepherd stood at #79 Conklin Avenue in Binghamton, NY. In February of this year, the Episcopal Diocese of Central New York sold the building to Imam Muhammad Affify. The cross has been removed from the top of the bell tower, the red doors have been repainted green, a windowpane cross has been painted over, and all Christian symbols have been eradicated. That is symbolic in itself considering that the building now houses the Islamic Awareness Center.

But this isn't a story about a congregation that had dwindled down to nothing, leaving the Diocese no choice but to sell church property to the highest bidder. Quite the contrary.

In 2002, the Rev. Matt Kennedy and his wife, Anne, were assigned to take over Good Shepherd Episcopal Church. It was hardly a thriving place at the time, with a small, aging congregation. But over time, under Fr. Kennedy's leadership, the church grew. As he wrote on the church blog: "We'd finally begun to have some impact in the neighborhood, drawing people to church through our soup kitchen and block parties. Our weekly Bible studies were packed with new people and we were, shockingly to us, beginning to draw an increasing number of students from BU [Binghamton University] January 2009 Good Shepherd was healthier, younger, larger than she'd been in decades – and she was slowly, steadily, growing."

But as the church grew, so did a rift between the traditionally-minded congregation and priest of Good Shepherd and the hierarchy of the Episcopal Church. Like so many Episcopalians, Fr. Kennedy and his flock watched as the Episcopal Church slowly but surely slid into heresy, culminating in late 2003 with the consecration of a practicing homosexual bishop, Gene Robinson. the rest

For the record, the Diocese of Central New York sold -- or perhaps sold out -- to the Imam for a mere $50,000. It is astonishing to note the lengths the Episcopal Church, under the leadership of Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, went to in order to keep a "traditional" congregation from remaining in its buildings.

Comments at Stand Firm

Albert Mohler: “For the Sake of God” — Must We Surrender Sexual Morality?

Ruth Gledhill calls upon Anglicans to just drop the issue of homosexuality “for the sake of God, themselves, and the common good.”
Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The ordination of Mary Glasspool as a bishop of the Episcopal Church on Sunday drives yet another wedge into the already fracturing Anglican Communion — and raises some of the most fundamental questions about the Church and sexual morality.

Bishop Glasspool, ordained as an auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of Los Angeles along with another woman, becomes the second openly-homosexual priest to be elected as an Episcopal bishop, and the first lesbian. As the Associated Press reported, “Seven years after the Episcopal Church caused an uproar by consecrating its first openly gay bishop, it has done the same thing again — only this time with a woman.”

In 2003, the Episcopal Church set off an explosion in the Anglican Communion by consecrating V. Gene Robinson as Bishop of New Hampshire. Robinson became the first openly-homosexual bishop serving anywhere in the Anglican Communion, the world-wide fellowship of churches related to the Church of England. In response, the Anglican Communion sternly asked the American church to refrain from any further ordinations of homosexual bishops and from offering official blessing same-sex unions. This past summer, the Episcopal Church announced its decision to defy that request. Bishop Glasspool’s ordination is the concrete demonstration of that defiance. the rest

Audio here

U.S. birth rate has dropped below replacement level

Charlie Butts

According to newly released government statistics, the U.S. birth rate has dropped below replacement level.

The fact that the birth rate is falling comes as no surprise to Colin Mason, director of media production at the Population Research Institute (PRI), who explains that "our birth rate's actually been dropping for a while."

"It's been kind of propped up temporarily by immigration to this country, but I think that as that starts to level off and as our birth rate really starts to fall in earnest, you're going to start to see more reports like this," he predicts.

Mason believes that will ultimately have the same impact Europe and China are already experiencing. the rest image by surlygirl

So Much for Europe's Superiority
"But Euro-stagnation is nothing new. It’s deeply rooted and longstanding. Indeed, since 1970 it has not been the U.S. that has faded before the onslaught from the East, but the core 15 nations of the European Union. Over that 40-year period the EU-15’s share of world GDP has plummeted from roughly 37 percent to under 28 percent; the American chunk, roughly 27 percent, has stayed remarkably even. Basically Asia, and particularly China and India’s gain, largely has been at Europe’s expense, not our's...

...Europe’s problems extend well beyond policy, into the realm of culture and demographics. Even in France, people and what they do actually matter more than abstract ideas. A culture that believes in itself, not only to have children, but also start businesses and innovate will overcome one, however theoretically well managed, that does not. This is the fundamental problem of Europe as whole, although it does not apply equally to every individual country in the union."

Brutal attacks prompt call for protection of Pakistan’s Christian minority

by Charlie Boyd
Monday, May 17, 2010

The former Bishop of Rochester is calling on the Pakistani government to protect its Christian minority after brutal attacks by extremists last year.

His call comes after Release International investigators met Christians who told of relatives who were burnt alive by militants in their homes in Gojra, near Lahore, and others who had been falsely accused of blasphemy.

Pakistan-born Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali, patron of Release, said: “The blasphemy law needs repealing, but it is a symptom of a much wider drive to enforce Islamic orthodoxy. It's not just Christians, but Muslims themselves who suffer as a result of Islamic law - especially the women.
the rest

Americans Under 30 Most Likely to Take Uncompromising Stand for Right to Life, Says Gallup Poll

Monday, May 17, 2010
By Terence P. Jeffrey, Editor-in-Chief

( - The pro-abortion left appears to be losing the battle for the heart and soul of the rising generation of Americans, according to new data released by the Gallup poll.

Americans in the 18 to 29 age bracket are now more likely than their elders to believe abortion should be illegal in all circumstances, according to the data released last week, and generally oppose abortion in greater numbers than Baby Boomers. the rest

CA: Millions in Planned Parenthood funding on budget chopping block?

Monday, May 17, 2010

Vatican to claim bishops are not 'employees'

May 17, 2010

The Vatican will today make it most detailed defence yet against claims that it is liable for U.S. bishops who allowed priests to molest children, saying bishops are not its employees and that a 1962 against Vatican document did not require them to keep quiet.

The Vatican will make the arguments in a motion to dismiss a federal lawsuit on jurisdictional grounds filed in Louisville, Kentucky, but it could affect other efforts to sue the Holy See.

Jeffrey Lena, the Vatican's lawyer in the US, said the Vatican would assert that bishops are not its employees because they are not paid by Rome, don't act on Rome's behalf and are not controlled day-to-day by the pope - factors courts use to determine whether employers are liable for the actions of their employees. the rest (h/t Virtueonline)

Battle over American seat on the ACC looms:

by George Conger
May 16, 2010

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

A battle is looming over the composition of the Anglican Consultative Council’s (ACC) Standing Committee with conservative leaders urging the chairman of the ACC declare the seat of American delegate Dr. Ian Douglas vacant.

The fight over Dr. Douglas’ seat comes in the wake of sharp criticism of the integrity of the ACC’s staff and hostility towards the usurpation of powers by the Standing Committee voiced by Global South Anglican leaders attending last month’s Singapore encounter.

While the fight over Dr. Douglas’ seat may not have the emotional intensity as the consecration on May 15 of Mary Glasspool as Suffragan Bishop of Los Angeles, moderates within the Global South leadership tell The Church of England Newspaper the continued malleability of the rules of the Anglican game in favour of the US may well prove too much. the rest

Faith Matters: Rebooting The Episcopal Church?

Walter Mead
May 16th, 2010

It was the beginning of the end of the Episcopal Church as we have known it. At a Saturday ceremony in Long Beach, California, Mary Glasspool was consecrated as bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles, California. Bishop Glasspool has lived for 22 years in a committed relationship with another woman. She is the second openly gay bishop to be consecrated in the Episcopal Church; the consecration comes after warnings from the Archbishop of Canterbury and other Anglican leaders around the world that this decision means that the Episcopal church will soon lose its status as a full member of the worldwide Anglican Communion.

For non-Anglicans and non-Episcopalians, the issues here may be fuzzy. The Anglican Communion is a group of churches who acknowledge a common descent from the Church of England and maintain a relationship with the Archbishop of Canterbury. The Anglican Communion is not an organization like the Roman Catholic Church. The Anglican Communion is the ecclesiastical counterpart, more or less, of the British Commonwealth, and the position of the Archbishop of Canterbury in it is very much like the Queen of England’s role in the Commonwealth. The wheels of ecclesiastical procedure grind very slowly, but in due course of time the bishops of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States are on track to lose their status as full members of the Communion.

It’s hard to tell what the consequences will be here in the United States. The Episcopal Church will keep its property and continue to manage its affairs as it now does. It will probably continue to drift toward the PC left in various ways, and it will probably also continue to shrink. If the Anglican Communion decides to recognize a new local ‘affiliate’ as the American branch of the Anglican family tree, it seems likely that conservative and moderate Episcopalians may drift in that direction. the rest

The Weight of Smut

Mary Eberstadt
posted May 17, 2010

As the impressively depressing cover story “America the Obese” in the May issue of The Atlantic serves to remind us all, the weight-gain epidemic in the United States and the rest of the West is indeed widespread, deleterious, and unhealthy—which is why it is so frequently remarked on, and an object of such universal public concern. But while we’re on the subject of bad habits that can turn unwitting kids into unhappy adults, how about that other epidemic out there that is far more likely to make their future lives miserable than carrying those extra pounds ever will? That would be the emerging social phenomenon of what can appropriately be called “sexual obesity”: the widespread gorging on pornographic imagery that is also deleterious and unhealthy, though far less remarked on than that other epidemic—and nowhere near an object of universal public concern. That complacency may now be changing. The term sexual obesity comes from Mary Ann Layden, a psychiatrist who runs the Sexual Trauma and Psychopathology Program at the University of Pennsylvania. She sees the victims of Internet-pornography consumption in her practice, day in and day out. She also knows what most do not: Quietly, patiently, and irrefutably, an empirical record of the harms of sexual obesity is being assembled piecemeal via the combined efforts of psychologists, sociologists, addiction specialists, psychiatrists, and other authorities.

Young people who have been exposed to pornography are more likely to have multiple lifetime sexual partners, more likely to have had more than one sexual partner in the last three months, more likely to have used alcohol or other substances at their last sexual encounter, and—no surprise here—more likely to have scored higher on a “sexual permissiveness” test. They are also more likely to have tried risky forms of sex. They are also more likely to engage in forced sex and more likely to be sexual offenders. the rest

Faithful Presence

James Davison Hunter says our strategies to transform culture are ineffective, and the goal itself is misguided.
Interview by Christopher Benson

Over two decades have passed since Allan Bloom's famous polemic, The Closing of the American Mind, shook up the American academy. The time is ripe for another shakeup. Enter James Davison Hunter, whose latest contribution, To Change the World: The Irony, Tragedy, and Possibility of Christianity in the Late Modern World (Oxford), promises to shake up American Christianity. An endorsement for Bloom's book applies just as well to Hunter's: It "will be savagely attacked. And, indeed, it deserves it, as this is the destiny of all important books … Reading it will make many people indignant, but leave nobody indifferent."

Hunter, professor of religion, culture, and social theory at the University of Virginia, is author of Culture Wars: The Struggle to Define America and The Death of Character: On the Moral Education of America's Children.


To Change the World: The Irony, Tragedy, and Possibility of Christianity in the Late Modern World
by James Davison Hunter
Oxford University Press,
April 2010368 pp., $27.95

Thousands flock to Vatican to back pope over abuse

Nicole Winfield, Associated Press Writer
Sun May 16, 2010

VATICAN CITY – More than 100,000 people filled St. Peter's Square on Sunday in a major show of support for Pope Benedict XVI over the clerical sex abuse scandal.

Benedict said he was comforted by such a "beautiful and spontaneous show of faith and solidarity" and again denounced what he called the "sin" that has infected the church and needs to be purified.

Citing estimates from Vatican police, the Vatican press office said 150,000 people had turned out for the demonstration organized by an association of 68 Italian lay groups. the rest

Video: The greatest political ad ever?


United Methodists might broach subject of gay preachers

Will they follow the lead of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America?
Star Tribune
May 14, 2010

Are the United Methodists preparing to follow the lead of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) in allowing gay ministers?

The ELCA spent a decade arguing over the matter before it voted last summer to recognize gay and lesbian ministers who are involved in monogamous relationships. The United Methodists aren't anywhere close to taking a similar vote; the best description of their situation is that they are thinking about thinking about it.

At its meeting next month, the Minnesota Annual Conference has agreed to accept eight petitions dealing with the church's stance on homosexuality. But conference officials aren't promising that the petitions will reach the floor. They will be debated "if there is time." the rest

Scotland: Presbyterians and Catholics develop joint liturgy

Wednesday, May 12, 2010
By Ekklesia

A Church of Scotland body is urging congregations to celebrate their common baptism with Roman Catholics for the first time by using a special joint liturgy for the reaffirmation of baptismal vows.

The groundbreaking call, seen as a huge step in inter-church links, is made in the report of the Kirk’s Ecumenical Relations Committee to the General Assembly.

The liturgy was devised by the Presbyterian denomination's Joint Commission on Doctrine, made up of officials from both churches. the rest

Anglican communion's first openly lesbian bishop

Anglican rift deepens over Episcopalian ordination of lesbian bishop
The Anglican rift over homosexual clergy has grown deeper than ever after the ordination in California of the Church’s first lesbian bishop.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, had previously called the move regrettable and warned that it called into question the place of the US Episcopalian Church in the global Anglican Communion.

Mary Glasspool, 56, was ordained on yesterday in front of 3,000 supporters — and two protesters — in the Long Beach Arena, south of Los Angeles.

Matt Kennedy+: Why nobody seems to care about the consecration of Mary Glasspool
Excerpt: That the Episcopal Church--an evaporating pond already overstocked with committed Muslims, witches and wizards, Sufi dancers, labyrinths, cosmic techno masses, Buddhists, John Spong, Marcus Borg, John Chane, and, yes, many people who engage in sex acts with members of the same sex--tosses an episcopal lesbian into the stagnating water just isn't news. Its sadly obvious that they desperately wanted the attention. They rented an auditorium that seats tens of thousands of people. They were preparing for a vast media presence. You get the sense that they really wanted to recreate that old magic civil rights breaking the barriers feeling--that rush of exhilaration: "Look at me world! I'm a brave revolutionary! I am defending the downtrodden, upholding the outcast, including the excluded!" They wanted the crowds. They wanted the coverage. "Everybody look! Here we are, an historic church. And look what we are doing. We're consecrating a lesbian! Isn't that grand? Aren't we the embodiment of all that the masses long for?"

GetReligion: Beyond the L-word? Ask questions
As you would expect, the Baltimore Sun is in full celebration mode when it comes to the consecration of the Rev. Canon Mary Douglas Glasspool of Annapolis as a new assistant bishop in the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles. This makes sense for all kinds of reasons, in terms of the newspaper’s views of the changes that must be made to help build a better and more enlightened world.

The story, as you would expect, openly admits that this local story about the rise of the Episcopal Church’s first openly lesbian, partnered bishop has national and global elements. Here is the section of the story that makes this clear, while stressing the racial diversity of her new home diocese and its power base of progressive parishes.

Los Angeles and Stuff
It’s not that I hadn’t noticed yet another TEC Bishop who’s in a sexual relationship out of marriage, it’s just that it all seems rather de rigueur these days. In some senses would you expect anything less of a church that has stuck its two fingers up at the rest of the Communion for so long? Consecrating unrepentant sinners and heretics is what they do.

Conservative Anglicans Lament Ordination of 2nd Gay Bishop

Pelosi to Aspiring Musicians: Quit Your Job, Taxpayers Will Cover Your Health Care


Sunday, May 16, 2010

Pope Benedict:Church ‘suffers persecution through its own sins’

Robert Mickens
15 May 2010

Pope Benedict XVI has called the clergy sex-abuse crisis a “really terrifying” reminder that the “greatest persecution of the Church does not come from enemies on the outside, but is born from sin within the Church”.

He made the comments on Tuesday to journalists who were flying with him to Lisbon as he embarked on a four-day pastoral visit to Portugal. They were in response to a specific question about whether the current abuse crisis could be interpreted in light of Our Lady of Fátima’s message that the Church would have to suffer.

“In terms of what we today can discover in this message, attacks against the Pope or the Church do not only come from outside; rather the sufferings of the Church come from within, from the sins that exist in the Church,” he said on the papal plane.

“The Church therefore has a deep need to re-learn penance, to accept purification, to learn on one hand forgiveness but also the need for justice,” he continued. But he stressed that “forgiveness is not a substitute for justice”. He said: “In a word, we have to re-learn these essentials: conversion, prayer, penance, and the theological virtues [of faith, hope and charity].” the rest

The Cost of Father Maciel
For either purpose, a figure such as Cardinal Sodano has to be removed from his current position and told to serve the Church in prayer. Everyone inside the Church needs to be taught that there are consequences for scandalous mistakes. And, for the outside world, Catholicism needs a story to tell, a narrative that can convey the simple truth: Despite the sins of its members, the Church remains what it has been—a light in dark places, a force of charity for the weak and the poor, and a hope for humankind on its way to the saving truth that is God.