Friday, July 26, 2013

Prayer is something deeper than words...

Prayer is something deeper than words. It is present in the soul before it has been formulated into words. And it abides in the soul after the last words of prayer have passed over our lips. 

Prayer is an attitude of our hearts, an attitude of mind. Prayer is a definite attitude of our hearts toward God, an attitude which He in heaven immediately recognizes as prayer, as an appeal to His heart. Whether it takes the form of words or not, does not mean anything to God, only to ourselves. ...O. Hallesby image

Scrolling around...July 26, 2013

...the earth from almost a billion miles away!

How America's Top Tech Companies Created the Surveillance State  They’ve been helping the government spy on people for a very long time. The cozy relationships go back decades.

 IRS Targeting Witnesses Speak Out
...Timothy Savaglio, board member of the Liberty Township TEA Party, said dealing with the IRS’s demands following his request for his organization to be recognized as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit became a “full-time job.”

“I served 23 years in the United States Air Force voluntarily giving up personal freedoms only to find my government placed barriers and obstruction when I exercised those liberties as an ordinary citizen,” Savaglio said.

He applied for the tax exempt status in May 2010, and his request still hasn’t been approved or denied by the IRS...

National Treasury Employees Union Urges Members to Oppose Obamacare … For Themselves
The National Treasury Employees Union is urging its members to oppose legislation that would force federal employees off their government healthcare plans and onto the state and national healthcare exchanges established under Obamacare.

Members of Congress and their staffers are already required to participate in the exchanges, which will go into effect next October 1st under the Affordable Care Act.

However, a bill (HR 1780) introduced in April by Rep. David Camp (R–Mich.) would extend that requirement to all federal employees, an idea that does not sit well with the union....

Psychiatric Journal Published Study Linking Abortion with Depression, PTSD, and Drug Abuse   ...The study compared the women's psychological well being with childbirth outcomes such as delivering the baby, miscarriage, or abortion. The conclusion of the authors is that “fetal loss seems to expose women to a higher risk for mental disorders than childbirth; some studies show that abortion can be considered a more relevant risk factor than miscarriage”...

First Things: Surveillance Technologies and Bible Prophecy

DOJ Says Transgender Discrimination Is Sex Discrimination
...Whatever one thinks of this as a matter of policy, it is quite dubious as a matter of law. The relevant statutes here, as the Justice Department’s press release acknowledges, “prohibit discrimination against students based on sex.” The Justice Department’s position is that “sex” includes not only sex but also “a student’s gender identity, transgender status, and nonconformity with gender stereotypes.”...

Poll: Since Obama took office, View of U.S. race relations has plummeted   The most recent poll showed a sharp drop from the beginning of Obama's first term. At that time, 79 percent of whites and 63 percent of blacks then held a favorable view of American race relations.

Negative views on race relations have increased substantially. Forty-five percent of whites and 58 percent African-Americans now believe race relations are very or fairly bad. As soon as 2009, only 20 percent of whites and 30 percent of blacks held an unfavorable view....

Pakistan: Charity finds an average of 24 alive or dead babies every month on roadside trash heaps
...“The bodies are badly bitten by the dogs, cats, crows and eagles giving a horrible look to the innocent babies. We want to tell the people that regardless to their legitimacy or illegitimacy it is a murder of a human and thus the whole humanity,” Naseem said.

Most of the bodies or alive babies found are girls...

Franklin Graham: Why is Obama Silent as Iran Tortures American Pastor?  One of the nation's most prominent evangelical leaders wants to know why President Obama has remained silent as Iran tortures an American pastor held captive in one of the Islamic republic's most notorious prisons.

Franklin Graham, the president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan's Purse, told Fox News the imprisonment and torture of Pastor Saeed Abedini is a blatant example of "religious intolerance."

"Many in the international community are expressing outrage over this blatant example of religious intolerance," Graham said. "I ask that our government do the same and demand that Pastor Saeed Abedini be released and allowed to return home to his wife and family in the United States."...

Book Review - “Cold Case Christianity”

by Timothy Fountain at Stand Firm
July 25, 2013

My parishioners are responding to (and hungry for) good apologetics.  Some of them are searching for good resources to share.  One couple gave me a copy of J. Warner Wallace’s Cold Case Christianity, and I highly recommend it to you, oh worthy Stand Firm reader.

Wallace is a retired detective turned pastor and apologist, a former atheist who came to faith in Christ.  He describes the method that led him to believe in the Good News of the Bible and become a witness to it... the rest

[I found the book at Amazon (here) and started reading the excerpt they had and was immediately drawn in. I don't know if this is a special for today, but the Kindle edition is 3.74 and I downloaded it. -PD]

ENS: ‘Listening to the spirit,’ task force is reimagining church

By Mary Frances Schjonberg
July 25, 2013

A major task for the group in the beginning was to decide how to interpret the mandate it has in Resolution C095.

The members discussed what it might mean to “reimagine” the Episcopal Church and reform its structures, governance and administration. And, they considered the issue of where the Christian church is now – and where it is not, according to George and Loya.

It is “no longer culturally normative to be a Christian and a lot of our structures of governance and administration and finance were built and put into place to serve a church where it was culturally normative to be a Christian,” Loya said.

The Christian church now faces the imperative to “take the church to the world rather than wait for the world to come to us,” he said.

And it must ask itself what kinds of governance and administrative structures, what ways of making decisions and what ways of being organized in community will best serve that effort, Loya suggested.
Inevitably, any talk about cultural changes and their impact on the church — and any talk about the implication of those for the church’s structure — turns to money, and the lack thereof. However, the co-conveners said, the task force senses that that is the wrong focus.

“Is our primary task to figure out how to enable the current Episcopal Church church-wide organization model to operate at a lower income level?” George asked. “I think our answer would be ‘no, that is not our primary role at all.’ Our primary role is to envision [how] as the church is emerging and evolving in new ways – and that’s happening everywhere – how do we really ensure that the church-wide organization structures and governance enliven that evolution rather than pull the church back to a different era when local church dynamics were quite different.”

The task force senses that it does not need to invent a “new missional response” to this changing context, George said. That response is already emerging across the church and “it will continue to emerge and evolve and change over time.”

“We need to ensure that the church-wide structures and governance are supportive and flexible and adaptive as the church is adapting and changing,” she said.

Her summary of TEC’s role, they said, is how the members have come to understand C095’s mandate. the rest

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Lacey Rose: Do You Believe In Miracles?

June 5, 2013 

Scrolling around...July 24, 2013

The leadership of the Texas metropolis of San Antonio is working on ordinance changes aimed at punishing those who speak out against homosexuality
...Moreover, according to a draft of the revised policy, no one who has spoken out against homosexuality or the transgender lifestyle can run for city council or be appointed to a board. Flowers says the Arizona-based legal firm Alliance Defending Freedom has taken a look at the ordinance....

King David’s Palace May Have Been Discovered
Just 18 miles southwest of Jerusalem in Khirbet Qeiyafa, archeologists from Hebrew University and Israel Antiquities Authorities believe that they have found King David’s palace, the Associated Press reports...

What Helps Poor Kids Move Upwards? Religion and Marriage
The New York Times is reporting on this incredibly detailed study looking at variations in what proportion of kids raised in the bottom fifth income-wise rise to the top fifth as adults...

The study also noted:  “Finally, some of the strongest predictors of upward mobility are correlates of social capital and family structure. For instance, high upward mobility areas tended to have higher fractions of religious individuals and fewer children raised by single parents.”

Low Fertility Rates – Just a Phase?
...Thirty years ago only a small fraction of the world’s population lived in the few countries with fertility rates substantially below the “replacement level” – the rate at which the fertility of a hypothetical cohort of women would exactly replace itself in the next generation – normally set at 2.1 children per woman for populations with low mortality conditions. Fast forward to 2013, with roughly 60 percent of the world’s population living in countries with such below-replacement fertility rates.

The consequences of these changes are striking. One is that international migration, which over the same 30 years has been increasing rapidly, now has become the primary driver of rapid changes in the demography of dozens of countries around the world. If we were to assume that current low fertility rates and high immigration rates will continue into the future – neither of which may be a good assumption over the long term – migration would become even more significant a determinant not only of overall national growth but of the ethnic and racial composition of most industrial states, including those of much of Europe and North America...

Egypt: Security forces abandon Coptic Christians during deadly attack in Luxor
...In an attack lasting 18 hours on 5 July, four Coptic Christian men were killed and four others were seriously injured. An angry mob armed with metal bars, knives, tree branches and hammers attacked Christian homes and businesses in Nagah Hassan, 18 km west of Luxor, after the dead body of a Muslim man was discovered near the homes of Christian families. Despite local residents’ and religious leaders’ repeated calls for help, security forces on the scene made only half-hearted attempts to end the violence and sufficient reinforcements failed to arrive.

“It is outrageous that this attack was left to escalate unhindered in this way. Amnesty International has documented a series of cases in the past where Egypt’s security forces used unnecessary force or live fire during demonstrations, yet in this case they held back even though people’s lives were threatened,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme...

Pakistan: Christian couple charged with blasphemy in Gojra

Obama Judicial Pick Cornelia Pillard: Abortion Needed to “Free Women From Maternity”
[Women are "presumptive " breeders]
...A Georgetown law professor, Pillard is the President’s latest nominee to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals — and only the second one since President George W. Bush to wait less than two months for a hearing.

Why the rush? Ed Whalen of NRO’s Bench Memos suspects that Pillard (who’s been described to him as “less moderate” than the most activist liberal in appellate court history) wouldn’t survive intense scrutiny. The hurry, Whalen warns, “seems designed to prevent a careful review of their records. Obama himself has taken forever to make nominations to the D.C. Circuit, and that court remains underworked, so it is difficult to see the justification for the sudden rush.”

Unfortunately for Americans, the Senate won’t have to dig too deep to uncover some of Pillard’s shockers. Among some of her greatest hits, the former Deputy Assistant Attorney General argues that abortion is necessary to help “free women from historically routine conscription into maternity.” As if her militant feminism wasn’t apparent enough, she takes the opportunity in some of her writings to slam anyone who opposes the abortion-contraception mandate as “reinforce[ing] broader patterns of discrimination against women as a class of presumptive breeders.”...

Top IRS execs rack up big travel bills
Two high-ranking IRS employees were on the road so often in the past two years that they may have traveled more days than they worked, according to a report by Treasury inspectors released Tuesday.

And at least 15 executives traveled to another office — typically Washington — for more than half of their work days, raising questions about whether they should have been assigned to IRS headquarters in the first place, said the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.

The inspectors are looking into whether the tax agency may have itself evaded taxes by failing to disclose the benefit of the travel on withholding statements for those employees. Under IRS regulations, travel expenses are taxable if the employee works at a location for more than a year...

Borrowers in Obama housing program re-defaulting
Borrowers who received help through the government's main foreclosure prevention program are re-defaulting on their mortgages at alarming rates, a federal watchdog said in a report released Wednesday.

Nearly 1.2 million mortgage modifications have been completed since the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) was first launched four years ago. Yet more than 306,000 borrowers have re-defaulted on their loans and more than 88,000 are at risk of following suit, the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP) found in its quarterly report to Congress...

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Scrolling around...July 23, 2013

Bill O'Reilly's Talking Points
Mon. Jul 22, 2013
This was one of O'Reilly's best

Woman Bearing ‘Racist And Proud’ Sign Is Not A George Zimmerman Supporter
You’ve probably seen pictures of this woman carrying a sign at a pro-George Zimmerman rally that says “We’re Racist and Proud.” Many news outlets reported that she is a Zimmerman supporter, I guess proudly displaying her racism for all the world to see. Too bad none of the reporters bothered to ask her a question. Here she is, in her own words, saying she is not a Zimmerman reporter and was carrying the sign to make a point about the Zimmerman supporters she believes are racist...

The IRS Intervened in Tea Party Elections
...Did the IRS intervene in Federal election campaigns for Congress? According to the Washington Times, U.S. Treasury investigative special agent Dennis Martel has uncovered a new example of political abuse.

On March 9, 2010, Christine O'Donnell's personal income tax records were illegally accessed by a Delaware public official. Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) reports that a previously-undisclosed "back door" to the IRS computer system was used to invade the privacy of Christine O'Donnell's tax records.

Who knew? It turns out that state government criminal investigators can directly -- though illegally -- access IRS records through a "back door." Along with O'Donnell, at least four other political candidates and four conservative donors have been identified so far as victims of this abuse...

IRS Scandal: One Step Removed From the White House
...When Hull was asked if he meant the IRS chief counsel, he answered in the affirmative. “The IRS Chief Counsel,” he replied.

That bombshell testimony fired up Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice. They represent more than 40 Tea Party plaintiffs suing the IRS.

“This is one of the most extremely disturbing revelations yet,” he said. “It is now clear that the IRS Chief Counsel, appointed by President Obama in 2009, was involved in examining and reviewing applications from Tea Party groups – many that were basically shut out of the 2010 election process because of delays in handling of their applications. This development raises significant questions about what the White House knew and when.”...

Prayers, congratulations and bellringing for royal baby
The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend Justin Welby, and other church leaders have joined the world in sending their messages of congratulations to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on the birth of their baby boy yesterday...

Mary Ann Glendon and the Structure of Religious Freedom
For its protection and flourishing, religious freedom needs not only limited government but also a social order that gives plenty of room to civic institutions and associations...

Monday, July 22, 2013

Scrolling around...July 22, 2013

Royal Baby Born: Kate Middleton Gives Birth To Boy

Georgetown Insurance to Cover Contraception
...Though students will be able to pay for contraception using Georgetown health insurance off campus, the Student Health Center will not begin prescribing medication used for contraception, as mandated by the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Services...

UK: Sikh temples have been advised to halt all civil marriage ceremonies on their premises to protect them from possible legal challenges for refusing to conduct same-sex weddings.

It is the first example of a religious group altering its marriage practices to avoid potential litigation based on equalities or human rights law.

Other groups, including the Church of England, the Roman Catholic Church and the orthodox Jewish organisation United Synagogue, also resisted the legislation, but they have not indicated that they will go as far as to surrender their marriage licences...

George Zimmerman Emerged From Hiding for Truck Crash Rescue
George Zimmerman, who has been in hiding since he was acquitted of murder in the death of Trayvon Martin, emerged to help rescue a family who was trapped in an overturned vehicle, police said today.

Zimmerman was one of two men who came to the aid of a family of four -- two parents and two children -- trapped inside a blue Ford Explorer SUV that had rolled over after traveling off the highway in Sanford, Fla. at approximately 5:45 p.m. Thursday, the Seminole County Sheriff's Office said in a statement...

Government Motors Is Alive And Detroit Is Dead
The fundamental transformation of Detroit is complete, as socialism's theme park succumbs to government run amok, a reminder that government isn't the solution to our problems but their cause.

The wisdom of President Reagan's words have been lost under an administration that believes government is the entity from which all blessings flow. So has Margaret Thatcher's observation that the problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money...

Journalist calls out his newspaper's coverage of IRS scandals
We live in a time of extraordinary media corruption when testimony late last week tying a presidential political appointee to the IRS' suppression of the president's political opposition was widely ignored, except for Fox News and the conservative talk radio and internet ghetto. But at least one brave journalist in the MSM is speaking up about the disgraceful suppression of an important story of political corruption of the highest order...

Embattled IRS chief counsel met with Obama 2 days before agency changed targeting criteria
The Obama appointee implicated in congressional testimony in the IRS targeting scandal met with President Obama in the White House two days before offering his colleagues a new set of advice on how to scrutinize tea party and conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.

IRS chief counsel William Wilkins, who was named in House Oversight testimony by retiring IRS agent Carter Hull as one of his supervisors in the improper targeting of conservative groups, met with Obama in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on April 23, 2012. Wilkins’ boss, then-IRS commissioner Douglas Shulman, visited the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on April 24, 2012, according to White House visitor logs.

On April 25, 2012, Wilkins’ office sent the exempt organizations determinations unit “additional comments on the draft guidance” for approving or denying tea party tax-exempt applications, according to the IRS inspector general’s report...

In May 2013, John Rosemond—America's longest running newspaper columnist—received an astonishing order from the Kentucky attorney general: Stop publishing your advice column in the Bluegrass State or face fines and jail. The attorney general and Kentucky's psychologist licensing board believe that John's column, which is syndicated in more than 200 papers nationwide, constitutes the "unlicensed practice of psychology" in Kentucky when it appears in a Kentucky newspaper. Kentucky's crackdown is part of a national surge in the abuse of occupational licensing laws to censor advice.

On July 17, 2013, John joined the Institute for Justice to fight back in federal court. His First Amendment lawsuit defends freedom of speech and freedom of the press from government officials who believe that it can be a crime in America to express an opinion in the newspaper. John's challenge addresses one of the most important unsettled questions in First Amendment law: Can the government use occupational licensing laws to trump free speech?

Anglican Mainstream Response to legalisation of same-sex marriage

July 22nd, 2013

With other marriage advocates, we at Anglican Mainstream are distressed but not entirely surprised by the passage of last week’s legislation. We have been tracking the impact of Same-Sex Marriage (SSM) in other countries (such as Canada, which has had SSM since 2005) and note its damaging effect on family structure and society.

Of course the entire social fabric will not collapse overnight. Social mores do not function like that. And there are vital and important issues to address in terms of poverty and injustice, both in our country and around the world... the rest

Some RNS cheerleading for gay marriage

by George Conger
July 20, 2013

A poor outing from Religion News Service this week in its article about the passage of the British government’s Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill. While it is a wire service story and cannot be held to the same standards of depth of reporting as a story prepared in house by a newspaper, it nonetheless should strive for accuracy and provide context — and refrain from cheer leading in support of one side of the story.

The version that appeared in the Washington Post under the title “Queen approves same-sex marriage bill in England, Wales” appears to be in trouble from the start. The Queen in the person of Elizabeth did not approve the bill — the Crown or the Sovereign did. This is a small thing, but it signals the direction of the story. It begins... the rest

Court to hear appeal on Christ Church Anglican's proposed new home
...The Rev. Marc Robertson and his flock intend to build a new sanctuary on the corner of Drayton and 37th streets. Neighbors and other Thomas Square residents opposed to the church’s plans are arguing the mid-city rezoning ordinance prohibits the facility being built as proposed.

Six East 36th Street residents, the back of whose homes sit across the lane from Christ Church Anglican’s proposed site, have appealed a Zoning Board of Appeals decision on three granted variances.

Chatham County Superior Court Judge Michael Karpf will hear motions on the appeal at 2 p.m. Monday. The appeal was initially filed on May 28...