Tuesday, July 31, 2007

I believe that God both wills and is able to bring good out of everything, even the worst. For this He needs people who are prepared to allow everything to be served for the best. I believe that in every crisis God wants to provide us with as much power of resistance as we need. But God never gives it in advance so that we will entrust ourselves. I believe that even our mistakes and wrongdoing are not fruitless and that it is no more difficult for God to cope with them than with our presumed good deeds. I believe that God is no "timeless fate" but, rather, that he waits upon and responds to our sincere prayer and responsible deeds. ...Dietrich Bonhoeffer photo

A word received:
I AM. I AM calling my people back to me.
Turn to me.
Turn to me and I will lead you through.
Turn to me in repentance and prayer.
Turn to me for this day's strength.
Albany Intercessor

ACN Council Meeting News July 31, 2007

Matt Kennedy: A Brief Summary of the Tuesday Morning Session of the Network Council

The Living Church: American Province 'Lost,' Network Asserts

Common Cause Articles and Theological Statement

Posted 4:25 pm: Council Ratifies Common Cause Structural Document

4:30 pm: TLC:Revised Network Charter Retains Clause Acceding to TEC Constitution

4:38 pm: Bishop Duncan Re-elected Network Moderator

4:50 pm: ENS: LOS ANGELES: Appeals court will not reconsider property ruling

5:54 pm: Ephraim Radner: A Brief Statement of Resignation from the Anglican Communion Network

Persecution of Christians Increasing, but Most Americans Unaware
July 30

Christian Newswire/ -- Christians continue to be martyred abroad, but few American believers are aware of how pervasive religious persecution is around the world. "Christians in this nation don't realize how fortunate they are to live in the U.S.," observes Jim Jacobson, president of Christian Freedom International.

The Taliban's kidnapping of the South Korean aid workers in Afghanistan illustrates how that conflict is essentially religious. Yet "the U.S.-backed government is little friendlier to Christians," observes Jacobson. "Last year Christian convert Abdul Rahman barely evaded a death sentence, and only after Western nations placed substantial pressure on Kabul."

In Turkey attacks continue on Christians and churches. In an area along the Black Sea coast where an Italian Catholic priest was previously murdered, a Protestant church was vandalized and its pastor threatened. "Earlier this year three Christians were murdered in a particularly gruesome fashion by Muslim extremists," Jacobson points out.
the rest

Gay group targets adoption site
Campaign pushes for all profiles to be allowed online
Dianna M. Náñez

The Arizona Republic
Jul. 28, 2007

A national gay and lesbian advocacy agency has launched a campaign to persuade one of the country's leading adoption Web sites based in Gilbert to allow people of all sexual orientations looking to adopt to post profiles on the site.

Family Pride, based in Washington, D.C., launched the campaign in late May in response to a settlement reached earlier that same month.
the rest

Scotland: Catholic Adoption Agency Will Close Before Giving Children to Homosexual Parents, Bishop States

Revelation: Women joining men in porn-addiction ranks, Christian groups say
Tuesday, July 31, 2007

It started at age 7 or 8 when she found her father’s girlie magazines and sexually explicit novels.
It ended more than 25 years later when she joined the 12-step program Sex Addicts Anonymous.

The 37-year-old Fort Collins woman, who asked that her name not be published, has had a pornography addiction for most of her adult life.
the rest

Abortion Centers Misuse Heart Drug Digoxin to Do "Partial-Birth" Abortions
by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
July 30, 2007

Detroit, MI (LifeNews.com) -- After the Supreme Court upheld the national ban on partial-birth abortions, some abortion businesses are so desperate to continue doing legal second-trimester abortions that they are willing to put women's health at risk by misusing a drug for heart conditions to do the abortions.

The partial-birth abortion ban made it clear that abortion practitioners can't mostly deliver an unborn child before doing the abortion and killing her.

To get around the ban, they are using the drug digoxin to kill the baby inside the mother's womb and then cause the mother to miscarry the dead baby's body.
the rest

U.S. Votes to Accept Gay UN NGOs
by Steve Jordahl
July 30, 2007

The United Nations has accepted two radical gay-rights groups as official non-governmental organizations, or NGO’s. The vote to include them was made against the recommendation of a UN-panel. In favor: The United States.

The Swedish Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Rights and the Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Quebec are now officially able to have input into United Nations policy. Samantha Songson of the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute says the head of the Canadian group is wasting no time in spreading his message.
the rest

Jesus vs. the ACLU
It's Civil Liberties Versus Religious Liberties in a Louisiana Courthouse

July 30, 2007

A small southern Louisiana town is the latest battleground for a classic First Amendment showdown over the separation of church and state, pitting a feisty judge with a painting of Christ in his courthouse against the nation's top civil liberties group.

The American Civil Liberties Union sued Judge Jim Lamz of Slidell, La., earlier this month for refusing to take down a portrait of Jesus Christ above the words "To know peace, obey these laws" displayed in a courthouse lobby. The judge says he believes the picture is legal, and the mayor of the city — the mayor and the town are also named in the lawsuit — called the ACLU "America's Taliban."
the rest

Monday, July 30, 2007

"Jesus did not commit Himself unto them for He knew what was in man." John 2:24-25

Disillusionment means that there are no more false judgments in life. To be undeceived by disillusionment may leave us cynical and unkindly severe in our judgment of others, but the disillusionment which comes from God brings us to the place where we see men and women as they really are, and yet there is no cynicism, we have no stinging, bitter things to say. Many of the cruel things in life spring from the fact that we suffer from illusions. We are not true to one another as facts; we are true only to our ideas of one another. Everything is either delightful and fine, or mean and dastardly, according to our idea.

The refusal to be disillusioned is the cause of much of the suffering in human life. It works in this way - if we love a human being and do not love God, we demand of him every perfection and every rectitude, and when we do not get it we become cruel and vindictive; we are demanding of a human being that which he or she cannot give. There is only one Being Who can satisfy the last aching abyss of the human heart, and that is the Lord Jesus Christ. Why Our Lord is apparently so severe regarding every human relationship is because He knows that every relationship not based on loyalty to Himself will end in disaster. Our Lord trusted no man, yet He was never suspicious, never bitter. Our Lord's confidence in God and in what His grace could do for any man, was so perfect that He despaired of no one. If our trust is placed in human beings, we shall end in despairing of everyone. ...Oswald Chambers image

Old rite wins new Mass appeal
By Julia Duin
July 30, 2007

The Tridentine Mass, the Latin-only rite both loved and hated by many Catholics for its medieval qualities, is roaring back into use after a July 7 papal decree loosened the rules on celebrating it.

Two traditional priestly societies dedicated to the rite report that priests from all over the country are signing up in droves for weeklong classes to learn the rituals and language of the Mass, named after the 16th-century Council of Trent.

Monsignor Michael Schmitz, vicar-general of the Florence, Italy-based Institute of Christ the King, said he has received hundreds of calls from interested clergy.

"This is a nationwide phenomenon," he said. "Many more parish priests and younger priests are interested in learning to celebrate the Latin Mass.
the rest

Russian Youth Group Encourages "More Sex" to Save Motherland from Dwindling Population
By John Jalsevac
MOSCOW, Russia
July 30, 2007

(LifeSIteNews.com) - A Russian nationalist youth group is encouraging youth to have more sex in an effort to combat the nation's devastating demographic crisis, reports the Daily Mail.

In a lengthy special report the Daily Mail documents the activities of the Nashi youth movement, which is sponsoring a summer camp attended by some 10,000 Russian youth this summer. Not only are Nashi organizers encouraging the youth to have more sex, but they have designated a special area at the dormitories, the Love Oasis, for young men and women to engage in sexual intercourse. According to the Mail, condoms are unavailable in the camp.

"They [The pre-historic mammoths] became extinct because they did not have enough sex. That must not happen to Russia," said a Nashi organizer to a group of assembled campers.
the rest

Albert Mohler:"Utterly Normal?" -- No "Post-Homosexualist" Era Yet
Posted: Monday, July 30, 2007

Our language has reached some important natural limits of meaning. A recent media report considered the increasing number of homosexual couples, both male and female, who are now "having babies." Well, these same-sex couples are not "having" babies in the sense that language has customarily been used. When a same-sex couple "has" a baby, everyone knows that there is more to the story. A homosexual couple simply cannot "have" a baby the same way that a heterosexual couple can. This is a matter of the natural order and biology, not mere social custom.

This came to mind when I read Will Young's article published in the July 28, 2007 edition of
The Times [London]. In "We Gays Haven't Won the Battle Yet," Young accepts the fact that modern society has experienced a massive shift on the subject of homosexuality. the rest

Report: China detains four priests from underground Catholic church
The Associated Press
Published: July 29, 2007

BEIJING: Four priests from China's underground Roman Catholic church have been detained by police, a U.S.-based monitoring group said Sunday.

Three priests were detained Tuesday in the northern region of Inner Mongolia after fleeing their hometown to avoid arrest for refusing to join the state-sanctioned church, the Cardinal Kung Foundation announced. It said the fourth priest was detained in early July in the northern province of Hebei following a motorcycle accident.

It gave no details of what charges the priests might face.
the rest

Taliban Militants Kill Second Male Korean Hostage

NYT: Anti-Abortion Leaders Size Up G.O.P. Candidates
Published: July 30, 2007

WASHINGTON, July 29 — After 30 years of political organizing within the
Republican Party, the anti-abortion movement has won a series of victories in legislatures and courts and stands tantalizingly close to winning even more. But these are anxious days for the movement.

A backer of abortion rights would “be at war” with the Republican base, said James Bopp Jr.

Six months before the Iowa caucuses, abortion opponents are trying to adjust to a strikingly different political landscape. For the first time in a generation, they face in Rudolph W. Giuliani, the former mayor of New York, a front-runner for the Republican nomination who supports abortion rights.

Abortion opponents are dividing their support among several other candidates, including
Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts and a relatively recent convert to the cause, and Fred D. Thompson, the former senator from Tennessee. the rest

Christian theme park a holy land experience
By John Raoux, AP

ORLANDO — Jesus Christ is crucified and resurrected here six days a week.

Snarling Roman soldiers whip and drag him, and somber audience members watch. Some quietly weep at a pageant bloody and cruel.

It is the grand finale at the Holy Land Experience, and not the attraction most tourists envision in an Orlando vacation. Just miles from Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando and SeaWorld in this city's overstimulated tourist corridor, Holy Land has in its six years of operation aimed to recreate Jerusalem of Biblical times.
the rest photo and website

Theology battle rocks Springs church, world
The fight about theology and who owns Grace Church reflects a rift shaking parishes all over.

By Electa Draper Denver Post Staff Writer

Colorado Springs - The Gothic Revival tower of Grace Church and St. Stephen's Parish stands as a monument to staid tradition - but this sanctuary has turned into a battleground.

Rebellious parishioners left the American Episcopal Church this spring, protesting its acceptance of gay unions and other departures from orthodoxy, to join a Nigerian Anglican diocese.

Now, the congregation is locked in a legal battle with the Colorado Diocese over ownership of the church, valued at $17 million.

The congregation also is trying to keep its conservative priest of 20 years, the Rev. Don Armstrong, in his pulpit, despite allegations of theft and fraud.

Tuesday, an Episcopal ecclesiastical court will weigh charges against Armstrong, who is accused by the diocese of stealing or misusing more than $500,000.
the rest

The Episcopal Church: A Safehaven for Homosexuals
Tyrone Short Announces Print-on-Demand Availability of The Episcopal Church: A Safehaven for Homosexuals at Lulu.com

AURORA, Colo., July 30 /
Christian Newswire/ -- Tyrone Short announces publication of The Episcopal Church: A Safehaven for Homosexuals in conjunction with Lulu (www.lulu.com), the world's fastest-growing provider of print-on-demand books.

Because the outcry against the Episcopalian Church is so great and their sin is very grave, God is calling for his elect to flee. The Episcopal Church has embraced the homosexual community as one of their own. Is this practice biblical? The Episcopal Church: A Safehaven for Homosexuals is a passionate outreach to the authorities of the Episcopal Church and the Christian Homosexual. the rest

TLC: Bishop Duncan: Fall HOB Meeting is Windsor Bishops' 'Last Stand'

Shortly before the Anglican Communion Network gathered for its constitutional convention in January 2004, the infamous ‘Chapman Memo,’ an unofficial document recommending wide-scale ecclesiastical disobedience, was leaked to The Washington Post. It cast a pall over the meeting before it began and caused widespread mistrust of claims by Network leadership that it intended to abide by the canons and work for reform from within The Episcopal Church.

Nearly four years later, as delegates gather for the annual council meeting July 30-31 at St. Vincent’s Cathedral in Bedford, Texas, the Network remains officially committed to The Episcopal Church, but few expect that situation to continue much longer.
the rest

Conservative Anglicans Losing Hope in Episcopal Church
Lillian Kwon
Christian Post Reporter
Mon, Jul. 30 2007

Conservative Anglicans in the
United States are finding themselves living through an "extended Good Friday," mourning for The Episcopal Church.

The Anglican Communion
Network, an orthodox group of Anglicans discontent with The Episcopal Church, began its fourth annual council meeting in Bedford, Texas, on Monday. Over 80 representatives opened the two-day meeting with disappointment in a church many had grown up in.

"Because our sense of order is such that we have always sought to be Christian first and Episcopalian next, we find ourselves on this present Way of the Cross," said the Rt. Rev. Robert Duncan, moderator of the Anglican Communion Network, in his opening address.
the rest

Address of the Right Reverend Robert Duncan, Moderator of the Network of Anglican Communion Dioceses and Parishes to the Fourth Annual Council at Bedford, Texas
30th July, A.D.2007.
text here

Stand Firm: Common Cause Articles and Theological Statement

Stand Firm: AAC Legal Transparency Petition

The American Anglican Council has created an online petition calling for the Episcopal Church to report the source of the funds used for its lawsuits against parishes and vestries. Robert Lundy, communications assistant for the AAC, says, "These lawsuits come at a high price emotionally, spiritually, and financially. Of special concern is the source of TEC’s funding. Where are they getting the money to sue these churches? Should TEC be open about the amount spent and the source of their litigation funding? If you are concerned about this issue and want to do something about it, then click on the provided link and sign the American Anglican Council’s on-line petition."

You can sign the petition here.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Christians are like the several flowers in a garden that have each of them the dew of heaven, which, being shaken with the wind, they let fall at each other's roots, whereby they are jointly nourished, and become nourishers of each other.
...John Bunyan photo

Church of England Newspaper reports on Charges of Canon Irregularities by 815
From the Fri, Jul 20, 2007 issue of The Church of England Newspaper
By George Conger

THE DIOCESE of San Joaquin, California, has accused US Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori of abuse of office for selectively enforcing church canon law to the detriment of conservatives.

The Presiding Bishop’s office admitted that it acquiesced in the Diocese of Virginia’s violation of the express language of Episcopal Church’s Constitution and Canons in the consecration process of its new bishop, but stated the violation was customary and not of sufficient merit to call into question the validity of the Episcopal consecration of Bishop Shannon T Johnston of Virginia.

In a letter dated July 20, the conservative-leaning diocese accused Bishop Schori of “unequal application of the same canon in two separate cases within months of each other,” permitting the “irregular consecration” of the Bishop-coadjutor of Virginia.

the rest at BabyBlueOnline

The Very Rev. Dr. Stephen Noll: An Open Letter to Network Bishops and Common Cause Partners Regarding the Future of Anglicanism in North America
Saturday, July 28, 2007

My brothers in Christ:

I am sure you get all kinds of advice non-stop. Let me nevertheless impose on you to consider my opinion. Many of you know me. I was baptized and confirmed in the Episcopal Church 40 years ago, I was ordained a priest 35 years ago, and I have worked for many years to renew the Church from within. For the past seven years, I have been looking in with the eyes of the church in Africa. Therefore let me make several brief points.

The time has come for full and final separation between those in The Episcopal Church (TEC) who hold a false gospel and those who hold fast the truth revealed in Holy Scripture and the evangelical and catholic faith of the Church. I find it hard not to conclude that any bishop who still hopes for reform and revival from within the current structure is in a state of denial.

There is no hope and a future for any diocese or parish that remains connected to TEC. The Mark Lawrence case and various abuses of the canons should make this clear. This is a spiritual fact: TEC is terminally ill and the cancer will eventually spread to every part of the body.
the rest

Comments at Stand Firm

'He came as a flood'
The hand of the Lord in Antioch, and Wales, and Korea, and . . .
Andrée Seu
August 04, 2007

God hides nuggets of gold in plain day and surprises us with new findings in passages we've read a hundred times. I came across this yesterday:

"Now those who were scattered because of the persecution that arose over Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia and Cyprus and Antioch, speaking the word to no one except Jews. But there were some of them, men of Cyprus and Cyrene, who on coming to Antioch spoke to the Hellenists also, preaching the Lord Jesus. And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number who believed turned to the Lord. The report of this came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. When he came and saw the grace of God, he was glad and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose, for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith" (Acts 11:19-24).
the rest image

Saturday, July 28, 2007

It is the branch that bears the fruit,
That feels the knife,
To prune it for a larger growth,
A fuller life.

Though every budding twig be lopped,
And every grace
Of swaying tendril, springing leaf,
Be lost a space.

O thou whose life of joy seems reft,
Of beauty shorn;
Whose aspirations lie in dust,
All bruised and torn,

Rejoice, tho' each desire, each dream,
Each hope of thine
Shall fall and fade; it is the hand
Of Love Divine

That holds the knife, that cuts and breaks
With tenderest touch,
That thou, whose life has borne some fruit
May'st now bear much.
--Annie Johnson Flint photo
"And every branch that beareth fruit he purgeth
it, that it may bring forth more fruit" John 15:2

Leader's Insight: Your Church's DNA
Each church has a unique make-up that's essential to its life, health, and future
by Kevin G. Ford, guest columnist
July 23, 2007

Aurora Advent Christian Church, located just outside of Chicago, was stuck. The church was dynamic in many ways. The leaders were talented and highly motivated, but as a unit, something was wrong.

The first things I noticed were the signs—in the office, in the gymnasium, on the doors to the bathroom. The place was plastered with "do not's."

Do not bounce balls on the wall.
Do not wear black-soled shoes.
Do not leave the lights on.
Do not sit here.
Each notice was signed: "The Trustees."

The meetings I attended were formal, focused on procedure and rules. Yet everyone seemed so friendly, warm, and passionate about ministry. When I took a direct, left-brain approach and told leaders they were overly focused on the business of the church, it did not go well.

the rest-do not miss this!

Religious Reversal: San Diego School Drops Special Treatment For Muslims
July 27th 2007

The Religious Right has long claimed that the Supreme Court has banned all forms of school prayer. That is not true.

A San Diego public school that found itself under fire for setting aside a special time and space for Muslim students to pray is changing course.

Officials at Carver Elementary School, which has a large Muslim population, had been criticized after reports surfaced that a special prayer room was being created for Muslim students and that a special recess had been added that coincided with one of the times faithful Muslims must pray during the day.

Officials at the school
now say they will simply allow all students – Muslim and non-Muslim – to pray during lunchtime if they want to.

The school was also criticized for segregating children by sex, which some Muslims believe is called for in education. Those are being eliminated as well.
the rest

Millionaire’s wife ‘forced to abort baby girls’
Jeremy Page in Delhi
July 28, 2007

The wife of a millionaire industrialist has shocked Indian high society by accusing her husband of forcing her to abort two baby girls after taking illegal tests to determine their gender.

Pooja Salotia even accused her husband, Chirag, of trying to force her to have sex with his two brothers to conceive a male heir for the family machinery business in the state of Gujarat. Police arrested her husband, his two brothers and seven other relatives after Mrs Salotia, 32, filed an official complaint in the city of Ahmedabad on Saturday.
the rest

Men giving away Bibles cleared of charges
2 Gideons cited while on public property near Florida school
July 28, 2007

A Florida judge has dismissed all counts against two members of
The Gideons International who were arrested while handing out Bibles on a public sidewalk outside a school, officials with the Alliance Defense Fund said.

"Christians cannot be treated as second-class citizens," said ADF senior legal counsel David Cortman. "These two men have the same constitutional rights as everyone else to pass out literature on a public sidewalk.

"We are pleased that the court agrees that these men should not have been arrested and dismissed the charges against them," he said.
the rest

Defining the Church . . . Badly
July 27, 2007
Mere Comments

Another sad story of people playing dress up:
Women Anointed Catholic Deacons, Priest in S.B. from the Santa Barbara Independent. It's the usual story: lifelong Catholics, love the Church, feel called to priesthood, Church misogynist, hope for future change, women were priests in the early church, have to stay to promote change, accepted someday, international movement, and so on, though it leaves out the almost inevitable "the church is not the magisterium" line and adds the faux reassurance that excommunication "does not remove one from the church" but only bars one from the sacraments. (Not, of course, that they care.)

And like so many articles on this subject, the reporter took seriously and without question the claim that these women were Roman Catholic bishops and priests. They are doing what the Church expressly forbids, they don't represent any Catholic official or institution, they have no place in the Catholic system, no Catholic official or institution recognizes them (other than, perhaps, some secretive order of aging leftwing nuns and even they don't support them in public), but nevertheless the reporter and the editor who wrote the headline declare them to be Roman Catholics.

the rest-Commentary at Touchstone

Brownback, Huckabee Resonating Among Evangelicals
Nathan Black
Christian Post Reporter
Sat, Jul. 28 2007

Republican presidential candidate Sam Brownback is reaching out aggressively to communities, including influential evangelical leaders, weeks ahead of the Aug. 11 straw poll in Ames, Iowa.

The Kansas senator who describes himself as a "bleeding heart conservative" met with more than 15 evangelical pastors in West Des Moines this week and said religious conservatives are moving in his direction as they become aware of his position opposing abortion and gay marriage.

"It's typical in an election that people hold back and want to get a good feel for the candidate," said Brownback, according to The Associated Press. "Now we're getting within eyeshot of Aug. 11 and they're breaking and a lot of them are breaking our way."

And the evangelical Christian community is an essential part of his plan as he looks to finish strong in the straw poll. He says his "pro-life/whole-life message" is resonating with evangelicals.
the rest

Millions believe this man is the Antichrist
Sat 28 Jul 2007

FORTY years after the decriminalisation of homosexuality in England and Wales, American The Rt Rev V Gene Robinson, the world's first openly gay bishop, explains to ANDREW COLLIER in an exclusive interview what it's like to be many Christians' number one enemy.

THE Devil has arranged to meet me in the lobby of a London tourist hotel. It's an odd choice of venue: Westminster Cathedral, the great temple of Roman Catholicism in England, is close by; and a glimpse of the fire and colour of Hell would have been more interesting.

Nor does he look like Satan. No horns, no tail, no pitchfork, no smoke and sulphur. He's of medium height, thinning hair, wearing a smart shirt and tie. He's immediately warm, friendly, open and assured. I like him.

Yet millions of Christians the world over are convinced - absolutely assured - that this man is the Antichrist. They believe he is the Devil, sent to destroy the church from within. Welcome to the fan club of the Rt Rev V Gene Robinson, Primate of the American diocese of New Hampshire and the world's first openly gay bishop.
the rest
comments at TitusOneNine
comments at StandFirm
Get Religion's take

Ruth Gledhill's blog: CofE 'would shut down' without its gay clergy, says +Gene.

New Survey Finds Majority of Americans Remain Opposed to Same-Sex "Marriage"
By Elizabeth O'Brien
WASHINGTON, July 27, 2007

(LifeSiteNews.com) - A new survey by the Pew Research Center (PRC) shows that the number of people who accept same-sex "marriage" remains a minority within the United States.

Entitled "Trends in Political Values and Core Attitudes: 1987-2007," the study conducted telephone interviews with 2,007 adults, aged 18 years or older, across the nation from December 12, 2006 through January 9, 2007. The report investigated a variety of questions relating to religion, government, civil liberties, and political-ethical issues such as abortion and same-sex "marriage".

Regarding the question of homosexual "marriage", the study found that 55% of Americans oppose same-sex "marriage" whereas only 37% are in favor of it.

The report notes that these numbers have fluxed somewhat in the past few years but returned to almost exactly the same as in 2001. Support for homosexual "marriage" reached a high of 38% in July 2003, but after falling to 29% in August 2004, it rose to the present 37%.
the rest

Friday, July 27, 2007

That is the secret of true prayer, of true power in prayer, of real, living, face to face fellowship with God, and of power for service. There is no true, deep conversion, no true, deep holiness, no clothing with the Holy Spirit and with power, no abiding peace or joy, without being daily alone with God. What an inestimable privilege is the institution of daily secret prayer to begin every morning. Let it be one thing that our hearts are set on. ...Andrew Murray photo

Without gay priests Church would be lost claims Bishop Gene
Ruth Gledhill, Religion Correspondent
July 27, 2007

The openly gay bishop whose ordination sparked the crisis in the Anglican Communion has claimed the Church of England would be close to shutting down if it was forced to manage without its gay clergy.

The Bishop of New Hampshire in the US, the Right Rev Gene Robinson, who is divorced and lives openly in partnership with a gay man, said he found it "mystifying" that the mother church of the Anglican Communion was unable to be honest about the number of gay clergy in its ranks.
He said many of the English church's clergy lived openly in their rectories with gay partners, with the full knowledge of their bishops. But he criticised the stance of bishops who threaten the clergy with emnity should their relationships become public.

Speaking in an interview in London, Bishop Gene said: "I have met so many gay partnered clergy here and it is so troubling to hear them tell me that their bishop comes to their house for dinner, knows fully about their relationship, is wonderfully supportive but has also said if this ever becomes public then I’m your worst enemy.
the rest

Comments at TitusOneNine

Anglican Report Episode 32

Kevin and Bill Discuss:

Ephraim Radner
Global South steering committee
AB of York
815 hypocrisy
Trinity Church Society
Bishop Murdoch

Praise God for Five Talents
July 27, 2007

Mr. Frederick Kalema-Musoke, a former World Bank senior staffer, will succeed the Rt. Rev’d Martyn Minns as chair of the board for Five Talents International. CANA’s Bishop Martyn Minns has served as chair since 1999 and was a co-founder of the organization.

"Transformation!” emphasized Bishop Minns, “that's the most important accomplishment of Five Talents: transformed lives and changed communities.”

During Minns’s tenure as chair, Five Talents, a Christian microfinance organization working in partnership with the worldwide Anglican Communion, has assisted more than 220,000 of the poor in 14 countries through microcredit and savings programs and business training. The ripple effects of these projects have touched a million people around the globe. “I don’t think we ever dreamed of the worldwide impact we are making,” Minns said.
the rest

TLC: English Bishops Divided over Episcopal Church's Lambeth Participation

If The Episcopal Church does not respond affirmatively to the primates’ February communiqué by the Sept. 30 deadline, as many as 60 percent of the Church of England's 114 bishops would share a sense of solidarity if bishops from the Global South declined to attend, according to the Rt. Rev Michael Scott-Joynt, Bishop of Winchester.

In an interview with The Church of Ireland Gazette, Bishop Scott-Joynt said convictions among the British House of Bishops are strongly held on both sides of the issue. If all bishops from The Episcopal Church are not given the chance to participate, he estimated the other 40 percent of the Church of England bishops would consider staying away in solidarity with The Episcopal Church.

Bishop Scott-Joynt said most bishops on both sides of the issue would probably be constrained from boycotting out of loyalty to Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, who personally decides who is invited. Archbishop Williams has set a July 31 deadline for bishops to reply to their Lambeth Conference invitations.
the rest

Patients tout successes of adult stem-cell, cord-blood treatments
Jim Brown
July 27, 2007

A group of doctors and patients has traveled to the nation's capital to share success stories of adult stem cells and umbilical cord blood being used to treat diseases such as Type 1 diabetes, leukemia, and congestive heart failure.

Yesterday's Washington, DC, news conference was sponsored by the Family Research Center. One of those speaking was Doug Rice of Spokane, Washington, who a few years ago was told his congestive heart failure required a transplant, but that his diabetes made him ineligible for transplant. the rest

Evangelicals start push in the arts
AP Religion Writer

There are no crosses in Makoto Fujimura's paintings. No images of Jesus gazing into the distance, or serene scenes of churches in a snow-cloaked wood.

Fujimura's abstract works speak to his evangelical Christian faith. But to find it takes some digging.

After the 2001 terrorist strikes on the World Trade Center, three blocks from Fujimura's home, his work explored the power of fire to both destroy and purify, themes drawn from the Christian Gospels and Dante's "The Divine Comedy."

"I am a Christian," says Fujimura, 46, who founded the nonprofit International Arts Movement to help bridge the gap between the religious and art communities. "I am also an artist and creative, and what I do is driven by my faith experience.
the rest

Some examples of Fujimura's work

Iraq Church Head: Christian Plight Worse Than Reported
Michelle Vu
Christian Post Reporter
Thu, Jul. 26 2007

WASHINGTON – The situation of Iraqi Christians is worse than being reported and nothing is being done to help, testified the pastor of one of the largest churches in Iraq Wednesday before the U.S. government’s special religious freedom commission.

“The situation is more than desperate,” said the Rev. Canon Andrew White, vicar of the 1,300-membered St. George’s Anglican Church in Baghdad. “The Coalition has failed the Christians. We have done nothing to support the Christian community or the increase Christian suffering.”

White provided a first-hand, in-depth witness of the current situation of Christians on the grounds in Iraq to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom – a bipartisan government task force responsible for monitoring religious freedom in the world.
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'Good' is Not a Bad Word
By Chuck Colson

'Girls Gone Mild'

Eight years ago, a young writer named Wendy Shalit took the culture by storm with a radical book called A Return to Modesty: Discovering the Lost Virtue. While many people embraced the idea of a return to modesty—especially the young women whose struggles and aspirations Shalit wrote about—others were appalled. “I knew that my arguments . . . might be challenged,” Shalit recalls now, “but nothing prepared me for the tongue-lashings I would receive from my elders. . . . [Feminist writer] Katha Pollitt called me a ‘twit.’ . . . The Nation solemnly foretold that I would ‘certainly be embarrassed’ and regret my stance ‘in a few years.’”

Well, it’s now been a few years, and Wendy regrets nothing. On the contrary, she has a new book out, Girls Gone Mild: Young Women Reclaim Self-Respect and Find It’s Not Bad to Be Good. As the title proclaims, Shalit is still convinced that true strength and happiness come not from deadening one’s emotions and having sex for fun, but from practicing modesty and self-restraint.

And guess who’s on her side?
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Democrats shift approach on abortion
As lawmakers and candidates appeal to religious voters, their language and policy goals on the issue have a ring of conservatism.
By Stephanie Simon, Times Staff Writer
July 26, 2007

Sensing an opportunity to impress religious voters — and tip elections — Democrats in Congress and on the campaign trail have begun to adopt some of the language and policy goals of the antiabortion movement.

For years, the liberal response to abortion has been to promote more accessible and affordable birth control as well as detailed sex education in public schools.

That's still the foundation of Democratic policies. But in a striking shift, Democrats in the House last week promoted a grab bag of programs designed not only to prevent unwanted pregnancies, but also to encourage women who do conceive to carry to term.

The new approach embraces some measures long sought by antiabortion activists. It's designed to appeal to the broad centrist bloc of voters who don't want to criminalize every abortion — yet are troubled by a culture that accepts 1.3 million terminations a year.
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Canada's Population is Aging at an Alarming Rate: 2006 Census
Abortion a key factor in the demographic shift
By Elizabeth O'Brien
OTTAWA, ON, July 26, 2007

(LifeSiteNews.com) - According to the most recent 2006 Census, Canada's population is aging rapidly, presenting serious concerns both economically and about the sustainability of the national health system.

Released on July 17 by Statistics Canada, the 2006 Census states that the number of people over age 64 has increased by 11.5% in the last 5 years. Of the total 32,973,546 Canadians, "the number of people aged 55 to 64, many of whom are workers approaching retirement, has never been so high in Canada, at close to 3.7 million in 2006." At the same time, those younger than 15 years old make up only 17.7% of the population, another record-breaking low for Canadians. By 2022 it is predicted that "seniors will outnumber children in every province", and by 2031 the median age will be 44.

At present the Territories have the youngest population in Canada with one in four people being younger than 15. The report states, "The territories' relative 'youth' is attributable to the high fertility rate, particularly among the Inuit population, and lower life expectancy than in the provinces." the rest

First Female President of India Calls for an End to Female Abortions

Smoking just one cannabis joint raises danger of mental illness by 40%
26th July 2007

There are great risks in smoking cannabis, a new report has revealedA single joint of cannabis raises the risk of schizophrenia by more than 40 per cent, a disturbing study warns.

The Government-commissioned report has also found that taking the drug regularly more than doubles the risk of serious mental illness.

Overall, cannabis could be to blame for one in seven cases of schizophrenia and other life-shattering mental illness, the Lancet reports.
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Peggy Noonan: Rich Man, Boor Man
We live in an age of great wealth--and lousy manners
Friday, July 27, 2007

So we are agreed. We are living in the second great Gilded Age, a time of startling personal wealth. In the West, the mansion after mansion with broad and rolling grounds; in the East, the apartments with foyers in which bowling teams could play. Or, on another level, the week's vacation in Disneyland or Dublin with the entire family--this in a nation in which, well within human memory, people with a week off stayed home and fixed things in the garage, or drove to the beach for a day and sat on a blanket from one of the kid's beds and thought: This is the life.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average has hit 14000. The wealthy live better than kings. There isn't a billionaire in East Hampton who wouldn't look down on tatty old Windsor Castle. We have a potential presidential candidate who noted to a friend that if he won the presidency the quality of his life would go down, not up.

The gap between rich and poor is great, and there is plenty of want, and also confusion. What the superrich do for a living now often seems utterly incomprehensible, and has for at least a generation. There is no word for it, only an image. There's a big pile of coins on a table. The rich shove their hands in, raise them, and as the coins sift through their fingers it makes . . . a bigger pile of coins. Then they sift through it again and the pile gets bigger again.
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Pharmacists Sue Over Morning-After Pill
Associated Press Writer
July 26, 2007

SEATTLE (AP) - Pharmacists have sued Washington state over a new regulation that requires them to sell emergency contraception, also known as the "morning-after pill."

In a lawsuit filed in federal court Wednesday, a pharmacy owner and two pharmacists say the rule that took effect Thursday violates their civil rights by forcing them into choosing between "their livelihoods and their deeply held religious and moral beliefs."

"The stakes really couldn't be much higher," plaintiffs' attorney Kristen Waggoner said.

The state ruled earlier this year that druggists who believe emergency contraceptives are tantamount to abortion cannot stand in the way of a patient's right to the drugs.
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Thursday, July 26, 2007

God sent Elijah to the brook and it dried up. It did not prove equal to the need of the prophet. It failed; God knew it would; He made it to fail. "The brook dried up." This is an aspect of the Divine providence that sorely perplexes our minds and tries our faith. God knows that there are heavenly whispers that men cannot hear till the drought of trouble and perhaps weariness has silenced the babbling brooks of joy. And He is not satisfied until we have learned to depend, not upon His gifts, but upon Himself. ...Percy Ainsworth image

Bishops threaten to boycott Lambeth Conference
Ruth Gledhill, Religion Correspondent
July 26, 2007

Six out of ten senior Church of England bishops could boycott next year’s Lambeth Conference of more than 800 Anglican bishops and archbishops from around the world because of the row over gays.

Such a boycott would be unprecedented in the history of the Anglican Church and would be an indication of how deep the divisions go, in England as well as in the rest of the communion.

The fifth most senior bishop in the mother church of the Anglican Communion warns today that a majority of English diocesan bishops could consider a boycott if the US does not row back on its pro-gay agenda.

A UK boycott would confirm the gravity of the splits within even the Church of England, traditionally the model for Anglicanism’s “via media”. It would effectively spell the end of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s dream of maintaining unity.
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'Theology on Tap'
By Regina Lee
July 25, 2007

Saying Hail Marys over a pint of Guinness has become a popular happy hour activity for some local Catholics.

More than 200 people in their 20s and 30s packed into Pat Troy's Ireland's Own pub in Alexandria to eat, drink and pray alongside friends Monday night.

Archbishop Edwin F. O'Brien, 68, who recently was named archbishop of Baltimore, led a dialogue about the mystery of evil at the kickoff session of this summer's "Theology on Tap" sessions.

The Catholic Diocese of Arlington brings priests and lay speakers to local bars once a week to attract young Catholics eager to converse and mingle.
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Exodus of churches, members from the PCUSA
The Layman Online
Thursday, July 26, 2007

Twenty-five congregations either have left the Presbyterian Church (USA) or have voted to leave since the approval of the PUP report in June 2006 by the 217th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA),
according to reports received by The Layman Online.

Since Dec. 2, 2001, 38 congregations have left or have voted to leave the PCUSA, according to reports received by The Layman Online.

A number of other congregations have sought to be
declared the owner of their property, while remaining in the PCUSA.

The approval of the report by the Theological Task Force on Peace, Unity and Purity keeps the current ordination standards in the PCUSA's Constitution, but allows those who choose not to obey them to declare them to be non-essential.
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Gay people from New Mexico can marry in Massachusetts
By Jay Lindsay, Associated Press Writer
July 26, 2007

BOSTON --Gay couples from New Mexico can marry in Massachusetts because their home state has not explicitly banned same-sex marriage, according to Massachusetts records officials.

New Mexico joins Rhode Island as the only states whose gay residents are allowed to marry in Massachusetts, the only state that allows same-sex marriage.
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Spirituality Squared
Webber's Divine Embrace touches both head and heart.
Review by Patricia Raybon

In his final ancient-future sojourn, Robert Webber, who died in April from pancreatic cancer, took up the rich matter of ancient Christian spirituality. His aim was to fully tell "the story of spirituality from the ancient church to the present day." That would have been a terrific and singular book on its own—an appropriate focus for the impassioned father of the Chicago Call. Webber, however, built a full-bodied second book into The Divine Embrace: Recovering the Passionate Spiritual Life (BakerBooks). In it, he offers a bracing prescription for returning contemporary spirituality to its ancient source. the rest

Bishop of Oxford Visits Flood Victims
Bishop of Oxford braves the high waters to visit local residents and emergency services caught up in the floods.
by Maria Mackay
Thursday, July 26, 2007

The Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Rev John Pritchard, was out and about in west Oxford yesterday bringing comfort and encouragement to those caught up in the devastating floods.

Kitted up in wellies and a raincoat, Bishop Pritchard waded along the flooded Botley Road where he spoke to householders and members of the emergency services.
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Britain faces more rain as floods death toll rises

Taleban murder Christian hostage after ‘bungled effort to pay ransom’
Tim Albone in Kabul
July 26,2007

Taleban hostage-takers shot dead one of twenty-three South Korean missionaries being held by them yesterday and threatened to kill the others during the night unless their demands were met.

The male hostage was shot in the head, chest and stomach, apparently after a botched attempt by the South Korean Government to pay a ransom. His body was discovered close to where the hostages are being held in the southern Afghan province of Ghazni.
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Indonesia court sentences 17 Christians in deaths of Muslims following executions - AP

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ's sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. 2 Corinthians:3-5

God does not leave us comfortless, but we have to be in dire need of comfort to know the truth of His promise. It is in time of calamity...in days and nights of sorrow and trouble that the presence, the sufficiency, and the sympathy of God grow very sure and very wonderful. Then we find out that the grace of God is sufficient for all our needs, for every problem and for every difficulty, for every broken heart, and for every human sorrow. ...Peter Marshall photo

Heatwave turns southeastern Europe into tinderbox as fires rage
Jul 25, 2007

Southeastern Europe was a tinderbox Wednesday in the grip of an unrelenting heatwave that has claimed hundreds of lives as wildfires swept Italy and bit into a national park in Slovakia.

Italy was sweltering under temperatures close to 40 degrees
Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) in places Wednesday and suffering devastating wildfires in central and southern regions.

"We've had 85 calls so far already for airborne intervention against fires," a public safety official told AFP in the afternoon as fires raged in the Abruzzo, Latium, Calabria, Sicily and Sardinia regions.
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Archbishop Sentamu Links Communion Ties to Lambeth Attendance

The Archbishop of York has urged Anglican bishops from the Global South not to boycott next year’s Lambeth Conference, telling a British newspaper that by withdrawing they would be removing themselves from the Anglican Communion.

“Anglicanism has its roots through Canterbury,” Archbishop Sentamu said as reported by the
Daily Telegraph. “If you sever that link, you are severing yourself from the Communion. There is no doubt about it.”

Archbishop Sentamu’s caution comes after leaders of the Global South Coalition of Anglican provinces, representing a majority of Anglicans in the developing world, released a
statement last week following a meeting in London warning that their presence at Lambeth 2008 was in doubt. The primates also called for an emergency primates meeting after the House of Bishops’ meeting Sept. 19-25 to address The Episcopal Church’s response to recommendations contained in the primates’ communiqué. the rest

Sorrow But No Regrets
My life in the troubled, redemptive church.

Christine A. Scheller

I'm not sure what to think about church anymore.

My home church, which just celebrated its 30th anniversary, is on its sixth pastor, and he is a gem. But the path to him was rocky. We gathered, just 25 of us, in the community room above a firehouse when I was 12 years old. My young father had died suddenly, and my mother had taken it as a sign to get right with the Lord. Running up the stairs every week past shiny red trucks and perfectly aligned yellow coats felt like home.

The founding pastor was a gentle shepherd who communicated peace and safety to this fearful girl. Then a few troublesome congregants ran him off and replaced him with a star who had served with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. What had been a casual, hippy-era church was then infiltrated by old-school Baptists. Tension between traditionalists and innovators gnawed at the ministry.

One day, when I was an 18-year-old new convert and the pastor at the time was 60-something, he took me out evangelizing with him. Afterward, we went back to his house for ice cream. I dished it out, and he suggested I come snuggle with him on the couch. Having seen the unholy mingle with the holy in each of my first two pastors, I should have expected to see it again. Instead, my naiveté continued.

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Keeping faithful in the pews a summer challenge
For the Journal-Constitution

Maybe God never takes a vacation, but many of his believers do. Every summer, attendance at churches and synagogues dips as the members head to the beach or mountains or second homes.

Some clerics accept the summer slump as a seasonal fact of life, but others are trying to find ways of keeping their flock together or at least encouraging them to keep the faith when they're away.

Katie Morgan enjoys rock painting at St. James United Methodist Church's summer camp.

"I take it for granted that attendance will be lower because of vacations," says the Rev. Eddie Ard, pastor of St. Anne's Episcopal Church. "But we do have a summer camp that runs all summer that is staffed by teenagers and adults. And we have a program, Kids for Peace, that we have done for four years." the rest photo

First Things: Sharing Chores?
By Wilfred McClay
Wednesday, July 25, 2007

My suspicions were aroused when I saw a headline to a July 1 Associated Press story in
the hometown paper, declaring “‘Sharing Chores’ Moves Up On Good-Marriage List.” This yawner of a finding was attributed to a Pew Research Center study just released on the “generation gap” in “values and behaviors.” The article itself, by national writer David Crary of the AP, mentioned the fact that “sharing chores” had moved ahead of “children” as a factor in making for a good marriage. But you had to read over to the jump page before you knew that some family experts (two are cited) may be quite concerned about the implicit de-emphasis upon childrearing and what it tells us about the state of American marriage and family life.

Hmm, I thought. Does this ordering of the account really reflect the priorities in Pew’s own presentation of the findings of its study? I looked elsewhere for the same story and found that the major media were generally running it under the title ”Key to a Good Marriage? Share Housework,” which you will find used
in this version, as well as this, this, this, and . . . well you get the idea. And indeed, the opening sentence seemed clearly to point to the same emphasis: “The percentage of Americans who consider children ‘very important’ to a successful marriage has dropped sharply since 1990, and more now cite the sharing of household chores as pivotal, according to a sweeping new survey.” the rest