Friday, February 11, 2011

‘Same-Sex Hand Holding Day’ at Jesuit University

Posted February 11, 2011
Xavier University in Cincinnati, a Catholic and Jesuit institution, will be hosting “‘Queer Week’ presented by Xavier Allies” on campus this semester from March 30 to April 3, according to the University website.

Among the events planned for Queer Week at Xavier is “Same-Sex Hand Holding Day”. From the University’s event page:

A week to embrace and celebrate the use of queer as an inclusive, unifying socio-political term for people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, straight, transsexual, intersexual, gender queer, or anyone else who supports the equality of all identities and expressions. Monday: 1:30 Distribution of ‘Gay, Fine By Me’ T-Shirts on the Greenspace 7pm Candlelight Vigil for Victims of Hate Crimes Tuesday: Queer Awareness Display and Tabling in Gallagher Wednesday: 7pm An academic performance by Kate Bornstein “On Women, Men and the Rest of Us” in Kelley Auditorium Thursday: 7pm Showing of ‘Milk’ with panel discussion in Gallagher Theater Friday: 4pm Same-Sex Hand Holding Day/Solidarity and Closing Ceremonies

Found here

Egypt’s impoverished Christians struggling as unrest continues

Soaring food prices and scarce resources are leaving Egypt’s impoverished Christians struggling to find enough food to eat.
by Brian Hutt
Friday, February 11, 2011

Fresh protests are set to rumble across Egypt after President Hosni Mubarak’s announcement yesterday that he would not step down until after elections in September.

With the economy at a virtual standstill, Barnabas Fund said there was a “free for all” that was pricing Christians out of the market.

Since demonstrations broke out two weeks ago, the price of rice, potatoes and lentils has doubled.

Barnabas Fund, which supports persecuted Christians worldwide, said food was the most pressing need for many Christian families. the rest

Church Times: Synod wrestles with an England that no longer understands

11 February, 2011
by Ed Thornton

THE General Synod agonised over the Church of England’s relationship with English society when it met at Church House, Westminster, this week.

In his presidential address on Tuesday afternoon, the Archbishop of York, Dr Sentamu, said that the C of E faced many criticisms from secular­ists, some of whom wanted to remove particular responsibilities from the national Church.

Referring to Dame Mary Warnock, who recently argued that faith had no part to play in moral discourse, Dr Sentamu said: “From where she stands, religion and morality must be prised apart.” This, he said, was “false prophesy, and potentially fatal to our social fabric”.

On Tuesday afternoon, the Synod debated a vision document for the next five years of the Church’s life, which suggested the need to counter the marginalisation of Christianity. A lay member, Sarah Finch, urged the Synod to debate freedom of con­science. It was “not safe to be an openly Christian person” in the UK, she said, but “most of the Church of England has been silent.” the rest

UK Mosque Fight Reveals New Mood

Wall Street Journal
10 February 2011
By ALISTAIR MACDONALD

LONDON—A local council's effort to evict a mosque from an abandoned industrial site here demonstrates Britain's shifting appetite for multiculturalism, a concept the U.K. prime minister has said should be rejected.

The remarks by Britain's David Cameron on Saturday are the latest step on a path much of Europe has been moving down in recent years after a decadelong burst of immigration led to fears of home-grown terrorism and the erosion of local culture.

But in charting a new course, European governments are weighing the risks that they encourage xenophobia or alienate people in countries that are important to Europe, like Turkey. They're also wary of scaring off skilled laborers from the developing world. the rest

Taking Liberties: Taxing Church Attendance?

By Douglas Kennedy
February 10, 2011

Erik Stanley walked up Woodson Road in Mission, Kansas, surveying the church parking lot at St. Pius X Catholic Church. He said the government can tax your life and can tax your death, but they’re not supposed to tax your church.

And that’s exactly what he said is happening in Mission.

“The city of Mission is taxing churches,” he said. “And that’s clearly unconstitutional.”

In August, the small town just north of Kansas City passed the so-called “driveway tax,” a controversial charge, in addition to property taxes, for residents and businesses based on the number of times their driveway is used. the rest

Goddess Worshipers and Tax Authorities Clash in an Upstate NY Town

By PETER APPLEBOME
February 9, 2011
PALENVILLE, N.Y.

During Palenville Pagan Pride Day in August, the agenda reflected the goddess-centered theology of the Divine Feminine, which members say has its roots 12,000 years ago in the Goddess Cybele in Central Anatolia, in Turkey.

So after the opening ritual at 9 a.m. and sandwiched around “Lunchtime with the Priestesses,” the schedule at the old Central House inn included “The Goddess in Antiquity,” “Pagans in the Mundane World” and sessions on sacred drumming patterns, dragon rituals and the Cybeline Revival.

Still, it was the least celestial item that perhaps mattered most. That would be “Discussion of Maetreum of Cybele v. Town of Catskill, N.Y.,” a legal case dating to 2007 after the town first approved and then denied tax-exempt status for the group, which has been certified by the federal government as a tax-exempt religious charity. The goddess may rule the universe, but the lawyers will help decide whether the pagans of Palenville have a future in this historic old town just down the snowy hills from Hunter Mountain. the rest
“We’re women oriented,” she said. “We’re goddess oriented. We’re gay and lesbian friendly. We’re witchy. We’re set up for communal living for priestesses. I think we set off a lot of buttons.”

Floppy drive organ plays toccata



YouTube user FunToTheHead has created a working organ that uses finely tuned wheezing floppy drives to play rather impressive renditions of music. It's not easy to sequence for four-note floppy-drive organs, but FunToTheHead has done a rather good job with Toccata and Fugue -- a solid choice for any mad-science organ! I love that he's got the blinkenlights synched with the music. the rest

Supersonic Flight & Transonic Phenomena

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Rev. Dr. Philip Turner: It’s Time To Get Real

ACI
Wednesday, February 9th, 2011

Paul Bagshaw has published an essay entitled “End Game” that requires a response. Citing a report by George Conger, he agrees that we are at the “end of the Communion we once thought we knew;” and he has provided a very credible sketch of what Anglicanism will look like going forward. What he has not done is point out what a disaster this ending and this future are. Indeed, there is something almost surreal about his failure to make clear the true import of the likely course of events he presents. Hence the title of this response “It’s Time to Get Real.” The purpose behind this title is to present the full extent of the disaster and the bleak prospects for the future signaled by this end.

First, however, in what sense are we, as Bagshaw rightly says, at an end? Among other signs of the end Bagshaw lists these changes that follow from the Dublin meeting.

1. The Primates Meeting is to be a consultative body with no powers either of instruction or direction. In short, the Primates, in contradistinction to the request of the Lambeth Conference, are now powerful and influential in their own provinces but have no reach outside the locale in which they function.

2. According to Bagshaw, in the new arrangement extraordinary power has been concentrated in the hands of the Archbishop of Canterbury. The standing committee of the Primates is a “consultative council” to the Archbishop but has no “veto” over what he might decide to do. Indeed, neither the meeting of the Primates nor their standing committee has veto powers over the rulings of what appears of be an emergent monarchical Archbishop of Canterbury. The Archbishop is now Primus but no longer inter pares. the rest
 If one thing the recent meeting in Dublin makes clear, it is that the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Primates there assembled have abdicated the responsibility of Bishops to maintain catholic belief and practice not only within but also beyond the borders of their particular dioceses or provinces. I am troubled, in short, because Dublin spells the end of catholic order within the Anglican future he foresees.
Comments at Stand Firm

Catholic Church okays new confession app for iPhone


Reuters
Monday, February 7th 2011

An iPhone app aimed at helping Catholics through confession and encouraging lapsed followers back to the faith has been sanctioned by the Catholic Church in the United States.

Confession: A Roman Catholic app, thought to be the first to be approved by a church authority, walks Catholics through the sacrament and contains what the company behind the program describes as a "personalized examination of conscience for each user".

"Our desire is to invite Catholics to engage in their faith through digital technology," said Patrick Leinen of the three-man company Little iApps, based in South Bend, Indiana. the rest image

Christians Fear Backlash at Massive 'Reconversion' Event in India

Tribal locals oppose Hindu nationalist rally in Madhya Pradesh; 2 million pilgrims expected.
Thu, Feb. 10 2011
By Compass Direct News

NEW DELHI – The High Court of Madhya Pradesh, responding to a petition by the state Catholic Bishops Conference, directed the state government Wednesday to ensure the safety of Christians during a massive Hindu nationalist rally scheduled Thursday through Saturday in Mandla.

Organizers of the Maa Narmada Samajik Kumbh (Mother Narmada Social Kumbh, with “kumbh” literally meaning, “pot”) on the banks of the Narmada River hope to draw 2 million pilgrims to the event. Christian leaders said that the Kumbh is the latest in a series of anti-Christian propaganda events that Hindu nationalist organizations have held in recent years.

“We are worried about our safety and security, as our attempt to get adequate protection from the state government received a very cool response,” said Bishop Gerald Almeida of Jabalpur.

A similar event in Dangs district, Gujarat state in 2006 was filled with hate speech against Christians and attempted mass “reconversions,” and area media in Mandla district have already begun carrying false stories of “forced conversion” and other malicious accusations against Christians. the rest

Multiculturalism Loses Its Allure

Mosque-Eviction Effort in London Underscores Broader European Shift Toward More Immigrant Integration.
FEBRUARY 10, 2011
By ALISTAIR MACDONALD

LONDON—A local council's effort to evict a mosque from an abandoned industrial site here demonstrates Britain's shifting appetite for multiculturalism, a concept the U.K. prime minister has said should be rejected.

The remarks by Britain's David Cameron on Saturday are the latest step on a path much of Europe has been moving down in recent years after a decadelong burst of immigration led to fears of home-grown terrorism and the erosion of local culture.

But in charting a new course, European governments are weighing the risks that they encourage xenophobia or alienate people in countries that are important to Europe, like Turkey. They're also wary of scaring off skilled laborers from the developing world. the rest
European critics of the concept say the failure to integrate immigrants have resulted in generations of people—from inside and outside the EU—who don't speak the local language well, lack basic skills and have become a drag on welfare systems. Rising jobless rates in nations like Spain and France have inflamed the debate.

Christians in Java uneasy after 'orchestrated' attacks on churches

February 09, 2011

Indonesian police have stepped up security around Christian churches in Java in the wake of a series of attacks by Muslim militants, amid complaints that the government has not provided adequate protection for religious minorities.

Bishop Petrus Canisius Mandagi, who heads an inter-faith dialogue commission for the Indonesian bishops’ conference, charged that “religious minorities have been left without any protection from the state.” Archbishop Johannes Pujasumarta of Semarang, in whose archdiocese the violence erupted, said that the mob violence was “planned and orchestrated” by extremist groups from outside the area. And Father Ignazio Ismartono, a Jesuit priest involved in inter-faith dialogue, agreed that the rash of violence suggests “dark forces who want to fuel tensions in society.” the rest

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

How the Church of England Invests Its Billions

With its eternal demands for capital and cash flow, the church has been forced to become one of the U.K.'s most forward-thinking investors.
By Cliff D'Arcy
Motley Fool
 2/9/2011

Even for nonbelievers, the Church of England is truly a fascinating institution.

The roots of the church can be traced back to the Roman Empire, but the Protestant establishment we know today has its origins in the much-catalogued marital problems of King Henry VIII (1491-1547).

The ultimate long-term investor

Having been around since the 3rd century AD, the Christian church is a pillar of Britain. Indeed, the CofE still plays a vital role in British life, supporting Christian worship, community life, education, and social and pastoral care.

Despite falling church attendance, a million people visit church each Sunday, and millions more attend churches for weddings and funerals. Also, schooling plays a vital role for the church, with 1 million pupils in CofE schools (which make up 1 in 4 primary and 1 in 16 secondary schools).

Of course, operating on a national scale with such a long-established pedigree doesn't come cheap. In fact, the church supports nearly 20,000 ordained ministers and 1,600 armed forces and prison chaplains, plus countless retired clergy. the rest image

Episcopalian dispute goes to Conn. Supreme Court

Associated Press
February 9, 2011

HARTFORD, Conn. — Lawyers for a local parish and the Episcopal Church have clashed before the Connecticut Supreme Court over whether the parish can keep its building and land after breaking ties with the national church.

The court on Wednesday heard the case of the Bishop Seabury Church in Groton, which voted to split from the national Episcopal Church in 2007 because of changes in the church's theology and the appointment of a gay bishop in New Hampshire in 2003.

Justices didn't rule Wednesday.

The 135-year-old parish is appealing a lower court judge's ruling that awarded the property to the state diocese and national church. the rest

Canada: Four decades of Anglican-Roman Catholic dialogue

Anglican Journal
By Diana Swift
February 09, 2011

Last month, the national Canadian ARC Bishops’ Dialogue celebrated 40 years of bringing Anglican and Roman Catholics closer together. “The Canadian Anglican-Roman Catholic dialogue is one of the longest running in the word,” says Bishop Michael Ingham of the Anglican diocese of New Westminster in Vancouver.

Unity headed the agenda as five Roman Catholic and four Anglican bishops (one was absent due to illness) met over three days in Pickering, Ont., to discuss--among other things--Growing Together in Unity and Mission, a document produced by the International Anglican-Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission.

Growing Together encourages practical co-operation at local levels between Anglican and Roman Catholic churches and visible signs of religious unity. “For example, it recommends that the two churches consider offering baptismal preparation together, using the same baptismal certificates or making public professions of faith together at Pentecost or on other significant occasions,” says Bishop Ingham. the rest

Anglican TV Interview with Bishop Venables

Top Six Planned Parenthood Deceptions: In Order of Increasing Absurdity

by Lila Rose
posted February 9, 2011

Over the past week, Live Action has released six videos revealing Planned Parenthood’s willingness to aid and abet the sex traffickers of underage girls (see: liveaction.org). Since the beginning of our release, Planned Parenthood has attacked our organization and attempted to discredit the growing evidence of institutional and rampant abuse cover up. Here is a top six list of some of the deceiving statements that Planned Parenthood has made in just the past few days.

Here-excellent!

Albert Mohler: What the Bible Really Says About Sex . . . Really?

The Bible is brutally honest about human sinfulness in all its forms, including sexuality. Nevertheless, the Bible presents a consistent and clear sexual ethic. The issue is not a lack of clarity.
Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Has the church misunderstood the Bible’s teachings on sexuality for over two thousand years? The current issue of Newsweek magazine reports on “new scholarship on the Good Book’s naughty bits” that is supposed to turn our understanding of the Bible’s teachings on sex upside down.

Lisa Miller, Newsweek’s religion editor, wrote the article entitled “What the Bible Really Says About Sex.” Well, the one thing you need to know up front is that the article falls far short of its title.

Miller bases her report on two recent books — Michael Coogan’s God and Sex: What the Bible Really Says and Jennifer Wright Knust’s Unprotected Texts: The Bible’s Surprising Contradictions about Sex and Desire. Neither of these books breaks new ground. Instead, the books distill arguments that have become common among liberal and revisionist Bible scholars and homosexual activist groups.
the rest image

The most important point I made to Lisa Miller is that revisionist interpreters of the Bible are playing a dishonest game. Consider the audacity of their claim: they claim that no one has rightly understood the Bible for over two thousand years. No Jewish or Christian interpreter of the Bible had ever suggested that the relationship between David and Jonathan was homosexual — at least not until recent decades. The revisionist case is equally ludicrous across the board. We are only now able to understand what Paul was talking about in Romans 1? The church was wrong for two millennia?

Federally funded Arabic language program ripped

Chad Groening
OneNewsNow
2/9/2011

Author and activist David Horowitz says it's absolutely outrageous that some elementary and intermediate school students will be forced to take Arabic language and culture classes in a Dallas-Fort Worth suburb.
Several Dallas television stations have reported that the Mansfield Independent School District is instituting the Arabic language studies after receiving a federal grant from the Foreign Language Assistance Program of the U.S. Department of Education (DOE). Under the program, Arabic classes would be mandatory at an elementary and intermediate school in the district and optional at the middle and high schools...

...The DOE program identifies Arabic as "a language of the future." But David Horowitz, founder of the David Horowitz Freedom Center, says Arabic is now a language of the past.

"What has the Arab world contributed except terror?" he exclaims. "The theocratic, repressive Arabic states do no significant science, no significant arts and culture." the rest

Egyptian Christians fear uprising could increase persecution

At a Coptic Orthodox church in Miramar, Egyptian Christians fear that the uprising in their homeland may lead to more anti-Christian persecution.
Tuesday, 02.08.11
BY JAWEED KALEEM

Nadia Guirguis left Egypt 15 years ago for the same reasons her countrymen are protesting today: She wanted a chance at better jobs, more freedoms and a better life.

But as tumultuous demonstrations raged in her homeland, the Coptic Christian has become a reluctant supporter of the country’s widely disliked dictator, President Hosni Mubarak.

While much of the world — from those taking to the streets Egypt to rallies in South Florida — roots for democracy and the immediate ouster of Mubarak, the Copts, a persecuted minority in Egypt that make up a majority of its immigrant population in the United States, are raising concerns that an even less friendly Islamist government could take his place. the rest

Church thrives at separate locations with same sermon

By Kevin Carbery
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Whether her pastor gives his sermon in person or via electronic media, Vivian Johnson likes what he has to say.

Johnson is a member of The Crossing at Fenton, a congregation connected to The Crossing at Chesterfield. The Rev. Greg Holder preaches from the congregation's original Chesterfield location, but his words are carried to Fenton either through a live telecast or by videotape. His image is projected on a giant screen in the large auditorium at The Crossing in Fenton.

"The thing I like the most about The Crossing is its authentic message," said Johnson, 50, of Eureka.

Johnson and more than 400 others gather at the Fenton site for Saturday evening or Sunday morning worship services. She said everything involved in each church service in Fenton takes place live in front of those in the church, except the sermon. the rest
The church offers Bible study groups, children's ministries, teen ministries and other ways to involve members in church life.

There's nothing cute about Alberto Cutie

Monday, February 07, 2011
By William Donohue

Alberto Cutie is known for breaking his priestly vows, quitting the Catholic Church, running off with his lover, and becoming an Episcopal priest. Since his public journey began in 2009, he has been parading himself on TV, most recently discussing a book about his exploits. Always the victim, he has now reached a new level: he is comparing his Catholic critics to Muslim terrorists.

Though Cutie's article at the Huffington Post is allegedly about priestly celibacy—a subject he cannot walk away from—it soon becomes apparent what his real agenda is. He quickly launches into an invidious analogy. "All this has led me to confirm that religious extremists are not only a small group of people associated to [sic] Islam. Instead, intolerant views and verbal threats by some Roman Catholic extremists that I have received rival any monopoly by Muslim radicals."

We are used to him playing fast and loose with the facts—he continues to float the myth that 100,000 Catholic priests left to marry (the real figure is considerably lower)—but this time he really crossed the line. Quite frankly, anyone who can't distinguish between catcalls and calls for jihad is in trouble. the rest

Murder in God's name: Intolerance in Indonesia

Feb 8th 2011
The Economist
JAKARTA

INDONESIANS are reeling from one of their country’s most awful incidents of religious violence in years. It happened on February 6th, in a village in Banten, the western end of Java, not far from Jakarta, a district where strictly Islamist parties poll well. Out of keeping with the more usual pattern of Muslim-versus-Christian attacks, this was a mob attack by Muslims against men who claimed to be their own fellows: members of a Islamic sect called the Ahmadiyah.

Three Ahmadis were killed and five seriously injured in a frenzy of violence: footage of the assault was deemed too graphic to be shown on Indonesian TV news, which tends to have a fairly high tolerance for the stuff. Instead the footage is circulating on the internet, if you have the stomach. Indonesians are asking what could have motivated religious people to commit such a barbaric act (“sadistic” is a word being bandied around)—and why the police were so feeble in their attempts to stop it.

Nerves have been frayed further by another spate of religious violence, first reported this morning. Elsewhere in Java a Muslim mob burned down three Christian churches, all the while calling for the death penalty to be brought against a Christian man whom they accused of blaspheming against Islam. They were apparently unsatisfied by the judgment of a court, which had already given him the harshest sentence available (five years in jail) for distributing leaflets that insulted Islam. This sort of mob violence is not rare enough. the rest

Sentamu-Church has ‘God-given duty’ to shape Britain’s moral order

It may not be welcomed or applauded for it, but the Church of England must continue to shape the debate on Britain’s moral order and proclaim the good news to the nation, the Archbishop of York said today.
by Maria Mackay
Tuesday, February 8, 2011

In his presidential address to the General Synod in London today, Dr Sentamu said the “urgent conviction” of the Church’s calling to proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom of God must underpin its work over the next five years.

He admitted that there was a “pressing need” to equip the Church “confidently to discharge that calling” in the face of the economic uncertainty, high levels of unemployment, the widening gap between rich and poor, and cuts in public spending.

The Archbishop spoke of the need to “assert the value and importance of the contribution of trust in God to our national life”. the rest

Church of England moots five year plan

A report outlining some of the challenges and priorities for the Church of England in the next five years encountered mixed responses at the General Synod yesterday.
by Maria Mackay
Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The report, Into the New Quinquennium, admits to the challenges facing the Church of England in relation to declining attendance and increasing secularisation.

It notes that the size and ageing profile of many congregations requires “new imagination” in the way the Church of England seeks to demonstrate its faithfulness to the Great Commission to this generation.

It highlights some priorities, including the need for more and younger vocations, and to mobilise the whole body of Christ “releasing every Christian across the Church of England into active discipleship and witness in the world”. the rest

Why Does the University Establishment Despise Religious Speech?

February 8, 2011
By David French

For the last five years, the University of Wisconsin-Madison has been waging a fierce rear-guard action against equal treatment of religious speech on campus. While the university uses its mandatory student fee to fund a wide variety of student groups on campus, it has systematically shut religious groups out of funding — preferring instead to funnel hundreds of thousands of dollars into favored, liberal student organizations.

In September, the Seventh Circuit dealt a stinging blow to the university’s efforts to discriminate against religious speech, holding — in no uncertain terms — the university could not engage in viewpoint discrimination when dispensing student-fee funds, even if the funds were given to student groups engaged in prayer, worship, and “proselytizing.” In its opinion, the Court of Appeals relied on decades of Supreme Court authority (including previous litigation against the University of Wisconsin) and reaffirmed that “universities must make their recognition and funding decisions without regard to the speaker’s viewpoint.” the rest

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Devotional: Lord of your life....

God is not looking for ways to make you "squirm." He does, however, want to be Lord of your life. Whenever you identify a place where you refuse to allow His lordship, that is a place He will go to work. He is interested in absolute surrender. God may or may not require you to do that very thing you identified, but He will keep working until you are willing for Him to be Lord of all. ...Henry Blackaby image

Buffalo: Jury convicts Muslim TV exec of beheading wife

Carolyn Thompson
 Associated Press
2/8/2011

BUFFALO, NY - The founder of a Muslim-oriented New York television station was convicted Monday of beheading his wife in 2009 in the studio the couple had opened to counter negative stereotypes of Muslims after the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

Muzzammil "Mo" Hassan never denied that he killed Aasiya Hassan inside the suburban Buffalo station the couple established to promote cultural understanding. A jury deliberated for one hour before rejecting his claim that the killing was justified because he was long abused by and afraid of his wife. the rest image

A.S. Haley: What Is Wrong with ECUSA's Financial Numbers?

Monday, February 7, 2011

The Finance Office of ECUSA has put online a preliminary December 2010 year-end statement. It permits a first look at how well ECUSA performed relative to its budget adopted for 2010. Taking the numbers at face value (something which the numbers themselves will not let us do, as discussed below), one can arrive at these preliminary observations:

Stated 2010 Revenues: $ 40,977,763
Stated 2010 Expenses: $ 36,086,557

Net Book Surplus for 2010: 4,891,206

Ordinarily, one should be proud of producing a budget surplus of nearly $5 million, right? Now, dig a little deeper. There is much more there than meets the eye. the rest

Spiritual Sustenance: Feed Us with Your Beauty

Does the instinct to deny beauty to the materially poor betray a wider spiritual poverty?
By Katrina R. Fernandez
March 07, 2011

Excerpt:
Churches used to be the source for transcendent beauty, the places where ordinary people could experience that overwhelming gasp-inspiring spiritual soaring because they were surrounded by it, immersed in it. Churches used to make the soul sing for God.

Beauty in the Church is essential. I don't want God brought down from the Heavens and made "relatable" to me. I want to be carried up to Christ so I can meet Him there and be awestruck and changed by his beauty, expressed all around.

People often justify their ugly little parishes by saying they don't believe in wasting money for garnishments that insult the poor. Little do they realize that their bleak and barren churches are spiritually depriving the poor by starving their very hearts and souls; hard lives ache for beauty. I often wonder why people think the poor need (or deserve) only the basic-and-bare minimums. A dreary life needs more, not less, uplifting beauty. A church should be a refuge from a harsh and ugly world, a place where deprived senses may swim in beauty. To deny us that refuge or to deny the poor a chance to be awestruck seems an injustice to me. the rest image

Obama admin accused of hiding abortion statistics

by Christine Dhanagom
Mon Feb 07, 2011

(Lifesitenews.com) - Conservative blogger and CNN correspondent Erick Erickson is alleging that the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) three-month delay in releasing its annual Abortion Surveillance Report is evidence of an attempt on the part of the Obama administration to deliberately conceal the statistics revealed in this year’s report.

The report, which releases data up to three years prior to the publication year, is typically published in late November. The 2009 report, published on schedule on November 27, 2009, revealed a 3% increase in abortions in 2006 over the previous year. The 2010 report, however, has not yet been published.

Erickson reported in a blog post last Thursday on RedState.com that CDC press officer Rhonda Smith stated in a January 27th interview that the CDC “will not have stats available any time in the near future,” and that there “are no plans for them to come out any time soon.” the rest
“What is the CDC trying to hide?” Erickson wrote, “The only reasonable conclusion to be drawn here is that someone higher up has made the decision to actively eliminate the only official report on abortion statistics in the country, just because they don’t want abortion being talked about.”

How about the rights of Christians in military?

Chad Groening
OneNewsNow
2/8/2011

A former Navy chaplain has launched a petition drive aimed at defending military chaplains and Christian troops from persecution by proponents of homosexuality.

In December, Lt. Col. Stacy L. Maxey (USAF), who is stationed in Afghanistan, wrote a letter to the editor of Stars and Stripes arguing that the Department of Defense has now become the "Department of Double Standards," in telling service members who have a problem with the homosexual lifestyle to "learn to deal with it," while at the same time allowing homosexuals to "parade their lifestyle choices in front of all."

Maxey went on to write that he has a higher commitment to God than to the Department of Defense -- and that if officials there are upset with his comments, they can "learn to deal with it." Groups like the Military Religious Freedom Foundation have criticized the Air Force officer for his comments, demanding Maxey be punished for insubordination.
the rest

Killing of Missionary Rattles Texas Border

By JAMES C. McKINLEY Jr.
February 6, 2011

PHARR, Tex. — Mexico has always had a reputation here as a place where things can go wrong in a hurry. But the fatal shooting of a Texas missionary across the border late last month has reinforced the widely held belief in this region that the country has become a lawless war zone.

The missionary, Nancy Davis, who had worked in Mexico for decades, was shot in the back of the head by gunmen in a pickup truck who had pursued her and her husband for miles in Tamaulipas State. the rest

State Department officials say that 79 American citizens were murdered in Mexico in 2009, and that at least 60 were killed last year from January to November, though an official annual figure has yet to be compiled. The numbers have been rising since 2007, when 38 American citizens were murdered in Mexico, State Department records show.

Lesbian Methodist minister faces church-based charges

Feb. 05, 2011
By TOM DOLAN
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

A Wisconsin United Methodist Church panel has brought charges against a lesbian minister that could end in her removal from the clergy - but the same committee praised her courage and criticized the church laws that required that the charges be issued.

The case has helped inspire a letter from 32 retired Methodist bishops urging the church to drop its ban on "self-proclaimed practicing homosexuals" serving as ministers.

A church trial has been set for April in the case, the first of its kind in Wisconsin. the rest

Central Java: Thousands of Muslims attack three churches, an orphanage and a Christian centre

02/08/2011
by Mathias Hariyadi
Jakarta

(AsiaNews) - Thousands of angry Muslims attacked three churches, a Christian orphanage and a health centre that is also a Christian. The violence took place this morning at 10 am (local time) and only ended with the intervention of police in riot gear and police vans. One of the vans was set on fire by the crowd.

The revolt took place in Temanggung regency (Central Java), and started right in front of the town hall: first the crowd attacked the court where a trial against Richmond Bawengan Antonius, a Christian born in Manado (North Sulawesi) , accused of proselytizing and blasphemy was being held.

Bawengan was arrested in October 2010 because during a visit to Temanggung he had distributed printed missionary material, which, among other things, poked fun at some Islamic symbols. The profanity has cost him five years in prison, but the crowd were demanding the death sentence. The violence was sparked by their dissatisfaction with the verdict. the rest

Figures Show Rising Number of Displaced Iraqi Christians
...The movement of Christians to the north continues to escalate in spite of efforts by Iraqi security forces to enforce heightened protective measures for the minority group whose population has rapidly declined since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003. Before 2003 there were approximately 1.4 million Christians. Today, there are an estimated 400,000 that remain...

Monday, February 07, 2011

Devotional: We look for visions from heaven...


We look for visions from heaven, for earthquakes and thunders of God's power (the fact that we are dejected proves that we do), and we never dream that all the time God is in the commonplace things and people around us. If we will do the duty that lies nearest, we shall see Him. One of the most amazing revelations of God comes when we learn that it is in the commonplace things that the Deity of Jesus Christ is realized. ...Oswald Chambers image by kevin rawlings

The Reality of Late-Term Abortion

By Susan W. Enouen, P.E.
posted February 7, 2011

Most abortionists who specialize in doing abortions in the second- or third-trimester go quietly about their killing business without any media fanfare. But in the United States, there are at least 10 late-term abortionists doing abortions after 24 weeks of pregnancy who have gotten a fair amount of media attention. Some of them are facing financial, licensing or criminal issues, and most are notorious, unabashed by the headlines they make. But they are just a fraction of the people who kill viable babies for a living. The Guttmacher Institute, a pro-abortion research organization, indicates that 20% of abortionists will do abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.1 This means that in 2005, over 350 late-term abortionists killed pre-born babies beyond the 5th month of pregnancy.

These abortionists use grisly procedures that the average abortion facility is not necessarily equipped to provide, and the entire process requires 2-4 days. One of these procedures, Partial-Birth Abortion (also known as D&X — Intact Dilation and Extraction), was banned by federal law in 2007, but other techniques are still legal. For most people, it is reasonable to wonder why anyone would get involved in this gruesome business. News stories only provide a piece of the picture, but they suggest that some late-term abortionists live by a warped credo, professing to help women in need, while taking the lives of babies. Others appear to have no scruples whatsoever, and seem to care nothing for the women or the babies. The most notorious of them seem to think that they are above the law, operating with impunity. We have summarized the 10 late-term abortionists who are already well-publicized in news stories. the rest

“Nobody Gets Married Any More, Mister”

Welcome to our urban high schools, where kids have kids and learning dies.
Gerry Garibaldi
posted February 7, 2011

Within my lifetime, single parenthood has been transformed from shame to saintliness. In our society, perversely, we celebrate the unwed mother as a heroic figure, like a fireman or a police officer. During the last presidential election, much was made of Obama’s mother, who was a single parent. Movie stars and pop singers flaunt their daddy-less babies like fishing trophies.

None of this is lost on my students. In today’s urban high school, there is no shame or social ostracism when girls become pregnant. Other girls in school want to pat their stomachs. Their friends throw baby showers at which meager little gifts are given. After delivery, the girls return to school with baby pictures on their cell phones or slipped into their binders, which they eagerly share with me. Often they sit together in my classes, sharing insights into parenting, discussing the taste of Pedialite or the exhaustion that goes with the job. On my way home at night, I often see my students in the projects that surround our school, pushing their strollers or hanging out on their stoops instead of doing their homework.

Essay here-excellent!

Muslims attack two Christian families in Egypt, 11 killed including children

By Dan Wooding
ASSIST News
Sunday, 6 February 2011

SHARONA, EGYPT -- A Middle East journalist is reporting news of the shocking massacre of two Christian Coptic families by Islamists which has just emerged from Upper Egypt with the return of the Internet connections after a week of Internet blackout by the Egyptian regime.

Mary Abdelmassih, writing for the Assyrian International News Agency (www.aina.org) says that the carnage took place on Sunday, January 30, 2011, at 3 PM in the village of Sharona near Maghagha, Minya province.

“Two Islamists groups, aided by the Muslim neighbors, descended on the roof of houses owned by Copts, killing eleven Copts, including children, and seriously injuring four others,” she said. the rest

Joseph Bottum: Who will defend Mideast Christians?

The Son and the Crescent

Bible translations that avoid the phrase "Son of God" are bearing dramatic fruit among Muslims. But that translation has some missionaries and scholars dismayed.
Collin Hansen
2/04/2011

Last year, representatives from several prominent mission agencies, both national and expatriate, met to compare notes about the progress of their respective ministries in one Muslim-majority country. (The country's name is withheld for security reasons.) The representatives rejoiced that more than 1,000 "fellowships," as they call them, have been established for people from Muslim backgrounds. In fact, many of the fellowships had already planted new fellowships, and those fellowships had planted still more. Many thousands of Muslims in this nation alone, then, had found faith in Jesus.

Several of these fellowships can be traced back to small networks of Muslims who had encountered Christ and in turn began sharing with family and friends what they had discovered. In one case, a middle-aged working mother had inductively studied a new translation of the Bible for a few years. Among other language choices, the translation she used did not refer to Jesus as the "Son of God," due to confused and angry reactions from Muslims who mistakenly believe this phrase means that the Father engaged in sexual relations with Mary. To avoid this misunderstanding, the new translation called Jesus "the Beloved Son who comes (or originates) from God." the rest

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Go Packers!