Saturday, December 29, 2012

A matter of perspective...

Found this on Facebook...

 So far, the seasonal snow fall total is 31.6 inches here in Syracuse...

An Unexpected Christmas

Dec 13, 2012

The story of Christmas told by the kids of St Paul's Church, Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, December 28, 2012

Fire is the chosen symbol of Heaven...

Fire is the chosen symbol of Heaven for moral passion. It is emotion aflame. God is love; God is fire. The two are one. The Holy Spirit baptises in fire. Spirit-filled souls are ablaze for God. They love with a love that glows. They believe with a faith that kindles. They serve with a devotion that consumes. They hate sin with a fierceness that burns. They rejoice with a joy that radiates. Love is perfected in the Fire of God. ...Samuel Chadwick image

The Story of God

Texas Supreme Court to Decide Property Dispute Between Episcopal Church, Breakaway Diocese

By Michael Gryboski
December 26, 2012

The Texas Supreme Court will determine whether or not a diocese that broke away from The Episcopal Church four years ago holds the right to the 52 church properties in its territory.

The Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth, led by conservative bishop Rt. Rev. Jack Leo Iker, appealed a lower court decision giving them 30 days to give the disputed property to The Episcopal Church.

Arguments for the case were heard in October and presently both the departed diocese and its continuing Episcopal counterpart await the court's decision. the rest  

Episcopal Church: I’ve Got 99 Problems but a Priest Shortage Ain’t One
...The overall decline in Episcopal Church attendance (down 23 percent in the past decade) has, quite simply, reduced a need for new priests. As Bishop Budde candidly wrote in her letter explaining discernment suspension: “A Roman Catholic colleague once asked me if the Episcopal Church was also experiencing a clergy shortage. ‘No,’ I said. ‘What we have is a shortage of lay people.’

Scrolling around...December 28, 2012

Church on cutting edge of technology
When Oro Valley Church of the Nazarene holds Sunday services, people around the world can watch.

Capturing and broadcasting its sermons with six cameras and thousands of dollars' worth of cutting-edge equipment, the technology-friendly church streams services online, as well as through Internet-connected Roku boxes, which many customers use to stream Netflix movies on TV.

Churchgoers can pick up a DVD or Blu-ray copy of the service after it's over, and can go to the church's website ( to watch broadcasts...

Pornography: The Facts
...A study of 88 civilisations in the 1940’s by Professor J.D. Unwin from Cambridge University showed that, whenever there was widespread promiscuity, premarital sex, infidelity, and same sex relationships, the civilisation was dead within three generations-with no exceptions! Studies by other historians such as Arnold Toynbee show conclusively, that no society in history has been able to survive for long without a strong moral code, and, that immorality corrupts individuals and destroys societies! Moral and spiritual values have been in constant decline in Britain since the nineteen fifties. The results are: a ten-fold increase in crimes and enormous increases in social problems! WE REAP AS WE SOW!...

Baby Jesus with the Rainbow Halo
Remember the progresive (sic) Anglican church in New Zealand that brought you those disgraceful billboards where Joseph was in bed wondering how he could ever measure up to God. Last year’s Christmas billboard showed Mary holding a pregnancy test.

This year, the Revrend Glynn Cardy's latest billboard depicts the baby Jesus with a rainbow halo. It reads, “It’s Christmas. It’s time for Jesus to come out.” Cardy said he’s simply trying to highlight the humanity of Jesus.

In an interview, Cardy said, “The fact is we don’t know what his sexual orientation was.”...

Gallup: Americans 77% Christian, 0.6% Muslim
America is largely a Christian nation with 77 percent of adults identifying themselves as Christian, according to a Gallup survey, while only 0.6 percent identified as Muslim. The survey also found that Mormons were the most religious in practicing their faith.

“The United States remains a largely Christian nation; more than 9 in 10 Americans who have a religious identity are affiliated with a Christian religion,” reported Gallup on Dec. 24. “There has been little change in this portrait of religious identity in the U.S. from last year.”...

Christianity could be ‘wiped out’ in Middle East
...Christians living in the region where the faith was born are coming under increasing threat from Islamic oppression, the think tank says in a new report.

Civitas says Western politicians and media are ignoring the widespread persecution of Christians in the Middle East and the wider world because they are afraid they will be accused of racism.

The report, Christianophobia, says that Christians are more likely to be the target of discrimination or persecution that any other religious group and warns that they are particularly at risk in Muslim-dominated societies...

The Most Amazing Science Images of the Year and Can you spot the 'invisible animal'?

Sotomayor Ruled in Favor of Muslim Inmate’s Ramadan Dinner But Rejected Christian Hobby Lobby’s Appeal for HHS Exemption
Justice Sotomayer ruled in favor of Muslim inmates but ruled against Christian business owners...

Will 'Fiscal Cliff' Accelerate Millionaire Deaths?
...Many families are faced with a stark proposition. If the life of an elderly wealthy family member extends into 2013, the tax bills will be substantially higher. An estate that could bequest $3 million this year will leave just $1.9 million after taxes next year. Shifting a death from January to December could produce $1.1 million in tax savings.

It may seem incredible to contemplate pulling the plug on grandma to save tax dollars. While we know that investors will sell stocks to avoid rising capital gains taxes, accelerating the death of a loved one seems at least a bit morbid—perhaps even evil. Will people really make life and death decisions based on taxes? Do we don our green eye shades when it comes to something this serious...

Blogger publishes names, address of newspaper staff after gun-permit database
...Fountain, who did not immediately return a call seeking comment, told CNN he was offended by the newspaper’s “conflating legal gun owners with some crazed tormented devil up in Newtown” and wondered how its employees would handle the same treatment.

Fountain said he has since received emails from “abused women” who were under protective order.

“They’re terribly afraid that now their names and addresses are all over the Internet and accessible through that map,” he told CNN...

Sandy Victims Still Stranded As ‘Red Tape’ Hinders Help From FEMA
...Victims are shuffled from one desk to another for registration, an identification check, and one-on-one interviews – then referred to something called a “Mitigation Desk,” a FEMA official at a local Disaster Recovery Center explained to MRCTV...

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Scrolling around...December 27, 2012

The Top Seven Regrets of Pastors
I recently interviewed more than twenty pastors who had been in ministry for at least 25 years. All of these men were over 55 years old. A few of them were retired, but most of them were still active in full-time vocational ministry.

The interview was simple. I asked one open-ended question: "What regrets do you have about the years you have served as a pastor?" Each of the men could provide as many responses as they desired. They could make the answers succinct, or they could elaborate upon them...

Sotomayor Refuses to Block Contraceptives Mandate
...In an order issued on Wednesday, Sotomayor said two for-profit companies controlled by Oklahoma City billionaire David Green and his family did not qualify for an injunction while they challenge the requirement in court.

Hobby Lobby Stores Inc, an arts and crafts chain with more than 500 stores, and Mardel Inc, a chain of 35 Christian-themed bookstores, said it violated their religious beliefs to require that their group health plans cover treatments that could induce abortions...

Six killed in Christmas church attack in Nigeria
Gunmen have killed six people at a church in Nigeria, making 2012 the third year that Christmas services have come under deadly attack in the country...

Iran re-arrests Pastor Nadarkhani on Christmas Day
The Iranian Christian pastor who had been imprisoned in Iran for converting from Islam to Christianity was taken into custody again on Christmas Day, according to several Iranian media sources and individuals close to the pastor and his family...

Germany 'exporting' old and sick to foreign care homes
Growing numbers of elderly and sick Germans are being sent overseas for long-term care in retirement and rehabilitation centres because of rising costs and falling standards in Germany.

The move, which has seen thousands of retired Germans rehoused in homes in eastern Europe and Asia, has been severely criticised by social welfare organisations who have called it "inhumane deportation"...

Math Is Coming
...Politicians have long ignored Math. And it’s no wonder: Math is unelected, unsympathetic, and highly biased toward the rich and keeps demanding cuts to spending and changes to entitlements that are politically infeasible. In a nation filled with obese poor people, we’ve discovered a long list of things everyone should be entitled to besides food, clothing, and shelter — things people need, like subsidized hybrids — but heartless, uncompromising Math keeps looking at our revenue and telling us we can’t have all of that...

Facebook Shifted $700 Million to Cayman Islands in 'Double Irish' Tax Reduction Strategy

Digging out

December 27, 2012

Our Syracuse neighborhood early this am.  Actually, cars are getting through now and the plows should be getting to the side streets soon. After the unusually mild winter of last year, we seem to be returning to our typical Syracuse winter.  -PD
(picture by Raymond Dague)

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Re-creation of the Icon

Dec 2, 2012

Classically trained iconographer, Lynette Hull, draws fascinating parallels between contemporary and ancient "icons."

Scrolling around...December 26, 2012

Opposed to same-sex marriage, company ends wedding business ...The owner of Discover Annapolis Tours said he decided to walk away from $50,000 in annual revenue instead of compromising his Christian convictions when same-sex marriages become legal in Maryland in less than a week. And he has urged prospective clients to lobby state lawmakers for a religious exemption for wedding vendors...

Fathers disappear from households across America ...America is awash in poverty, crime, drugs and other problems, but more than perhaps anything else, it all comes down to this, said Vincent DiCaro, vice president of the National Fatherhood Initiative: Deal with absent fathers, and the rest follows. People “look at a child in need, in poverty or failing in school, and ask, ‘What can we do to help?’ But what we do is ask, ‘Why does that child need help in the first place?’ And the answer is often it’s because [the child lacks] a responsible and involved father,” he said...


It’s a Wonderful Country: Pottersville or Bedford Falls? In the classic Christmas film “It’s a Wonderful Life,” the humane society of Bedford Falls is built on conservative principles, not contemporary liberal ones...

  Albert Mohler: “And Them That Mourn”—Celebrating Christmas in the Face of Grief and Death ...Is Christmas also for those who grieve? Such a question would perplex those who experienced the events that night in humble Bethlehem and those who followed Christ throughout his earthly ministry. Christmas is especially for those who grieve. The Apostle Paul, writing to the Galatians, reminds us of the fact that we are born as slaves to sin. “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.” [Galatians 4:4] Out of darkness, came light. As the prophet Isaiah foretold, “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who walk in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shined.” [Isaiah 9:2] This same Christ is the Messiah who, as Isaiah declared, “has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows.” [Isaiah 53:4] He fully identifies with and shares all our afflictions, and he came that we might know the only rescue from death, sorrow, grief, and sin. The baby Jesus was born into a world of grief, suffering, and loss. The meaning of his incarnation was recognized by the aged Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist, who prophesied that God had acted to save his people, “because of the tender mercy of our God, whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” [Luke 1:78-79] There are so many Christians who, even now, are suffering the grief that feels very much like the shadow of death. How can they celebrate Christmas, and how might we celebrate with them?...

Earliest Known Audio Recording of Christmas Found and Digitized Recently discovered wax cylinders have been shown to contain what could be the earliest audio recordings of Christmas in the world. The Museum of London discovered 24 wax cylinders dating back to 1902 that contain a British family’s home phonograph recordings taken at Christmas. The recordings are considered incredibly rare because wax cylinders are fragile. They are made of wax after all, and as such they don’t store very well. Finding them over one hundred years later in playable condition is a Christmas miracle of science...

Benedict Defends Traditional Family in Christmas Address to Roman Curia ..."The Chief Rabbi of France, Gilles Bernheim, has shown in a very detailed and profoundly moving study that the attack we are currently experiencing on the true structure of the family, made up of father, mother, and child, goes much deeper. While up to now we regarded a false understanding of the nature of human freedom as one cause of the crisis of the family, it is now becoming clear that the very notion of being—of what being human really means—is being called into question. He quotes the famous saying of Simone de Beauvoir: “one is not born a woman, one becomes so” (on ne naît pas femme, on le devient). These words lay the foundation for what is put forward today under the term “gender” as a new philosophy of sexuality. According to this philosophy, sex is no longer a given element of nature, that man has to accept and personally make sense of: it is a social role that we choose for ourselves, while in the past it was chosen for us by society. The profound falsehood of this theory and of the anthropological revolution contained within it is obvious. People dispute the idea that they have a nature, given by their bodily identity, that serves as a defining element of the human being. They deny their nature and decide that it is not something previously given to them, but that they make it for themselves. According to the biblical creation account, being created by God as male and female pertains to the essence of the human creature. This duality is an essential aspect of what being human is all about, as ordained by God. This very duality as something previously given is what is now disputed. The words of the creation account: “male and female he created them” (Gen 1:27) no longer apply. No, what applies now is this: it was not God who created them male and female—hitherto society did this, now we decide for ourselves. Man and woman as created realities, as the nature of the human being, no longer exist. Man calls his nature into question. From now on he is merely spirit and will. The manipulation of nature, which we deplore today where our environment is concerned, now becomes man’s fundamental choice where he himself is concerned. From now on there is only the abstract human being, who chooses for himself what his nature is to be. Man and woman in their created state as complementary versions of what it means to be human are disputed. But if there is no pre-ordained duality of man and woman in creation, then neither is the family any longer a reality established by creation. Likewise, the child has lost the place he had occupied hitherto and the dignity pertaining to him. Bernheim shows that now, perforce, from being a subject of rights, the child has become an object to which people have a right and which they have a right to obtain. When the freedom to be creative becomes the freedom to create oneself, then necessarily the Maker himself is denied and ultimately man too is stripped of his dignity as a creature of God, as the image of God at the core of his being. The defence of the family is about man himself. And it becomes clear that when God is denied, human dignity also disappears. Whoever defends God is defending man...."

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Love came down at Christmas...

 Love came down at Christmas,
Love all lovely, Love Divine;
Love was born at Christmas,
Star and Angels gave the sign.

Worship we the Godhead,
Love Incarnate, Love Divine;
Worship we our Jesus:
But wherewith for sacred sign?

Love shall be our token,
Love be yours and love be mine,
Love to God and all men,
Love for plea and gift and sign.
...Christina Rossetti image

Merry Christmas to all the readers of this blog!
Raymond and Pat Dague
and Herschel dog

Monday, December 24, 2012

The King shall come when morning dawns...

The King shall come when morning dawns,
And light triumphant breaks;
When beauty gilds the eastern hills,
And life to joy awakes.

Not as of old a little child
To bear, and fight, and die,
But crowned with glory like the sun
That lights the morning sky.

O brighter than that glorious morn
Shall this fair morning be,
When Christ, our King, in beauty comes,
And we His face shall see.

The King shall come when morning dawns,
And earth’s dark night is past;
O haste the rising of that morn,
The day that aye shall last.

And let the endless bliss begin,
By weary saints foretold,
When right shall triumph over wrong,
And truth shall be extolled.

The King shall come when morning dawns,
And light and beauty brings:
Hail, Christ the Lord! Thy people pray,
Come quickly, King of kings.
...Unknown au­thor image