Saturday, November 29, 2014

One of the essential paradoxes of Advent...

One of the essential paradoxes of Advent: that while we wait for God, we are with God all along ,that while we need to be reassured of God’s arrival, or the arrival of our homecoming, we are already at home. While we wait, we have to trust, to have faith, but it is God’s grace that gives us that faith. As with all spiritual knowledge, two things are true, and equally true, at once. The mind can’t grasp paradox; it is the knowledge of the soul.
...Michelle Blake image

Bishop Julian Dobbs Advent Bible Series: Part I


Advent 1 from Julian Dobbs on Vimeo.

Part One:   Christ is surely coming! 
                            2 Thessalonians 1

Friday, November 28, 2014

Anglican Unscripted Episode 141


Nov 26, 2014

Anglican Unscripted is the only video newscast in the Anglican Church. Every Week Kevin, George, and Allan bring you news and prospective from around the globe. Please donate at http://anglican.tv/donate

00:00 TEC Loses in Illinois Supreme Court

Albert Mohler: The Ferguson Moment—A Moral Test for the Nation

Wednesday
November 26, 2014

Excerpt:
The president’s comments were restrained and responsible. As a matter of fact, it’s hard to imagine a more suitable and responsible set of comments for a president to make—much less the nation’s first elected African-American president.

The president went on to talk about the cooperation needed between the police and the community during this time:

“Working with law enforcement officials to make sure their ranks are representative of the communities they serve. We know that makes a difference. It means working to train officials so that law enforcement conducts itself in a way that is fair to everybody.”

This is a fundamental statement that virtually everyone should agree with. The difficulty is pulling that off in the context of heightened tensions. In a truly tragic juxtaposition, even as the president was speaking such judicious words, the media displayed a video stream of burning buildings, looting and vandalism, and protesters committing violent actions in the street.

The president’s statement also included these very important words:

“But what is also true is that there are still problems and communities of color aren’t just making these problems up.”

When you think about how President Obama should address the issue, once again it’s hard to imagine how a statement could be more judicious and responsible than that... the rest

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life...

For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected
if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy
by the word of God and prayer.  -1 Timothy 4:4-5

When everything we receive from him is received and prized as a fruit and pledge of his covenant love, then his bounties, instead of being set up as rivals and idols to draw our heart from him, awaken us to fresh exercises of gratitude, and furnish us with fresh motives of cheerful obedience every hour. ...John Newton

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity….It turns problems into gifts, failures into success, the unexpected into perfect timing, and mistakes into important events. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow. ...Melody Beattie image

Illinois Supreme Court upholds ruling granting secession of the Diocese of Quincy from the Episcopal Church

26 Nov 2014
by George Conger

The Illinois Supreme Court has declined to hear an appeal made by the Episcopal Church in its lawsuit with the Diocese of Quincy. The decision not to review the Fourth Appellate Court of Appeals decision, published on 26 November 2014, leaves standing the lower court finding that the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church of the USA do not forbid dioceses from withdrawing from the national church.

The ruling came in a twenty-eight page summary of dispositions of petitions before the court. On page twelve the court stated: “No. 118186 - The Diocese of Quincy et al., respondents, v. The Episcopal Church et al., petitioners. Leave to appeal, Appellate Court, Fourth District. (4-13-0901) Petition for leave to appeal denied.”

The national church may appeal the ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court or ask the Illinois Supreme Court for reconsideration. However the US Supreme Court has declined to hear related church property cases. The decision upholds the opinion of the Fourth District Court of Appeal which found the Episcopal Church was an unincorporated association of dioceses formed under American common law. Under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution – Freedom of Association – dioceses, as distinct legal entities, have the right to join or leave a group at any time. the rest

A.S. Haley: ECUSA Denied Leave to Appeal in Quincy Case Today the Illinois Supreme Court posted twenty-eight pages of its recent dispositions of requests made by losing parties for leave to appeal their decision to that Court. On page twelve, at the very top, appears this brief notation:
No. 118186
-
The Diocese of Quincy et al., respondents, v. The Episcopal Church et al., petitioners. Leave to appeal, Appellate Court, Fourth District. (4-13-0901)
Petition for leave to appeal denied.
What this means is that the highest court of a State has now ruled that there is no provision in the governing documents of the Episcopal Church (USA) that keeps a Diocese from withdrawing its membership in that organization. The Church in fact is an unincorporated association of dioceses fashioned under American common law, and not under the laws of any one given State. Under the First Amendment, members of such associations are free to leave the group at any time, with only reasonable restrictions placed on their ability to do so (they could be required to pay any back dues still owed, for example). The opinion delivered last April by the Illinois Fourth District Court of Appeal stands as written...

Christians Now Outnumber Communists in China; Suicide bombers kill more than 40 at Nigerian market; Automation Makes Us Dumb...more

ISIS Destroy Convent in Mosul Yesterday, jihadi militants of the Islamic State, who control the city of Mosul, used explosives to severely damage the convent of the Chaldean Sisters of the Sacred Heart - one of 45 Christian institutions they have captured since June. Previously they were living in the building.

Chaldean sources report that the explosion took place in two phases. The first attempt was unsuccessful, but then the jihadists used more powerful explosives, causing massive damage to the convent, with the intent to eliminate the cross that stands on the place of worship...

  Two teenage girls wearing suicide belts blew themselves up in a market in northern Nigeria on Tuesday, killing more than 40 people, authorities said. It was the latest in a string of horrific attacks in Nigeria for which Islamist militants are blamed.

The day before, dozens were killed in Damasak, a town on the border with Niger, when insurgents disguised as traders attacked the local market, gunning down people seemingly at random in a style of attack that has become commonplace in northeastern Nigeria.

Days before that, suspected militants killed 48 fish traders from a village near Lake Chad.

There has been little response to the attacks from the Nigerian military...

Why the Crackdown? Christians Now Outnumber Communists in China China’s Communist government has been on an anti-Christian rampage of late, tearing down churches in the coastal city of Wenzhou and elsewhere, arresting underground bishops and home church leaders, and illicitly ordaining pliant priests as Catholic “bishops.“ But underneath this escalating campaign of repression – in fact, the reason for it – is a rapidly growing population of Christians.

There are now an estimated 100 million plus Christians in the world’s most populous country, with Catholics alone accounting for about 12 million of this number. Many of these are new converts who, eager to fulfill the Great Commission, are busy evangelizing their fellow Chinese citizens. The Chinese Communist Party has been doing some recruiting of its own in recent years, opening its ranks to intellectuals, business owners, and other previously suspect classes – even capitalists! Still, the 86.7 million formal members of this decaying "faith" – most of whom are Communists in name only – are now outnumbered by a growing and vibrant Chinese Christianity...

New Obamacare rule means you won’t know if you’re paying for abortions

Obamacare offers firms $3,000 incentive to hire illegals over native-born workers ...President Obama’s temporary amnesty, which lasts three years, declares up to 5 million illegal immigrants to be lawfully in the country and eligible for work permits, but it still deems them ineligible for public benefits such as buying insurance on Obamacare’s health exchanges.

Under the Affordable Care Act, that means businesses who hire them won’t have to pay a penalty for not providing them health coverage — making them $3,000 more attractive than a similar native-born worker, whom the business by law would have to cover...

IRS sued for monitoring U.S. churches
In a lawsuit settlement with the atheist Freedom from Religion Foundation, the Internal Revenue Service admitted it had monitored churches for allegedly illegal political activity, but the details never were released because the group withdrew its complaint.
 
Now, Washington watchdog Judicial Watch has filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the IRS seeking any records relevant to IRS monitoring of churches and other tax exempt organizations regarding alleged political activity.

The suit requests access to the communications that went on between the IRS and FFRF about the issue...
 
Automation Makes Us Dumb; Human intelligence is withering as computers do more, but there’s a solution Artificial intelligence has arrived. Today’s computers are discerning and sharp. They can sense the environment, untangle knotty problems, make subtle judgments and learn from experience. They don’t think the way we think—they’re still as mindless as toothpicks—but they can replicate many of our most prized intellectual talents. Dazzled by our brilliant new machines, we’ve been rushing to hand them all sorts of sophisticated jobs that we used to do ourselves.

But our growing reliance on computer automation may be exacting a high price. Worrisome evidence suggests that our own intelligence is withering as we become more dependent on the artificial variety. Rather than lifting us up, smart software seems to be dumbing us down...

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Massive pro-life march in Madrid; Sunday morning inconvenient for church services; Sacred art...more

A Decision in Ferguson: How Should Evangelicals Respond?   In light of the grand jury decision handed down tonight in in the wake of Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson, MO, I think it is of utmost importance that all Christians, but specifically white evangelicals, talk a little less and listen a little more.

Or, put another way, maybe some need to spend less time insisting that African Americans shouldn't be upset and spend more time asking why some are. Yes, this case reminds us again that the racial divide is clear, as a just released CNN poll demostrated.(sic)
 
I wasn't in the grand jury room, and I don't know the evidence, but many godly African American leaders are hurting and they are explaining why.
 
I think we should listen to them...

UK: ‘Parties treat gay marriage opponents as morally inferior’  David Cameron’s ‘casual imposition’ of gay marriage “insulted settled beliefs”, and “wounded him politically”, a former editor of The Daily Telegraph has said.

Writing for the paper, Charles Moore commented that the main political parties treat opponents of same-sex marriage as “moral inferiors”.

He criticised the assumption in parts of the Western world that those who disagree with redefining marriage are “bigots” and should be “virtually disqualified from public office”...

Sacred art
Fra Angelico’s frescos inspired generations of devotion. Can religious art still work its magic on the godless?

Sunday morning inconvenient for church services ... says Church of England ...Attendances at midweek services rose even faster with the number of adults doubling to 15,000.

Yet attendance at Sunday services in parishes has halved since the 1960s to below 800,000.

Speaking on behalf of the Church of England, Mr Dorber said the fact that midweek cathedral services were likely to be “reasonably short” was also part of the attraction.

He said: “People often squeeze them in to very, very pressurised lifestyles, whereas at the weekend you have got commitments with children doing sport, shopping, household maintenance.

“Life is run at the double these days and weekends are very pressurised and very committed.

“Taking out half an hour or an hour during the week is much more negotiable, it comes out of much more discretionary time.”...
Proof God's not dead? How midweek Cathedral attendance doubled in a decade

Massive pro-life march in Madrid demands Spanish government rescind permissive abortion law     Madrid was mobbed with pro-life activists this weekend, demanding that the government live up to its promise to enact legislation protecting the unborn.

A huge pro-life demonstration, attended by 1,400,000 according to the organizers and 60,000 according to police sources, took place in Madrid on Saturday to demand that the government live up to its election promise to reverse the previous Zapatero government’s law allowing abortion-on-demand.

Thousands of families and individuals converged on La Plaza de Colón carrying banners that read, "Every life matters," and "For life, women and motherhood.”...

Monday, November 24, 2014

That which is born in prayer...

play of light in santhome church
For this sin hungry age we need a prayer-hungry Church. We need to explore again the "exceeding great and precious promises of God." In "that great day," the fire of judgment is going to test the sort, not the size, of the work we have done. That which is born in prayer will survive the test. Prayer does business with God. Prayer creates hunger for souls; hunger for souls creates prayer. The understanding soul prays, the praying soul gets understanding. To the soul who prays in self-owned weakness, the Lord gives His strength. ...Leonard Ravenhill image

Grand jury in Ferguson case does not indict officer in Michael Brown shooting

November 24, 2014

A grand jury in St. Louis County on Monday declined to indict the Ferguson police officer who shot and killed an unarmed black teenager in August in a case that touched off nationwide protests and cries of police brutality.

St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Bob McCulloch announced the decision Monday evening. A grand jury of nine whites and three blacks had been meeting weekly since Aug. 20 to consider evidence. The panel met for 70 hours and heard from 60 witnesses.
 
McCulloch stressed that the grand jurors were "the only people who heard every witness ... and every piece of evidence." He said many witness presented conflicting statements that ultimately were inconsistent with the physical evidence.

"These grand jurors poured their hearts and soul into this process," he said.  the rest

NYT: Grand Jury Does Not Charge Ferguson Officer in Michael Brown Shooting

Anglican Unscripted Episode 140


Nov 24, 2014

Anglican Unscripted is the only video newscast in the Anglican Church. Every Week Kevin, George, and Allan bring you news and prospective from around the globe. Please donate at http://anglican.tv/donate

Kenya kills 100 Islamist militants who claimed responsibility for bus attack; The Secret Life of Passwords...more

Kenya kills 100 Islamist militants who claimed responsibility for bus attack  Kenyan security forces have pursued and killed more than 100 militants and destroyed their camp in Somalia after the ambush of a Nairobi-bound bus that killed 28 people, Deputy President William Ruto said on Sunday.

Somalia's Islamist al Shabaab militants have claimed responsibility for the attack on Saturday, when gunmen ordered passengers on the bus to recite Koran verses and shot dead non-Muslims - 19 men and nine women - who could not.

The group said the killing outside Mandera, a town in the far northeast near the Somali and Ethiopian borders, was in retaliation for raids on mosques in the southern port city of Mombasa...

In advance of Ferguson grand jury decision, something's missing when Los Angeles Times goes to church  -GetReligion

Three Lies About Obamacare Jonathan Gruber Accidentally Revealed  For all the hang-wringing over economist Jonathan Gruber’s comments about “the stupidity of the American voter,” there’s been less outrage over the official obfuscation of Obamacare that his comments have revealed. Perhaps that’s because the obfuscation is less shocking, on the surface, than the disdain Gruber shows for the unwashed masses.

But it’s actually more important, because it reveals a pattern of deception surrounding the law that’s been there from the very beginning. Gruber was about as much of an insider during the creation of Obamacare as one could be, and it’s reasonable to think that his understanding of the law was the same, more or less, as that of the White House. Here’s the three main falsehoods about Obamacare, perpetuated by the administration and the law’s champions in Congress, that Gruber’s candor have revealed...

The Secret Life of Passwords
We despise them – yet we imbue them with our hopes and dreams, our dearest memories, our deepest meanings. They unlock much more than our accounts...


Nov 14, 2014

As part of our continuing series "On the Road," Steve Hartman meets Jason Brown, who quit the NFL to tackle a new field, literally.