Friday, December 06, 2013

Virginia Episcopal Bishop Conducts Same-Sex Blessing

by Jeffrey Walton
December 4, 2013
Bishop Shannon Johnston of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia has presided over the blessing of a same-sex union, according to an Arlington clergywoman.

Mother Leslie J. Hague, rector of St. Michael’s Episcopal Church in Arlington was joined in “holy union” with her partner, Katie Casteel, at Episcopal Church of the Holy Cross in Dunn Loring on November 23. The afternoon blessing ceremony followed Hague and Casteel’s civil marriage in nearby Washington, DC exactly one year before. Same-sex marriages are not recognized by the Commonwealth of Virginia.

According to the September vestry minutes of St. Michael’s parish, Hague extended an invitation to every member of the church to the blessing ceremony. Hague and Casteel have shared a home for over eight years.

The blessing comes one year after Johnston granted the request of Christ Church in Alexandria to begin using a “provisional” same-sex blessing rite authorized by Episcopal General Convention in 2012. The blessings, despite using a modification of the church’s marriage rite, are not called marriage in Virginia as they are in the neighboring Diocese of Washington... the rest

Although not legally binding in the state, the blessing of same-sex couples is becoming a reality in Episcopal churches.
Guthrie’s Trinity Episcopal Church and St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral in Oklahoma City are the first two in the state’s western half to receive approval from Episcopal Bishop Ed Konieczny.

Father John Borrego, the rector of Trinity, said his congregation went through a lengthy process to determine if the church would offer the ceremony....

Nelson Mandela; Obamacare 'Doc Shock'...

Nelson Mandela and his faith
...Although it is almost universally agreed that he was a Christian, his exact denominational allegiances remain a source of discussion. While some have suggested that he was a Jehovah's Witness, as his first wife, his sister, and many relatives around him identified as such, most believe he was a Methodist. He attended a Methodist church school growing up, and was baptised in a small Methodist stone church in the Eastern Cape village of Qunu.

In his autobiography, "The Long Walk to Freedom" he talked of his early experiences with Christianity, praising its engagements with the society around him: "The Church was as concerned with this world as the next: I saw that virtually all of the achievements of Africans seemed to have come about through the missionary work of the Church."

Consequently, while attending the University of Fort Hare, an elite black university in Alice, Eastern Cape, Mandela became a member of the Students Christian Association and taught Bible classes on Sundays in nearby villages...

The Methodist roots of Nelson Mandela

“Gay Weddings 17 Percent Of Washington Marriages”
Gay weddings made up 17 percent of marriages in Washington this past year, the first year gay marriages were legal in the state, state officials reported Wednesday...

`Doc Shock' On Deck in Obamacare Wars
Come January, when some number of Americans have bought insurance on the new health exchanges and are starting to use the services, you can expect another controversy to arise when many of them find out just how few doctors and hospitals they have access to. Call it “doc shock,” though the biggest outcry will not come when people try to schedule an appointment with their physician, but when someone gets sick and they learn they cannot go to whatever top-notch hospital they want, only to the hospital that is included in their plan...

Obamacare Is Costing Democrats the White Women They'll Need at the Ballot Box
It’s not the voters who hate Obamacare the most who are going to matter in next year’s elections. It’s the independents who frequently side with Democrats but could, if propelled by a distaste for the health care law, take a serious look at the GOP in 2014. And on this front, Democrats have a big problem with one of their most crucial constituencies—white women.

Polling provided to National Journal by the Kaiser Family Foundation shows that white women have soured considerably on the law, especially in the month since its botched rollout. The skepticism runs especially deep among blue-collar women, sometimes known as “waitress moms,” whose deeply pessimistic attitudes toward the Affordable Care Act should riddle Democratic candidates with anxiety....

U.S. Ice Storm Grounds Flights as Power Lines Put at Risk
“What is impressive to me is how large an area of North America is getting the arctic chill right now,” said Jack Boston, a meteorologist with AccuWeather Inc. in State College, Pennsylvania. “Places that get the power knocked out are in trouble unless they have a wood fireplace or stove.”

Dec 3, 2013 
Serving Suggestion: 1080p, lights off, volume up. Even better, go 'Original' for 4K

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Anglican Unscripted Episode 87

Dec 5, 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.

Show Index:
00:00 Anglicans have lost the Mother Church14:38 Piling onto Pilling Report with Peter Ould33:14 IRS and Clergy Housing Allowances with AS Haley41:51 The National Museum in Washington DC48:37 Closing and Bloopers

The Church of England's Bishops and the Pilling Report

by the Rev. Canon Phil Ashey
COO, American Anglican Council
December 3, 2013

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

The Pilling Report (PR) recently released in the Church of England, authorized by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, is no surprise. Despite assurances in advance from leading CofE spokesmen that the PR would contain no liturgies for blessing same sex civil partnerships, and that reports leaked to the contrary were sheer speculation, Recommendation 16 of the PR states clearly:

"Recommendation 16. We believe that there can be circumstances where a priest, with the agreement of the relevant PCC, should be free to mark the formation of a permanent same sex relationship in a public service (emphasis added) but should be under no obligation to do so. Some of us do not believe that this can be extended to same sex marriage. (Paragraphs 120, 380-3) [Pilling Report Page 151]"

At GAFCON 2013, the 1358 delegates to this assembly adopted The Nairobi Communique which anticipated the direction of the PR when they wrote at Paragraph 5, page 2,

"We grieve that several national governments, aided by some church leaders, have claimed to redefine marriage and have turned same-sex marriage into a human rights issue. Human rights, we believe, are founded on a true understanding of human nature, which is that we are created in God's image, male and female such that a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife (Matthew 19:6; Ephesians 5:31). We want to make clear that any civil partnership of a sexual nature does not receive the blessing of God. We continue to pray for and offer pastoral support to Christians struggling with same-sex temptation who remain celibate in obedience to Christ and affirm them in their faithfulness."

The 31 Archbishops, 300 Bishops, 482 other clergy and 545 laity from 38 countries representing tens of millions of faithful Anglicans worldwide went on to make the following commitments, also in anticipation of the direction of the PR:

"4. We commit ourselves to defend essential truths of the biblical faith even when this defense threatens existing structures of human authority (Acts 5:29). For this reason, the bishops at GAFCON 2013 resolved 'to affirm and endorse the position of the Primates' Council in providing oversight in cases where provinces and dioceses compromise biblical faith, including the affirmation of a duly discerned call to ministry. This may involve ordination and consecration if the situation requires.

"5. We commit ourselves to the support and defense of those who in standing for apostolic truth are marginalized or excluded from formal communion with other Anglicans in their dioceses. We have therefore recognized the Anglican Mission in England (AMiE) as an expression of authentic Anglicanism both for those within and outside the Church of England, and welcomed their intention to appoint a General Secretary of AMiE."... the rest

Fulcrum response to the Pilling report

Archbishop Duncan on the Pilling report
...Concerning these matters, I am in complete agreement with the Right Reverend Keith Sinclair, the Bishop of Birkenhead, and a member of the Working Group, in his dissent from the Report.  The Church must not waiver from its received teaching.  Scripture and the catholic consensus must be treated as givens, the attitude of the signatories not withstanding.  Those who would re-construct the received moral order in the 21st century to respond to a culture bent on self-actualization, rather than dying to self, will do no better than those who—quite unsuccessfully but with much damage—in the 20th century sought to re-define the doctrines of the Trinity and the person of Christ...

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Angels We Have Heard on High: The Piano Guys

Nov 29, 2013

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

You who bring good news to Zion...

You who bring good news to Zion,
go up on a high mountain.
You who bring good news to Jerusalem,
lift up your voice with a shout,
lift it up, do not be afraid;
say to the towns of Judah,
“Here is your God!”
See, the Sovereign Lord comes with power,
and he rules with a mighty arm.
See, his reward is with him,
and his recompense accompanies him.
He tends his flock like a shepherd:
He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;
he gently leads those that have young.
-Isaiah 40:9-11 image

What Makes a Marriage; Only Gays Can Get Angry?; CDC report on HIV risk.....more

Argentina: Violent Pro-Abortion Mob Attacks Pro-Life People Praying at Catholic Church
...The video shows topless women spray painting the people praying — in their faces and putting Nazi swastikas on their clothing. The police indicated they would not help the pro-life Catholics in front of the church because the protestors were women...

What Makes a Marriage? Love, Sex, or Comprehensive Union
Prof. Charles Reid thinks love makes a marriage. He claims we think sex makes a marriage. In truth, comprehensive union makes a marriage. And getting marriage right matters for everyone.

CDC: 62 Percent Of HIV-Positive Men Have Unprotected Sex
...However, only 67 percent of sexually active MSM reported getting an HIV test in the past year.

The researchers found that some men attempt to decrease their HIV risk by only engaging in unprotected sex with those “perceived” as having HIV or not. However, this practice is risky because some may not disclose or may not know they are infected with the virus.

Unprotected anal sex among MSM increased from 2005 to 2011, and in 2011 one-third of HIV-positive MSM who did not know if they were infected reported unprotected sex with a partner who said they were HIV-negative or did not know either....

“Only Gays Can Get Angry?”
"It’s a Catholic priest speaking at a Catholic school. It’s touchy,” said Tym Moss of the Bronx LGBTQ Center.

Linger over that. A Catholic priest speaking at a Catholic school is touchy? You’d think that priests speak at Catholic schools every day and it would be completely unremarkable. But you don’t live in gay world.

Well, actually you do. You just don’t know it yet...

A Fabulous Resource for Same-Sex-Attracted Christians and Their Friends and Allies
...At any rate, for decades now, we’ve been treated to the moans and bleats of hapless gay activists who have claimed that their particular minority sexual attraction is special and needs to be accommodated in the form of the church providing acknowledgement, special favor, approval, and blessings for their behavior.  They have largely traded on the “lo, the helpless minority victim” mystique, and it’s been fairly successful in the dreadful exhibitionist displays that masquerade as our TEC General Conventions.

For the above two reasons, and for one more, I was thrilled to see a project that Peter Ould [friend of this blog, even though a redcoat] has been involved in launching this past week—Living Out, a project spearheaded and organized by Sean Doherty, Sam Allberry and Ed West.  Wow—it is a stunning resource for Christians who experience same-sex-attraction—a big strength is the direct, 5-6 minute video-testimonies from people who experience same-sex-attraction and who are committed Christians, following Jesus.

It completely pulverizes the notion that once somebody recognizes their SSA they must therefore drape the identity of “gay” on their lives and relationships and activities....

Pakistani Christian, once sentenced to death for blasphemy, released from prison

On Embryo-Killing “Contraceptives”
...The PRH brief confusedly interweaves two distinct arguments. One argument (which is not the focus of this post) is that drugs that, in addition to preventing contraception, also sometime operate to prevent implantation in the uterus of a fertilized egg should not properly be referred to as abortifacients. The basic argument is that the term abortifacients should be reserved for drugs that operate after pregnancy (i.e., implantation). The PRH brief even contends that the word contraceptive should cover the effect of preventing implantation of a fertilized egg. But as I’ve explained before (in the footnote to this post), I don’t see how an effect that operates after conception can fairly be described as contraceptive. As between abortifacient and contraceptive, the former term better captures the fact that this second means of operation destroys the life of an already existing human embryo. (But perhaps we could all just agree on the term embryo-killing?)...

Monday, December 02, 2013

Lord Jesus, Master of both the light and the darkness...

Lord Jesus,
Master of both the light and the darkness,
Send your Holy Spirit upon our preparations for Christmas.
We who have so much to do seek quiet spaces
to hear your voice each day.
We who are anxious over many things look forward
to your coming among us.
We who are blessed in so many ways long
 for the complete joy of your kingdom.
We whose hearts are heavy seek the joy of your presence.
We are your people, walking in darkness, yet seeking the light.
To you we say, "Come Lord Jesus!" Amen.
 ...Henri Nouwen image

A liberal's journey to Evangelical Christianity

Dec 1, 2013
Kirsten Powers on her religious awakening

Christianity Today: Fox News' Highly Reluctant Jesus Follower

Little Drummer Boy - Pentatonix

Nov 25, 2013

Mohler on Christian Rap; Male Friendship; American Prosperity Gospel...and more

"...To all you workers out there preaching morality about those of us who live on welfare... can you really blame us? I get to sit around all day, visit my friends, smoke weed.. and we are still gonna get paid, on time every month..."

Report: More than 1,000 NHS patients have died of dehydration since 2003

‘Game changer’: study finds increased risk of breast cancer after abortion in Chinese women
Pro-abortion advocates have relentlessly denied a link between abortion and breast cancer, but a new study has emerged from China that seems to show that such a link not only exists, but that the risk rises with each abortion a woman has.

Dr. Joel Brind, professor of endocrinology at Baruch College, City University of New York and a director at the Breast Cancer Prevention Institute, called the findings a “real game changer” for deniers of the so-called ABC link.

The study, titled “A meta-analysis of the association between induced abortion and breast cancer risk among Chinese females was published this week in Cancer Causes and Control, a peer-reviewed international cancer journal.
The researchers say they were initially puzzled by their findings, stating that Chinese women “historically” have had lower rates of breast cancer compared to women from western countries such as the US.
They found, however, that incidences of breast cancer in China increased at an “alarming rate” over the past two decades, corresponding with the rise of the Chinese Communist Party’s one-child policy...
Book review: BLESSED: A History of the American Prosperity Gospel
They are as ubiquitous on the American landscape as the split-level home or McDonalds drive-through. Churches with epic names like World Overcomers, Victory International, and Word of Faith International Christian Center are visible from highways throughout the country. Christian television networks Daystar, TBN, and CBN air preachers such as Joel Osteen, Joyce Meyer, and T. D. Jakes, who promise the spiritual and material rewards of faith. Their books—with titles like Become a Better You and Can You Stand to Be Blessed?—are sold in Walmart stores. Their congregations claim 20,000 members or more. To paraphrase H. L. Mencken: Heave an egg out of your Ford Focus window and you might hit a prosperity gospeler, wearing a snazzy three-piece suit and diamond cufflinks...

Whatever Happened to Male Friendship?
A recent short film advertisement for Tullamore Dew Irish Whiskey is the toast of the advertising world.  The spot follows four young men across the rainy, verdant Irish countryside singing the old farewell song “The Parting Glass.”  By the time they sit down and raise a glass, we’re sure that one of their number has recently passed.  But as the church bells ring, a beautiful bride is revealed: it’s the wedding day of Jerry, one of the four friends....

Albert Mohler: Thinking about Thinking about Rap — Unexpected Thoughts over Thanksgiving
...Rap music is not my music. I do not come from a culture in which rap music is the medium of communication and I do not have the ear for it that I have for other forms of music. But I do admire its virtuosity and the hold that is has on so many, for whom it is a first and dominant musical language. I want that language taken for the cause of the Gospel and I pray to see a generation of young Gospel-driven rappers take dominion of that music for the glory of God. I see that happening now, and I rejoice in it. I want to see them grow even more in influence, reaching people I cannot reach with music that will reach millions who desperately need the Gospel. The same way that folks who first heard Bach desperately needed to hear the Gospel.

The good, the beautiful, and the true are to be combined to the greatest extent possible in every Christian endeavor, rap included. I have no idea how to evaluate any given rap musical expression, but rappers know. I do know how to evaluate the words, and when the words are saturated with the Gospel and biblical truth that is a wonderful thing. Our rapping Gospel friends will encourage one another to the greatest artistic expression. I want to encourage them in the Gospel. Let Bach’s maxim drive them all — to make (their) music the “handmaid of theology.”...

The Long, Slow Death of the Senate
...And the single most important senatorial institution cementing this sensibility was the filibuster, the requirement that a supermajority was needed to clear procedural hurdles to consideration of matters such as legislation or confirmation of executive nominees. This has been the keystone of the Senate as institutional bulwark against governmental encroachment. The Senate was never designed to run on pure power, and the filibuster ensured that it would not succumb to such a dangerous approach.

Now the Senate majority leader, Nevada’s Democratic senator Harry Reid, has dealt a serious blow to the filibuster—and to the Senate’s traditional institutional ethos. Employing a simple majority, he has eliminated the filibuster for the confirmation of judges and executive nominees (though not, the majority leader insists, for Supreme Court nominees).

The institutional consequences are going to be immense. The Senate likely won’t survive in its crucial institutional role, which is to ensure that actions taken by our increasingly powerful and intrusive federal government must get serious and extended deliberation before they can become law. Already the House of Representatives has been destroyed as the institution it was designed to be—the "first alert" system for Washington lawmakers who need to know what new political sentiments are welling up within the polity, out in the country. It served this valuable function through the two-year term and the need for House members, for the sake of political security, to keep their ears to the ground to detect political rumblings emanating from their districts...

Dilbert Cartoon Creator Wishes Pro-Lifers “Would Die a Long, Horrible Death”
...You see his father was extremely ill, and Adams wanted to kill him–but can’t under the law. So, he hates us or “torturing” his father. From his blog, “I Hope My Father Dies Soon:”
Let me say this next part as clearly as I can. If you’re a politician who has ever voted against doctor-assisted suicide, or you would vote against it in the future, I hate your [f-word] guts and I would like you to die a long, horrible death. I would be happy to kill you personally and watch you bleed out. I won’t do that, because I fear the consequences. But I’d enjoy it, because you mother[f-word] are responsible for torturing my father…
I’m okay with any citizen who opposes doctor-assisted suicide on moral or practical grounds. But if you have acted on that thought, such as basing a vote on it, I would like you to die a slow, horrible death too. You and the government are accomplices in the torturing of my father, and there’s a good chance you’ll someday be accomplices in torturing me to death too...
Obama spends $600 million on rail projects that benefit private companies
...The nation’s freight rail network has been the quiet recipient of more than $600 million in federal investment during the Obama administration.

According to Federal Railroad Administration numbers, at least half that amount has gone to projects that benefit the nation’s four largest railroads, the same companies at the heart of the industry’s ubiquitous “Freight Rail Works” campaign.

That doesn’t even include tens of millions more that states have contributed for additional investment in ports and high-speed passenger trains that’s boosted the nation’s freight railroads...

Another Obama Victory: Family Discovers Their Infant Isn’t Covered Under Obamacare
...When Kelly called a representative, he was told his daughter had to be 2 before she could be covered under a family plan. He would have to buy a separate plan for her, at monthly premiums that ranged between $117.21 and $369.31. The cost would be on top of a family plan with premiums ranging from $810.84 to $2,554.71 a month...

Cancer patient critical of ObamaCare now facing IRS audit
...Appearing on “The Kelly File” in early November, Elliot explained to host Megyn Kelly that he could not afford the new premiums in the federal exchange and did not want to “burden” his family with the cost, saying he’ll pay the fine for not having health insurance and “just let nature take its course.”

Kelly was unable to mask the devastation of that comment on her face.

Initially, Elliot’s story took a turn for the better when a health insurance broker helped him keep his existing insurance plan, at least until he learned that he’s being audited by the IRS.

Sunday, December 01, 2013

The glory of the star...

The glory of the star, the glory of the sun - we must not lose either in the other. We must not be so full of the hope of heaven that we cannot do our work on the earth; we must not be so lost in the work of the earth that we shall not be inspired by the hope of heaven. ...Phillips Brooks image