Saturday, August 07, 2010

Devotional: When I am sore beset...

When I am sore beset,
I seek some quiet place,
Some lonely room or barren windswept hill,
And there in silence wait apart
Until I see again the smile upon God’s face;
Until His presence floods me like the dawn,
And I can hear His whispered,
Peace, be still,
And know the strength to do His will.
I turn to take my load and find it gone.
...Antoinette Goetschius

The Rise of the Altar Girls

Thursday, August 5, 2010
Meghan Duke

Yesterday, reporter of all things Catholic John Allen covered the story of the pentennial International Pilgrimage of Altar Servers that brought an estimated 50,000 alter servers to Rome for a rally with the Holy Father. Of particular interest, Allen notes, was the predominance of female attendees:

For the first time this year, the female altar servers in attendance outnumbered the males. According to organizers, the balance was roughly 60-40 in favor of females. The official Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, pointed to the turnout as a symbol of “the massive entry in recent decades of girls and young women into a role once reserved exclusively to males.”

That’s striking given that in some quarters, the very idea of altar girls remains controversial.

the rest image

To Serve Is to Suffer

If the apostle Paul knew fatigue, anger, and anxiety in his ministry, what makes us think we can avoid them in ours?
by Ajith Fernando
posted August 7, 2010

North American Christians have paid special attention to the suffering of Christians in the Global South ever since 1996, when a coalition of Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish activists began raising awareness about the persecution of Christians outside the West. When Christians, especially in the West, have shown concern for the persecution of majority-world believers, they have often approached it through the lens of human rights. In this installment of the Global Conversation, Sri Lankan pastor and evangelist Ajith Fernando helps us focus on suffering as an essential part of Christian discipleship, but especially for those called to be church leaders.

I write this shortly after returning from a week of teaching pastors in the deep south of Sri Lanka. These pastors' experience shows that when people pioneer in unreached areas, they usually wait 10 to 15 years before seeing significant fruit and reduced hostility. In the early years, they are assaulted and accused falsely; stones are thrown onto their roofs; their children are given a hard time in school; and they see few genuine conversions. Many pioneers give up after a few years. But those who persevere bear much eternal fruit. I am humbled and ashamed of the way I complain about problems that are minute compared to theirs.

When I return from ministry in the West, my feelings are very different. I have been able to "use my gifts" and spend most of my time doing things I like. But when I resume being a leader in Sri Lanka's less-efficient culture, frustration hits me. The transition from being a speaker in the West to being a leader in Sri Lanka is difficult. As a leader, I am the bond-servant (doulos) of the people I lead (2 Cor. 4:5). This means that my schedule is shaped more by their needs than by mine.

Vocational fulfillment in the kingdom of God has a distinct character, different from vocational fulfillment in society. Jesus said, "My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work" (John 4:34, ESV, used throughout). If we are doing God's will, we are happy and fulfilled. But for Jesus, and for us, doing God's will includes the Cross. The Cross must be an essential element in our definition of vocational fulfillment. the rest-don't miss this! image

Same-Sex Marriage and the Assault on Moral Reasoning

by Matthew J. Franck
August 6, 2010

Even same-sex marriage advocates should recognize the bad logic in the ruling overturning Proposition 8.

It is something of a consolation, albeit a small one, that the best arguments advocates for a constitutional “right” to same-sex marriage can muster are so transparently bad. Disconnected from nature, from history, from the canons of legal reasoning, and even from the standards of logic itself, their arguments betray themselves at every turn, as acts of the will and not of reasoned judgment. When the advocate advancing the arguments wears a black robe and sits on the federal bench, of course, even falsehood and fallacy have a decent chance of ultimate victory.

Such an advocate is Judge Vaughn Walker of the U.S. district court in San Francisco. After two and a half weeks of trial in January, and a day of closing arguments in June, he finally delivered his ruling and opinion in Perry v. Schwarzenegger on August 4, overturning California’s Proposition 8, an amendment to the state constitution adopted by the people in November 2008, declaring that “only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.” The California Supreme Court, in May of that year, had overturned an earlier popular referendum protecting marriage (that had only statutory status) on grounds that it violated the state constitution. And so the people of the state, against the odds and facing elite opposition, amended that constitution just six months later. Judge Walker has shifted the ground of the controversy to the federal constitution, and has flung wide the door of the federal courts to embrace (he hopes) some of the worst sophistical knavery that has been seen in quite some time in the pages of American jurisprudence. the rest

Perhaps here, in this nadir of absurdity, we have found the real fundament of the judge’s thinking. Citizens who wish to defend the institution of marriage as they and their families have known it all their lives, and for countless generations, are irrational bigots. Worse still, if they are moved to act because of the union of their faith with their moral opinions, they are crazy religious folk, bent only on harming others whom they merely “dislike” on grounds that cannot possibly be defended before a tribunal of right-thinking people. And those others, the same-sex-couple plaintiffs? They must be rescued from the “harm” to their feelings that results from their exclusion from a historic civil and moral institution that has never hitherto been thought to have been built for them.

Professor says he was fired, discriminated for being straight

By Logan Burruss
August 6, 2010
New York

(CNN) -- A former college professor in upstate New York says he was fired and discriminated against because he is straight.

Dr. Csaba Marosan taught natural Sciences at Trocaire College in Buffalo. He told CNN that he was asked not to return this year because of his formal complaint against the college in 2009.

Marosan alleges that college officials gave preferential treatment to gay faculty members in a small clique dubbed, "the Merry Men."

The college denied the allegations and attributes his dismissal to lack of qualifications. The former professor said he has taught at the college for eight years. the rest

U.S. Job Market Loses Steam

Private Sector Expands Slightly, but Governments Cut Jobs; Treasury Yields
AUGUST 7, 2010
By SUDEEP REDDY

The government's latest snapshot of the job market was bleak, a sign the economic recovery is running out of steam with 14.6 million Americans still searching for work.

Job growth proved anemic in July as governments cut jobs and private-sector employers barely expanded.

The economy shed 131,000 jobs, as 143,000 temporary Census workers fell off federal payrolls. Private-sector employment grew by 71,000 in July after a downwardly revised 31,000 in June. Government employment, not counting Census workers, fell by 59,000.

The unemployment rate held steady at 9.5% largely because people gave up hope of finding work and left the labor force.

The latest figures confirm the labor market has lost much of its momentum in recent months. The private sector has added 90,000 jobs a month on average so far this year, well below the 125,000 needed monthly just to keep up with population growth, let alone recover the eight million jobs lost during the recession. Two-thirds of the private-sector job creation this year occurred in March and April, when the economy's trajectory appeared stronger. the rest

Lavish Obama vacation in time of economic turmoil raises eyebrows

ObamaCare: The sum of all fears

August 5, 2010
Mary Katharine Ham
and Guy Benson

Two years ago, Ed Morrissey and Allahpundit were kind enough to allow us to write here on “The Comprehensive Case Against Barack Obama” —a lengthy analysis pitting candidate Obama’s rhetoric against his actual record, past statements and long-time associations. We felt certain at the time, and still do, that his campaign was at its core a savvy marketing machine designed, in part, to deliberately mislead voters about the candidate’s true beliefs and experience. Revisiting our presentation two years later, we take no joy in saying that the administration has largely vindicated our concerns.

One of those concerns is health care reform. On March 21, after more than a year of contentious debate, Congressional Democrats finally passed their health care reform bill without a single Republican vote in either house. The president has challenged Republicans to run against his unpopular health care law—implying that they don’t have the political courage to do so. He may be right on that point; he may not—but the facts show that (a) many of the highest-profile selling points employed by the Left to drag Obamacare across the finish line were either incorrect or intentional distortions, (b) the consequences of not repealing this law are dire, and (c) the public’s enduring hostility toward Obamacare demonstrates a political appetite for repeal. the rest image

The facts now prove there was plenty to fear in good faith.
Medicare Actuary Doubts the Health of Medicare’s Trust Fund

6 Americans on medical charity team among 10 killed by militants in remote Afghanistan

August 07, 2010
Associated Press

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Ten members of a medical team, including six Americans, were shot and killed by militants as they were returning from providing eye treatment and other health care in remote villages in northern Afghanistan, a spokesman for the team said Saturday.

Dirk Frans, director of the International Assistance Mission, said one German, one Briton and two Afghans also were part of the team that made the two-week trip to Nuristan province. They drove to the province, left their vehicles and hiked for hours over mountainous terrain to reach the Parun valley in the province's northwest.

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid told The Associated Press in Pakistan that they killed the foreigners because they were "spying for the Americans" and "preaching Christianity."

Frans said the International Assistance Mission is registered as a nonprofit Christian organization but does not proselytize. the rest

A Muslim victim of 9/11: 'Build your mosque somewhere else'

By Neda Bolourchi
Sunday, August 8, 2010

I have no grave site to visit, no place to bring my mother her favorite yellow flowers, no spot where I can hold my weary heart close to her. All I have is Ground Zero.

On the morning of Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001, I watched as terrorists slammed United Flight 175 into the South Tower of the World Trade Center, 18 minutes after their accomplices on another hijacked plane hit the North Tower. My mother was on the flight. I witnessed her murder on live television. I still cannot fully comprehend those images. In that moment, I died as well. I carry a hole in my heart that will never be filled.

From the first memorial ceremonies I attended at Ground Zero, I have always been moved by the site; it means something to be close to where my mother may be buried, it brings some peace. That is why the prospect of a mosque near Ground Zero -- or a church or a synagogue or any religious or nationalistic monument or symbol -- troubles me.
the rest

Illinois Episcopalians to vote for new bishop

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Ever since 2003, when the Episcopal Church consecrated an openly gay man as New Hampshire's bishop, it has been under fire from conservative Anglicans around the world. Including some within its own ranks.

Bishop Peter Beckwith made headlines as one of several outspoken American bishops unhappy with the state of the Episcopal Church over the last decade. Beckwith led the Springfield, Ill., Diocese for 18 years. The diocese of about 5,000 people encompasses Southern and eastern-central Illinois and includes congregations in Alton, Belleville, Carbondale, Edwardsville, Glen Carbon, Granite City and O'Fallon.

Beckwith retired in February, and today, clergy and lay leaders from the diocese will come together to choose four nominees from a slate of 14 who will stand for election in September to succeed him. the rest

Friday, August 06, 2010

Devotional: If a child is in its father's arms...

If a child is in its father's arms, nothing can touch it without that father's consent, unless he is too weak to prevent it. And even if this should be the case, he suffers the harm first in his own person before he allows it to reach his child. If an earthly parent would thus care for his little helpless one, how much more will our heavenly Father, whose love is infinitely greater and whose strength and wisdom can never be baffled, care for us!

He, who counts the very hairs of our heads and suffers not a sparrow to fall without him, takes note of the minutest matters that can affect the lives of his children, and regulates them all according to his perfect will, let their origin be what they may.
...Hannah Whitall Smith image

Peggy Noonan: America Is at Risk of Boiling Over

And out-of-touch leaders don't see the need to cool things off.
AUGUST 7, 2010

Excerpt:
But do our political leaders have any sense of what people are feeling deep down? They don't act as if they do. I think their detachment from how normal people think is more dangerous and disturbing than it has been in the past. I started noticing in the 1980s the growing gulf between the country's thought leaders, as they're called—the political and media class, the universities—and those living what for lack of a better word we'll call normal lives on the ground in America. The two groups were agitated by different things, concerned about different things, had different focuses, different world views.

But I've never seen the gap wider than it is now. I think it is a chasm. In Washington they don't seem to be looking around and thinking, Hmmm, this nation is in trouble, it needs help. They're thinking something else. I'm not sure they understand the American Dream itself needs a boost, needs encouragement and protection. They don't seem to know or have a sense of the mood of the country. the rest

Late-term Abortionists Dump Kansas Licenses, Will Avoid Discipline

Friday August 6, 2010
Albuquerque, NM

(LifeSiteNews.com) – Two Albuquerque late-term abortionists who worked for George Tiller’s Women’s Health Care Services (WHCS) in Wichita, Kansas, before it permanently closed last year have dumped their Kansas medical licenses.

Troy Newman, the president of Operation Rescue, has speculated that the move was deliberately made in order to place the pair outside the disciplinary jurisdiction of the Kansas State Board of Healing Arts (KSBHA).

Tiller and his employees have come under intense scrutiny from the KSBHA for engaging in practices of questionable legality. the rest

Poll: 3 in 5 New Yorkers Oppose Ground Zero Mosque

Fri, Aug. 06 2010
By Ethan Cole
Christian Post Reporter

More than three-in-five New Yorkers are opposed to the plan to build a mosque near Ground Zero, revealed results of a new survey released Thursday.

Only 26 percent of New York residents support the proposed 13-story, $100 million Muslim cultural center in lower Manhattan two blocks from the site of the World Trade Center, according to survey findings from New York-based Siena College Research Institute.

“Large majorities of all New Yorkers, every party, region and age give a thumbs-down to the Cordoba House Mosque being built near the Ground Zero site,” remarked Dr. Don Levy, SRI’s director. the rest

Prop 8: Judge Walker’s Phony Facts

August 5, 2010
NRO

Excerpt:
...What Walker did not prepare us for is the jaw-dropping experience of reading his sophomorically reasoned opinion. Of the 135 pages of the opinion proper, only the last 27 contain anything resembling a legal argument, while the rest is about equally divided between a summary of the trial proceedings and the judge’s “findings of fact.” The conclusions of law seem but an afterthought — conclusory, almost casually thin, raising more questions than they answer. On what grounds does Judge Walker hold that the considered moral judgment of the whole history of human civilization — that only men and women are capable of marrying each other — is nothing but a “private moral view” that provides no conceivable “rational basis” for legislation? Who can tell? Judge Walker’s smearing of the majority of Californians as irrational bigots blindly clinging to mere tradition suggests that he has run out of arguments and has nothing left but his reflexes... the rest

Robert P. George: What happens when judges decree instead of deliberate

...For these and many other reasons, the latest federal court decisions on marriage are more than merely misguided; they are deeply insulting to millions of the judges’ fellow citizens...

British muslim children in danger of ‘Talibanisation’

6 Aug 2010
The Christian Institute

Something must be done to stop the alarming ‘Talibanisation’ of young British muslims, warns the chair of the British Muslims for Secular Democracy (BMSD).

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown said: “Make no mistake, Taliban devotees are in our schools, playgrounds, homes, mosques, political parties, public service, private firms and universities.

“And if we are to have any hope of combating them, we need to stop this attitude of appeasement and understand why so many Muslims are attracted to the most punishing forms of belief, suppressing women and children.” the rest

Hugh Hewitt: The "Who Decides" Election

posted August 6, 2010

Excerpt:
hese data points which point to a disconnect between rulers and ruled, which accounts for the already great and still rising tension as we march towards November's votes.

I believe that there is a deep, deep disconnect between the elites and the mainstream, and the anger that is surging on both sides of the divide grows out of the sense that majorities are being trampled on. Left-wing activists point at the Senate and argue that a minority of Republican senators is blocking the majority's will. Center-right activists applaud those Republicans as representatives of the genuine mainstream and point to the votes and polls noted above and argue that the current Congressional majorities are false positives, unrepresentative of where the country truly is, delivered in large part by an Obama-awed MSM dominated by Journolistas moving in lock step to promote the left's agenda. the rest

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Damaged heart could be coaxed into mending itself, claim scientists

A broken heart could soon be able to mend itself after scientists discover a way of converting ordinary tissue into beating muscle cells.
By Richard Alleyne, Science Correspondent
05 Aug 2010

In as little as five years, researchers hope to be able to coax the heart into regenerating itself, repairing the damage caused by cardiac arrests and old age.

The revolutionary treatment could be possible after scientists discovered a technique for turning ordinary connective tissue into muscle cells inside the heart.

It works in a similar way to stem cells but instead of the new cells being grown outside the body and then injected back in, the technique simply makes the cells switch at the point where they are needed.

Around 700,000 people in Britain suffer from heart failure because it has virtually no ability to repair itself after an attack.

The main problem is that when beating muscles cells – known as cardiomyocytes – die during an attack there is no way to reactivate them and the surrounding connective tissue – known as fibroblasts – cannot take over their role.

Now Professor Deepak Srivastava at the Gladstone Institute, University of California, and his team have discovered a way of reprogramming fibroblasts into cardiomyocytes. the rest

Albert Mohler: A Gavel Falls on Marriage: The Proposition 8 Decision

Yesterday, a very important gavel fell on marriage. The central institution of human civilization suffered a direct hit, and its future hangs in the balance.
Thursday, August 5, 2010

The importance of the decision handed down yesterday by U. S. District Judge Vaughn R. Walker in California’s Proposition 8 trial will be difficult to exaggerate. Proponents of same-sex marriage immediately declared a major victory — and for good reason. The editorial board of The New York Times declared the verdict “an instant landmark in American legal history,” and so it is, even if later reversed upon appeal.

Judge Walker’s decision is sweeping and comprehensive, basically affirming every argument and claim put forth by those demanding that California’s Proposition 8 be declared unconstitutional. That proposition, affirmed by a clear majority of California voters, amended the state’s constitution to define marriage as the union of a man and a woman. In one brazen act of judicial energy, California’s voters were told that they had no right to define marriage, and thousands of years of human wisdom were discarded as irrational.

Even as the case is immediately appealed, the reality is that a Federal court has now declared that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry. Pressing beyond this verdict, Judge Walker also released a set of “findings” that include some of the most radical statements about marriage yet encountered. the rest

Obamacare could actually kill Constitution

Virginia AG warns: 'We lose this case, it's the end of federalism'
August 04, 2010
By Bob Unruh
© 2010 WorldNetDaily

Virginia's attorney general, who recently won a preliminary round over the Obama administration in his state's fight over Obamacare, warns if the federal government can order citizens to purchase health insurance, "they can order you to do anything."

If the insurance mandate is upheld, according to Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, it will be the end of the American way of life and government.

"An interesting thing for people to think about is, if this is activity that can be regulated under the Commerce Clause [of the U.S. Constitution], then the federal government can reach anything," he said in a recent interview with Fox News host Greta Van Susteren. the rest

Philly Episcopal bishop's church conviction overturned

Thursday, August 05, 2010
By Torsten Ove, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Charles Bennison has been reinstated as the head of the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania following a church court ruling overturning his conviction on charges of covering up a sexual relationship between his brother, also a priest, and a 14-year-old girl in California more than 30 years ago.

Bishop Bennison was tried before a church court in June 2008 and charged with conduct unbecoming a clergyman. He argued that he didn't know about the sexual relationship, but the lower court determined otherwise.

He appealed. In May, the bishop appeared before the church court of appeals, composed of eight bishops from around the nation. Last night, the bishop was informed that court members had reversed the lower court's decision. the rest

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Devotional: God is waiting anxiously...

God is waiting anxiously to lead each of us in the dance of praise." God is on a mission - a quest. He is looking for worshipers. As he constantly draws each of us into a deeper and more intimate friendship with himself, he is creating within us hearts that will praise him. ...Claire Cloninge image

The Lost Art of Commitment

Why we're afraid of it, and why we shouldn't be.
Chuck Colson with Catherine Larson
8/04/2010

Certain characteristics are so inherent to Christianity that to neglect them is to become a walking oxymoron. A Christian without commitment is such an oxymoron. That's why I was so disturbed when a friend shared a statement from presidential candidates at a Christian college. When asked, "What has changed the most in the past 20 years with young people who are entering college?" all the candidates said that young adults today are far less willing to commit to anything.

Whether we are talking about career, marriage, or faith, studies back up their observation. In 2008, more than half of people ages 20 to 24 had been with their current employer for less than a year. Although the recession has dampened this somewhat, young adults are still floundering when it comes to embracing a calling. Marriage, especially, has suffered; according to U.S. Census data, young adults are marrying later than ever. A 2006 PBS documentary, Generation Next, gave some insight into why: desire for adventure, career advancement, and prolonged adolescence. Lack of commitment is also hitting religion—hard. Studies suggest that the iPod generation is choosing which aspects of the faith to adopt to create their own unique spiritual playlists. the rest

The basic building blocks of society simply erode without commitment. Any sensible society must address this problem by educating people that commitment is the very essence of human relationships.

Faith and smart phones commune in religion apps

By Tom Heneghan, Religion Editor
Reuters
Tuesday, August 3, 2010

CEDARBURG, Wisconsin (Reuters) - Father Tom Eichenberger began a recent sermon by playing an iPhone ring tone of church bells into the microphone and talking about how praying is like using the popular mobile device.

"The same rules apply," he told the Sunday mass congregation at St. Francis Borgia Catholic Church in this small town north of Milwaukee.

"You don't just use your iPhone for phone calls, you have to use the apps," he said, referring to small programs that make the popular smart phones perform specific tasks.

"And you don't just use prayer to beg for things and treat God like Santa Claus," said Eichenberger, 60, reminding parishioners that prayers are also for giving praise or listening to the Spirit. the rest

Prop 8 OVERTURNED: Bp. Bruno Issues Celebratory Statement

The Huffington Post
08- 4-10

The response from the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles to the announcement Wednesday (Aug. 4) that a federal judge had overturned California's Proposition 8 was swift and celebratory.

"Justice is advancing thanks to today's ruling affirming Californians' constitutional right to marriage in faithful, same-gender relationships," Bishop J. Jon Bruno said in an official statement.

The Episcopal Church, which has in recent years become one of the Christian denominations most supportive of gay and lesbian rights, has been vocal in its opposition to Proposition 8. the rest

Prop 8 ruling drives strong religious reactions: Outrage to joy

New York Mosque Controversy Fires Up National Campaign

August 02, 2010
FoxNews.com

It's a case of right vs. right.

That's the position of the Anti-Defamation League on the construction of a 15-story, $100 million mosque and community center scheduled near New York City's Ground Zero.

The sponsors of the construction project have "every right to build at the site," the ADL said, noting the "bigotry that some have expressed in attacking” the building’s proprietors. the rest

Aside from well-known Republican personalities like former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and 2008 vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin weighing in, one North Carolina congressional candidate, a former Marine named Ilario Pantano, has begun campaigning on the issue.

"It is not about reconciliation or understanding. It is about marking religious, ideological, and territorial conquest,” he wrote in a June 18 op-ed that Pantano’s campaign re-circulated over the weekend. This mosque is a Martyr-Marker honoring the terrorists who less than a decade ago killed thousands of us just two blocks away, and it must be stopped."

ACLU praises Muslim center near Ground Zero

National Education Association Orders Members to Read Communist Guide Book

08.03.10
By Warner Todd Huston

The National Education Association (NEA) is the premier teachers union group in the country. As such it is instructive to learn the sort of reading material that the biggest of all teachers unions tells its own members to study so that they can more adequately represent teachers in America today.

A look at the NEA website reveals a shocking recommendation to its members. The union that represents the teachers that we send our children to every school day suggests that its members read the communist-like manifesto of famed left-wing agitator Saul Alinsky.
the rest
That's right, the NEA wants its members, America's teachers, to become programmed by the ideas and policy prescriptions in a communist manifesto.

The Accidental President

August 4, 2010
The Accidental President
By Michael Gerson

Excerpt:
"Obama's challenge is not a lack of theatrics. It is a lack of range. The most effective modern presidents -- a Franklin Roosevelt or a Ronald Reagan -- were able to adopt a number of tones and roles. They could express grand national ambition, withering partisan contempt, humorous self-deprecation, tear-jerking sentimentality, patriotic passion -- sometimes all in the same speech. They played an orchestra of arguments and emotions -- blaring trumpets, soft violins, rude tubas.

Not every president -- not even every successful president -- has this kind of versatility. But Obama's monotone manner has worn poorly. During the primaries, his cool detachment highlighted Sen. John McCain's alarming excitability. As president, Obama's rhetorical range runs from lecturing to prickly -- the full gamut from A to C. His speeches are symphonies performed entirely with a tin whistle and an accordion. To switch metaphors, Obama is a pitcher with one pitch. He excels only at explanation. Initially this conveyed a chilly competence. But as the impression of competence has faded, we are left only with coldness." the rest

Evidence and denial: Obama advisers refuse to believe they're failing
Last Friday, it was reported that economic growth was only 2.4 percent in the second quarter of this year - far below what the Obama administration had forecast. Yet the administration and its supporters continue to be in denial about the fact that their policies are not working. Psychologists refer to the refusal to change one's mind when confronted with contrary evidence as cognitive dissonance...

Obama's Abortion Imperialism
...The Obama administration has made abortion promotion a centerpiece of its diplomatic agenda...

Two more vicars arrested in sham immigrant marriage probe

By Sam Greenhill and Rachel Quigley
4th August 2010

Two Church of England vicars have been arrested in another suspected bogus marriage scam.
Police swooped on the Reverend Brian Shipsides, 54, and the Reverend Elwon John, 43, in the early hours of yesterday morning.

The raids came less than a week after a jury found the Reverend Alex Brown guilty of carrying out the country’s biggest ever sham wedding racket in East Sussex.

Illegal immigrants have been targeting the Church of England to con their way to a UK visa.

They marry a stranger who is an EU citizen and are then entitled to apply for permission to stay in Britain as a ‘spouse’, with access to free healthcare, education and benefits. the rest

Innovations of the Church of England turn away its believers, sacristan of London Orthodox church believes

04 August 2010
London

Interfax - Sacristan of the Dormition Cathedral in London Archpriest Mikhail Dudko believes English believers leave the Anglican Church as they do not want to put up with its innovations.

"Processes developing in the Church of England give impulse to search for a new religious foundation of life. Female priests and bishops, homosexual marriages and ordination of people who promote "non traditional sexual orientation" bother many believers," Fr. Mikhail told an Interfax-Religion correspondent.

According to him, some of those who can't accept it just put up with it, others leave the Church and some people search for something new and come to the Russian Church to find themselves in it. the rest

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Over 200 Physicians Protest Abortions at Military Hospitals

Tue, Aug. 03 2010
By Nathan Black
Christian Post Reporter

Over 200 physicians who served soldiers in the U.S. military are asking senators to resist efforts to allow abortions at military hospitals.

"Such a drastic and controversial change in longstanding federal policy could disrupt military medicine in a time of war and also undermine military physician retention and recruitment," they stated in a letter sent Tuesday by the Christian Medical Association.

In May, the Senate Armed Services Committee passed a provision that would repeal the ban on privately financed abortions at military hospitals and bases. The amendment was included in the proposed 2011 Defense Authorization bill. the rest

Health reform's bureaucratic spawn

By GLORIA PARK & FRED BARBASH
8/3/10
AP

Don’t bother trying to count up the number of agencies, boards and commissions created under the new health care law. Estimating the number is “impossible,” a recent Congressional Research Service report says, and a true count “unknowable.”

The reasons for the uncertainty are many, according to CRS’s Curtis W. Copeland, the author of the report “New Entities Created Pursuant to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.”

The provisions of the law that create the new entities vary dramatically in specificity.

The law says a lot about some of them and a little about many, and merely mentions a few. Some have been authorized without any instructions on who is to appoint whom, when that might happen and who will pay. the rest

Church in China experiencing 'tremendous' growth

by Dibin Samuel
Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The church in China is experiencing tremendous growth like never before, says the World Council of Churches (WCC).

Mathews George Chunakara, Director of WCC's International Affairs and Public Witness, said there had been a "unique and explosive growth" of Christianity among the Chinese people.

"I have been visiting China for the last 15 years. I am astounded to see the tremendous growth there. Their worship places are now overflowing," Chunakara told Christian Today. the rest

"It is not just the poor you see in churches, even the rich and educated are embracing Christianity...

Stimulus Slammed: Republican Senators Release Report Alleging Waste

Sens. Coburn, McCain Rip Stimulus Spending 'Waste'; Defenders Question Report's Details
Aug. 3, 2010

The Obama administration has credited its $862 billion stimulus program with pulling the economy out of the worst recession since the Great Depression. But a new report by two Republican senators argues the stimulus is riddled with wasteful projects that do not create jobs.
Republican senators highlight 100 projects that they say waste taxpayer dollars.The report, released by Sens. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., and John McCain, R-Ariz., highlights 100 stimulus projects that they say have "questionable goals," are "being mismanaged or were poorly planned" and are even "costing jobs and hurting small businesses." the rest

Includes:

1. Forest Service to Replace Windows in Visitor Center Closed in 2007 (Amboy, WA) -
$554,763

2. “Dance Draw” - Interactive Dance Software Development (Charlotte, NC) - $762,372

3. North Shore Connector to Professional Sports Stadiums, Casino (Pittsburgh, PA) - $62 million

4. FEMA Stalls Two Texas Fire Stations More Than a Year, Increases Costs (San Antonio, TX)
- $7.3 million

5. Abandoned Train Station Converted Into Museum (Glassboro, NJ) - $1.2 million

6. Ants Talk. Taxpayers Listen (San Francisco, CA) - $1.9 million

7. Stimulus Project Threatens Pastor’s House (Newark, OH) - $1.8 million

8. Old Abandoned Iron Furnace Gets Facelift after Money Squandered on Same Project YearsBefore (Fitchburg, KY) – $357,710

9. Power Plant Construction Won’t Start for at Least Two Years (Kern County, CA) - $308million

10. Town Replaces New Sidewalks With Newer Sidewalks That Lead to Ditch (Boynton, OK) -$89,298

More here

Solar blast could trigger aurora Tuesday night

August 2, 2010

A large solar eruption early Sunday morning launched tons of ionized atoms toward the Earth, and solar scientists say that wave of charged solar debris could trigger auroral displays across the northern United States this week.

The eruption was rated a C-3, comparatively small, but it launched a large filament of solar material into space.

"This eruption is directed right at us, and is expected to get here early in the day on Aug. 4th," said astronomer Leon Golub, of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

The sun, which has an 11-year cycle of activity, is just beginning to rebound from an unually long and quiet "solar minimum," so eruptions on this scale have not been seen for several years. the rest

Solar Tsunami! Celestial Show to Hit Earth Tonight
A gargantuan eruption of plasma on the surface of the sun has caused a celestial tsunami shower of ionized atoms to head straight for the Earth, which scientists expect to arrive at our planet Tuesday night...

Killing a Church

Mortal Follies: Episcopalians and the Crisis of Mainline Christianity by William Murchison
By Mark Tooley
American Spectator
8.3.10

Virginia's Supreme Court recently ruled against conservative former Episcopal Church congregations trying to keep their property as members of a new theologically orthodox Anglican denomination. Hundreds of local churches across America are agonizing over whether to remain in the old and increasingly heterodox Episcopal Church or depart, potentially losing venerable church properties.

Former Dallas Morning News editor and current syndicated columnist William Murchison remains in the old denomination. He published his book about the Episcopal Church just in time for the denomination's implosively historic 2009 General Convention, which officially sanctioned gay clergy and same-sex unions. Himself a long-time active Episcopalian in the theologically orthodox Diocese of Dallas, and partial to the church's Anglo-Catholic wing, Murchison sagely traces the church's fall from America's most culturally elite church to an increasingly marginal, though still highly entertaining religious sideshow. the rest-don't miss this!

Not surprisingly, the rejection of orthodoxy in favor of cultural and political fads, whatever the spiritual consequences, has been disastrous for Episcopalians and all Mainline Protestant denominations, all of which have been losing members since the 1960s, between 25 and 40 percent.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Devotional: The Lord Jesus is in the midst of His church...

The Lord Jesus is in the midst of His church. He walks among the golden candlesticks. His promise, "Lo, I am with you always," is as effectual now as it was the morning He prepared breakfast for His disciples at the lake...

If we know that Jesus is with us, every power will be developed and every grace will be strengthened. We will throw ourselves into the Lord's service with heart, soul, and strength. ...CH Spurgeon image by JP Puerta

"Communion Governance: A Revised Anglican Covenant."

AAC website

Dear Friends in Christ,

Just last Friday I concluded my Chaplain's Corner article "The Writing is on the Wall" with an appeal for credible leadership and governance structures within the Anglican Communion, and an appeal for prayer that these would take the place of the obviously discredited Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion (SCAC). Saturday morning, I received this paper from the Rev. Dr. Steven Noll, retired Vice Chancellor of Uganda Christian University, "Communion Governance: A Revised Anglican Covenant." Is the timing coincidental, or is this perhaps an answer to prayer?

On behalf of the American Anglican Council, we commend this paper for your prayerful study and consideration as potentially the best possible way forward for the Communion at this time, for the following reasons:

Revision 1: Strengthens the historic and normative role of the Anglican Formularies (page 4) by restoring the Nassau Draft's specific inclusion of the Thirty Nine Articles, the 1662 BCP and its Ordinal as the common doctrinal basis for Anglicans worldwide. This may assure evangelical Anglicans that their position is upheld within the Communion.

Revision 2: Affirms explicitly God's standard of marriage and abstinence as stated in Lambeth Resolution 1.10 (1998) as binding on members of the Communion (page 4), thereby addressing the need Global South leaders identified in paragraph 21 of the Final Communique of the Fourth Global South to South Encounter (GSE4).

Revision 3: Constitutes the Anglican Communion under the Covenant (pages 4-6): Adoption of the Covenant is co-terminous with membership and removes the muddled and failed vision of a "two-tiered' membership. It removes the Anglican Consultative Council entirely as an "Instrument of Unity" and replaces it with a revised section on the Primates to make it clear that the primary form of Communion governance is conciliar by bishops meeting in "council" regularly for "deliberations" and not simply fellowship or Indaba. Canterbury remains a "focus of unity" but provides for a "Council of Bishops", archbishops and bishops having actual jurisdiction and meeting regulalrly apart from Lambeth. The Instruments of Unity shall be composed only of those who adopt the Covenant. This too addresses the criticism of the muddled Communion governance structures that were presented in the existing Covenant to GSE4.

Revision 4: Restores the Primates to their proper oversight of Communion faith and order (page 6): See above, Revision 3 and below Revision 5.

Revision 5: Binds the Communion into an accountable union (pages 6-7): by authorizing a Primates' Council (from adopting provinces only) to de-recognize and declare "vacant" those provinces that fail to adopt this revised Covenant in a timely manner, and extends provisional recognition of membership in the Communion to "dioceses, parishes and ecclesial networks" who adopt the revised Covenant from within non-adopting provinces "until such time as the status of a replacement national and regional church is ratified by the Lambeth Council of Bishops and the Archbishop of Canterbury"-thereby addressing the needs of both Communion Partners and the ACNA in North America, and the escalating needs of the orthodox in the Church of England.

Revision 6: Replaces the SCAC with the Primates Council (or "College of Primates") throughout sections 4.2 and 4.4 as the body authorized to administer communion discipline under the Covenant (pages 7-8 and Appendix): thereby addressing the fatal defects that we have witnessed only too clearly in the meetings of the SCAC, while reaffirming the conciliar form of governance in a "council" of bishops who themselves have adopted the Covenant.
In short, "A Revised Anglican Covenant" seems to offer the substantial changes in Communion governance that would satisfy the concerns of orthodox Anglicans all over the world: GAFCON primates and bishops, non-GAFCON Global South primates and bishops, ACNA and Communion Partners. It builds upon Dr. Noll's previous paper that the American Anglican Council released prior to GSE4 in Singapore, and brings forward feedback from discussions at GSE4 and theological reflections on the just concluded meeting of the SCAC and their non-response to continuing violations of Communion moratoria by TEC and its proxies. These proposed revisions are what Dr. Noll asserts: "conservative" in treating the existing draft texts respectfully but also "radical" in directly addressing the anomalies and fatal defects with credible structures of leadership and governance.

Of course, as Dr. Noll observes, "Theologians may propose, but bishops will dispose." Will the heirs of the apostles and martyrs who died in the flames of Oxford and Namugongo find common ground and resolve to break free from the doctrinal cancer and disciplinary disorder that is rapidly infecting our Anglican Communion? Will they seize this providential moment of Gospel growth in their provinces to live into this proposed revised Covenant-or a Covenant that has even stronger and more credible structures of leadership and governance than this revision?

The alternatives are unthinkable. Please pray for godly, Gospel-centered and courageous leadership for our Anglican Communion.

Yours in Christ,
The Rev. Canon Phil Ashey,
Chief Operating and Development Officer,
American Anglican Council

The Rev. Prof. Stephen Noll: COMMUNION GOVERNANCE: A REVISED ANGLICAN COVENANT

Anglican Theologian: Pope's UK visit "crucial" for relations between two Churches

According to John Milbank, the trip is "an opportunity" for Benedict XVI to change the wrong impression that the Anglo-Saxon world has of him. Consensus between Catholics and Anglicans is "deeper than their differences".
Monday, August 02, 2010
By Asia News

London – Benedict XVI’s visit next September to the UK is of “crucial” importance. It is a chance to revitalize his image in the eyes of the British press, after the media storm involving the Pope has in recent months (in reality since the beginning of his pontificate), but also to bring together two cultures and two confessions - Catholic and Anglican - often in conflict. This is the view point of John Milbank, Anglican theologian and professor of Religion, Politics and Ethics, at the University of Nottingham, interviewed by AsiaNews ahead of the next papal trip:

What does Benedict XVI’s visit mean for the UK and the Church of England?

The visit is of crucial importance because Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular are under increasing attack in the United Kingdom. One would have thought that ‘anti Popery’ was dead and yet it has recently revived. At the same time Catholics play a very important role in British cultural and political life. They and all other Christians in this country need the encouragement that the Pope can give them. In addition I believe that this visit is a chance for Pope Benedict to correct the mistaken impressions of him that are often given in the British media. He can show that he is a person of great all-round vision whose thinking about society, economics and human relationships is often far more insightful than that of the general run of secular culture. the rest

Plagiarism Lines Blur for Students in Digital Age

By TRIP GABRIEL
August 1, 2010

At DePaul University, the tip-off to one student’s copying was the purple shade of several paragraphs he had lifted from the Web; when confronted by a writing tutor his professor had sent him to, he was not defensive — he just wanted to know how to change purple text to black.

And at the University of Maryland, a student reprimanded for copying from Wikipedia in a paper on the Great Depression said he thought its entries — unsigned and collectively written — did not need to be credited since they counted, essentially, as common knowledge.

Professors used to deal with plagiarism by admonishing students to give credit to others and to follow the style guide for citations, and pretty much left it at that. the rest

But these cases — typical ones, according to writing tutors and officials responsible for discipline at the three schools who described the plagiarism — suggest that many students simply do not grasp that using words they did not write is a serious misdeed.

What Don't You Understand About "It's Not Your Money"

Sunday, August 1, 2010
William A. Jacobson

Allowing people to keep more of what they earn is a horrible giveaway tantamount to welfare for the rich, rendering anyone who would suggest such a thing evil and greedy.

That attitude is the fundamental public policy prescription of the Democratic Party and supportive economists, as expressed in an op-ed in The Washington Post, Five Myths About The Bush Tax Cuts.

We could argue over the specifics, and the historical ignorance and wishful thinking that raising taxes results in more revenue or helps the economy.

The argument over specifics is besides the point. It's just more class warfare, presuming that someone who is successful needs to be punished. the rest

Albert Mohler: A “New Agnosticism” — Coming Soon?

Given what is at stake, living on the basis of a mere assumption that we cannot know if God exists seems a bit flimsy.
Monday, August 2, 2010

No one seems quite sure what to do with agnostics. In a sense, they are the odd cousins at the theological family reunion. The atheists and the theists know where they stand, but the agnostics? Who knows?

Writing recently at Slate.com, Ron Rosenbaum suggests that perhaps the time has come for a “new agnosticism” to match wits with the “New Atheists,” such as Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris, and Christopher Hitchens. It’s time for a “revivified agnosticism,” Rosenbaum argues. As he says, their T-shirts will read simply, “I just don’t know.”

Rosenbaum makes an interesting case for his proposed revival of agnosticism. As he cites, the word itself was coined by Thomas Henry Huxley, Charles Darwin’s aggressive sidekick. Huxley was known as “Darwin’s bulldog” for a good reason, for he was totally committed to evolutionary theory and he was nothing less than pugnacious in argument. the rest

Americans drinking alcohol hits 25-year high

BY Meena Hartenstein
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
Sunday, August 1st 2010

When the economy is in the tank, do more Americans drown their sorrows in alcohol?

Well, times are tough, and the number of U.S. adults drinking booze is at a 25-year high, according to a new Gallup poll.

Sixty-seven percent of Americans say they drink, the poll reports, the highest percentage since 1985.

But Gallup, which has been keeping track of U.S. drinking habits for the last 71 years, reports that while the numbers move up and down slightly each year, the statistics on American drinking are surprisingly steady. the rest

Dem. PETE STARK: "The Federal Government can do most anything in this country"


The Stark Reality
August 02, 2010
Sally Zelikovsky

At the end of June, the nation witnessed firsthand the behavior of California Congressman, Fortney "Pete" Stark, towards what he clearly regards as the commoners in his district. This video received over 259,000 hits from a populace tired of being told by elected officials across the land to "talk to the hand."

Stark's contemptuous behavior just reared its ugly head once again this past Saturday, July 24th at another town hall meeting in his district. (video link) As evidenced by the endless repertoire of snarky comments and silly hand gestures, Fortney "Pete" Stark is consistently contemptuous of the good people who will vote in November.

This chronic scorn qualifies Stark as one leftwing politician who cannot claim the defense of having misspoken and then continue on his marauding way through Congress -- slashing jobs, ransacking businesses and raping bank accounts -- pillaging hard-working Americans and disbursing the spoils of war as he decrees, all in the name of "representing the People." the rest

Arizona Sheriff: ‘Our Own Government Has Become Our Enemy’
(CNSNews.com) – Pinal County (Ariz.) Sheriff Paul Babeu, whose deputies patrol a county along the U.S.-Mexico border, is hopping mad at the federal government.

Babeu told CNSNews.com that rather than helping law enforcement in Arizona stop the hundreds of thousands of people who come into the United States illegally over its southern border in Arizona, the federal government is targeting the state and its law enforcement personnel...

Episcopal leaders taking steps to address sex abuse by clergy

Monday, August 02, 2010
By Ann Rodgers, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

When former Episcopal Bishop Donald Davis of Erie was accused of child molestation in 1994, he resigned so quietly from ministry that most other bishops didn't know why. It was the same year that an Episcopal bishop who had admitted molesting a minor was reinstated after a year's leave.

Since then, church laws have been changed to make it easier to remove offenders. Church leaders praise Erie's current Bishop Sean Rowe for publicizing new accusations last month against his now-deceased predecessor.

But victim advocates say that church law still allows offenders in ministry. the rest

Fifteen CofE Bishops write letter to clergy

Leading traditionalists in the Church of England admit they are "not united" in their response to the introduction of women bishops, but some are vowing to stay and "defeat" the current plan.
By Martin Beckford, Religious Affairs Correspondent
01 Aug 2010

A letter sent by 15 bishops on the Anglo-Catholic wing concedes that some clergy and lay people will now convert to the Roman Catholic Church after they suffered a defeat at a critical meeting.

But it goes on to say that others will chose to remain in the Church of England, despite their opposition to women joining the episcopate, some because of "family loyalties" or even "financial necessity".

The defeat of the Archbishop of Canterbury by supporters of women bishops
Paraguay's ex-priest president hit with second paternity claimAnd the prelates point out that the current plan to introduce female bishops without any significant compromise to opponents must still clear several hurdles in dioceses across the country and then at the General Synod, the Church's governing body, so there is still a chance it may fail. the rest

Letter
The Rt Revd John Hind, Bishop of Chichester
The Rt Revd Geoffrey Rowell, Bishop of Europe
The Rt Revd Nicholas Reade, Bishop of Blackburn
The Rt Revd Martyn Jarrett, Bishop of Beverley
The Rt Revd John Broadhurst, Bishop of Fulham
The Rt Revd Peter Wheatley, Bishop of Edmonton
The Rt Revd John Goddard, Bishop of Burnley
The Rt Revd Andrew Burnham, Bishop of Ebbsfleet
The Rt Revd Keith Newton, Bishop of Richborough
The Rt Revd Tony Robinson, Bishop of Pontefract
The Rt Revd John Ford, Bishop of Plymouth
The Rt Revd Mark Sowerby, Bishop of Horsham
The Rt Revd Martin Warner, Bishop of Whitby
The Rt Revd Robert Ladds
The Rt Revd Lindsay Urwin OGS

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Devotional: Linger often in worship...

Linger often in worship. In the midst of your daily storms, make it a point to be still and set your sights on him. Let God be God. Let him bathe you in his glory so that both your breath and your troubles are sucked from your soul. Be still. Be quiet. Be open and willing. Then you will know that God is God, and you can't help but confess, "Hallowed by thy name." ...Max Lucado
image by elbfoto

Malnutrition of elderly Scots is 'euthanasia'

Jul 30, 2010
Baptist Press

WASHINGTON (BP)--Government-run hospitals in Scotland are guilty of a "form of euthanasia" by malnutrition, a patients' organization leader has charged.

Jean Turner, executive director of the Scotland Patients Association (SPA), said hundreds of patients, especially the elderly, are undernourished in National Health Service (NHS) hospitals because of a lack of assistance from staff members, according to The Herald of Glasgow, Scotland.

About 50,000 patients die in a state of malnutrition each year at NHS facilities, according to one recent report.

"The SPA would call this a form of euthanasia to allow dehydration and malnutrition to develop due to lack of awareness, lack of staffing or carelessness," Turner said, according to The Herald's July 4 story. the rest

FDA OKs First Embryonic Stem Cell Research Trial on Humans, Despite Concerns

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
July 30, 2010

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) -- The Obama administration has approved the bid by cloning company Geron to undertake the first trial involving the use of embryonic stem cells in humans. They have never been used before in people because the cells cause tumors and have been plagued by immune system rejection issues when tried in animals.

Scientists and pro-life advocates say human embryonic stem cells are not ready for trial because problems associated with the cells in animals haven't been solved.

The Food and Drug Administration had initially placed the trial on hold but Geron indicated today that the agency is now allowing it to proceed with an early stage trial on a stem cell therapy for acute spinal cord injury. the rest

Megachurches

July 30, 2010

Three of the ten largest megachurches in America are located here in the Houston metro: Lakewood (#1), Second Baptist (#6) and Fellowship of the Woodlands (#10).

Between 60 million and 120 million people in the U.S. attend church on a weekly basis. More than five million people attend weekly religious services at a megachurch.

According to Hartford Seminary's Hartford Institute for Religion Research, which partnered with Leadership Network to conduct the largest national representative study of megachurch attendees to date, "The term megachurch generally refers to any Protestant congregation with a sustained average weekly attendance of 2000 persons or more in its worship services."

Megachurches are typically located in suburban areas of rapidly growing sprawl cities such as Los Angeles, Dallas, Atlanta, Houston, Orlando, Phoenix and Seattle. These churches are often prominently situated on large properties near major highways. The weekly attendance average for megachurches is more than 3,800 individuals; Lakewood averages more than 45,000 weekly. the rest

Calm Before the Storm?

More Anglo-Catholics Expected to Join With Rome Over Women Bishops
by EDWARD PENTIN, REGISTER CORRESPONDENT
07/31/2010

VATICAN CITY — It appears to be the calm before the storm for the Anglican Communion.

Amid much debate and controversy, last month the Church of England decided to allow women to become bishops in the next two years.

The move greatly upset traditionalist Anglicans, who are now expected to leave the Anglican Communion in large numbers — although not just yet.

All of the traditionalists’ wishes were rejected at a heated July 9-13 meeting of the Church of England’s General Synod in York, England. The traditionalists had sought an amendment for alternative male bishops. The amendment would have allowed parishes unwilling to have a woman bishop to call upon a male alternative who would have his own autonomy and “joint jurisdiction” over those parishes. the rest