Saturday, August 28, 2010

Kayak and scull on Whitney Lake, NY

Raymond tries his hand at sculling.

Early morning mist on the lake.


Pictures courtesy of Raymond Dague

Gallup: Obama’s Approval Highest Among Muslims—78 Percent

Friday, August 27, 2010
By Terence P. Jeffrey, Editor-in-Chief

(CNSNews.com) - While President Barack Obama’s overall approval rating averaged 48 percent for the first seven months of 2010, it was 78 percent among Muslim Americans, according to the Gallup Poll. That gave the president a higher approval rating among Muslims than among any other religious category reported by the poll.

Members of other non-Christian religions (not including Judaism) gave Obama his second highest approval rating at 64 percent, according to Gallup, and people who described themselves as having no religion, or being agnostics, or atheists gave Obama a 63 percent approval rating.

Mormons gave Obama his lowest approval rating among the religious groups reported by Gallup. In the first seven months of 2010, only 24 percent said they approved of the job Obama was doing. He ranked next lowest among Protestant Americans, who gave him a 43 percent approval rating, then Catholic Americans, who gave him a 50 percent approval rating, and then Jewish Americans, who gave him a 61 percent approval rating. the rest

Convocation Inaugurates New Lutheran Body

Righteously disaffected from ELCA progressivism, the new North American seeks to be faithful to the creeds, the canon, and its congregations.
August 28, 2010
David Neff

In March I wrote my “Past Imperfect” column about two denominational start ups: the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), which formed in 2009, and the North American Lutheran Church (NALC), which formed in 2010—indeed, yesterday.

On Friday, 1100 Lutherans, rightly and righteously disaffected from the once gigantic, now shrinking Evangelical Lutheran Church, formally adopted a constitution at a meeting in Columbus, Ohio.

Here is a key statement from the NALC’s detailed press release:

‘The NALC will embody the center of Lutheranism in America. The NALC will uphold
confessional principles dear to Lutherans including a commitment to the authority of the Bible and the Lutheran Confessions. Members and congregations of the NALC will have direct involvement in the decisions and life of the NALC,’ said the Rev. Mark Chavez of Landisville, Pa., director of Lutheran CORE.


The issue of authority surfaces three ways in Chavez’s statement: (1) the role of the Bible (as contrasted with culture and the “bound conscience” of the autonomous self), (2) the role of the creeds and confessions (as contrasted with contemporary conventional wisdom), and (3) the role of the constituent churches (as opposed to bodies composed by quota systems). the rest

A no-big-deal church split

Saturday, August 28, 2010
Posted by Mollie
GetReligion

I always find it curious how the media cover the Episcopal Church so differently than other denominations in America. Remember all of the stories in recent years about dioceses and parishes leaving, the property disputes and realignments? Well, another church group is facing something similar, and for related reasons. Last year the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America voted to roster gay clergy who are in committed sexual relationships. Not just the vote but the reasoning behind it — which more traditional Lutherans viewed as an unacceptable rejection of Scripture as the source and norm of doctrine — led a similar exodus of parishioners and congregations. At least I think it was similar, but the coverage is making me wonder if it was wildly different.

Just for example, the Minneapolis Star Tribune downplayed the departures. Here’s the headline:

Gay clergy debate: Lutherans bowed but not broken

A major fracture in the nation’s largest Lutheran denomination over gay clergy hasn’t materialized, though painful spiritual wounds remain.


So I guess I’m curious why the Episcopal Church story was such a big deal and this isn’t. Maybe it’s the numbers. the rest

Friday, August 27, 2010

Devotional: When the author walks onto the stage...

When the author walks onto the stage, the play is over. God is going to invade, all right; but what is the good of saying you are on His side then, when you see the whole natural universe melting away like a dream and something else comes crashing in? This time it will be God without disguise; something so overwhelming that it will strike either irresistible love or irresistible horror into every creature. It will be too late then to choose your side. That will not be the time for choosing; It will be the time when we discover which side we really have chosen, whether we realized it before or not. Now, today, this moment, is our chance to choose the right side. ...CS Lewis
image by Kersten A. Reichers

The last refuge of a liberal

By Charles Krauthammer
Friday, August 27, 2010

Liberalism under siege is an ugly sight indeed. Just yesterday it was all hope and change and returning power to the people. But the people have proved so disappointing. Their recalcitrance has, in only 19 months, turned the predicted 40-year liberal ascendancy (James Carville) into a full retreat. Ah, the people, the little people, the small-town people, the "bitter" people, as Barack Obama in an unguarded moment once memorably called them, clinging "to guns or religion or" -- this part is less remembered -- "antipathy toward people who aren't like them."

That's a polite way of saying: clinging to bigotry. And promiscuous charges of bigotry are precisely how our current rulers and their vast media auxiliary react to an obstreperous citizenry that insists on incorrect thinking.

-- Resistance to the vast expansion of government power, intrusiveness and debt, as represented by the Tea Party movement? Why, racist resentment toward a black president.

-- Disgust and alarm with the federal government's unwillingness to curb illegal immigration, as crystallized in the Arizona law? Nativism.

-- Opposition to the most radical redefinition of marriage in human history, as expressed in Proposition 8 in California? Homophobia.

-- Opposition to a 15-story Islamic center and mosque near Ground Zero? Islamophobia. the rest

The Democrats are going to get beaten badly in November. Not just because the economy is ailing. And not just because Obama over-read his mandate in governing too far left. But because a comeuppance is due the arrogant elites whose undisguised contempt for the great unwashed prevents them from conceding a modicum of serious thought to those who dare oppose them.

Drink till you drop

A magic elixir is shown to promote weight loss
The Economist
Aug 24th 2010
NEW YORK

CONSUME more water and you will become much healthier, goes an old wives’ tale. Drink a glass of water before meals and you will eat less, goes another. Such prescriptions seem sensible, but they have little rigorous science to back them up.

Until now, that is. A team led by Brenda Davy of Virginia Tech has run the first randomised controlled trial studying the link between water consumption and weight loss. A report on the 12-week trial, published earlier this year, suggested that drinking water before meals does lead to weight loss. At a meeting of the American Chemical Society in Boston this week, Dr Davy unveiled the results of a year-long follow-up study that confirms and expands that finding. the rest
image by Greg Riegler

After three months the group that drank water before meals had lost about 7kg (15½lb) each, while those in the thirsty group lost only 5kg...

...Those told to drink water during the trial have, however, stuck with the habit—apparently they like it. Strikingly, they have continued to lose weight (around 700g over the year), whereas the others have put it back on.

Pakistani Christians face aid discrimination

Pakistan
Thursday, 26 Aug, 2010

VATICAN CITY: Christians affected by the devastating floods in Pakistan face “systematic discrimination” in the distribution of aid, the news agency of a Vatican missionary body reported Thursday.

The Fides news agency, a branch of the Vatican's Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, said aid was handled either by Muslim relief organisations or by government officials close to fundamentalists.

Both discriminated against Christians and other minorities in distributing aid essential to survival, it said.

About 200,000 Christian refugees in the Punjab province and about 600,000 Christians and Hindus in the Sindh province are affected by the phenomenon, Fides said, citing NGO sources on the ground. the rest

An Attack on Religion and Counseling

August 26th, 2010
by Dr. Joseph Horton

Does the state have the right to prevent people from training for particular careers because the state disagrees with their religious beliefs? U.S. District Judge George Steeh has made just such a ruling. Eastern Michigan University expelled Julea Ward from its master’s program in school counseling because Ms. Ward refused to undergo a reeducation program to silence her beliefs and to keep her convictions in check when counseling.

The flashpoint was Ms. Ward’s refusal to counsel homosexuals about relationships because such behaviors are not consistent with her religious beliefs. The dismissal of Ms. Ward’s lawsuit could have a chilling effect on religious freedom. The threat goes far beyond the issue of homosexuality. If the government can determine that some beliefs make a person unfit for a profession, then anyone who has an unpopular belief can be denied the opportunity to practice his or her own profession. After all, if the government can determine that personal beliefs can make a person ineligible to train for a particular profession, what is there to stop the government from forcing people out of their existing profession? This ruling is a threat to everyone’s freedom, no matter what one believes about homosexuality.

Judge Steeh ruled that Eastern Michigan had “a rational basis” for requiring students to counsel all possible clients. I will leave the constitutional law questions for the legal scholars. My concern is for the counseling profession and clients. the rest

While I am neither a clinical psychologist, nor a counselor, I do have some graduate training in clinical psychology. I am confident that Judge Steeh’s ruling not only harms religious freedom, it will harm counseling and ultimately harm those who seek counseling. Proponents of the decision are attacking a belief system they find particularly odious, but they are also attacking the freedom of counselors to best meet people’s needs.

Top U.S. Marine suggests segregating gay Marines from “very religious” ones

By Kevin Baron
August 24, 2010

In what was likely his last appearance in the Pentagon briefing room, soon-to-be retiring Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James Conway once more waded into the “don’t ask, don’t tell” waters with his straight-shooter candor by suggesting that “very religious” Marines with “moral concerns” about homosexuality might not be forced to live with their gay battle buddies.

Marines are billeted – or assigned sleeping quarters – in twos. Already earlier this year, Conway told Military.com that he "would not ask our Marines" to bunk in the same rooms with openly gay Marines. But exactly what about cohabitation worried him was unclear.

On Tuesday, pressed to explain, Conway pointed to the religious morality argument. He said one solution the corps could consider is “perhaps a voluntary basis” in which those Marines who do not object to homosexuality would agree to take on billets with their fellow, openly gay Marines. the rest

Frozen fruit bars recalled after typhoid outbreak

posted August 27, 2010

SANTA FE SPRINGS, Calif. — Fruiti Pops, Inc. of Santa Fe Springs has recalled its mamey (mah-MAY') frozen fruit bars because of a possible link to a rare U.S. outbreak of typhoid fever.

The company said Thursday that the fruit bars were distributed in California, Arizona and Texas since May 2009. the rest

FDA finds evidence of salmonella in chicken feed
Samples in Iowa are a genetic match to the bacterium that sickened many people and led to a nationwide egg recall.

Study reveals impact of faith on end of life care from doctors

Study finds religious conviction impacts the decisions doctors make in the end of life care they provide to patients.
by Eric Young, Christian Post
Friday, August 27, 2010

Doctors who are not religious are more likely to take steps to help end a very sick patient's life than doctors who are very religious, according to the findings of a new study.

The study, published in the Journal of Medical Ethics, surveyed more than 3,700 doctors in the UK across a wide range of specialties such as neurology, palliative care, and general practice.

Researchers asked doctors about the last patient whom they had worked with who had died. The doctors answered questions about their own religious beliefs and ethnic background, as well as end of life care. the rest

The study found that the strength of a doctor's religious faith is related to the incidence of continuous deep sedation until death, confirming findings of previous research. Researchers also found that a doctor who reported being "very or extremely non-religious" had an increased likelihood of taking these kinds of decisions to end a patient's life.

Archbishop Chaput: "Systematic Discrimination Against Church Now Seems Inevitable"

Wednesday August 25, 2010
SPISSKE, PODHRADIE, Slovakia

(LifeSiteNews.com) - MUST READ Excerpts from Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput's address to the 15th symposium for the Canon Law Association of Slovakia on Tuesday:

Today's secularizers have learned from the past. They are more adroit in their bigotry; more elegant in their public relations; more intelligent in their work to exclude the Church and individual believers from influencing the moral life of society. Over the next several decades, Christianity will become a faith that can speak in the public square less and less freely. A society where faith is prevented from vigorous public expression is a society that has fashioned the state into an idol. And when the state becomes an idol, men and women become the sacrificial offering.
We face an aggressively secular political vision and a consumerist economic model that result - in practice, if not in explicit intent -- in a new kind of state-encouraged atheism.

To put it another way: The Enlightenment-derived worldview that gave rise to the great murder ideologies of the last century remains very much alive. Its language is softer, its intentions seem kinder, and its face is friendlier. But its underlying impulse hasn't changed -- i.e., the dream of building a society apart from God; a world where men and women might live wholly sufficient unto themselves, satisfying their needs and desires through their own ingenuity.

This vision presumes a frankly "post-Christian" world ruled by rationality, technology and good social engineering. Religion has a place in this worldview, but only as an individual lifestyle accessory. People are free to worship and believe whatever they want, so long as they keep their beliefs to themselves and do not presume to intrude their religious idiosyncrasies on the workings of government, the economy, or culture. the rest-don't miss!

Our societies in the West are Christian by birth, and their survival depends on the endurance of Christian values. Our core principles and political institutions are based, in large measure, on the morality of the Gospel and the Christian vision of man and government. We are talking here not only about Christian theology or religious ideas. We are talking about the moorings of our societies -- representative government and the separation of powers; freedom of religion and conscience; and most importantly, the dignity of the human person.

…we cannot dispense with our history out of some superficial concern over offending our non-Christian neighbors. Notwithstanding the chatter of the "new atheists," there is no risk that Christianity will ever be forced upon people anywhere in the West.

Dr Williams warns African bishops to listen and take risks

27 August, 2010
Church Times

THE Archbishop of Canterbury has called on African bishops to listen more to the people they lead, and to put themselves at risk for the sake of their flock, as he addressed the first All Africa Bishops’ Conference to be convened in six years.

In his sermon at the opening eucharist on Tuesday, at the Council of Anglican Provinces in Africa (CAPA) gathering in Entebbe, Uganda, Dr Williams said: “We listen to Jesus, and then we must learn to listen to those we lead and serve; to find out what their own hopes and needs and confusions are. We must love and attend to their humanity in all its diversity, so that we become better able to address words of hope and challenge to them. We cannot assume we always know better.”

Although he did not mention homosexuality, many of his audience interpreted his words in that context.

Afterwards, the Archbishop of Uganda, the Most Revd Henry Orombi, who is hosting the confer­ence, said that he welcomed Dr Williams’s attendance. “We are going to express to him where we stand. Homosexuality is incompatible with the word of God.” The Anglican Com­munion was already broken, he said. the rest

African bishops chide Anglican leader on homosexuality

August 26th, 2010

Conservative Anglican bishops pressed the head of the worldwide church over homosexuality at a conference this week in Uganda, demanding he "sort out" the crisis facing the world's third-largest Christian denomination.

Bishops from Singapore, Southeast Asia and Africa told Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams in closed-door sessions Tuesday and Wednesday that there should be no more diplomacy on homosexuality, an issue that has split the Anglican communion.

Archbishop Henry Luke Orombi, head of Uganda's Anglican church and the host of the week-long All Africa Bishops Conference, said the Archbishop of Canterbury (pictured administering communion at the conference) faces a complicated task in trying to reunite the church.

"He (Williams) spoke what was on his mind and we also spoke. We impressed it on him that he had totally gone in a different direction and he has to sort it out," Orombi told journalists after their closed-door meeting on Wednesday. the rest

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Institute for Justice: Libertarian Litigators Take On Tyrannical Government

UK: Religion now among top 10 exam subjects in Britain

August 26, 2010
By: Trevory Gund
Ecumenical News International
London

Religious studies has entered the top 10 league of subjects in exams taken by most 16-year-old school students in Britain, the (Anglican) Church of England said in a statement marking the publication of examination results.

The results published on Aug. 24 also showed the number of school students taking religious studies for the General Certificate of School Education increasing for the 12th year running, said Nick McKemey, the church's head of school improvement.

"Twelve years of organic growth in student numbers cannot be ignored," said McKemey. "This is a phenomenon that indicates students' appreciation that exploring faith and belief help them to understand the world and become better global citizens." the rest

More Reuters Results for:"Church of England"

By Avril Ormsby
Thu Aug 26, 2010
LONDON

(Reuters Life!) - Pope Benedict will be confronted by posters on London's famous red buses during his trip to the British capital next month which will call for the ordination of women priests.

Protests are planned throughout his four-day trip to England and Scotland, the first papal visit since John Paul II's pastoral visit in 1982 and the first-ever official papal visit to Britain.

One group of women, Catholic Women's Ordination (CWO), will have its message plastered on the side of the buses as they travel along key routes, including past Westminster Hall, at the Palace of Westminster, where the pope is set to deliver a speech to Britain's civic society on September 17. the rest

Lack of skilled workers threatens recovery

Wednesday August 25, 2010
By Nick Zieminski

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Workers with specialized skills like electricians, carpenters and welders are in critically short supply in many large economies, a shortfall that marks another obstacle to the global economic recovery, a research paper by Manpower Inc (NYSE:MAN - News) concludes.

"It becomes a real choke-point in future economic growth," Manpower Chief Executive Jeff Joerres said. "We believe strongly this is really an issue in the labor market."

The global staffing and employment services company says employers, governments and trade groups need to collaborate on strategic migration policies that can alleviate such worker shortages. Skilled work is usually specific to a given location: the work cannot move, so the workers have to. the rest image by Don Hankins

Since the 1970s, parents have been told that a university degree -- and the entry it affords into the so-called knowledge economy -- was the only track to a financially secure profession. But all of the skilled trades offer a career path with an almost assured income, Joerres said, and make it possible to open one's own business.

Evangelicals in the elite apply faith to jobs in different ways

August 25, 2010

Even leaders at prominent positions in the government and the nation's biggest companies bring their evangelical convictions into the workplace--some confidently and declaratively, some more subtly, according to research at Rice University.

Sociologist D. Michael Lindsay interviewed 360 evangelical leaders, including Houstonians like Republican politician James A. Baker III, former ConcoPhillips executive Archie Dunham, builder David Weekley and Enron whistleblower Sharron Watkins, about how their faith influences their leadership and decision-making.

"The working assumption is the American general public is committed to their beliefs but those in leadership really are not, and I'm finding that that's not true," said Lindsay, the author of Faith in the Halls of Power, about the rise of evangelicals in the American elite. the rest

God and Woman at Harvard

A 2010 summa cum laude heads to a convent.
August 25, 2010

Don’t tell Mary Anne Marks the Catholic Church is an oppressive, misogynistic disaster. She knows better. And she’s got a Harvard degree, too.

Miss Marks, a native of Queens, N.Y., graduated from Harvard University this past semester with an undergraduate degree in classics and English, delivering her commencement address in Latin. This fall, she begins a new life, discerning her future consecrated to Christ as a Catholic religious sister with the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, in Ann Arbor, Mich. She and I are alumnae of the same high school, Dominican Academy, in Manhattan. Before heading to Ann Arbor, she talked with me a bit about how she got to this point.

Interview-amazing!

Radical Ground Zero Mosque Imam: Obama’s Cairo Speech to Muslim World Came From Me

by Jim Hoft
Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Well that’s just swell.

The radical imam who said the US is worse than Al-Qaeda, boasted to reporters last year that he provided the blue print for Obama’s apology speech to the Muslim world.

In his June 2009 speech Obama apologized for America and for imposing democracy in the Muslim World. Story

9/11 Mosque Imam Wrote Much of the Guts of Obama's Historic Cairo Speech

Obama's Damaging Doublespeak
By sending such distinctive and frequently incoherent messages, the administration appears adrift and divided. All the while, the public has no clear idea of the administration’s specific goals and intentions, our level of commitment, and the approach we will take on Afghanistan and on other issues.

Islam's so-called 'friends'
Obama may not be a Muslim. But until he comes out and says, "Jesus is the only way to the Father and heaven," he is not a true Christian either.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Devotional: Mould us, great God...

Mould us, great God, into forms of beauty and usefulness by the wheel of Providence and by the touch of Thy hand. Fulfil Thine ideal, and conform us to the image of Thy Son. In Thy great house may we stand as vessels meet for Thy use. We are little better than common earthenware, but may we be cleansed, and purified, and filled with Thy heavenly treasure. Dip us deep into the River of Life, and give refreshment by us to many parched and weary hearts. ...FB Meyer image by kenny

AnglicanTV: Archbishop Ian Ernest



Archbishop Ernest addresses the All Africa Bishop's Meeting 2010

NY Regents exam 'slams' Christianity, lauds Islam

By YOAV GONEN
Education Reporter
August 24, 2010

State testmakers played favorites when quizzing high-schoolers on world religions -- giving Islam and Buddhism the kid-gloves treatment while socking it to Christianity, critics say.

Teachers complain that the reading selections from the Regents exam in global history and geography given last week featured glowing passages pertaining to Muslim society but much more critical essay excerpts on the subject of Christianity.

"There should have been a little balance in there," said one Brooklyn teacher who administered the exam but did not want to be identified.

"To me, this was offensive because it's just so inappropriate and the timing of it was piss-poor," he added, referring to the debate over the plan to build a mosque near Ground Zero. the rest

The most troubling passage came from Daniel Roselle's "A World History: A Cultural Approach," observers said.

The passage reads: "Wherever they went, the Moslems [sic] brought with them their love of art, beauty and learning. From about the eighth to the eleventh century, their culture was superior in many ways to that of western Christendom."

The sheer ugliness of inclusive language

Sunday, August 22, 2010
by James Gibson

The surest way to dumb down a church's theology is to tamper with its liturgy, and there is no more reprehensible way to wreak havoc on the liturgy than to pepper it throughout with "non-offensive" or "inclusive" language. Mainline churches today are dead in large part because their liturgies are lifeless expressions of rancid sterility laced with the deadly poison of idolatrous gender neutrality. The "God" who is "worshiped" in these liturgies is not a loving Father of infinite goodness and mercy, but a faceless functionary who is apparently so distant as to be beyond personal pronouns. If "God loves all God's children," why can't this loving "God" be addressed as Father or referred to as he, him, or his?

A "God" who is not personal is neither capable of loving nor of being loved. The prophets of inclusiveness will insist that "love" is all that matters. But "love," to them, is not unconditional self-sacrifice, but narcissistic self-exaltation. Thus, it is no longer "right to give him thanks and praise," but "right to give our thanks and praise." That subtle alteration, now standard in many eucharistic liturgies, illustrates profoundly the shift which inevitably takes place when "inclusive language" is the main concern. The focus is not on God, but on ourselves. God is no longer the object of worship; we are the object of our own self-congratulation. the rest

The White House war on jobs

Michelle Malkin
8/25/2010

The "Summer of Recovery" is looking more and more like the Beltway Chainsaw Massacre for America's workers. As President Obama lolls on Martha's Vineyard with his well-heeled Chicago pals, a new Reuters/Ipsos poll shows that 72 percent of people are very worried about joblessness and 67 percent are very concerned about massive government spending.

After a nearly $1 trillion fiscal stimulus and several multibillion-dollar corporate and union bailouts, unemployment remains stuck near 10 percent nationwide; jobless claims rose again last week. One shudders to think how many more jobs will be on the chopping block after the vacationing president finishes "recharging his batteries."

The blame avoidance industry, of course, never takes a break. Capitol Hill Democrats blame George W. Bush. President Obama blames inaction by the, er, Democrat-controlled Congress. On Tuesday, Vice President Joe Biden derided GOP Leader John Boehner's speech on the Obama job-killing machine as a return to the past. Biden sneered about the "good old days" when Republicans held the majority in Washington. But laid-off, unemployed and endangered Americans in the healthcare sector, the auto industry, and the oil, mining, gas, and fishing industries are no doubt wondering: What's wrong with returning to the days when we had jobs and steady paychecks? the rest

Lutherans follow Anglicans down rocky road of dissent

August 25, 2010
By Matthew Block

Hundreds of congregations have held votes on leaving the denomination. Others have cut off funding to the national church. Bishops in Africa have condemned the actions taken by their North American counterparts. And this week disaffected members are gathering to found a new breakaway denomination.

You would be forgiven for assuming that the denomination under discussion here is Anglican, but the battleground this time is the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), a denomination which — at least before its controversial August 2009 vote — counted more than 4.6 million members. But while the names are different, the crisis in the ELCA is remarkably similar to that rocking North American Anglicanism.

In August 2009, the ELCA narrowly voted to affirm couples living in same-sex relationships and further opened the ministry to non-celibate homosexual clergy. Members holding a historical interpretation of Scripture were outraged. For them, the authority of Scripture — a foundational tenet of the Lutheran Reformation — was being rejected in favour of cultural relativism. the rest

When compromise trumps apostolic tradition

By George Weigel
August 25, 2010

Pope Benedict XVI’s pastoral visit to Great Britain next month will unfold along a pilgrim’s path metaphorically strewn with landmines. Headline-grabbing new atheists like Richard Dawkins, along with their allies in the international plaintiff’s bar, may try to have the pontiff arrested as an enabler of child abuse. More subtly, but just as falsely, homosexual activists and their allies will portray John Henry Newman, whom the Pope will beatify, as the patron saint of gay liberation. No challenge facing Benedict in Britain, however, will be greater than the challenge of re-framing the Anglican-Catholic ecumenical dialogue, which is on the verge of de facto extinction.

The death of that once-promising dialogue would have been unimaginable 40 years ago. Then, in the aftermath of Vatican II, it seemed possible that Canterbury and Rome might be reconciled, with full ecclesiastical communion restored. That great hope began to run aground in the mid-1980s, when the Church of England faced the question of whether it could call women to holy orders (a practice already under way in other member communities of the worldwide Anglican Communion). As I discovered when researching the biography of Pope John Paul II, a theological Rubicon seems to have been crossed in a 1984-86 exchange of letters among Dr. Robert Runcie, the Anglican primate, Cardinal Johannes Willebrands, the president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, and the Pope.

John Paul and Willebrands made quite clear to Runcie that the bright hope of ecclesial reconciliation would be severely damaged were the Church of England to engage in a practice that the Catholic Church (and the Orthodox churches) believed was unauthorized by apostolic tradition, and in fact contradicted that tradition. While admirably candid, Dr. Runcie’s attempt to explain why the Church of England believed it could proceed to the ordination of women demonstrated that Anglicanism and Catholicism were living in two distinct universes of discourse, one theological, the other sociological. For Runcie advanced no theological arguments as to why apostolic tradition could be understood to authorize the innovation he and many of his Anglican colleagues proposed; rather, he cited the expanding roles of women in society as the crucial issue. Sociological trends, Runcie’s letter implied, trumped apostolic tradition—which was not, of course, something the Catholic Church could accept. the rest

ELCA Head Responds to Rival Lutheran Body

Wed, Aug. 25 2010
By Lillian Kwon,
Christian Post Reporter

The head of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America responded to plans for a rival church body, urging fellow Lutherans to avoid slander.

"We are to fear and love God, so that we do not tell lies about our neighbors, betray or slander them, or destroy their reputations. Instead we are to come to their defense, speak well of them, and interpret everything they do in the best possible light," said the Rev. Mark S. Hanson, presiding bishop of the ELCA, as he recited words from the Evangelical Lutheran Worship.

Hanson made the statement in a pastoral letter Tuesday, days before hundreds of dissenting Lutherans are scheduled to constitute a separate denomination called the North American Lutheran Church.

The NALC is intended to provide a home for Lutherans discontent with the ELCA's "ongoing movement away from the authority and teaching of the Bible."

Dozens of congregations have taken votes to sever ties with the ELCA over the past year since the ELCA's highest legislative body voted to allow gays and lesbians in "publicly accountable, lifelong, monogamous, same-gender relationships" to serve as clergy. the rest

Digital Devices Deprive Brain of Needed Downtime

By MATT RICHTEL
August 24, 2010

SAN FRANCISCO — It’s 1 p.m. on a Thursday and Dianne Bates, 40, juggles three screens. She listens to a few songs on her iPod, then taps out a quick e-mail on her iPhone and turns her attention to the high-definition television.

Just another day at the gym.

As Ms. Bates multitasks, she is also churning her legs in fast loops on an elliptical machine in a downtown fitness center. She is in good company. In gyms and elsewhere, people use phones and other electronic devices to get work done — and as a reliable antidote to boredom.

Cellphones, which in the last few years have become full-fledged computers with high-speed Internet connections, let people relieve the tedium of exercising, the grocery store line, stoplights or lulls in the dinner conversation.

The technology makes the tiniest windows of time entertaining, and potentially productive. But scientists point to an unanticipated side effect: when people keep their brains busy with digital input, they are forfeiting downtime that could allow them to better learn and remember information, or come up with new ideas. the rest

Ms. Bates, for example, might be clearer-headed if she went for a run outside, away from her devices, research suggests.

Archbishop Orombi: African Anglicans Must Rise Up and Bring life to Ailing Global Anglicanism

The following is the opening speech delivered by Ugandan Archbishop Henry Luke Orombi to the CAPA All African Bishops Conference being held in Entebbe, Uganda.

By Henry Orombi
Virtueonline
August 24, 2010

The church of Uganda and the Nation with open arms receive you to Entebbe. This is a unique place where both the International Airport and the state House are situated.

Nearly six years ago we all gathered in Lagos - Nigeria for the very first time as bishops from Africa. We were well received by the Church and the people of Nigeria, an unforgettable experience. Today you are in Uganda, the Pearl of Africa - Welcome.

THE CHURCH OF UGANDA

Our Church has a population of 10.2 million Anglicans spread across the Nation forming 33 Dioceses and 35 bishops most of whom are to host you and make you feel the breeze of the Victoria Lake and receive you with form hand-shakes and hugs.

We are a Church that experienced the joy of the gospel as it came to us in 1877 brought to us by the Church Missionary Society by invitation. We are also a Church that has paid the price for the gospel by the sacrifice of the early believers who laid down their lives - "the Martyrs." The blood of both Bishop James Hannington and these early believers laid the foundation of this Church. A century alter, yet another martyr St. Janani Luwum paid a price by laying his life for the sake of the gospel (Feb. 1977) during dictator Amin's rule of terror.

The church experienced the Fire of Revival lit in Rwanda and burnt its way to Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and Burundi later to be known as the famous "East African Revival." We have this legacy which is the driving force of this Church. We treasure the gospel, we preach the gospel, we believe the gospel and we seek to live by the gospel. the rest

San Joaquin: Episcopal diocese sues [yet] another Anglican church

BAKERSFIELD
August 24, 2010

• Seeks return of property by Bakersfield church

• Eighth lawsuit of its kind in Central Valley

The Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin is suing the members of St. Paul’s, Bakersfield. The lawsuit is the latest in a series of suits stemming from the original diocese splitting from the national Episcopal Church and aligning itself with a more conservative Anglican order.

The congregations being sued occupy what the Episcopal Diocese contends is church property that it owns. The Anglicans dispute that argument. There was no immediate comment from the Bakersfield church about the lawsuit.

Similar cases are pending against the former members of St. Francis, Turlock; St. Michael’s, Ridgecrest; St. John’s, Porterville; St. James, Sonora; Redeemer & Hope, Delano; St. Columba, Fresno and St. Paul’s, Visalia.

“It is particularly disappointing given the recent and unequivocal decisions of the California Supreme Court and Court of Appeals’ rulings that the properties and assets are held for the Episcopal Church and its dioceses,” says Diocesan Chancellor Michael Glass.

Mr. Glass says that the litigation will not be initially seeking monetary judgments against individual defendants “unless it becomes evident that such defendants have diverted parish assets to other purposes or parties.” the rest

Muslim Men Attack Somali Church Leader in Ethiopia

WorldMon, Aug. 23 2010
By Aaron J. Leichman
Christian Post Reporter

Two Somali Muslim men attacked a well-known Somali church leader in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa over the weekend, according to a Washington-based Christian human rights group.

After being informed about the Aug. 21 attack, International Christian Concern spoke with the victim, Mohamed Ali Garas, who is currently being treated at Meghbar Senai Hospital in the Shola neighborhood of Addis Ababa.

According to his account, Garas was returning home around 9 p.m. when two Somali Muslim men called his name. Garas, a convert from Islam, went to meet them and was struck on the head by one of the men with a wooden club. After Garas fell to the ground, the two men beat him, kicking him in the chest and stomach.

When an Ethiopian neighbor arrived at the scene, the Muslim men fled. the rest

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder Files Politically Motivated Suit Against Pro-Lifers

August 24, 2010

West Palm Beach, FL – Liberty Counsel has agreed to represent Mary Susan Pine, a sidewalk abortion counselor, who is being sued by the politically motivated U.S. Attorney General, Eric Holder. Using the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) federal law and seeking the maximum fine of $10,000, Holder alleges that Pine “obstructed” a car entering a Florida abortion clinic nearly a year ago, on November 19, 2009. The suit is entitled Holder v. Pine.

Holder’s lawsuit acknowledges that Pine frequently appears at the Presidential Women’s Center in West Palm Beach, Florida. Pine herself has had an abortion and for the past 20 years has counseled women about the tragedy of abortion. The suit alleges only one act on November 19, 2009, in which Holder claims Pine obstructed a car by stepping in front of the vehicle when it entered the clinic. Pine never obstructs anyone and denies she ever obstructed any vehicle. Notwithstanding, Holder’s suit alleges Pine is a threat and must be fined the maximum of $10,000. Holder’s complaint is only 3½ pages. Since the passage of FACE in 1994, this case is the first time anyone has been sued in Florida under the law. the rest

“This lawsuit by Attorney General Eric Holder is politically motivated and patently frivolous."
Life Legal Defense Foundation Gets Loitering Charges Against Sidewalk Counselor Dismissed

UK: Binge drinking is fuelling abortions and promiscuity

Women who binge drink are more likely to have an abortion.
Mon, 23 Aug 2010

Women who binge drink are more likely to have an abortion or take the morning-after pill, according to new research.

Research by University College London has revealed that binge-drinking women were 40 per cent more likely to have had at least one abortion over the past year.

The study also revealed that women who drink more than the recommended weekly limit, roughly equivalent to 7 glasses of wine, were 80 per cent more likely to have used the morning-after pill (MAP) in the past year. the rest

Homeschooling: The Fastest-Growing Form of Education in the U.S.

Aug. 24, 2010
Christian Newswire

It appears that in the U.S., homeschooling is the fastest-growing form of education, according to independent research conducted by organizations ranging from the National Home Education Research Institute (www.nheri.org), a nonprofit research and educational organization, to the federally funded National Center for Education Statistics (www.nces.ed.gov).

Let's take a look at some of the evidence:

•"Homeschooling grew from 1.7% of the school age population in 1999 to 2.9% in 2007, a 74% relative increase over 8 years," states Dr. Brian D. Ray of the National Home Education Research Institute (NHERI).

•A 2008 study found that "an estimated 2.0 to 2.5 million K-12 children were home educated in the U.S. during mid-2008," statistics that were also confirmed by NCES.

•Last week, in their local news coverage, Chattanooga's News Channel 9 reported: "In the last decade, the number of homeschoolers has far more than doubled, according to the Department of Education" (WTVC-TV, August 13, 2010).

The increasing popularity of homeschooling should not come as a surprise. Homeschooling, a term referring to "parent-led, home-based education," is now bordering on "mainstream" in the United States. In a 2008 article, SaveMoneyHomeschooling.com stated: "If homeschooling continues to grow at 7–12% per year for the next 5 years, we could see the percent of homeschooling students increase to 5 million, which is about 10% of the total children in K-12 education." the rest

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Archbishop Duncan Joins Leaders at All Africa Bishops Conference

Archbishop Robert Duncan was included with the other Anglican primates during the opening Eucharist, and shared in the distribution of communion, as did the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams.
August 24, 2010

Bishops from all of Africa as well as Anglicans from around the world are meeting together in Entebbe, Uganda, for the Second All Africa Bishops Conference August 23-29.

The conference, which is organized by the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa (CAPA), calls together bishops and archbishops from 400 dioceses in Africa. Invited guests from around the Anglican world are also present.

Archbishop Robert Duncan, Bishop Martyn Minns, Bishop John Guernsey and Bishop Bill Atwood are among the Anglican Church in North America leaders who are attending the event. “The Anglican Church is expanding everywhere in Africa. There are now some 400 dioceses spread across the continent. As Archbishop I am here to learn and to stand in solidarity with this vigorous gospel mission,” said Archbishop Duncan. As the leader of the Anglican Church in North America, Archbishop Duncan was included with the other Anglican primates (leaders of Anglican provinces) during the opening Eucharist, and shared in the distribution of communion, as did the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams.

Archbishop Williams told the gathered bishops that the 21st Century may well be the “African Century.”

Archbishop Duncan, as well as Archbishop John Chew of Southeast Asia, have also been invited to sit with the primates of the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa (CAPA) during their meetings. ACNA website

A.S. Haley: ECUSA -- the Big Bad Wolf of Texas

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Excerpt:
That is the kind of misrepresentation of the law that can cause an attorney to lose credibility with the judge. For the fact is that no court of record anywhere has ever held that a diocese may not leave the Episcopal Church (USA); all of ECUSA's successes to date have occurred by piggy-backing on cases brought by individual dioceses to prevent individual parishes from leaving. Since a good number of those parishes adopted bylaws which could be amended only with the permission of the bishop or standing committee, and those bylaws had further language making the parish "permanently" or "irrevocably" (one case even had the word "perpetually") subject to the constitution and canons of ECUSA and the diocese, those cases cannot serve as precedent when there is no such language in the governing documents. the rest image

It is as though the Big Bad Wolf in Little Red Riding Hood, after having eaten Grandma and dressed up in her clothes, came into court claiming to be Grandma, and asked the court to award him the deed to her cottage. "But Little Red Riding Hood recognized me as her Grandma," the Wolf exclaims. "That makes me Grandma, and I'm entitled to all Grandma's property."

(I love it when I can find an illustration-thanks Mr. Curmudgeon!)

African Bishops: Homosexuality against word of God

(AFP)
posted August 24, 2010

ENTEBBE, Uganda — African Anglican bishops voiced their strong disapproval of homosexuality at a meeting Tuesday attended by Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, as the issue continues to divide Anglicans.

"Homosexuality is incompatible with the word of God," said conference host and Ugandan Archbishop Uganda Henry Luke Orombi.

"It is good Archbishop Rowan is here. We are going to express to him where we stand," he added.

Head of the Anglican church worldwide, Williams is struggling to keep the communion together amid disagreements over the ordination of female bishops in Britain, and of openly gay bishops in the United States. the rest

"There is already a break. It doesn't need to be announced," said Orombi.

Victim’s Family: End Statute of Limitations

August 24, 2010
Douglas LeBlanc

Two statements from opponents of Bishop Charles E. Bennison, Jr., have called for abolishing any statute of limitations for any allegations related to sexual abuse.

“An Open Letter from the Bennison Trial Witnesses” represents Martha Alexis — who was abused by Bishop Bennison’s brother, John, when she was a teenager — plus her immediate family and other supporters.

The other statement is by the Rev. Ann Nadine Grady, interim priest at Christ Church, Montpelier, Vt., where John Bennison’s ex-wife, Maggie Thompson, is a lay leader. Thompson, who was also a prosecution witness at Bishop Bennison’s trial, joined in signing the open letter.

The Episcopal Church’s Review Court for the Trial of a Bishop dismissed charges against the bishop in a ruling dated July 28. The court cited the statute of limitations regarding charges related to sexual abuse. While agreeing with the trial court that Bishop Bennison should have done more to stop his brother’s sexual abuse in the mid-1970s, the review court added that the bishop was never accused of committing sexual abuse himself. the rest

The Archbishop's sermon for Opening Eucharist at the CAPA All Africa Bishops' Conference, Uganda

Tuesday 24 August 2010

The Archbishop delivered a sermon for Opening Eucharist at the 'Council of Anglican Provinces in Africa All Africa Bishops' Conference, Entebbe, Uganda

The full text of the sermon is below:

My dear brothers and sisters, first let me say a word of heartfelt thanks for the invitation to be part of this wonderful occasion to share fellowship with you, to learn from you. Archbishop Ian thank you and thanks to CAPA for the invitation, Archbishop Henry thank you for all you have done to welcome us all here in this jewel of Africa. I want also to bring the greetings and the prayers of your brothers and sisters of the Church of England many of whom will be praying alongside us in these days ahead and will look to see and hear the great things God will do in this assembly.

Now I apologise to those in this congregation who are not bishops because I want to speak this morning first of all about the ministry of the bishop because this is a conference for those on whom responsibilities have been laid for the leadership of the church. Our readings this morning fill out the nature of that responsibility.

When we are made bishops, we pray that we may be given the grace to follow the one Good Shepherd, Our Saviour Jesus Christ, knowing that only in following him will we be set free to help bring about in his world the changes that he desires. As St Peter's first letter makes plain, our shepherding has to be like his, grounded in the free, loving will of God to give and sustain life. In this Conference, which offers so much hope for the churches in Africa and their brothers and sisters worldwide, our focus is quite rightly on the nature of this new life and of those changes that God desires – our focus is on our responsibility to bring healing, justice (and sometimes judgement too), to bring hope where there is none; our responsibility to show the society we live in that there is a way of life together in society that, because it is in accord with God's purpose for men and women, promises fullness of life both here and hereafter.

It is the responsibility to show that peace lies with God alone. 'He will settle disputes among the nations, among the great powers near and far' says the prophet Micah (4.3). And the prophet goes on, 'Each nation worships and obeys its own god, but we will worship and obey the LORD our God for ever and ever'(v.5). We will worship and obey the God of Micah and the prophets because only in his power and grace can human beings come to see each another as equally loved and treasured by him and so to see each other – the good and the bad, the saintly, the selfish and the confused – as all, without exception, worthy of love and service. the rest

The Deficit Graph

Iraq: The War That Broke Us -- Not
August 22, 2010
By Randall Hoven

Excerpt:
Two of those three things -- the wars and tax cuts -- were in effect from 2003 through 2007. Do you see alarming deficits or trends from 2003 through 2007 in the above chart? No. In fact, the trend through 2007 is shrinking deficits. What you see is a significant upward tick in 2008, and then an explosion in 2009. Now, what might have happened between 2007 and 2008, and then 2009?

Democrats taking over both houses of Congress, and then the presidency, was what happened. Republicans wrote the budgets for the fiscal years through 2007. Congressional Democrats wrote the budgets for FY 2008 and on. When the Democrats also took over the White House, they immediately passed an $814-billion "stimulus." (The $814 billion figure is from the same CBO report as the Iraq War costs. See sources at end of article.)

The sum of all the deficits from 2003 through 2010 is $4.73 trillion. Subtract the entire Iraq War cost and you still have a sum of $4.02 trillion. the rest

How Bad Was July's Plummet in Home Sales?

ACNS: African bishops' meeting in Uganda told: "History will record what happens at this conference"

August 24, 2010

Speakers’ messages converge at All African Bishops Conference: “this could be the church’s African century.”

The Bishop in Egypt1 Dr Mouneer Anis told bishops from more than 400 dioceses at the 2nd All Africa Bishops Conference that this was an historic moment for Africa’s Christian community.

“There is no doubt that history is going to record what happens at this conference for future generations,” he said at today’s opening service in Entebbe, Uganda. “This is no ordinary conference because it’s happening in an extraordinary context.”

He explained that although “Africa groans” under the weight of conflicts, epidemics and poverty the African church was growing in an extraordinary way. It was predicted, he said, to become a continent of 673 million Christians by 2025.

He said that, as a consequence of this growth, the centre of the Christian world was shifting and so was the global role of the church of Africa. He issued a challenge to the bishops present to consider the African church’s place in such a world and said this weeks’ conference could be a turning point in the life of the church of Africa. the rest

African bishops say Anglicans in West strayed from God

African bishops say Anglicans in West strayed from God
Tuesday, August 24 2010
ENTEBBE, Tuesday

The Anglican church in the West no longer adheres to the word of God, African bishops said Tuesday at a continental conference attended by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Rowan Williams, the head of the world-wide Anglican Communion, has been criticised by some African church leaders for his tolerant stance on homosexuality.

"Today, the West is lacking obedience to the word of God," Reverend Ian Ernest of Mauritius, the head of the Council of Anglican Provinces in Africa, told journalists.

"It is for us (Africans) to redress the situation," he said, adding that he has severed all ties to the Episcopalian churches in Canada and the US that have allowed gays to enter the clergy...


UGANDA: 400 Anglican Bishops Get Set to Address Pressing Issues for African Continent
Gospel and Social Justice will combine to bring needed change to the area

Back to school without leaving the house

Economy, religion among reasons more Texans turn to home schooling
By ERICKA MELLON
HOUSTON CHRONICLE
Aug. 22, 2010

The first day of school will be different for the Blane family this year. Parents Eric and Melissa won’t have to pack their children’s lunches or send them to the bus stop this morning.

The Blanes of Montgomery County have joined a growing number of Texans forgoing public and private schools, deciding to home school their 11-year-old son, Cory, and their 8-year-old daughter, Madison.

“It’s a desire we have to be the ones who are teaching them and motivating them,” said Melissa Blane, who will be the children’s primary teacher. “We’ll be starting bright and early.” the rest

“Home schooling is a lifestyle,” Robertson said. “The line between learning and living gets blurred — and it should.”

Russian Opinion Moving toward Ban on Abortion

Monday August 23, 2010
By Thaddeus M. Baklinski
MOSCOW

(LifeSiteNews.com) - The number of Russians who support either a full or partial ban on abortion has doubled in the past twelve years, according to a recent poll.

The independent, non-governmental polling and sociological research agency, Levada Analytical Center, reported that a recent survey of 1,600 Russians found 41 percent of those polled support introducing nationwide restrictions on abortion.

The number of those in favor of a complete ban on abortions has grown from 8 percent in 1998 to 16 percent in 2010, the report said.

Another 25 percent only approved of therapeutic, non-elective abortions, up from 13 percent earlier. the rest

Ground Zero Mosque: The Real Issue

Dick Morris and Eileen McGann
posted August 24,2010

The proposed mosque near to ground zero is not really a religious institution. It would be -- as many mosques throughout the nation are -- a terrorist recruitment, indoctrination and training center. It is not the worship of Islam that is the problem. It is the efforts to advance Sharia law, with its requirement of jihad and violence, that is the nub of the issue.

There is a global effort to advance Sharia law and make it the legal system of the world. Most major banks and financial institutions offer Sharia compliant funds, which have their investments vetted by the most fundamentalist and reactionary of clerics to assure that they advance Sharia law.

Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the founder of the proposed mosque, helps to prepare a Sharia index that rates countries on their degree of compliance with Sharia law. In the United Kingdom, many courts have recognized Sharia as the governing law on matters between two Muslims. the rest

Many More Now Following Mosque Controversy – And Don’t Like It
Sixty-eight percent (68%) of the Political Class, however, favor building the mosque near Ground Zero. Seventy-seven percent (77%) of Mainstream voters are opposed.

Michelle Obama made dusk visit to Great Mosque of Granada during Spanish trip
Other than referring to it in passing, there has been no media coverage about Michelle Obama’s dusk visit to the Great Mosque at Granada.

Court halts president’s stem cell expansion

Ex-MIT scientist’s suit brings injunction; Law on destruction of embryos at issue
By Stephen Smith and Tracy Jan
Globe Staff
August 24, 2010

A federal judge in Washington yesterday temporarily blocked the Obama administration’s efforts to expand stem cell research, ruling in a case brought by a former MIT scientist and others who oppose embryonic stem cell research.

Royce C. Lamberth, chief judge of the US District Court for the District of Columbia, said in his 15-page decision that regulations designed to expand federal funding for embryonic stem cell research violated a law prohibiting destruction of embryos for research purposes.

Additionally, the judge ruled that former MIT researcher Dr. James L. Sherley and other scientists who study less controversial adult stem cells would face “actual, imminent injury’’ because of the competition for federal dollars that would be stoked by expansion of research into embryonic stem cells. the rest

Monday, August 23, 2010

Devotional: Our prayers are only as powerful as our lives...

All things being equal, our prayers are only as powerful as our lives. In the long pull we pray only as well as we live. Some prayers are like a fire escape, used only in times of critical emergency -- never very enjoyable, but used as a way of terrified escape from disaster. They do not represent the regular life of the one who offers them; rather are the unusual and uncommon acts of the spiritual amateur. ...AW Tozer image by Ken Ilio

ACI: Proposed Statement Of Clarification For Adoption Of The Covenant

Sunday, August 22nd, 2010

As we have noted several times in recent months, the final text of the Anglican Covenant assigns important tasks defined in Section 4 to a committee designated the “Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion.” There is currently no committee in the Anglican Communion bearing that title or capable of performing those tasks. The ACC standing committee was briefly referred to by the Section 4 title, but that name was not given it by the ACC. In any case in July 2010 the standing committee of the new company intended to replace the former ACC, noting objections to the title, agreed that it would be known simply as the standing committee.

Moreover, the ACC committee cannot fulfill the role defined by the Covenant, which makes the Section 4 committee “responsible to” both the Primates’ Meeting and the ACC, in the case of the latter as it was defined by its former constitution. Under the ACC’s new corporate arrangement, the members of its standing committee now comprise the entire membership and management of the ACC for legal purposes. Nor is there any meaningful way in which that committee could be said to be responsible to the Primates’ Meeting as contemplated by the Covenant. the rest

Why does Mayor Bloomberg welcome the mosque and fight small churches?

By Tom Minnery
Monday, August 23rd 2010

Mayor Bloomberg...was eloquent in his defense of religious freedom when he spoke up for the mosque near the World Trade Center site. We wish his fervor extended to the small church congregations that only want to rent vacant public school auditoriums in New York City for Sunday services.

For 15 years now, the city has been fighting the tiny Bronx Household of Faith, a small Christian congregation that has been having a difficult time finding a place to meet. It wants, consistent with its reading of the U.S. Constitution - and mine - to meet in a vacant public school space on weekends, just as all other community groups are allowed to.

The city flatly says no. It keeps losing this battle in court, but it won't quit. This is an astonishing situation given the mayor's declaration that "Political controversies come and go, but our values and our traditions endure, and there is no neighborhood in this city that is off-limits to God's love and mercy, as the religious leaders here with us can attest." the rest

Hundreds Rally Against 'Sharia Mosque' Near Ground Zero

US Lutherans to establish new church body

by Joshua A Goldberg
Christian Post
Monday, August 23, 2010

More than 1,000 Lutherans from throughout North America will gather this week in Grove City, Ohio, to form a new church body for confessional Lutherans.

At this week’s two-day gathering, members of Lutheran CORE will adopt a constitution that will give birth to the North American Lutheran Church (NALC), which the movement’s director says “will embody the center of Lutheranism in America”.

“The NALC will uphold confessional principles dear to Lutherans including a commitment to the authority of the Bible and the Lutheran Confessions," said the Rev Mark Chavez, director of Lutheran CORE, in an announcement.

"We have a great opportunity before us,” added the Rev Paull Spring, chair of Lutheran CORE.

“We not only want to look back toward the past, but to look ahead to the mission God has given us – to confess Christ faithfully, to witness to others, and to grow in God's mission. the rest

Albert Mohler: Why Aren’t ‘Emerging Adults’ Emerging as Adults?

The church would demonstrate the power of the gospel in a whole new way by assisting young people into the successful and faithful transition to adulthood, celebrating this transition as a matter of spiritual maturity to the glory of Christ.
Monday, August 23, 2010

The New York Times Magazine addresses an important question in its August 22, 2010 cover story — “What Is It About 20-Somethings?” With this cover story, the venerable newspaper gives cultural attention to a phenomenon some now call “failure to launch.” In her article, writer Robin Marantz Henig probes this issue with care and insight. In all probability, this cover story will be discussed for years to come.

The reason for this becomes clear once you read the essay. Henig lets her readers understand the scale of the issue — we are not talking about a passing phenomenon that is linked to the economic recession. We are talking about a major change in the way young people move toward adulthood . . . if they are moving toward adulthood. the rest

Turn off gadgets, tune into loved ones

By KATE SHELLNUTT
Aug. 19, 2010

Chris Shook is as technology-dependent as most. If she accidentally leaves the house without her cell phone, she'll turn around to get it rather than spend a few hours feeling naked without it.

She and her husband, pastor Kerry Shook, founded one of Houston's most tech-savvy congregations, Woodlands Church, where members can tweet questions during services, interact on their own social networking site and even attend worship services at its "digital campus" online.

On Wednesday, though, they're asking the church's 17,000-plus attendees to do the unthinkable: turn off their laptops, iPods and cell phones, and take a break from technology.

They're calling it a National Facebook Fast. For a whole day, the Shooks want people to swap digital communication for face time with family and friends. the rest

Obama's Four Disasters

Heckuva job, Mr. President.
BY Fred Barnes

Recovery summer, opposition to Arizona’s immigration law, negative campaigning, and intervention in the Ground Zero mosque dispute—call them Obama’s Four Disasters. As policy, they’re questionable. As political exercises, they’re losers. As clues about Obama, they’re evidence he’s lost his political knack.

What was Obama thinking? These weren’t initiatives taken suddenly. They were carefully thought out and plotted, no doubt in expectation the president would gain politically and so would Democratic candidates. Whatever calculations the White House made, they were faulty.
the rest

Our incompetent president: Community organizer isn't enough experience
...It is above the pay grade of a community organizer. That is what our president is. Increasingly, it is clear that the Democrats brought down on the country a community organizer as president. Maybe in the future they will consider experience a qualification for the presidency. Possibly, the age of charisma is behind us. Possibly, Mr. Obama even lacks that dubious quality.

Rich v. Poor: The Charitable-Giving Divide

By JUDITH WARNER
August 20, 2010

With the battle over whether to extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy shaping up as the major political event of the fall, opponents of repeal were handed a bounteous gift this summer when Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and 38 others announced that they formed a pact to give at least half their wealth to charity. After all, what better illustration could there be of the great social good that wealthy people can do when the government lets them keep their hard-earned dollars to spend as they please?

The problem is that the exceptional philanthropy of the superwealthy few doesn’t apply to the many more people defined as rich in the current debate over the Bush tax cuts — individuals earning over $200,000 and couples with revenues over $250,000. For decades, surveys have shown that upper-income Americans don’t give away as much of their money as they might and are particularly undistinguished as givers when compared with the poor, who are strikingly generous. A number of other studies have shown that lower-income Americans give proportionally more of their incomes to charity than do upper-income Americans. In 2001, Independent Sector, a nonprofit organization focused on charitable giving, found that households earning less than $25,000 a year gave away an average of 4.2 percent of their incomes; those with earnings of more than $75,000 gave away 2.7 percent.

This situation is perplexing if you think of it in terms of dollars and cents: the poor, you would assume, don’t have resources to spare, and the personal sacrifice of giving is disproportionately large. The rich do have money to spend. Those who itemize receive a hefty tax break to make charitable donations, a deduction that grows more valuable the higher they are on the income scale. And the well-off are presumed to have at least a certain sense of noblesse oblige. Americans pride themselves on their philanthropic tradition, and on the role of private charity, which is much more developed here than it is in Europe, where the expectation is that the government will care for the poor. the rest

For decades, surveys have shown that upper-income Americans don’t give away as much of their money as they might and are particularly undistinguished as givers when compared with the poor, who are strikingly generous.

What I Learned From ‘Up’



by Charles C. Johnson

Up is Pixar’s most ambitious film yet. It teaches us the truth that Pixar knows well: Life isn’t a series of merit badges or experiences, but of relationships, well cultivated. The best relationships are love stories and this is no exception.

They teach all of this in one short scene – and then expound upon it throughout the film. But the point remains. We are meant to love and be loved and to let the soul go on its adventure of finding its counterpart. the rest-one of my all time favorite movies!