Saturday, July 28, 2012

Dancing the Jive (at age 2)

AFGHANISTAN: Anglican Chaplain ministers Christ to soldiers on the front lines

By Chaplain Kelly O'Lear in Afghanistan
Special to Virtueonline
July 27, 2012

This is my third combat tour as a Chaplain. 2003-2004 I was an Infantry Battalion Chaplain in Tal Afar, Iraq. I was part of the 'siege of Tal Afar' in 2004 and saw great heroics by our Soldiers. 2008-2009 I was in Nuristan, Afghanistan with an Airborne Reconnaissance Squadron as the Squadron Chaplain. There I ministered as I walked the very mountains that Rudyard Kipling walked as he penned 'Gunga Din.' I am now completing my tour of Kandahar District of Afghanistan as the Brigade Chaplain of an Airborne Brigade Combat Team. This is where the Taliban started and it is a fiercely contested area with great religious significance to the Taliban. An article is far too small to contain the joys and trials I've experienced during my time as an army chaplain. I will share some of the more memorable moments.

I've had the joy and privilege of being a priest to Troopers in the harshest of conditions. Those relationships have grown and matured over the years. I still hear from many of my former congregants-whether those congregations were in Middle-East mud-huts or Chapels on military posts. Some have left the Army, some continue to serve. Some names I've read as they join the all too long list of the Fallen. I look forward to seeing these Christian Brothers in the resurrection. the rest

Chaplain Kelly O'Lear is an Iowa native and a Brigade Chaplain with 4th Brigade 82nd Airborne Division.He is an Anglican affiliated with CANA/ACNA. Bishop Derek Jones is his Bishop. He is currently deployed to the Zharay District of Afghanistan. He has been an active duty Chaplain for nine years with three deployed to combat. He is with the 82nd Airborne Division FOB Pasab, Afghanistan. He is a graduate of Dubuque Theological Seminary (M. DIV) and Lee University (BA Pastoral Ministry). He is married to Jennifer O'Lear and they have four children. They make their home in Whispering Pines, North Carolina.

Scrolling around...July 28th, 2012

Egypt: Coptic pope’s voters have been chosen
The procedure for the election of the 118th Coptic pope to succeed Shenouda III who died on 17 March this year, was kick started in Egypt with the publication of the list of 2.594 voters in Coptic newspaper al Watan. The Coptic assembly of voters is always a big mix: other than metropolitans, bishops and monks, it includes representatives of lay associations, Coptic State officials, notables and journalists. The real news is that this time, the Coptic diaspora will also play an important role in choosing their pope: approximately a fifth of electors will be members of communities based outside Egypt...

Tony Blair: West is asleep on Islamic extremism
...Radical Muslims seek “supremacy not coexistence’’, Mr Blair said, and he fears that “The West is asleep on this issue’’, even though it is the biggest challenge...

'Bona fide rock star': Archbishop of York's controversial evangelical preacher brother
"Pastor Robert is preaching today," said a woman at the entrance to the 10,500-seat auditorium, where his flock must pass through airport-style security, complete with metal detectors and armed police.
The buzz is for Robert Kayanja, the younger brother of the second most senior figure in the Anglican Church, John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York.
Back in his native Uganda, Mr Kayanja has become one of the richest and most famous evangelical preachers...

Opening Ceremony London 2012: Did director take shot at US on health care?
Of all the things to laud in Britain's long history, the director of the opening ceremonies for the London Olympics chose for his second act ... universal health care...

Swedish high school student fails bio class for saying homosexuality ‘abnormal’
...When the student questioned the grade, the teacher reportedly replied that it was because of the student’s opinions. The goal of the school’s curriculum, the teacher said, was that students show respect for different sexual orientations, and the student’s views did not correspond with that goal....

Court victory against Obama contraceptive mandate
A federal court in Denver has blocked the Health and Human Services mandate for insurance exchanges under Obamacare to provide free sterilization, contraception and morning after pill coverage...

Canon Phil Ashey: A warning to the Church

AAC Weekly Anglican Perspective
July 26, 2012

While noting how The Episcopal Church and others have departed Biblical Christianity, Canon Ashey points to a recent article a recent article by serves as a warning to the Church's faithful.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Anglican Unscripted Episode 46

Jul 27, 2012

This week we talk about Forward and Faith and their resolution to the ACNA College of Bishops. Kevin and George also talk about Metropolitan Jonah and being spat out of the Holy Synod of OCA. The rest of the news includes Nigeria, Aurora, and that thing that happened in Bangkok. Peter Ould talks about guilt by association and Allan Haley lays into the chaos we call TEC.

Anglican Ink: Accusers named in Fort Worth 7 case
The Title IV disciplinary proceedings initiated against the Fort Worth 7 has not been derailed by the intervention of the provisional bishops of Quincy and Fort Worth during the 77th General Convention, the accused have learned.

In an exchange of emails between seven bishops who endorsed an amicus brief in the Diocese of Fort Worth case pending before the Texas Supreme Court and the Rt. Rev. F. Clay Matthews, the Bishop for Pastoral Development in the Office of the Presiding Bishop, Bishop Matthews stated he would be “sending additional information to the Bishops involved after a period of reflection from the conversations at General Convention and some preliminary interviews. When a complaint has been received by the Intake Officer, the Disciplinary Canons are in effect.”...

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Scrolling around...July 26th, 2012

Rep. Schakowsky ‘Unaware’ Obamacare Reg Requires Offering Free Sterilizations to Teens
Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D.-Ill.) said she was “unaware” that the preventive services regulation that Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has issued under the Obamacare law requires health care plans to offer free sterilizations to girls as young as their teens...

Scots Govt ignores public, gives gay marriage go-ahead
...Two thirds of the 80,000 consultation responses were opposed to the move, but the Scottish Government says it will redefine marriage regardless...

Obama’s Sunshine Policy: Transparency for thee, secrecy for me
...In other words, the administration’s message is clear: Private citizens, in order to participate in public debate, must identify themselves to their government.

Now let’s contrast these transparency demands with the administration’s commitment to secrecy...

Gaza Christians fear for future of tiny community
Christians in overwhelmingly Muslim Gaza have long fretted in private about the survival of their tiny community.

But their fears exploded publicly when two members of the flock recently converted to Islam. Christians staged a rare public protest, accusing Muslims of pulling followers from their faith...

Egypt: Fatwa Bans Christian Priests from Public Transportation to Church
Dr. Yassir al-Burhami, a prominent figure in Egypt's Salafi movement and vice president of the Salafi Call—the same sheikh who seeks to punish Muslim apostates, condemns Mother's Day, and advocates deceiving Israel—has just issued a fatwa, published in the "Voice of the Righteous Salaf," forbidding Muslim taxi-drivers and bus-drivers from transporting Coptic Christian priests to their churches, which he depicted as "more forbidden than taking someone to a liquor bar."...

Rising violence against Christian churches in Indonesian province
Christian leaders in Indonesia's Aceh province are expressing grave concern over a wave of violent attacks against churches. The attacks have apparently been carried out by Muslim extremists...

Obama Admin Sends Another $426K to Planned Parenthood
For the third time this month and the fifth time overall, the Obama administration has override the decision of a state to revoke taxpayer funding for the Planned Parenthood abortion business...

Illegal Organ Markets in Europe
A recent New York Times article laments the spread of illegal organ markets in Europe, in which mostly poor people try to sell kidneys and other organs to people who need transplants...

248 Human Fetuses Found in Russian Forest
Villagers in Russia’s south Urals have stumbled upon a gruesome discovery — four barrels containing 248 human fetuses left in a forest...

The Economist: Mapping Judaism
JUDAISM is enjoying an unexpected revival, according to a special report to be published in this week’s Economist. The map and chart below show where the biggest Jewish populations live and how this has changed over the past century...

Assam, India: Bodo tribe, Muslim clashes kill at least 35, displace 170,000
Four days of violent clashes between India's native Bodo tribespeople and Muslim immigrants has taken at least 35 lives, officials said today, while another 170,000 are estimated to have fled their homes in the facing of rising violence in India's northwestern Assam region...

San Francisco Public Library Installs Plastic Privacy Screens So Patrons Can Watch Porno…
How progressive...

Poll: Democratic enthusiasm falls sharply
...A Gallup/USA Today poll found that only 39 percent of Democrats now say they are “more enthusiastic than usual” about the 2012 election. That’s down from 68 percent in 2004 and 61 in 2008....

Obama’s Ethics Lesson: Don’t Pay Your College Loan.
...Instead of curbing the artificial demand caused by the government intervention in lending markets, the Obama administration wants to stiff the very lenders that relied on the 1977 law forbidding bankruptcy on student loans as well as the government subsidies that caused them to conduct that high-risk lending in the first place. That could wipe out a large amount of capital on the books at the moment, further destabilizing private lending markets overall and possibly risking bank health in the bargain. Not every one of those borrowers would declare bankruptcy, but the temptation that this regulatory change presents would probably have a significant percentage ready to do so...

Only traditionalist Archbishop of Canterbury can save Anglican church, warn primates

The worldwide Anglican Church risks a permanent split unless someone committed to traditional values is chosen as the new Archbishop of Canterbury, the leaders of 55 million churchgoers have warned.
By John Bingham
26 Jul 2012

In a major intervention in the selection process, an alliance of archbishops and bishops from four continents has written directly to the selection committee urging them to choose someone prepared to halt a drift towards liberal values on issues such as homosexuality.

The next Archbishop must be willing to “uphold the orthodoxy of the Christian faith” in order to secure the “future and unity” of the church “at a foundational level”, they say in a letter seen by The Daily Telegraph.

Only someone with an understanding of the more traditional views of Anglicans in Africa and elsewhere and the ability to gain their “respect” would be acceptable they add. the rest

Cameron scolds Anglicans about their stance on same-sex marriage
According to the British prime minister, the Church of England needs to open its eyes to the current social situation and the rights of individuals...   Transcript of Cameron's speech

Christian groups angry over PM’s gay marriage comments
Christian groups have criticised Prime Minister David Cameron after he suggested the church was “locking out” people who are gay, bisexual or transgender...

Episcopal bishop says yes_and no_to gay blessings
Episcopal Bishop Kee Sloan of Alabama voted in favor of his church’s new ritual for blessing same-sex unions — but he won’t allow priests in his diocese to perform it.

“For the time being, I will not give permission,” Sloan said...

Church of England Targets Israel
Earlier this month the Church of England’s General Synod endorsed the World Council of Churches’ “Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI).” Essentially this program enlists anti-Israel church activists from the West to “accompany” Palestinian activists so as to “experience life under occupation.” The church ignored pleas from British Jews, including Britain’s chief rabbi...

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

America's liberal Christians might be progressive and inclusive, but they are also dying out

By Tim Stanley
July 24th, 2012

The marketing mantra of liberal Christianity is “change or die.” Here’s the pitch: society has evolved since the 1960s, shedding its old prejudices and misunderstandings and replacing them with a new consensus based on reason and tolerance. Unless the mainstream churches embrace women priests, socialism and gay marriage, they will lose relevance and die out. Conservatives might protest that the beauty of God is rooted not in relevance but timelessness. But, like any other business, Christianity is a numbers game – so making that argument sounds like saying, “Yes the car might be popular, but the horse and cart is a design classic.” Intellectual momentum, liberals insist, is with love and diversity.

Not so, says Ross Douthat in a New York Times article that has caused quite a stir among the liberal faithful. Douthat charts the strange demise of the US Episcopal Church, which he describes as “flexible to the point of indifference on dogma, friendly to sexual liberation in almost every form, willing to blend Christianity with other faiths, and eager to downplay theology entirely in favor of secular political causes.” And yet, against the predictions of liberal theologians, the result has been the evolution from a pseudo-national church to a hippie sect. “Last week, while the church’s House of Bishops was approving a rite to bless same-sex unions, Episcopalian church attendance figures for 2000-10 circulated in the religion blogosphere. They showed something between a decline and a collapse: In the last decade, average Sunday attendance dropped 23 percent, and not a single Episcopal diocese in the country saw churchgoing increase.”  the rest

Scrolling around...July 25th, 2012

..."Our study revealed that the response of healthy skin cells to UV emitted from CFL bulbs is consistent with damage from ultraviolet radiation," said lead researcher Miriam Rafailovich, Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at Stony Brook University, in New York, in a statement. "Skin cell damage was further enhanced when low dosages of TiO2 nanoparticles were introduced to the skin cells prior to exposure."
According to Rafailovich, with or without TiO2 (a chemical found in sunblock), incandescent bulbs of the same light intensity had zero effects on healthy skin...  image

Albert Mohler: The Dark Night in Denver — Groping for Answers
The news hit the airwaves like a sudden onslaught, and the truth began to sink in. It has happened again. This time, 50 people shot while attending the midnight premier of the last in the Batman sequence, “The Dark Knight Rises.” According to press reports, a 24-year-old man burst into the crowded theater, wearing a gas mask and carrying an arsenal. After deploying what is believed to be tear gas, he opened fire with a shotgun, a rifle, and two handguns. At least 12 people are dead, and dozens are injured, many critically.
Over 100 police officers responded to the scene in Aurora, just a few miles from Columbine High School, where in 1999 two high school students killed 12 fellow students and one teacher in a rampage that also injured 21 other students. That school massacre became a milestone in the nation’s legacy of violence. Now, yet another Denver suburb joins that tragic list.
The inevitable media swarm focuses on the data first — the who, what, when, and where questions. Then they, along with the public at large, begin to ask the why question. That is always the hard one...

Nat Hentoff: What Still Shocks Me About ObamaCare
Amid the huge response — both triumphant and agonized — to the Supreme Court’s preservation of Obamacare, I was surprised at how little attention was being paid to that law’s core purpose: to strongly control health care costs where government funding is involved, as it increasingly will be.
What still shocks me about this law is the government’s interference with the doctor-patient relationship. Many government bureaucracies will not pay for doctor-prescribed treatments costing more than a predetermined figure. And none of these bureaucracies’ members will have actually seen the individual patient...

Hey, Boston: Leave Chick-fil-A Alone
It's one thing for Hollywood moppets and television Muppets to protest Chick-fil-A over the fast-food chain president's support for traditional marriage. They're private citizens and entities. But when an elected public official wields the club of government against a Christian business in the name of "tolerance," it's not harmless kid stuff. It's chilling...

Seventh Circuit: Holding a High School Graduation in a (Richly Iconographically Religious) Church Violates the Establishment Clause
The Seventh Circuit has come down with a ruling that holding a public school graduation in a church violates the Establishment Clause when the church has an indeterminate number of religious icons and other material which run afoul of the standards that the Supreme Court has encrusted on the Establishment Clause. It was undisputed that the choice to hold the graduation in the church was made for the sake of convenience, price, and accommodation of the large number of students, and not for any religious reason. It was also undisputed that no reference was made to religion during the graduation ceremony...

Obama Thanks Gay Porn King for Organizing Fundraiser
...“I want to thank someone who put so much work into this event, Terry Bean,” President Obama said as the crowd began to cheer. “Give Terry a big round of applause.”
Terry Bean is, according to the New York Post, a “gay-porn kingpin.”

The Outrageous Farm Bill That’s Packed with Pork
...What’s hidden in this mess? How about money for windmills, for 15 different duplicative food programs, cash – lots of it – to make sure country folk get great Internet service, a grant to study moth pheromones, funding to help ethanol producers (thought we’d gotten rid of that, didn’t you?), protection of our wealthy sugar producers, $25 million to study the health benefits of peas and lentils, an amendment that could allow Californians to continue enjoying foie gras, insurance against lower milk prices for dairy farmers, grants for the locavore movement (consult your dictionary), help for popcorn growers, grants to study how to make cut flowers last longer in a vase, a boost to organic growers (as though their price premiums aren’t sufficient compensation), a boost for maple syrup makers, lofty cotton supports and money to underwrite wine tastings overseas.
Leaving off the food stamps portion of the bill, taxpayers are essentially underwriting one of our richest industries. Farmers enjoyed record income last year and saw their land values hit all-time highs, while the rest of the country struggled.

UK gov’t official calls for sanctions against large families
...Louise Casey, head of a government agency set up to deal with troubled families following last summer’s riots, said the state should “interfere” and tell women they are irresponsible and should be “ashamed” of how they are damaging society if they have “too many children,” according to a report in the Telegraph.

Court Orders Planned Parenthood: Inform Women of Abortion-Suicide Link
A federal appeals court has upheld a provision of a South Dakota law requiring the states lone abortion business, operated by Planned Parenthood, that it has to inform women of the validity of the link between abortion and suicide. With women facing a host of mental health issues following an abortion, Planned Parenthood can no longer keep women in the dark about them...

A Mainline Collapse: The Twilight of Liberal Christianity?

By Eric Metaxas
July 23, 2012

In 2006, the Episcopal Church's presiding bishop, Katherine Jefferts Schori, told the New York Times that Episcopalians were not interested in "replenishing their ranks by having children." Instead, the church "[encouraged] people to pay attention to the stewardship of the earth and not use more than their portion."

"Stewardship of the earth" and having children are not incompatible, but if Schori's goal was a principled extinction, she's about to succeed. The Episcopal Church, you see, is in a statistical free-fall.

Since 2000, the Episcopal Church has lost 23 percent of its members. At this rate, there will be no Episcopalians in 26 years.

My friend and New York Times columnist Ross Douthat noted that the collapse occurred at the same time that the church was transforming itself "into one of the most self-consciously progressive Christian bodies in the United States." the rest
What's true of the Episcopal Church is also true, to a large extent, of much of the Protestant mainline. As these churches have lurched leftward in the name of "relevance" and "vitality," their numbers have plummeted.

Mark Tooley: When to Leave Your Church?

July 22, 2012

Saturday morning I was interviewed by Chicago-based Moody Radio on “Should you leave your church if it’s forsaking biblical orthodoxy?” The other guest was my friend, the always impressive Cherie Harder, who heads the Washington-based Trinity Forum, a thinktank that examines faith and culture.

Cherie talked about her own formerly Episcopal, now Anglican congregation, the historic Falls Church in Virginia, which recently lost its property after years of litigation with the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia. The over 4000 member church, which is mega sized by Episcopal/Anglican standards, quit the Episcopal Church in 2006 after the 2003 election of that denomination’s first openly homosexual bishop. Becoming part of the new Anglican Church of North America, the Falls Church continued to grow, even founding several thriving new congregations.

Meanwhile a shell congregation of the Falls Church that disagreed with the over 90 percent vote to leave the Episcopal Church has continued to meet and now possesses the large property. Reportedly fewer than 100 attend its services in a facility that once accommodated thousands. One of its recent preachers was a radical former missionary forced to leave Sudan because of her LGBT advocacy. So the shell congregation is marching in sync with the Episcopal Church’s national leftward, spiral. I predict that maintenance costs eventually will compel the small congregation to rent most of its large campus to another, much bigger church, likely evangelical. the rest image