Sunday, April 30, 2006

From time immemorial men have quenched their thirst with water without knowing anything about its chemical constituents. In like manner we do not need to be instructed in all the mysteries of doctrine, but we do need to receive the Living Water which Jesus Christ will give us and which alone can satisfy our souls. ...Sadhu Sundar Singh

The truth is neither mine nor his nor another's; but belongs to us all whom Thou callest to partake of it, warning us terribly, not to account it private to ourselves, lest we be deprived of it.

... St. Augustine

Is Marcus Borg a Christian?

What Makes a Friend a Brother?
What does it mean to be a Christian?
Matt Kennedy +

I ask that question because of the smallish but significant tempest surrounding the comments of a hero of mine, the bishop of Durham, Dr. NT Wright with regard to Marcus Borg.

Borg, as you probably know, denies the bodily resurrection. Bishop Wright, author of the most powerful defense of the resurrection in decades,
The Resurrection of the Son of God (read, mark, digest it), nevertheless counts Borg a Christian brother. Here’s the quote:

I have friends who I am quite sure are Christians who do not believe in the bodily resurrection," he says carefully, citing another eminent scholar, American theologian Marcus Borg, co-author with Wright of The Meaning of Jesus: Two Visions. But the view I take of them - and they know this - is that they are very, very muddled. They would probably return the compliment. Marcus Borg really does not believe Jesus Christ was bodily raised from the dead. But I know Marcus well: he loves Jesus and believes in him passionately. The philosophical and cultural world he has lived in has made it very, very difficult for him to believe in the bodily resurrection. I actually think that's a major problem and it affects most of whatever else he does, and I think that it means he has all sorts of flaws as a teacher, but I don't want to say he isn't a Christian. (As quoted in
Resurrecting Faith by Jill Rowbotham from The Australian)

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Following the Money
by Jim Naughton

Link: here

This two-part story by the former chief propagandist for Episcopal News Service (who now works for the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, D.C.) seeks to portray the orthodox bodies of the Episcopal Church as sinister organizations secretly funded by rich conservative philanthropists. The fact that the liberal wing of the church is funded by rich liberals is apparently not news to him, nor is the third of a billion dollars in ECUSA trust funds. There has been big money behind the Episcopal Church since before the American Revolution. This Naughton story is not really news, but you can bet that the revisionist crowd will be crowing about this at the General Convention in Ohio this June. -Raymond Dague

Independence against the Family
April 29, 2006

"A happy couple: he joying in her, she joying in herself, but in herself, because she enjoyed him: both increasing their riches by giving to each other; each making one life double, because they made a double life one; where desire never wanted satisfaction, nor satisfaction ever bred satiety: he ruling, because she would obey, or rather because she would obey, she therein ruling." From Sir Philip Sidney, Arcadia (1593).

After weary decades of feminist wandering from reality, and the usually halting and halfhearted attempts by conservatives to return to a Biblical understanding of marriage, we can learn a lot from the literature that C. S. Lewis was steeped in; and if anybody has explained the unhelpful notion of "mutual submission" more subtly and with more insight into the nature of man and woman than Philip Sidney did long ago, I'd like to see it.
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Gathering storm
Next month's general assembly could break apart the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
Edward E. Plowman

Depending on a vote at next month's biannual general assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in Birmingham, Ala., the controversy-torn 2.3-million-member denomination could break apart. Delegates are to act on a multi-part proposal dealing with "Peace, Unity, and Purity" in the denomination. One section, if adopted, would establish a new "authoritative interpretation" of church rules to permit exceptions to moral standards for ordination. It's about accommodating active gays on a local case-by-case basis.

Just weeks ahead of the assembly, 35 pastors of some of the largest churches in the PCUSA issued a statement of "deep concern" about the "local option" exceptions. It contained a veiled warning of a split.
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Parents Sue Massachusetts School for Promoting Homosexuality to Young Children
By Gudrun Schultz

BOSTON, Massachusetts, April 28, 2006 ( – An ongoing struggle in a Boston suburb over homosexual material in elementary classrooms has culminated in a lawsuit between parents and the school system.

David and Tonia Parker, and Rob and Robin Wirthlin are suing the town of Lexington and its public school system after their children were given books normalizing gay families. Attempts to reach a compromise with the school failed after officials refused to agree to the parents request that their young children be exempted from homosexual material and discussions in the classroom.

The parents decided on a lawsuit after a homosexual fairy tale, “King & King,” was read to the Wirthlin’s seven-year-old son in class. In the story, a prince turns away one beautiful princess after another until finally falling in love with another prince. The princes’ marry, kiss, and live happily ever after. The story was read as part of a class on weddings.
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Anglican Mainstream Warns CofE Cannot Remain Neutral on Homosexuality
The Church of England cannot remain neutral on the issue of homosexuality within the Church, warns the executive secretary of Anglican Mainstream.
Saturday, April 29 , 2006

The executive secretary of Anglican Mainstream UK has warned the Church of England that it cannot remain neutral on the issue of homosexuality as the Anglican Communion approaches another tense time in the run-up to the election of the new Bishop of California.

Canon Dr Chris Sugden told Christian Today that a fudge from the Episcopal Church in the US on the position of homosexuality will “not be acceptable” for most people in the Anglican Communion.

The comments coincide with a crucial week at Lambeth Palace where the Archbishop of Canterbury has led a number of senior bishops, including the Archbishops of York, Bristol, Durham, Exeter, Manchester, Norwich and Winchester, in a number of key consultations aimed at reconciling the rift over homosexuality in the Church.

Rallies, Prayer Vigils Shining Light on North Korea's Cruelty and Persecution
By Chad Groening and Mary Rettig
April 28, 2006

(AgapePress) - The co-sponsoring organizations of North Korea Freedom Week are exposing the public to the atrocities being committed upon that nation's population by its government. At the same time they are calling on Christians worldwide to pray for their brothers and sisters in Christ there who are suffering persecution and imprisonment for their faith.

Several human-rights organizations are gathered in Washington, DC, to protest the horrific treatment of North Korean citizens by their own government. In addition, a number of prayer vigils are planned in front of Chinese consulates around the U.S. The activities are part of North Korea Freedom Week (April 22-30), which is being sponsored by
Open Doors USA and the North Korea Freedom Coalition.

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Churchgoing Lowest in New England, Highest in South
Sunday, Apr. 30, 2006

The latest Gallup poll found that 42 percent of Americans say they attend church or synagogue once a week or almost every week and among the frequent churchgoers, most are from the South while the New England states have the lowest percentage of church attendance.

Based on a large sample size of more than 68,000 interviews conducted over the past two years, the survey saw as high a percentage as 58 in Alabama while New Hampshire and Vermont showed the lowest attendance rate of 24 percent.

Survey results revealed a wide variation across 48 states, but overall patterns clearly indicated the highest church attendance in the traditionally Southern states. Of the Southern states, Virginia had the lowest reported churchgoer rate with 44 percent, which still lies above the national average. Church attendance is also high in certain Midwestern states, including Nebraska with 53 percent.

At the other end of the spectrum, the New England states show church attendance rates in the 20 to 30 percent range with the highest among those being Connecticut at 37 percent.
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Break looms within American Baptist Churches
Associated Press
Sat, Apr. 29, 2006

POMONA, Calif. - Delegates representing congregations of the American Baptist Churches of the Pacific Southwest voted overwhelmingly Saturday to recommend severing ties with the national denomination in a dispute over homosexuality.

The matter now goes to the board of directors, which has already recommended withdrawal from American Baptist Churches, USA, citing "deep differences of theological convictions and values."

The board was scheduled to meet May 11.

On Saturday, delegates from the region's 300 churches voted 1,125 to 209 to withdraw from American Baptist Churches, USA. The delegates met in seven locations across the West, including First Baptist Church in Pomona.
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Texas Episcopals elect Harrison as first female bishop
She will oversee 64 congregations in the diocese's Austin-Waco region
Houston Chronicle
April 29, 2006

The Episcopal Diocese of Texas elected its first female bishop Saturday when the Rev. Dena Harrison defeated three other candidates for the office of bishop suffragan.

Harrison, 59, won election on a third ballot, winning the majority vote from clergy and lay delegates to a specially called diocesan council at Christ Church Cathedral. She is the first female bishop since the diocese was established in 1849.
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comments at titusonenine

The Web's Million-Dollar Typos
By Leslie Walker and Brian Krebs
Washington Post and Staff Writers
Sunday, April 30, 2006

Google Inc., which runs the largest ad network on the Internet, is making millions of dollars a year by filling otherwise unused Web sites with ads. In many instances, these ad-filled pages appear when users mistype an Internet address, such as ""

This new form of advertising is turning into a booming business that some say is cluttering the Internet and could be violating trademark rules. It also has sparked a speculative frenzy of investment in domain names, pushing the value of some beyond the $1 million mark.
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Exploring the Connection of Spirit, Body
UC Berkeley symposium focuses on studies suggesting that strong spiritual convictions can have a positive effect on physical well-being.
By K. Connie Kang, Times Staff Writer
April 29, 2006

Many scientists are trying to quantify what religious traditions have long preached: that strong spiritual convictions can mean a healthy body.

Some recent findings are far from conclusive, but they raise intriguing questions and suggest that more research is needed. Indeed, a sense of possibility and exploration infused an international symposium this month at UC Berkeley, where researchers presented studies exploring connections between body and spirit.

One study suggested that people with HIV remain healthier longer when they believe God loves them. Conversely, when people see God as punishing them for their transgressions, they do poorly, researchers reported at "Spiritual Transformation: New Frontiers in Scientific Research."

"One's view of God is associated with disease progression," said Gail Ironson, a professor of psychology and psychiatry at the University of Miami.
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LA: Diocese sues for church ownership

LA CRESCENTA - The Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles and its leader, Bishop Jon Bruno, are suing the clergy and volunteer leaders of St. Luke's of the Mountains Anglican Church in an attempt to gain control of the church's property, court records show.

The lawsuit, filed Monday in Los Angeles Superior Court, cites the denomination's rules, which claim the church's property is held in trust of the Episcopal Church USA and the Diocese.

St. Luke's voted in February to leave the Episcopal denomination to join the Anglican Church of the Province of Uganda. Church leaders said the ECUSA has drifted away from orthodox Christian teachings on issues of the authority of the Bible and the uniqueness of Jesus Christ as the only way to salvation.

St. Luke's leaders said they are the legal owners of their property. Six previous lawsuits involving similar circumstances have been decided in favor of the individual churches, St. Luke's officials said.
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Friday, April 28, 2006

The Foolishness of the Cross
Part Three
Albert Mohler
Friday, April 28, 2006

Every person will be one kind of fool or the other. We are going to be one variety of fool--the fool who rejects the knowledge of God--or the other kind of fool, who is foolish before the world because of allegiance to the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ. Which is better? To bear the scorn of the world as a fool and to know the wisdom of the cross, or to embrace worldly wisdom and be shown to be a fool on the day when every act and deed and thought will be revealed and all things will be made known to all?

We will be one kind of fool or another. That is a liberating knowledge, because most of us would like to look foolish only when necessary, and hopefully not at all. Paul seems to think that this foolishness is right at the heart of the Christian gospel, that this is not just some episodic experience of occasional embarrassment, but rather the constant ongoing foolishness of those who will not be deterred from preaching the message of the cross. We need to hear this. God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise. He has chosen us in order to shame the powerful. He has chosen fools for Christ's sake out of those who are fools in the world.
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Attorney: Texas Case Will Address Court Interference in Church Matters
Liberty Legal Institute Spokesman Hopes for Precedent Establishing Pastors' Immunity
By Allie Martin
April 27, 2006

(AgapePress) - The Texas Supreme Court has announced it will hear a case that could determine whether courts have the authority to interfere with matters such as church discipline.

The case known as Penley v. Westbrook dates back nearly six years to when Buddy Westbrook, pastor of Crossland Community Bible Church of Fort Worth, Texas, disassociated female church member Peggy Penley over divorce and adultery. Pastor Westbrook was sued after sending a letter to church members informing them of the situation.

Hiram Sasser is with
Liberty Legal Institute, which is representing the church in the matter. He maintains that the U.S. Constitution protects churches and pastors when it comes to internal matters such as church discipline, and he says this case is "extremely important," in that it deals with this fundamental First Amendment issue. the rest

United 93: First Big-Screen Film on 9/11 Opens Today
Friday, Apr. 28, 2006

NEW YORK - United 93, the first film depicting the 9/11 attacks, made its premiere near ground zero Tuesday and opens in theaters nationwide today.

Directed by acclaimed filmmaker Paul Greengrass, the drama recounts the fears and courage on United Airlines Flight 93, the fourth hijacked plane on the day of the worst terrorist attacks on American soil. While some say it’s too soon to retell the tragic history Americans suffered through less than five years ago, others say it has taken too long.

There are no big names starring in the film. Instead, it's a raw picture of the emotions and horror conveyed through the families of those who died in the crash and a cast of air-traffic controllers, pilots and military persons.

News reports reveal a still unprepared audience for the reliving of Sept. 11. And Greengrass notes that some may never be ready for films about the terrorist attacks.
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Families file federal suit over 'gay' readings
T eacher argued same-sex marriage story OK because practice legal
Posted: April 28, 2006

Two Massachusetts families filed a federal lawsuit yesterday claiming their elementary school children were exposed in class to indoctrination about homosexuality without parental knowledge or permission.

Joseph and Robin Wirthlin and David and Tonia Parker argue in their lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Boston that district officials and staff at
Estabrook Elementary School in Lexington violated state law and civil rights by indoctrinating their children about an immoral lifestyle, circumventing parental responsibilities. the rest

"We never say no." The right-to-die movement abandons pretense.
by Wesley J. Smith

THERE IS A PRETENSE in contemporary assisted suicide advocacy that goes something like this: "Aid in dying" (as it is euphemistically called) is merely to be a safety valve, a last resort only available to imminently dying patients for whom nothing else can be done to alleviate suffering.

Meanwhile, in the real world, the founder of the Swiss suicide facilitating organization Dignitas is just about done with pretense. The Sunday Times Magazine (London)
reported that Dignitas' founder, Ludwig Minelli, plans to create sort of a Starbucks for suicide: a chain of death centers "to end the lives of people with illnesses and mental conditions such as chronic depression."

Minelli believes that all suicidal people should be given information about the best way to kill themselves, and, according to the Times story, "if they choose to die, they should be helped to do it properly." Dignitas admits to having assisted the suicides of many people who were not terminally ill. As Minelli succinctly put it, "We never say no."

The story about Minelli illuminates a deep ideological belief within the euthanasia movement: that we own our bodies, and thus, determining the time, manner, and method of our own deaths, for whatever reason, is a basic human right.
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Pentecostal Enthusiasm Is Spreading
As the movement marks a key centennial, other Christians adopt its exuberant worship style.
By K. Connie Kang, Times Staff Writer
April 28, 2006

Since Saturday, more than 31,000 Pentecostal and Charismatic Christians from 113 countries have been making their presence felt throughout Los Angeles with what many call "joyful noises to the Lord."

They have gathered for the 100th anniversary of the Azusa Street Revival, the cradle of the modern Pentecostal movement. By day, many worship under a tent on Noguchi Plaza in Little Tokyo, the site where the Rev. William J. Seymour, a one-eyed African American preacher from Louisiana, established the city's first multiracial mission in 1906.

Nearly 150 Million Adult Americans Use Internet, Survey Says
Thursday, April 27, 2006

NEW YORK — The U.S. online population has hit an all-time high: 73 percent of adults, or 147 million, now use the Internet.

The figures represent an increase from 66 percent, or 133 million adults, in January 2005, according to the
Pew Internet and American Life Project.

But only 42 percent of all adults, or 84 million, have the home
high-speed connections important for viewing video and treating the Internet as an always-on reference. Looking only at home Internet users, 62 percent have broadband. the rest

Church a way of life in Dixie
By Jennifer HarperT
April 28, 2006

Southern folks seem to have a monopoly on that good old time religion.

The South contains eight of the top 10 states with the most frequent churchgoers in the nation, according to a Gallup Poll analysis of more than 68,000 interviews conducted in the past two years.

"That's no surprise," said Southern historian Eugene Genovese. "Before the Civil War, it'd be hard to say the South was churchgoing, but certainly in the 20th century, churchgoing has remained much stronger here, as has Christian orthodoxy."

It is a close race in the South.

Gay church's first resort service

A church targeting Blackpool's gay community is holding its first meeting in the resort.
Liberty Church will hold its services in the St John's Anglican Church, in the town centre.

Described as Lancashire's first "gay affirming" church it hopes to attract a gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender congregation through its doors.

The church has been inspired by the Metropolitan Community Church network which has a church in Manchester.

It is being backed by gay entreprenuer Basil Newby, whose Blackpool-based chain of venues will be using beer mats and displaying other promotional materials that advertise the church.
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Churches queue up for karaoke hymn machine
Steven Morris
Thursday April 27, 2006
The Guardian

Not every member of the congregation will approve, but at least it solves the problem of who will play the organ. The Hymnal Plus, a karaoke-like machine with a repertoire of almost 3,000 hymns and psalms, is becoming a must-have item at churches around the country.

As well as traditional songs of praise, the British-made machine can play a disco version of Amazing Grace and a jazzy adaptation of The Lord's My Shepherd. Church-goers who struggle to remember the words can look up at a big screen for help, just like real karaoke.
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West Bank: Islamic clerics want to close YMCA
By Tim Butcher in Jerusalem
(Filed: 28/04/2006)

An attempt by Muslim clerics to close a YMCA branch office in the West Bank has exposed growing tensions between the Holy Land's dwindling Christian community and the new Palestinian government led by Hamas.

Firebombs were recently thrown into the office of the YMCA in Qalqilya, a Hamas stronghold, forcing the group to move to new premises.

Islamic leaders have written to the local council demanding that the YMCA branch office close. Their letter concludes: "The presence of this office will lead to negative consequences.''

While the religious leaders were not members of Hamas, the failure of the local Hamas-run council to protect the YMCA is concerning local Christians.
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Where Christianity faces a fight to survive
By Isambard Wilkinson, in Mingora
(Filed: 28/04/2006)

A recent convert from Christianity to Islam, Bashir Masi knew nothing of his new faith.

He could not describe a single tenet of Islam, nor remember the Qalma, the Muslim declaration of faith, nor name his own children, who have adopted Muslim names.

He, his wife Amna and their six children, converted to Islam 15 days ago. "We are happy now we are Muslim," said Mr Masi, 45. "It is a great religion."

The Masis's conversion is typical of the vulnerability of Christians in Pakistan, many of whom live under the threat of persecution, death and who have suffered waves of violence directed against them and their churches.
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Church of England stores up riches on Earth
Patrick Collinson

Thursday April 27, 2006
The Guardian

The value of Church of England property and shares jumped by £800m last year to nearly £5bn - but the Archbishop of Canterbury's annual stipend went up by just 2.7% to £66,140.

The church commissioners' annual report reveals how it has emerged as one of the most successful money managers in Britain. In 2005 the total value of its investments rose by 19.1% - a better return than the vast majority of Britain's life and pension companies, and in the top 1% of pension fund managers.
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Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Begin at once; before you venture away from this quiet moment, ask your King to take you wholly into His service, and place all the hours of this day quite simply at His disposal, and ask him to make and keep you ready to do just exactly what He appoints. Never mind about tomorrow; one day at a time is enough. Try it today, and see if it is not a day of strange, almost curious peace, so sweet that you will be only too thankful when tomorrow comes to ask Him to take it also. Francis Ridley Havergal

James Bradley: There’s nothing “Anglican” about the Anglican Communion any more…

“I voted to consecrate Gene Robinson. I voted to approve the blessing of same-sex unions. I did it because it was appropriate, right, just and holy. I do not “regret” my vote and I certainly don’t intent to “repent” about it. The God I found and was found by as a college sophomore led me to cast that vote. The God of the Anglican Church I became a part of and have been a priest in for 30 years guided and inspired me in what I did in Minneapolis.

Now the Fundamentalists of the third world who call themselves “Anglican” want to destroy the ethos and genius of Anglicanism by making us a church based on doctrine and hierarchy rather than worship and equality. And I’m sick and tired of listening to them and those in the Episcopal Church who ride on their coat tails. The Windsor Report, besides slapping the hands of the American and Canadian Church for the offense of believing all people are God’s children, would turn the so-called Anglican Communion into a “little Rome” with the Pope in waiting (the Archbishop of Canterbury) ready to head the “curia” (the Primates—all men and all Archbishops) and the house of Cardinals (the Lambeth gathering of world-wide bishops). We would become a church burdened and oppressed by bishops all who would determine what the 39 previously independent churches could or could not do before being disciplined and brought into line.

Link and comments at Titusonenine

A Difficult Week for the Diocese of Pennsylvania

The week after Easter was a difficult one for the Diocese of Pennsylvania with staff reductions at Church House, a decision to close one of one of the oldest congregations and another call by the standing committee for the Rt. Rev. Charles E. Bennison, Jr., to retire or resign, this time in response to the revelation that a drawdown of $350,000 of unrestricted net assets took place prior to the March 25 special convention. The withdrawal was not reported to the special convention which had been called after the Nov. 5, 2005, annual diocesan convention failed to approve a budget.

“In light of your expressed commitment to ‘transparency,’ and in the absence of your proper designation of these funds and the approval of standing committee in accordance with our canons, we question why this action was not reported to the special convention,” the Standing Committee’s members wrote in an open letter released April 21. “We strongly disapprove of this drawdown. We will ask the help of the chancellor in establishing procedures to insure that drawdowns will not happen again without proper consultation.”

The committee’s letter noted that the drawdown was reported at an April 19 diocesan council meeting, and “the funds would be restored if and when money became available.
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Anglican Primate announces retirement

Archbishop Andrew Hutchison, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, has announced that he will retire next year following General Synod and the election of a successor.

Archbishop Hutchison, who was elected Primate at the last General Synod in St. Catharines, Ont., in 2004, made the announcement at a meeting of the Canadian House of Bishops in Niagara Falls, Ont., after privately notifying the four Canadian Metropolitan Archbishops of his decision.

He reminded the bishops that he had said right after his election in June, 2004, that his would be a one-triennium primacy. (General Synod meets every three years.) Since then, he said, there have been discussions about whether or not that term of office should be extended. But “despite a good deal of urging for me to do so, I believe the best answer is for me to stick to my original statement,” he said.
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The Da Vinci Code and Company
Richard Kew+

A few evenings ago I slipped down to Barnes & Noble, and spent an hour going through the religion shelves looking for books that are riding the rapidly rising Da Vinci Wave. I ended up with nine or ten volumes that I spread out on a table in the Starbucks section of the place and perused. I finally chose three or four to read and returned the other volumes to their shelves.

The last few days have found me going over these books in an attempt to get to the bottom of the Da Vinci Code phenomenon that has been riding high now for several years, and which is reaching something of a fever peak as the relase date for the move of the best-seller draws near. The hardback of The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown has now been on the New York Times Best Seller list for 159 weeks, and this week was its second week on the top of the paperback lists. There is now an illustrated Da Vinci Code, Da Vinci Code tour guides, and I expect all sorts of other ephemera will appear in coming months. This has become a big cultural "event."

Maybe it was fitting that I read The Da Vinci Code soon after it was published, on my way home from Minneapolis in July 2003, where I had been addressing a pre-convention gathering. (Needless to say, I have not be invited to speak at any gatherings in Columbus in June, and probably never will be again!). The book was commended to me be someone as a great read, and so it is. If you are looking for a page-turner, then this is it! However, from the supposed factoids on the first page, I was irritated by the way it played so fast and loose with facts, and was so badly researched.

the rest at The Kew Continuum

Knowing One's Place
Mere Comments

The Renaissance philosopher Giovanni Pico della Mirandola once famously wrote that man was unique in God's creation precisely because there was no gift that was peculiarly his, and thus no natural place for him to occupy. He could descend to the squalor of a beast, or he could ascend, by the power of contemplation, beyond even the angels. Man was radically detached from the rest of the created world, and in this detachment consisted his dignity.

Pico was part genius (mastering Chaldean and Persian and Arabic, not to mention other languages ancient and modern, sometime before his mid-twenties) and part happy enthusiast, and much needs to be forgiven him for his youth and winning naivete. It is said he was on the point of marrying a chambermaid or some other woman of low status until his friend and patron, Lorenzo de' Medici, put a stop to that. What he would have written had he lived into the prime of life is hard to say, but in his last year he did come under the spell of the fiery reforming Dominican, Savonarola -- who did not talk much about the endless capabilities of man.

Pico, in other words, had the excuse of youth. What's our excuse? It seems that our entire educational system is designed to scorn the idea of the ordinary -- the idea that, in fact, we are all meant to occupy a modest place, in a family, a community, or a church, a place that is seldom of our own making. But what is wrong with the ordinary? God likes ordinary people; that is why he created so many of us. What is duller than a panoply of primadonnas of the tenth magnitude? The insight of Christianity rather is that there is something wondrous about this rock, that tree, that carpenter over there turning a post on a lathe, or that mother rolling out the dough for something as wildly fantastic as gingerbread.

The rest-Excellent!

Abstinence under attack
AIDS: Changing sexual behavior as a way to fight AIDS gets a warning flag from the government’s chief accounting office
Mindy Belz

Lawmakers returning from a two-week recess face calls for action over a controversial report from the General Accountability Office (GAO) released earlier this month and perhaps waiting among stacks of backlogged congressional mail. The 87-page summation concludes that the Bush administration's support for abstinence programs in the treatment of AIDS is undermining other prevention strategies in AIDS crisis zones in Africa and elsewhere.

The report is a startling wake-up to faith-based organizations and others who have long pushed the so-called ABC approach (Abstinence, Be faithful, use Condoms) as a way to lower the spread of AIDS. It is a potential blow to one of the largest spending initiatives put forward by President George Bush. The audit itself is a surprise, coming barely two years into the program and with funding levels for abstinence programs still below the minimum level required by law.
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Christian Rally to Replace Gay Pride Event
April 26, 2006

( - The first-ever "Not Ashamed Charlotte" rally will unite Christians from different churches to proclaim their faith in the public square, replacing the annual gay pride event usually scheduled for early May in Marshall Park. The Christian rally will be held from 3-4 p.m. May 6 in the park. According to Dr. Michael L. Brown, Director of the Coalition of Conscience and organizer of Not Ashamed Charlotte, the timing of this event is highly significant.

"For the last four years," Brown explains, "on the first Saturday of May, Marshall Park has been will filled with as many as 3,000 gays and lesbians celebrating Charlotte Pride." This gay pride event, marked by public lewdness and obscenity, has drawn protest from various Christian groups. Mayor Pat McCrory has also voiced his displeasure with the Charlotte Pride event being held in a public park. In other cities, similar gay pride events have drawn upwards of 100,000 participants.

"This year," Brown states, "the Charlotte Pride organizers had to delay their event, and we were able to get the park for our rally. So, instead of transvestite dancers simulating sex in the presence of toddlers and little children, we will be proclaiming the goodness of God and the love of Jesus. And instead of vendors advertising hot nudist camps, we will be standing together with our families proclaiming that we are not ashamed of purity and morality and wholesome living."
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The Foolishness of the Cross
Part Two
Albert Mohler
Wednesday, April 26, 2006

In 1 Corinthians chapter 1, Paul argues that God's purposes in the world are accomplished "through the foolishness of the message preached." The message that the cross of Jesus Christ saves those who believe--this is what is well-pleasing to God. There is no "gifted program" in heaven. There is no fast track. There is no special education class. When we get to heaven, we will have a perfected knowledge. We will no longer see though a glass darkly, but once glorified, we shall see him face to face. But until then, we have to recognize that God uses intelligence and wisdom, but only the intelligence that He has sanctified, and only the wisdom He himself gives. It is a counter-intuitive wisdom--a wisdom that runs entirely counter to the wisdom of the age.

Paul sets all this in his own historical context in verse 22, "For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness." We must look at this sympathetically. First of all, from the perspective of the Jewish mind, the cross was not the answer to their theological equation. They did not see what we can see, and in humility we must admit that we are looking with 20/20 revelation hindsight. We do not read Isaiah without already having read the gospel of John. We must understand that what we now clearly see, they did not understand.
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Christian Shop Ordered to Duplicate Homosexual Activist Videos
By Robert Knight

Virginia duplicator refused the job, citing Biblical grounds.
In a case similar to a Canadian Christian printer's punishment for declining a job for a homosexual activist group, an Arlington, Virginia, video duplicator has been ordered by the Arlington County Human Rights Commission to do a job for a lesbian activist.

The April 18 order follows a March 9 hearing in which Tim Bono of
Bono Film and Video cited constitutional freedom of religion protection in refusing to duplicate two pro-homosexual films for lesbian activist Lillian Vincenz, according to the Family Policy Network (FPN), which is seeking clients for a class-action suit against the county.

Bono, a Christian, said he did not want to violate his Biblical values by assisting the promotion of homosexual behavior. Bono Film & Video informs potential customers that the firm does not duplicate material that the firm deems obscene, could embarrass employees, hurt the company's reputation, or that runs counter to the company's Christian and ethical values, Bono told FPN.
the rest

How homosexual school clubs offer sex to students
Posted: April 25, 2006
By Linda Harvey

The mainstream media is sure to spend time this next week on the subject of homosexuality and youth, precipitated by the observance in hundreds of high schools of the so-called "Day of Silence" on Wednesday, April 26. This is the day that students who are "GLBT" – that's "gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered" – pledge to remain silent all day to draw attention to what they believe is discrimination.

On Thursday, April 27, some schools will be blessed with a Christian response, the "Day of Truth," started several years ago by the Alliance Defense Fund. "Day of Truth" participants will explain the reality of homosexuality along with the light of Christ's truth and the hope therein.

The "Day of Silence" in most schools is organized by the homosexual club or "gay-straight alliance" as it is often called. Both GSAs and the Day of Silence are projects of a group called GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network. But GSAs are too often disruptive activism – training groups that prop up the homosexual identities of vulnerable kids by fomenting bias against traditional morality, while concealing the grave risks of homosexuality.
the rest

Urban gay youths finding their place
Center helps as more teens come out
Sunday, April 23, 2006
Chris SeperPlain Dealer Reporter

Johnathan Lamarr Terry Jr. had concealed encounters with boys since the sixth grade.
So when he started going to a local youth center that caters to gay boys and girls, the 18-year-old from Cleveland's Hough neighborhood told his tough-guy friends he was looking to beat people up.
As he mingled with the people he promised to bash, he started shedding his "boy stuff." Then last summer, as the pressure of lying to his mother started to build, he told everyone he was gay. Some cousins were outraged. One wanted to fight him. But his friends and mother accepted him, he said. story

Islam in the Big House
How radical Muslims took over the American prison system.
by Stephen Schwartz

RADICAL MUSLIM CHAPLAINS, trained in a foreign ideology, certified in foreign-financed schools, and acting in coordination to impose an extremist agenda have gained a monopoly over Islamic religious activities in American state, federal, and city prisons and jails.

Soon after September 11, 2001, I and a group of individuals with whom I have worked first began consultations on the problem of radical Islam in prison. We identified change in the prisons as a leading item in the agenda of our nation in defeating the terrorist enemy. Some of us had received letters from American Muslim prison inmates complaining that radical chaplains had harassed and otherwise subjected moderate Muslims in prison to humiliation, discrimination, confiscation of moderate Islamic literature, and even physical threats.

Muslim chaplains have established an Islamic radical regime over Muslim convicts in the American prisons; imagine each prison Islamic community as a little Saudi kingdom behind prison walls, without the amenities. They have effectively induced American authorities to establish a form of "state Islam" or "government-certified Islam" in correctional systems.

Religion new Jamaican tourism lure
By Julia Duin
April 25, 2006

KINGSTON, Jamaica -- This tropical isle has long marketed its beaches, waterfalls, foliage and water sports to tourists from around the world.

Now it's marketing a hidden resource: religion.

But it's not Rastafarianism, the homegrown messianic sect that sprang up in the 1970s from the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. Instead, the Jamaican Tourism Board is trying to interest evangelical and charismatic Christian groups to visit the island.

It has put together religious tours of Kingston, the country's capital, and recently started marketing a yearly Fun in the Son gospel festival held every March in Montego Bay, Ocho Rios and Kingston.

Judging from a visit to the island last month, the effort is still in its infancy, but Jamaica hopes to lure foreign tourists and cruise-ship passengers looking for a different kind of spring break.
the rest

Franklin Graham Decries Katrina Response
Dave Eberhart, NewsMax
Wednesday, April 26, 2006

MOBILE, Ala. -- Evangelist Franklin Graham has no problem taking a break from saving lost souls to lambasting the government for "dropping the ball" in the management of the nation's worst natural disaster.

Graham, who has taken over the ministry of his ailing father the legendary evangelist Rev. Billy Graham, 87, is sweeping through the Katrina-ravaged Gulf Coast with a rousing series of revival festivals.

He also is speaking out on the Katrina disaster - and many issues his father would not have, from abortion, to gay marriage, to the Muslim faith.

Central to Graham's voice is Jesus Christ - his teachings and his way as an example to lead us from our troubles.
the rest

Poll: Americans Don't Understand Roe
by Mandy Stoltzfus
Posted 04/25/06

We’re not choosing between Cheerios or Raisin Bran, we’re ripping out the life of children.
-Charmaine Yoest, Family Research Council

REAL Women’s Voices coalition released a national poll today at the National Press Club, which shows that most people do not know what Roe v. Wade means. The poll’s release coincides with tomorrow’s Washington “lobbying day” on Capitol Hill.

Charmaine Yoest of the Family Research Council says Americans like the word choice, but that is deceptive when it comes to abortion. “This is the civil rights issue of our day, and women’s voices are leading the way toward change,” Yoest said. “As we look ahead to the 2006 congressional elections, we are here to tell Congress that real women want a real response to pro-life issues.” the rest

Officials: 'Global Jihad is closing in'

Apr. 26, 2006

We are surrounded," a senior security official said Tuesday, describing the aftermath of Monday's deadly attack on the Sinai beach resort of Dahab.

For months now, security officials have warned that al-Qaida and Global Jihad were slowly closing in on Israel and were attempting to establish cells in the Palestinian territories. Even though this most recent attack was not in Israel, it was still cause for concern at the Kirya military headquarters in Tel Aviv, where senior officers on Tuesday referred to it as another sign of Global Jihad's encroachment on Israel.

In December, an al-Qaida cell in Lebanon fired Katyusha rockets at Kiryat Shmona, and in August Global Jihad-affiliated cells in Jordan fired Katyushas at Eilat.

Islam 'in time of reformation'
By Ruth Gledhill

Islam today is “in the 15th century”, a senior Anglican clergyman said yesterday.

The Dean of Southwark, the Very Rev Colin Slee, said in a sermon at Cambridge University: “I believe that history will show we are witnessing a Muslim reformation.” As with Judaism and Christianity in the past, he said, the response to reformation was characterised by “a retreat into certainties — political, nationalistic, doctrinal and scriptural. It is fundamentalism.” He argued that reformations in Judaism and Christianity had taken place when those religions were 1,500 years of age. Islam was at a comparable stage and the world was “deeply uneasy”.

The dean also said that Christian fundamentalism was in partnership with “anti-intellectualism” and was exerting a “religious economic imperialism”.
the rest

Something Old, Something New
Archbishop wants Christians, left and right, to learn from church history.
by David Neff
posted 04/25/2006

Rowan Williams, the archbishop of Canterbury, is caught in the crossfire between warring parties in the Anglican Communion. They are fighting over how the church relates to sexuality, to Scripture, and to the church's member bodies.

In his new book, Why Study the Past?, Williams does not address the dispute head on. Instead, he says that Christians should be "looking and listening" in their "study of Christian history for what feeds and nourishes belief now."

This study should unsettle both traditionalists and progressives, he says. Progressives, Williams chides, don't expect to be interested in or questioned by history. But Williams admonishes traditionalists as well: We "don't expect to be surprised by the past."
the rest

US lesbian denied fertility treatment sues Catholic docs
Apr 25 4:51 PM US/Eastern

A woman whose doctors refused her infertility treatment because she is a lesbian has sued before California's Supreme Court, her attorney said.

"Our client's doctors' behavior goes against established medical ethics and violates California civil rights law," said Lambda Legal attorney Jennifer Pizer in a statement announcing the suit was filed on Monday.

"The doctors claim a right not to comply with California's civil rights law because they are fundamentalist Christians and they object to treating a lesbian patient the same way they treat other patients," the group said in a statement.

An appeals court overturned a trial court decision that Guadalupe Benitez was denied infertility treatment in violation of California law.
the rest

Philippines, Christian converts, Islamic terrorism
Officials in the Philippines are starting to examine the impact of Christians who have not only converted to Islam, but have embraced a militant form of it as well.
By Peter Chalk for The Jamestown Foundation

For several years now, the Republic of the Philippines has attracted the attention of regional and Western authorities as an emergent hub - both logistically and operationally - for cross-border jihadist extremism in Southeast Asia. Most of this focus has been directed toward the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), largely on account of the group's past historical ties to Osama bin Laden, persistent rejection of any form of religious compromise and/or cohabitation and recent attempts to re-establish itself as a credible and integrated Islamist force (between 1998 and 2001, the group appeared to be motivated more by financial greed than religious fervor). While the ASG is certainly a cause for concern, the activities of extremist Christian converts organized under the auspices of the Rajah Solaiman Revolutionary Movement (RSRM) may represent an even greater threat, not least because of their increasing interaction with militants from the Indonesian-based Jemaah Islamiyya (JI) movement.
the rest

Divergence: Two Bishops. Two Paths. One Decision.
by George F. Woodliff III

Almost exactly two years ago I wrote a paper for my diocese titled
Rediscovering Christian Orthodoxy in Episcopal Anglicanism, in which I quoted this excerpt from a letter written by The Very Reverend Robert S. Munday, Dean of Nashotah House, to the Archbishop of Canterbury on August 19,2003:

"I have just returned from the Episcopal Church’s General Convention where I served as a member of the House of Deputies. The appropriate committees of the General Convention held two hearings where deputies and bishops heard several hours of testimonies in the days prior to the votes on the consent to the election of the Bishop-elect of New Hampshire and the resolution concerning the blessing of same sex unions. What struck me as I was listening to the hours of testimonies is that I was not listening to members of one church in dialogue with each other, I was listening to members of two different religions in dialogue with each other - two different views of Holy Scripture, two different theologies - two different understandings of God and His ways in the world." [Emphasis added]

the rest at Stand Firm-don't miss this!

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Lawsuit Against Episcopal Church for Negligence in Sex Abuse
By Kristin Smith

JACKSONVILLE, FL -- A woman says it happened nearly 40 years ago in a building that used to be attached to a chapel formerly called St. Stephen's Episcopal Church.

It has since moved locations from Gilmore Street to Normandy Boulevard.

The woman, who didn't want to be identified, is filing a lawsuit against the Episcopal Diocese in Florida for the sex abuse she says happened there.

She says she spent a month being terrorized and molested in the church.

After a lifetime of psychological agony, she says she's finally fighting back.

"I've decided enough is enough. I've lived with this all my life. It's been hard, it's been a trauma, and it's time for the church to take responsibility," said the now 53-year-old woman.
the rest

Monday, April 24, 2006

The Foolishness of the Cross
Part One
Albert Mohler
April 24, 2006

The foolishness of the cross underlines the scandalous nature of the Christian ministry. In 1 Corinthians 1:18-31, the apostle Paul reminds us of the fact that the Christian ministry is a scandalous business. It always has been and it always will be. If you are looking for a non-scandalous life, if you hope to preach a non-scandalous message, then the Christian ministry is the wrong place for you. You have heard the wrong call. In this particular passage, Paul's great theme is the foolishness of the word of the Cross. Paul's language is familiar to us because we have read and heard these words so many times. In fact, we have probably become too familiar with them, because what Paul says here, as the Corinthians would have heard it, is a revolutionary message, a counterintuitive message, a counter-cultural message, and in all probability, the Corinthians were not quite prepared to hear this. For what Paul says is that the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to those who are being saved, it is the power of God.
the rest

In Midst of Fun, Awana 'Summit' Focuses on Applying God's Word to Life
By Allie Martin
April 21, 2006

(AgapePress) - More than a thousand high school students from around the nation are wrapping up a four-day event designed to test teenagers' abilities in sports, fine arts, and Bible knowledge.
For 21 years now,
Awana Clubs International has hosted the annual gathering in places like Omaha, St. Louis, and Fort Worth. This year, "Summit 06" drew more than 1,500 high school students to Awana's world headquarters in Streamwood, Illinois, in the suburbs of Chicago. Kevin White, manager of youth ministries for Awana Clubs International, says the four-day event is about more than intense competition.
the rest

Freshmen required to undergo homosexual indoctrination
Mandatory 'diversity seminar' at university where profs 'banned' 'Marketing of Evil'
Posted: April 24, 20061:00 a.m. Eastern

With last week's stunning revelations that the entire faculty of a Midwestern university campus voted without dissent to investigate a Christian librarian for "sexual harassment" simply because he recommended the bestselling book
"The Marketing of Evil," many are asking why not a single faculty member stood up for the librarian.

The question is especially compelling in light of the
decision reported Wednesday that the entire faculty had essentially overstepped their own written policies and had wrongly accused the librarian. story

A Religious Push Against Gay Unions
Published: April 24, 2006

WASHINGTON, April 23 — About 50 prominent religious leaders, including seven Roman Catholic cardinals and about a half-dozen archbishops, have signed a petition in support of a constitutional amendment blocking same-sex marriage.

Organizers of the petition said it was in part an effort to revive the groundswell of opposition to same-sex marriage that helped bring many conservative voters to the polls in some pivotal states in 2004. The signers include many influential evangelical Protestants, a few rabbis and an official of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

But both the organizers and gay rights groups said what was striking about the petition was the direct involvement by high-ranking Roman Catholic officials, including 16 bishops. Although the church has long opposed same-sex unions, and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops had previously endorsed the idea of a constitutional amendment banning such unions, it was evangelical Protestants who generally led the charge when the amendment was debated in 2004.
the rest

The Feminist Furor Has Finally Passed
April 23, 2006 10:13 PM EST
by Nathan Tabor

After years of holding America a virtual hostage, old-fashioned radical feminism appears to be just about dead.

But don’t take my word for it. No less a feminist authority than Maureen Dowd, the New York Times columnist who has never met a Bush—or Bush policy—that she’s actually liked, has all but written feminism’s obituary in her book, Are Men Necessary? Dowd notes that feminism “lasted for a nanosecond, but the backlash has lasted forty years.”

I would take issue with that statement. Feminism has been thwarting America’s growth and vitality for years—but, finally, a number of women are rejecting it for the silliness it is. Dowd writes, “It’s the season of prim, stay-in-the-background First Lady Laura Bush, not assertive two-for-the-price-of-one First Lady Hillary. Where would you even lodge a feminist protest these days?”

The signs of the decay of feminism can be seen far beyond Pennsylvania Avenue. In cities across the U.S., women are chucking the corporate world and embracing Barney’s world instead. They have found fulfillment where their grandmothers did—in the home, raising their children, offering love and support to their husbands. Many do not consider domestic work a drudgery—rather, they see it as a comforting alternative to the 24/7 career life.
the rest

Pentecostals Praise God in Many Tongues
Believers worldwide gather in L.A. -- singing, dancing and shouting -- to mark the 100th anniversary of the Azusa Street Revival.
By K. Connie Kang, Times Staff Writer
April 23, 2006

Carrying banners and making music, about 3,000 exuberant Christians on Saturday kicked off a weeklong centennial celebration of the birthplace of modern Pentecostalism in Little Tokyo with a "Holy Spirit Procession" through downtown Los Angeles.

Thousands of Christians worldwide are coming to Los Angeles this week to mark the 100th anniversary of what is called the Azusa Street Revival, considered the cradle of the global Pentecostal movement, the fastest growing branch of Christianity, with 500 million adherents.

Saturday's march began at a modest house on Bonnie Brae Street where William J. Seymour, an African American preacher, once held prayer meetings, and ended on Little Tokyo's Azusa Street, where he established a multiracial mission that church historians say grew into the modern Pentecostal movement.

"It's so incredible to see all the nations coming together, not just to celebrate but to ask God for another outpouring of the Holy Spirit," said the Rev. Jonathan Ngai, pastor of Transformations Community Church in Arcadia, which is not affiliated with the Pentecostal movement.
the rest

By J. Grant Swank, Jr.
Apr 24, 2006

Buddhists protest individuals converting to Christ as Savior. The hostility grew until "an angry mob set fire to a church in a remote area of Bangladesh," according to Compass Direct’s Sarah Page.

Bangladesh is mostly Islamic. However, Buddhism does "flourish in small pockets." When Buddhism gets hold, it will take out its hostilities against Christians, as was the case in Pancchari, a sub-district of Khagrachhari district in the Chittagong Hill Tracts.

A baptism worship was scheduled. Buddhists met. They protested anyone moving from Buddhism to Christianity. Buddhist devotees were warned to have nothing to do with Christians, including even speaking to them. No commerce was to be held between Buddhists and Christians. Any Christian weddings or funerals were to be boycotted by Buddhists.

At a later meeting overseen by Buddhists, Christians were invited to attend. The Christians were then warned to become recessive. In fact, the Buddhists convening the gathering became quite vocal, then Christians were told emphatically that if Christians did "anything out of line" there would be violent attacks against them.
the rest

Queen draws strength from her family and her faith
By Caroline Davies
(Filed: 24/04/2006)

After the secular celebrations, the Queen yesterday joined family and friends for a reflective and deeply Christian service of thanksgiving to mark her 80th birthday.

It was an occasion that brought together almost all of her extended family, along with those who have served her as sovereign, at St George's Chapel within the precincts of Windsor Castle.

Yesterday was about honouring the head of the Church of England, and a Queen who, said the Dean of Windsor, the Rt Rev David Conner, held the Christian faith as a "very bedrock of her life".
the rest

Once a friendly Christian, he now backs the bombers
By Nicola Woolcock and Sean O’Neill

Two faces, two converts - two Muslim extremists in Britain

BRITISH Muslim convert has emerged as successor to Omar Bakri Mohammad as the leader of a radical group that wants Britain ruled by Islamic law.

The Times has obtained transcripts of Omar Brooks, now known as Abu Izzadeen, preaching holy war and discussing killing Tony Blair in a recent sermon in London. Abu Izzadeen had previously described the July 7 bombings as “completely praiseworthy” and organised demonstrations in support of the September 11 hijackers.

His organisation, the Saved Sect, was formed from the remnants of the disbanded extremist group al-Muhajiroun, which the Government intended to proscribe. However, it is not on the Home Office’s list of 40 banned terrorist organisations, and a spokeswoman refused to comment on whether it could be outlawed.
the rest

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Death is destroyed.

The cross has triumphed over it. It no longer has any power but is truly dead. This is why all of Christ's disciples despise death and no longer fear it. They take the offensive against it. And by the sign of the cross and by faith in Christ, they trample it down as dead.

Before the Savior came, death was terrible to the saints. Everyone wept for the dead as though they perished. But now that the Savior has risen, death isn't terrible amymore. For everyone who believes in Christ tramples over death. They would rather die than deny their faith in Christ. For they know that when they die they aren't destroyed but actually begin to live. Through the Resurrection they become incorruptible. For the devil, who once maliciously rejoiced in death, is the only one truly dead now that we are relieved of death's pains. Anthanasius

Dear Readers, I will be on retreat this weekend and will resume blogging on Monday. May you continue to rest and rejoice in the Risen Christ!
Pat Dague

Canadian Union Refuses Member’s Right to Oppose Gay “Marriage”
By Gudrun Schultz

OTTAWA, Ontario, April 19, 2006 ( – One of Canada’s largest unions is refusing to recognize a member’s right to freedom of conscience, when that freedom involves opposition to same-sex marriage.

The Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) has denied the request of Treasury Board employee Susan Comstock to divert her dues to a charity, a request she made on the grounds that PSAC’s open support of Bill C-38, the bill to legalize gay marriage, went against Ms. Comstock’s personal beliefs.

Although PSAC’s collective agreement contains a clause allowing a member to divert their dues to charity for reasons of religious or conscience, the union refused to grant Ms. Comstocks’ request, saying the clause did not apply to her.
the rest

PCUSA May Allow Homosexual Clergy, UMC Group Sympathetic With Pro-Homosexual Cause
By AFA Journal
April 20, 2006

(AgapePress) - The Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA) may be on the verge of allowing the ordination of homosexual clergy, despite the wishes of the majority of its members. That's the disturbing claim being made by
Presbyterians for Faith, Family and Ministry (PFFM), a group of Presbyterian clergy and laity who hope to work within the denomination to restore biblical and confessional fidelity.

The group says that in June, the General Assembly -- the denomination's highest court -- will consider the recommendations of the "Peace, Unity and Purity Report," which deals with the issue of homosexuality in the PCUSA. A PFFM letter concerning the report states that, "if approved, [it] will permit the ordination of practicing, unrepentant homosexuals in our denomination."
the rest

The Serpent of Porn
Feature by Steve Gallagher
Pure Life Ministries
April 20, 2006

(AgapePress) - Solomon intimately understood how powerful sexual temptation can be for a young man. It was with him in mind that he wrote the fifth chapter of Proverbs. "My son, give attention to my wisdom, incline your ear to my understanding .... For the lips of an adulteress drip honey and smoother than oil is her speech" (Proverbs 5:1-3).

Those two sentences perfectly describe both the power of sexual temptation and its antidote. The wise king understood that, if a young man is to successfully withstand the charms of the temptress, he must be prepared ahead of time. Time spent in the Word every day builds up a man's immune system against the poison of pornography. The scriptures are simply the thinking and perspectives of the Lord. As a man continually immerses himself in the Bible, he will gradually take on God's mindset toward life, people and, yes, even sexuality. a man who devotes daily time to the Word is given spiritual insight into the power of temptation and how it works.
the rest

Judge Blocks Law to Report Sex Under 16
Published: April 19, 2006

A federal judge ruled yesterday that
Kansas law did not require health care workers to report to the authorities sexual activity by people under age 16, invalidating a 2003 opinion by the state's attorney general.

The judge, J. Thomas Marten of Federal District Court in Wichita, said the reporting of consensual sex among similarly aged teenagers would deter young people from seeking medical care and overwhelm the state authorities.

The ruling blocks the attorney general's advisory opinion from guiding the enforcement of Kansas' law requiring the reporting of abuse that causes injury. The opinion suggested that any
pregnancy, sexually transmitted disease or request for contraception fell under the law.

The decision by Judge Marten came in a class-action lawsuit on behalf of doctors, nurses, therapists and sex educators. It was the second legal setback in as many months for the attorney general, Phill Kline, and his efforts to restrict
abortions in the state. the rest

Sudan's extreme poverty almost beyond words

It's been about a month since they returned from the dirt-poor desert of Sudan, and only now have they begun to talk about what they saw there.

The Rev. Al Johnson, pastor of St. Michael's Episcopal Church in Barrington, and two parishioners, Jackie Kraus of Barrington and Laurie Michaels of North Barrington, sometimes struggled to put the experience into words.

"It is so overwhelming," Johnson said.

Their speechlessness was rendered by the good and the bad, the faith and hopefulness of the local people, and their extreme poverty.

For Kraus, who made her third trip to Sudan, and Michaels, it was the woeful conditions at a makeshift medical clinic. For Johnson, it was local women honoring four fellow missionaries by placing on them traditional tribal dresses called lawas.

They were invited by Bishop Daniel Deng Bul of the Renk Diocese in Renk, Sudan, to celebrate the dedication of a newly built Anglican cathedral, which was consecrated by Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams on Feb. 28, in a ceremony attended by more than 4,000 people.
the rest

Nigerian Archbishop Demands Justice
Peter Akinola affirms warning to government and Muslims, fires back on the Western press.
posted 04/20/2006 09:30 a.m.

Peter Akinola, Anglican archbishop and president of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) issued some controversial warnings during February's deadly violence between Christians and Muslims. A couple weeks after the clashes he explained his concerns for the church and his nation to CT associate editor Collin Hansen.

Interview here

Parents rip school over gay storybook
Lesson reignites clash in Lexington
By Tracy Jan, Globe Staff
April 20, 2006

In a controversy with a familiar ring, parents of a Lexington second-grader are protesting that their son's teacher read a fairy tale about gay marriage to the class without warning parents first.

The teacher at Joseph Estabrook Elementary School used the children's book, ''King & King," as part of a lesson about different types of weddings. A prince marries another prince instead of a princess in the book, which was on the American Library Association's list of the 10 most challenged books in 2004 because of its homosexual theme.

''My son is only 7 years old," said Lexington parent Robin Wirthlin, who complained to the school system last month and will meet with the superintendent next week. ''By presenting this kind of issue at such a young age, they're trying to indoctrinate our children. They're intentionally presenting this as a norm, and it's not a value that our family supports."
the rest

Judge Says Ten Commandments Can Stay
Apr 19, 10:22 AM EDT

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) -- A Ten Commandments monument that has stood on the courthouse lawn for almost 50 years does not promote religion and can remain in place, a federal judge ruled.

U.S. District Judge James Carr said Tuesday that the monument can stay because the motives for placing it outside the Lucas County courthouse were secular and not an endorsement of a specific belief.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio sued Lucas County in 2002 to have the display removed, saying it was unconstitutional and promoted religion.

Carr's decision followed a ruling last year by the U.S. Supreme Court that addressed displays of the Ten Commandments.
the rest

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Our end and His beginning

At the empty tomb, we come to the end of our own efforts, and encounter the new beginning that is only God’s to give:
Moses’ mother concealed him until she could no longer , then set him adrift. The boy was “drawn out” to fulfill God’s plan. (Exodus 2)

Arise, shine, for your light has come,*

and the glory of the Lord has dawned upon you.
For behold, darkness covers the land;*

deep gloom enshrouds the peoples.
But over you the Lord will rise,
*and his glory will appear upon you.

The Israelites grew weary under centuries of slavery. When God’s time was right, That very day the LORD brought the Israelites out of the land of Egypt, company by company. (Exodus 12:51)

In the tender compassion of our God

the dawn from on high shall break upon us,
To shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death,*
and to guide our feet into the way of peace.

Jesus’ first followers came to the end of their faithfulness and deserted him. But God raised him from the tomb to make them new:
“…he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him. This is my message for you.” (Matthew 28:7)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.

By Tim Fountain+ at Lent and Beyond