Sunday, July 31, 2005

Breaking into the Big Time
Posted: July 30, 20051:00 a.m. Eastern
© 2005

When the New York Times, Washington Post, and USA Today write major features on the Christian marketplace without the snide remarks that used to accompany such articles, you know that the Christian media marketplace has hit the Big Time.

At the Christian Booksellers' Convention held recently in Denver, Colo., the major entertainment companies made an expensive, significant push to reach Christian audiences. Time Warner had a big booth. Disney, in conjunction with Zondervan, held a reception for "The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe." Fox screened two movies exclusively for the Christian members of the Christian Booksellers' Association, and all this was just the tip of the iceberg.


Christians 'must work' on Sundays

Date: 29/07
A Christian who was sacked after refusing to work on a Sunday has lost his appeal against his former employers for unfair dismissal, raising concerns that religious rights have no place at work.

Stephen Copsey, who worked as a production supervisor for WWB Devon Clays Ltd of King's Lynn until 2002, had taken his case to the Court of Appeal after employment trials had upheld the company's action. Lord Justice Mummery ruled that the right to manifest one's religious beliefs under the European Commission on Human Rights is qualified by a right to interfere when it is justified.

“Devon Clays had compelling economic reasons which made it necessary to change the working practices of its workforce to a seven-day shift,” he said. Michael Schluter, chairman of the Keep Sunday Special Campaign, which funded Mr Copsey's appeal, said the ruling meant that Christians who want to worship on a Sunday do not have that right if their employer requires them to work at that time.


Chip Implants: Better Care or Privacy Scare?
Sunday, July 31, 2005
By Daniel J. DeNoon

They're here. They have FDA approval. But are Americans ready to get chipped?

Getting chipped means having a radio frequency identification (RFID) chip implanted in your body. The chip — about the size of a large grain of rice — lies dormant until a special scanner is passed within six inches of the implant. Then it emits a radio signal that beams a 16-digit number to the scanner.

For security uses, that 16-digit number acts like an electronic key. For medical uses, the number is linked to medical records. Doctors to whom you've granted access — emergency room doctors, for example — can use the key to quickly get hold of your medical records.
Who would want such a thing? That depends on how you ask, says Scott Silverman, CEO of Applied Digital, which makes the FDA-approved RFID called VeriChip.

"When we first announced VeriChip, a network poll asked people if they would put one in their bodies," Silverman tells WebMD. "Only 9 percent said yes. After FDA approval, 19 percent said yes. When former HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson joined our board, the rate went up to 33 percent. But our own study shows that if you ask people whether they would have a VeriChip implant to identify their medical records in case of an emergency, the positive response goes to 80 percent."

The rest

New arrests of underground Catholics in China
Beijing, Jul. 29

( - Chinese officials have arrested a priest of the underground Catholic Church, beaten members of his congregation, and ransacked the home where he was celebrating Mass, the Cardinal Kung Foundation reports.

Father Lin Daixian was arrested along with a seminarian and 9 parishioners when police raided the home where he was celebrating Mass in Fujian. Several parishioners were beaten and injured in the violent raid, before the priest and his companions were taken to a local prison, where they were still being held, the Cardinal Kung Foundation said.

Father Lin, a priest of the Fuzhou diocese, has now been arrested four times since his ordination in 1995. The 10 men imprisoned with him have not been identified.

The arrests represent another setback for religious freedom in China. They came just as the government recognized a new auxiliary bishop in Xian who had been recognized by the Holy See-- a step that seemed to indicate an opening toward the Vatican.

Joseph Kung, the president of the US-based Cardinal Kung Foundation, saw the new arrests of underground Catholics as an indication that the Beijing regime is not serious about allowing freedom to the underground Church. “The Chinese government has repeatedly declared to the world that there is religious freedom in China," said Kung. " Yet this kind of arrest of innocent religious believers keeps taking place."


Monsoon rains leaves millions homeless in India, Christians respond
July 29, 2005

India (MNN) -- More than 500 people have been killed and millions are homeless after historic monsoon rains hit western India. Mumbai, formerly known as Bombay, is reporting more than 200 fatalities so far, but millions have been left homeless by the rains and resulting mudslides.

Mission Network News' Greg Yoder was in Mumbai Monday, just missing the deluge.

Gospel for Asia's KP Yohannan has been in contact with GFA workers in the region. GFA has work in the slum areas of Mumbai. "Nobody's counting the poor and the suffering people. We have 28 pastors working in that neighborhood. By the grace of God no one died, but all the 12 churches they have in the slum areas completely got destroyed through the flood and the water there."


Christian Law Student Group Denied Recognition Appeals for Justice
By Jim Brown

July 29, 2005

(AgapePress) - The
Christian Legal Society chapter at Southern Illinois University Law School is asking a federal court to order the law school to reinstate the evangelical group as an official student organization.

CLS filed suit in April, alleging the law school violated its First Amendment and Fourteenth Amendment rights by revoking the organization's registered status. SIU dropped its recognition of CLS after a homosexual student complained to law school officials about the chapter's requirement that its members and leaders be Christians.

CLS is now appealing their case to the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. M. Casey Mattox, litigation counsel for the CLS's Center for Law & Religious Freedom, is one of the attorneys representing the group. He says SIU is erroneously claiming the chapter violates the school's affirmative action policy.

The rest

Christianity is China's new social revolution
By Richard Spencer in Beijing
(Filed: 30/07/2005)

The beauty salon near Beijing Zoo gives its customers more than they bargain for: not just facials and manicures, but the Word of the Lord.
Its owner, Xun Jinzhen, sees beauty salons as a good place to transform souls as well as bodies.
"I introduced 40 people to the church last year," he said.

Mr Xun, and millions of other Chinese Christian converts like him, may well be living proof that God moves in a mysterious way.
During the Cultural Revolution, Chairman Mao's China turned on itself, torturing and killing hundreds of thousands of people. But the seeds were sown for an unexpected upsurge in Christianity.
In a social revolution that has prompted a heavy-handed response from the Politburo, it is spreading through town and countryside and Chinese communities abroad.


Saturday, July 30, 2005

"Learning Christ"

Teach me, my Lord, to be sweet and gentle
In all the events of my life-
in disappointments,
in the thoughtlessness of others,
in the insincerity of those I trusted,
in the unfaithfulness of those on whom I relied.

Let me put myself aside,
to think of the happiness of others,
to hide my little pains and heartaches,
so that I may be the only one to suffer from them.

Teach me to profit by the suffering that comes across my path.

Let me so use it that it may mellow me,
not harden nor embitter me;
that it may make me patient, not irritable.
that it may make me broad in my forgiveness, not narrow, haughty and overbearing.

May no one be less good for having come within my influence.
No one less pure, less trusted, less kind, less noble for having been a fellow-traveler in our journey toward ETERNAL LIFE.

As I go my rounds from one distraction to another, let me whisper from time to time, a word of love to Thee. May my life be lived in the super-natural, full of power for good, and strong in its purpose of sanctity.

Lectionary Readings for Sunday, July 31, 2005

Nehemiah 9:16-20
Psalm 78:1-29 or 78:14-20, 23-2
Romans 8:35-39
Matthew 14:13-21

The Collect:
Let your continual mercy, O Lord, cleanse and defend your Church; and, because it cannot continue in safety without your help, protect and govern it always by your goodness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Nehemiah 9:16-20
Ezra blessed the Lord, and said, "Our ancestors acted presumptuously and stiffened their necks and did not obey your commandments; they refused to obey, and were not mindful of the wonders that you performed among them; but they stiffened their necks and determined to return to their slavery in Egypt. But you are a God ready to forgive, gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and you did not forsake them. Even when they had cast an image of a calf for themselves and said, `This is your God who brought you up out of Egypt,' and had committed great blasphemies, you in your great mercies did not forsake them in the wilderness; the pillar of cloud that led them in the way did not leave them by day, nor the pillar of fire by night that gave them light on the way by which they should go. You gave your good spirit to instruct them, and did
not withhold your manna from their mouths, and gave them water for their thirst.

Our Uniquely Undisciplined Moment
Formal accountability has been a core part of church life from its earliest days.
by Thomas C. Oden

posted 07/29/2005 09:30 a.m.

"Whenever laity or clergy are disciplined, it seems to modern eyes, and especially to the secular press, like overbearing legalism, moral insensitivity, and exclusivism. If any constraints are put on reception of Communion, it appears undemocratic. When church trials have sought to call voluntary believers to accountability to their own voluntary decisions and commitments, the press paints a picture of social injustice. Any attempt at accountability, even for the worst abuses, looks to modernity like oppression. Believers understandably wonder: How can meaningful church discipline be recovered in a culture that prefers no accountability at all?"


Kendall Harmon: Bishop Duncan M. Gray Swings and Misses

“Since we were birthed out of the Church of England, a brief look at our English history provides an important insight into our present situation and personality.

In the 16th century, the Protestant Reformation exacted a bloody toll in England. A succession of monarchs beginning with Henry VIII produced an ecclesiastical pendulum swing from Protestantism to Catholicism to Protestantism.

The political, social and religious fabric of the nation was under enormous pressure.

However, early in the reign of Elizabeth I, a new direction was charted. Queen Elizabeth refused to take sides in the theological disputes and through acts of Parliament she directed that the unity of the Church of England would be based not on doctrinal conformity (as the Protestants demanded) or on magisterial authority (as the Catholics required), but on a common liturgical worship.

Thus, from our earliest moments as a distinct Christian community, liturgical worship, the act of saying our common prayers together, has held us together in the midst of remarkable theological diversity and conflict.”

Excellent read! Don't miss this one!

It is possible for the power of God to be so manifest in your human life that you will never be as you were before; for you will be ever going forward, from victory to victory, for faith knows no defeat.

The Word of God will bring you into a wonderful place of rest in faith. God means for you to have a clear conception of what faith is, how faith came,and how it remains. Faith is in the divine plan, for it brings you to the open door that you might enter in. You must have an open door, for you cannot open the door; it is God who does it, but He wants you to be ready to step in and claim His promises to all the divine manifestation of power in the name of Christ Jesus. It is only thus that you will be able to meet and conquer the enemy, for "He that is within you is greater than he that is without."

Smith Wigglesworth

Christian Women on Trial for ‘Evangelizing’ Muslim Children
By Lucille Talusan
CBN News Asia Correspondent – INDRAMAYA, Indonesia - Muslim extremists in Indonesia have demanded that three Christian women be put to death for allegedly evangelizing Muslim children.

The women are on trial now. They say they were holding an authorized program for Christian students in public schools and were not targeting Muslim kids.

The three Christian housewives have been in jail for more than two months now. The case has caused concern for Christians and stirred the passions of militant Muslims.

CBN News was present in one of the court hearings. Three truckloads of Islamic radicals surged into the courthouse to show defiance to the three Indonesian Sunday school teachers accused of converting Muslim children to Christianity.

Rest of the story

Hansen fires back at bishop

The Bristol priest whom Connecticut’s Episcopal bishop suspended July 13 formally denied Bishop Andrew D. Smith’s inhibition charges Friday, issuing a "good faith denial" that he has abandoned communion with the church.

The denial by the Rev. Mark Hansen of St. John’s Church, a member of what has become known as the "Connecticut Six," came with no additional direct comment.

But a press release issued on Hansen’s behalf said that church law provides that if the bishop is "reasonably satisfied" that a priest has issued a good-faith denial, the bishop shall withdraw his notice of inhibition "and the inhibition shall expire.""Given the fact that the bishop has failed to provide evidence to corroborate his charges, and in light of Father Hansen’s, it is hoped that Bishop Smith will immediately lift the inhibition," the press release said.


Friday, July 29, 2005

Jesus Comforts the Sisters
John 11:17-27

17 On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days.

18 Bethany was less than two miles from Jerusalem, 19 and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother. 20 When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home.
21 "Lord," Martha said to Jesus, "if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask."
23 Jesus said to her, "Your brother will rise again."
24 Martha answered, "I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day."
25 Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; 26 and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?"
27 "Yes, Lord," she told him, "I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world."

Confession of Martha

Lord, Your great I AM statement prompted Martha to respond by confessing You as the Son of God! We, too, believe that You are our Resurrection and our Life, the Son of the living God by Whom we come to the Father. May we be strong in our faith even when death surrounds us and we see no way out. You are our Way! You are our Life!

Movie Industry Watcher Observes Hollywood Sea Change in The Passion's Wake
By Ed Thomas
July 29, 2005

(AgapePress) - One Hollywood insider says things in Tinseltown are changing, in part thanks to Mel Gibson's hit independent feature, The Passion of the Christ. Because of the doors opened by that Bible-based blockbuster, film festival founder Jason Apuzzo sees hope for the future of movies that will appeal to conservatives and others longing to see good, quality cinema entertainment
As founder of the conservative Liberty Film Festival and its website -- as well as co-editor of the film blog "
Libertas" -- Apuzzo has been part of Hollywood for a while now. And after all these years, he says he is slowly seeing changes for the better. For one thing, the movie trade insider notes, Mel Gibson's Passion of the Christ did not just open Hollywood's eyes to the profitability of films dealing with religious messages; it also demonstrated that there is substantial interest in such films among what the industry considers to be its core audience.
Apuzzo believes the box office numbers proved to the movie industry that a film like The Passion of the Christ could have a major impact, measurable in box office receipts. "That film brought a lot of people back to the movies who may not necessarily have been Christians or conservatives, but who simply are just tired of bad films," he contends. Also, he says, Gibson's film brought back those who "are also tired of films that don't have a personal dimension to them."

The rest

Reaping What We Sow--The Harvest of Moral Relativism
Albert Mohler
Author, Speaker, President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

Friday, July 29, 2005

A culture, like an individual, reaps what it sows. The seed of honor produces a harvest of honorable acts. The seed of anger eventually yields violence. The law of the harvest is part of the divine design for human society, and it allows no exceptions. A society which sows reverence for life will reap a culture of kindness and a legacy of respect. A people shorn of this seed will eventually produce a harvest of unspeakable horror, anguish, and inhumanity.

America is now living on the tattered remnants of a post-Christian culture. The tapestry of permanent truths is not completely gone; here and there a fragment appears. But the moral fabric of this culture has been torn asunder by the clipping shears of moral revisionism. The threads now stand loose and bare, and American society has few defenses against the barbarians.

The story of the 20th century is framed by the overarching theme of moral relativism. Hitler, Lenin, Pol Pot, and a host of other moral relativists worked this theme thoroughly into the story of that century, but they have been joined by millions of modern Americans--relativists to the core--who are laws and gods unto themselves. Now, in the 21st century, we face unprecedented dangers posed by world terrorism and a threatening breakdown of the world order. At the center of these developments is the loss of any shared moral vision.

The clear dictates of Scripture are now commonly rejected as out of date and without authority. A society which denies God is not long held back by the prescription of His Word. Such a society soon learns that morality cannot be determined by democratic debate and majority vote, so it rebels against any moral code at all and retreats into the confusion of 250 million individuals--each with his or her own "values."

The rest!

National Survey Shows Strength of a Conservative Supreme Court Nominee

(Tupelo, MS) - A recent national survey commissioned by American Values and the American Family Association finds that voters favor a “more conservative” - over a “more liberal” - U.S. Supreme Court by 50.3 percent to 30.5 percent. Majorities of survey respondents also indicated that they disapprove of a number of the high court’s most liberal decisions.

“This survey demonstrates that President Bush’s judicial nominees need not fear appearing before the U.S. Senate and stating their opposition to the liberal judicial agenda. During his upcoming confirmation hearings, John Roberts should confidently defend his conservative philosophy,” said Gary Bauer, president of American Values.

The national survey of public opinion was conducted July 18 and 19 among 800 likely general election voters throughout the United States. All interviews were conducted by professional interviewers by telephone. Interview selection was conducted randomly from among lists of registered voters. The sample was constructed to statistically correlate with actual voter distributions across the country. The accuracy of this nationwide survey with 800 likely voters is within a margin of error of +/-3.46 percent at a 95 percent confidence interval.

The rest

Senators demand Roe be upheld
By Charles Hurt
July 29, 2005

A group of female Democratic senators said yesterday that they will vote against Supreme Court nominee John G. Roberts Jr. unless he vows to uphold abortion rights.

Yesterday's comments exceed previous posturing by Democrats calling on Judge Roberts to state his position on settled cases, a practice that previous high court nominees have avoided. They also come closer than ever to establishing a single-issue "litmus test" for his confirmation.

"Thousands of women a year died in back alleys," Sen. Barbara Boxer, California Democrat, said of the days before Roe v. Wade, the 1973


Californians Seek Rite for Same-Sex Blessings

A task force in the Diocese of California has concluded that “now is the time to acknowledge in convention our diocesan practice of 22 years.” The committee, charged by the diocesan bishop, the Rt. Rev. William E. Swing, to consider a variety of issues related to the status of marriage and the blessing of same-gender covenants in Church and society, has proposed three resolutions to be considered at convention in the fall.Resolution 1 asks convention to extend the life of the task force for another five years. The second resolution directs the commission on marriage and blessing to develop, for distribution at the convention in 2007, resources relating to the ethics and pastoral theology of lifelong committed relationships. The third resolution directs the commission on liturgy and music and the commission on marriage and blessing to jointly prepare for consideration by the 2007 convention a rite or rites which formalize the blessing of same-gender unions in the diocese, together with a policy for the use of said rite or rites.


Church allows gay clergy to register partnerships
July 29, 2005

Gay clergy have been given the Church of England's blessing to register civil partnerships on the condition that they uphold its traditional teaching by abstaining from a sexual relationship. Guidelines issued by the House of Bishops this week, in preparation for the introduction of the Civil Partnerships Act in December, told clergy and candidates for ordination that they should expect to be asked for assurances that their relationship will be consistent with the Church's teaching.

the rest

Monday, July 25, 2005

Dear Readers,

I am heading off for a week of mountain air and enjoying God's creation!
If you don't alreading do so, here are my favorits links to keep up with the Angilcan /Episcopal news:




Albany Intercessor

Blessings to all! Pat

"In pastures green"? Not always; sometimes He,
Who knoweth best, in kindness leadeth me
In weary ways, where heavy shadows be.

And "by still waters" ? No, not always so;
Ofttimes the heavy tempests round me blow,
And o'er my soul the waves and billows go.

But when the storm beats loudest, and I cry

Aloud for help, the Master standeth by,
And whispers to my soul, "Lo, it is I."

So, where He leads me, I can safely go,
And in the blest hereafter I shall know
Why, in His wisdom, He hath led me so.
... Anonymous

Gay clergy can 'marry' but no sex
By Ruth Gledhill
Religion Correspondent

THE Church of England will today give its blessing to gay clergy who want to enter into civil partnerships.
But the Church is refusing to accord civil partnerships the status of marital relationships and gay clergy will be told that they must remain chaste.
The “sexless marriage” code for gays, to be published today, has been prepared by a working group headed by the Bishop of Norwich, the Right Reverend Graham James.
The established Church’s complex manoeuvrings are the result of having to remain on the right side of the law while abiding by Church doctrine.
The worldwide Anglican Communion is deeply divided over the issue of gay clergy and has been brought to the brink of schism over the election of its first openly gay bishop, the Right Rev Gene Robinson, in New Hampshire in the US.
The first civil partnership is expected to be registered in Brighton on December 21, involving a lesbian independent church minister, the Rev Debbie Gaston, and Elaine Cook.


Sunday, July 24, 2005

We Need Minor Keys Too
Mrs. Charles E. Cowman

"Giving thanks always for all things unto God" (Eph. 5:20).

No matter what the source of the evil, if you are in God and surrounded by Him as by an atmosphere, all evil has to pass through Him before it comes to you. Therefore you can thank God for everything that comes, not for the sin of it, but for what God will bring out of it and through it. May God make our lives thanksgiving and perpetual praise, then He will make everything a blessing.

We once saw a man draw some black dots. We looked and could make nothing of them but an irregular assemblage of black dots. Then he drew a few lines, put in a few rests, then a clef at the beginning, and we saw these black dots were musical notes. On sounding them we were singing,

"Praise God from whom all blessings flow,
Praise Him all creatures here below."

There are many black dots and black spots in our lives, and we cannot understand why they are there or why God permitted them to come. But if we let God come into our lives, and adjust the dots in the proper way, and draw the lines He wants, and separate this from that, and put in the rests at the proper places; out of the black dots and spots in our lives He will make a glorious harmony. Let us not hinder Him in this glorious work! --C. H. P.

"Would we know that the major chords were sweet,
If there were no minor key?
Would the painter's work be fair to our eyes,
Without shade on land or sea?

"Would we know the meaning of happiness,
Would we feel that the day was bright,
If we'd never known what it was to grieve,
Nor gazed on the dark of night?"

Many men owe the grandeur of their lives to their tremendous difficulties. --C. H. Spurgeon

When the musician presses the black keys on the great organ, the music is as sweet as when he touches the white ones, but to get the capacity of the instrument he must touch them all. --Selected


Flailing & Flummoxed
It’s cooperation or desperation for the Left on Roberts.

How do you define "flummoxed"? That would be Sen. Chuck Schumer. Or "flailing"? That would be Sen. Ted Kennedy. Or "desperate"? That would be the array of left-wing activist groups from People For the American Way to This cadre of desperately flailing flummoxed anti-Bushies has been brought to their state of extreme futility by the nomination to the Supreme Court of John Roberts, the un-Borkable.

Borking was pioneered by Kennedy, of course, when Judge Robert Bork was nominated to the court by President Reagan in 1987. It is a practice that involves destroying conservative nominees in all-out smear-fests. Eighteen years later, the Right has a two-step counterstrategy. First, find a nominee who has spent his career avoiding provocations that would give would-be Borkers traction. Then, unveil his nomination in a carefully prepared rollout with gorgeous visuals and rigorously on-message advocates.

President Bush opponents have been picking at Roberts's record, compiled as a deputy solicitor general in the first Bush administration, as a private advocate and as a judge on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals since 2003. They are finding little that is usefully distortable.


Air Force Academy: When Does Sharing Faith Become ‘Religious Insensitivity?'
By David Brody
Capitol Hill Correspondent – COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - The United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs is under the microscope because of allegations of religious insensitivity.
Some are concerned that evangelical Christians have been too forceful in witnessing to non-believing cadets. This has caused an uproar about a potential violation of separation of church and state.
The traditional hat toss and cadets marching to a famous beat: these are the sights and sounds at the Air Force Academy. The best and brightest come here, nestled in the foothills of Colorado Springs.
But despite its great reputation, the recent headlines have not been too kind. They read like this: "Faith bias is pervasive," "Heathens not welcome at Air Force Academy," "Religious Intolerance at Air Force Academy."

The rest

Christian group vows to counter religious right
By Tom Stuckey
uly 24, 2005

COLUMBIA, Md. -- Some Marylanders who describe themselves as progressive Christians are organizing to counter conservative religious groups that they say are dominating political debates about moral and religious issues.

"We've allowed the Christian right to commandeer and exclusively appropriate the term Christian for themselves," said Paul Verduin, a Silver Spring resident who has helped start Maryland Christians for Justice and Peace. "We refuse to be marginalized by some of their right-wing and extreme positions.

" To be sure, conservative and fundamentalist churches that once avoided politics are increasingly active in national and state governments over the last three decades -- lobbying state and federal legislators on such issues as abortion, stem-cell research and same-sex "marriage."

Conservative religious groups played an important role in some battleground states in the 2004 presidential election, including Florida and Ohio, both of which President Bush won.

The 20 persons who gathered recently at an Episcopal church in Columbia to talk about the future of the new group came from a variety of religious backgrounds, including the Church of Christ and Lutheran, Methodist and Roman Catholic churches. They also have been active in issues such as civil rights, the environment, war and helping the poor and elderly.

A big first step for members has been to agree on which issues to focus. So far they are united on one issue: the belief that the most important teachings of Jesus are not dominating the political dialogue in Maryland and elsewhere in the country.


Former Episcopal treasurer arrested
Diocese seeking $600,000 from property fund

The former treasurer of the Houston-based Episcopal Diocese of Texas was arrested Thursday in connection with more than a half-million dollars that disappeared from a diocese fund.

Ronald D. Null, 59, was arrested after a grand jury indicted him on a charge of felony theft on Tuesday, records show. He remained in jail Saturday in lieu of a $100,000 bail.

The diocese announced last month it was investigating the disappearance of $600,000 from a $5.5 million fund used primarily for the purchase of property.


When Someone Lets You Down
Not Losing Heart When
Others Disappoint Us

Blaine Smith

A woman in a class I was teaching once asked a favor of me. The community where she lived had an unfortunate ordinance, she explained, which could result in her losing the lease on her home. Cary had joined with other residents to lobby for the policy’s repeal. She asked if I would be willing to write a letter to the town council urging this change. I told her I’d be glad to help, and promised to get the letter off quickly.

The following week I caught the flu, and then with the pressure of other responsibilities never got around to fulfilling my promise. About six weeks later Cary brought up the matter again. Embarrassed, I confessed I had never followed through and began to offer my lame excuse, fearing she’d be disappointed with me. To my surprise she cut me off, saying, “Don’t worry, the Lord withheld your hand.” She went on to say that she realized the timing hadn’t been right for the letter. She was glad I’d neglected to send it.

The rest

Lift Up Your Heads,Ye Mighty Gates

Lift up your heads, ye mighty gates;
Behold, the King of glory waits;
The King of kings is drawing near;
The Savior of the world is here!

A Helper just He comes to thee,
His chariot is humility,
His kingly crown is holiness,
His scepter, pity in distress.

O blest the land, the city blest,
Where Christ the Ruler is confessed!
O happy hearts and happy homes
To whom this King in triumph comes!

Fling wide the portals of your heart;
Make it a temple, set apart
From earthly use for heaven’s employ,
Adorned with prayer and love and joy.

Redeemer, come, with us abide;
Our hearts to Thee we open wide;
Let us Thy inner presence feel;
Thy grace and love in us reveal.

Thy Holy Spirit lead us on
Until our glorious goal is won;
Eternal praise, eternal fame
Be offered, Savior, to Thy Name!

Saturday, July 23, 2005


Jesus Christ was born in a stable; he was obliged to fly into Egypt; thirty years of his life were spent in a workshop; he suffered hunger, thirst, and weariness; he was poor, despised and miserable; he taught the doctrines of Heaven, and no one would listen. The great and the wise persecuted and took him, subjected him to frightful torments, treated him as a slave and put him to death between two malefactors, having preferred to give liberty to a robber, rather than to suffer him to escape. Such was the life which our Lord chose; while we are horrified at any kind of humiliation, and cannot bear the slightest appearance of contempt.

Let us compare our lives with that of Jesus Christ, reflecting that he was the Master and that we are the servants; that He was all-powerful, and that we are but weakness; that he was abased and that we are exalted. Let us so constantly bear our wretchedness in mind, that we may have nothing but contempt for ourselves. With what face can we despise others, and dwell upon their faults, when we ourselves are filled with nothing else? Let us begin to walk in the path which our Saviour has marked out, for it is the only one that can lead us to Him.


Lectionary Readings for Sunday, July 24, 2005

1 Kings 3:5-12
Romans 8:26-34
Matthew 13:31-33,44-49a
Psalm 119:121-136 or 119:129-136

O God, the protector of all who trust in you, without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy: Increase and multiply upon us your mercy; that, with you as our ruler and guide, we may so pass through things temporal, that we lose not the things eternal; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Romans 8:26-34
The Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn within a large family. And those whom he predestined he also called; and those whom he called he also justified; and those whom he justified he also glorified.
What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us, will he not with him also give us everything else? Who will bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? It is Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us.

Reporter seeks justice for victims and for God
Jerry Mitchell breaks the mold.

July 17, 2005

The Mississippi newspaper reporter doesn't fit conventional categories or stereotypes.

He's an investigative reporter who's broken big stories on the Ku Klux Klan and corruption in the criminal justice system in Mississippi. But he does it in a polite, non-confrontational manner opposite the stereotype of an ambush interviewer.

He's worked for justice for African Americans in the spirit and tradition of the civil rights movement of the 1960s. But his foundation is not in his own good intentions. He sees himself as a humble instrument in the hands of God.

In an age of relativism, he believes in absolute truth and standards of justice that don't shift according to someone's subjective preferences of the moment.


Youth Ministry: Stepping into the Virtual Community
posted by
Andy Rau on July 22, 2005

Blogs, instant messenger, chat rooms and Internet forums—all are cited as tools for creating “virtual communities.” They point to an internet phenomenon that has been underway for years but is just now starting to be taken seriously by mainstream churches and ministries. Chances are, the kids in your youth group are already connected to an online community. So what does a virtual community look like—and how can it make your ministry more effective? Renee Altson has written an excellent
overview of a healthy online community [PDF], with plenty of suggestions and ideas for incorporating the virtual world of blogs and chats with your “offline” ministry. She also lists tips to help even Internet-challenged ministers step into the world of blogging and IM and make an existing youth ministry more meaningful and effective.


Meeting of Bishops in Los Angeles Concludes

Nineteen invited bishops from across the theological spectrum reported “frank, respectful” discussion “on a variety of issues that have caused pain and dissension within the Episcopal Church” at the conclusion of a July 18-21 meeting in Los Angeles, hosted by the Bishop, the Rt. Rev. J. Jon Bruno.

One of the initial invitations proposing the meeting said the purpose was “to discuss a final settlement.” A number of other explanations were offered in subsequent communications, however, leading one participating bishop to deny to the diocesan communications officer knowledge of any official purpose a few weeks before it began.

Shortly after the official opening, the Rt. Rev. John B. Chane, Bishop of Washington, made it known that he would leave if “it became clear that details of the meeting were being revealed while it was in session.” Jim Naughton, communications director for the Diocese of Washington, said “the bishops pledged to each other to keep details of the meeting confidential.”

Rest of the story

Police Crackdown Forces Hundreds from Zimbabwe Churches
Church leaders accused the government of a ''total disregard for the law and perpetrating human rights violations.

''Friday, Jul. 22, 2005 Posted: 6:28:40PM EST

Police raided at least nine churches in Zimbabwe’s second-largest city on Wednesday, forcibly removing hundreds of homeless people seeking shelter after the government's crackdown on illegal settlements in urban areas, church leaders and news agencies reported yesterday.


No Further Than Natural Things
Elisabeth Elliot

"Well, it's perfectly natural for you to feel that way," I was telling myself when I was upset with the way someone had treated me. "It's a normal reaction."
It was a normal reaction for a carnal mind. It was not normal for a spiritual one. The carnal attitude deals with things on one level only--this world's. It "sees no further than natural things" (Rom 8:5 JBP).
Is there a telescope that will bring into focus things I would not see with merely "natural" vision? There is.
"The spiritual attitude reaches out after the things of the spirit." It is a different means of perceiving. It will enable me to see what I could not have seen with the naked--that is, the carnal--eye.
It works. When I looked at that person who had offended me through the "spiritual eye," I saw in him one of God's instruments to teach me, instead of one of the devil's to torment me. I saw something more. I saw a person God loves, and whom He wants to love through me.

Found here

Bishop Spong Tells Religious "Progressives" to Stick It to Conservatives
Mark Tooley

Contrasting his own sense of divine love with the ostensible "hate" of conservative Protestants and Catholics, Episcopal Bishop John Shelby Spong insisted, "I don't want to denigrate any human being."

But Spong lashed into traditional Christians in a scorching speech to Michael Lerner's Conference on Spiritual Activism on July 21 in Berkeley, California. He hailed Lerner as a "major force for peace in our nation and the world."

Hundreds at what Spong called a "consciousness-raising conference" cheered and applauded as he mocked traditional Christian and Jewish beliefs about God and the Bible.
"I rise up to say 'no' to popular religion in America today," Spong declared, calling American religiosity "tribal" and the "blessing of private prejudices."

Warning against this supposed "tribal" religion, Spong insinuated a connection between conservative Christians and Islamist terrorists. He noted, as if it were some kind of proof, that both Osama bin Laden and George W. Bush "invoke" God.

Spong, who is the retired Episcopal Bishop of Newark, has long been a biting polemicist on behalf of liberal religion, writing books suggesting that the Virgin Mary was a prostitute and St. Paul a "self-hating gay man,"while denying that Christ was divine and rejecting a personal God. "It's time to name evil as evil when sounded in pious accents of biblical religion," Spong declared blazingly. "In the 21st century ... my nation seems to be walking religiously back into religious attitudes that I spent a lifetime trying to escape."

The rest

Friday, July 22, 2005

Where is God when things are being shaken?
by Henry Blackaby

". . . the heavens and earth will shake; but the Lord will be a shelter for His people . . ." (Joel 3:16b)

If a person does not have a real or close relationship with God, the incredible "shaking" of our day will be a time for anger, bitterness, cynicism and even deep unbelief in the very existence of God!

What do we see being shaken in the world today? -- homeland security since the 9/11 tragedies; terrorism and its constant destabilizing threats; the downturn and uncertainties in the economy; wars in Bosnia, Afghanistan, Kuwait and Iraq; death in our military and its effect on their families; changing standards, including the debate over marriage; breakdown in family life; bankruptcies and unemployment; rising costs in education and other aspects of life; corporate fraud and scandals; and many more life-changing and unsettling aspects of life that are touching all of us.

The rest

God alone knows all the facts,
sets all the goals, and determines morality. Nowhere in Scripture are His principles to be replaced in favor of human calculation. He allows us to play the game; He does not allow us to make the rules.
--Erwin Lutzer

Catholic Activist Dismayed by Media's Invective of Nominee Roberts' Religion
By Jody Brown
July 22, 2005

(AgapePress) - The leader of a Catholic religious and civil rights group is pointing it didn't take long for critics of Supreme Court nominee John Roberts to drag religion into the debate. He accuses on online magazine that is seldom friendly to Catholics of "playing the Catholic card" in early attempts to undermine the nominee's chances for confirmation.

Supreme Court nominee John Roberts and his wife, Jane, are Roman Catholics. He attended Catholic elementary and high schools in Indiana, and now is a parishioner at a Catholic church near the couple's home in Maryland. Jane Roberts is on the board of governors of the John Carroll Society, a Catholic lay group that sponsors a Mass every year before the start of the new Supreme Court term. In addition, she was on the board of directors for Feminists for Life from 1995 to 1999 and at one time was its executive vice president. She currently does pro bono legal work for the organization.

The rest

Arkansas Parents Uncover Volumes of Vile Literature in School Libraries
By Jim Brown

July 22, 2005

(AgapePress) - An Arkansas mother who succeeded in getting three sexually explicit books removed from Fayetteville school libraries says she has found there are more than a hundred books of that nature in the school district. Now a mental health counselor is recommending a parental audit of all the books in the city's school libraries.

According to a search conducted by Fayetteville mom Laurie Taylor, out of 502 books listed under "sex" in the city's middle, junior high, and high school libraries, there are 66 books on sex instruction, and 32 of those are on child sex instruction. Another 75 of the books deal with homosexuality, 23 fall under the category of lesbian fiction, 16 are on rape, 9 on incest, and there are even some books on bestiality.

The rest of the story

News from the Saint Louis meeting of bishops


Bishop Smith Dismisses Role and Authority of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Panel of Reference

Contact:Cynthia P. Brust
July 22, 2005

In an article dated July 22, 2005, the Church of England Newspaper reports that Andrew Smith, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut, has “warned” the Panel of Reference “that it will have no role in the battle for alternate episcopal oversight (AEO)” in the Diocese of Connecticut. According to the report, Diocesan Director of Communications Karin Hamilton says Bishop Smith “does not envision a role for it [the panel] in the present conflict as he wishes to resolve the present dispute ‘domestically’.”

The Rev. Canon David C. Anderson, President and CEO of the American Anglican Council (AAC), responded to the recent developments in the Diocese of Connecticut saying, “This is a staggering development in a dramatic and escalating situation. Bishop Smith ran roughshod over canon law when he seized St. John’s Episcopal Church in Bristol and inhibited their rector. Now he has reportedly challenged the Archbishop of Canterbury who established the Panel of Reference in order to deal with cases just like this one. Are their no bounds to his arrogance and challenge of Anglican authority?”

The rest at AAC website

Connecticut Attorney Ralph Dupont responds to Diocese of Connecticut Attorney Alan Baker 7/22/2005

July 21, 2005
Alan Robert Baker, Esq.
Baker O’Sullivan & Bliss PCPutnam Park,
Suite 100100 Great Meadow Road
Wethersfield, CT 06109-2371

Dear Mr. Baker:

Your letter to Attorney Reeve, under date of July 19, 2005, has received careful consideration and review. We expressly deny the many factual generalizations therein. We are responding to your implied suggestions for an immediate resolution of the St. John’s dispute.

We are prepared to respond as permitted by Canon IV.10.2. We assume upon receipt of Father Hansen’s declaration denying abandonment of the communion, that the inhibition will be withdrawn, promptly, with an appropriate public announcement.

Father Hansen and the Bishop need not meet for that purpose, of course, but if a meeting is desired by the Bishop, then Father Hansen must be provided with a Consultant, at the expense of the Diocese, as required by canon law in such cases. Hopefully, that meeting will lead to a resolution of the sabbatical leave issue, as well, with Attorney Reeve’s assistance.

The rest at titusonenine

Eminent Domain: Churches 'Targeted by the Bulldozers'
Jeff JohnsonSenior Staff Writer

( - There is disagreement over whether the U.S. Supreme Court's recent eminent domain decision endangers the property rights of churches, synagogues and other religious institutions. Some argue that the First Amendment and existing laws may offer adequate protection, while others worry that the decision will open the door to a political assault on the property of people of faith.The Supreme Court's Kelo v. New London ruling, could mean that "religious institutions that are, by nature, non-commercial and, by law, tax exempt, would be the first to be targeted by the bulldozers because of their alleged lack of economic contribution to the community," according to Jared Leland, media and legal counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.


How Discipline Died
The church should stop taking its cues from the state.
by Marlin Jeschke
posted 07/22/2005 09:00 a.m.

The Protestant reformers named three "marks by which the true church is known": the preaching of the pure doctrine of the gospel, the pure administration of the sacraments, and the exercise of church discipline to correct faults. Today, church discipline is feared as the mark of a false church, bringing to mind images of witch trials, scarlet letters, public humiliations, and damning excommunications. Does discipline itself need correction and redemption in order to be readmitted into the body of Christ? We have asked several experts from different (and sometimes contrasting) professional and theological backgrounds to explain how church discipline fell into disrepair and how it can be revived, so that the true church can fully embody the pure doctrine of the gospel once again
Day One
Who killed church discipline? As in any good mystery story, fingers point everywhere.
It's tempting to finger the megachurch as the prime suspect, if only for its size. In such settings, it is hard to keep track of the membership rolls, let alone members' personal lives. Congregants from the 9:30 service rarely meet those who attend the 11:00 service, even if they may be committed to biblical mandates to help a fellow church member in spiritual or moral trouble. But how can one even tell a member? Many people attending these churches may be church hoppers or perennial visitors, considering themselves free-floating Christians without accountability—and they like it that way.

The rest

Roberts' rules . . .
By Cal Thomas
July 22, 2005

Once again, President Bush has confounded his critics by doing what he said he would do. He has nominated to the Supreme Court someone he believes will not make law from the bench, but interpret laws in light of the Constitution as the Founders wrote it.

D.C. Appeals Court Judge John Roberts has been in his current post just two years. Confirmed to that position by a unanimous voice vote in the Senate, Judge Roberts won't get that sort of treatment this time around. Liberal senators, like Democrats Patrick Leahy of Vermont and Charles Schumer of New York, will try to pin down Judge Roberts on cases such as Roe v. Wade as to whether "settled law" can be overturned. If it can't, the United States might still be practicing racial segregation, even slavery.


A Burglary at an Episcopal Church in Connecticut?

Last week Bishop Andrew Smith of Connecticut did the very thing which he had been threatening for several months. Without a trial he ignored all semblance of due process as he declared a priest of his diocese, Fr. Mark Hansen of St. John’s Bristol, to be “inhibited,” claiming that he had abandoned the Anglican Communion. I wrote an open letter to Bp. Smith on April 17, 2005 to warn him against the actions which he has now taken (see,

Claiming that Fr. Hansen has abandoned the Anglican Communion is nonsense, since just the night before the Letter of Inhibition was written, he did one of the standard things any rector does - attend his parish’s vestry meeting. This is hardly an example of a priest who has jumped ship.

I do not know what the legal situation is with St. John’s Church, but most Episcopal Churches in New York are religious corporations which are independent of the diocese. They may be a member of the diocese, but as religious corporations they have independent legal existence. If a bishop here did what Bishop Smith did in Connecticut - seize a parish without any civil court proceedings - he would face something more serious than violating his own church canons in wrongly deposing a priest. He and his staff could be charged with the felony of burglary.

Unless the diocese owns the property, the bishop has no legal right under civil law to enter or remain in a church without the consent of the parish. According to published reports, that is exactly what Bishop Smith did with the help of the locksmith on the morning of Wednesday, July 13, 2005, when they allegedly pried open the door of Fr. Hansen’s private church office and changed the locks. Without giving the bishop permission to do this, this would be a burglary in most New York parishes and probably in most other states.

Wearing a purple shirt rather than a black mask does not differentiate a bishop from a cat burglar when these tactics are used. That it was done in broad daylight or that the bishop had a canon law document claiming to “inhibit” the priest is irrelevant. Without a police officer carrying a warrant or a court order from a judge, no man can break an office door and seize parish records of a church corporation. Being a bishop confers no special legal right to break into your church, your house, your bank account records, your computer, your website, or any other private property. Unless the rector, church wardens, vestry, or church secretary give the bishop the key and say, “Take it over,” a bishop seizing a church corporation without a court order is a common burglar.

An Episcopal Church parish under canon law is not legally a subdivision of the diocese, and the diocese has no more right to seize a church by walking in the front door one morning than the state governor does to seize your house. The so-called Dennis Canon, even if it was lawfully adopted by the Episcopal Church (and that legal issue has not yet been settled), does not apply since St. John’s did not leave ECUSA or the Diocese of Connecticut. The Dennis Canon by its own explicit language places no restriction on a parish unless it has left its diocese or the national church.

According to some published reports there is an allegation that St. John’s was not paying its mortgage to the diocese. If so, the bishop’s remedy is a mortgage foreclosure in court, not a locksmith breaking into the rector’s office with the parish secretary in tears watching it all. Even if the parish did not own the property, the bishop should afford them the same right a landlord gives a tenant who is not paying rent - an eviction proceeding. An evicting slumlord apparently has more respect for his tenant than this bishop has for this parish.

What Bishop Smith did last Wednesday against St. John’s in Bristol, Connecticut would have been a felony in New York if it had been done against my parish.

Where is the voice of the presiding bishop, Frank Griswold, and the diocesan bishops of ECUSA reprimanding the actions of one of their own? Oliver Goldsmith, the Irish playwright, was on the mark when he wrote, “Silence gives consent.” When we do not hear the revisionist bishops of ECUSA speaking out against this travesty, the reasonable assumption is that they quietly agree.

Rectors, wardens, vestry, and parish secretaries - beware! Faithful Episcopal parishes which refuse to bless same sex unions or accept homosexual bishops living with their lovers now need to take extraordinary measures to protect themselves against an unannounced takeover by the bishop. Do parishes need to install burglar alarms, have iron bars on their windows, encrypted computer records with off-site data storage, and the number of the local police department on the speed dial to protect themselves not against thieves in the night, but against their own bishop? Sadly a civil law attorney and a canon lawyer are now essential to every prudent parish.

Just when things cannot get worse in the Episcopal Church, they did.

Raymond Dague is a New York attorney and the chancellor of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Syracuse, New York, a parish of the Anglican Communion Network.

Bishop Smith Meets with St. John's, Bristol -
Observations by AAC's the Rev. Canon Ellis E. Brust
July 22, 2005

Bishop Smith meets with St. John’s, Bristol

Observations of July 17, 2005 Meeting
The Rev. Canon Ellis English Brust
Chief Operating Officer
American Anglican Council

I was in Bristol, Connecticut, last weekend to support an American Anglican Council (AAC) parish as its theological dispute with Bishop Andrew Smith escalated. On Sunday I was invited by the senior warden and members of the vestry to attend a hastily called meeting between Bishop Andrew Smith and the congregation of St. John’s. Just days before, on July 13, Bishop Smith--joined by a squad of diocesan staff, locksmiths, computer hackers, and security guards--seized control of the building despite protests of the parish secretary and senior warden. Bishop Smith locked out members of the congregation, issued an inhibition of Fr. Mark Hansen, and forced a revisionist priest-in-charge on the orthodox congregation. In an emotionally charged atmosphere, Bishop Smith tried in vain to “rebuild trust” (as he claimed) between himself and the 150 or so people in attendance at Sunday’s meeting. I am thankful I was there to both assist this beleaguered congregation and witness first hand the diocesan twisting of canonical and ecclesiastical authority.

Before the meeting, Bishop Smith and a staff member were fidgeting with flip charts inside the chancel, and some of his entourage were scattered around the pews while others – including two security guards – controlled the parishioners entering the nave. There were two satellite trucks and other reporters in the parking lot who had been given clear instructions to stay outside by Diocesan Communications Director Karin Hamilton. Ms. Hamilton approached me less than 30 seconds after I took my seat to inform me that this was a meeting between the bishop and members of St. John’s and asked me to leave. I declined, reminding her of the state’s “sunshine laws”. The bishop similarly tried removing Anglican Communion Network Dean Bill Murdoch, who also declined. A few minutes past 7 p.m., the Bishop called the meeting to order, introduced his entourage (lawyers, staff members, the purported priest-in-charge), and again asked all others (there were only the two of us, myself and Bill Murdoch) to leave. The congregation erupted in protest stating that we were their representatives at the meeting. The bishop acquiesced.

Please read the rest! AAC blog

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Jeremiah 23:1-4

1 "Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of My pasture!" says the LORD. 2Therefore thus says the LORD God of Israel against the shepherds who feed My people: "You have scattered My flock, driven them away, and not attended to them. Behold, I will attend to you for the evil of your doings," says the LORD.
3"But I will gather the remnant of My flock out of all countries where I have driven them, and bring them back to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase.
4I will set up shepherds over them who will feed them; and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, nor shall they be lacking," says the LORD.

O Father, we know your heart is grieved over those shepherds who have led Your people astray or who have driven them away. We pray that You would turn their stony hearts into hearts of flesh, that You would open the eyes of their hearts to see and understand You and the hope of Your calling and great riches in Christ Jesus. We thank You that You have promised to look after Your people who suffer under those who do evil in their authority and we pray that they may have strength and perserverence in the time of trial, knowing that the Great Shepherd will never leave them nor forsake them. Amen.

Busy Youth Ministry Means No Time For God

Youth minister: create space for kids to ''be still and know'' rather than produce program after program giving more information and ''convincing'' kids to follow Jesus.

Thursday, Jul. 21, 2005
Posted: 10:38:03AM EST
Ministers of youths have increasingly noticed that youths are kept too busy.

As a youth pastor, I see many teens who are stressed out from being too busy," wrote Tim Geare and Tim Sanford from Focus on the Family. Topher Philgreen of YouthFront believes effective youth ministers must create space for kids to “be still and know" rather than produce program after program giving more information and “convincing” kids to follow Jesus.

Philgreen asked, "When was the last time you were still? When was that last time you got so still that when the Holy Spirit whispered into your heart, it was like a roar?" in a recent article for National Network of Youth Ministries.


Canadian Evangelicals Will Continue to Promote Traditional Marriage
Howard Williams

Ottawa ( - Evangelical Christians in Canada will not affirm the newly legalized definition of marriage to include same-sex unions, despite a bill signed into law Wednesday giving homosexual and lesbian couples the same civil marriage rights as those enjoyed by heterosexuals.

"The unique, distinct nature of heterosexual marriage is no longer recognized in our law and public policy, but we will continue to promote and teach the biblical understanding of marriage in our families and churches," Evangelical Fellowship of Canada President Bruce Clemenger said.

"Evangelical pastors and congregations will continue to celebrate and promote marriage as the exclusive and enduring union of one man and one woman," he said.


Now for the good news
Jul 21st 2005

George Bush's education reforms may be working

THERE is no shortage of bad news for the White House these days. The Washington press corps is on death watch outside the house of Karl Rove, George Bush's chief adviser, and the car bombs continue to explode across Iraq. Yet last Thursday also saw some rare good news. It is buried in a pretty obscure place, in a report published by the National Assessment of Educational Progress. But it has some big implications—not only for Mr Bush's much-maligned claim that he is a different sort of conservative, but also for the future health of American society.


Black Conservative Group Blasts Ebonics Plan for California Schools
By Melanie Hunter Senior Editor
July 20, 2005

( - A black conservative group is criticizing a controversial pilot program in San Bernardino, Calif., schools that would inject "Ebonics" slang into the schools' curriculum.

The project, known as SANKOFA or Students Accumulating New Knowledge Optimizing Future Accomplishment Initiative, is designed to improve the academic performance of black students by keeping them interested in their studies.

But black conservative group Project 21 said the program will do more harm than good.

"Teaching Ebonics, which is nothing more than urban slang, will not provide a means for an individual to acquire a job," said Project 21 member Michael King in a statement.


Jihad Made In Europe
From the July 25, 2005 issue:
There may be more to fear from a mosque in Leeds than a madrassa in the Middle East.
by Reuel Marc Gerecht
07/25/2005, Volume 010, Issue 42

THE JULY SUICIDE BOMBINGS IN London--some or all of whose perpetrators were Muslims born and reared in Britain--are likely to produce in the United Kingdom the same intellectual reflection on Muslim identity in Europe that is already underway in nearby countries. The French began this reflection in earnest ten years ago, after bomb-happy, lycée-educated, French-born Islamic holy warriors terrorized France. The Spanish began it after their own train bombings in March 2004, and the Dutch after the brutal slaying of the film director Theo van Gogh by a Muslim militant in November 2004. Quite likely the British will reach the same conclusion the French already have, to wit: Islamic terrorism on European soil has its roots in the Middle East. "British Islam"--the behavior and spiritual practice of Muslims in the United Kingdom--it will be said, is by and large a progressive force standing against pernicious and retrograde ideas emanating from the Middle East. There are big problems of acculturation at home in mother England, all will confess, but the holy-warrior mentality is imported.

Read the rest here

London hit by four bomb attempts, two weeks on
By Philippe Naughton, Times Online

Exactly two weeks after four suicide bombers wreaked havoc in the London rush hour, large parts of the capital were again brought to a standstill today by apparent copycat attacks on three Tube trains and a bus.
Emergency services were called out to incidents at three stations, including a reported nail bomb attack at Warren Street station.
Warren Street, Shepherd's Bush and Oval stations were evacuated at 12.30pm. An explosion was also reported on a No 26 bus at Hackney in East London, blowing out the windows but not causing any injuries.
Sir Ian Blair, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, has confirmed that one person was injured in attacks that were "close to simultaneous".


Sometimes life looks like the backside of a loom.

A day's circumstances seem as disconnected as the threads on the underside of an Oriental rug. We are hard pressed to see any pattern or purpose to it all. Prayer is the Divine Weaver's invitation to step around to what is really the front side of the loom, to the eternal side of life. And the movement is transformational, often breathtaking. The upward look of prayer reveals the real meaning of life. In giving us the Lord's Prayer, Jesus was inviting us to step around the loom and see life from the perspective of heaven. True prayer is God's invitation to see life through God's eyes and to set the circumstances of life in their larger context. We need this perspective if we are to see our lives as more than a disconnected sequence of events.
--Steve Harper

David Roseberry Writes the Bishop of Connecticut

The Rt. Rev. Andrew Smith
Diocese of Connecticut
1335 Asylum Avenue,
Hartford, CT 06105

Dear Bishop Smith,

This past week a man came to my house and shut off the electricity. I had forgotten to pay the bill while I was on vacation. I was home when the lights went out, so I ran outside and spoke to the man. I reasoned with him and pleaded with him. He listened to my situation, had compassion on me, and immediately turned the power back on. I don’t know any more about that man, but I thank God for his heart and his generosity. I paid the bill in full that afternoon.

This is the way people should behave … especially if they are leaders in the church! Paul says in Galatians 6:10 “Therefore, as we have the opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”

The rest at titusonenine

Small blasts hit London transport
Thursday, July 21, 2005 Posted: 1322 GMT (2122 HKT)

LONDON, England (CNN) -- At least one person has been injured following reports of three small explosions on London's transport system, police say.
The incidents came two weeks to the day since bombs on three Underground trains in London and a double-decker bus killed 56 people including four bombers.
CNN's Matthew Chance said police told him a device exploded in or around Warren Street Tube station in the center of the British capital.
The area around the station has been sealed off and the Bomb Squad is on the scene to check for other explosive devices.
Transport Police told ITN there was an injury at Warren Street. There are no other reports of casualties.


Author Warns Parents of Casual Sex Pitfalls Awaiting College Students
By Jim Brown
July 20, 2005

(AgapePress) - Dr. Jennifer Morse, a popular writer and speaker on family issues, says modern patterns of dating on college campuses are destructive when it comes to finding life-long married love.

Morse has written a new book called Smart Sex: Finding Life-long Love in a Hook-up World (Spence Publishing Company, 2005). In it, she warns parents who are sending a child to college this fall that most can expect casual sexual encounters, co-ed dorms, and even co-habitation to be part of their kids' lives for the next four years.

The author says hookups -- that is, encounters involving casual, recreational sex -- are not conducive to making a proper judgment about who will be one's lifelong partner. "If you start off with the idea that sex is a recreational activity with no moral or social significance," she asserts, "you're going to be drawn to the wrong persons, you're going to be doing the wrong kinds of things -- you're just not going to be in the right kind of mode for finding somebody with whom you can share life-long love."

At schools with co-ed dormitories and sometimes even co-ed rooming groups, it is not uncommon for students who live in close proximity to begin having sex. Again, Morse says this can be relationally damaging in the long term, as social science research has shown that couples living together before marriage are more likely to divorce than couples who do not co-habit before marriage.


Senate GOP rallies for Roberts
By Charles Hurt
July 21, 2005

Senators warmly welcomed Judge John G. Roberts Jr. on Capitol Hill yesterday, and several key members said his nomination to the Supreme Court should not be blocked under the deal struck in May to end judicial filibusters.
"This man has the right stuff and will do the right thing for America and for us as individuals," said Sen. John W. Warner, Virginia Republican and member of the group of seven Democrats and seven Republicans who crafted the pact to end most of the filibusters against President Bush's judicial nominees.
Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican and also a member of the so-called Gang of 14, agreed with Mr. Warner that Judge Roberts doesn't meet the "extraordinary circumstances" required to warrant a filibuster.
"Judge Roberts deserves an up-or-down vote," Mr. McCain said. "And I hope that the other members of that group would also agree with me."
A survey yesterday by The Washington Times of all 100 senators found that 44 senators -- all Republicans -- support Judge Roberts' nomination to the high court -- at least for now. Fifteen senators, including nine Democrats, made a point to praise Judge Roberts but stopped short of endorsing his nomination.

The Washington Times

Catacomb Find Boosts Early Christian-Jewish Ties, Study Says
James Owenfor

July 20, 2005

For millions of pilgrims and tourists, the ancient catacombs of Rome represent the rise of Christianity. Yet a new study suggests that these vast underground burial complexes may owe their origins to Jews—and that Judaism may have influenced Christianity for longer than previously thought.
Carved over several centuries from soft rock on the outskirts of the imperial capital, the catacombs are the resting places of hundreds of thousands of Christians.
But along with the 60 early-Christian complexes, two Jewish catacombs survive in Rome. They are distinguished by Judaic motifs, such as the seven-branched candelabras, or menorahs, that appear on many grave stones.

National Geographic News

Godcasts' booming across the Internet
Knight Ridder Newspapers

(KRT) - Behold the Godcaster, spreading religion and spirituality, one iPod at a time.

Godcasts, religious and spiritually themed podcasts, have been fruitful and multiplied, becoming the most popular use of the new online technology since it debuted less than a year ago. Searches for "Godcast" and "pod preachers" increased 355 percent in just one month this spring, according to the Internet search engine Lycos, on par with searches for the super model Naomi Campbell and the television show "ER."

In a podcast, radio-style broadcasts are posted on the Internet and can be downloaded to an iPod or MP3 player so that the listener can tune in anywhere, anytime. What makes podcasting so novel is that fans can also subscribe to their favorite podcasts, programming their digital music player to download the latest show automatically.


Polygamy: The Next "Right" to be Legalized?
By Kim Bonney

CBN News Producer – WASHINGTON - Voters across the country have repeatedly rejected same-sex marriage. Yet the battle over same-sex marriage may be resolved by the courts.
The stakes are high because if same- sex marriage becomes legal, polygamy may be next.

Story here