Friday, August 02, 2013

A.S. Haley: Court Socks LA Presbytery with $400K in Sanctions

August 1, 2013

In an order made public by The Layman online earlier today, the Hon. Kay Bates, Judge of the 19th Judicial District Court in Baton Rouge, Louisiana imposed compensatory sanctions of $390,000 against the Presbytery of South Louisiana (“PSL”) for conduct by its agents and attorneys, as well as by personnel and attorneys from PCUSA headquarters, in the litigation between PSL and the Carrollton Presbyterian Church of Carrollton, in New Orleans—a unit of PCUSA which has only about 20 members—over the ownership rights to dispose of Carrollton’s property.

The order is remarkable not only for the amount of sanctions awarded, but for the public dressing down which Judge Bates gives to various PCUSA counsel for their egregious litigation tactics, which included:
 the rest
In other words, PSL's attorneys and agents joined in a conspiracy of extreme bad faith and disrespect for the judicial system, coupled with an abuse of its procedures in an attempt to render their opponent penniless. (And it is not as though Carrollton was trying to leave PCUSA. It wanted to lift the burden of its property from its small congregation by selling it to a neighboring Catholic school, and then leasing it back just for Sunday and occasional services—see the story linked above for details.)

Sound familiar, anyone? 815, are you listening?

The court learned of all this conduct when it ordered PSL's counsel to produce all in-house emails, including those between counsel, after determining that they did not qualify for the attorney-client or work-product privilege because they had been shared with so many who were not parties to the case. Judge Bates wrote: "The court is not speculating. The participants to this scheme astonishingly acknowledged all of this in their own words."

Comments at StandFirm

Scrolling around...August 2, 2013

Exposing the Muslim Brotherhood in America
...Stakelbeck described the spread of the Muslim Brotherhood around the world to some 80 countries. But he emphasized the group’s effect and influence on the United States. He declared that without the birth of the Muslim Brotherhood, there would have been no 9/11, no war on terror. “The Muslim Brotherhood is the gateway drug to Islamic terrorism and jihad,” Stakelbeck declared...

Nigeria: Multiple blasts in Christian area of northern Kano city kill 12, injure scores
Nigeria's military says at least 12 people died in multiple blasts that rocked a Christian area in Nigeria's northern and mainly Muslim Kano city.

Military Joint Task Force spokesman Ikedichi Iweya says "a couple" of people were wounded in Monday night's attack by suspected members of the Islamic extremist Boko Haram network...

How to keep Millennials in the church? Let’s keep church un-cool.
Last week a column on CNN’s Belief Blog titled “Why Millennials Are Leaving the Church” went viral, partially because any time the words “Millennials,” “leaving,” and “church” are combined in a headline, people pay attention.

But why? Why do we care so much about the reasons Millennials are reportedly leaving churches?

I’m a Millennial, but I am weary of everyone caring so much about why Millennials do this or don’t do that. I’m sorry Millennials, but I’m going to have to throw us under the bus here: we do not have everything figured out. And if we expect older generations and well-established institutions to morph to fit our every fickle desire, we do so at our peril...

The Economist on Christian Sorrows
The Economist has a couple of interesting stories this week on the continuing plight of Christians in the Middle East...

Is the New Evangelical Liturgy Really an Improvement?
...If I’m not mistaken, there is a New Evangelical Liturgy which is increasingly common in our churches. You find it in Baptist churches, Presbyterian churches, Reformed churches, free churches, and non-denominational churches. It’s familiar in rural churches and city churches. It can be found in tiny churches and megachurches. No one has written it down in a service book. No council or denomination is demanding that it be done. No pastor is taught this liturgy in seminary (um, probably not). But it has become the default liturgy nonetheless. It looks like this:

Casual welcome and announcements
Stand up for 4-5 songs
During the set, or at the very end, add a short prayer
Sermon
Closing song
Dismissal

I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say this is the basic liturgy from which most evangelical churches operate. To be sure, there are slight variations. The announcement may go after the praise set. There may be an offering in there somewhere, possibly with a special music number. The service may be tweaked a bit when there is communion or a baptism. But overall, if I were to visit 50 different evangelical churches over the next year, this is what I expect to find most of the time.

The simple question I want to ask is this: Is this New Evangelical Liturgy really an improvement?...

Planned Parenthood Now Over $12.5 Million in Government Determined Waste, Abuse, and Fraud
...But while you are likely to hear very little about this in the media, this is not the first time that state or federal governments have determined that Planned Parenthood affiliates have engaged in waste, abuse and potential fraud with taxpayer dollars. In just a handful of publicly disclosed and very limited audits of Planned Parenthood affiliates, federal and state government auditors in New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Washington, California, and a previous audit in Texas have documented approximately $8.3 million in waste, abuse and possible fraud by America’s leading abortionist...
Mainstream Media Ignores Massive Fraud at Planned Parenthood Abortion Biz

The Attack in Benghazi: Worth Investigating After All
CNN reports that dozens of CIA agents were on the ground there -- and that they're being pressured to keep quiet. Why?...

Gay couple to sue church over gay marriage opt-out
Wealthy gay dad, Barrie Drewitt-Barlow, says he and his civil partner Tony will go to court to force churches to host gay weddings.

He told the Essex Chronicle that he will take legal action because “I am still not getting what I want”.

A Government Bill legalising gay marriage passed Parliament recently but it included measures to protect churches from being forced to perform same-sex weddings...

San Antonio Preparing to Persecute Christians Who Speak Out on the Bible
The San Antonio City Council is about to adopt an ordinance that will persecute any Christian for preaching the Bible or sharing their faith. They are looking at passing some nondiscrimination ordinances that would make it a crime to exhibit or express any form of bias that could offend someone. The proposed ordinance says:
“No person shall be appointed to a position if the city council finds that such person has, prior to such proposed appointment, engaged in discrimination or demonstrated a bias, by word or deed, against any person, group or organization on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, veteran status, age, or disability.”...

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Anglican Unscripted Episode 77


July 30, 2013

Anglican Unscripted is the only video newscast in the Anglican Church. Every Week Kevin, George, Allan and Peter bring you news and prospective from around the globe.

THE LAST SHALL BE FIRST 00:00
THE POPE IN AMERICA 04:13
JUSTICE FOR JUSTIN 10:34
RECIFE 15:59
SOUTH CAROLINA 21:59
FORWARD IN FAITH 25:38

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Scrolling around...July 30, 2013


Planned Parenthood Put Women at Risk With After Hours Abortions, No Staff Present

Ramadan observance in Nigeria: Muslims murder 28 with bombs targeting bars in a Christian neighborhood 
...At least 28 are people have been killed in a series of explosions that targeted bars in the northern Nigerian city of Kano, a hospital source tells the BBC.

Witnesses said the blasts shook a Christian neighbourhood that has previously been attacked by militants from the Islamist group Boko Haram.

The army said 12 people had been killed when explosions placed in packages were dropped in the area on Monday evening...

Desmond Tutu: “I would refuse to go to a homophobic heaven.”  Retired Archbishop Desmond Tutu has set himself at war with any deity guilty of what he considers homophobia. The famed opponent of South African apartheid voiced his strident opinion to Agence France-Presse (AFP) during the United Nations’ launch of its gay rights campaign in South Africa. He told AFP, “I would not worship a God who is homophobic and that is how deeply I feel about this…I would refuse to go to a homophobic heaven. No, I would say sorry, I mean I would much rather go to the other place.” “I am as passionate about this campaign as I ever was about apartheid…For me, it is at the same level,” he declared...

Christian Students in Eritrea Punished for their Faith
Eritrean authorities are punishing 39 high school students for their Christian faith, excluding them from a graduation ceremony and subjecting them to beatings and hard labor, according to Christian support organization Open Doors.

After completing a four-month military training required in Eritrea, the students, including 11 girls, have been arrested for their “Christian beliefs and for their commitment to Christ,” sources told Open Doors....

House Refuses to Fund ‘Atheist Chaplains’ at Defense Department  House members voted Tuesday to bar the use of federal funds to hire “atheist chaplains” at the Department of Defense after Rep. John Fleming (R-La.) reminded his colleagues that the concept didn’t make any sense.

 “It’s just total nonsense, the idea of having a chaplain who is an atheist,” Fleming told fellow House members. “When it comes to the idea of an atheist chaplain, which is an oxymoron – it’s self-contradictory – what you’re really doing is now saying that we’re going to replace the true chaplains with non-chaplain chaplains.”...

Church Buildings and Same-Sex “Wedding” Ceremonies
One of the first questions we are usually asked by pastors whose states have redefined marriage and adopted same-sex “marriage” is whether they will be required to allow use of their church buildings for same-sex “wedding” ceremonies.  This is not an unreasonable question considering that at least one city has considered forcing churches to allow use of their buildings for same-sex “weddings.”  But the very simple answer to that question is an unequivocal “no.”  Churches do not have to allow use of their facilities in ways that are inconsistent with their biblical beliefs...

Ex-Planned Parenthood Employees to Expose “Meat Market Assembly-Line” Abortions
...The women will explain how Planned Parenthood of Delaware deceived the public by pretending they were in good standing with the Planned Parenthood Federation (PPFA), though PPFA knew about many of the clinics failures and how the abortion giant failed to inform as many as 200 women of their positive tests for Gonorrhea and Chlamydia and failed to notify 87 women of the results of their colposcopies...

FBI rescues more than 100 children, arrests 150 pimps in sex-trafficking raid
...He added that the most vulnerable victims forced into sex trafficking range in age from 13 to 16. Most of the children come from either foster care homes or are considered runaways.

"This operation targeted venues where girls and adults are operated for commercial sex," Hosko said, including places like street tracks, truck stops, casinos and hotels.

"The victims cut across racial lines," he said, and span all socioeconomic levels and demographics...

Muslims Loot Italian Church, Defecate on Altar
...First they gained entry to the rectory of Libiola and stole the money collected by the children of Grest, and then, still not happy, they entered the nearby church, which, since last year’s earthquake, is a simple tensile structure made of plastic and defecated and urinated next to the altar.

This was a contemptuous act of vandalism and sacrilege. The culprits were identified, because a woman saw them coming out of the tent. They were four boys of Moroccan origin, one resident in Serravalle, the others from Ostiglia and surroundings.

The incident happened on Thursday afternoon, but the parish priest, Father Eugenio Ferrari, has only yesterday made an official complaint to the police. That day the parish house of Libiola, inhabited by two nuns, was empty and locked because the sisters, along with the parish priest, had gone on a trip with the children of the Grest on a day trip to a mountain resort...
Chile cathedral vandalized in pro-abortion rally

Don’t Tell the Press: Pope Francis Is Using Them

July 30, 2013
Ermagerd, everybody! The Pope has renounced all church teaching on everything! Stop the presses! Start them again! Freak out!

That’s my impression of Twitter, online and broadcast and cable news today...

Pope tackles tough questions in remarkable interview

Monday, July 29, 2013

We are not only to sing the doxology...

Doxology
 We are not only to sing the doxology,
but to be the doxology.
...Francis A. Schaeffer image

Anglican Nominalism As ‘Anglican Comprehensiveness’

By Rod Dreher
July 28, 2013

Excerpt:
Look, I’m not interested in having another boring argument about gay-straight stuff. We all know where each other stands on that. What I’m interested in is the question of “Anglican comprehensiveness” and small-o orthodoxy.

When I read the transgender Episcopal priest praising “Anglican comprehensiveness” because (in part) it allows for transgender priests, I think that whatever this is, it’s not Christian, except in name. I think Frederica was exactly right when she wrote those words back in the 1990s: “not a common faith, but common words about the faith — mere flimsy words.” Trust me when I say that I don’t mean this combatively, but I genuinely don’t understand how a church with such radically (= at the roots) contradictory ideas about God, sexuality, and the human person can hold together. I’m not trying to insult Anglicans, so please, readers, don’t take this either as an insult or as an invitation to do that. It’s just that reading a transgender priest praise “Anglican comprehensiveness” as license to “embody ambiguity” — well, it puts the theological chasm in sharp perspective.

I have dear friends who are faithful Anglican Christians, and who are surely better Christians than I am. I am not questioning the integrity of the faith of individual Anglicans. What I’m trying to express is my utter bafflement at how this works at the corporate level. It’s particularly on my mind this afternoon because for Orthodox Christians worshiping in the Slavic tradition, today was the Sunday of the Fathers Of The First Six Ecumenical Councils. We heard a great sermon this morning about why the concept of orthodoxy (right belief) is so important, and how very much depends on it. It’s not so much that I reject a church that can welcome transgender clergy (though I do), but that I do not understand how that can remotely be squared with Scripture and tradition — with, in a word, fundamental Christian orthodoxy. And more to the point of this post, I don’t understand how Anglicans who do profess fundamental creedal Christian orthodoxy remain in communion with the Episcopal Church. I mean, I know they do, because my friends are good and faithful people, and they do. Still, reading that interview just now was jarring, really jarring, and brought all this to mind. There really is no sexual innovation that the Episcopal Church will not embrace. The only orthodoxy, it appears to this outsider, is banning Christian orthodoxy on sexual matters... the rest

Scrolling around...July 29, 2013

An online college revolution is coming
If you care about college costs and educational quality, you should care about MOOCs, or “massive open online courses,” which deliver college courses digitally and just might revolutionize higher education. With MOOCs, a lecture course that draws a couple hundred students on campus can be converted to something that draws tens of thousands from around the globe. A seminar for 40 on campus can be reorganized to teach 800 when each on-campus student is deputized to be a virtual seminar leader for 20.

Whether for good or ill, MOOCs augur a disruption of the relationships among students, colleges and trade schools, and the credentials those schools offer — a relationship that has stabilized higher education for at least a century. Yet if done right — a big if, as recent events at San Jose State and Colorado State universities have shown — they may help address the quality and cost of higher education...

Sebelius recruits women to blog about health law
President Barack Obama's administration is courting female bloggers to play a role in a massive campaign aimed at informing the public about the benefits of the new health care law.

Over breakfast at a blogging conference Thursday in Chicago, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius asked a banquet hall full of bloggers - most of them women - to help spread the word about new health insurance opportunities that begin this fall under the Affordable Care Act...

MERS virus may be deadlier than SARS, study finds
The new respiratory virus that emerged in the Middle East last year appears to make people sicker faster than SARS, but doesn't seem to spread as easily, according to the latest detailed look at about four dozen cases in Saudi Arabia...


To See Ourselves as Others See Us
What do your non-Christian friends and family think of your faith? How do they see you? Does that response differ at all from how they felt just five or ten years ago?

It's hard to dispute that American culture is growing more hostile to Christianity. One proper response is to recognize that it's normal: Jesus told us that in this world we would have trouble (Jn. 16:33). And countless brothers and sisters around the world and throughout history have experienced not just a cultural tide turning against them, but even floods of opposition and persecution.

Yet what is normal for most Christians certainly doesn't feel normal to us. Given how the ground is shifting underfoot, I'd suggest that Robert Louis Wilken's book The Christians as the Romans Saw Them can shed a little light on our situation.

As we hear increasingly heated censures of the sharper edges of our beliefs and practice, it's worth listening to what some astute pagan observers thought about Christianity in its early days. How do ancient critiques stack up to today's challenges to the faith?..

The Surprising Countries Most Missionaries Are Sent From and Go To   A new study reveals how the missions field continues to become increasingly global—in some surprising ways. One example: South Korea has lost its No. 2 sending spot to four unlikely contenders.

The Center for the Study of Global Christian (CSGC) at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary calculates that Christians sent out approximately 400,000 international missionaries in 2010. And nearly half of the world's top missionary-sending countries are now located in the global South.

The CSGC reports that "of the ten countries sending the most missionaries in 2010, three were in the global South: Brazil, South Korea, and India." Other notable missionary senders included South Africa, the Philippines, Mexico, China, Colombia, and Nigeria...

No Squishy Love
In his 1934 book, The Kingdom of God in America, H. Richard Niebuhr depicted the creed of liberal Protestant theology, which was called “modernism” in those days, in these famous words: "A God without wrath brought man without sin into a kingdom without judgment through the ministrations of a Christ without a cross." Niebuhr was no fundamentalist, but he knew what he was talking about. So did Dietrich Bonhoeffer when he named the kind of mainline religion he encountered in 1930s America: Protestantismus ohne Reformation, “Protestantism without the Reformation.”

Sin, judgment, cross, even Christ have become problematic terms in much contemporary theological discourse, but nothing so irritates and confounds as the idea of divine wrath. Recently, the wrath of God became a point of controversy in the decision of the Presbyterian Committee on Congregational Song to exclude from its new hymnal the much-loved song "In Christ Alone" by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend. The Committee wanted to include this song because it is being sung in many churches, Presbyterian and otherwise, but they could not abide this line from the third stanza: "Till on that cross as Jesus died/the wrath of God was satisfied." For this they wanted to substitute: "…as Jesus died/the love of God was magnified." The authors of the hymn insisted on the original wording, and the Committee voted nine to six that "In Christ Alone" would not be among the eight hundred or so items in their new hymnal...

North Carolina Governor Signs Pro-Life Bill Stopping Abortions   Late Thursday night, the North Carolina state Senate passed a pro-life omnibus bill that would stop abortions by helping pregnant women and stopping taxpayer financed abortions.

Today, Governor Pat McCrory has signed the bill into law...

...“Thousands of unborn children’s lives will be protected from abortion,” stated Barbara Holt, President of North Carolina Right to Life, “by preventing the expansion of tax payer funded abortion through the federal exchange. By passing this legislation, our state has also demonstrated that it will not tolerate unborn babies being aborted just because they are the wrong sex or doctors being miles away from the patient when they administer drugs that kill the unborn baby and can harm the child’s mother.”...

Chile: Activists Vandalize Church During Mass After Girl Rejects Abortion  Upset that an 11-year-old girl who became pregnant after she was raped decided to reject having an abortion, abortion activists in Chile vandalized a prominent Catholic church in the country — during Mass...

5 Women Missionaries Beaten Publicly in India for Sharing Gospel
Five women have been beaten by a man in the Andhra Pradesh region of India while sharing about the love of Jesus in a public marketplace. Amazingly spared, they retreated to safety, thanking God for the honor of suffering for His sake.
 
The women, all leaders in the Gospel for Asia (GFA)-sponsored Women’s Fellowship ministry, had been sharing with store owners and shoppers when one man demanded to know what they were doing. The assault began with a powerful slap to the face of one woman and continued to the others, one of whom was isolated and surrounded by five men.
 
“Jesus promised persecuting and hardships,” says Daniel Punnose, vice president of GFA (gfa.org). “These young ladies see it worth facing the beatings in order to share the love of Christ.”

Miracle: Woman Talks about Surviving Watery Crash
A Maryland woman is speaking out about her miraculous survival after an 18 wheeler smashed into a her car and plunged it into the Chesapeake Bay.
 
It was a devastating car crash and a terrifying plunge.The oversized truck slammed into the back of Morgan Lake's 2007 Chrysler Sebring and pushed it over the Chesapeake Bridge into the water 40 feet below.
 
Amazingly she's the one telling the story. She said God gave her the strength to stay alive...

In the Beginning Was the Word; Now the Word Is on an App   More than 500 years after Gutenberg, the Bible is having its i-moment.

For millions of readers around the world, a wildly successful free Bible app, YouVersion, is changing how, where and when they read the Bible.
      
Built by LifeChurch.tv, one of the nation’s largest and most technologically advanced evangelical churches, YouVersion is part of what the church calls its “digital missions.” They include a platform for online church services and prepackaged worship videos that the church distributes free. A digital tithing system and an interactive children’s Bible are in the works.
      
It’s all part of the church’s aspiration to be a kind of I.T. department for churches everywhere. YouVersion, with over 600 Bible translations in more than 400 languages, is by far the church’s biggest success. The app is nondenominational, including versions embraced by Catholics, Russian Orthodox and Messianic Jews. This month, the app reached 100 million downloads, placing it in the company of technology start-ups like Instagram and Dropbox...

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Why Millennials Are Leaving the Church

By Rachel Held Evans
July 27, 2013

Excerpt:
...Time and again, the assumption among Christian leaders, and evangelical leaders in particular, is that the key to drawing twenty-somethings back to church is simply to make a few style updates – edgier music, more casual services, a coffee shop in the fellowship hall, a pastor who wears skinny jeans, an updated Web site that includes online giving.

But here’s the thing: Having been advertised to our whole lives, we millennials have highly sensitive BS meters, and we’re not easily impressed with consumerism or performances.

In fact, I would argue that church-as-performance is just one more thing driving us away from the church, and evangelicalism in particular.

Many of us, myself included, are finding ourselves increasingly drawn to high church traditions – Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, the Episcopal Church, etc. – precisely because the ancient forms of liturgy seem so unpretentious, so unconcerned with being “cool,” and we find that refreshingly authentic.

What millennials really want from the church is not a change in style but a change in substance.

We want an end to the culture wars. We want a truce between science and faith. We want to be known for what we stand for, not what we are against...  the rest