Saturday, January 29, 2011

Devotional: You cannot spend day after day...


You cannot spend day after day in the world without its affecting your mind and will and heart. It doesn’t take long to become disoriented to the ways of God. The world has a dulling effect on your spiritual sensibilities. God established the Sabbath so His people could take an entire day to refocus on Him and His will for them after spending six days in the world.

How do you prepare for your times of worship? What fills your mind the night before? Often the last thing you put into your mind at night is still on your mind the next morning. Genuine worship requires spiritual preparation. Your experiences of worship reflect your spiritual preparation. Prepare yourself now for your next encounter with God.  ...Henry Blackaby image by O Palsson

Actions and consequences: reflections on the state of the Anglican Communion

 Reflecting on Fulcrum’s call not to invite the Presiding Bishop to the Primates’ Meeting in Ireland, the consequences of inviting her are highlighted: the widespread principled absence of many Global South primates.

by Andrew Goddard
Saturday, January 29, 2011

As it is still unclear why the Presiding Bishop was invited after the breach of the moratorium and the Pentecost Letter, three possible scenarios are outlined in the hope that the rationale for this decision may be made clear.

Then, drawing on past Primates’ statements and statements from TEC, three justifications for non-invitation and grounds for non-attendance are outlined: developments in TEC are now indisputably a breach of the moratoria, TEC has displayed a lack of integrity in its dealings with the Communion and its own stance reveals a lack of coherence in teaching and practice while increasingly signalling a determination to re-define the Christian doctrine of marriage.

After exploring some of the challenges of holding a meeting to address key issues in the Communion but with the leaders of most of the world’s Anglicans not present, possible future paths for the Communion are outlined in relation to both the need for serious theological discussion about sexuality and the need to reform the Instruments, all of which have seen their authority eroded through this crisis. the rest

Friday, January 28, 2011

Dublin Primates’ Meeting – Briefing #3

ACNS
January 27, 2011
Day 4

The day began with a presentation on the work of The Inter-Anglican Standing Commission for Unity, Faith and Order (IASCUFO). Chairman of the commission, Archbishop of Burundi the Most Revd Bernard Ntahoturi, reminded the group that IASCUFO is a commission set up following a resolution at the 14th Anglican Consultative Council, endorsed by the Primates’ Meeting. It is a combination of two former commissions: the Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Ecumenical Relations (IASCER) and the Inter-Anglican Theological and Doctrinal Commission (IATDC), and it has also picked up the work of the Windsor Continuation Group.

He told fellow Primates that the December meeting of IASCUFO in South Africa saw the members work in four groups: one studying the definition of ‘church’. Archbishop Bernard said, “We are asking: ‘Is the Anglican Communion a Church or a communion of Churches?’” The second group is looking at the Anglican Communion Covenant and resources for studying it. The third group is studying the Instruments of Communion, their theological meaning and how they relate to one another. The fourth group is considering the topic of ‘reception’, that is how the work of the Instruments and of ecumenical dialogues is communicated and understood at all levels of the Anglican Communion. the rest

Live stream from Egypt

Live stream news here

Egypt's 'Net blockage an 'Armageddon approach'_
The Internet blockade imposed by the Egyptian government in response to growing civilian unrest is unprecedented, both in its nature and scope, according to network monitoring firms...

The Weekly Standard: Imagining Egypt During Bush
...The Bush NSC was constantly at odds over Egypt with the State Department, where the bureau of Near East affairs, headed then by one-time ambassador to Cairo David Welch, argued that Mubarak was a pillar of regional stability. Whether or not Mubarak is good for U.S. national interests, the Bush White House is now proven right in at least this one regard: The regional status quo is not stable. Who knows what might have happened 5 years ago, had the streets of Cairo been burning and Bush had suggested to the Egyptian president that it was time to step aside?

US warns Americans to defer travel to Egypt

Egypt protesters defy curfew as tanks roll into Cairo

Controversial Muslim cleric caught being smuggled into U.S. over Mexico border

By Daily Mail Reporter
28th January 2011

U.S. border guards got a surprise when they searched a Mexican BMW and found a hardline Muslim cleric - banned from France and Canada - curled up in the boot.

Said Jaziri, who called for the death of a Danish cartoonist that drew pictures of the prophet Mohammed, was being smuggled into California when he was arrested, along with his driver Kenneth Robert Lawler.

The 43-year-old was deported from Canada to his homeland Tunisia in 2007 after it emerged he had lied on his refugee application about having served jail time in France. the rest

Egypt Imposes Curfew as Protests Spread


VOA News
January 28, 2011

Egypt has imposed a nighttime curfew in an attempt to stop protests by tens of thousands of Egyptians demanding the end of Hosni Mubarak's rule. Friday was the most violent and chaotic day of anti-government protests since the demonstrations began Tuesday.

Security forces clashed with demonstrators calling for an end to President Mubarak's 30-year rule in Cairo, Alexandria, Suez and several other cities. Protesters hurled rocks at armored security vehicles and, in some cases, set them on fire. Police responded with tear gas, water canon and beat some demonstrators with sticks. the rest

How Egypt pulled out of the Internet

CNN Anchor Says Network's Satellites In Egypt Have Been Shut Off

Egypt protests: Curfew in cities as army deployed

Images of Cairo on Facebook:

Primates depleted as Dublin summit kicks off

by Ed Beavan
Church Times
28 January, 2011

MORE than one third of the provinces of the Anglican Com­munion are not represented at the Primates’ Meeting in Dublin, it was confirmed on Wednesday, as the summit got under way.

An official list showed that 22 of the possible 38 Primates arrived in Dublin; 15 were absent. In addition, the Province of Central Africa, where there is currently a vacancy, is being represented by its Dean; and the Archbishop of York is also attending, to allow the Archbishop of Can­terbury to preside at the meeting. the rest

More Misleading Research About Abortion-Mental Health Link

by Michael New
Washington, DC
1/27/11

Excerpt:
First, this study’s conclusions are largely based on the fact that the cohort of women who submitted to abortions experienced similar (but high) rates of mental-health problems both in the months before the abortion and in the months after the abortion took place. However, that does not negate a causal link between abortion and mental health. A number of academic studies find high levels of stress among women considering an abortion. Furthermore, it should be noted that the cohort of women who had abortions were more likely to experience mental-health problems than either the cohort who gave birth or the cohort who never became pregnant...

...It should also be noted that this research was funded by a grant from the Susan Thompson Buffet Foundation. This foundation was formed by investor Warren Buffet and named in honor of his wife after her death in 1994. This foundation has been very active in supporting abortion rights. Over the years, Susan Thompson Buffet Foundation has donated millions of dollars to Planned Parenthood. In fact, donations from the foundation have enabled dozens of Planned Parenthood clinics to add abortion to their services. Furthermore, this summer, an article in The New York Times Magazine indicated that two new programs designed to train and encourage young physicians to perform abortions were funded, in part, by the Susan Thompson Buffet Foundation. the rest
Furthermore, this is not the first time that The New England Journal of Medicine has used its reputation to advance liberal causes.

FARGO, ND: Dean Resigns from Cathedral. He Will Seek Ordination in Roman Catholic Church

By David W. Virtue
January 27, 2011

The Dean and rector of Gethsemane Cathedral, Fargo, ND, the Very Rev. Steven A. Sellers, is leaving his position and The Episcopal Church to seek ordination in the Roman Catholic Church. His duties at the cathedral will be taken over by the Bishop of North Dakota, the Rt. Rev. Michael Smith.

In an e-mail, the Anglo-Catholic priest told VOL, "Our journey into the Roman Catholic Church has been a long process for Dixie and me, and it has come at the end of a year-long period of prayer and discernment. I have the utmost love and respect for Bishop Michael. He and I have become very close over the past several years, and we will continue our relationship in the coming months and years. I treasure his friendship. And I know that he is facing a very challenging few months here at Gethsemane Cathedral in Fargo, and in the diocese, as financial resources continue to fall and new ways of doing ministry are being explored.  the rest

Too Religious to Home-School?

January 27, 2011
by Douglas Kennedy

Brenda Voydatch leafs through her daughter’s school books inside her single-story home in Meredith, New Hampshire.

“These are her math and science books,” she says.

Like many parents who home-school, Voydatch believes in the importance of teaching the basics of reading and writing. But she also believes in the importance of a religious education.

“I believe it’s a parents fundamental right to teach a child the beliefs within their home,” she says as she looks up at the painting of Jesus holding a child. “I believe that’s every parent’s right.”

It was that religious education that led to her ex-husband’s objections. It also led to a New Hampshire judge to order Brenda’s 11 year-old daughter Amanda to attend public school.

It’s an order her attorney, John Anthony Simmons, calls a clear Constitutional violation. the rest

Homeschool Freedom Act Introduced in New Hampshire

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Devotional: I want neither a blood'n'guts religion...

I want neither a blood'n'guts religion that would make Clint Eastwood, not Jesus, our hero, nor a speculative religion that would imprison the Gospel in the halls of academia, nor a noisy, feel-good religion that is a naked appeal to emotion. I long for passion, intelligence, and compassion in a Church without ostentation, gently beckoning to the world to come and enjoy the peace and unity we possess because of the Spirit in our midst. ...Brennan Manning image

Belgian Doctors Harvesting Organs From Disabled Euthanasia Donors

Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Wesley J. Smith

Back when I first got into this line of work, I wrote a piece for Newsweek about the dangers of euthanasia consciousness. I was a naif at the time. I had no idea how insidiously seductive the culture of death could be nor how deeply it had already seeped into the culture of the West. Since then, the darkness has spread like a stain.

But even then, in my innocence, I was prophetic. Here’s a key paragraph from my first anti-euthanasia piece, “The Whispers of Strangers,” published on June 28, 1993:

Of greater concern to me is the moral trickledown effect that could result should society ever come to agree with Frances. Life is action and reaction, the proverbial pebble thrown into the pond. We don’t get to the Brave New World in one giant leap. Rather, the descent to depravity is reached by small steps. First, suicide is promoted as a virtue. Vulnerable people like Frances become early casualties. Then follows mercy killing of the terminally ill. From there, it’s a hop, skip and a jump to killing people who don’t have a good “quality” of life, perhaps with the prospect of organ harvesting thrown in as a plum to society.

Over the years, I have been told many times that my fears would never happen. Assisted suicide/euthanasia was just for the terminally ill, at the very end of life, for whom nothing can be done to alleviate suffering. We would never use euthanasia to harvest organs! the rest

A group of Belgian doctors are harvesting “high quality” organs from patients who have been euthanased. This is not a secret project, but one which they described openly at a conference organised by the Belgian Royal Medical Academy in December.

Japan's Mount Kirishima Volcano Erupts



Volcano Erupts in Southern Japan, Smoke Seen 5,000 Feet Above the Crater

Awesome pics here!

Christians 'less devout' than Muslims in Britain

Christians are less devout than followers of other religions in Britain, according to new research.
By Martin Beckford
 27 Jan 2011

Just one in three churchgoers “actively practises” their faith compared with more than two-thirds of Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs and Buddhists.

Christians are also less likely to say that their beliefs influence their everyday life, although they do affect the school to which they send their children.

The figures, published by the Office for National Statistics on Thursday, provide more evidence that Britain remains a Christian country but most of its residents do not feel the need to attend church regularly and prefer to keep their beliefs private.

A new chapter of the ONS report Social Trends states that 82 per cent of adults in England and Wales said they followed a religion in 2009/09, with 72 per cent of these (equivalent to 32.4million people) calling themselves Christian. the rest

Damian Thompson: Practising Muslims will very soon overtake weekly churchgoers in Britain

Virginia Episcopalians OK same-sex unions

By Julia Duin
January 26, 2011

One religion story that escaped almost everyone's notice this past weekend is that the nation's largest Episcopal diocese voted to allow church-sanctioned same-sex unions.

Time was when the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia was way too conservative or even middle of the road to consider such an action. The northern tier of the diocese used to be populated with several large conservative congregations that would have never agreed to same-sex blessings. But these congregations pulled out of the diocese several years ago in response to the 2003 consecration of New Hampshire Bishop V. Gene Robinson, the first openly gay Episcopal bishop. The leave-takers, the majority of whom voted to leave during a dramatic series of votes in nine churches on Dec. 17, 2006, were also less than thrilled that a majority of the Virginia diocese's bishops and delegates to the 2003 Episcopal General Convention in Minneapolis voted to ratify Robinson's election.

Things since have changed in the Old Dominion State.  the rest

Christians are “fair game” for insults at the BBC whilst Muslims must not be offended...

..one of the broadcaster’s veteran news anchors has warned.
Tue, 25 Jan 2011

Peter Sissons, whose memoirs are being serialised in the Daily Mail, slammed the BBC for its bias.

Mr Sissons said: “Islam must not be offended at any price, although Christians are fair game because they do nothing about it if they are offended.”

His comments are unlikely to surprise many Christians who have become increasingly concerned about a perceived anti-Christian bias at the public broadcaster.

The veteran presenter, who fronted news and current affairs programmes at the BBC, also said that staff damage their careers if they don’t follow the BBC’s mindest.

He said: “In my view, ‘bias’ is too blunt a word to describe the subtleties of the pervading culture. The better word is a ‘mindset’.” the rest image

Abortion’s dangerous euphemisms

By Jeff Jacoby
Globe Columnist
January 26, 2011

GOVERNMENT BUREAUCRACIES and legal bodies are not usually known for their vivid writing style. But “vivid’’ doesn’t come close to conveying the driving force of the grand jury report released last week by the Philadelphia district attorney in connection with the Women’s Medical Society, a long-established abortion clinic operated by Dr. Kermit Gosnell. The report was issued on the same day that Gosnell and nine of his employees were arrested on charges including murder, infanticide, and abuse of a corpse. In 261 pages of shatteringly clear prose, the grand jurors laid out their findings.

"This case is about a doctor who killed babies and endangered women,’’ the report begins. “He regularly and illegally delivered live, viable, babies in the third trimester of pregnancy — and then murdered these newborns by severing their spinal cords with scissors. The medical practice by which he carried out this business was a filthy fraud in which he overdosed his patients with dangerous drugs, spread venereal disease among them with infected instruments, perforated their wombs and bowels — and, on at least two occasions, caused their deaths. Over the years, many people came to know that something was going on here. But no one put a stop to it.’’

The report goes on to describe a squalid operation in which hygiene was ignored, equipment was broken, and late-term abortions were routine. Pregnant women were treated with callous disdain, often left for hours, semi-conscious and in pain, on dirty recliners covered with bloodstained blankets. Untrained employees administered powerful drugs to induce labor, and heavy sedatives to keep women from screaming.

Time and again, the grand jury says, late-term babies were delivered alive — fully intact and breathing — and then killed. Gosnell “called it ‘ensuring fetal demise.’ The way he ensured fetal demise was by sticking scissors into the back of the baby’s neck and cutting the spinal cord. He called that ’snipping.’ Over the years, there were hundreds of ‘snippings.’ ’’ the rest

Practitioner Loses License, Killed Woman in Failed Abortion
Andrew Rutland, a southern California abortion practitioner, has agreed to give up his medical license a second time over a case involving his killing a woman in a botched abortion. Rutland killed an Asian woman in a failed abortion — as the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office ruled the death of Ying Chen a homicide.
The botched abortion was done in July 2009 at a filthy and ill-equipped acupuncture clinic in San Gabriel that Rutland ran where he also did abortions...

Dementia

Pair of elderly hands
Jan 27, 2011
Russell E. Saltzman

It’s been a ride that has not reached a destination. Those people who say it’s the journey, not the destination, do not know what they are talking about.

My mother is descending—has descended—into dementia. My wife and I have noticed little markers along the way over the last year. I questioned my father and like many husbands, many wives, he insisted she was fine; he never noticed anything. He was lying of course, more to himself than to either of us.

There were episodes he could not possibly have missed, things only now coming to light. But any admission by him that Mom was not up to par would be an admission, first, to himself and one he was not in the least prepared to make. This was the woman he married sixty-eight years ago following a blind date and a fast courtship, upon whom he has relied for everything—up to and including her cleaning his glasses every morning—ever since.

Two weeks ago, or is it now three, her hip shattered in four places. Surgery followed. The surgeon made it sound so easy. Since the hip socket was not involved, she would require but a thirty minute operation to pin and anchor and clamp bones in place, followed by four maybe six weeks in a rehabilitation center, then back home—piece of cake.

I knew that elderly patients with moderate confusion suddenly suffering trauma and surgery may emerge from anesthesia in a greater state of confusion. Perhaps they emerge no worse. The surgeon was optimistic—show me one who isn’t. My mother did not awaken unscathed. Her confusion swiftly grew so distinct she was unable to participate in therapy, and then began nighttime rages of shrieks and howls and daytime spaces filled with blank recognition. the rest  image

Albert Mohler: The Osteen Moment — Your Own Moment Will Come Soon Enough


Joel Osteen found himself forced to answer a question that every Christian — and certainly every Christian leader — will be forced to answer. When that moment comes, and come it will, those who express confidence in the Bible’s teaching that homosexuality is a sin will find themselves facing the same shock and censure from the very same quarters.
Thursday, January 27, 2011

Joel Osteen didn’t get where he is today by staking out controversial positions on biblical and moral issues. America’s prophet of Your Best Life Now built his reputation and his international following on an updated version of prosperity theology, laced with ample doses of pop psychology. The ever-smiling and effervescent pastor of America’s largest congregation has done his best to avoid association with doctrinal matters. More to the point — he has done his best to avoid talking about sin.

Osteen would rather offer platitudes about attitudes. “God wants you to be a winner, not a whiner,” he asserts. Talking in any detail about sin would be to insert negativity into his relentlessly upbeat message.

But now, Osteen finds himself in the midst of controversy. Last night, Joel and Victoria Osteen appeared together on CNN’s Piers Morgan Tonight and, boxed in by Morgan, Joel Osteen reluctantly confessed that he believes homosexuality to be a sin. the rest image

ACI: The Dublin ‘Meeting’

Written by: The Anglican Communion Institute, Inc.
Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

It has been reported that on two occasions Primates of the Global South advised the Archbishop of Canterbury that they would not attend the current Primates’ Meeting if the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church were present. Of the fourteen Primates who made this representation, it appears that only one will be attending any part of the meeting. In this light, the defensive explanations of why Primates are not attending offered by the Secretary General and the Communion Office (e.g. visa problems, diary conflicts, etc.) must raise eyebrows. Why should we think that those who publicly stated two months ago why they were not planning to attend now really wanted to come, but forgot they had another appointment?

A little candor by those in attendance would be nice: there is a problem, and it is a major problem. Are the Primates who have gathered in Dublin facing it, or are they still pretending that everybody has “moved beyond” the resolute disrespect of TEC and The Anglican Church of Canada towards their previous commitments and the commitments of the Communion at large?

Despite claims that the Anglican Communion has around “80 million” members, one must take account of the fact that a stated membership of 25 million in the Church of England actually translates to only about 1 million in church on Sundays. Similarly with a number of other churches. Let’s say the real Communion number is around 65 million. Of these, over 30 million are from the provinces of Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda—churches whose alienation from TEC and now the Communion cannot credibly be questioned. It is clearly the case that the Primates present in Dublin represent substantially fewer than half of the active members of the Communion. Those staying away due to the crisis in the Communion probably represent two-thirds or more of the active members of the Communion. the rest


ACNS: Briefing #1

ACNS Briefing #2

Virtueonline: Rowan Williams will announce new Relief Alliance to Deflect Theological Crisis in the Anglican Communion

Anglican Leader: Holocaust Must be Told Again and Again

Thu, Jan. 27 2011
By Christian Today

The Archbishop of Canterbury has spoken of the need to remember the atrocities committed against the Jewish people in the Holocaust and even in Britain’s own history, as well as other victims of genocide.

In a message to mark Holocaust Memorial Day today, Dr. Rowan Williams said the works of poets such as Holocaust survivor Paul Celan and Etty Hillesum served to remind the world of the “loss of humanity that remains in our midst to this day.”

“Although other poets have spoken for those killed in Armenia, Cambodia and Darfur, many stories from these and other genocidal events remain untold,” he said. the rest

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Anglican Perspective: Lawsuits


AAC website here
January 26, 2011
Attorney Raymond Dague

AS Haley: Bishop Iker Files for Stay of Orders

January 25, 2011

Attorneys for Bishop Jack L. Iker of Fort Worth have now filed a request with Tarrant County Judge John Chupp for a stay of the orders he issued last Friday, January 21. A hearing on the request is scheduled for next Tuesday, February 1st, at 10:00 a.m.

The stay request is based on a number of objections to the orders, described in the papers just filed, which may be downloaded from the link just given. The request points out the massive disruptions possible if the orders are not stayed pending appeal, and serves to indicate some of the extent of the interests which are at stake in the litigation:

Defendants will suffer irreparable injury if this Court's order for the Defendants to "surrender all Diocesan property" to the Plaintiffs is later reversed on appeal. By way of example:

• The Plaintiffs deposed 57 ministers of Defendant congregations in 2010 (see attachment A), and declared that they "shall be deprived of the right to exercise the gifts and spiritual authority of God's word and sacraments." If parishes are immediately transferred to the Plaintiffs, these pastors may not be allowed to minister at these churches pending appeal. Due to the number, it is unclear how TEC can replace them all.
the rest

Va. Bishop: Time to Prepare for Same-sex Blessings

January 25, 2011
The Living Church

The Rt. Rev. Shannon S. Johnston, Bishop of Virginia, will begin working with parishes immediately on guidelines for blessing same-sex unions.

Bishop Johnston announced his decision at the Diocese of Virginia’s 216th Annual Council, which met Jan. 20-22 in Reston.

The bishop will work “with those congregations that want to establish the parameters for the ‘generous pastoral response’ that the 2009 General Convention called for with respect to same-gender couples in Episcopal churches,” he said Jan. 21. “I hope that the 2012 General Convention will authorize the formal blessing of same-gender unions for those clergy in places that want to celebrate them. Until then, we might not be able to do all that we would want to do but, in my judgment, it is right to do something and it is time to do what we can.”

The next day the council approved a resolution that urged Bishop Johnston to work on such parameters. the rest

Study: Half of College Health Care Plans Pay for Abortions

by Steven Ertelt
Washington, DC
LifeNews.com
1/24/11

A new study finds almost half of the colleges and universities in the United States that offer students health care plans offer ones that pay for abortions.

A new study sponsored by Students for Life of America follows an August 2010 scandal involving the University of North Carolina, whose system mandated health care coverage for the 2010-2011 school year. UNC required its students to have health care and automatically enrolled them in a plan that covered elective abortions.

Students for Life conducted an investigation and pressured officials at UNC and in the state legislature to make changes. Their work revealed that taxpayer funds could be partially covering student abortions in North Carolina. the rest

Anglican Leaders Begin Talks amid Dissent

Wed, Jan. 26 2011
By Lillian Kwon
Christian Post Reporter

Anglican leaders from around the world began their weeklong meeting on Tuesday in the Irish capital of Dublin.

Not in attendance are about a third of the 39 primates – senior bishops or archbishops – many of whom are choosing to stay away because they feel it would be a waste of time.

Just days before the Primates Meeting, Archbishop Mouneer Hanna Anis of the Middle East said he believes the global gatherings are "manipulated" and "orchestrated."

"I felt now that it's a waste of time when you go to a place where the results and the outcome is already decided," he explained during the Mere Anglicanism Conference in Charleston, S.C. "And there is no consultation in order to own the agenda of a meeting like this. the rest

Albert Mohler: By the Skins of Their Teeth — Is a New MTV Series Child Pornography?

Does “Skins” cross the legal line of criminal child pornography? Just imagine the moral culpability of a network whose executives even have to ask the question.
Wednesday, January 26, 2011

MTV turns 30 this year, and it is wasting no time as it rushes headlong into a mid-life crisis. The cable network, first known as Music Television, pioneered the music video as constant entertainment and, from the beginning, it pushed the boundaries of morality and taste. Indeed, it pushed far past those boundaries.

The network, now older than many of its young viewers, first flaunted parental concerns with music videos that featured explicit sexuality. Later, it added racy programming to its mix, effectively competing against more traditional networks for viewers. The programs brought more viewers — and plenty of controversy as well.

In recent years, the network has been less controversial, but this says far more about a shift in social standards than about MTV itself. Once a transgression goes commercial, it loses some of its shock value.
the rest

The sex acts portrayed on “Skins” pretty much cover the waterfront of modern sexuality. There is no question that MTV will draw an audience. The big question confronted by the network is whether the show will draw child pornography charges as well.

As downturn drove more to eat at home, they find that they're enjoying it


By ELLEN GIBSON
The Associated Press
1/25/2011

Eating at home may be one of the few behavioral changes from the recession that stick.

Forced to eat more meals at home when money was tight, people learned new habits. Some discovered they enjoy cooking and dining in. As the economy improves and families have more spending money, they're still saving restaurants for special occasions.

..Restaurants traditionally have led other types of businesses out of a recession. This time, they're at least a year and a half behind retailers. Sales of clothing grew 5 percent last year and autos rose 11 percent, as Americans started feeling better about their finances. At casual sit-down restaurants like Outback Steakhouse, the increase was just 1 percent. Some analysts say that could be the new norm. the rest image
"People are becoming not only accustomed to eating at home, they're enjoying it," says Darren Tristano, executive vice president of restaurant consulting firm Technomic Inc. "They can sit in front of their 50-inch flat-screens and not have to tip a waiter."

Not a Winning Speech

Jan 26, 2011
By STEPHEN F. HAYES

Less than three months after voters across the country expressed their utter disdain for Washington and an overreaching government, Barack Obama’s second State of the Union address, and the mindless symbolism surrounding it, validated their judgment and demonstrated that many in the political class, beginning and ending with the president himself, learned nothing from that election.

It began even before the speech. Democrats and Republicans announced to great fanfare that they would sit with their political opponents. It was a quintessential Washington display – it was completely meaningless, editorial boards and Washington chin-strokers loved it, and politicians could congratulate one another on their own courage. At least it didn’t cost any money.

The theme of the president’s address was “Winning the Future” – a phrase as meaningless now as when it was the title of a book by Newt Gingrich in 2005. Where his speech wasn’t inscrutable, it was banal. the rest

Hewitt: An Exhausting Speech From An Exhausted President

Malkin: Cash for Education Clunkers

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Devotional: Why is the Lord so attracted to the lowly?

Why is the Lord so attracted to the lowly? He knows the weaker His servant, the more genuinely he will give glory to God. So the Lord kept Moses weak, and maintained his weakness throughout the wilderness. Forget Hollywood's version of Moses, God never healed the stammer... Who would not be tempted to plead: Hurry Lord - heal his stutter! Yet, the Red Sea parted. God was never troubled by His servant's flawed oratory skills. This is the glory of the cross: self is crucified by it so that Christ may be revealed in power. ...Francis Frangipane image

"Gays risk becoming the new McCarthyites"

By Melanie Phillips
24th January 2011

Here’s a question ­shortly coming to an examination ­paper near you. What have mathematics, geography or science to do with homosexuality?

Nothing at all, you say? Zero marks for you, then.

For, mad as this may seem, schoolchildren are to be bombarded with homosexual references in maths, geography and ­science lessons as part of a Government-backed drive to promote the gay agenda.  the rest

In geography, for example, they will be told to consider why homosexuals move from the ­countryside to cities. In maths, they will be taught ­statistics through census ­findings about the number of ­homosexuals in the population.

In science, they will be directed to ­animal species such as emperor ­penguins and sea horses, where the male takes a lead role in raising its young.

Alas, this gay curriculum is no laughing matter. Absurd as it sounds, this is but the latest attempt to brainwash children with propaganda under the ­camouflage of ­education. It is an abuse of childhood.

And it’s all part of the ruthless campaign by the gay rights lobby to destroy the very ­concept of normal sexual behaviour.

Study: Rising Religious Tide in China Overwhelms Atheist Doctrine

David Briggs
January 22, 2011

One of the last great efforts at state-sponsored atheism is a failure.

And not just any kind of failure. China has enforced its anti-religion policy through decades of repression, coercion and persecution, but the lack of success is spectacular, according to a major new study.

No more than 15 percent of adults in the world's most populous country are "real atheists." 85 percent of the Chinese either hold some religious beliefs or practice some kind of religion, according to the Chinese Spiritual Life Survey. the rest

ACNS: Anglican Communion Primates arrive in Dublin, Ireland for meeting.

Anglican Communion News Service
January 25, 2011

Primates from across the Anglican Communion arrived today at the Emmaus Retreat and Conference Centre in Dublin for the first day of their six-day Primates' Meeting.

The Primates, who are the senior bishops or archbishops of a province of the Anglican family of churches, were invited from all 38 Provinces. The Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, was also invited to allow the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams to fulfil his role as the President of the meeting.

Several Primates, including Archbishop Maurício José Araújo de Andrade Primate of Brazil & Bishop of Brasilia, said they were looking forward to a positive meeting.

“It is important that in this meeting dialogue continues between the different parts of the Anglican Communion,” he said. “If it is possible to sit together with different ecumenical and interfaith partners, how much more do we need to continue to sit down and dialogue with bishops from other parts of the Communion.” the rest

Comments at Stand Firm

AS Haley: A Small but Significant Victory for St. John's, Stockton

Monday, January 24, 2011

Excerpt:
The thirteen individual defendants sued in Stockton, however, decided not to answer Bishop Lamb's complaint, but to file what is called in California a "demurrer" to it. A demurrer, in effect, says to the court: "So what if everything the plaintiff alleges in his complaint were true? Even if you regarded everything true as pled, the plaintiff still has not stated a claim on which you can grant any relief."

The vestry and rector of St. John's (Father Lee Nelson) thus challenged the sufficiency of Bishop Lamb's complaint against them, individually. They argued that since it was the parish corporation that owned legal title to all the property, there was no point in suing them for the property as well. They were legally the officers and directors of the parish corporation, to be sure; but in that capacity, they do not have any right to own or possess the corporate assets.

And last Thursday, in Stockton, Superior Court Judge Lesley D. Holland agreed with the defendants. He rejected Bishop Lamb's arguments that the individuals needed to be sued so that they could be ordered to vacate the property. He pointed out that Bishop Lamb had already sued the corporation itself, and that was sufficient in order to obtain the relief that he was requesting. There was no need to sue the corporate officers and directors as well. the rest

Cash-strapped cities look to tax churches for road use

Jan 21, 2011
by Adelle M. Banks

(RNS) When a community needs to rebuild crumbling roads, should houses of worship pay fees for the number of times their congregants drive on them?

That's the question behind a recent suit filed by churches in the small city of Mission, Kansas, who argue the city's new "transportation utility fee" is a tax they should not have to pay.

With cash-strapped states and cities facing a slew of tough choices, there's a growing debate nationwide about whether religious congregations should help foot the bill.  the rest

Why a Gruesome Pennsylvania Abortion Clinic Had Not Been Inspected for 17 Years

by Marian Wang
ProPublica
Jan. 21, 2011

While this week's indictment involving a grisly abortion mill in Philadelphia has shocked many [1], the grand jury's nearly 300-page report also contains a surprising and little-noted revelation: In the mid-1990s, the administration of Pennsylvania governor Tom Ridge, a pro-choice Republican, ended regular inspections of abortion clinics—a policy that continued until just last year.

According to the grand jury report...released this week by Philadelphia prosecutors, Pennsylvania health officials deliberately chose not to enforce laws to ensure that abortion clinics provide the same level of care as other medical service providers. the rest

Here’s the grand jury report, in surprisingly strong language:
The Pennsylvania Department of Health abruptly decided, for political reasons, to stop inspecting abortion clinics at all. The politics in question were not anti-abortion, but pro. With the change of administration from Governor Casey to Governor Ridge, officials concluded that inspections would be “putting a barrier up to women” seeking abortions.

Canada: Polygamous commune members to testify in B.C. court

Monday, January 24, 2011

VANCOUVER - A B.C. courtroom will hear testimony this week from women living in the secretive polygamous commune of Bountiful.

The court is examining the constitutionality of Canada's polygamy law.

It has heard from several former residents of polygamous communities saying they faced control and abuse.

But women currently living in Bountiful are expected to offer a very different story today.

They will testify that polygamy has been a positive force in their lives and will ask that the law against multiple marriage be thrown out. the rest

The Genesis Code: Religious Discrimination



New Film Explores Intersection of Science and Faith
Ambitious 'Genesis Code,' made by Christians, has strengths and weaknesses
by Mark Moring
January 24, 2011

A new film, The Genesis Code, is beginning to make its way to theaters over the coming weeks and months. The movie, made by Christians in Grand Rapids, Michigan, tackles three main themes—the compatibility of science and faith, sanctity of life issues (especially at the end of life), and academic freedom in the classroom (particularly for students of faith to be able to voice their beliefs)...

Better Men: All Things Examined


By Regis Nicoll
January 14, 2011

Excerpt:
his book The Making of a Leader, Dr. Robert Clinton notes that less than one third of the leaders in the Bible finished well. Even those who did—Jacob, Moses, Aaron and David, to name a few—experienced major moral lapses that significantly undermined their ministries. Although the particular temptations they succumbed to may have been different (pride, abuse of power, lack of integrity, sexual misconduct), common to all was the lack of accountability.

I’m reminded of what Jimmy Swaggert said about his moral fall: “I fasted and I prayed and I begged God for deliverance from pornography. I realize now if I had turned to my brothers in Christ for help, I would have been delivered.”

Then there was pastor and author Gordon MacDonald who, after an immoral relationship was revealed, stated, “I now realize I was lacking in mutual accountability through personal relationships. We need relationships where one man regularly looks another man in the eye and asks hard questions about our moral life, our lusts, our ambitions, our ego.”

Vital to our well-being are people who not only cheer us on, but challenge us with sometimes uncomfortable questions—the ones that make us pause and examine the trajectory of our lives. Yet as men’s ministry leader Rod Handley points out, we want friends but not accountability. When we hit a pothole in life, we think: “I can handle this on my own”; “What I do privately is my business”; and most tellingly, “I don’t want to change my sin patterns.”

The failures of heroes past and present demonstrate that, as someone once said, “the only thing we can do successfully by ourselves is fail.” Indeed, the words of King Solomon are as important today as they were three millennia ago:

“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up!”

This year the wisdom of those words will be showcased in a most unlikely place. the rest

Monday, January 24, 2011

Georgetown Jesuit: Our Job Isn't to Bring People to God



Georgetown Jesuit: Our Job Isn't to Bring People to God
Now, this is depressing. Not surprising. But definitely depressing. I just got this video from the Cardinal Newman Society concering Georgetown University. And it's a doozy. And here's the thing -this is what Georgetown is publicly espousing. I can't imagine what it is they're not saying....

Women: Pa. abortions left us sterile, near death

By MARYCLAIRE DALE, Associated Press
Sun Jan 23, 2011

PHILADELPHIA – When Davida Johnson walked into Dr. Kermit Gosnell's clinic to get an abortion in 2001, she saw what she described as dazed women sitting in dirty, bloodstained recliners. As the abortion got under way, she had a change of heart — but claims she was forced by the doctor to continue.

"I said, 'I don't want to do this,' and he smacked me. They tied my hands and arms down and gave me more medication," Johnson told The Associated Press. the rest
Gosnell was charged last week with killing seven babies born alive and with the 2009 death of a 41-year-old refugee after a botched abortion at the clinic, which prosecutors have called a drug mill by day and abortion mill by night. The medical practice alone netted him at least $1.8 million a year, much of it in cash, they say. Prosecutors said uncounted hundreds more babies died there.
"(He) regularly and illegally delivered live, viable babies in the third trimester of pregnancy and then murdered these newborns by severing their spinal cords with scissors," said a report of the grand jury that investigated Gosnell and his clinic for a year.

Albert Mohler: In His Own Words: A Radical Pro-Abortion President

The President’s statement included not one word that indicated any recognition that abortion is in any case or in any sense a tragedy.
Monday, January 24, 2011

When Barack Obama was running for President, he was described by some observers as one of the most radical candidates in the nation’s history in terms of support for abortion. Once in office, President Obama has done little to dispel that judgment. Even as the President is tracking to the middle on many issues, this is not the case when it comes to abortion.

This past Saturday, on the 38th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision, the President issued a statement that is remarkable, even for presidents who support legalized abortion. The President’s statement included not one word that indicated any recognition that abortion is in any case or in any sense a tragedy. There was not even a passing reference to the unborn child. President Obama did not even use the language used disingenuously by President Bill Clinton — the pledge that abortion should be “safe, legal, and rare.” the rest

Ever since Barack Obama emerged on the national political scene, he has been promoted and protected by a corps of preachers and religious leaders who have tried their best to explain that he is not so pro-abortion as he seems. Nevertheless, his record is all too clear — as is this most recent statement. There was not one expression of abortion as a national tragedy, even as a report recently indicated that almost 60 percent of all pregnancies among African American women in New York City end in abortion.

Mere Anglican 2011: Bishop Mouneer Anis



AnglicanTV

More Anglicans to convert

 January 25, 2011

MORE priests and laity from the Church of England's Anglo-Catholic wing have pledged to join the Catholic Church.

Seven more clergy and about 300 members of six congregations are committed to joining the new Anglican Ordinariate, the extra-geographical organisation similar to a diocese set up by decree this month by the Vatican as a home for members of the Church of England who are unhappy with moves to ordain women bishops.

Three former Anglican bishops have already been ordained priests, two of their wives have been received and three former Anglican nuns have also been received as the first members of the Ordinariate.

The Catholic diocese of Brentwood, in southern England, said three parishes in Essex and three in east London were preparing to convert en masse into the Ordinariate, where they would be allowed to maintain elements of their Anglican patrimony but will be members of the Catholic Church. the rest

Jack LaLanne: Founding Father Of Fitness

January 24, 2011

Jack LaLanne, who devoted his life to making Americans fit and healthy, died of respiratory failure from pneumonia Sunday at his home in Morro Bay, Calif. He was 96.

Before there was power yoga and Tae-Bo, there was LaLanne. He became the fitness conscience of the nation after his daily TV show on exercise and nutrition debuted in the 1950s, running for more than three decades. For many Americans, he is a memory, a quirky part of cultural history, but up to the end of his life, he remained as dedicated as ever to getting the country in shape. the rest image

Roe v. Wade’s legacy: 52 million abortions and counting

Sun, Jan. 23, 2011
By PAM FICHTER
President of Missouri Right to Life.

Excerpt:
Under the banner of “choice,” 52 million children have been legally aborted in the last 38 years. The legacy of Roe and Doe affects all of society in many ways.

While some promote abortion as a “woman’s right,” organizations like Silent No More testify to the physical and emotional consequences of abortion to women. Some women who have had abortions suffer higher rates of sterility, miscarriage, depression, substance abuse and suicide. Some studies worldwide find their risk of breast cancer increases.

Abortion disproportionately affects the black community. While black women represent only 13 percent of the female population of the United States, they obtain 35 percent of U.S. abortions. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, abortions have killed more blacks than many diseases.

To visualize the significance of 52 million abortions, consider that this number represents the cumulative populations of 18 states: Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming.  the rest

West Coast Pro-life March Draws 40,000 in San Francisco


By Stephanie Samuel
Christian Post Reporter

The Walk for Life West Coast event on Saturday exceeded organizers’ expectations by drawing a crowd of 40,000 people, a record-breaking figure...

...Groups such as Silent No More, Priests for Life, Lutherans for Life, and Anglicans for Life joined in the walk to remember the unborn, share their testimonies, and pray for an end to abortion...

..."We've lost close to 40 percent of our population to abortion," stressed Denise. the rest

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Chinese Pianist Plays Propaganda Tune at White House

US humiliated in eyes of Chinese by song used to inspire anti-Americanism
By Matthew Robertson
Jan 23, 2011

Lang Lang the pianist says he chose it. Chairman Hu Jintao recognized it as soon as he heard it. Patriotic Chinese Internet users were delighted as soon as they saw the videos online. Early morning TV viewers in China knew it would be played an hour or two beforehand. At the White House State dinner on Jan. 19, about six minutes into his set, Lang Lang began tapping out a famous anti-American propaganda melody from the Korean War: the theme song to the movie “Battle on Shangganling Mountain.”

The film depicts a group of “People’s Volunteer Army” soldiers who are first hemmed in at Shanganling (or Triangle Hill) and then, when reinforcements arrive, take up their rifles and counterattack the U.S. military “jackals.”

The movie and the tune are widely known among Chinese, and the song has been a leading piece of anti-American propaganda by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) for decades. CCP propaganda has always referred to the Korean War as the “movement to resist America and help [North] Korea.” The message of the propaganda is that the United States is an enemy—in fighting in the Korean War the United States’ real goal was said to be to invade and conquer China. The victory at Triangle Hill was promoted as a victory over imperialists. the rest

Packers Top Bears, Earn Super Bowl Berth



(Raymond is from Wisconsin)