Friday, March 01, 2013

For a spiritual life...

For a spiritual life is simply a life in which all that we do comes from the centre, where we are anchored in God: a life soaked through and through by a sense of His reality and claim, and self-given to the great movement of His will.
  ...Evelyn Underhill  image

'The Bible' – This Time, Hollywood Got It Right

By Geoff Tunnicliffe
February 28, 2013

Burnett and his wife have produced a mini-series that is not only "not disappointing," but actually rises to the top of the "Wow" scale. Attempting to take on the whole Bible in 10 hours is pretty much an impossible task for just about anyone, but apparently not for the Burnetts. They really have produced something of epic proportions.

Over the last 3 1/2 years, Mark and Roma have been driven by the singular vision of producing a project that would honor the sacred text, yet bring it to life for a new generation. The end result is something that has the feel of a $150 million big budget film.

A half year of filming in Morocco, hundreds of extras, an Oscar-winning editing studio and a score that brought back together for the first time after "Gladiator" the incredible Hans Zimmer and Lisa Gerard – all this helped to bring the Bible to screen like no other film in history. The cast made up of gifted actors coming from across the world reflects the global influence of the Bible – a Samson from the African diaspora, an Irish David, and a Portuguese Jesus, just to name a few. the rest

 Following its March 3 premiere, remaining episodes of "The Bible" will air each Sunday with the finale arriving on Easter Sunday, March 31.

Scrolling around...March 1, 2013

“Ratzinger slept well and will spend today praying”
All is quiet in Castel Gandolfo today as the Pope spends the day resting and praying. The date of the Conclave is yet to be announced...

Comet Siding Spring. (Image from / Spitzer Space Telescope)
Rush to Mars: Comet impact could make Red Planet inhabitable
...However the comet’s trajectory is still uncertain, which leaves a small chance it could impact the planet, said Russian astronomer Leonid Elenin, who worked on calculating the course of the celestial body. The comet will be travelling at a speed of 56 kilometers per second relative to Mars when it passes; if they do collide, the resulting explosion would be equal to a 20,000-gigaton bomb blast – powerful enough to leave a 50-kilometer crater on the planetary surface...

Florida College Says Christian Group Can’t Have Christian Leaders
Rollins College has determined that a Christian student organization is in violation of the school’s nondiscrimination policy because the group requires its leaders to be followers of Christ...

Bishop enforces Catholic doctrine; press goes, ‘Wha …?’
...Clearly what the bishop is doing is supporting Vatican efforts to teach the doctrine that the church already has. Also note that, under Catholic law, these schools are under the direct authority of the bishop. That’s important in a hierarchical church that, to be blunt, is not a democracy. Journalists struggle to grasp that fact.

So this bishop wants his teachers to agree to defend or, I would imagine, to stop attacking the teachings of the Catholic Church...

Egypt: Muslims firebomb church demanding Christian convert

You Are Not a Religion
In Habits of the Heart, written almost thirty years ago, sociologist Robert Bellah and his co-authors came up with a term to describe a new American religion: “Sheilaism.” The phrase comes from an interview Bellah conducted with a woman called Sheila, who described her religion as follows:
I believe in God. I am not a fanatic. I can’t remember the last time I went to church. My faith has carried me a long way. It’s Sheilaism. Just my own little voice. . . . My own Sheilaism . . . is just to try to love yourself and be gentle with yourself. You know, I guess, take care of each other.
Religious Change in the Middle East
...At the same time that traditional Christian populations are being driven out, Muslims are converting to Christianity at what missionaries and other Church leaders describe as an unprecedented rate. Joel Rosenberg claims that “more Muslims are coming to faith in Jesus Christ today than at any other time in history.”

An Iranian dissident told Rosenberg that there may be as many as 4.5 million converts in Iran. New Testaments and other Christian literature have flooded Iran, and Iraqi pastors cannot keep up with the demand for Christian books and pamphlets. Out of the carnage of Sudan, as many as a million have become Christians since 2000. By 2005, there were reportedly 100,000 Christian converts in Saudi Arabia. Because of vicious persecution, it is impossible to tell how many Christians there are in Afghanistan, but some have estimated as many as 20-30,000, and there is a similar number in Uzbekistan, a country that twenty-five years ago had only a handful of believers. Accurate numbers are difficult to find and more difficult to confirm, but even if these are inflated, there’s little doubt that something remarkable is happening...

Doors close at Castel Gandolfo, Sede Vacante period begins

Elizabeth Scalia; Benedict’s Lessons for Americans
There was a striking sense of puzzlement amid American coverage of Benedict XVI's last day as pope. Even as they tried to capture every move and softly spoken word, media pronouncements contained a note of inexplicability, like punctuation marks strewn within the margins of a book. Behind their questions lay a sense of real confusion. Was this for real? Did anyone believe a man would remove himself from a throne to simply disappear from sight? He's going to still publish and speak … right?
Pope Benedict has pretty consistently confounded the press. When the shy, professorial man with the awkward body language did not align in any way with the "rottweiler" caricatures they assigned. Most media folk adapted to that reality with the more mature among them even admitted that Ratzinger's nature was more pastoral than expected....

Obama urges court to overturn gay marriage ban
...The Obama administration’s friend-of-the-court brief marked the first time a U.S. president has urged the high court to expand the right of gays and lesbians to wed. The filing unequivocally calls on the justices to strike down California’s Proposition 8 ballot measure, although it stops short of the soaring rhetoric on marriage equality Obama expressed in his inaugural address in January...

End of the Mainline
...More likely, the NCC’s move from New York to Capitol Hill will divorce it even further from most of its church constituents and presage its eventual, quiet death. The arc of the NCC’s story showcases the rise and fall of liberal Protestantism in America. It’s a sad tale but also instructive for the more robust churches of today.

Marc Andrus: The Episcopal Church’s gay rights pilgrimage

By Marc Handley Andrus

First, The Episcopal Church has always seen itself as existing in our culture, not outside or above or in opposition to our culture. For over a century, Episcopalians look to the model of Christ transforming culture, rather than, say, Christ against culture. Even the idea of Christ transforming culture has evolved, so today many Episcopalians look for the divine at work far beyond the reaches of our church buildings, and beyond those who identify as Episcopalians or even as Christians.

On marriage equality, our church has traveled on pilgrimage with our culture. Sometimes we have led in advocacy for marriage equality, and sometimes we have learned from the culture and from leaders outside the church. We have developed rites for blessing and marriage for all, and we have extended the support of the church to LGBT people in the form of premarital counseling and the integration of same-sex couples into loving communities of faith. The historic social prominence of The Episcopal Church lays some extra responsibility on us to use our influence for good. Thus we have advocated with courts and lawmakers at every level of government to promote marriage equality.

What about the charge that we have thrown away tradition? Over and over I’ve heard people jokingly (mostly) call our church, “Catholic light,” and claim (this, almost always derogatorily) that The Episcopal Church has no clear moral standards. It is easy for such a church, the argument goes, to irresponsibly accept culturally-led innovations like marriage equality.

The second thing about Episcopalians and marriage equality, then, that is important to say at this moment is that we are a church that believes Christ continues to be with the world, moving with us, helping us find meaning in moments of joy and also loss and pain. The Christ whom we recognize is the one who speaks in John’s Gospel, saying, “There are many things I would teach you but you cannot bear them now … the Sprit will lead you into all truth.” For Episcopalians, tradition is a moving force that is not only dynamic but that changes quality over time, and we might liken the change to be one of more light being cast into the world.

We overturned nearly two millennia of set tradition when we began ordaining women 34 years ago. We repudiated the traditional tolerance of slavery and racial prejudice in the mid-20th century. We traded our cultural privilege and hegemony as a largely Anglo denomination for the wealthy and have deliberately become more and more consciously a church for all. In all these things we have prayed and thought and been in earnest conversation in and out of the church, and believed that in the end we have discerned better the mind of Christ than we had in the past. the rest

Charges of TEC-Related Fraud and Bribery Filed Re: Election of Tanzanian Primate
The general synod of the Anglican Province of Tanzania held an election on Saturday to select a primate, and now a complaint has been filed with the provincial House of Bishops to suspend the results of the election pending an investigation into charges of fraud and bribery.

Elected by just three votes on the third ballot was Bishop Jacob Chimeledya, a graduate of Virginia Theological Seminary—but the total number of votes cast in the election was four more than the number of clergy and laity present and voting.

The runner-up was the existing primate of Tanzania, Archbishop Valentino Mokiwa, who had been serving since 2007, and who was eligible for one more five-year term.

The complaint asks the House to annul the election, and to remove from their offices the synod’s General Secretary, Dr. Dickson Chilongani, and its Registrar, Prof. Palamagamba Kabudi. It alleges that the election had been rigged by means of “walking around” money to the tune of $50,000, spread among those who voted for +Chimeledya, and that the money came from a source within the Episcopal Church (USA)...

A.S. Haley: Hostilities in South Carolina Postponed for the Nonce
The initial skirmishes in the litigation between Bishop Mark Lawrence's Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina and the Episcopal Church (USA) have been postponed to yet another day. ECUSA had been due to respond to the Diocese's complaint for declaratory relief on March 4. But the Diocese recently amended its complaint to add three new plaintiff parishes and one new defendant, the ersatz "Episcopal Church in South Carolina.

An amendment of a complaint automatically gives the defendants another period in which to respond. So ECUSA's (and its remnant group's) responses will now (by agreement, in exchange for ECUSA's stipulating to the amendment) be due on April 4.

Meanwhile, buried in an ENS story about the meeting of the Executive Council recently in Linthicum Heights, Maryland was this tidbit:
In other plenary business Feb. 26, council:
* authorized a $250,000 line of credit for the Episcopal Church in South Carolina.
Now, this is an interesting number. If the "Episcopal Church in South Carolina" is prepared to concede the legal issues in the Diocese's complaint (chiefly, the rights to the Diocese's name and identity, and the rights of the individual parishes to their own properties), then two hundred and fifty thousand dollars is not necessary for such a purpose. Five thousand dollars (even at the "discounted" rates charged to the Church by the Chancellor's own law firm) would be more than ample with which to concede the merits of the Diocese's lawsuit...

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Anglican Unscripted Episode 66

Feb 28, 2013

The Episcopal Church is being accused of buying the election for the new Primate of Tanzania and of course Kevin and George discuss this and it's implications for the New Archbishop of Canterbury. Your hosts also discuss the ever growing controversy over Reconciliation and Justin Welby's desire to model it in this fractured Anglican Communion. Peter and Allan will return next week with updates and we ask you keep George in your prayers as he recovers from surgery.

Scrolling around....February 28, 2013

Women Take Biden's Shotgun Advice

All The President’s Thugs.  Hey, Bob, you can’t say we didn’t warn you. We knew this White House was capable of attacking even the great Bob Woodward for telling the truth...

Forbes: Sequester This! President Obama's Colossal Media Blunder
...My bet is you’ll see stories about the bottomless pit of waste, fraud, pork, cronyism, malinvestment, and idiocy that characterize so much of business as usual in Washington. With a glut of examples a mere Google search away, it won’t be long before even the most disengaged voter—facing some Obama-generated inconvenience and having these stories shoved in his face—asks, “What do you mean I can’t get my passport renewed? Couldn’t they fire Obama’s $100,000 a year dog trainer instead?” And if this phony “austerity” is imposed on the rest of us, how do you think the public will react to the First Lady’s next multi-million dollar vacation?...

New Zealand: Churches and Celebrants Not Protected By Marriage Bill
...“This Bill will provide a culture of coercion whereby celebrants or registrars that don’t fall within the exemptions will not be lawfully able to refuse to perform a same-sex marriage by reason of the same-sex of the couple. This proposed Select Committee amendment undercuts Louisa Wall’s assurances to Parliament, and provides a much narrower exemption than that provided by the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act which states that everybody has the right of freedom of religion and belief, and the right to manifest that belief or view.”...

NY gov's abortion bill would hurt women
...The unnamed coalition, including doctors of different faiths who deliver babies and work with women after abortions, said its opposition to the governor's bill is based on medical experience, not their religious beliefs.

They said late-term abortions, which they defined as after 24 weeks, aren't intended to protect the health of a woman, as the bill's name implies. A fetus at 24 weeks is likely to survive outside the womb and a late-term abortion they say poses more complications for the woman, said Dr. Anne Nolte of The National Gianna Center for Women's Health and Fertility in New York City.

The doctors said most studies are skewed to support an abortion-rights position and fail to consider lower level but chronic stress, anguish and depression suffered by many women who undergo abortions. They said the studies provide a slanted public view of the abortion debate that goes beyond religious beliefs...

Catholic expert details ‘Huge homosexual underground in the Church’
A recent paper by a Ph.D. priest from Poland has been circling the globe in recent weeks and given heightened prominence by the recent revelations of a Vatican inquiry into a “gay mafia” inside the Vatican. “Standing with the Pope against homoheresy,” was written in late 2012 by Fr. Dariusz Oko, Ph.D., a priest of the Archdiocese of Krakow and Assistant Professor at the John Paul II Pontifical University in Krakow...

Supreme Court muzzles free speech in Canada, rules against Catholic pro-family activist
Canada’s top court has released an unanimous decision today that critics say has struck a monumental blow against freedom of speech, opinion, and religion across the country. The court ordered the defendant, a Catholic pro-family activist with a reputation for intense activism, not only to pay a fine, but also to pay court costs which could amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars...

Nike, Apple, Facebook Among U.S. Companies That Intend To Back Gay Marriage In Coming Supreme Court Cases
...The brief to be filed in the Proposition 8 case, a draft of which was obtained by Reuters, has been joined by such companies as Apple Inc, Nike Inc, Facebook Inc, Morgan Stanley, Intel Corp, Xerox Corp, AIG Inc and Cisco Systems Inc...

McDonald's: More Influence Than Christianity?
...Think about that for a moment: If there are 19 churches for every 1 McDonalds, why does the church today have so little influence in our culture? Obviously its not just a numbers game, but when it comes to “presence” the church should have a much greater influence...

California Baptist University Sued by Expelled Transgender Student
...In August 2011, Javier appeared on the MTV program "True Life" and revealed that while identifying as a female, he had been born male.
While California Baptist had accepted Javier for a degree in nursing, the university caught wind of the MTV program and reversed course...

Thousands Gather for Pope’s Final Public Address

February 27, 2013

VATICAN CITY — He circumnavigated St. Peter’s Square in the popemobile for the last time. He gave his final waves to cheering masses. And most profoundly, Pope Benedict XVI bestowed his valedictory words to the world on Wednesday in a heartfelt, sometimes wistful address that highlighted the price of being a pope — and its rays of happiness.

His eight-year papacy held moments of “joy and light,” at times resembling the boat carrying Peter and the other apostles on the Sea of Galilee, enjoying many days of sun, gentle breezes and abundant fish, Benedict told tens of thousands of people during his general audience, which was moved to a sun-soaked St. Peter’s Square from the usual auditorium to accommodate the crowd. the rest

Final hours for Pope Benedict XVI as head of church

Pope Benedict's Pontificate in 2 Minutes

Va. Supreme Court Hears Appeal Of Ruling Vs. Breakaway Anglicans

February 27, 2013
The Virginia Supreme Court in Richmond yesterday heard the oral arguments of an appeal by the breakaway Falls Church Anglicans, seeking to reverse a January 2012 ruling by the Fairfax Circuit Court returning the property of the historic Falls Church in downtown City of Falls Church to the Episcopal Church.

The Supreme Court, led by Chief Justice Cynthia D. Kinser, also heard arguments from attorneys representing the national Episcopal Church, the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia and the Falls Church Episcopal Church.

A final decision from the Supreme Court is expected by the end of April.

The breakaway congregation, which remains under the leadership of the Rev. John Yates and has been worshiping at different locations in Northern Virginia since being forced to vacate the historic church a year ago, was joined in its appeal by an amicus brief from Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli which supported the Anglicans on one aspect of their appeal, the disposition of financial contributions made to them while they occupied the historic church. the rest

...Present at today’s Supreme Court hearing were the Rev. John Ohmer and the Rev. Cathy Tibbets of the continuing Falls Church Episcopalian congregation, and Yates was present for the breakaway Anglicans. On the Anglican web site, Yates wrote, “We do know that we have a Great Advocate in Christ, that He is for us.”

Two of the seven Supreme Court judges recused themselves from the case for potential conflict of interest reasons, and they were replaced for the case, which was over in less than two hours.

Each side had 20 minutes to make its case, and following that came questions and answers. The Episcopal Church was backed in the case by an amicus brief filed on behalf of three national Protestant denominations, the United Methodist Church, the Presbyterian Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church...

Wednesday, February 27, 2013



Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Suggestions for Fasting and Feasting:

Fast from discontent; feast on thankfulness.
Fast from worry; feast on trust.
Fast from anger; feast on patience.
Fast from self-concern; feast on compassion for others.
Fast from unrelenting pressures; feast on unceasing prayers.
Fast from bitterness; feast on forgiveness.
Fast from discouragement, feast on hope.
Fast from media hype, feast on the honesty of the Bible.
Fast from idle gossip; feast on purposeful silence.
Fast from problems that overwhelm;
feast on prayer that undergirds.
-Author unknown image

Scrolling around...February 26, 2013

Sudan: Christians Arrested To Appease Islam?
...The arrests are the latest in a string of anti-Christian acts in Sudan. Heritage Foundation Africa analyst and Allison Center Director Steven Bucci believes that by ramping up persecution, Bashir is seeking to appease his supporters...

Tanzania: Muslims Behead Another Christian Pastor
...On February 11, Pastor Mathayo Kachili of the Tanzania Assemblies of God Church was beheaded by Muslims...

How Obamacare will devastate non-profits
...The cost of providing insurance to employees of the non-profit, or paying a fine for not providing the insurance, would be so expensive that the organization would have to fire 53% of its employees AND increase donations by 112%. Otherwise, the organization would be bankrupt in 28 months.
The Board sat is stunned silence. Someone whispered in a choked voice, “I don't think that’s right. Obamacare will lower costs”. There was fearful, whispered assent, like the voices on the Island in “Lost”.

 “I wish,” my friend said, “but that’s just not the case”.

What ensued was denial by the Board of Directors – a Board consisting of high-income, well-to-do White Liberals.

 So we see yet another consequence of passing a law that nobody has actually read...

Horror Vid: College Students Play "Abortion Battles" as Birthday Game
College students at Hunter College, a public college in New York City, celebrated a birthday with ice cream cake, balloons, and a horrific birthday game they called "Abortion Wars" where students put a balloon under their shirt and try to pop the balloon with a fork while some students even yell "Kill the baby!!!" and "Kill it!!!"...  (I couldn't watch it. -PD)

Journalism That Dare Not Speak Its Name
If you're a reporter at the Washington Post and you aspire to write unsigned editorials, just send an email to the ombudsman.

That's a lesson one might draw from yesterday's extraordinary column by Patrick Pexton, the veteran journalist who, according to the Post's website, "represents readers who have concerns or complaints" about "accuracy, fairness, ethics and the newsgathering process." One such reader wrote to both Pexton and a Post reporter to complain that the paper's coverage of same-sex marriage gives "short shrift" to "the conservative, pro-family side of the argument."

Older Entrepreneurs Are Better Than Younger Ones
...By comparison, older entrepreneurs have learned from their past mistakes. They aren’t flummoxed by the twists and turns of starting a new company. That means fewer dead ends and misdirections.

They also know that life is short, particularly at their age. This makes them pragmatic and, in a vital way, detached. They use their days more wisely, in large part because they aren’t distracted by the money chase or office politics. If they determine that their venture isn’t going to make it, they’ll put a bullet in the enterprise and walk away...

Choose Your Pope!


Act Of Sportsmanship Gives Texas High Schooler Shot At Glory

Feb 23, 2013

Monday, February 25, 2013

Scrolling around...February 25, 2013

The Dutch experiment in legalised prostitution has been a disaster
...The brothel boom is over. A third of Amsterdam’s bordellos have been closed due to the involvement of organised criminals and drug dealers and the increase in trafficking of women. Police now acknowledge that the red-light district has mutated into a global hub for human trafficking and money laundering. The streets have been infiltrated by grooming gangs seeking out young, vulnerable girls and marketing them to men as virgins who will do whatever they are told. Many of those involved in Amsterdam’s regular tourist trade — the museums and canals — fear that their visitors are vanishing along with the city’s reputation...

Iceland’s Plan To Ban Internet Porn Sparks Uproar
...Advocates say it is a sensible measure that will shelter children from serious harm.

"When a 12-year-old types `porn' into Google, he or she is not going to find photos of naked women out on a country field, but very hardcore and brutal violence," said Halla Gunnarsdottir, political adviser to the interior minister.

"There are laws in our society. Why should they not apply to the Internet?"...

NY: All the Governor’s priorities
What should Albany be devoting its time to these days? Gov. Cuomo seems to think it’s abortion....

Woman Sues Planned Parenthood for Forced Abortion and Medical Malpractice
Live Action and Fox News report that a Colorado woman has filed suit against Planned Parenthood for subjecting her to an abortion she had refused and then abandoning her when she experienced complications.

Ayanna Byer asserts that she told the Planned Parenthood abortionist that she had decided against having an abortion, but that the doctor went ahead with the procedure despite this. Then, “due to Ms Byer crying from pain” she alleges that the same doctor stopped before the abortion was complete. She says she was given prescriptions for pain and antibiotics and sent home...

Listen Up Ladies! Uncle Sam Might Want You Too
...Now that front-line infantry, armor, artillery and special operations jobs are open to female volunteers who can meet the physical requirements, it will be difficult for anyone to make a persuasive argument that women should continue to be exempt from registration, said Diane Mazur, a law professor at the University of Florida and a former Air Force officer.

"They're going to have to show that excluding women from the draft actually improves military readiness," Mazur said. "I just don't see how you can make that argument."...

Pope Benedict XVI shutting down @Pontifex Twitter account
...The 1.5 million users that are following the Pope will be following one less person by 8 PM Vatican Time (CET) time on February 28, which coincides with the official exit from his position. Vatican Radio says that he’ll send out a final tweet before then...

Super-storm Sandy Aid to Help Rebuild Nightclubs, not Churches

Girl Scouts 'give thanks' for membership in worldwide pro-abortion organization
...And Rochelle has caught news of a further connection Girl Scouts has with the abortion industry. Earlier this month, a press release was published on behalf of “Girl Scouts, Why Not?” which alerts readers to an event that was held for the Girl Scouts by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Georgia. The press release states that its purpose is about “warning families about the political and immoral indoctrination taking place in the leadership levels of the Girl Scouts.”

The term “indoctrination” is well-chosen, particularly considering the kind of events held for Girl Scouts and the information available and promoted to its members. The RNC for Life recently published a short piece as well about the Girl Scouts and contains several links, including a position statement from WAGGGS, “talking about sex.” The “Happy, Healthy, and Hot” booklet from International Planned Parenthood Federation is also displayed on the website of the World YWCA, a partner of WAGGGS...