Thursday, July 14, 2011

Devotional: The aim of the spiritual saint...

The aim of the spiritual saint is "that I may know Him." Do I know Him where I am to-day? If not, I am failing Him. I am here not to realize myself, but to know Jesus. In Christian work the initiative is too often the realization that something has to be done and I must do it. That is never the attitude of the spiritual saint, his aim is to secure the realization of Jesus Christ in every set of circumstances he is in. ...Oswald Chambers image

Questions remain for Nevada on abuse case

July 14, 2011
by George Conger

The Bishop of Nevada has issued a statement asserting that his predecessor did not violate canon law by receiving the Rev. Bede Parry into the priesthood of the Episcopal Church. However, anti-abuse activists have lambasted Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori’s continued silence in the affair, and have warned the Church that silence will not end questions on what she knew, and when she knew it.

In a strongly worded statement released on July 5, Bishop Dan Edwards stated the decision to receive Fr. Parry was not taken alone by Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori in 2004, but was “a multi-level decision which meticulously followed the applicable canons.”

However, some of the facts laid out by Bishop Edwards conflict with statements given by other participants in the Parry affair. The bishop, who has declined to respond to questions from The Church of England Newspaper, has also sidestepped the issue of what his predecessor knew about Fr. Parry, as well as why the bishop and diocese felt free to ignore its own guidelines on sexual misconduct when it received the former Roman Catholic priest.

Bishop Edwards stated the diocese’s clergy selection board, the Commission on Ministry, knew of the “incident of ‘inappropriate touching’ that allegedly occurred with a young man in his late teens. That incident was not covered up.” the rest

A History of College Grade Inflation

July 14, 2011

We’ve written before about some of the work of Stuart Rojstaczer and Christopher Healy, grade inflation chroniclers extraordinaire. They have put together a new, comprehensive study of college grading over the decades, and let me tell you, it is a doozy.

The researchers collected historical data on letter grades awarded by more than 200 four-year colleges and universities. Their analysis (published in the Teachers College Record) confirm that the share of A grades awarded has skyrocketed over the years. the rest
Most recently, about 43 percent of all letter grades given were A’s, an increase of 28 percentage points since 1960 and 12 percentage points since 1988. The distribution of B’s has stayed relatively constant; the growing share of A’s instead comes at the expense of a shrinking share of C’s, D’s and F’s. In fact, only about 10 percent of grades awarded are D’s and F’s.

Albert Mohler: Ever Hear of the First Amendment? An Argument to Watch

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

There it was, plain as day. Monday’s edition of USA Today included an opinion column by a Muslim woman that argued–quite straightforwardly–that the United States government should force a nondiscrimination policy on gender in all places of worship.

Asra Q. Nomani, a former reporter for The Wall Street Journal, argues that the Internal Revenue Service should move to deny tax-exempt status to any place of worship that holds to different roles for men and women. In “End Gender Apartheid in U.S. Mosques,” Nomani writes, “I’ve come to the difficult decision that women must use the legal system to restore rights in places of worship…”

Nomani writes out of her own experience as a Muslim woman in the United States. As she relates in her article, she has joined with a movement that has launched “Pray Ins” at several mosques in the Washington, D.C. area, protesting the practice of separating Muslim men and women for prayers. the rest
I am a Christian, not a Muslim, and it is not my purpose or responsibility to explain the theological basis for the gender practices and policies of Muslim mosques. But Nomani’s argument is a direct threat to religious liberty itself, not just to the teachings and practices of American Muslims.

Abortion drug RU-486 is quietly killing women across America

July 14, 2011

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) quietly released a report that details the dangers for women who are considering using Mifepristone, also known as the abortion drug "RU-486." The report states that 14 women have died and more than 2,200 women have experienced serious medical problems from the drug in the United States alone. In addition, the complications of this abortion-inducing drug have led 612 women to be hospitalized, of which 339 were required to undergo a major blood transfusion and 256 suffered from a variety of infections. In spite of serious complications, this drug is continuing to be marketed as "safe" and, according to the Abortion Care Network website, "Many women feel that Mifepristone is private and more natural."

This study also reveals that abortion businesses are misdiagnosing or misusing this drug. In the face of the FDA's warning against prescribing it to "patients with confirmed or suspected ectopic pregnancy," there were 58 cases where it was given to women who had an ectopic pregnancy.

Mifepristone suppresses a woman's immune system. In some cases, fragments of the unborn child or other cells are not entirely expelled from the uterus, causing infection and complications. RU-486 can result in endometritis (an irritation of the lining of the uterus), pelvic inflammatory disease (involving the nearby reproductive organs), and pelvic infections with sepsis (a systemic infection spreading beyond the reproductive organs). The FDA classified 48 of the infections as severe infections, which "generally involve death or hospitalization for at least 2-3 days, intravenous antibiotics for at least 24 hours, [and] total antibiotic usage for at least 3 days..."  the rest

Ireland attacks confessional privilege after scandal

Thu Jul 14, 2011

(Reuters) - Ireland's prime minister on Thursday said Catholic clerics would be prosecuted if they failed to tell the authorities about crimes disclosed during confession, the latest blow to the prestige of the once-dominant Church.

A report this week found that the Church concealed from the authorities the sexual abuse of children by priests as recently as 2009, and that clerics appeared to follow Church law rather than Irish guidelines to protect minors.

"The law of the land should not be stopped by a crozier or a collar," Prime Minister Enda Kenny told journalists on Thursday, referring to the hooked staff held by Catholic bishops during religious services. the rest

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

An Anglican resurgence in North America

by Sydney Nichole Thomas
July 12,2011

Anglicanism has begun a global and North American reformation, according to Archbishop Robert Duncan of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), who recently delivered his annual state of the church address, describing the growth and challenges faced by orthodox Anglicans. Duncan serves as both head of the ACNA and bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh.

The worldwide Anglican Church has 39 provinces, and historically the Anglican province in the United States has been the Episcopal Church. But because of the theological and numerical decline of the Episcopal Church, American Anglicans hope the ACNA soon will be recognized as an alternative province.

As a province-in-formation within the worldwide Anglican Communion, the ACNA unites 100,000 Anglicans in nearly 1,000 congregations across the United States and Canada and represents four former Episcopal dioceses. the rest

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Cracks start to show in ‘vegetative state’ diagnosis

by Kathleen Gilbert
Mon Jul 11, 2011

( - After years of opposition from disability advocates, more experts are beginning to question the validity of the “persistent vegetative state” (PVS) diagnostic label that paved the way for Terri Schiavo’s starvation death.

A Discover magazine article published online July 6 explained that PVS often fails to account for a broad swath of traumatic brain injury patients who are deemed to be “still in there” - a conclusion one science reporter called “haunting.”

Discover’s Kat McGowan examined the outcome of years of experiments by Dr. Joseph Giancino, director of rehabilitation neuropsychology at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, and Nicholas Schiff, a Weill Cornell Medical Center neurologist, as they probed the distinction between reflexes and “real cognition” in patients who appear to have little communion with the outside world.

“These are human beings who seem to have lost their humanity,” Giacino told the magazine. “The question is, is that really the case?” the rest

UK: Christians have a right to follow conscience, says equality body

by Karen Peake
Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Christians should be given some leeway to follow their beliefs in the workplace, the UK’s equality watchdog has determined.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission said judges had interpreted the law “too narrowly” in cases where Christians had claimed religious discrimination.

It is backing four British Christians who have lodged religious discrimination cases with the European Court of Human Rights.

They are Nadia Eweida, a British Airways check-in clerk who was dismissed without pay in 2006 for refusing to cover up her cross necklace; nurse Shirley Chaplin, who was removed from ward duties after refusing a similar request; Gary McFarlane, a relationships counsellor who was sacked for refusing to give sex therapy to same-sex couples; and Lillian Ladele, a registrar who was disciplined for refusing to conduct civil partnership registrations.

EHRC said that the way existing human rights and equality law was being interpreted by judges was “insufficient” to protect freedom of religion or belief. the rest

No change to American ban, ACC says

July 11, 2011
by George Conger

The Archbishop of Canterbury’s ban on American participation in the Anglican Communion’s international ecumenical dialogues remains in place, a spokesman for the Anglican Consultative Council reports.

However, the addition of an American Episcopalian to the delegation to the third Anglican–Lutheran International Commission (ALIC) meeting in Jerusalem last week was not a violation of the ban on participation in ecumenical dialogue of those who propagate views contrary to the church’s teachings on human sexuality, the ACC says.

A spokesman for the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) tells The Church of England Newspaper that the communiqué misstated the status of the American member of the Anglican team. The Very Rev. William Petersen, Provost and Professor of Ecclesiastical History at Bexley Hall Seminary in the United States, was a “consultant not a member of ALIC. The reference to him in the communiqué as a member was incorrect,” ACC spokesman Jan Butters said.

The statement has since been amended on the ACC’s website to note this change of status. the rest

Monday, July 11, 2011

Ban Against Openly Gay Clergy Officially Lifted in PCUSA

Debate within membership will continueBy R. Leigh Coleman
Christian Post Reporter

The Presbyterian Church U.S.A. has officially cleared the way for openly gay men and women in same-sex relationships to be ordained as clergy.

The new policy goes into effect today after the church's assembly and 97 of the denomination's 173 presbyteries approved the change within the church’s constitution. The move represents a major change in the history of the 2.8 million-member Presbyterian denomination.

“The new policy for the Presbyterian Church becomes official on Sunday and a number of churches will mark the moment with prayer and rejoicing in their Sunday services,” according to a press release from the members of the More Light Presbyterians.

During the past several years, the debate has rambled on with a majority of church members previously rejecting changes that would allow noncelibate gays and lesbians to be ordained. the rest

India's Grassroots Revival

With its people turning to Christ in waves, India hosts more believers now than at any time in its 4,000-year history.
Tim Stafford

With a new India rising up, a different kind of Indian Christianity is rising up with it. During a three-week journey across India, I discovered a vibrant, growing Christian community unfolding at the grassroots—a church thoroughly Indian, not Western.

The new-economy India is found in gleaming office towers where techsavvy Indians compete in a global market and climb the corporate ladder. The newly Christian India is found mostly at the bottom rung of society, among men and women like Shivamma, typically poor and illiterate "broken people" (the literal meaning of Dalit). Numbering 140 million or more, Dalits and Tribals (a grouping similar to the Dalits) have begun to shake the foundations of India's social order. They think in ways their ancestors never could have imagined. More of them are following Christ than at any other time in India's history, ministry leaders told CT.

India's church has grown and is getting larger. It now comprises over 70 million members, according to Operation World. That makes it the eighth largest Christian population in the world, just behind the Philippines and Nigeria, bigger than Germany and Ethiopia, and twice the size of the United Kingdom. Unlike believers in those countries, however, India's Christians live among one billion Hindus.

Opportunities for spreading the Good News seem to be everywhere. Operation World counts 2,223 unreached people groups in India, over five times as many as there are in China, the next most unreached nation. "India, Afghanistan, and Pakistan make up the largest concentration of unreached humanity in the world," says Operation World's Jason Mandryk. the rest