Saturday, December 08, 2012

With rev'rence let the saints appear...

With rev'rence let the saints appear,
And bow before the Lord;
His high commands with rev'rence hear,
And tremble at his word.

How terrible thy glories be!
How bright thine armies shine!
Where is the power that vies with thee,
Or truth compared to thine?

Thy words the raging winds control,
And rule the boist'rous deep;
Thou mak'st the sleeping billows roll,
The rolling billows sleep.

Justice and judgment are thy throne,
Yet wondrous is thy grace;
While truth and mercy, joined in one,
Invite us near thy face.
...Isaac Watts image

Muslims, Episcopalians, and Diversity Dreams

Is this how a liberal Episcopal church seeks to increase attendance and draw media attention?
On December 15 the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) will have its annual convention at All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena, a prominent liberal parish within the increasingly liberal Episcopal denomination. It's the first time MPAC has convened at a church.

Last week a younger writer on national security issues named Ryan Mauro penned a column critical of MPAC's radical connections in its past and questioned the church's wisdom in hosting it. The article appeared in and on the website of my group, the Institute on Religion and Democracy. On December 6, MPAC and the All Saints Episcopal convened a press conference at the church to denounce an ostensible "attack from right-wing extremists," which seemed mostly to be Mauro's article.

On Sunday, the church's senior pastor, Ed Bacon, cited the controversy in his sermon, faulting a "toxic narrative that too many of our religions have promulgated and that is, that in order to become a part of my religion, you have to hate someone else in another religion or you have to hate somebody else in another category." the rest
At the church press conference, nobody really dealt with the MPAC's controversial past. Instead the church's associate pastor complained of the "hateful, vitriolic, demonization of Islam." The Rev. Susan Russell specifically had in mind 50 offensive emails the church says it has received complaining about the MPAC conference. In a Huffington Post story, she had claimed the emails included "threats" against the church. But at the press conference the senior pastor, Rev. Bacon, as quoted by the Los Angeles Times, admitted there were no actual threats. Yet the emails and the complaints against the church expose the "underbelly of Islamaphobia in this country," Rev. Russell insisted. "It gives us an amazing teachable moment to demonstrate what it looks like when people of faith refuse to be polarized by our differences."

Scrolling around...December 8, 2012

1000 Nigerians flee after Boko Haram killings
More than 1,000 Nigerians have fled to neighbouring Niger after six people were killed in an attack on their village blamed on Islamist group Boko Haram, the United Nations said Thursday.

The 1,042 refugees crossed the northern border into the Niger region of Diffa after the November 30 attack, and have been taken in by families in two villages near the regional capital, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in a bulletin.

A teacher in the village confirmed the attack to local media. He said the attackers told villagers they were looking for “politicians” and “coldly killed” six people, including a police officer, after the victims were unable to recite verses of the Koran...

Number Of Workers Aged 25-54 Back To April 1997 Levels.
When people think of the conventional battery of options the BLS applies to fudge the monthly payrolls number, the labor force participation is the first thing that comes mind: after all the thesis is that old workers are increasingly dropping out of the labor force and retiring. Nothing could be further from the truth as can be seen in this chart of workers aged 55-69, i.e. the prime retirement age. But perhaps a far more important secular issue is the complete lack of pickup in the prime worker demographic, those aged 25-54, which in November dropped by 400k to 94 MM. This is a level first breached in April 1997, in other words in the past 15 years not a single incremental job has been gained in this most productive and lucrative of age groups!...

Obamacare May Hike Your Pet’s Health Care Bills
...According to a rule published Friday by the Internal Revenue Service, some medical devices used in veterinary practices will be hit by Obamacare’s 2.3 percent device tax. Many of their manufacturers are expected to hike prices, meaning higher veterinary costs for the nation’s pet owners...

Charities could be losers in ‘fiscal cliff’ tax fight-Proposal would end deductions
In the fiscal feud between President Obama and Republican lawmakers, economists agree that Washington could raise several hundred billion dollars by limiting tax deductions and closing loopholes for the wealthy, but charities likely would take a big hit in donations...

Supreme Court will hear DOMA, Proposition 8 cases
All nine justices of the U.S. Supreme Court announced on Friday that they will hear two cases dealing with same-sex “marriage” in 2013, examining whether the U.S. Congress or the voters in any state have the right to preserve the traditional definition of marriage...

Sweden forces girls n’ guns, boys n’ dolls ads
Toy makers are being pressured by a Swedish advertising watchdog group to produce gender-neutral Christmas toy catalogs...

Single Belles, Single All the Way: The marriage gap is a problem we can’t afford to ignore.
...Until about 1970, the percentage of the adult population in America that was married never dipped below about 93 percent. Since then, marriage has been steadily declining. Today, about half the population is single. The unmarried represented about 40 percent of the electorate, and they broke heavily for Obama — by 16 percentage points among single men and 36 percentage points among single women — giving him two-thirds of his margin of victory. (By contrast, Romney prevailed among married voters by 56-42.)

The marriage gap is also an education gap in America. Those with little or no college, and particularly those without a high-school diploma are shunning marriage in favor of cohabitation. The college-educated, by contrast, are still marrying at close to the rates they did in the 1950s (though later in life, which contributes to lower fertility)...

Berkeley students seek Christmas ban on Salvation Army bell ringers

School removed God reference from first-grader’s poem
An elementary school in North Carolina censored a first-grade student’s Veterans Day poem by removing a line that referenced her grandfather’s belief in God.

The West Marion Elementary School student was supposed to read the poem at a Nov. 8 Veterans Day ceremony to honor her grandfather, a Vietnam veteran.

The deleted line read: “He prayed to God for peace, he prayed to God for strength.”...

Friday, December 07, 2012

The Truth Sent From Above

The event of Christ...

The event of Christ is the only event in human history that promises relocation and centering, meaning and purpose. This promise and its fulfillment evoke passionate and heartfelt praise and thanks, especially for those aware of their own brokenness and the healing which Christ brings into their lives.
...Robert Webber  image

Anglican Unscripted Episode 59

Dec 7, 2012
This first week of Advent George and Kevin discuss the latest news from the Diocese of South Carolina and the unlawful actions of the Presiding Bishop. Your two favorite commentators also tackle the final Advent letter from Archbishop Rowan Williams and they share some sage advice for Bishop Justin Welby. Sadly, our third story was removed during editing in reaction to the tradgety today in London with the suicide of the Kate Middleton's Nurse.

Dec 5, 2012
Kevin Kallsen interviews Bishop Mark Lawrence the day after the Diocese of South Carolina amended its Constitution and Canons to remove any association with General Convention or the Episcopal Church.

Dec 7, 2012
Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori doesn't play by the rules. Specifically, she and her Council of Advice decided that the Bishop of South Carolina had renounced his orders as a bishop without following the canons, or laws, of the church. For example, the church's canons state that in order to renounce your orders, one must do so "in writing." The Bishop of South Carolina never wrote the Presiding Bishop, or any one for that matter, claiming to renounce his orders. This is just one example of the current state of lawlessness in The Episcopal Church. Canon Phil Ashey reflects on these recent events in this week's Anglican Perspective.

Church of England says "no" to gay marriages in church
Same-sex marriage is an non sequitur, the Church of England has told Prime Minister David Cameron, stating it will not support his plans for church gay marriages, nor will it allow them to take place in its churches...

Unity without the gospel is a worthless unity; it is the very unity of hell. —J.C. Ryle

Thursday, December 06, 2012

One of the essential paradoxes of Advent...

“One of the essential paradoxes of Advent: that while we wait for God, we are with God all along ,that while we need to be reassured of God's arrival, or the arrival of our homecoming, we are already at home. While we wait, we have to trust, to have faith, but it is God's grace that gives us that faith. As with all spiritual knowledge, two things are true, and equally true, at once. The mind can't grasp paradox; it is the knowledge of the soul.” ...Michelle Blake image

Scrolling around...December 6, 2012

Albert Mohler: How Did This Happen? The Family Crisis as a Theological Crisis
...The family is indeed in crisis. A recent report from the U.S. Census Bureau indicates that fully 40 percent of all babies born in the United States in 2011 were born to unmarried mothers. Divorce rates are catastrophic and unprecedented numbers of American adults are never marrying, creating a new non-marital underclass that passes on disastrous consequences that will harm generations to come. In some American neighborhoods, children and teenagers have never even been to a wedding, since marriage has simply ceased to exist as an expectation. Even when parents are married and live in the same house with their children, many of those children are actually raised by the mass media, with older children and teenagers often living in a digital world that is quite disconnected from their parents...

The No Good, Very Bad Outlook for the Working-Class American Man
...In effect, the economy is telling less-educated men: Get lost. And they are doing just that. Consider Chart 4. It shows men’s participation in the workforce, by level of education. Forty years ago, virtually all men with at least a high school degree held jobs. Most high school dropouts worked, too. Most men, regardless of education, could make a decent living, and holding a job was the unquestioned norm. Any man who didn’t work for years at a stretch was known as a bum.

Since then, men have been steadily withdrawing from the workforce—but, again, not uniformly. Ninety percent of college-educated men are still working. But a fifth of men with only a high school degree weren’t working in 2008, before the recession struck; today, a fourth of them don’t hold a job. Among men who didn’t finish high school, a third aren’t working. As a result of these trends, America today is pockmarked with neighborhoods where nonwork is the male norm...

When Soviet-style propaganda comes to America, it will be published by the California Federation of Teachers and narrated by Ed Asner
A video published recently by the California Federation of Teachers and narrated by avowed-socialist Ed Asner gained attention because it showed “rich people” pissing on “poor people.”...
Update: Calif. union deletes video of rich urinating on poor Oopsies. Evidently the California Federation of Teachers realized it wasn’t such a bright idea to demonstrate “economic inequality” by having animated one-percenters urinate on poor people. After significant backlash, the union appears to have quietly cut the repulsive scene from the propaganda video narrated by far Left Hollyweirdo Ed Asner. The original video is now listed as private on YouTube.

Mother found guilty of beating son to death for failing to learn the Koran

'Everyone in US under virtual surveillance' - NSA whistleblower
The FBI records the emails of nearly all US citizens, including members of congress, according to NSA whistleblower William Binney. In an interview with RT, he warned that the government can use this information against anyone.

Binney, one of the best mathematicians and code breakers in the history of the National Security Agency, resigned in 2001. He claimed he no longer wanted to be associated with alleged violations of the Constitution, such as how the FBI engages in widespread and pervasive surveillance through powerful devices called 'Naris.'

This year, Binney received the Callaway award, an annual prize that recognizes those who champion constitutional rights and American values at great risk to their personal or professional lives...
Highest court in Mass. lets police search cellphones without warrants
The great American jazzman Dave Brubeck has died a day short of his ninety-second birthday. Many may not know that Brubeck was a Catholic convert who actually composed a Mass even before he became a Catholic. The Mass had been commissioned by Ed Murray, editor of Our Sunday Visitor. From PBS, here is the story of that Mass and a bit about his conversion...
…is the title of a propaganda video being shown in some public elementary schools. It bills itself as a general exploration of the many varieties of what a family can consist of – you know, cross-racial couples, adoption and guardianship, families that speak Spanish at home. And of course it goes without saying that gay couples are families too, and anyone who doubts that is on par with people who doubt that cross-racial couples are families...

Admit It, We're a Decadent People
If you have not yet read Ross Douthat's column about how we need more babies, you really should. In Douthatian fashion, it dealt with how policies might encourage family formation and then ended on this note:
Beneath these policy debates, though, lie cultural forces that no legislator can really hope to change. The retreat from child rearing is, at some level, a symptom of late-modern exhaustion — a decadence that first arose in the West but now haunts rich societies around the globe. It’s a spirit that privileges the present over the future, chooses stagnation over innovation, prefers what already exists over what might be. It embraces the comforts and pleasures of modernity, while shrugging off the basic sacrifices that built our civilization in the first place.
Such decadence need not be permanent, but neither can it be undone by political willpower alone. It can only be reversed by the slow accumulation of individual choices, which is how all social and cultural recoveries are ultimately made...

Planned Parenthood and the Government v. Religious Liberty and Women’s Wellbeing
An unprecedented campaign against religious liberty, characterized by a formidable alliance between the White House and Planned Parenthood, bolstered by money, power, and market branding, is threatening women’s well-being. The first in a three-part series. Part II Part III

A.S. Haley: No Surprise - Presiding Bishop Flouts the Canons Again

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

I am limited these days by my involvement with family matters following the sudden death of my sister, so I do not have time to put up a detailed post reacting to the news so carefully crafted by ECUSA's Public Affairs Office, announcing that the Presiding Bishop has "accepted" the "voluntary renunciation" by Bishop Mark Lawrence of South Carolina of his orders in the Episcopal Church (USA).

Note that on October 18, I wrote this paragraph in a post on the coming fiasco in South Carolina:

Indeed, any communication Mark Lawrence makes in public about the charges or his diocese now runs the risk that the Presiding Bishop will treat it as she did in the case of Bishop Iker, and declare that it constitutes a "voluntary renunciation of orders" so that she can shorten the process of his removal, and not have to bother with a meeting of the House of Bishops. And in fact, now that I think about it, mark my words -- watch for that very thing to happen.
And Bishop Lawrence indeed did give a spoken address to his diocesan Special Convention held last November 17. The Presiding Bishop, exactly as predicted, took this address as satisfying the requirements of Canon III.12.7, which (through the end of this year -- it was changed at GC2012, effective January 1) provides (with my emphasis added):

If any Bishop of this Church shall declare, in writing, to the Presiding Bishop a renunciation of the ordained Ministry of this Church, and a desire to be removed therefrom, it shall be the duty of the Presiding Bishop to record the declaration and request so made.
Bishop Lawrence (a) did not address any writing to the Presiding Bishop; (b) did not renounce his ordained Ministry; and (c) did not request to be removed from that Ministry. The elaborately crafted press release from the Public Affairs Office is simply a poor attempt to cover over a huge, public lie.

That huge, public lie has been told simply for the sake of the Presiding Bishop's and ECUSA's own convenience. It is convenient for them to be rid of Bishop Lawrence now, rather than wait until next March's meeting of the House of Bishops -- that way, they avoid the necessity of taking another illegal vote of "deposition" by less than the full majority of bishops that the Abandonment Canon requires; and they are now free to reorganize those in South Carolina wishing to remain with ECUSA into a pseudo-diocese with a puppet bishop whose immediate and most important mission will not be the welfare of his parishioners, but instead the filing of a lawsuit against Bishop Lawrence and the real Diocese's corporate trustees, in an attempt to force them to turn over all of the Diocese's property and assets.  the rest

[Raymond and I send our deepest condolences and fervent prayers for comfort and peace for the Haley family in their loss. -PD]

Anglican Ink: South Carolina's sorrow and pity for Katharine Jefferts Schori

Bishop Lawrence Writes Regarding Renunciation
December 5, 2012
 Dear Friends in Christ,

“For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.” 2 Corinthians 4:5

The Presiding Bishop called me this afternoon to inform me that she and her council of advice have accepted my renunciation of ordained ministry. I listened quietly, asked a question or two and then told her it was good to hear her voice. I did not feel any need to argue or rebut. It is the Presiding Bishop’s crossing of the T and doting of the I—for their paper work, not my life. I could bring up the canonical problems with what they have done contrary to the canons of The Episcopal Church but to what avail? They will do what they will do regardless of canonical limitations. That is already well documented by others and hardly needs further documentation by me. She and her advisers will say I have said what I have not said in ways that I have not said them even while they cite words from my Bishop’s Address of November 17, 2012.

Quite simply I have not renounced my orders as a deacon, priest or bishop any more than I have abandoned the Church of Jesus Christ—But as I am sure you are aware, the Diocese of South Carolina has canonically and legally disassociated from The Episcopal Church. We took this action long before today's attempt at renunciation of orders, therein making it superfluous.

So we move on—onward and upward. I write these words in the vesper light of this first Wednesday of Advent, the bells of the Cathedral of St. Luke and St. Paul ring in the steeple beside the diocesan office, I remain the Bishop of the Diocese of South Carolina. We shall continue to preach the Good News of Jesus Christ in Word and Deed to a needy world and of course to ourselves who also need to experience afresh its power to set us free from sin, death, guilt, shame and judgment and to transform our lives to be like Christ’s from one degree of glory to another for as the Apostle has written: “The Lord is the Spirit and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”

I am heartened by the support of the vast majority of those within this Diocese as well as the majority of Anglicans around the world as well as many in North America who have expressed in so many ways that they consider me an Anglican Bishop in good standing and consider this Diocese of South Carolina to be part of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

My prayers for a wakeful and watchful Advent,

The Right Reverend Mark Joseph Lawrence
XIV Bishop of South Carolina

Titusonenine      Comments at Stand Firm

Other Anglican news:

WAYNE, PA: Christ Church Anglican on the Mainline Draws 100 to Inaugural Service
Christ Church Anglican on the Mainline drew 100 men, women and children to its inaugural service on Sunday at Wayne United Methodist. The occasion also saw one baptism and two confirmations. "We had prayed for 100 persons to come," said a jubilant Dr. James Ferguson, senior warden.

The new Anglican congregation is affiliated with the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA) under Bishop Julian Dobbs. CANA is a missionary outreach of the Anglican Province of Nigeria and a member of the missionary province of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) under Archbishop Robert Duncan.

Bishop Dobbs took as his sermon theme the centrality of Jesus Christ His person and work drawing his sermon from Col. 1:15-22. The church needs to focus on Jesus as the central figure of the universe of history and of our lives, he said.

"People are longing for a Savior that will save them from loneliness, and despair uncertainty and doubt in a world grown weary with wars, economic uncertainty and hopelessness. Above all they want peace with God, forgiveness of their sins and hope," said Dobbs...

Rev. Canon Phil Ashey: Thoughts on ++Williams Advent Letter
...It continues to be a sad commentary on the leadership of the current Archbishop of Canterbury that he seems unwilling even to acknowledge the doctrinal issues, much less the crisis, that has consumed so much of his tenure-especially with fellow bishops whose office is to guard the faith and order of our beloved Communion, and among whom are many from the largest Anglican provinces in the Global South who, in the face of this crisis of Gospel truth, found it necessary to provide refuge and oversight for faithful Anglicans in North America. "Some challenges" indeed...

Episcopal Church Receiving Hate Mail For Agreeing To Host Muslim Conference
All Saints Episcopal Church has received hate mail after agreeing to host the national convention of the Muslim Public Affairs Council next weekend...

Episcopal churches may opt for same-sex blessings
Episcopal churches across East Tennessee will be able to bless same-sex unions for couples in their congregations early next year, a decision the diocese outlined in a letter sent to members this week.

Bishop George Young said it will be up to leadership at individual churches to have a dialogue with their congregations and decide whether to offer the liturgy, which he said is still different from a marriage ceremony...

Monday, December 03, 2012

Scrolling around...December 3, 2012

California Church to Become Site of Islamist Convention
The Muslim Public Affairs Council’s choice of location for its 12th Annual Convention on December 15 is telling: The All Saints Episcopal Church of Pasadena, California. The group, founded by Muslim Brotherhood followers, says this is the “next step in its mission by crossing the interfaith line.” Yet again, the Islamists are taking advantage of naïve Christians with a desire to show off their tolerance.

The All Saints Episcopal Church of Pasadena started an Interfaith Study Group in 2007 with the Pasadena Jewish Temple and the Islamic Center of Southern California (ICSC), from which MPAC originated. The organization was founded as a branch of ICSC in 1986 and then became independent in 1988, though the two remain intertwined. The ICSC is proud of its interfaith successes. For example, the First United Methodist Church of Santa Monica is allowing the ICSC to hold Friday prayers there every week...

The Holy Tweeter: Pope Benedict XVI Joins Twitter
...When the pontiff pushes the send button on his first tweet on Dec. 12, he will be making history along the lines of his predecessors Pope Pius XI, who in 1931 made the first papal radio address, and Pope Pius XII, who in 1964 was the first to conduct a televised mass...

Palace says Duchess of Cambridge expecting a baby

Has anyone seen a story in the U.S. press about the opening of France’s first gay-friendly mosque?

Egyptian Civil Disobedience Could Widen
Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi faced the prospect of widening civil disobedience on Monday as media and the tourism industry pondered measures to join a protest by judges against the Islamist leader...

For Amish, fastest-growing faith group in US, life is changing
As the Amish population in the US grows – forecast to hit 1 million by 2050 – the decline of farmland is forcing the community to spread to new areas and to evolve its agrarian culture...

Albert Mohler: The First Same-Sex Marriage Ceremony in West Point’s Chapel — What it Means
...According to the Pentagon, the ceremony did not indicate the Army’s approval of same-sex marriage — a doubtful point made necessary by fact that the Federal government defines marriage as the union of a man and a woman...

A Nation of Singles
...How did we get to an America where half of the adult population isn’t married and somewhere between 10 percent and 15 percent of the population don’t get married for the first time until they’re approaching retirement? It’s a complicated story involving, among other factors, the rise of almost-universal higher education, the delay of marriage, urbanization, the invention of no-fault divorce, the legitimization of cohabitation, the increasing cost of raising children, and the creation of a government entitlement system to do for the elderly childless what grown children did for their parents through the millennia...

I happened to be in London when the Church of England voted to reject female bishops...
...It is amazing that Rowan Williams, a widely respected scholar of Church history, would urge the church toward such a blatantly conformist course. Under his theory of fitting in, for example, should early Christians have attended the wildly popular gladiator games in order to prove they were not “blind” to the values of their culture? Rather than seeming aloof and intolerant, should they have participated in pagan feasts and consumed meat dedicated to idols? Heck, maybe they should have gone through the motions of emperor worship—such as famously required by Pliny the Younger and approved by Trajan—to avoid martyrdom...

Rupert Shortt and a Church Besieged
...Some 200 million Christians—two-thirds of the entire population of the United States—are now suffering oppression, even to the point of death, on account of their faith. Yet, if you ask the average person about it, they probably wouldn’t know anything about Christianity’s modern martyrdom, much less know where and why it’s occurring.

Rupert Shortt does, having traveled through Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia, and returned to tell a story as harrowing as it is unforgettable. In a dozen chapters, thankfully free of political correctness or partisanship, he covers what has been happening to the Christian communities in these regions, and does so with searing honesty and force...

DOE Investigating School Over Bible and Homosexuality
...A female student in the class was offended after the instructor, 1st Sgt. Lynn Vanzandt, expressed his beliefs about same-sex relationships. The 15-year-old student and her mother, Mia Gonzales, then contacted a local gay advocacy group, GLBT Advocacy and Youth Services, which complained to the school on the student's behalf...

7 of 10 Americans prefer 'Merry Christmas' over 'Happy Holidays'
...By a wide margin, 68 percent to 23 percent, Americans prefer stores with signs that say "Merry Christmas" during the Christmas holidays than the more generic and secular "Happy Holidays," according to a new Rasmussen Reports survey...

Is This Why Americans Have Lost The Drive To "Earn" More
...The punchline: 110 million privately employed workers; 88 million welfare recipients and government workers and rising rapidly...

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Christmas Flash Mob by Journey of Faith at South Bay Galleria

December 18, 2010