Saturday, November 08, 2014

And at midnight a cry was heard...

 "And at midnight a cry was heard: 'Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!' "  -Matthew 25:6 image

US to send 1,500 more troops to Iraq; Solar plant applying for federal grant to pay off federal loan...more

Islamic State crisis: US to send 1,500 more troops to Iraq  The Pentagon said the troops would train and assist Iraqi forces.

President Barack Obama authorised the deployment following a request from Iraq's government, the Pentagon added.

IS militants control large areas of Iraq and Syria but have been targeted by hundreds of air strikes by a US-led coalition since August...

World's largest solar plant applying for federal grant to pay off federal loan   After already receiving a controversial $1.6 billion construction loan from U.S. taxpayers, the wealthy investors of a California solar power plant now want a $539 million federal grant to pay off their federal loan.

"This is an attempt by very large cash generating companies that have billions on their balance sheet to get a federal bailout, i.e. a bailout from us - the taxpayer for their pet project," said Reason Foundation VP of Research Julian Morris. "It's actually rather obscene."...


George W. Bush: I Read the Bible Every Day During My Presidency
   ..."I read the Bible every day during my presidency," Bush said. "The easiest time to be faithful is during a time of crisis. The hardest time for faith is when all is well. Faith informed my principles and decisions, but not my tactics. It would give me strength, but I didn't use my faith to make decisions. Freedom is a faith-informed principle.”...

Dozens Found Dead Near Peak of Japan Volcano
Police in central Japan say they have found bodies of 31 hikers near the summit of Mount Ontake, a volcano that erupted without warning on Saturday, spewing ash, rocks and steam.

Officials confirmed four deaths while 27 others were described as being in a state of "cardiac arrest," a term Japanese authorities often use to describe the dead until doctors can examine the body...


Church bells toll as Philippines remembers thousands killed a year after typhoon Haiyan  Candles lit up the streets of the central Philippine city worst-hit by the strongest storm to make landfall as thousands remembered more than 6,300 people who died a year ago when typhoon Haiyan smashed into the country...

What It’d Look Like if Star Wars Spilled Into the Real World
Thomas Dagg was obsessed with Star Wars a kid growing up in Ottawa during the 1990s. He watched the trilogy on VHS so many times he wore out the tapes. When his parent’s promised him a Star Wars toy as a reward, he let the dentist pull two teeth without any complaints. And he’d save his weekly allowance to buy toys to add to his expansive Star Wars collection.

Dagg is now 24 and a successful photographer in Toronto who still loves the films. He credits Star Wars with inspiring him to become an artist, and he’s spent two years working on a personal project called, appropriately, Star Wars. He uses Photoshop to seamlessly blend characters and spaceships from the films into every day scenes. The images invite viewers into the world of his childhood, when he imagined seeing a galaxy far, far away in everything around him...

Friday, November 07, 2014

We seek God afar off...

little girl/big city
We seek God afar off, in projects perhaps altogether unattainable, and we do not consider that we possess Him now in the midst of confusion, by the exercise of simple faith, provided we bear humbly and bravely the annoyances which come from others, and our own imperfections. ...Francois Fenelon  image

Russian tanks move into Ukraine; Surrogacy and Christian Compassion; Jesus of the Housetops ...more

Ukraine crisis: Tanks 'cross border' from Russia
An armoured column including 32 tanks and 30 trucks has crossed into eastern Ukraine from Russia, Kiev says.

The trucks were carrying ammunition and fighters, said a military spokesman, but the BBC cannot confirm his report.

A fragile ceasefire has been in place since 5 September, although hundreds of people have been killed since then....BBC

Federal court rules ‘secular humanism’ a religion, extends equal protection rights to atheists ...In a landmark decision last week, a federal judge in Oregon declared ‘secular humanism’ to be a religion, opining that those who profess to be atheists and secular humanists should be afforded equal protection rights under the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution and be allowed to enjoy the same liberties to practice religion that religious groups are able to enjoy...

No Constitutional Right to Same-Sex Marriage, Circuit Court Rules  Earlier today, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit overruled lower court decisions that had struck down state laws defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman.

The 6th Circuit Court ruled that constitutional amendments passed by popular vote in Michigan (2.7 million votes), Kentucky (1.2 million), Ohio (3.3 million) and Tennessee (1.4 million) do not violate the U.S. Constitution. Citizens remain free to define marriage as a male-female institution.

Today’s decision helpfully explained why these laws are constitutional, why it is reasonable for citizens to support such laws, and why arguments for court-imposed redefinition of marriage do not succeed. It also sets the stage for marriage to return to the U.S. Supreme Court...

Surrogacy and Christian Compassion ...Despite appearing to be “pro-life,” surrogacy commodifies human life by using a woman’s body to create and carry a child that she is legally obligated to give away. In these arrangements, the child is a product protected by a lengthy contract between his birth mother and the intended parents. Modern surrogacy itself is a symptom of our culture’s mentality that all persons have an equal right to a perfect, healthy child if they want one.

Surrogacy arrangements have predictably and tragically gone wrong. Last year, intended parents demanded their gestational surrogate abort a child that was found to have severe disabilities in utero. When she refused, they offered her $10,000 to have an abortion, and she eventually fled to a state that would legally recognize her as the child’s mother. Another couple recently abandoned one twin with his young impoverished birth mother because he had Down Syndrome, while they took his healthy sister home...

Anti-Catholic protesters with bullhorns appear at several D.C.-area parishes Roman Catholic leaders have sent e-mails of warning to dozens of Washington and Maryland priests after protesters with bullhorns yelling anti-Catholic slogans appeared at several parishes and in a couple of cases “stormed the inside of the church just before Mass,” a bishop-administrator wrote in the e-mail...

Jesus of the Housetops
If we reflected on it more closely, perhaps we would observe something curious, even surprising, in the Gospel stories about Jesus after his Resurrection; namely, what I venture to call a quality of restraint. Except for the wounds in his flesh (Luke; John), the risen Savior appears to his disciples rather much as they remembered him from before. He is alive, of course, but he does not display—visibly—the signs Saint Paul seems to suggest as characteristic of the resurrected body...

Technocracy Versus The Great Books
...Everyone knows that any life consumed by the enjoyments of the screen is marked by emotionally crippling abstraction and distraction, and that true teachers of philosophy, literature, and theology do what they can to get students to leave those screens alone enough to know what it’s like to take pleasure in being alone with yourself with others or in love in the present with another person with a body...

Thursday, November 06, 2014

The sheer joy of your salvation...

When was the last time you laughed for the sheer joy of your salvation? People are not attracted to somber doctrines. There is no persuasive power in a gloomy and morbid religion. Let the world see your joy and you won't be able to keep them away. To be filled with God is to be filled with joy. -Woodrow Kroll  image

Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red; UK: Christian bakery ordered to recant; Verizon, AT&T tracking us with 'supercookies'...more

Tower of London poppies: Blood swept lands and seas of red

Poppies At The Tower Of London 23-8-2014
 Stunning Installation of 888,246 Ceramic Poppies Honors Lives Lost in WWI  By the time this installation, Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red, is over, it's estimated that over four million people will have seen it. Surrounding the Tower of London are 888,246 handmade poppies, each representing a British and Commonwealth person who died during World War One. The first poppy was planted on August 5th, the first day of Britain's full participation in the war, and the last poppy will be planted on Armistice Day, November 11th.
 
The stunning installation covers 16 acres, which is roughly equivalent to 250 tennis courts or 16 soccer fields. The clay models were handmade under artist Paul Cummins and the setting was designed by Tom Piper. Teams of volunteers worked day and and night to carefully assemble each flower. Ninety tons of steel was used to create the stems of the poppies, which varied in length from 1m to 50cm, and the structures which made the red flowers look like they were floating over the moat or pouring out of one of the tower's windows... images  more photos

UK: Christian bakery ordered to recant over Bert and Ernie gay marriage cake or face court   A Christian bakery firm which refused to make a cake supporting gay marriage with a picture of the Sesame Street characters Bert and Ernie has been warned it will be taken to court unless it apologises and pays immediate compensation.

Ashers Baking Co, based in Newtownabbey, Northern Ireland, was told by a Government equalities agency that it was guilty of “unlawful religious, political and sexual orientation discrimination” for its stance on the Sesame Street-themed dessert.

But the family-run firm said it was ready for a “David and Goliath battle” over the cake insisting it was “what God would want us to do”...

Florida pastor detained after feeding homeless: I won't stop  The Florida pastor who was detained with two others for taking part in a food distribution programme for homeless people has said that he has no plans to stop.

Rev Mark Sims of St Mary Magdalene Episcopal Church in Coral Springs, Florida, was charged with Arnold Abbott, 90, and Pastor Dwayne Black of the Sanctuary Church in Fort Lauderdale of violating a new city ordinance aimed at clamping down on food distribution.

The men were not arrested but were told they would have to appear in court...

Democrats Must Accept That This Year’s ‘War On Women’ Was A Disaster The Democratic strategy of achieving victory by courting single female voters had been going so well. “War on Women” messaging had been used to cruise to House, Senate, and presidential victories in 2010 and 2012. President Obama lost the married women vote in 2012 by seven points, but he won the single women vote by a stunning 36 percentage points. Women—so long as they stay single and don’t get married—are a key component of Democratic victories. With a cartoonishly compliant media serving as attack dog for every Republican error or otherwise helping push the message, Democrats and abortion-rights activists couldn’t conceive (definitely no pun intended) of a reason to change course. And in 2014, they had what they believed were some of their best candidates. Texas State Sen. Wendy Davis led a dramatic filibuster of a late-term abortion ban before deciding to run for governor of Texas. Sen. Mark Udall, reliable abortion rights supporter, built his entire campaign around an attempt to portray his opponent—the cheerful Cory Gardner—as an opponent of “women’s health” (the euphemism for abortion used by people who support the right to end the lives of unborn children). And the poster child of the entire War on Women movement—Sandra Fluke, the grad student who fought to force religious employers to provide contraception and abortifacients for free in employee benefit packages—tried to win a race for a California legislator position...

Verizon, AT and T tracking their users with ‘supercookies’  Verizon and AT and T have been quietly tracking the Internet activity of more than 100 million cellular customers with what critics have dubbed “supercookies” — markers so powerful that it’s difficult for even savvy users to escape them.

The technology has allowed the companies to monitor which sites their customers visit, cataloging their tastes and interests. Consumers cannot erase these supercookies or evade them by using browser settings, such as the “private” or “incognito” modes that are popular among users wary of corporate or government surveillance.

Verizon and ATandT say they have taken steps to alert their customers to the tracking and to protect customer privacy as the companies develop programs intended to help advertisers hone their pitches based on individual Internet behavior. But as word has spread about the supercookies in recent days, privacy advocates have reacted with alarm, saying the tracking could expose user Internet behavior to a wide range of outsiders — including intelligence services — and may also violate federal telecommunications and wiretapping laws....

Review: To Be A Christian – An Anglican Catechism

November 6, 2014
The Venerable Norman Russell

To Be A Christian – An Anglican Catechism, Anglican House Publishers, Newport Beach, California, 2013/4 – ISBN 978-0-9860441-2-0

The new catechism of the Anglican Church in North America has yet to be discovered as a rich resource for Christian formation and devotion by members of the Church of England. I have not seen it in any of our Christian bookshops, nor have I seen it reviewed in the church press, but it is obtainable on Amazon for about £10. It is beautifully produced in bonded leather and for many is likely to become a treasured accompaniment to a much loved bible and maybe a prayer book.

The catechism however has emphatically not been produced as a coffee table adornment for a Christian home. It is offered as an accessible working book to enable Christians to grow into a maturity of faith and understanding which will be life sustaining. Although compiled by a working group appointed within the Anglican Church of North America, English Readers will be interested to know that the Revd Dr JI Packer was a significant member of the group and has written the introduction.

In content and doctrine, the catechism contains a clear statement of Prayer Book Anglicanism in terms which can be easily embraced by evangelical and catholic Anglicans alike. There is a clear and classically Anglican commitment to be faithful to the teaching and practice of the undivided church of the early Christian centuries. the rest

Here at Amazon

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Albert Mohler: What the Election Reveals About Us, and Why We Vote as We Do

Jeff Rowley Jaws Peahi 31 December 2012 Paddle In Surfing
Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Campaigning over the weekend, President Obama said, “The American people are with us on all the big issues.” He continued, “You know it. I know it. The polls show it.”

Yet the midterm election yesterday did not affirm President Obama’s statement. In fact, yesterday’s election is what political scientists classify as a “wave election.” The “wave” became evident early on Tuesday evening and it continued throughout election night as Republicans won key seats in the Senate. Even as some elections are still yet to be called, it is clear that the Republican Party has gained control of the United States Senate and now for the first time in eight years Republicans hold control of both the House and the Senate.

Furthermore, the pickup in the Senate was even beyond what most Republican analysts had estimated. With Senatorial elections in the states of Louisiana and Alaska still pending, the Republican Party has already picked up seven seats. This is a massive change for America’s political system. Coming in the sixth year of President Obama’s administration, this midterm election is a massive check upon his presidential power and will inevitably be seen as a political judgment upon the President’s leadership. This is due to the fact that the President of the United States is also seen as the symbolic head of his political party – in this case the Democratic Party. the rest image
Yet yesterday’s election results also point to the continuing and deepening partisan divide in America. Christians watching this must understand that this partisan divide is not merely a political issue—it is a worldview issue. What divides these two parties is not primarily personalities or regionalism. Instead, what divides these two parties are their visions of political stability, morality, and even what it means to aim for human flourishing. Both parties represent competing worldviews and the most loyal members of each party recognize this reality. What separates these parties from one another are the answers they provide to such basic questions as the meaning of human life, our understanding of morality and even our understanding of marriage.

Red Tsunami: Constitution Check on church property disputes...more

Red Tsunami: GOP gains across the board in historic sweep 

 Voters' Verdict Explodes Democratic Myths

Yazidi and Christian women slaves sold for £27, ISIS document reveals ..."And these are not just grown women," Harrison said. "The youngest girl we heard of being taken for rape was three years old."...

No Bishop Will Die for Religious Liberty
  A few years ago, Cardinal Francis George, the Catholic archbishop of Chicago, issued a dire prophecy about religious liberty in America:
“I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square. His successor will pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilization, as the church has done so often in human history.”
Well, we all must hope and pray it doesn’t come to that, but if it should, we Christians must hope and pray that Catholic bishops, and all Christians, will accept persecution and martyrdom before betraying the faith in the face of pressure from the State.

There is a bad omen on this front from Catholic colleges (though not yet from the bishops). Rusty Reno writes that more of them — including Notre Dame — are slowly but surely making their peace with same-sex marriage. What sparked his column was the announcement by the president of Creighton, Reno’s former employer, that it was going to offer benefits to same-sex couples, but that this should not be seen as endorsement of same-sex marriage. Reno points out that no bishop is compelling Catholic colleges to do this; the Archbishop of Omaha strongly criticized the Jesuit-run college for its move. Nor is the State forcing it; Creighton is in Nebraska, which does not have gay marriage...

The Latest Targets of Sexual Radicalism
...The latest twist is California’s new “Affirmative Consent” law that would turn virtually all consensual sex into rape. To avoid a conviction, men must, at each “stage” of a sexual encounter, “demonstrate they obtained verbal ‘affirmative consent’ before engaging in sexual activity.” “Since most couples have engaged in sex without ‘verbal’ consent,” writes attorney Hans Bader, “supporters of the bill are effectively redefining most people, and most happily-married couples, as rapists.”..

Constitution Check: Should the Supreme Court get involved in church property disputes?   ...The biggest event in this schism occurred in 2008, when the leadership of the entire Fort Worth, Texas, diocese led a break with the parent church, and took with them out of that denomination the property of 47 parish churches in 24 counties – property worth more than $100 million overall. The parent church fought back, but ultimately lost in the Texas Supreme Court. From now on, and in this case, that state court ruled, church property disputes were to be decided by the “neutral principles” approach, no longer deferring to church structure arrangements. Examining the trust document under which the parent church had claimed ownership of the local property, the state court said that did not square with state civil law.

With support from a wide array of mainstream religious organizations and advocacy group, the Episcopal Church took the case to the Supreme Court, arguing that the time had come for the court to abandon the “neutral principles” approach and return to the deference approach. The parent church, it contended, had done everything it could to establish the parent’s dominion over property, and yet that was not enough.

The breakaway congregations in Fort Worth and their bishop urged the Supreme Court to stay out of the case, noting that the Justices had passed up other appeals on the issue, and commenting that the dispute in Texas has not yet become final.

When the Supreme Court declined to hear the case, it provided no explanation. It may have been that the Justices did not think the case was finished in lower courts...

Bp. Julian Dobbs finishes NYC marathon


Bp. Dobbs is right at the beginning of this NYT video...

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Is This the End for Mideast Christianity?

For Mideast Christians, 2014 has been a year of bloody disaster. Are these churches on the edge of extinction?
Philip Jenkins
November 4, 2014

For Christians in the Middle East, 2014 has been a catastrophe. The most wrenching stories have come from Iraq, where the nascent Islamic State (ISIS or ISIL in news reports) has savagely persecuted ancient Christian communities, including Assyrians, Chaldeans, and Syrian Orthodox. Iraqi Christians have declined rapidly in number since the first Gulf War in 1991, but survivors long believed they could maintain a foothold around Mosul.

This past summer, that hope collapsed. In a ghastly reminder of Nazi savagery against Jews, Christian homes were marked with the Arabic letter ن for Nazarenes—Christ followers—or R for Rwafidh, a term for Protestants, and inhabitants were targets for abuse or murder. Islamist militants have controlled Mosul since June 10. Even if the total extermination of each and every believer is not the goal, those ancient communities and churches face the prospect of utter ruin. To that extent, the end of Christianity in Iraq is within sight.

The current battles are part of a lengthy story. Islam gained power over the Middle East in the seventh century, but it was several centuries before Muslims became an overwhelming majority. Christians operated under Muslims’ political rule, but the Coptic Patriarchate of Alexandria, Egypt, and the Baghdad-based Church of the East remained mighty forces of global Christianity. They retained that position for more than 500 years. Not until the 14th century did persecution become systematic and violent.

Long after that date, though, minorities survived and even thrived in substantial numbers. As recently as 1914, Christians still made up 10 percent of the whole region from Egypt to Persia (Iran), and most large cities were homes to multiple faiths and denominations. That did not mean that the Ottoman rulers were tolerant in principle; rather, they accepted what seemed like the natural order of things. the rest

Almighty God, who hast given us this good land for our heritage...

Portable Voting Booth
Almighty God, who hast given us this good land for our heritage: We humbly beseech thee that we may always prove ourselves a people mindful of thy favor and glad to do thy will. Bless our land with honorable industry, sound learning, and pure manners. Save us from violence, discord, and confusion;  from pride and arrogance, and from every evil way. Defend our liberties, and fashion into one united people the multitudes brought hither out of many kindreds and tongues. Endue with the spirit of wisdom those to whom in thy Name we entrust the authority of government, that there may be justice and peace at home, and that, through obedience to thy law, we may show forth thy praise among the nations of the earth. In the time of prosperity, fill our hearts with thankfulness, and in the day of trouble, suffer not our trust in thee to fail; all which we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. -BCP

Kurdish children tortured and forced to watch beheading videos by ISIS; Why kids sext; Voter Fraud and Voter I.D....more

Kurdish children detained, tortured and forced to watch beheading videos by ISIS ...Islamic State militants have detained and tortured Kurdish children, Human Rights Watch (HRW) has confirmed.

Stories from four teenage boys who were released in September reveal repeated beatings, intense "religious instruction" and forced viewings of brutal violence and beheadings.

"Those who didn't conform to the program were beaten. They beat us with a green hose or a thick cable with wire running through it. They also beat the soles of our feet," one 16-year-old recalled...

Sowell: Voter Fraud and Voter I.D.
One of the biggest voter frauds may be the idea promoted by Attorney General Eric Holder and others that there is no voter fraud, that laws requiring voters to have a photo identification are just attempts to suppress black voting.

Reporter John Fund has written three books on voter fraud and a recent survey by Old Dominion University indicates that there are more than a million registered voters who are not citizens, and who therefore are not legally entitled to vote...

Why kids sext
...One recent study found that young adults who engaged in sexting were more likely to report recent substance abuse and high-risk sexual behavior, like unprotected sex or sex with multiple partners. Another found exactly the opposite, that “sexting is not related to sexual risk behavior or psychological well-being.” In Englander’s study, many of the worrisome behaviors associated with sexting showed up more in those who had been pressured. They were more likely, for example, to engage in a practice researchers call self-cyberbullying, a disturbing phenomenon in which teens post mean things about themselves on social-media sites, usually to get sympathy or attention. Pressured sexters were also more likely to have had problems with sexual violence in dating...


Episcopal Church in Michigan votes to crack down on gun rights  The Episcopal Church in Michigan — which includes the areas of Lansing and Jackson — voted to crack down on Second Amendment rights via a resolution at the 180th convention of the Episcopal Diocese.

Specifically, the resolution — which passed with a large majority — expresses favor for universal background checks for all gun buys and for bans on all sales of decreed semiautomatic weapons and high-impact, high-capacity ammunition and magazines, the Detroit Free Press reported. The resolution also calls to make gun trafficking a federal crime...

Sex-selection abortions are perfectly legal in Canada

Planned Parenthood doc who killed woman in botched abortion closes her clinic  ...The closure was discovered when members of the Chicago-based group arrived at the clinic on Wednesday, October 29, 2014, for a planned public outreach only to find the facility closed and a “For Rent” sign on the door. A phone call placed by a League member confirmed that the abortion clinic had gone out of business...

Why More Than 1,800 Pastors and Churches Are Battling Against Atheist Activists and the IRS  ...The massive surge in participation comes following a now-settled lawsuit that the Freedom From Religion Foundation, an atheist activist group, waged against the IRS, claiming that the tax authority has not been holding churches accountable to rules restricting politics from the pulpit.

Despite the lawsuit and a purported pledge from the IRS this summer that it will hold churches accountable, Politico reported that, “A record number of rogue Christian pastors are endorsing candidates from the pulpit this election cycle, using Sunday sermons to defiantly flout tax rules,” as the IRS appears to be avoiding the issue...

Monday, November 03, 2014

Anglican Unscripted Episode 135- Supreme Court says no to TEC


Nov 3, 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. Please donate at http://anglican.tv/donate

Story Index
00:00 US Supreme Court denies TEC!
 


Nov 3, 2014

ISIS Has Massacred 322 People From Sunni Tribe; The Myth of Chinese Super Schools

ISIS Has Massacred 322 People From Sunni Tribe; Leader Says Iraqi Gov't Abandoned Them ... Iraq's Ministry of Human Rights confirmed confirmed that 322 people in total have been killed, following news that ISIS militants shot dead 50 men and women from the tribe on Friday night into Saturday morning. Another 65 people are said to have been kidnapped.

ISIS, or the Islamic State as the group is also known, has accused the tribesmen and women of retaliating for being displaced from their homes.

The Islamic militants have targeted religious and ethnic minorities during their conquest of large amounts of territory in Iraq and Syria, while at the same time they have sought to unite jihadists from various countries around the world who are flooding in to join them...

Obama’s Border Policy Fueled EV-D68 enterovirus epidemic, Evidence Shows   The deadly EV-D68 enterovirus epidemic, which struck thousands of kids this fall, was likely propelled through America by President Barack Obama’s decision to allow tens of thousands of Central Americans across the Texas border, according to a growing body of genetic and statistical evidence.

The evidence includes admissions from top health officials that the epidemic included multiple strains of the virus, and that it appeared simultaneously in multiple independent locations...

The rapid spread of Christianity is forcing an official rethink on religion  ...Christianity is hard to control in China, and getting harder all the time. It is spreading rapidly, and infiltrating the party’s own ranks. The line is blurring between house churches and official ones, and Christians are starting to emerge from hiding to play a more active part in society. The Communist Party has to find a new way to deal with all this. There is even talk that the party, the world’s largest explicitly atheist organisation, might follow its sister parties in Vietnam and Cuba and allow members to embrace a dogma other than—even higher than—that of Marx.

Any shift in official thinking on religion could have big ramifications for the way China handles a host of domestic challenges, from separatist unrest among Tibetan Buddhists and Muslim Uighurs in the country’s west to the growth of NGOs and “civil society”—grassroots organisations, often with a religious colouring, which the party treats with suspicion, but which are also spreading fast...

The Myth of Chinese Super Schools
...This was written after officials who administer the PISA examinations had hailed Shanghai for its remarkably high test scores. Zhao says this is what Chinese students, even in rural areas, are best at: high test scores. Chinese students regularly win any competition that depends on test performance. Where they fall short is creativity, originality, divergence from authority. The admirers of Chinese test scores never point out that what makes it the “best” education system is also what makes it the worst education system. It is very effective in “eliminating individual differences, suppressing intrinsic motivation, and imposing conformity.”...

A.S. Haley: SCOTUS Denies Review to ECUSA in Ft. Worth/ San Angelo Cases

Monday, November 3, 2014

Today the Supreme Court of the United States issued its order denying (without opinion) review (“certiorari”) of the decisions rendered last September by the Supreme Court of Texas in the Fort Worth and San Angelo cases.

The order was expected, because neither decision by the Texas Supreme Court was final. The U. S. Supreme Court almost never agrees to review lower court decisions until they are final. In these two cases, the Fort Worth matter was sent back to Judge Chupp’s court for a trial, and the Church of the Good Shepherd case was likewise sent back to the trial court in San Angelo for further proceedings.
The action by SCOTUS now frees both of those cases to move ahead.

In Fort Worth, Bishop Iker’s attorneys have filed a motion for summary judgment which is scheduled for a hearing in December. Given the decision by the Texas Supreme Court, the only question remaining for the trial court to decide is whether or not ECUSA managed to create a valid trust in the Diocese’s property which the Diocese did not revoke when it decided to withdraw in 2008. In Texas all trusts are deemed to be fully revocable at any time, unless the language creating the trust states otherwise.

ECUSA earlier claimed that its Dennis Canon imposed a trust upon each parish property whose title was held by Bishop Iker’s corporate Diocese of Fort Worth, as well as on the Diocese’s own property. But the Texas Supreme Court ruled that any Dennis Canon trust was not expressly irrevocable, and so the withdrawal of the Diocese and its associated parishes from the Episcopal Church (USA) effectively revoked any such trust... the rest