Saturday, March 15, 2014

As our life comes to maturity...

As our life comes to maturity we discover to our confusion that human ears can pick up from the Infinite many incompatible tunes, but cannot hear the whole symphony. And the melody confided to our care, the one which we alone perhaps can contribute and which taxes our powers to the full, has in it not only the notes of triumph but the notes of pain. The distinctive mark therefore is not happiness but vocation: work demanded and power given, but given only on condition that we spend it and ourselves on others without stint. ...Evelyn Underhill image

Terry Fullam dead at 82

15 Mar 2014
George Conger

The Bishop of Central Florida reports the Rev. Everett L. Fullam has died. He had been in declining health for several years.

One of the most influential Episcopal priests of his generation and a founder of the modern church renewal movement, "Terry Fullam" was born in Barre, VT in 1948 and upon graduation from high school entered the Eastman School of Music. While serving as a choirmaster at a Methodist Church in Rochester, Fullam underwent a conversion experience withdrawing from Eastman and entering Gordon College in Wenham, Mass. He went on to earn a master’s degree from Harvard in philosophy and began an academic career that culminated as a professor at Barrington College in 1972.

In 1967 Terry Fullam was ordained by the Episcopal Bishop of Rhode Island after undertaking private studies in preparation for ordination.

In 1972 he was appointed Rector of St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Darien, Conn. During his tenure at St Paul’s, (1972-1989) the parish saw significant revival and became one of the fastest growing churches in America. Terry Fullam became a sought after preacher and evangelist and was widely recognized as one of the leaders of the renewal movement in America... the rest

Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus; Christian persecution in Nigeria, Sri Lanka, Somalia...

Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus
Book Review: ...Qureshi was born the eldest son of Pakistani immigrants and he grew up in America and the U.K.—wherever the U.S. Navy assigned his father. His parents were devout Muslims and wherever they went, they attached themselves to a mosque and to the local Islamic community. Qureshi grew up studying, understanding and loving the Koran; he performed his prayers just like every other good Muslim. His father was an amateur apologist for Islam, so he, too, grew up with an interest in defending his faith. He loved his religion in both its theology and its practice.

While Qureshi was in college he met David Wood, a young Christian man who, like him, was studying toward a career in medicine. The two became fast and dedicated friends, who loved and respected one another despite adhering to very different faiths. As their relationship continued, they became religious sparring partners, each testing and challenging the other.

It was through these conversations that Qureshi began to grapple with the claims of Christianity that countered his Islamic faith. He grappled with the authority and reliability of the Bible contra the authority and reliability of the Koran; he grappled with salvation by faith in Jesus Christ contra salvation by accruing good deeds; he grappled with the deity of Jesus Christ contra the prophecies of Mohammad...

Churches in Sri Lanka experiencing intimidation and violence by Buddhists
A campaign of violence and intimidation is being waged by Buddhists against Christians in Sri Lanka, Release International has warned.

The organisation says religious intolerance has been increasing for a decade and that in the past year, churches have been forced to close down and Christians prevented from holding prayer meetings or Bible studies in their homes...

Nigeria: Attacks by Boko Haram Kill 29 innocent school children
...Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, told reporters, “We have run out of excuses. We no longer have any excuse for our inability to protect our innocent, defenseless children from gratuitous violence.”

“Whatever grievances the terrorists harbour against the government of Nigeria, Nigeria’s innocent children have nothing to do with it,” Tambuwal said. “It is therefore an act of cowardice worthy of ringing condemnation to target the children, to strike at those who are not only innocent but are also unable to strike back or defend themselves.”

Boko Haram attacks have devastated villages, leaving many homeless. Since 2009, thousands have been killed. It’s created a humanitarian crisis in Nigeria that few news outlets are talking about...

Christians beheaded by Islamic extremists in Somalia
Islamic extremists from the rebel Al Shabaab militia last week publicly beheaded a mother of two girls and her cousin in southeastern Somalia after discovering they were Christians, Morning Star News reported from sources inside the country.

In the port town of Barawa, the extremists March 4 called residents to the town center to witness the executions of the 41-year-old mother, Sadia Ali Omar, and her 35-year-old cousin, Osman Mohamoud Moge, the sources said.

Before killing them, an Al Shabaab militant announced, “We know these two people are Christians who recently came back from Kenya. We want to wipe out any underground Christian living inside of mujahidin [jihadists'] area,” according to an area resident whose name is undisclosed for security reasons...

Atheist Group: Remove Cross-Shaped Beam from 9/11 Museum
Atheists are continuing to challenge the display of a 17-foot, cross-shaped beam in a national memorial museum that is set to open this spring.

Rescue workers found the beam two days after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

Frank Silecchia was a construction worker at the burning wreckage of the World Trade Center towers. He discovered the beam while clearing the burning debris...

Friday, March 14, 2014

Movie: God’s Not Dead

Kevin Sorbo interviewed about his new movie, God’s Not Dead
On March 21 the movie God’s Not Dead will be released to cinemas across the United States. On April 11 it will be on general release in the UK.  Having had the privilege of seeing a preview of the film I am very excited about it.  The premise of the movie is the interaction between a strongly atheist philosophy professor and a Christian student. It is professionally produced, and guaranteed to tug on the heart strings as well as provoke conversations.  Many churches in the USA are block booking seats and encouraging their congregations to bring their friends...

God's Not Dead: Official Full Movie Trailer

The Power of the Cross

"For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God." -1 Corinthians 1:18

Fukushima: Three Years Later; Conservative girls shunned at World Girl Scouts UN Meeting; big blow for abortion advocates...more

Fukushima: Three Years Later
...Three years have passed since the comprehensive meltdown, which continues to contaminate everything it touches. During all that time, invisible odorless particles with unspeakable consequences have been descending over the region every time rain or snow falls. On February 8, 2014, Tokyo experienced its heaviest snowfall in forty-five years.

Residents around Fukushima long ago deserted their houses, farms and factories, leaving behind pet dogs and cats, and domestic animals such as horses, cows, pigs, and chickens. They are feral now, freely roaming the no-man’s land, and multiplying. Tenacious bamboo forests have claimed tiers of fertile rice paddies and graceful orchards. The senior citizens who escaped to the mountains continue to die of diseases and stresses related to their dislocation and the medical effects of the meltdown. The newly dead number 14,000, our government says. In all, 160,000 residents fled the region and are not allowed to return.

The horrific scene in Fukushima, to which no end can be envisioned, rarely shows up in the nation’s mass media. Long after the disaster, there persisted an eerie pall of deliberate denial regarding anything related to Fukushima. The Japanese took to reading The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal or The Guardian to assess the magnitude of their disaster. How many Japanese can read such high-level English? And why should they be required to, when Japan has one of the most advanced mass media systems in the world? We were forced to wonder: does our media collaborate too comfortably with Tokyo Electric and the Abe government, which promotes nuclear power, and hence fail to publish any alarming news about the catastrophe? The answer to this rhetorical question would seem self-evident...

Conservative girls shunned at World Girl Scouts UN Meeting
Who speaks for youth? Catholic teens are wondering after participating in a Girl Scouts meeting to collect young women’s opinions on the new goals that will steer UN policy – and billions of dollars in aid – for years to come.

“We were just a ‘means to an end,’” said one young lady. “All they wanted was for us to validate their point.”

The UN is undergoing a lengthy process to determine new goals on poverty and development. Many say young people’s opinions should be included and a number of groups are stepping forward to speak for youth. This week the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) held a meeting to hear from young women and adults were not allowed...

A big blow for abortion advocates | American Thinker
Bad news for pro-abortion advocates: the United States District Court for the District of Maryland just issued a ruling on an important First Amendment pro-life case (Centro Tepeyac v. Montgomery County), exposing, yet again, the radicalism and lack of care for women of the pro-“choice” movement.
The case dealt with a desperate attempt by abortion advocates to harass crisis pregnancy centers (CPC), who have helped thousands of women realize that they need not always choose abortion when confronting a crisis pregnancy.  The seriously liberal Montgomery County in Maryland passed a law requiring “Limited Service Pregnancy Resource Centers” to post a clearly visible sign (in English and Spanish) in its waiting room saying that (1) “the Center does not have a licensed medical professional on staff” and (2) “the Montgomery County Health Officer encourages women who are or may be pregnant to consult with a licensed health care provider.”
Centro Tepeyac, a CPC, represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom, challenged the law as a violation of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. 
Montgomery County argued that the law was needed “to protect the health of County residents.” They argued that women “may mistake a [CPC] for a medical clinic or its staff members as licensed medical professionals and, because of that erroneous belief, could fail to consult an actual medical professional, leading to negative health outcomes.”
There was one small detail missing in their dream scenario, though: evidence.  Their own expert witness, Dr. Ulder Tillman, Health Officer for Montgomery County and Chief of Public Health Services, testified that “she had never received a complaint from someone who sought service at a [CPC] in Montgomery County.”...
Putting Loved Ones Out of Our Misery: The Convenience of Assisted Suicide
Emotional whipsawing is the lifeblood of euthanasia advocacy (pardon the pun). The movement thrives on often truly heart-wrenching stories to convince society to grant a general license allowing doctors or family members to help kill the disabled, despairing and dying.

The Daily Mail carried such a report recently of a mother named Heather Pratten who smothered her son as he was committing suicide because he was in anguish at having Huntington’s disease. From the story...

Job Seekers Swarm Marijuana Job Fair As Colorado’s Green Rush Continues
If there was any doubt that the “green rush” is on in Colorado, the scene outside a marijuana industry career fair in Denver on Thursday looked like a throwback to the Great Recession.

Thousands of people waited for hours with resumes in hand in a line that stretched several blocks. The O.penVAPE Cannabis Job Fair featured 15 different businesses associated with recreational marijuana sales, and it had turn people away by the day’s end.

St. Louis resident Shannon Irvin has been jobless for several months. He drove to Colorado for the fair with hopes of breaking into the state’s budding industry and wound up waiting in line for 2 hours...

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Those who follow the Lamb...

If anyone tells you that the life of prayer is one uninterrupted experience of being happy with Jesus, do not follow him. He is not a safe guide. Those who follow the Lamb know that there are stretches of darkness and loneliness and perplexity along the way, and they know that Jesus himself went that way. ...Lesslie Newbigin image

HHS unable to determine who has paid for Obamacare; Feminist Studies Prof Accused of Assaulting Teenage Prolife Demonstrator; Hagia Sophias: From museums to mosques...more

17 Things Every Christian Parent Must Do
In the preface to his book entitled The Upper Room, J.C. Ryle writes these words about the compilation of articles that will follow: “All of them, I venture humbly to think, will be found to contain some useful truths for the times, and words in season.”

Those words were written back in 1887 and yet, reading them in 2014, it is as though they were written for today—applicable truths for this time, and needed words in this season. One of the articles in this book that impacted my heart most is an article written for parents about how to raise our children in the way they should go. It’s a wonderful article full of convicting truth, but in every way seasoned with grace, intended to encourage, and full of hope.

Ryle calls the article The Duties of Parents, but I wonder, if he were one of our contemporaries and was writing today, perhaps J.C. Ryle would contribute to a blog and would have called this article 17 Things Every Christian Parent Must Do...

HHS unable to determine who has paid for Obamacare health insurance plans
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told a House panel Wednesday that nobody knows how many Obamacare enrollees have actually paid their health insurance bills.

“People are buying a product in the private market,” Sebelius told the House Ways and Means Committee, which was holding a hearing on the 2015 HHS budget. “As soon as we have accurate information, we will give it to you. But we do not currently have information about how many people have paid.”...

Feminist Studies Professor Accused of Assaulting Teenage Prolife Demonstrator ...The professor at the heart of the controversy is Mireille Miller-Young, an associate professor whose area of emphasis is black cultural studies, pornography and sex work, according to her faculty webpage. She could not be reached for comment Tuesday by The College Fix...

Wesley J. Smith: Pushing polyamorous genetic-related babies
The bioethics movement grows ever more radical. In the reproductive field, many activists promote a near-absolute right to have a baby, the kind of baby we want, via any means we desire.

The UK’s John Harris is a major voice in utilitarian bioethics discourse, who believes that killing so-called human non persons is A-OK. He has now written in favor of creating children using a process known as IVG–in vitro gametes–using stem cells to create eggs and sperm, and then fertilizing via IVF.

Harris extols the possibilities. For example, a single person could “self breed,” making a baby with only their own cells. Another use would be by same sex couples who could both be genetically related to a baby, rather than only one...

Hagia Sophias: From museums to mosques
Turkey's ancient churches are losing a century of secular protection...

Canadian Catholic School Being Pressured to Teach All Religions Are Equal
The Canadian Supreme Court is set to decide whether teachers at private religious schools in the province of Quebec will be allowed to share their faith with students, in a case concerning a Catholic high school that is being forced to teach students in an ethics and religious course that all religions are the same.

"It is the same thought process that has been the genesis for prohibitions on blasphemy in other jurisdictions. The whole idea behind blasphemy laws in some parts of the world is that you don't want to offend different religions, and so what they (the Quebec government) do is argue that they promote tolerance and understanding, but rather they want to control what is said," Gerald Chipeur, Q.C., of the Canadian firm Miller Thompson LLP, told The Christian Post in a phone interview on Wednesday...

A New Network for Faithful United Methodists
The developments of earlier this week have highlighted the ongoing unraveling of what once “United” the Methodist Church.

It is therefore timely to recall a gathering I was privileged to attend earlier this year of United Methodist leaders seeking a new, different, faithful, and positive conversation for members of our troubled denomination.

At this critical time in our denomination’s history, faithful United Methodists are coming together to constructively offer each other ministry resourcing, covenant accountability, and promotion of historic Methodist theology and spirituality.

Over 125 United Methodist clergy and laity gathered outside of Atlanta, Georgia for the first, two-day public meeting of the new Wesleyan Covenant Network (WCN)...

Psychic Sophie and the Rise of the Nones
For those who are interested, the European University Institute has just published my article, Defining Religion in American Law: Psychic Sophie and the Rise of the Nones. Here’s the abstract:

The most important recent development in American religion is the dramatic increase in the number of people who claim no religious affiliation - the rise of the Nones. In this Working Paper, I discuss the social factors that explain the rise of the Nones - demography, politics, family, technology, a distrust of institutions generally - and explain what this development might mean for the definition of religion in American law...

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Look at what Christ has done for the soul of man...

How can we know that what Jesus has shown us of God is the truth; ... how do we know when we look into the face of Jesus that we are looking into the face of God? ... The answer is so plain and simple that it is a marvel how intelligent men can manage to miss it as they do... Look at what Christ has done for the soul of man: that is your answer. Christianity is just Christ—nothing more and nothing less. It is a way of life, and He is that way. It is the truth about human destiny, and He is that truth. It is the offer of life lived in the sunshine of eternal love, and He is that life. To know this is to know God, and every need is satisfied in that one word. ...RJ Campbell image

Ukraine's Christians Standing in the Gap; Vitality in Multisite Church Model; On Monastic Papacies...more

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Harlem, NYC building explosion, collapse injures more than a dozen image

Ukraine's Christians Standing in the Gap for Peace
Ukraine's acting president Oleksandr Turchynov, a man of deep faith and prayer, is in the center of the storm in Ukraine, but he's not alone.

Turchynov is seeking an increase in the country's armed services as he has called on parliament to turn Ukraine's interior ministry troops into a national guard to defend the nation against aggression...

Survey Finds Growth, Vitality in Multisite Church Model
The vast majority of multisite churches are growing, according to a new study, and they are seeing more involvement from lay people and newcomers after they open an additional location.

Nearly one in 10 U.S. Protestants attends a congregation with multiple campuses, according to findings released Tuesday (March 11) in the “Leadership Network/Generis Multisite Church Scorecard.”

The report cites new data from the National Congregations Study, which found there were 8,000 multisite churches in the U.S. in 2012 — up from 5,000 in 2010 — including churches with more than one gathering on the same campus. Churches that have created worship space in a separate setting now exist in almost every state, several Canadian provinces and dozens of other countries...

On Monastic Papacies
On the one-year anniversary of the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, I felt a great silence within me. I had felt that same silence a year earlier, but then it was coupled with fear. I saw the pictures of the lightning bolt above St. Peter’s, and wondered if it was a sign that something momentous and mysterious had happened. Was this resignation God’s will? But then things stabilized, and the conclave began, as did the speculations.

I had dinner one evening with friends who were all playing the papabile game. It was a typical set of names, each signifying what we thought the Church needed, and many reflected a desire for deep continuity with Benedict, such as Scola, or Ouellet, or even Dolan. But a beloved Dominican colleague turned our conversation in a more interesting direction. He asked all of us about papal names. Not who the next Pope would be, but what name would be chosen. This was a more important question because it elevated our conversation from the very human question of “which man” to the more contemplative question of “whose man”? Everyone played this game too (I said “Gregory”), but our Dominican friend shook his head and smiled: “I think the next Pope will choose the name Francis.” We all laughed because of the almost slapstick way in which the mendicant rivalries of Dominicans and Franciscans play out in our circles. But he was serious. In praying for the conclave, this Dominican monk said he had a distinct vision, and the name just came to him. We all immediately said “O’Malley!”—thinking we were still playing at papal betting, I suppose—but the monk shook his head, and gently but firmly reiterated that he had no sense of who the man would be, only that his papal name would be Francis. I think we were all momentarily stunned by this private revelation. Could it be true? It was something to store away in the heart. What did it mean?

It got me thinking about names...

Albert Mohler: From Father to Son-J.R.R. Tolkien on Sex

March 11, 2014

...In 1941, Tolkien wrote a masterful letter to his son Michael, dealing with marriage and the realities of human sexuality. The letter reflects Tolkien’s Christian worldview and his deep love for his sons, and at the same time, also acknowledges the powerful dangers inherent in unbridled sexuality.

“This is a fallen world,” Tolkien chided. “The dislocation of sex-instinct is one of the chief symptoms of the Fall. The world has been ‘going to the bad’ all down the ages. The various social forms shift, and each new mode has its special dangers: but the ‘hard spirit of concupiscence’ has walked down every street, and sat leering in every house, since Adam fell.” This acknowledgement of human sin and the inevitable results of the Fall stands in stark contrast to the humanistic optimism that was shared by so many throughout the 20th century. Even when the horrors of two world wars, the Holocaust, and various other evils chastened the century’s dawning optimism of human progress, the 20th century gave evidence of an unshakable faith in sex and its liberating power. Tolkien would have none of this.

“The devil is endlessly ingenious, and sex is his favorite subject,” Tolkien insisted. “He is as good every bit at catching you through generous romantic or tender motives, as through baser or more animal ones.” Thus, Tolkien advised his young son, then 21, that the sexual fantasies of the 20th century were demonic lies, intended to ensnare human beings. Sex was a trap, Tolkien warned, because human beings are capable of almost infinite rationalization in terms of sexual motives. Romantic love is not sufficient as a justification for sex, Tolkien understood... the rest-Excellent!

Monday, March 10, 2014

A.S. Haley: Heartbreaker: U. S. Supreme Court Denies Falls Church Petition

Monday March 10, 2014

The order list published this morning by the United States Supreme Court shows that, after relisting the case for its conferences four times, it has denied certiorari (review) in No. 13-449, The Falls Church v. Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America, et al. Under its rules, the Court grants certiorari when at least four of the nine justices are interested in a given case; it takes five justices to make a majority.

This was potentially a huge decision for those suffering from years of the courts' misreading of Jones v. Wolf (1979), 443 U.S. 595, as detailed in numerous posts on this blog. The significance is that it would have been the first church property dispute which the Court has accepted for review since Jones -- some 35 years ago. While the decision below (from the Virginia Supreme Court) is not based on ECUSA's Dennis Canon, it nonetheless is grounded in a misreading of how a national Church can unilaterally establish a trust in its favor on all parish property without the parishes themselves declaring the trust in question. Similar bad readings of the dictum in Jones have come from the Supreme Courts of Connecticut, Georgia, New York and California.

It also means that the Diocese of Virginia will now go ahead with its plans for The Falls Church campus. Furthermore, it means that the approximately $3 million that TFC has paid into the Court's registry since April 2012 will now be handed over to the Diocese -- added to the already $10 million worth of real property it received, the Diocese is the beneficiary of a real windfall, if ever there was anything that went by that name... the rest

US Supreme Court will not hear Falls Church appeal

10 Mar 2014
George Conger

The United States Supreme Court has denied certiorari to the Falls Church in its appeal of the Virginia Supreme Court ruling in its dispute with the Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Virginia.

Details to follow. Here

Episcopal Church owns Falls Church property; Supreme Court lets Virginia court The Supreme Court on Monday let stand a Virginia court’s ruling that the Episcopal Church owns the historic property known as the Falls Church, the subject of a bitter, multimillion-dollar property dispute with a conservative congregation that left the denomination.

The justices gave no reason for declining to review the decision of the Virginia Supreme Court that the 3,000-member congregation, which voted in 2006 to leave the Episcopal Church, did not have the right to keep the sprawling property known as the Falls Church...

Anglican Unscripted Episode 94

Mar 7, 2014
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.

Story Index

00:00 Can Jesus bake cake?
06:54 Imagine there is no Episcopal Church
14:14 Ashes to choke on
19:19 How to clarify an secular interview
21:50 closing and bloopers